There’s a saying that when you make a movie you actually make three movies by 1) writing the screenplay 2) shooting the movie and 3) editing the film. The editor of a film can serve as one of the primary storytellers of your movie and therefore is a critical role to cast when hiring your crew. Editor Karl Hirsch joins us to talk about workflow, the technical aspects of editing, and collaboration.
Karl Hirsch- Editor
Karl has worked on films such as For the Love of Money (James Caan, Oded Fehr, Edward Furlong, Delphine Chaneac), Officer Down (Sherilyn Fenn, Casper Van Dien), Fist of the Warrior (Ho-Sung Pak, Peter Greene, Michael Dorn), The Third Wish (Betty White, Jenna Mattison, Armand Assante), Frame of Mind (Chris Noth, Tony LoBianco, Barbara Barrie). His films have been released by Lionsgate, Echo Bridge Entertainment, Phase-4 Films, Freestyle Media, Lifetime Television, Movieola, FunnyOrDie.com, Mini-Movie Channel, and Warner Brothers Video-On-Demand.
Other editing and post-production credits include Stuart Gordon’s King of the Ants, starring Daniel Baldwin and Kari Wuhrer; Paul Carafotes’ Club Soda, starring James Gandolfini, Joe Mantegna and Louis Gossett Jr.; bio-fuel documentary feature Gashole: Killer Movie, starring Kaley Cuoco and Paul Walker; The Tub, starring Melora Hardin and Dedee Pfeiffer; and HBO Films’ If These Walls Could Talk 2.
Karl has also produced and edited hundreds of trailers, promos and sizzle reels. Recent work includes Lasse Hallström’s Hachi: A Dog’s Story, starring Richard Gere; 2nd Take, starring Sarah Jones and Tom Everett Scott; theatrical advertisements for the documentary screening series Something to Talk About; Smother (Liv Tyler & Diane Keaton) for Inferno and Variance Films; Jim Isaac’s action/thriller Pig Hunt; and promotional material for The Grammy Awards. He has also produced sizzle reels for musical acts Il Divo, Bowling For Soup, and Good Charlotte. Karl was nominated for a Golden Trailer Award in 2002, and was a Telly Award winner in 2008 and 2010. The short thriller Clown was awarded “Best Editing” by the International Sci-Fi and Horror Film Festival in October 2005.
Karl is also a producer of English dubs of foreign-language features. Credits include Gen (Turkey), Wolfhound (Russia), and the animated features Goat Story (Czech Republic) and Space Dogs 3D (Russia). Karl’s client roster includes Inferno Entertainment, Epic Pictures, The Recording Academy (The Grammys), Yahoo!, KidZania, Octagon Worldwide, Brainstorm Media, Siegel+Gale, Helio/Virgin Mobile, Future Engine, THINKFilm, VMI Worldwide, and Cutler Enterprises. He was featured in Paul Osborne’s documentary feature Official Rejection, and in Kim Adelman’s book The Ultimate Filmmaker’s Guide to Making Short Films. He has guest-lectured at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona, Film Independent in Los Angeles, and has spoken on film festival panels in Victoria BC, Austin, and Phoenix.
Karl and his wife Lauren have written three monster movies together, made a short film about hiccups, and are currently producing a series of childrens radio plays.
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Q: Paying your dues, i.e. Working for free (Copy/Meal/Credit if you’re lucky) is a well established part of getting into the film industry. I’m curious about your thoughts on that practice, specifically in regards to the recent class action lawsuit against Fox Searchlight by Alex Footman and Eric Glatt for their unpaid internships on the film, Black Swan. Do you believe everyone has to “make their bones” and work for free? Do people who are paid work better than those who are there for the experience only? Do Footman and Glatt have any ground to stand on?
Mike J. – Lincoln, NE
Wow, we are getting good questions lately. I love it! I love this one in particular because it allows me to warn people ahead of time that when you come to LA (even if you’ve been here before and come back) you are going to have to work for free for a while in order to establish yourself. It’s just a fact of this business.
This business is so intense with the 12+ hour work days, working in close proximity, and the large amounts of money spent in such a short burst of time (even if it seems small on paper, it’s still a large amount of blood, sweat and tears). It makes this business different from a typical company. Because it is so intense, you don’t have the luxury of hiring someone and trying them out only to let them go if it doesn’t work out. Sure, the interning thing is about paying your dues, but it’s really more about filmmakers being able to vet people before getting caught up in a lot of paperwork. There are a lot of people in this business and yet it is a really small community. It’s important to look at it this way, if you were a producer crewing up a project, would you choose to hire and pay for someone that you just met with a bunch of projects on their resume that you don’t know from Adam? Or, would you choose to hire someone who is new, but has worked for you in the past, shown up, been enthusiastic while doing his/her job and is trust worthy and reliable? I’m going to say that you will choose the latter. Since there are so many variables when making a film, you want to be strategic about choosing the most responsible production crew to position yourself for the best possible film shoot. So, expect to work for free and frankly work just as hard if not harder when you’re working for free because your reputation will proceed itself and you will get paid jobs faster than those who are not willing to work for free.
Now on to this lawsuit, to which I say, are you kidding me? This lawsuit makes me so angry. The plaintiffs in this case have done themselves (and other potential interns) such a disservice by being greedy and taking NO responsibility for their own choices. Now, I don’t know all the details of the lawsuit so if they had it in their contracts that they would get paid if the movie sold, that’s another story. BUT, if it is a straight up internship then they need to take responsibility for the fact that they said YES and CHOSE to do the internship for FREE. Just because the movie did well doesn’t mean that should change. Besides that, how many people starting out in this business would have died to have a film like BLACK SWAN on their resume? I know I would have. They were a part of a film that people actually know the name of. They could have taken personal responsibility for the fact that they agreed to be non-paid interns on this film and parlayed that into paid work. Instead they are wasting everyone’s time by suing AND making producers nervous about bringing on interns in the future.
To sum it up, you should expect to work for free (think of it as free film school) and do it happily. It will NOT be forever so know when you are at the point of taking the next step to saying no to unpaid work. Learn to network with those you are working with so that you will get brought on to future project. And, most importantly, take responsibility for your choices. If you don’t want to work for free on a particular project, say no. Don’t say yes and then sue them later. That’s just irresponsible.
Q: With being on the forefront of online distribution, has SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild) or any other unions dealt with the possibility of trying to control their investments online? Do the Unions have anything set up now for online distribution deals such as pay per click?
Andy H., Lincoln Nebraska
Most unions have created contracts that work with productions specific for online distribution. They are each different and can be a bit confusing or non-solid, if you will. Meaning, the online distribution world is so new and so much like the wild-wild west that everyone is still just trying to figure it out. They are continuing to update the contracts as they go so if you are going to shoot something with the union for online distribution, make sure you do your research, talk to as many people as you can and be as educated on the process as possible. Each union has a website so make sure to check those out.
As for the unions having deals where they make money from online distribution, that is not the unions’ purpose. The union is there to protect their members be it actors, directors, crew members. So, they are not allowed to be a part of the distribution process other than to make sure their members are getting their share of the residual income from the distribution deals the studios and producers set up.
I want to do something different for my next two posts. In the past two weeks, I’ve sat down with several “transplants” new to LA. I noticed they all had similar questions so I want to point out some things you should know if you are thinking of making the move to Los Angeles to pursue the film business.
Have business cards
Please take this business seriously. If you owned your own accounting business, it wouldn’t even be a question that you would have business cards. Show biz is the same way (maybe even more so). We are networking crazies. I, personally, love it! I love meeting new people but I tell you what, if they don’t have a business card, part of me thinks a little less of them just because I don’t think they are taking it seriously. If you are an actor, please have your picture on your card. It’s the easiest tool for you to use to get jobs out here.
Expect to work for free
The people that work in this business and have been doing it awhile more likely than not, have a group of people they trust, they’ve worked with before and they know can get the job done. If you expect to get into that inner circle, you’re going to have to prove yourself and not many people are willing to take a chance on someone they don’t know unless that person is willing to bust their ass for free to prove they are reliable and worthy of the person’s time. It’s just a reality of the business out here. I’m not saying it will be forever, but there is truth to the saying “it’s all who you know”. You have to be able to do the job when you get it, but getting it is in who you know. So, if you don’t know anyone then you need to mentally and economically prepare to work for free so that they can get to know you.
Don’t put a time limit on it
Honestly, the statistic I’ve heard is that it takes 7 to 10 years to make it as an “over-night” success in Hollywood (so imagine what it takes to just be a “success”. So, if you’re one of those people who thinks they’re going to come out here for a year and try to make it big and if you don’t then you’ll go home, then I say, please don’t bother. The highways are crowded enough and it’s an insult to those of us who have busted our asses for years out here.
Don’t give up!
It’s a tough business and you have to be able to find joy in the little parts of it like auditioning, networking, taking classes, reading, studying, all of that. If you don’t, this town can surely eat you alive. Most importantly, find a group of people with similar aspirations and support each other. I often hear people say that LA is “fake” and “dog eat dog”, and it certainly can be. But, for me, I have never been in a more supportive, understanding and loving environment. Make sure you surround yourself with good, positive people and enjoy the ride because it can be quite a ride.
The relationship between the director and actor in any medium is a very special one. Trust is of the utmost importance and when established early on can give the actor a freedom to explore and create in such a way that can help serve the story and the film. Chasing Eagle Rock is veteran TV and film actor Erick Avari’s directing debut. He also stars in the indie film opposite Michael Welch of Twilight fame. Producer Larry Laboe also joins us to talk about the film.
Erick Avari- Director-Producer
During his 30 years as an actor, Erick Avari has consistently turned in finely crafted performances, from grand opera to soap opera, with stops on and Off Broadway, in regional theaters, in some of the highest grossing films in the past two decades, on hit television series and in award-winning independent films.
Avari is instantly recognizable from his roles in blockbuster films ranging from the comedic Mr. Deeds, opposite Adam Sandler; to sci fi epics such as The Mummy, with Rachel Weisz and Brandon Fraser; Stargate, with Kurt Russell and James Spader; Independence Day, starring Will Smith, and Daredevil, as Jennifer Garner’s father. He has also lent his talents to critically acclaimed dramatic roles in film festival favorites American East, with Tony Shalhoub; Dark Matter, starring Meryl Streep; Three Days of Rain, with Peter Falk and Blythe Danner; and Choose Conner, with Steven Weber.
Since his Hollywood debut in Kevin Reynold’s The Beast of War, he has been fortunate to work with some of the most honored film directors of the time, including Mike Nichols, Tim Burton, Lasse Hallström and Satyajit Ray.
Born in Darjeeling, India, Avari attended European boarding schools before attending university in the US. He launched a distinguished career on the New York stage that included leading roles in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” (directed by Tony winner A.J. Antoon), “Tis Pity She’s a Whore” (directed by Mabou Mines founder Joanne Akalaitis) and “A Map of the World” (written and directed by David Hare) at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, as well as the classic musical “The King and I” on Broadway.
He has appeared at some of the country’s most prestigious regional theaters, including the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the Goodman Theater in Chicago and Shakespeare and Company in the Berkshiers, and played leading roles in Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seraglio” at the Portland Grand Opera, and in “Rasputin” at New York City Opera.
Among his scores of television roles are Chandra Suresh on NBC’s breakout hit series “Heroes,” as well as recurring roles on LA Dragnet, Stargate SG-1 and Felicity. Avari’s recent television appearances also include Dirty Sexy Money, opposite Peter Krause and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
Versatile, dedicated and dynamic, Avari has been a trailblazer for a generation of South Asian actors in Hollywood. In his fight against stereotypical casting, he has played more than two dozen different ethnicities with authority and believability.
Chasing Eagle Rock marks Avari’s Directorial debut.
Michael Welch- Actor
At 23, Michael Welch has worked in every aspect of the entertainment business including film, television, voice-over, and stage. Michael is the recipient of two Young Artist Awards. First for his performance in Star Trek – Insurrection at age 10, and the second for his work as Luke Girardi on the hit television series Joan of Arcadia, which ran for two seasons on CBS. Welch won best actor at the 2011 First Glance Film Festival in Hollywood for his portrayal of a troubled young man in Unrequited.
Michael completed filming The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn recently, the fourth in the series of best-selling novels by Stephenie Meyer. He has enjoyed wide exposure for his role as the popular Mike Newton in the Twilight series and much acclaim from within the industry and his many fans.
In the last few years, Welch demonstrates his intense depth and commitment to his craft by assuming challenging roles as the leading man. Independent films such as Born Bad, Unrequited and Lost Dream are just some examples. In Chasing Eagle Rock, Michael plays the role of J.R opposite Erick Avari. Welch can be seen in award-winning festival favorites such as My Suicide, An American Crime, United States of Leland, American Son, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, and The Cover-up.
Welch is familiar to television audiences for his many starring roles on Emmy Award-winning shows, most recently Criminal Minds and Bones. During the past few years he appeared on CSI, an arch on The Riches, CSI: Miami, Numb3rs, Law & Order: SVU, Crossing Jordan, NCIS, Cold Case, and Without a Trace. His earlier years included performances on Stargate SG-1, Judging Amy, The District, Touched by an Angel, Malcolm in the Middle, The X-Files, The Pretender, 7th Heaven, Chicago Hope, and Frasier.
In spite of his busy schedule, it is essential to Michael to give back. He received the 2005 Star Innovative Award for environmental causes and has been active with the charity Kids With a Cause since 1999. During 2010, Welch was invited to Germany by the USO for their first educational tour for young people. Recently, Welch was Co-Chair for Walk on The Horizon, an event to raise awareness and resources for adults with disabilities. Just last year, Michael created the $5.00 Buck Club for The Thirst Project. His goal was to prove to young people that $5.00 can make a difference. He raised $20,000 and is looking forward to going to South Africa, Kruger National Park and Swaziland with The Thirst Project in December, 2011.
Larry Laboe- Producer
Larry Laboe began producing film, television, commercials and new media projects with international production and distribution company SXM. His first network series was NBC’s ‘Ctrl’ starring Tony Hale and Steve Howey. Mr. Laboe more recently began work as a producer on Comedy Central’s series Matumbo Goldberg starring Anthony Anderson, Jenna Elfman and Oscar Nominee Michael Lerner, Directed by Oscar nominated Rob Pearlstein and NBC’s FCU: Fact Checkers Unit starring Pauley Perrette, Luke Perry, Jon Heder, Donald Faison, Alex Trebeck and more. Mr. Laboe also produced two series, Disney Kitchen Jam and Diagnosis Stories for Disney Interactive and the feature film Chasing Eagle Rock starring Erick Avari, Michael Welch and Mary-Margaret Humes.
In 2007 Mr. Laboe co-founded the non-profit 501(c) 3 organization NewFilmmakers Los Angeles with partner and Program Director Susie Kim. In an effort to bring opportunity to independent filmmakers, film goers and entertainment industry professionals in Los Angeles, Mr. Laboe works as Executive Director of the group and coordinates NFMLA film screenings on a monthly basis, along with an on-camera filmmaker interview series distributed by MovieMaker Magazine.
Jenna Edwards- Producer, Film Method Co-Host
For more information about Jenna Edwards please visit the About page.
Mother’s Red Dress, a tragic love story, is the third feature film in three years for No Restrictions Entertainment, an independent filmmaking partnership between writer/director Edgar Michael Bravo and producer John Paul Rice. The team is known among its fan base and those in the micro-budget indie community for making compelling dramatic films that deal with challenging topics in the realm of social issues.
Over the past four years, they’ve built a strong following starting with their first feature, the critically acclaimed, One Hour Fantasy Girl, (based on a true story) a poignant story of a runaway girl from the mid-west living in Hollywood who works as a no-sex call girl to pursue her dream of investing in real estate. The audience’s strongest reactions came from a majority of women who sympathized with a guarded yet vulnerable young woman making her way through a dangerous world to achieve her goal of financial independence – finding an emotionally engaging female empowerment movie. These reactions propelled the team to partner up with charities and organizations, showing the film in theaters to raise awareness and funds for abused runaways.
Now with their third film just weeks away from a locked picture edit, the team is raising finishing funds for Mother’s Red Dress via Kickstarter – one of the more popular crowd-funding platforms available to filmmakers – and combining the fundraising with charity as 10% of every dollar pledged will be donated to an organization that helps victims of domestic violence and child abuse.
Mother’s Red Dress is the story of a young man, Paul, who leaves home to start a new life after seeing his mother kill her abusive boyfriend and threatens to kill her son if he tells anyone. Paul moves to a small town in Southern California where he meets Ashley, a young woman who also comes from a broken home yet is unaware of Paul’s troubled past with his mother. Ashley inspires Paul to apply to a local community college. All is going well until Paul gets a call from his mother who is dying of cancer and wants to see him one last time. She offers to reunite Paul with his estranged father who disappeared during his childhood – his father, wanting to meet and convince Paul he is a changed man. Paul decides to travel back home with Ashley following the next day but the truth of what actually happened in the house and to Paul is waiting for both of them.
Mr. Bravo and Mr. Rice talk about their current crowd funding campaign, effective strategies and more on the Film Method podcast with Cindy Freeman and Jenna Edwards.
To learn more about MOTHER’S RED DRESS and their Kickstarter campaign, click here.
John Paul Rice- Producer
Mr. Rice attended Georgia State University in 1997 with a focus on Business. In 1999, while at college, Mr. Rice was given a rare opportunity to work on Jerry Bruckheimer’s Remember the Titans. Following three months on the film, John directed his studies toward learning the history of cinema. Mr. Rice gained hands-on production experience by working on a handful of micro- budget independent films between courses before moving to Los Angeles January 2001 to pursue a career in film production. By mid 2001, John landed a position at the Los Angeles division of the German distribution company Senator International (which later became Mandate Pictures) lead by industry veteran Joseph Drake (Juno, The Grudge, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, 30 Days of Night, American Psycho). Under Joe’s mentoring, John developed an interest and dedication to producing feature films. John left Mandate to form No Restrictions Entertainment LLC with filmmaker Edgar Michael Bravo. In 2008, Mr. Rice produced his first feature One Hour Fantasy Girl with Edgar Michael Bravo directing. The following year, he and Mr. Bravo produced the supernatural thriller The Magic Stone, set for release in 2011.
Edgar Michael Bravo- Writer/Director
Latino writer/director Edgar Michael Bravo has explored the residual effects of the North American and Latino culture clash in several of his films. During his studies at the UCLA graduate school of film (MFA, 1993) Mr. Bravo’s film Mi Casa, which dealt with Latino immigrants in L.A., won the grand prize at the A&E national film competition. This prestigious award helped launchhis directorial career and Edgar took on his next challenge:Mi Hermano which was the first drama to deal with the ramifications of AIDS and Latino immigrants. This poignant, edgy film garnered Mr. Bravo a Cine Eagle Award and was broadcast nationally on Univision and PBS. After receiving his Masters of Fine Arts from UCLA with honors, Mr. Bravo wrote and directed the feature I’ll Love You Forever…Tonight, which won national rave reviews including Kevin Thomas (L.A. Times) & Steve Holden (N.Y. Times). The project co-starred Thomas Jane (The Punisher, Dreamcatcher, Boogie Nights). Phaedra released the film nationally. Video distribution was handled by BlockBuster and Hollywood Video. Lila Cazes (producer of Leaving Las Vegas) saw I’ll Love You Forever…Tonight and hired him to complete Venus Rising, a feature that required a re-write and re-shoots. Lila was so pleased with Mr. Bravo’s take on the material, that they hired him to write the feature The Perfect Husband.
Mr. Bravo’s film Mi Hermano was viewed by Columbia-Tri-Star and Telemundo and led to his first directorial stint in television. Mr. Bravo shot an hour long episode of Reyes y Rey (1998), a popular police drama based in a fictional Latino border town. The episode received such high ratings that he was contracted to direct two episodes of their other co-production Angeles, a Latino version of Charlie’s Angels. Edgar’s following project, The Preacher’s Son received a Houston World Fest Award (2000). His next script which he collaborated with another writer The Closing Bell, received a Zide/Perry finalist award (2002) and won the Telluride Indie Fest Award chosen as one of the “best indie scripts (2002).” After reviewing his body of work, the award winning San Francisco writers Bob Vickery and Dale Chase granted Mr. Bravo rights to their stories. The result was the script The Three Stages of Stan produced in 2003. In 2008, Mr. Bravo partnered with producer John Paul Rice on their first HD feature film One Hour Fantasy Girl, set for limited theatrical release in 2010. The following year, the team produced the supernatural thriller The Magic Stone, set for release in 2011. Mr. Bravo’s great dream is to direct his script, The Conquest of Mexico, which depicts the beauty of Mexico before the treachery of Cortez and the European diseases he brought which devastated a highly developed indigenous culture.
September 9, 2009
There won’t be a new episode released this week. I’ll give you a week off to catch up on past episodes! There is some Film Method news, though. I am pleased to announce the addition of three new Method Mates to the Film Method family! Video Symphony TV & Film Post Production Institute, Momentum Creative Studios, and Indie Printing.