Film Method will be apart of an exciting event at this week’s Comic Con in San Diego. The event will take place at the Horton Plaza Event Center and will feature iconic artists of our day from all facets of pop culture. The 30,000-square foot space will be divided into FOUR massive sections, all paying homage to pop culture including Music Concert, Film Screenings, Art Show, and Fashion Experience. The daytime portion will go from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is $5.00 and open to all ages. The Nighttime portion is from 9 pm to 2 am and Admission is $15.00. The party is 21 & up only. For tickets and more information visit the website at www.westcoastclublife.com/icons or find Icons on Facebook.
There won’t be a podcast this week because of the holiday, but we will resume next week. We at Film Method hope that you and your family had an awesome Independence Day!
The latest issue of MovieMaker magazine was just released and to our sheer delight we were listed as one of the “Top 10 Podcasts Worth a Listen”! Check out the article here. MovieMaker has also graciously extended a deal to our listeners: only $9.99 for a full year subscription! Click here to take advantage of the offer. Thank you MovieMaker!!
Not only will this be a networking event, but we’ve decided to help out the Haiti relief effort by holding a fundraiser as well. All proceeds from the event will go to a special organization that we’re partnering up with called Life Time International. LTI has been working with local Haitians for several years on multiple projects, including installing water facilities, community development training, and recently helping send a three year old earthquake burn victim to a children’s hospital in the U.S.
Red Mile Road Brewery and Izze Sparkling Juice have generously offered all proceeds from donations for their products to Haiti relief.
We are also excited to be working with Mental Eclectic for this event and will be showing a few short film selections from their Shorts and Spirits Showcase.
It will be a fun evening and it’s for a good cause as well!
Last night was the series finale for one of the most daring and original television series ever made: Lost. Unless you’ve been hiding out in some dark cave or under some black rock, you are already aware of this. If you aren’t a fan of the show, you know someone who is and you’re probably very confused by the obsessive and manic dedication that your friends, coworkers or family members have shown towards this television show. Why all the hype? It is JUST a television show, right? I suppose that I can understand people who have this attitude, as I have this same feeling about sports fanatics. When I see sports fans jump up and down, hoot and holler, and plan their entire lives around Monday Night Football, the World Series and March Madness I wonder, “Why? Isn’t it JUST a game?” No, apparently to many people it’s more than just a game, and to me, and millions of other people around the world, Lost is much more than just a television show.
I have watched Lost since the spring of 2007. I believe that I held on longer than others did because I watched the first two and a half seasons back to back, without breaks or re-runs in between. Although the current short and quick TV season format is most likely a result of the dreadful writer’s strike, I believe that this new way of doing TV was exactly what a show like Lost needed to retain its audience and to keep the momentum started in season one. Watching continuously helped me see the building blocks of the foundation and, save for one or two shows, I never felt that the building was in vain. There was always another layer and another level being added, which continually enhanced the story.
The brilliance of Lost is in the strength of its characters. From day one it was about the lives of these crash survivors. I truly believe that the island is a metaphor for the struggles that we go through in our lives that build character and shape us into better human beings. Lost is and has always been about the human struggle for purpose. Whether or not the island ever really existed is up to interpretation. I believe that the ending spoke for itself and am excited for the discussion that the finale will continue to spark beyond the life of the series.
Many people have asked and will continue to ask for answers to all of the so called “loose ends” that were left undone in Lost. In my opinion, those things are peripheral to the real story and don’t matter in the larger scheme of things. There are many mysteries in our own lives that will never be answered. In Lost, as in life, it’s easy to get caught up in the details, but the details are the things which are leading us to greater meanings and understandings. There are connections that seem so intentional, and they are, but they aren’t the end all be all. Those connections are pointing us to more important truths, just like the numbers, Charles Widmore, the Dharma Initiative, and the subtle and overt ways that the characters’ lives intersected in the past, present, and future.
A week and a half ago I was privileged enough to attend Lost: The Final Celebration, which was a concert of the music from Lost conducted by the wonderfully talented and Oscar winning composer, Michael Giacchino. Sitting in an auditorium with 1,800 other fans was an experience that I will not soon forget. It was a joining together of two of my favorite art forms: music and film. I say film because Lost has never been just another television show. Lost has always taken the medium to another level with it’s epic writing, acting, directing, production design, music, editing, etc, etc, etc. Each episode is like it’s own film and is on a scale too grand to be categorized as another TV show. The evening, like the show, was on a grand scale and was perfectly executed with introductions of the cast and producers, live music from Lost and a viewing of the penultimate episode. As the orchestra swelled with familiar Lost themes, the screen portrayed still photos from the past six seasons. We laughed together and cried together and had a unique moment that most television viewers don’t get the opportunity to experience. We celebrated our passion for this wonderful art form together and it was magical.
Last night Lost came full circle. The story began with one man, alone, walking through the carnage of a plane crash, and it ended six years later with one man, alone, walking through the jungle on the journey to his deathbed and ready to meet his Maker. At the end, Jack was assembled with the people in his life who meant the most to him and who helped shape his life. I would bet that if you asked anyone at the end of his life what the most important thing was in life that he would say the relationships he had and not the jobs, status, or money. The struggles and challenges make us who we are and it’s in light of those struggles that we can truly appreciate the end of the journey. I’ve delighted in the journey that Lost has taken me on these past few years and am excited to see the journey come to an end for one reason: now I can finally get some work done.
Although the name of this podcast is Film Method, we recognize the importance of all aspects of the entertainment industry including TV and the Web and it seems appropriate to publish a blog about Conan O’Brien the day after he broke his silence on 60 Minutes. As most of you know from listening to the show, I am a huge Conan O’Brien fan. I’ve been a fan of his comedy for many years now and when he took over The Tonight Show almost a year ago, I was beside myself with excitement and as giddy as a school girl in the springtime. I also believed that it was a new day for late night TV. Traditionally, The Tonight Show was hosted by old white haired men (most funny, one not). When I saw Conan running across the United States, from New York City to Los Angeles, in that landmark television moment just before Andy Richter announced him as the new host of The Tonight Show, it was a watershed moment for my generation and it seemed that The Tonight Show wasn’t just for old people anymore.
Since the day it was announced that NBC wanted Jay Leno to move back to the 11:35 time slot, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on how it all went so horribly wrong after the new day had just dawned only to be cut short by a meteor that hit the earth sending dirt and ash into the air thus blocking the sun and ending the beautiful new day. When I got over my initial anger and bitterness towards the incredibly short-sighted NBC executives who had, in essence, set Conan up for failure, I began to think of the very antiquated system which dictates who wins and who looses in television: the Nielsen ratings system. I also began to think about the demographic of the average Conan O’Brien viewer and the viewing habits of myself and most of my friends, who rarely schedule our lives around prime time television let alone any sort of late night television. Most of us don’t even own DVRs, which is pretty amazing considering that many of us are fans and regular viewers of popular shows such as Lost, Glee, and The Office. How do we do it? Are we all “taping” our favorite shows on VHS recorders? No. We’re watching our favorite shows online when we want to and not stopping our lives to tune in during the regularly scheduled time slot. Now, I must admit that I am generalizing a bit. Do I really know exactly what the viewing habits are for every single one of my friends? No, I don’t, but I can say that I do have discussions about these things with the friends that I hang out with regularly and they just happen to be in the very sought-after 18-49 age range. Watching online is how most of those friends view their favorite shows.
Interestingly enough, from all of the information I’ve found online about how the ratings are calculated, it doesn’t seem that internet viewing plays into the numbers that networks use to sell space to advertisers. Apparently, although it’s easier to track what people are watching online, it’s not easy to track who is watching it, and there lies the problem. I can only hope that with the myriad of new technology being birthed every day that the ratings system will soon catch up and start including these internet numbers in order to track what we are really watching.
When the news came out that Conan was going to TBS I saw many comments online disparaging his move from network TV to basic cable. My attitude was and still is that Conan should be on television and it doesn’t really matter where as long as the show is available online and is broadcast in the English language. I’ve noticed that many fans on Conan’s Facebook fan page (pop. 994,928) feel the same way. Unfortunately for NBC, they may not realize the gravity of their mistake of throwing Mr. O’Brien under the bus for another few years, when most of Leno’s fan base has moved on to the afterlife. By then, it will be too late, though, as building a successful late night franchise takes many years and NBC will probably be selling Sham-Wows in the current Tonight Show time slot while other progressive-minded networks will be capitalizing on all sorts of crazy new media outlets. Now that the dirt and ash have cleared, I can see that this, Conan O’Brien, is really your new day, and what a glorious day it is.
For my first official Film Method blog post I thought I’d write about something very near and dear to me. It’s what I refer to as the “slash” phenomenon. Maybe you’ve seen it. Maybe you’ve read about it. Maybe this is you. I recently worked on a film that was produced by two actors. The two actors also happened to be the producers of the film and one of the actors was also the writer and director. He was the actor/director/writer/producer. That would be 3 slashes and 4 titles in case you’re counting.
I’m not sure exactly what makes people say, “I’ve never directed anything before, so I’m going to start by directing something that I’m also starring in”. Why does this make sense to people? Many times I wonder if these people who have suddenly decided to take the huge leap into the world of directing have been on set in any capacity other than as an actor. Have they ever been a producer, an A.D., a grip, or, god forbid, a P.A.?? I have to say that I’ve learned more about filmmaking as a P.A. then I believe I ever would in any other position with the exception of producer and maybe 1st A.D. This is because you see how every department works and you interact with every department.
Being a film director requires so much more than many of these new directors seem to take into account and this is reflected in the extremely inefficient way the set is run. Planning the shot list with the DP is just the tip of the iceberg. You will also need to work with all the department heads to ensure that everything that’s in frame will fit with the look of the film (art dept, make-up, hair, costumes, props, etc). Have you or your DP done any storyboards? Do you know anything about lighting (you might want to learn in case your DP doesn’t)? All of these things must be considered in addition to knowing how to get the performances you need out of your actors. If one of those actors happens to be you then how do you know you are getting the performance you need from yourself? Are you going to depend on your DP to give you performance notes or will you just rely on camera playback? Have you figured that into the planning? I hope so, or you most definitely will not make your day or any day in your schedule.
Something else I notice when watching these very new directors direct is a behavior pattern that is quite disconcerting. It seems that the less experience they have, the more needy and entitled they act. They are more demanding and less concerned about respecting the crew’s time. This is quite an insult considering that these are normally very low-budget films where most crew-members are working way below scale.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that it can’t be done it’s just rare that it can be done well, especially at this level of filmmaking where everyone is generally very green. I’ve listened to new directors talk about their reasoning behind why they feel that they are the best person for the job and honestly it’s pretty frightening. They’ve written a script and they haven’t been able to find anyone to direct it that will understand their vision. Translation: I can’t find anyone that I will be able to manipulate into doing exactly what I say. If that’s the case, then you’re right, you don’t need a director, you need a P.A. Film is a collaborative art, but you wouldn’t know it from working with some of the people that I’ve worked with lately. If the vision and scope of your story can’t be correctly communicated or translated to another director, then maybe it’s not a story worth telling. If you can’t convince one other person to believe in your vision, how are you going to convince a room full of people at your first screening?
The title of director is a prestigious one, but one, nonetheless, that comes with a heap of responsibilities. Are you ready for the challenge to direct/produce/star/write? If so then I hope you’re ready for the ride of your life. Oh and remember, a little respect goes a long way when it comes to how you treat your crew, so does a good pancake breakfast.
Join us for a great live interview with IndieFlix CEO Scilla Andreen! Click here to listen to the episode on Monday, April 5th at 7:00pm PST.