Q: Now that you have brought on Skye Rentals as a sponsor, you talk about base camp a lot. What is it and why is it so important?

November 21, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Mail Bag

Now that you have brought on Skye Rentals as a sponsor, you talk about base camp a lot.  What is it and why is it so important?

Brandie D.  St. Louis, MO

I’m glad you asked this question Brandie because I feel like it might be one of those questions that a lot of people don’t know the answer to, but are too afraid to ask.  I didn’t know what base camp was until I had done a couple of films early on in my career as an actor.

Base camp is the location or area set up where everyone gathers away from the actual set.  It’s like the conference room in an office building if you will.  It is the area where you set up your craft service table, have your walkie station, have some tables set up for people to take a seat for a minute, it might be where you hold extras, etc.  The reason for base camp is so that you have a place for people to gather when they are not needed on set.  If you are shooting at a convenience store for example, you probably wouldn’t have enough room for all of this to be staged inside the building (unless there is an entirely different room) because you will be seeing everything in the shot.  So, you would probably set up base camp in the parking area.

Sometimes, base camp is a drive away from where the actual filming is taking place.  An example of this would be if you are shooting on a large ranch and power for base camp is near the house on the ranch but your actually filming the scenes off in the woods somewhere, you would set up base camp near the house and drive people to the location where shooting is occurring.

The reason base camp is so important is that this is the area the cast and crew come to eat, check in for the day and get their assignments, have the daily meeting, ask any questions of production they might have, grab their walkies, etc.  If you are filming on the side of a road or off in the woods or at a location too small for the entire crew to fit, then you need this area as a gathering place.  It is important to have it to keep order and let everyone know what’s going on.

That is what we are talking about when we talk about Skye Rentals.  I love these guys because they provide everything you would need to have a successful base camp.  I know it sounds silly, but having a table and chairs and some tents or heat lamps makes all the difference in the world to how professional your shoot looks and feels.  It may not seem important, but if your crew knows you took enough time to set up a base camp that has at least the basics, they are going to understand that you take your job seriously and they will treat the production a little more professionally and that will show up on screen.

Episode Ninety-Three: Value Added Film

November 16, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

When making a film it’s important to be mindful of adding value to the project in order to sell it later. Those things, such as actors with names, can be attractive to a distributor who is looking to make a certain profit on your film and will also allow you to pay back your investors. Producer’s Rep Noor Ahmed joins us to give tips on how to increase the value of your project and on working with the MPAA.

Noor Ahmed- Producer’s Rep

Mr. Ahmed began his career in Ohio working as a production coordinator on various television commercials and indie feature films. Before leaving for Los Angeles, he worked on the indie feature Blue Car which premiered at the Sundance film festival and was released by Miramax.

After moving from Ohio, Mr. Ahmed worked at New Line Cinema on various productions including Son of the Mask, Freddy vs. Jason, and Dumb and Dumber 2. Following his time at New Line, Mr. Ahmed worked as an Associate Producer on the PBS documentary, California and the American Dream, a four part series that received a national broadcast in the U.S. After leaving PBS, Mr. Ahmed worked for the distribution company Roadside Attractions traveling to various film festivals as their Acquisitions Coordinator. During his time at Roadside Attractions the company acquired several high level indie films including Supersize Me and What the Bleep Do You Know. Mr. Ahmed left Roadside Attractions to join Reder & Feig where he worked with the firm as a paralegal on films including, Brick, Thank You for Smoking, La Misma Luna, Southland Tales, and other indie features (full list on IMDb) before becoming the firms in-house Producer Rep.

Reder & Feig’s Website

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Episode Ninety-Two: Tech in Film

November 9, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

As technology advances, the options for independent filmmakers increase significantly, which can make picking a camera or a digital release platform very difficult and overwhelming. Filmmaker Andrew Robinson joins us to talk about everything from selecting the right camera for your project to working with Hulu as a release platform and home theater technology.


Andrew Robinson- Director

Andrew Robinson’s career in Hollywood began eight years ago creating advertising and marketing campaigns for some of the industry’s biggest films and television shows. Upon graduating from The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California Robinson took a job at BLT & Associates working for clients such as ABC, TNT and CNN. Robinson left BLT and went to work for Shoolery Design and their primary client CBS, helping with the launch of the hugely successful CSI: Miami for Jerry Bruckheimer.

Following his time at Shoolery, Robinson worked for Crew Creative Advertising in their theatrical advertising department. During his first three years at Crew Creative, Robinson worked on various hit films, including Harry Potter, Superman, Jarhead, The Island, Rambo 4, Happy Feet, Dodgeball and The Dukes of Hazzard to name a few.

Robinson returned to television advertising as co-creative director of the newly formed Network Department at Crew Creative. While serving as the department’s co-creative director, Robinson oversaw the launch of TNT’s The Closer, Tyler Perry’s House of Pain, A&E’s Mad Men, and FX’s Dirt and Rescue Me, among others.

Robinson’s advertising and film work has been seen all over the world and has been covered by The Daily Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, LA Times, CNN, Fox, KTLA and more.

During his five years at Crew Creative, Robinson found time to write and direct the feature film, April Showers starring Kelly Blatz (Disney’s Aaron Stone), Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids), Illeana Douglas (To Die For) and Tom Arnold (True Lies). April Showers was released by Warner Brothers in the spring of 2011.
Currently, Robinson is hard at work on his next film Love in Training, which will begin production in 2012.

Andrew Robinson’s Website

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Support From Start To Finish: Go To Hell

November 4, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Support from Start to Finish

November 4, 2011

After making over a dozen short films, the Vegan Cannibals are gearing up for a full feature film, Go To Hell. Fans of their work know their style as outrageous, visually striking, sometimes gory but always entertaining and thought-provoking.

Their short ‘The Diary of Anne Frank of the Dead was a hit on the horror film festival circuit, taking Best Short Short Film at the DragonCon International Film Festival 2008 and was chosen by Dread Central (www.DreadCentral.com) as one of 8 Short Films to Die For in 2009.

Rationed, a suspenseful, thriller won Best Picture at the Inland Empire 48 Hour Film Project 2009 and went on to place 3rd overall in the International competition.  It was selected to play at Cannes International Film Festival in 2010. And is currently being featured on www.ScariestMoviesOnline.com.

Go To Hell is written by Emerson Bixby (writer of Disturbed) and directed Scott Baker.  It follows groups of individuals as their story lines converge in a demonically possessed old movie theater. Featuring non-stop horror-comedy action, it is sure to please any horror hound and fan of outrageous cinema.

The Vegan Cannibals are independently producing the film so as not to be constrained by the oversight of studios or investors, enabling them to make the film true to their vision. They are reaching out to the horror community and lovers of independent cinema to help them fund their project.  Through Kickstarter (Go To Hell Kickstarter Page) they are looking to raise the intial funds necessary to build the FX and start the production. They are offering incentives to those willing to donate and are appreciative of any help.

Further information about the Vegan Cannibals can be found on their site www.VeganCannibals.com and you can follow director Scott Baker on Twitter @MrScottyBaker.

Scott Baker, a native of Northern California, received a degree in History from Sonoma State University and served in the United States Peace Corps from 2000-2001 in Turkmenistan.  He co-founded Vegan Cannibals Productions with Philip Stimmell in 2002.  Their first film, Brunch of the Dead was a feature-length zombie-comedy. Since re-locating to Riverside they have done several award-winning short films, including Rationed which screened at the 2010 Cannes Short Film Corner and 2 episodes for their new series Findings (think Ghosthunters meets Reno911!). Scott’s film Rationed was 2nd runner-up in the world finals of 48 Hour Film Project, aka, Filmapalooza as part of the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The film was also selected for a showcase at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival (Short Film Corner Marche du Film).

Episode Ninety-One: Super Post

November 2, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

When tackling post-production you want to have someone on board that knows the ins and outs of managing your post-production team and who is familiar with working with a number of different film formats. It’s also extremely important to work with a supervisor who is an expert in film deliverables in order to handle all the requests you will receive should you be lucky enough to work with a domestic or foreign distributor.


Anthony Gore-Post Production Supervisor

I have been the Executive in Charge of Post Production for the independent film production company, The Bubble Factory for over 11 years.  Most notably on the films: Playing Mona Lisa (2000), Bad Girls From Valley High (2005), The Devil’s Tomb (2009) and Creature (2011).  My other post production credits include the Adult Swim hit TV series Childrens Hospital and the cult classic television show, Sordid Lives: The Series, as well as the critically acclaimed independent films, West Of Brooklyn and Revolution Green. Currently I am supervising the independent film For The Love Of Money starring James Caan. I am a graduate of Rutgers University and I am an active member of the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild and Producer’s Guild of America.

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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.

New Film Method Sponsor: Skye Rentals

October 18, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under news

We are happy to announce an addition to the Film Method family! Skye Rentals offers a complete line of production equipment, communication rentals and delivery service to get your film, television or commercial production running smoothly. Contact them today and tell them that Film Method sent you for a 25% discount on your order! www.skyerentals.com

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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Q: My big stumbling block at this point is what to do with my short…?

October 11, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Mail Bag

Q:  Film Method has provided me with a lot of great advice over the past few months. I’m gearing up to shoot my first short since film school, and I will say that I think you’d be proud of the pre-production efforts thus far. My big stumbling block at this point is what to do with my short (or anything independent I do in the near future). I want to make my film accessible online to an audience. I have no delusions about making hundreds of cents on this film, but I’m looking for some resources where I could educate myself to the avenues of online marketing and distribution. It seems like every company (createspace, itunes, etc) has a product or platform, but no one can tell me how to decide between them.
Thanks for providing the service that is Film Method.
Pete DAlessandro via Film Method Mailbag

Hi Pete,

Thank you for your kind words.  I am really glad that you are doing so much pre-production. Congratulations on finishing film school and continuing on after. As for distributing your short film after it’s done, there are several avenues.

There is always the film festival route. Which, it doesn’t sound like the route you’re going in but it might be a good idea to at least try to get it into a couple of local film festivals that you can attend. I say this mostly because you are going to miss out on a networking opportunity if you have a finished film that will by pass any public screenings. Just something to thing about.

As for internet distribution, I have always worked with Indie Flix and had a great experience with them. They are able to help navigate the Amazon, iTunes, digital platform world much more efficiently than I could alone. There are several companies that are like Indie Flix and I am sure they are great, I have just always worked with them.

What I have learned from distributing films online is that you should not choose between them, you should try to get your film on as many of them as possible.  The reason is that some of your customers will prefer iTunes while others prefer Amazon so there is no harm in putting your film up on both. I hope that this makes sense. I think you may be beating your head up against a wall for no reason. The more people that see your film the better and because it’s a short, you don’t have to worry as much about a strategic online distribution schedule.

Film Method has done several episodes on distribution that you might want to listen to and we have also had the pleasure of working with Filmmaking Stuff (Jason Brubaker), Think Outside the Box Office (Jon Reiss), and The Film Collaborative (Orly Ravid). These are all companies that you should take a look at as they all provide educational opportunities with their services.

I wish you the best of luck on your project and know that it will find the distribution outlet that is right for it.

Thanks for writing in and for listening.

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