Friday, May 29, 2009

Cannes' $75 Zombie Movie

A few years ago there was a lot of buzz about Primer (an excellent movie if you haven't seen it) because it was a sci-fi movie that cost only $7,000 to make. Well, Primer's been one upped.

Reposted from

Apparently, there’s a new zombie movie taking Cannes by storm. It’s the film Colin by British indie director Marc Price and it’s getting a lot of attention because of how good it is and what it cost to make. Marc Price and his production company, Nowhere Fast Productions, put the entire movie together on an anemic budget of just $70.

It took Price eighteen months to film Colin and he did it by advertising for zombie actors on Facebook. To help keep his budget low, he had people bring their own lights, equipment and make-up.

Price’s story of Colin is so interesting, original and is generating so much buzz that when combined with the tiny budget, it has managed to put itself on the radar of some big Hollywood and Japanese studios.

What he came up with was Colin, a zombie film “with a heart,” and the web is already generating page after page of praise for the film. Zombie Friends called it “as original, compelling and thought provoking as [George] Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ and horror magazine SCARS said it would “revolutionize zombie cinema.”

Check out the trailer below:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

3Questions: Ross Martin - Senior VP of MTV360 Development and Production

As part of our continuing 3Questions series, I present Ross Martin, Senior Vice President of MTV360 Development and Production.

HBAD: So, tell us about yourself. Who are you, what do you do, what does that position involve?

RM: I lead a group of incredibly talented creative people focused on innovation at MTV. We develop and produce content for MTV, MTV2 and mtvU, run creative for MTV's branded entertainment initiatives, mess with new formats and business models, run some bizarre partnerships, and work on special projects that span multiple networks across Viacom. This involves stepping on a lot of toes, getting in trouble and, when we are lucky, using the power of MTV for good. I like it.

HBAD: How did you get your start?

RM: After graduate school for poetry, I worked for Spike Lee for 3 years. He let me do shit I was completely unqualified to do. Or he might have been unaware I was doing it. Either way, I started as an intern reading scripts one summer, and I snuck myself into a job there developing projects for Spike to direct and produce. One of my responsibilities was to help find talent that the traditional Hollywood studios were missing.

HBAD: What advice would you have for someone just starting out in this business, looking to break into television on an executive level?

RM: Our industry is experiencing a massive contraction. Or you could call it an overdue correction. Either way, in the midst of the chaos, there's huge opportunity to blaze a path. Everyone I know doing interesting work has pretty much no idea what they're gonna do next. And if you're not on the verge of getting fired right now, you're probably playing it safe, which is not acceptable, and you probably should just step aside, get out of the way. It's like former NBA standout Latrell Sprewell. His game wasn't pretty, and he did self-combust, but he was famous for creating opportunities for himself and his teammates to score. He didn't wait for a shot to present itself -- he made shots happen. My advice, for what it is worth, is to work your fuckin ass off, create, and always find a way to find a way.

C'etait un Rendez-vous

C'etait un Rendez-vous

Reposted from

C'était un rendez-vous is a short film by famous French movie director Claude Lelouch. It's a simple enough story- a man drives his car at breakneck speed through the streets of Paris to join his date, burning through red lights and traveling up one way roads to get to her as quickly as possible.

Filmed in 1976, it has become a classic staple of cinéma verité, literally "truth cinema", a style of film making that is closer to the unpredictable and unscripted nature of documentaries. Although the film is over 30 years old, it remains very controversial. When you realize that this movie was filmed while speeding through the streets of Paris and with absolutely no blocked roads or movie permits, you quickly understand why people always have such a strong reaction to it. Claude Lelouch eventually admitted that it was a foolish act of manly bravado, but he said that at the time he loved film more than he loved the law and that the movie would never be as exciting without that constant feeling of danger. I agree with him wholeheartedly- even though it is crazy to place art on a higher level than people's lives, every second that went by in the film seemed to draw me ever closer to an inevitably tragic outcome, and without that sense of flirtation with death, the movie just wouldn't have much emotional impact.

Over the years this film has built up its cult status in part because it was difficult to get a copy of the movie. Because of its growing popularity, a DVD was eventually produced from the original 35mm master and copies of the movie can now be found all over the internet. But so much of the folklore centers around how the film itself was made. Was it Lelouch driving the car himself or a professional formula 1 driver? Was it a Ferrari 275 GTB or some other sports car? Was it even a car and not a motorcycle? Was anyone posted at any checkpoints along the route to warn the driver of any impending danger? Was the car really travelling that fast at all? Did Lelouch get arrested after making the film?

While at first these may seem like legitimate questions, it's shocking how many people are still confused when the answers are just a few Google searches away. Take the speed question for example, some people with too much time on their hands calculated the top and average speed of the car through the different sections of its journeys. While the car didn't travel at very high speeds at all times, there is one part where it reached 220km/h (136.7mph), which even by today's standards is pretty insane.

As for all the other points, you just need to watch the interview with Lelouch to learn about how the film was actually made. The car was Lelouch's own Mercedes, to which he mounted a gyro stabilized camera on the front bumper and rode with two camera operators. A wired remote enabled control over the camera settings from inside the vehicle. The movie was filmed in one take without any special effects. However, the sound was overdubbed with the engine from the director's own Ferrari 275 GTB to make it more exciting (try watching the video without the sound and you will see what a difference it makes). There was one assistant posted by the ticket booths of the Louvre that was supposed to warn Lelouch of any oncoming traffic, but her walkie talkie was broken and had no way of contacting him. Lelouch was eventually arrested by the police but he claims his permit was taken away, if only for a few moments, as a symbolic slap on the wrist for his reckless driving.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Ronnie Day Project wins an award...

I just found out from the one of the producers of The Ronnie Day Project that November Storms, Episode 1, was the proud recipient of several honors at the 2009 Communicator Awards. We received the Award of Excellence for Art Direction and the Award of Distinction for both the Music Video and Cinematography categories. I want to say thank you to all of those involved with the project.

The Ronnie Day Project was a narrative music video series I directed for Epic Records and mtvU. We shot six videos, each a chapter in a larger story. It was a great project and I had a blast doing it. If you'd like to see the series, you can check it out here.

What are the Communicator Awards?

The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program honoring creative excellence for Communications Professionals. Founded by communication professionals over a decade ago, The Communicator Awards received over 9,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes, making it one of the largest awards of its kind in the world.

The Communicator Awards provides winners and their clients the recognition they deserve and gives communications and creative professionals proof and validation that their work is outstanding and highly regarded by their peers. The Communicator Awards provides an equal chance of winning to all entrants regardless of company or agency size and project budget.

The Award of Excellence, our highest honor, is given to those entries whose ability to communicate puts them among the best in the field. The Award of Distinction is presented for projects that exceed industry standards in quality and achievement.

For well over a decade, the Communicator Awards has honored the best creative work in the communications fields. And now, as we enter our 15th season, we are thrilled to announce new initiatives to make the most important and relevant award of its kind even better. We have added Integrated Campaigns and Marketing Effectiveness categories as well as HD video and Outdoor and Environmental categories. Award of Excellence winners will have the opportunity to have their work showcased in the upcoming IAVA Winners Gallery.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Why wait for the DVD? Brother's Bloom Commentary Available Now

Reposting from The Brother's Bloom Blog:

Live commentary track now available on Apple!

So this is kind of weird, I’m not sure if anyone is going to be into doing this, but I figured it was a fun thing to try. The idea here is you download the mp3 file, put it on your ipod (or what have you) and take it to the theater with you. There are instructions at the beginning of the recording for when to pause / unpause, and if all goes well you will have a live commentary track playing along with the movie.

The track itself is obviously spoiler-heavy, I obviously wouldn’t recommend it for a first viewing. It’s also (to be honest) pretty dry and process-intensive, I go on at length about obnoxious stuff like symbolic color schemes, so if that doesn’t sound appealing, steer clear. The (totally different) commentary I recorded for the DVD is much more easygoing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

3Questions: Jared Schwartz - Manager at Caliber Media Company

As part of our continuing 3Questions series, I present Jared Schwartz, Talent/Lit Manager at Caliber Media Company.

HBAD: So, tell us about yourself. Who are you, what do you do, what does that position involve?

JS: My name is Jared Schwartz and I'm a talent and lit manager at Caliber Media Co. That means that I represent writers, directors (lit) and actors (talent). My job is to get them jobs, whatever that entails. I work with actors to get them auditions, I work with writers to sell their scripts, get them writing assignments, etc. Now, an agent does that too, but as a manager, I work with clients on more personal level than agents, building a relationship with them and guiding them career choices (while an agent involves themselves on a job/gig to job/gig basis, I focus on the long term, on their career). Myt clients know that they can come to me for advice whether it's professional or personal.

HBAD: How did you get your start?

JS: I got my start in 2002 when I was given the opportunity to come to LA and intern at one of the major agencies, UTA. I actually got really lucky in that I had a relationship with one of the heads of the company through a family member. I thought I wanted to work as a sports agent, but after a summer at UTA in the talent department, I found my passion. A year later when I graduated college, I came back in their training program and worked my way up. Eventually I decided I wanted to be a manager and left to pursue that career.

HBAD: What advice would you have for someone just starting out in this business, looking to break into representation?

JS: The best advice I can give is to utilize any and all resources possible in order to break into the business. I was able to get in through a relationship that a family member had and I never would have known about that if I hadn’t told anyone that listened that this was the business I wanted to be in. It can be a very tough business to get into so if you can find a relationship to give you a leg up that is always great. Also, be in LA or NY. It is so hard to get a job from anywhere else. You have to be here, on the ground hustling day in and day out, meeting people, building relationships, sending out resumes, etc. Obviously, some jobs are higher profile than others, but more than anything it is about getting a job. Once you get in, through hard work and dedication you can transition to better places, better positions and jobs in the field you are specifically interested in.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mateo's "Underneath the Sky" on Access Hollywood

Chapter 1 of Underneath the Sky, Mateo's "groundbreaking" narrative mixtape, directed by yours truly, has been featured on The Playlist on Access Hollywood. Check it out.

Busy, Busy, Busy

Things have been fairly busy for me the last two weeks or so and, as a result, I haven't been blogging as often as I liked. A part of it too, I guess, is that I felt I've set a precedent in trying to make my posts teach you something. As if there's a lesson to be learned from what I put up here. And I think that's caused me to stagnate with my more personal posts (which is why you find more links to articles and such than stream-of-consciousness posts). However, I've been trying to convince myself to just post anyway, since this is a blog and people have come to expect it. That was last week and you can see I still haven't done it, until now. Which brings me to the busy part.

I thought I would take a moment and update you on some stuff I've got going on. Two weeks ago, Travis and I finished our draft of Glory Days for Guy Walks. The next step has been to take it to talent. Without being specific, it went to a comedy movie star's lit agent (that is, an agent who reps writers, directors, producers), who read it, loved it, pitched at the morning agency meeting and then gave it to comedy movie star's talent agent. That is who we're waiting on right now. Our theory is that the agent has read it and is now trying to get comedy movie star to read it. All in all, very exciting. But in order to not get caught up in it (you end up checking your email every five minutes to see if an update has come through), Travis and I have been busy working on several new projects.

We're not entirely sure we'll be able to get a script written (at least anything beyond a first draft, which isn't showable) before the thing goes, so we've been working on developing several ideas to pitch. We're working on three right now. Two of them we're solid on (and one of them is brilliant in my opinion) and the third Travis likes more than I do.

The last three screenplays Travis and I have written came to us naturally. I had the first idea developed well before meeting Travis (and he came up with the awesome ending), the second idea, what eventually became Glory Days, was Travis' and the third idea was mine. We've never really been at a point until now where we didn't have the next thing we wanted to do and had to sit down and come up with ideas. (We actually have a two page long list of ideas, but most of them are dramas. If we sell Glory Days, people are gonna want to see comedy ideas, which we have less of.) And it's hard because Travis and I don't always see eye-to-eye on ideas and we definitely have different points of view on the type of movies we want to write. So, a lot of ideas get cast aside mostly because I'm not that interested in them, which sometimes pisses Travis off. But, every now and then, we get an idea that we both love and immediately begin running with it, which is what happened last week. (We probably could start working on the screenplay if we wanted to.)

In addition to developing some ideas, we are also working on securing the rights to a book for adaptation. It's fairly certain that we're going to get the option on it (and a fairly cheap one at that) but we had to put together an outline of our idea for the film (since the screenplay will differ slightly from the book as written). So, that had to be put together for this week.

Now, I'm about to head out to start shooting Episode 2 of Mateo's "Underneath the Sky" Mixtape. You remember Chapter 1, right? I'll be shooting over the next three days with the bulk of it happening today and Wednesday and then I'll be on to post. Without telling me, Mateo set a date of May 26th for it's release which means post needs to happen fast. But, I think after Chapter 1, we're in a groove on exactly how it needs to come out. (For instance, the rough cut of Ch. 1 was 10 minutes long, which we thought was great, until Quddus came in and told us it had to be waaaayyyy shorter, like 4 minutes, and we eventually settled on 6 minutes.) Since I now know the length it needs to be, I can better shoot with that in mind, which will ultimately streamline the process.

I'm also desperately trying to get Robert Wilson's video edited and posted but I keep having to put in the back burner. I'm making it goal to have it finished by the end of May, so look for it then.

Did anybody learn anything from this post?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

3Questions: Zac Unterman - Head of Smart Entertainment

As part of our continuing 3Questions series, I present Zac Unterman, head of Smart Entertainment.

HBAD: So, tell us about yourself. Who are you, what do you do, what does that position involve?

ZU: I head Smart Entertainment, a production/management company in Los Angeles. We produced Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Blades of Glory, The Ringer, Anger Management, and My Boss' Daughter. We also represent writers, directors, and creators such as Seth MacFarlane and Ricky Blitt. Day to day, we look for scripts and ideas we can make into feature films and television series. We have an unsolicited screenplay policy meaning we except outside material that can come directly from the artist to the producer without an agent or attorney. In fact, the last project we sold came via a log line over facsimile. Once we have our piece of material to go out with we do exactly that; we go to agents, managers, talent to try and package it the best we can with actors/directors/etc to make it as irresistible as possible for the studios and networks. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

HBAD: How did you get your start?

ZU: For 4 years I worked for Endeavor, when they were in the old Manufacturers Building, but my first job was as a P.A. for the Academy Awards, the year Gladiator won. It was my first actual job out of college in Los Angeles. I remember I totaled their van when I was picking up one of the cameramen from the airport and was demoted to work in the director's truck while all the others were amongst the celebrities and in the Shrine. However, while in that truck one of the kids I met, and have remained friends with to this day, was the one who introduced me 5 years later to my current boss, John Jacobs.

HBAD: What advice would you have for someone just starting out in this business, looking to break in?

ZU: Know you're going to get kicked on your ass. Again and again. There's not a week that goes by that I don't get the crap beat out of me. It's a tough industry and it's very competitive. The competitive nature brings out the worst in people. Just recently I put together a movie that literally was a year in the works, had known writers, an A-list director and a major movie star only to take it to a studio where the head guy in charge basically told me to go f*ck myself, because he could. That happens every day. You don't get used to it. It comes down to love. My advice is you have to love it. More than anything. And get back up and dust yourself off and start back over again. Don't feel sorry for yourself when you fail because you will. Just keep at it and if you do, maybe the first thing might not work out or the second or the fiftieth, but eventually you'll hit. As long as you love it and keep at it. And get adjusted to waiting.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Influences and the Creative Process

Repost from Rian Johnson's blog on influences and the creative process:

An email response I made to a friend late in the Bloom editing process. We were discussing the danger and place of other filmmaking influences, specifically in how the film would be received. As a very film-literate director making deeply personal films for an even more film-literate audience, it's something I've given some thought to, and this pretty much sums up where my head's currently at regarding "influences" and the creative process.
You’re probably right that I’ll get that specific criticism, especially from those who just don’t enjoy the film and are looking for an easy way to dismiss it. But honestly I think if you actually start making creative choices based on whether other people are going to perceive your ideas as original or not, it’s a dark bad road. If I had looked at Brick with that eye, I would have gone through and stripped out everything that anyone might have perceived as being too Coen brothers or David Lynch. If Paul Thomas Anderson had done that with Magnolia, he would have taken out all the Altman. If Wes Anderson had done that with Rushmore, he’d have taken out all the Ashby. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s an ok (if painfully reductive) basis to criticize a film from, but I don’t think it’s a useful basis to make (or adjust) a film from. At the end of the day all I can do is know where the stuff on the screen is coming from, and for me the one thing I’m sure of is that it all came from me. I can totally see how Ricky Jay’s narration and the Cat Stevens song could be perceived as mere lifts from other movies or directors, but I know they’re not - they’re things I love, and things I arrived at through an organic process and put in the movie because I deeply believe they belong there. In other words, they come from me, and I think it might be a dangerous thing as a filmmaker to apply any other filtration device to the creative process other than that. Stripping those things out for fear that they’re unoriginal wouldn’t make something more purely mine, in fact I think it would work to the contrary. If it emotionally distances some people, I can’t really control that. But I think the negative effect of constantly worrying which creative choices will be perceived by critics or audiences as “original” would be much more detrimental.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Is the RED Camera all hype?

Writer/Director Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) has posted an essay at his site, the thesis being that "there is a lot of hype right now about the RED camera outperforming high-end HD cameras and even 35mm film cameras. We're going to tell you why we think it's just that -- hype."

Personally, I think the jury is still out on the RED. It's a little too early to tell how much it will change big Hollywood filmmaking. I haven't seen Knowing yet but I did watch Che, which looked great. The fact that Southland is shooting on the RED, and others as well, means that it can definitely hold it's own. I do believe it has revolutionized low-budget/independent filmmaking though it might still take a while to make it's mark in Hollywood.

Still, there is some validity in what Rian is arguing and it's worth a read. Check it out here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Gladiator 2?

I had heard rumors about this script for a long time but never thought it made sense considering Maximus dies at the end of Gladiator. (If this is a spoiler to you...I don't really know what to say.)

However, apparently a script was floating around for a while and it's been reviewed here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

3Questions: Mike Daniels - Writer/Executive Story Editor for One Tree Hill

As part of this blog, I will be featuring an interview series, called 3Questions, with various people who have met success in the film industry. Some of them will be writers, directors, producers, or managers and agents, or assistants and studio execs, and even those in marketing. My first interview is below.

HBAD: So, tell us about yourself. Who are you, what do you do, what does that position involve?

MD: My name is Mike Daniels and I'm an Executive Story Editor for One Tree Hill, which basically means I'm a third year writer. Your first year as a television writer you're a Staff Writer, the second year you're a Story Editor, then an Executive Story Editor, Co-Producer, Producer, Supervising Producer, Co-Executive Producer, Executive Producer. All of these titles mean "writer" in television (although usually they come with a few more producing duties as you climb the ladder).

On a show that's serialized like ours, you might have six to ten writers who basically come up with episode ideas as a group. We literally get together in a room (referred to as "the writers room") and pitch concepts. Those concepts get approved by committee and we start breaking actual storylines from them. Once we've hashed out an outline for an entire episode, one of the writers takes the outline and goes off to write it. Meanwhile, the rest of the writers forge on with ideas for the next episode. After you've finished writing your episode it goes to the network, the studio, and your fellow writers for notes. You do a handful of rewrites, submit a production draft, and then most shows will have you on set while your episode is shot, in case they need last minute changes.

Our show is a little different because we write in Los Angeles and shoot in North Carolina, so we don't spend as much time on set as writers on some other shows. As a television writer you're salaried - but you also get a script fee for every episode you write. When your episode repeats you get residuals. In my opinion, it's the best job in the world. I basically hang out with really creative people all day and brainstorm stories. And we have a cabinet filled with goodies. Seriously, there's a grocery list. Anything you want. You see very few thin television writers in Hollywood.

HBAD: How did you get your start?

MD: I grew up with stage actors as parents, so I've always been surrounded by scripts and stories. I remember writing at a really early age, but the actual decision to commit myself to it was tough. I felt like I should be a lawyer or doctor or something. I don't remember the day I actually made the decision, but somehow or other I got up the nerve to move from Michigan to Los Angeles a few days after graduating college. I had been writing feature scripts and submitting them to competitions. I was placing pretty well and thought I might have a shot. In any case, I had no clue how out of my depth I was. Maybe that was for the best. If I had known how stacked against me the odds were it would have been a much harder decision. I didn't have a single contact in Los Angeles. I was also broke. I basically had enough money to move and get an apartment. Eight years later I got my first writing job.

It was a long road. I spent years as a waiter, years as an office temp, and then years in an actual corporate job at a studio. Interestingly, I started writing television instead of features because I was so busy paying the bills that I just didn't have the time to crank out features. I was working in an office during the day and waiting tables at night. Television specs seemed handable - almost like writing could pick a show you loved, characters you knew, and just work on writing a great story for them. It just so happened this was happening at a time when movies were terrible and television was fantastic: Sopranos, The Shield, Rescue Me, Six Feet Under... I kind of fell in love with the idea of sticking with characters season after season and fleshing them out. So I stuck with tv and focused on writing samples that would get the attention of an agent.

Getting an agent is tough. Nobody will read anything unless you're referred to them by somebody they trust. So if you don't have any contacts you basically have to live in Los Angeles until you've made them. I had a great boss who eventually sent a feature script of mine to a producer friend. The producer sent the script to a big agent. The big agent had me meet with a junior agent. The junior agent couldn't sign me at the time but kept track of me. A year later the agency was bought by a huge agency and the junior agent needed to pick up a client. Luckily I had new scripts to show him that he really responded to. (A quick aside - keep writing. If you have one good script the first question you'll get asked is "what else do you have." Seriously, people want to see a body of work. So keep writing. And then write more.)

Anyway, I signed, was sent out on meetings with networks, studios, and producers - about six months later I got my first job. That's the tricky thing about tv writing - shows are run by a creator, produced by a studio, and sold to a network - so getting hired means all three of those entities have to agree on you. Unfortunately, all three of those people also have writers they know better than you who they'd like to get staffed. So it's tough.

HBAD: What advice would you have for someone just starting out in this business, looking to break in?

You hear a lot of people talk about how they're going to "give L.A. a shot" or "take a few years and see what happens." It feels a bit like they want to get famous or work in entertainment but they're not willing to bet their lives on it. In my experience, those people don't make it. Growing up I was surrounded by stage actors. These were adults with families who had devoted their lives to an art form they couldn't live without. Most of them didn't have much money and would never have any sort of commercial success. They taught acting to make ends meet or jumped regional theater to regional theater. It wasn't an easy life for them, but you could tell they didn't really have a choice. This was their passion. I think you should ask yourself if you feel that way about writing or directing or producing or doing whatever it is you want to do. Because Los Angeles isn't easy and you need that kind of long term devotion.

While there are always stories of overnight success, I'd say the average amount of time it takes for somebody to break into this field is maybe seven years. And in a way, I feel like the town rewards persistence. If people see you getting knocked down and pulling yourself up again and again, somebody is eventually going to give you a shot. It's a numbers game... but the numbers aren't in your favor. So if you're really serious, commit yourself to moving to Los Angeles for the long term. There's also a lot of disappointment and heartbreak involved with this business. There are countless times when I thought something was going to break my way and it just didn't. You're back at square one. There's also a good chance you could get your dream job and then never work again. It happens all the time. The only way to keep your head on straight is to have a life outside of what it is you're trying to do.

Again, so many people aren't interested in real relationships or getting involved or settling down because they're "focusing on their career." I think that hurts you. It makes you desperate to succeed because there's nothing in your life to fall back on. So make friends. Date. Adopt a dog. Exercise. Go to museums. Take classes. Hike. Go to the beach. Volunteer. Have a life. That way, at the end of the day, if you haven't just sold your first script to Warner Brothers, you can at least go to bed knowing you took care of yourself and you have a community to support you. Lastly, I'd say find a job that puts you CLOSE to what it is you want to do. If you can scrounge a job as a production assistant or writer's assistant, it's better to be in the mix than working at a Kinkos. But if you can't find a job in the industry right off the bat, just keep your sights on it. Don't settle into a job where you never meet anybody that can help.

This question - "how do I break in" - is the most common question in the business. And there's not an answer that's going to satisfy you. At least, I've never heard one. The old adage, "it's who you know" is true. This business is all about somebody setting you up to hit a homerun. That doesn't mean you need an Uncle Spielberg, but it does mean if you're without an "in" you're going to need to join this community long enough to make contacts. And don't be the guy who just moved here who goes up to everybody at the party and pitches their movie. Nobody will help you. Be the guy at the party who says "I just moved here, nice to meet you, what do you do for fun around here." Make a friend. Maybe someday that friend will be in a position to help you out. And if she isn't, you'll still have a friend.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The One Page Screenplay

A hilarious idea from Movieline where established writers submit one-page screenplays. The first was from Robotard 8000, an writer or group of writers, who have been responsible for a cult script called Balls Out: A Somewhat AWESOME Original Screenplay.

The one pager is funny but it's worth checking out the script.

Check it out.

Exposing Your Script to the World

There comes a time in every script's life, when it must leave the confines of it's nest and embark on a dangerous and perilous journey through the black, muddy waters known as Hollywood. The very nature of a script demands eyes upon it, similar to a book, song, or anything that can only truly exist through the experiences of another, because if people do not read it, do not see it, do not hear it, then what, in the end, was the point?

It can cause a lot of anxiety. Here you have this thing, 109 pages of symbols arranged in a particular order to form words, then sentences, then paragraphs, and finally, a story, that you have spent however long on (in our case, 2.5 years) and it all comes down to whether the studio exec got laid the night before, or has a blinding hangover, or whatever else you can imagine.

But you have to do it because, again, what is the point otherwise? You end up giving it to the decision makers who will make a decision and it will result in either elated joy or desperate sorrow.

The way to get past this is to keep working. Try and focus on the next idea or the next script and make every concerted effort you can to pretend it's not happening (which is easier said than done). It's all you have.

I'm hoping our script is well-received and soon grows into an unruly teenager whose conflicting interests are really, simply, a way of trying to find oneself (rewrites); graduates from college (the green light); and, finally, goes on to make something of itself (actually making the film). It's all you can hope for, and it's all anyone can hope for their best and brightest.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Panasonic GH1 Kills The DSLR, TV-Industrial Complex

Cameron Newland, over at, appropriately,, has a great article about the new Panasonic GH1 DSLR. I'm reposting it in full below:

This is an amazing time to be alive, what with all the things that are changing, evolving, improving.

A major step was just taken that will revolutionize how video is produced and consumed. It’s called the Panasonic GH1.

It dispenses with the traditional SLR mirror and optical viewfinder, allowing a shorter lens-to-sensor distance; in turn enabling smaller, lighter, and quieter cameras. The platform, called ‘Micro Four Thirds’, maintains the same-size image sensor as a traditional DSLR, and uses similar (though smaller) interchangeable lenses that allow for shallow depth of field, which is one of the defining characteristics that DSLRs have long had a monopoly on versus point-and-shoot consumer cameras.

So it’s smaller. Why is this camera so revolutionary, then?

Well, size is not the revolution. HD video functionality is.

Though hardly the first digital camera to shoot HD video (notable examples include the Canon 5D Mark II and the Nikon D90) the GH1 manages to provide jaw-droppingly-good HD video (1080p) in a smaller and less-expensive package* than its predecessors and rivals. This means that any idiot with a thousand bucks, a subject, and a PC can become a movie producer.

Here’s the freshest example of HD video shot off a Panasonic GH1 (if you watch the HD version closely and notice the shallow depth of field and fantastic quality, you’ll understand how revolutionary this is!):

Panasonic Lumix GH1. First footage from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

What we’ve seen with print media–the replacement of the top-down newspaper/magazine model with a more democratic, user-generated model–is exactly what is going to happen with digital video. With the increased accessibility of cheap HD video recording, sites like Vimeo and FunnyOrDie are going to be swimming in quality user-generated content (if they’re not already). The losers are going to be the big studios, whose only advantages will be 1) bigger budgets for marketing/production, 2) star power, and 3) existing distribution channels (movie theaters, et cetera). The studios, however, will be at a massive disadvantage on the internet, coming up against small niche players who will be able to undercut them on production cost AND content pricing, providing the content for free (ad-supported). If the big studios eschew the free-content route, as print media did, and they’ll lose market share to the internet upstarts.

This is a MASSIVE opportunity for anybody with film-making experience. You have the opportunity to be involved in a revolution. Yes, the democratization of HD video will mean declining prestige, and an increasingly flooded content marketplace. But at the same time, it allows content creators to put more professional-looking creations on the web and garner maximum exposure before the big studios begin to adapt to the new platform.

If there is to be an internet video production star made, he/she will be made king very soon. As I said earlier, this is an amazing time to be alive.

*Note: the Panasonic GH1 may be priced similarly to the Nikon D90. We’ll have to see.

Kauai sunset: Lumix GH1 slow motion from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

- Cameron Newland