Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Obligatory Christmas List

Tis the season to rank and file the holiday flicks. You know it's what number on is...I hope you do. But for the fun it we will list the 10 you should see this yule tide time around. So, skip on the latest theatre offering and stick to the staples. And here...we...go.

10. Muppet Christmas Carol - Patrick Stewart does a good scrooge, plus Rizzo and Gonso...you can't go wrong.
9. Home Alone - AAAAAAHHHHHHH.
8. The Santa Clause - Really good family fun.
7. Elf - The last good Christmas movie.
6. Christmas Vacation - Jam of the month club.
5. Miracle on 34th Street - Classic
5.5 Love Actually - All you need is love.
4. Meet John Doe - Timely, now more then ever.
3. Die Hard - Yippy Kay Yay.
2. A Christmas Story - You'll shoot your eye out.
1. It's A Wonderful Life - you know it's true

Have a great holiday and share it with someone you love.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shooting From The Hip At The Globes

Well the announcements from the Hollywood Foreign Press are here and without much thought here are my picks for the Golden Globes.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
Revolutionary Road

Best Actress Film - Drama
Meryl Streep - Doubt

Best Actor Film - Drama
Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
In Bruges

Best Actress Film - Musical or Comedy
Sally Hawkins - Happy-go-lucky

Best Supporting Actress Film
Amy Adams - Doubt

Best Supporting Actor Film
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight

Best Animated Feature

Best Foreign Film
The Badder Meinhof Complex

Best Director Film
Sam Mendez - Revolutionary Road

Best Screenplay Film
Simon Beaufoy - Slumdog Millionare

Best Original Score Film
Hans Zimmer - Frost/Nixon

Best Original Song
"Once in a Lifetime" - Cadillac Records

Best TV Series - Drama
Mad Men

Best Actress TV - Drama
Sally Field - Brothers and Sisters

Best Actor TV - Drama
Hugh Laurie

Best TV Series - Musical or Comedy
30 Rock

Best Actress TV - Musical or Comedy
Tina Fey - 30 Rock

Best Actor TV - Musical or Comedy
Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock

Best Mini-series or Film for TV
John Adams

Best Actress Mini-series or Film for TV
Laura Linny - John Adams

Best Actor Mini-series or Film for TV
Paul Giamatti - John Adams

Best Supporting Actress in Series, Mini-series or Film for TV
Dianne Wiest - In Treatment

Best Supporting Actor in Series, Mini-series or Film for TV
Tom Wilkinson - John Adams

There you have it my gut check of winners. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong but this just my be a perfect list.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grammy What?

I don't put much stock in awards, especially ones that have a prime time special to announce the nominees, so why do I care about the Grammys? The new talent.

It's easy to see that people get nominated because they have a name, Paul McCartney "That was me" shaking my head, But artist like Adele, Duffy, M.I.A., The Mars Volta, Raphael Saadique, etc. may have been around but never got the exposure they deserved. So for the undeserving, Metallica, to the perennials, John Mayer, we get a glimmer of what awards should be...The most deserving artists of the year get recognized. Sorry Wild Sweet Orange, your debut may be great but I'll see you in five years in the best new artist category.

If only the best get recognised, no one will tune in to the awards "show," Because the the best hasn't reached the main stream yet. Then Coke won't have an audience to pimp its product and isn't that what it's all about, marketing.

So, you'll have to have the average and the "has beens" to get in the audience. So you'll see the Eagles, Al Green, and Jay-Z and they may win but should they?

Even though it's flawed maybe the Academy Awards can take a hint from the Grammys. Take a chance on something, dare I say, independent. A picture without a distributor or even "stars." You may say that I'm a dreamer... Oh wait, Carol King's "You've got a friend" won 1971. Imagine that.

Prediction: Coldplay - Viva La Vita - Wins 5 out of 7
Buddy Guy is a lock.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The December Greed

Well here we are. Officially in December and we are in a recession (for real now), transition in government power, and a war. We need Christmas more this year then most. But that is not for a few more weeks. So, we get the joy of spreading out the credit cards to buy crap for others that they really don't need.

I know there has been countless movies on the true meaning of Christmas (List later this month) but some how we keep forgetting. We still go beyond our means to buy a bread maker for Aunt Sue(who will only use it once). What is the solution...I don't know. I like getting stuff for people. And I feel like a heel if I don't get anything for others.

Maybe make a pact with your family not to by anything for each other. Those over 16 that is; you can't really explain to your 5 year old niece that Christmas is not happening this year cause of a national recession, they won't get it. So, while money is on the brain I leave you with the top 5 movies about greed.

5. Blood Diamond
4. Spirited Away
3. Enron: The smartest guy in the room
2. There will be Blood
1. Wall Street

Happy Shopping

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks, Blogging, AdSense, and Film?

One of the great tools offered to anyone that has a blog is google AdSense. Anyone anywhere can get some benefit from modern marketing. I blog about media, movies, film production. I get to talk about what I like. It's fun and informative to others. So, how does one benefit?

Visitors click on sponsored ads on the blog or website and the publisher gets a few cents from the clicks.

Can you do this? Sure. Just have a subject you like to talk about and try to be niche. But, as one of the blogs I like, LeShock Value, you can hit on a little bit of everything. To start one you can go to www.blogger.com and join blogging sites such as http://largeassmovieblogs.blogspot.com/

So, Thanks for visiting. Have a look around feel free to comment.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving here are the top five films associated with Turkyday.

5. Pieces of April
4. Dutch
3. For Your Consideration
2. Hannah and Her Sisters
1. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Skinny On Shorts

If you read this blog you already know my take on short films, but, if you are going to make one... Make It Short!

In my youtubeing I have found countless "one trick pony's" that have no clue when to quit. I know that most people are amatures on the tube but if you are going to make something for the web, less is more.

Two minutes or less. You can even go two and a half but no more. Get in, do your thing and get out. You don't want to hang around after a prostate exam and some of these shorts are a pain in the ass.

If you are making a comedy, make it funny. A thriller, make me jump. A drama, have emotion. I know that these are crazy things to ask but achieve your objective.

And yes you can do it in two minutes. I found this in five minutes of youtube searching.

Simple and effective. One concept, executed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This movie sucks?

Apparently Twilight a big thing. From what I gather this movie based on a successful book series that young girls and their mom's like. So why should I care? More over why should you care?

The story revolves around a Vampire that becomes protective over a teen girl that other Vampires want to eat. That's about it. I'm sure people will tell me I'm off base but I can not see this being good in any way. That last good Vampire flick was The Lost Boys everything else has been moving light and I don't expect much from this Twilight except that it may be dimmer then the rest.

If middle aged women want to fantasize about undead men sucking and eating them. They should take a look at the zombie that sleeps next to them for that cheap thrill.

As for the young girls...wait a few years and continue to read your goosebumps.

Middle aged women and teen girls are notorious for wasteful spending but this demographics judgement on the quality literature and entertainment have been abysmal. They are the same people that keep Paris Hilton a house hold name and can't get enough of TMZ.

So in "honor" of the latest installment, I give you five Vampire flicks you should see.

5. Blade
4. The Lost Boys
3. Interview With a Vampire
2. Dracula (1992)
1. Nosferatu

Thursday, November 6, 2008

D.C. Flick

With politics being on many peoples minds these days, I started to think about political movies. There have been many. From moving optimistic nostalgia to glossy "comic" groaners, Washington has as many insider movies as Hollywood (thank you Arron Sorkin). The following are ten hits and three misses made in the name of the U.S. political game.

Must See:

10. Wag The Dog - Media and politics are inseparable. This comic gem has a sobering message about perception and manipulation.

9. Dave - The synopsis may make you roll your eyes. A man who looks like the president actually becomes president. But, it's execution exceeds expectations.

8. The Contender - One of the better political thrillers in recent memory. That's all I want to say. just see it.

7. Charlie Wilson's War - Worth it if only to see Philip Seymour Hoffman.

6. Why We Fight - A worth while documentary on the political machine.

5. John Adams - A great mini-series on the founding of our county ( I know not a "movie" but it must be seen.)

4. All the Presidents Men - Investigative journalists deal with the dark side of politics and brings down a presidency. Oh, yeah it's true.

3. 13 Days - One of my favorites. It's hard to find another movie that shows different political agendas with such conviction.

2. Dr. Strangelove - One of the greatest satires ever made.

1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - If you believe in hope and pure ideals you need to see this movie. Think of it as soap for the political soul.

Avoid for your own sanity:

3. Head of State - What the F*%&? No. Not funny not even socially aware.

2. The Distinguished Gentleman - Eddie doesn't even accidentally get it right.

1. 1776 - Politics + Musical = Pain
Happy Birthday Kristie!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Horror of Horror

I know may people like scary movies but most are so bad you cant even laugh at them. This is the weakest of the genres. It isn't that I can't enjoy one of theses film, I loved The Exorcist. But the volume of crap that passes as a movie usually come from the slasher flick.

Am I being harsh? Yes. But please people don't go see these movies. Do we need Saw 6 or Jason vs Freddie 2 or Friday the 13th 13: (This time it's personal)? Com'on!

These series ruin the good movies that came before and not want me take a chance on anything "new" coming out. So, this Halloween curl up with a classic. You can't go wrong with Psycho. Oh wait, it has a great plot and characters that have depth, you can't have that. I'm sure you can rent House on Hunted Hill and it's in color.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Is Televison Better Then Movies?

We are back in the swing of a new television season. Normally, I hate TV. I don't even get cable or even rabbit ears on my set. I turn it on and I get snow. That is not an oversight by me, I just don't want it in my home. It is a huge time suck. So, why am I about to sing it's praises?

I like what TV can be. Not what it is, but where it can go. You can keep your "reality TV." LC can suck a conch. In fact you can blow up MTV they don't even play music videos. Throw out the game shows. I would rather watch a blank wall for an hour then watch indecisive people labor over picking a box. It's a F*&%ing Case, It don't matter what you pick. But, there are the few shows that get it right.

Part of the reason I like films is because they have a "bigger" story. They go beyond the typical 22 minutes of formula you get on TV and get to something deeper more unique. Check out Synecdoche, New York (Which I am still thinking about five days later, see this movie). But with series like Heroes, 24, and Lost, people are seeing large scale, plot driven stories that rival the big screen alternative. I am also a fan of 30 Rock and the Office which drive story forward without sacrificing the funny. Now if we can just get rid of those ads.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What Is Next?

You Tube. Blu-Ray. On-Demand lifestyle.

You don't know what you want. But, you can get it anytime.

Is too much choice a bad thing or is it what makes us consumers? Why is it that we need Blu-Ray and 1080i broadcast to see a 1926 Buster Keaton flick? Will quality bow to convenience? Instant gratification is what everyone wants. Or is it?

What ever happened to anticipation. The build up. The excitement that surrounded media. People use to go to the theatre to see a movie that only played three times a day. Now that same movie is in a warehouse theatre playing every fifteen minutes. Am I nostalgic? Maybe. Would I give up DVR tech. Not on your life.

I like that modern times allows me more freedom in my media life. This also means I don't have to schedule anything. I can record everything or at least find it on the Internet soon after. I miss that "specialness." That surrounds your entertainment of choice.
Do I need to see my local news in High Def? No. But I won't watch it any other way.
So, what am I getting at? High def, on-demand, instantaneous is great. You can watch the TV Show online the next day (or later that same night. But, you will lose your anticipation, that only an "event" can bring. Something that happens at one time and if you miss it, it's gone. You need to make a conscious choice to view or not view. Life is going way of the afterthought and last minute prep.
So, what is next? They are already starting to release movies at the same time on DVD, On-Demand, and Theatre. Ala "Bubble." So how much are you willing to "Lose?" I don't need to drop 40 bucks on two tickets, popcorn and a soda, when I can see the same presentation on my 46 LCD with 5.1 surround. For the comfort and price it is just a better choice.
So say so-long to the traditional date night.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Leave Rififi Alone

The other night I just watched a great noir classic Rififi. I have been told for years to see this film. I was unable to find the film until I got Netflix and let me tell you it was worth the wait. This 1955 french crime thriller keeps you on the edge of your seat and the most intense moments of the film came from the 32 minutes of silence.

If you haven't got it by now, I liked this film. People should see this film. So why, when lighting is captured, do they have to remake the film with less capable people 54 years later?

Do I think that Al Pacino is a bad actor? No. Would I be surprised if they get Paul Greengrass to direct? Absolutely not. I know some of you are thinking, Cool I like shaky -cam. Just stop.

I do like that style of shooting when appropriate. But why would you do that to such a great story where stillness and understatement builds the tension? Before I get ahead of myself on projected style. Let me recap some of the past re-makes.

Point of No Return - La Femme Nikita was better
Psycho - Hitchcock beats Van Saint
The Getaway - McQueen over Alec Baldwin (Stick with 30Rock)
Mr. Deeds - Let me think. Frank Capra or Adam Sandler?
Last Man Standing - Give me Kurosawa's Yojimbo.
The Longest Yard - Please Adam stop.
You've got Mail - Shop Around the Corner had more heart.

And that's from the top of my head. But the remakes keep coming

The Seven Samurai - 2009
Short Circuit - 2010 (Like we need this)
A Nightmare on Elm Street - 2010
The Day the Earth Stood Still - 2008
Escape from New York - 2009
Magnum PI - 2009 (Not really a remake but I thought I should mention It)
Dirty Dozen - 2010

I'll stop now. I think my point was made. So please, don't settle for a studios watered down, half-assed second effort. Stick with the original. Remember Coke 2?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not Just a Slogan

What can you do to reach your dreams? Do it. Of course you are planning and doing a lot of thinking and plotting. But, people who do get things done. Repetitive? Yes. You have think, how does half the crap get made?

Cable has close to 200 channels. That is 200 places that run programming 24/7 365 and as you know it is not great. I personally only like 5 shows on network tv. So, how does this crap get made? People make it. They go out and do.

An idea will always be in your head. Get something done to show people. It may not be your opus but some people can see through the cost restraints to the soul just like hearing a crappy recording of a talented singer/songwriter. It isn't polished but you know thiey are going to be good. So, do like Joe and make something.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hype for the Buzz

Sorry for the break.

When is hype bad? When it damages your image. Now don't confuse hype with buzz. Buzz is generally good because "you" don't do it. Buzz happens. Hype is manufactured.

Why am I being ambiguous? Because I'm talking about two different things. Right now you are assuming I'm talking about film distribution or something. But this also pertains to almost any event.

"I'm having a party. It's going to be the best." You are setting yourself up to fail. I've been to many parties and the best ones were never the hyped ones.

There is something about being pleasantly surprised with a situation. A movie, a party, a speech, an athletic event all are best being left alone. Sure tell us that something is going to happen but don't ever oversell it. Nothing is more disappointing then being let down.

So what can you take from this? Do you have a movie or event to put on. Create buzz not hype. Don't tell people this is a must see movie that will change their life, cause it won't. Hint, quietly at first, to the right people. Let the gossip factory do its job.

Buzz is started with a whisper in an ear to a friend.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don't Draw Your Storyboards

If you are not a good sketcher and do not have the money to hire a good sketcher do not draw your storyboards. I didn't say do not storyboard. I said do not DRAW your storyboard.

Most likely you are not doing complicated green screen shoots or a lot of mattes so there really is not a point in wasting your time, effort, and more time on stick figure drawings that only make sense to you.

Storyboards are a way to get everyone on the same page. From the camera crew to the actors to the grips one simple picture can get your vision.

Storyboard with a digital camera. If you don't have one you know someone who has a camera you can borrow or buy a cheap one. I know someone that just picked up a camera for 20 bucks.

Most likely you have access to your locations. Go there with a couple stand-ins and shoot your shots. The camera allows you to be more dynamic and true to form of the look of the project. Dedicate a flash card for all your shots and between each scene shoot a title card (Just something hand written) to put a visual brake between each sequence.

These can also be e-mailed to different people in the production so when they get on set they know exactly what is going to happen. This will also ensure a smooth day of shooting that will result in everyone loving you.

The best way to get people to work for you is to have your act together. and prepping for your pre-production will help.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What To Do When Your Pen Won't Go

Your idea has potential but you don't have an way to get your characters from point A to point B. This is what most writers call being blocked. I hate the term "Writers Block" but if it works for you fine.

The problem your facing is not that you don't have any options, it's that you have too many. What? Am I crazy? No, other wise your would have stopped reading. You have an endless world of possibilities. So many directions that you are forced to stay still.

What you need to do is write yourself in a corner. There is nothing like a complete lack of options to force you to get creative. Once you have nowhere to go then the unexpected happens.

If you your have characters reach there arch too soon, IE: the guy gets the girl, have the girl have a shady past as a call girl. Or have have her inherit a million dollars. Something needs to toss the viewer for a loop.

Why do they care about your story? What are you trying to say? Don't be flexible with the theme but be flexible with the story. You will surprise your self and once you get really into your own story and characters. That's when your there. When you want to know what is going to happen to your own characters that is when other will be hooked as well. But, this will never happen if you don't go anywhere. Force your character in impossible situations they will surprise you as you surprise yourself.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Financial Responsibility And Your Film

I Know that some of you care about the story and artistic merit of your upcoming film project and that is great. You should think about that but you are also running a small business for a few months.

Many people think that making a film is something that they can only do only after they win the lottery. Money isn't something that you acquire, it's more liquid. You can't hold on to it. By it's nature it changes hands. It comes and goes. The best you can do is direct its flow to your project.

It's hard to save money. That's why people offer payment plans. It's easier to pay $100 dollars a month then $400 every four months. Why? You get paid by your employer and you direct that pay to your financial obligations. People hold on to a small amount from what they actually get from their job.

I know, you know all this. It's hard to save money. So, how are you going to make your film? Financial responsibility! Exciting huh? The least appealing part of film making but probably the most important. If the dollars add up that's when "Big Mama's House" gets made.

Most of you don't want to make b or c-movies but they are always being made. Why? Financially they make sense. They work at the most basic level. They make money.

Most people don't get into films for the money but that doesn't mean you have to starve either. Evey production is different but there is a few things you can do to help your success.

Make a budget and stick to it- this is the most important part. This budget is what you will have to pay or payback. Don't lose your car for your film. You need that car to get to your job (that pays).

Find a Credit Card - get a new credit card at 0%. This most likely will last a year. You will not have to pay an interest and this will spread out your payments. Remember it's easier then paying it all up front.

Get people to believe in your project - It's hard to get people to believe in your project but it will be worth it. Not only will theses people donate (time, money, food, etc.) they will be a small marketing team.

Remember if you make the film for $2,500. You only need 250 people to see your film and spend $10 to break even. Sound like a lot, but it's not. If you get 25 people involved in your film and they get 10 people each, your set. (It's all about the numbers).

Oh yeah, Stick to your budget. Good Luck.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Dark Knight and Imax

What is the deal with showing features on Imax? The last movie I saw on Imax was "I Am Legend." It was a disappointment on many levels but most notably the size. There was no change in aspect or, as I could see, in print quality from a 35mm print.

Why get conned by a marketing ploy. I know people are not going to the movies as much as they have in the past. Many people would rather wait and experience the latest blockbuster in their own home theater with blu-ray, HDTV, and 7.1 surround sound. We do love our entertainment.

This brings me to my point. The best part of the "I Am Legend" Imax experience wasn't the movie, it was the trailer or the 7 minute clip from "The Dark Knight." All the action sequences were shot with Imax cameras. If you saw it you know where I'm going. See this movie in Imax.

That's right, see this movie in Imax. I think 16x9 is the best aspect for all visual media, sorry Mr. Kubrick. But, from what I saw, this film will be best received at the very largest of scale. I am not looking forward to the change of aspect but this will be a cultural touchstone to be sure.

So leave your cozy dwelling ad head to your local Imax, wait in line, feel the buzz, and enjoy. You can skip the $12 popcorn and soda "deal."

The Dark Knight 1966 Style

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hey you are an All-Star

It is a day before the all-star break. (In baseball, if you don't follow that stuff.) The time at which we honor the best in the sport. (Not to mention commercialism and bloated paychecks.)

It is also a time to look at the impact of baseball on film.

I give you the top 5 baseball movies.

5. Major League

4. The Natural

3. Fever Pitch

2. see http://the5list.blogspot.com/

1. see http://the5list.blogspot.com/

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?

There have been great debates over time. Chicken or Egg? Kirk or Picard? DH or no DH? Consolidated loans or Debt Management? 401k or Roth IRA? (I'm drifting)

But there are few things that Geeks worked up more then Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?
Both fantasy, Both monumental achievements in film. Both trilogies. Both ways to get in a physical altercation. (Well almost, we are dealing with film geeks. They don't fight.)

I'm sure you fall one way or the other on this one, though both Frodo and Luke both whine a lot. So, make a stand and state your reasons why one is better then the other.

Warning funny adult content below. no matter what side you are on this is spot on. (Click only of you are over 18 and want to laugh)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Give Me A Gimmick

Like Jaws 3D before, a new round of spectacle driven movies are to be released.

3D movies are anything but new. In fact, going back to the stereoscope, the process pre-dates the moving picture. Movies started being released in the 1920's and they they have been around ever since.

Most people think of the big green and red galsses 3D films in the 1950's and 1960's. Good for the effect of 3D band for color, lighting, oh and the headaches.

Now we still have the spectacle of things flying at our face. Some impressive, some not so much. But, why?

Are we that starved for reality that we need to go to a movie just to see things in 3D as if our 2D life was that boring. And why reserve this tech that is as old as cinema itself to action and animated films?

If 3D is good enough for big movies, it should be better for small movies. "Juno 3D" see that swollen belly fly over your head or "Superbad 3D" it worth it for the cartoon pictures, that will make you duck. (The Michael Cera connection is by accident.)

They are even thinking about going back and making 2D movies 3D with a technology called In-Three (Lead by Lucas, go figure). I cant wait to see "The Third Man" in 3D and "Vertigo" would be better.

While I wait for "The General" and "Birth of a Nation" to be digitally enhanced at my local megaplex. We can look forward to a dozen films in the next year to include this story enhancing technology including the Oscar front runner "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and Camerons "Avatar."

Who needs substance when you can have flash.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Don't Make A Short, Make A Feature for $2,500

Why make a short film? If your answer is cost you are actually spending more money. What? Yes.

First the day of shorts is gone to showcase your talent. With the advent of digital tech you can make a feature for no-budget. $2,500 is all you need. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. Lets get back to why NOT to make a short.

There are some reasons to make a short but these should be limited to story alone. If you have a small idea, a one trick pony, make a digital short (Like SNL). Other then that, make a feature. Unlike shorts, you can sell a feature. People buy features. Studios want to see that you can tell a story. The best reason to make a feature, you can make your money back.

Making a short you are throwing your money away. So, unlike a feature you are waisting money, costing you more. Even if you don't sell your film or a studio can't see how wonderful and creative your are, you still have a product to sell.

I know, I'm a downer. It took me a long time to realize that no money is made in making a film. That is right. NO MONEY IN MAKING FILMS. The money comes from marketing a film.

Movies themselves are a huge money suck. Cast, crew, props, sets, craft services, location agreements, lights, cameras, film (video) stock, etc., etc. With no guarantee a profit will be turned.

So, what do you do? Give yourself a budget. Lets say $2500 and forget about making the sweeping drama about a towns Mesothelioma lawsuit. Cancer from asbestos may play well come Oscar time but for now aim small.

K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid). Small cast, 3 locations, and a simple story. Think, teens lost in the woods or dinner party. The subject will limit itself. Then hold yourself to that budget. Most likely you will not be paying your actors or crew, so feed them well. Spend a little extra cash to keep them well fed, pizza gets old after three days. Also, ask some local restaurants to donate food for a credit. Once we gave a guy a walk on for some beef sandwiches.

Next, pre-produce then pre-produce some more. The more you have your act together the more the cast and crew will respect you and be willing to go long into the night. Do not have the cast sitting around, you will not get the best performances. Schedule them so that have as little time on set as possible. Also, have the crew do the next set up while your shooting, this will move things along.

Keep your shoot to 12 days. That is 3 days a week for one month. Do nights an interiors on Friday after work and days and exteriors Saturday and Sunday. Budget about $100 a shooting day for food. That is $1200, just for food! That leaves you with $1,300.

Don't worry about about HD or any of the new wiz bang tech. If you don't already have one get a solid 3 chip camera by begging or borrowing, don't steal. If you want someone else to shoot your film get a student, most likely they have one are are eager to use it.

Spend most your time with the story and script, people can overlook bad lighting, no one can overlook a bad story.

Buy your MiniDV tapes online You can get 10 60-min tapes for about $25. Get 20 and shoot like you are on film. Buy a shotgun mic with a boom. Of course you can spend a lot here but I have got good results from $200 mics. Toss in another $50 for the boom pole.

So assuming you have a computer you can buy editing software and cut your film yourself. I suggest, if you don't already have a program, and older version of Adobe Premiere (Possibly 6.5). Buying older versions will save you cash. You can pick up this perfectly fine program for $150.

After that, you are left with $850. I know a lot of you are going to criticize me for not including lights or dolly or a half dozen other things but this is no budget film making. (If David Lynch doesn't need them, you don't need them.) There is no sense maxing out your credit cards, taking out loans, using other peoples money and most likely straining your relationships with friends and family. If the film story is good the film will be good.

The the remaining $850 on miscellaneous production cost, DVD's, film fest submissions, and small viral marketing for your film. After you went the fest route, you can publish the film yourself (see http://www.filmbaby.com/). From there you can possibly get it on Netflix.

So, get out there and start doing. Good Luck.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Why Your Film Will Fail

You will fail a hundred times, hopefully not thousands. But, you will fail. This is not a bad thing. I have never really learned anything from getting it right the first time. In fact I find myself looking back at what I did right more often then what I did wrong. I'm sure you have done the same. The best we can do is learn from others and their mistakes.

But, your film will not fail because a lack of creativity of production value. (A note to all the film schoolers, a film will not succeed because of a kick ass long take). The foundation of a good film is a solid story. Period. Lets say you have an awesome script. The story boards are all set. You have ties to a cast a crew. Guess what? You need money.

Most of us are strapped Federal student loans, or other financial loans. Some people get so behind that they need to consolidate their loans. We are a nation of living beyond our means getting in credit card debt and financing that new LCD television or even refinancing our mortgage for that stereo. We are not good with money.

Money is the reason your film will fail. You can have a great idea but without cash that is all it will be, an idea. The hard fact is you, as an independent filmmaker, need to be business savvy and budget conscience.

You need to do sales. Raise the income. Look at all the crap movies out there. They did not get made by hopes and dreams. Someone said I'm going to make this movie and they did. That's it. The film community is great. We are some of the most supportive, collaborative, good natured and most taken advantage of group. Can you see someone say "Hey, I'm gonna build a house. Who wants to help?" and they actually get a crew to work for free on Sundays? No way.

We can make great works but at the core we need at least some cash. (Hell, even people working for free need to eat). Get creative, after all you are, right? Get some cash. There is a joke in "Bowfinger" saying that any film can be made for $2,000. Nowadays that isn't so ridiculous, you just need a good script with limitations for the budget minded filmmaker. I can show you how. Stay tuned.

Another Media Blog

Wow. Another blog on media. Well, hopefully not just the run of the mill blog. By now we are use to the bitch fest surrounding the creative mulit-media arena and why not? It is fun and easy to say whats wrong with everything we see, read, hear, and otherwise mind digest.

We are a worldwide society of critics. We want nothing but the best for our mental pleasure. As we like to be filled by a good meal we yearn the same for our intellect. Let us start with the basic cornerstone of philosophy, why?

I can posture the ease of information and multitude of outlets for creative works literally at our finger tips but I will not. I instead will retort with an equally academic answer, why not?

Like any other physical attributes we all have opinions. Good, bad, or otherwise we all have the right to be wrong. You are wrong with all your opinions. Everything you like is wrong. That is if you read enough blogs. You will be told you don't know what you like and everyone else is smarter than you. I know I'm correct with saying this because I'm not you.

So, hold on and get ready. I expect soon that a vast majority will disagree with my views and a few actually will agree with my assertions. I hope to hear from both sides. See you soon in a world of anonymity and savageness. Too much, too soon? Who cares?