Archive for February, 2008

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From Here To Awesome

February 24, 2008

I stumbled upon this video today while surfing the Google blog, and decided it was worth showing to you guys.  It’s a great testament to the fact that indie filmmakers indeed have power, and possibility in the socially-confined world we’re living in today.  It also links to a few good videos with filmmaking tips, a video from Head Trauma and director Lance Weiler, both useful and interesting shot videos to really get your head around the fact that you have power, you can go out and make a short film and get the audience and make a splash.

The key here in my mind now, though, is that it’s a short film.  Of course the length doesn’t actually matter, if the trailer looks good enough, someone will buy it, but if it’s a short film that looks thoroughly professional, well done and generally entertaining, it’s a good step in the right direction.  The most important thing, though, is that it’s important to the filmmaker, and that they care about it and love it enough to carry it on despite the difficulties.  Personally, LATENT(CY) wasn’t that project for me.  But I’m hoping that after school ends (or even before) I’ll have scraped together some film-loving friends with enough interest and passion and drive to make another short film, and hopefully this time, we’ll be proud enough to make a campaign out of the thing.

It also occurred to me that if you’ve already got a short film made that can be shown on YouTube and other video sharing sites, then show it.  And not only that, post bulletins about it, send messages about it to all of your friends, make a website, sell DVDs, get the name out in the public’s eye because it’s your project, and it’s your responsibility to showcase your own work.  After all, if you’re not proud enough to show it off, what kind of impression does that give?  Best of luck and happy filmmaking!

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A Note on Shaky Camera Work

February 21, 2008

Earlier today I got an email from StudioDaily, a pretty fascinating online industry magazine and resource website about filmmaking, visual effects and editing.  In the letter,one of the headlines was this:

Over at Film & Video, Bryant Frazer talks with director George A. Romero about his return to low-budget filmmaking with Diary of the Dead using Panasonic HDX900 and HVX200 camcorders.

So naturally I emailed that quote off to the first friend I thought of when I think of zombie movies, and he responded pretty quickly saying that he didn’t like the new “Blair Witch sort of style that’s coming back.”  That I can completely understand, so I responded with the following passage, which is the basis for this post:

I kind of like the shaky cam style that’s on the rise, it’s more viral and amateurish, and it blurs the lines between amateur films and professional ones, making it so that it doesn’t matter as much anymore to the audience if it’s a “real movie” because they can’t always tell, so it’s not worth bothering about.  If it’s good, it’s good, and it deserves praise, if it’s bad, well, they leave it alone (or flame it, the bastards).  Sometimes it’s hard to see or hard to handle (I got mildly nauseous watching Cloverfield), but I think it’s a cool way to kind of get the super-hype of paying high attention to lighting, costumes, and even set design a little bit out of the way, and letting amateurs get more into the field, simply because the cheapest way to film (handheld and shaky) is often the most real feeling, because it’s not completely stable like a statue, nor is it to the extent that Cloverfield was (though that was pretty wonderfully done).  Basically, it give me even more of a chance to go out and shoot random stuff, put it all together in some sort of cohesive, understandable and entertaining story, and then market it and get attention because it looks real, it could be real, and if it’s good, people will appreciate either the documentary-ness of it or the realistic acting and detail of the thing.  So basically I don’t put anywhere near as much effort into the preparation of the film that Hollywood does, and I can still come out with a viable film to show at festivals and gain a reputation among the biggies of the business.  So that’s why I like it.  As a style, though, you’re right, it’s hard to take sometimes.

Now, that being said, I haven’t seen the trailer for this, but I’m going to look it up and see what I can find, heh.

NOTE: You can see the trailer here.  And I actually was a little disappointed with it when I watched it.

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Stop The Violence film Complete!

February 21, 2008

As some of you may know, I was involved with the cross-country-collaborative effort for the Stop The Violence documentary film. The film was contributed to not only by AnimiVirtus Productions (me), but also Neighborhood Studios, a group based in Ohio. The film was basically a series of interviews with students, teachers, parents and other high school staff about the issue of school and teen violence and aggression, and essentially coalesced into a 20-minute film from two different parts of the country with one core message: Stop The Violence. Take a look at the film below, and please add it to your DIGG, StumbleUpon, and del.icio.us collections to help us raise awareness about our cause and the effort we’re fighting for. Thanks for your support!

DIGG Link | StumbleUpon Link

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LATENT(CY) Reviewed!

February 1, 2008

My good friend Jeremy over at Microfilmmaker Magazine, an e-zine for – you guessed it
– low-budget filmmaking, recieved a copy of LATENT(CY) a while back and has reviewed it for the new issue of the zine.  It was great to hear that this project hasn’t lost steam (something I’ve warned against in my report on DIY distribution that has yet to be online).  The review was more than kind, and though the score wasn’t high, it was a justified and even helpful review.  Go ahead and read it over here and feel free to download or watch it from the links over on the Films page.  Thank, Jeremy, and the rest of the Microfilmmaker Magazine crew for watching, critiquing and showing my film’s review to the internet community.

One little tip for all you self-distributors out there: keep the submission fees for your films in the same package as the film when you send them to festivals, it makes it harder for the money to be lost.  And you’d probably rather not learn that the hard way like I did just recently.  Also, checks are much better for paying through the mail, since if they don’t make it to the right person, they usually can’t be signed and cashed or deposited, since the account and “Pay to…” names won’t match, and you probably won’t be cheated out of your money… whereas if you send cash… that’s a whole different story.  Best of luck, and I’ll put an announcement up once I get the e-book version of my report on self-distribution and -promotion online.  Happy filmmaking!