Where are You?

October 25, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Writing Method

Where Are You

As you work on your screenplay, you will notice that your characters will need to be somewhere. Whatever is happening from scene to scene, it must happen in a location that the people in your movie can populate. And since your characters are going to be stuck in these places, why not make those places interesting!

The locations in which your characters appear should not just provide shelter from the elements and a place to hide the boom mic. They should tell us as much about your characters as their dialogue does, they should surprise us and they should provide pressure, inspiration and/or motivation for your characters.

Any location can go from being just a set to being a place unique to your character and story. Even if the location is someplace relatively simple like a bedroom, office or bar, it should still give us additional information about the people we are watching. Why did your character choose this bedroom, office or bar? What specific things are in those places that make your character feel at home…or feel uncomfortable? What photographs, art or random oddity is on the walls, shelves or floor that inform this story? Or, is it a location that your character doesn’t mesh with? What’s in the place that lets us know that? How does your character blend in to or stand out from this location?

Try this to build your locations the same way you build your characters: Think of an office. Let me guess, there’s a big window, a sizeable desk and some sort of Aeron Chair? Nothing wrong with that, but nothing exciting either, what can you do to that office to make it as memorable as your story? Are the walls a strange color? Was it decorated by a hippie? A robot? A child? A prison designer? (Don’t laugh, my dorm was designed by a prison designer. When we were told that, it made a lot of things about the space make much more sense).

Is the window too big or too small, or does it have windows at all? Is the chair one of those kneeling chairs, maybe a yoga ball or is the desk a standing desk? Is the room in disrepair? Is there a friendly spider that lives in one corner that no one has bothered to clear away? Are the plants in good shape or do they all (like every plant I’ve ever touched) have one starkly dead frond that signals its imminent doom? What was in that office before it belonged to your character? A school? A drug ring? A nursery?

While you don’t want to get overly clever and take your viewers out of the story, think of ways to make your location unexpected. For example, if your character is in someplace typically messy like a construction site, is there a way to make the site unusually clean? Or vice versa. If your character is in a typically sterile environment like a hospital, is there a way to make it messy? Are they in a cave that’s bizarrely brightly lit? Or on a porch that was built so that it can’t get any sun? Inside of a sauna whose motor has broken so it’s cold or a walk in freezer that’s malfunctioning so it’s hot?

You should also look at how changing a location changes the feel, importance, urgency or meaning of the scene. I had a director take an argument scene I wrote that was originally set in a car and set it in a guest bathroom during a party. The actors suddenly had way more pressure on them than I gave them and the scene sparkled to life in a whole new way.

What can you do to put your characters someplace where what they’re doing matters in a new way? What’s going on just outside or just off screen of where your characters are? If it is a scene with coworkers, are they at an awkward team-building event instead of the break room? Stuck in a long elevator ride? Locked out on the balcony of an office they weren’t supposed to be in? Participating in a fire drill?

And once you get away from typical locations, you can have even more fun. Are they backstage at a play that has alternately loud and soft scenes? Maybe they’re hired killers practicing at a firing range on the same day that a soccer mom meetup is there? Breaking up during a hot air balloon ride?

These things should not be done at the expense of your story. If your character needs to be in a typical location with typical features, leave her there. Chances are, however, you can take a few chances with location details and make your story even more memorable.

Episode Eighty-Nine: The Sound Edit

October 19, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

You may have heard it said that sound can make or break a film and wondering how that could be possible. More than likely you’ve seen a low budget movie and known that something wasn’t quite right, but you couldn’t put your finger on it. Chances are, the sound was shotty. Shaun Burdick joins us to discuss the different jobs of a sound editor on small and large scale movies.


Shaun Burdick- Sound Editor

Shaun Burdick is a Los Angeles based Sound Designer. A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design’s MFA program, he got his start working on Jamil Walker Smith’s directorial debut Make a Movie Like Spike… as the film’s Dialogue Editor. For the past ten years he has leant his talents as a designer and mixer to various theatrical productions and independent films around the country.  His most recent credits have included Re-recording Mixer on the independent documentary Empty Hand: The Real Karate Kids, Sound Designer for The Night Shift, TV pilot Jalama Beach, Mother’s Red Dress, Of Silence and additional audio design on the video game Supremacy MMA. In February 2011 he was nominated for the MPSE Verna Field Award for his sound design work on the short film En Route. Currently Shaun is serving as the Sound Designer/Re-Recording Mixer for the independent feature 29000 Wishes. 1 Regret.

www.burdicksound.com

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Q: Do you believe everyone has to “make their bones” and work for free?

October 18, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Mail Bag

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.

Episode Eighty-Eight: Selling Your Film

October 12, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

Many people have lofty dreams of making their own film “masterpiece”. It’s a nobel pursuit to throw caution to the wind, forget all the naysayers, and make your movie the way you want to do it. That is of course unless you have investors that are expecting to be paid back. Join us as we talk to ex-sales agent and founder of The Film Collaborative, Orly Ravid, to hear about her experience that led her to create this fabulous organization whose tag line is “Filmmakers First”.

Orly Ravid- Founder of The Film Collaborative (TFC)

Orly is a 12-year industry veteran whose experience in film ranges from festival programming to acquisitions &  domestic licensing and distribution, as well as business affairs, foreign sales, and digital distribution. In 1998, Orly joined veteran boutique foreign sales company Amazing Movies & Highland Crest Pictures and launched the company’s Art House domestic distribution label.

Orly then joined Maxmedia, producers of Chen Kaige’s Cannes Selection Emperor and the Assassin and the Miramax/Dimension release The Others starring Nicole Kidman. At Maxmedia Ravid worked in production and development and created FilmFixx, the company’s domestic distribution arm that launched with the highly controversial film Baise Moi. Orly subsequently consulted for various independent distributors and filmmakers under her own label, Ravid Film Consulting. In 2004 Orly launched Wolfe Releasing’s foreign sales, theatrical, and digital distribution arms and handled its acquisitions and business affairs.

In 2010 Orly founded The Film Collaborative (TFC), the first non-profit organization devoted to the distribution-education and the distribution of art house and documentary cinema. The Film Collaborative since its launch has worked with over 100 filmmakers.  It has consulted on distribution for films such as Sundance Winners GasLand and Contracorriente (Undertow), Revenge of the Electric Car (Tribeca), SXSW Winner Weekend, to name just a few.  TFC specializes in splitting rights and helping filmmakers navigate digital distribution, and it created the first ever Digital Distribution Guide (TM) utilized by filmmakers and industry alike.  TFC was commissioned to write a report on the topic for uniFRANCE to help its sales agents to navigate new media and has advised Sundance on its new “artists services” digital distribution initiative. TFC is releasing a book about distribution entitled Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul that will be available in multiple digital formats and in paperback as of September 19, 2011.

From 2007 -2009 Orly served as VP of Acquisitions and Distribution of publicly traded Berlin-based Senator Entertainment. Orly regularly moderates or speaks on panels at Sundance and other film festivals regarding new technology and digital distribution. Orly served as a Programming Associate for documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival and as Programming Consultant for Palm Springs International. Orly has served on the Board of Directors of Outfest Los Angeles Film Festival. Orly earned a B.A in English Literature and Film Studies at Columbia University and graduated with honors.

The Film Collaborative Website

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This is Gonna Hurt

October 11, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Writing Method

How to Make Sure We Feel For Your Protagonist

If you were to draw your protagonist’s happiness level through the course of your movie, it would look like a right triangle next to a big ol’ rhombus. You know, like this:

Act I, II                                     Act III

The straight line at the bottom is the timeline of your movie and the upward slopes represent your character’s happiness/contentment level through the course of the film. Nevermind about that backward slope on the other end of the rhombus. It doesn’t really enter into this equation; I’m just not that savvy with designing in word.

Here’s what the other shapes are about.

At the beginning of your movie, your main character has a goal. It should be a goal that is difficult for that character to achieve. It could be something that’s universally difficult like becoming President or figuring out cold fusion. Or it could be something that’s simply, for whatever reason, personally difficult for your character like finding a date or getting to White Castle.

During Acts I and II, your character is steadily marching toward this goal. There will be setbacks, but generally, they will be making progress. And they’ll be feeling pretty darn good about it. They’re feeling so good in fact, that when they get to the moments right before the end of Act II, they think they’re about to be as happy as they can be. They’re almost to their goal after all. Why wouldn’t they be pleased as punch?

Because that’s boring. And audiences don’t relate to people who are pleased as punch. And how pleased is punch anyway? In my experience, punch is pretty moody.

And that’s what that big drop-off is about. Your character has to go from being their happiest to being at their lowest point yet. They can’t be ‘kind of bummed out’ or ‘sort of full of ennui.’ They have to be devastated. Not the most devastated a person could possibly be ever. But they most devastated THIS character can be about THIS goal. They have to hurt. It has to be uncomfortable, sad and painful.

Sounds mean, right?

Well, it’s only so we can build them up again.

If someone sets out to achieve a goal and then achieves it without too many problems along the way, it’s hard to relate to or empathize with them. But if they fail big time, like the rest of us humans do, then we have a reason to invest in their recovery and to be thrilled when they pull through.

You’ll notice that the rhombus is bigger than the triangle. That’s not my shoddy design skills coming into play. That one’s on purpose.

During Act III, your protagonist will climb a whole new hill. They’ll have realized that what they thought they wanted wasn’t really what they should have been after. They will have forgotten about their want and be headed for their need.

  • If the WANT is the Holy Grail, the NEED is to have faith (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
  • If the WANT is to get home/find their son, the NEED is to take risks (Finding Nemo)
  • If the WANT is to have a beautiful companion, the NEED is to truly connect to someone’s inner beauty (Pretty Woman)
  • If the WANT is justice, the NEED is to not depend on others to see the truth (Shawshank Redemption)
  • If the WANT is to be the favorite, the NEED is to accept others for what they have to offer (Toy Story)

Abandoning the want and going after the need will make your character truly content and happier than they thought they could be. But it’s gonna hurt to get there.

Episode Eighty-Seven: Music in Film

October 5, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

It’s hard to imagine a movie without music. Music is one of the key elements in filmmaking and is  used to help set the tone of a film as well as supplement emotional arcs of characters. The topic is vast, but we attempt to scratch the surface with composer Paul Spaeth and music manager Susan Thampi. In this episode we discuss budgeting for music, licensing, and working with a composer to score your film.


Susan Thampi- Music Manager

Susan has worked in all areas of the film industry including development, distribution, and both live action and animation production. A graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Thornton School of music, she got her start in post-production at Kennedy Marshall productions, after selling her couch on craigslist to an executive at Warner Bros. She has worked on over twenty freelance independent productions in various roles including production designer, editor, and producer.  She joined DreamWorks Animation in 2009, and was named Music Manager for the studio in January 2011. That same month, she released her first solo classical music album entitled Chanson Boheme, a fusion of opera and world music. She is currently working on the animated feature Puss in Boots for DreamWorks, set to release in theatres on November 4, 2011.

Susan’s Website

Paul Spaeth- Composer

Paul Spaeth’s soaring yet poignant artistry has inspired admiration from a large and diverse audience. At MP3.com, upon reaching over 1.6 million downloads, Paul Spaeth was recognized as the Top Artist in LA and remained in the Top-Ten of Amazon’s download charts for months.

Evidence of his wide-ranging musical appeal began with winning the Pepsi-Summerfest Talent Search at age 15; as a solo pianist competing against rock bands. Since then, mentors such as Morten Lauridsen (composer-in-residence, LA Master Chorale) and film composer Christopher Young (The Shipping News, Spiderman 3) have praised Spaeth for his “innate talent” and rare melodic sensitivity.

Paul Spaeth rides the line between silver screen, stage, and concert hall with resounding success. Spaeth’s work in cinema has premiered at such prestigious film festivals as Toronto, Monaco, Naples, and Montreal. Since the premiere of his first orchestral piece at age 17, his award-winning concert works have been recorded by some of the leading artists of his generation. Spaeth’s artistry has inevitably attracted high-profile producers, agents and multi-platinum songwriters, and in 2003 he won the Recording Academy’s Grammy Scholarship Award.

Paul Spaeth attributes his success to his philosophy of the “numinous experience in music”: a clarity and directness that draws individuals to an intensely personal experience. As said by one listener, “The subtleties strike us honestly, driving to the core of who and what we are.”

Spaeth Music

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What happens in your movie? Both TO the character and IN the character?

September 20, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Writing Method

What happens in your movie? Both TO the character and IN the character?

When developing a story for a screenplay, you need to make sure that you’re considering both the physical action of the story and the character’s emotional arc. It can be easy to favor one over the other or to neglect one altogether.

I had these conversations with clients recently. Some specifics have been changed to protect the property, but apart from that, here’s how it went.

#1

Me: So tell me about your movie.

Client: Well, it’s set in 1715 on the coast in Japan. It’s about these four women. One’s an acrobat—she has a famous father, one’s an immigrant—her parents were killed in a car crash, one’s an architect—she also loves poetry and one’s a domestic worker who’s about to get engaged.

Me: Okay, so what happens?

Client: Well, they all deal with their lives and they learn to be stronger people.

Me: But what happens?

Client: Well, like the acrobat wonders if she should be following in the family business. The domestic worker wonders if she should really marry this guy—

Me: Okay. But what happens?

#2

Me: So tell me about your movie.

Client: Well, this guy finds out that the material that will save his cat is under the ground in his neighbor’s yard. So first, he calls up the vet, but the thing is the vet is actually a “vet”—like he went to war—so he gets all weird and says that he’ll help him, but only if the guy first helps avenge the death of his fellow soldiers. So the guys go and do that and it turns out that the guy who the vet wants the guy to kill is actually his neighbor, so the guy thinks that’s great because now he can get the mineral that’s in the neighbor’s yard, but the neighbor paves over the entire yard and then the guy’s wife is dying, so the one guy can’t kill the other guy unless he kills the wife too, so he has to go track her down so that he can get them both in the same place and he and the vet go on the road together. So it’s like a buddy comedy with an assassin angle.

Me: Okay. So what happens?

Both of these pitches leave out a key element. The first told us quite a bit about the characters…but lacked plot. The second had the opposite problem.

When developing an idea for a script, your story should have both elements. There should be action and events that your character initiates and deals with. There should also be an emotional transformation as well. Ideally, these two threads are related.

Here are some wildly random examples from real life:

Wall Street

Plot: An up and coming stock broker gets a chance to make millions working for his idol.

Emotion: Once after money, fame and power, Bud learns that what he really wants is his moral fiber and his father’s respect.

The Shawshank Redemption

Plot: A man escapes from prison.

Emotion: A man used to just taking life as it was dealt to him learns to stand up for himself,  takes charge of his life and escape physical as well as emotional captivity.

The Change Up

Plot: Two men switch bodies.

Emotion: Best friends come to respect each other while more deeply appreciating their own lives.

The King’s Speech

Plot: A man hires a tutor to fix his speech impediment.

Emotion: A prince who believes he does not deserve the honor of being king overcomes his lack of confidence to accept the throne and lead his country during its most difficult hour.

Inception

Plot: A man is hired to go inside a someone’s dream and change his mind.

Emotion: A man must come to terms with the death of his wife…while still seeing her spirit every day at work.

Without the emotional layer, the plots sound kind of boring. And without the action of the plot, the emotions sound kind of schmaltzy. But put them together and you have movie magic!

Well, maybe not with The Change Up, but you get what I’m saying.

Here’s how the first pitch might sound if a plot were added.

Client: Well, it’s set in Japan, 1715. Four women decide that since the country still has a ban on Western literature, they’re going to form an underground book club. They work to smuggle books across the country, teach other women English and hide their meetings from the authorities. The work affects them all differently and as they read stories, they each begin to rewrite the story of their own lives. One realizes that her family’s business is a worthwhile career choice. One realizes that she must break off her wedding. One finally gets up the nerve to publish her own book. And one adopts a child to create the family she didn’t think she deserved.

Now we know the plot of the story: Four friends form a secret club.

And some sense of the emotional through line: By taking a risk, stifled people learn to open up.

The second could be helped like this:

Client: Well, it’s about guy who’s afraid to interact with people so he loves his pet cat more than anything else. In fact, he hates humanity as much as he loves his cat. He hates people so much that when he learns that the only way to save his cat’s life is to kill 2-3 people, he’s willing to do it; so he plans and trains to be hit man. But when he begins to develop relationships with his tutors (the girl who teaches him how to fire a weapon, the guy who helps him get fitted for Kevlar, etc.) he learns that people aren’t so bad after all and faces a tough choice between his cat and his new friends.

Plot: Angry guy becomes a hit man to save his pet’s life.

Emotion: Shy guy learns to connect with people.

Your script will need both of these elements in order to register with audiences. Explosions and plot twists are fun, but it’s the emotion tying it all together that makes it meaningful and memorable.

Episode Eighty-Four: The Union Show

September 14, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

To go union or not to go union. That is the question. Line producer Mark Moran and production coordinator Molly Moran bring their expertise from working on numerous film projects in their 10+ years of being in the film industry to discuss all of the film unions including SAG, IATSE, Teamsters, DGA and the WGA. Their knowledge of working with unions is vast and impressive.

Mark Moran- Line Producer

Mark Moran has helped create a wide range of studio and independent movies, including 96 Minutes (Brittany Snow), Beautiful Boy (Maria Bello), 13 (Jason Statham), Spread (Ashton Kutcher), Pretty Bird (Paul Giamatti), Walk the Talk (Cary Elwes), Bee Season (Richard Gere), Basic (John Travolta), Secretary (Maggie Gyllenhaal), Sweet Home Alabama (Reese Witherspoon), and Novocaine (Steve Martin). He has produced features shooting all over the U.S. as well as in Canada and Eastern Europe.

Mark is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America. He has produced short films, web series, music videos, and commercials, as well as the PBS documentary Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story, which won the IDA Award for Best Short Documentary and was short-listed for an Academy Award in 2005.

Prior to all this, Mark started a software company at age 17, launching him on a successful career designing and programming computer games in San Francisco, where he received a patent for a CGI process combining filmed live action with computer animation.

Mark graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University with a degree in literature & writing.

Mark Moran’s Website

Molly Moran- Production Coordinator and Accountant

Molly Moran is a film production coordinator and accountant. She began her career in 2004 working on indie features in New York, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. She then spent two years working for famed producer Barbara DeFina, who encouraged her to focus on production office work as the best training for producing. This led to her spending a year working on the Will Smith movie I Am Legend. In 2007, she moved to Los Angeles and has since coordinated features shooting in Georgia, Louisiana, and California.

Q: Do you approach investors first or talent first?

September 12, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Mail Bag

Q:  Do you approach investors first or talent first?  That is, if you have a script that is fully developed, what is the first phone call you make?

Kelsey (via the Film Method mail bag)

That’s a good question because it can be a bit of a catch 22. It really depends on the topic of the script. For example, the first feature I made was written and directed by a survivor of the Columbine High School shootings.  Because of the topic and the fact that a survivor was directing, we didn’t need actors attached in order to secure funding. The writer/director played that role for us in a way.

If you are going to make a movie that is a bit more typical, it might be about the same topic, but you don’t have a direct relationship to the subject, then you will most likely need talent attached.  This can be really challenging because in order to attach talent, they will require funding most of the time. You see where the catch 22 comes in. This is why it is so important for you as a producer or filmmaker to network and create the relationships within the film community. It can take years to cultivate the types of relationships you need to get someone of name attached to your project, so you should start now. But, I will say this, you NEVER know what an actor or manager is looking for so put your project out there. Start to contact agents at the same time as investors.  If it’s your first film, try to find someone who has done it before so that they can help you navigate the waters.

I wish I could tell you specifically which to go to, but like most things in this process, there is no one-way to do it.  The most important thing is to have a solid business plan, a solid script, passion and perseverance.  It will take a while and it will be bumpy at parts so if you are not 100% thrilled and passionate about the project, not only will the people you’re talking to be able to tell, but there will be nothing to get you through those rough patches.

Support from Start to Finish: Big Voice

September 8, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Support from Start to Finish

BIG VOICE is a musical feature documentary directed by award winning filmmaker Varda Hardy and produced by Marina Viscun, Deb Love and Karen Lavender. BIG VOICE is a LiveTribe Production. With BIG VOICE, Varda maintains her commitment  to create meaningful work that will both delight and inspire audiences.

This uplifting documentary explores the lives of the top-singing students of the award-winning Santa Monica High School Choir, and its visionary choir director.  At a time when drastic budget cuts endanger both the quality of our public schools and their arts programs, this determined high school music teacher strives to create a thriving vocal music program that ignites in his students a passion for music, a sense of belonging, and the value of working hard to achieve their dreams.

Santa Monica High School’s Jeffe Huls is “larger than life” choir teacher with a passion for teaching and an edgy sense of humor.  His talented students practice diligently to pass the highly competitive auditions, meet daily to learn and sing challenging music, and perform both for their local community and in venues around the world.  But why is Mr. Huls so moved by the power and artistry of the human voice? Why has he dedicated his life to teaching teenagers how to sing? And what does it take for Mr. Huls’ students to rise to his high standards? Why do they dedicate so much of their time and resources to singing? What critical life lessons do they learn and how does singing in the choir affect their artistic and academic dreams as 21st century teenagers?

BIG VOICE will follow Mr. Huls and his teenage students interweaving interviews and concerts with ‘slices of life’ footage. It will explore what it means to be a teenager facing an unknown future, and an accomplished artist creating great art in the context of a public school.  In addition, this visually stunning documentary will include original songs created for and by the students with the assistance of Grammy-winning artists*.

BIG VOICE reveals the challenging journey of an extraordinary teacher who overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles to educate and transform students to step into adulthood as powerful contributors to a world that needs them. BIG VOICE will entertain you, touch your soul and uplift your spirit.

To see the BIG VOICE Promo Video and find out more about this musical documentary please visit: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bigvoicemovie/big-voice-dare-to-dream

Varda Hardy- Writer/Director/Producer

I confess. I love making movies. I want to make beautiful, truthful work that will engage and inspire. You may have seen some of my short films…Window starring Louis Gossett Jr. that screened at Cannes and aired on cable networks across the U.S.? Or Race To The Sky which aired during the Grammy Awards? Maybe you caught What Kind Of Planet Are We On? It received the “most innovative” non-profit video on YouTube & went viral with over half a million unique views. Or Ode To Los Angeles which recently won the Grand Prize from NewFilmmkers LA/LA INC? I treasure each of these films and the challenges my crew and I experienced making them. And now we are embarking on another incredible challenge, BIG VOICE! It takes a huge amount of effort to create meaningful films, but it’s worth it. I’m deeply grateful to my family, friends & community for supporting my efforts to use my creativity, skill and filmmaking ability to create good works.

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