Archive for December, 2008

A Bright Idea and other Stuff

December 29, 2008

December 29, 2008

One down, one to go.  As far as holidays.

2008 has been an interesting year, some good, some not so good.  Everybody always writes these year end best of columns and mostly I find them boring.  I don’t care what somebody else thinks were the best movies, songs, television shows or whatever.  All of this is subjective and I usually disagree with most lists.  It’s just how I am.

In 2009 I will be hitting the road again with a vengeance!  There are lots of new venues to come to and lots of filmmakers out there I still haven’t met.  I am hoping that those of you with projects in various stages complete them in 2009.  I know I certainly have a couple I need to finish.

Every year technology moves forward and we do things differently.  I have been reading some articles about some of this new camera technology and it all sounds very impressive, but all of these articles that I’ve been reading never talk about one thing.   Lighting.  You can have the newest and greatest camera out there but if your lighting isn’t any good the camera is not going to help you.

How come people don’t write about using light and shadow to tell stories anymore?  Some people seem to think that if you are shooting with this new camera gear you don’t have to worry about lighting.  Why is lighting so hard for filmmakers to think about, let alone do?

Personally I would rather own some good lights (I do) than a camera as the camera is going to be obsolete next week and the lights can be used for years.

You need good lights.  Good lighting is the difference between amateurs and professionals.  People think because it’s video, they don’t need lights.  Then they wonder why their stuff looks like crap!  Use lights.

Many filmmakers don’t budget for lights because they think they don’t need them.  Or maybe they think they can’t afford them.  Lights are easy to dig up, depending on what you need.

A lot of people have their own lights.  Some gaffers buy their own lights because they can pick them up used.  It saves them money, and they figure if they have some lights they’ll get more work.  And that’s true.

Check out film schools.  A lot of small film programs will have a few Arri or Lowell light kits.  They are nice compact kits, and it’s amazing how much you can light with them if you know what you’re doing.  Also look into small production companies.  If they’re not using their lights at the moment, they might give you a hell of a deal.

There is always borrowing from cable access.  Now, I know if you use their gear, you’re supposed to let them broadcast something in return.  So shoot a trailer or a short video just to give them something.  We’ll keep the fact that you just shot a feature with their gear between the two of us.

You will also need C-stands, flags, clamps, and all sorts of other grip equipment.  Keep your eyes open.  It’s all out there, and pretty cheap if you have to buy it.  You will use this stuff over and over again, and it doesn’t become obsolete.  So, go get it already!

Other stuff…

My work books now exist as PDFs and will be posted on my site soon for a mere $10 per book.  The weather and illness have pushed the work on the site back.  I’ll let you know when everything is finally ready.

Check out my internet specials and hopefully you’ll find something you like.  (www.angryfilmmaker.com, as if you didn’t know)

Don’t forget to check out my tour sponsors, Film Baby (www.filmbaby.com), Show Biz Software, (www.showbizsoftware.com), Pollard Design (www.pollarddesign.com), Zoom Studio (www.zoomstudio.com), The Indy Film Co-op (www.indyfilmco-op.org) and Cheezy Flicks (www.cheezyflicks.com).  All great people, all great companies.

If you haven’t checked out their sites and their services, you better.

The first two Workshop DVDs are selling well.  You can find them at, http://www.angryfilmmaker.com, and at http://www.filmbaby.com

And just a reminder, I am available to consult on your films.

What do you get out of the deal?  You get the best value and advice in making your film. No matter what stage you’re in.   I’ve been in the business for 25 years, working on everything from animation to live action, Independent features, Real Independent features, Hollywood studio stuff, and documentaries.  If you check out my bio and filmography (www.angryfilmmaker.com/who.htm) you’ll see I’ve worked on award winning films, and films that never got distribution.

I will look at your work honestly and objectively.  If there are problems, I’ll point them out, in a constructive way.  No one wants to hear, “This sucks!”   My goal is to guide you through the process, so that you can see what the problems are, and we’ll come up with ways to fix them.  Check out (www.angryfilmmaker.com/consulting.htm.)

As always, feel free to link to my site and you can subscribe to my blog.  So what are you waiting for?

Talk later.

Kelley

http://www.angryfilmmaker.com
http://www.facebook.com
http://www.myspace.com/theangryfilmmaker
http://www.youtube.com/theangryfilmmaker
http://www.filmbaby.com

Advertisements

Watching (Old) Movies Learning New Stuff

December 17, 2008

December 17, 2008

I am sitting in freezing weather today.  I think the high is supposed to be 22 degrees.  It is sunny and clear and the hill in front of my place is like a giant slip and slide.  (It is snowing now and another storm is on its way in.)  It is fun to watch, but only because I had the foresight to park my car in the flatlands a couple days ago so I can get out of I need to.  But I don’t need to at this point.

The good part about the bad weather is that I have been able to watch a couple of DVD’s that have been sitting here for awhile.

I wholeheartedly recommend Riding Giants, the Stacey Peralta documentary on surfing.  The visuals are amazing and I have to say I am a sucker for the archival footage.  Even though I grew up in Oregon I always wanted to be a surfer.  The whole life style looked so cool!  That’s probably why I was so in to skate boarding in my youth, the closest I was ever going to get to surfing.  As he did in Dogtown and Z-Boys, Stacey makes great use of not just archival footage, but also in the way he stages interviews.  His films always have terrific photos and his treatment of them is always interesting.  If you haven’t seen Riding Giants, check it out.

I also watched Fearless Freaks, the movie about The Flaming Lips.  Another fascinating film.  I am not a big fan of the Lips, but I think I need to go back and listen to their music again.  I have a new found respect for what they are doing.  It’s a good movie to watch if you get the chance.

I also watched Cat Ballou (1965) with Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, and Dwayne Hickman.  I loved that movie as a kid and I have to say it still cracked me up.  You know how sometimes when you watch a film that you loved as a kid it doesn’t hold up?  Well I am happy to say this one does.  Lee Marvin is absolutely hilarious!  And any movie with Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole providing musical interludes has got to be cool!  Check out the interview with the Director Elliot Silverstein.  When he talks about the struggles of using Nat King Cole in the movie and the attitudes of the times it’s pretty amazing.

I remember seeing Stranger Than Paradise when it came out and being surprised at how minimal it seemed.  No editing, all scenes in a single wide shot.  Stark black & white footage.  I have to say that I think I liked it a lot more this time than when I originally saw it.  The acting is so good and so low key.  I had also forgotten about the ending which was a wonderful surprise.

The great thing about watching these films is that it allows me to study how other directors are doing things.  You think a  film like Cat Ballou was such a piece of fluff, although it was nominated for 5 Oscars (Lee Marvin was the only winner and it was his only Oscar win) but look at the way they wove in Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole.  How did that look in the script?  It you were to explain what you wanted to do with them people would have looked at you like you were nuts!  But it works.

I learn new stuff every time I watch a Stacey Peralta film.  I love what he does with graphics.  It makes me see that stills can be used in a very creative way, unlike say the way that Ken Burns uses them.  (I am not a fan of Ken Burns, the man made Jazz seem boring…).  I always take things from Stacey’s work that I think can help mine.

The Flaming Lips movies was so casual, it was like hanging out with friends.  You get a good feel about these guys from the film and it makes sense that it was made by a good friend of theirs.  He captured good stuff because of his intimate knowledge of the band and the people behind it.

And with Stranger Than Paradise what can I say?  Talk about a minimal story and minimal everything and yet it is an interesting and entertaining film.  I think it’s a great film to watch to see what you can do with very little money.  I watched Border Radio a few weeks back and wasn’t impressed.  I know they had no money but it was really hard for me to develop any interest in those characters.  Since I am a huge fan of the punk scene I should have enjoyed it much more than Stranger Than Paradise, I just couldn’t get in to it.  But I learned things from that film as well.

And when I say I take things from these movies I don’t mean I steal things or rip off techniques, I mean that I look at how they did things and it makes me think of how I do similar things and maybe how I can make my own work better.  It makes me think more creatively and not get complacent.

Anyway, I should probably get back to work on my own stuff.

Other stuff…

My work books now exist as PDFs and will be posted on my site soon for a mere $10 per book.  The weather and illness have pushed the work on the site back a bit.  I’ll let you know when everything is finally ready.

Since we are getting close to the holidays I am going to be putting different specials up each week so check out my internet specials and hopefully you’ll find something you like.  (www.angryfilmmaker.com, as if you didn’t know)

Don’t forget to check out my tour sponsors, Film Baby (www.filmbaby.com), Pollard Design (www.pollarddesign.com), Zoom Studio (www.zoomstudio.com), The Indy Film Co-op (www.indyfilmco-op.org) and Cheezy Flicks (www.cheezyflicks.com).  All great people, all great companies.

If you haven’t checked out their site and their services, you better.

The first two Workshop DVDs are selling well.  You can find them at, http://www.angryfilmmaker.com, and at Film Baby.

And just a reminder, I am available to consult on your films.

What do you get out of the deal?  You get the best value and advice in making your film. No matter what stage you’re in.   I’ve been in the business for 25 years, working on everything from animation to live action, Independent features, Real Independent features, Hollywood studio stuff, and documentaries.  If you check out my bio and filmography (www.angryfilmmaker.com/who.htm) you’ll see I’ve worked on award winning films, and films that never got distribution.

I will look at your work honestly and objectively.  If there are problems, I’ll point them out, in a constructive way.  No one wants to hear, “This sucks!”   My goal is to guide you through the process, so that you can see what the problems are, and we’ll come up with ways to fix them.  Check out (www.angryfilmmaker.com/consulting.htm.)

As always, feel free to link to my site and you can subscribe to my blog.  So what are you waiting for?

Talk later.

Kelley

http://www.angryfilmmaker.com
http://www.facebook.com
http://www.myspace.com/theangryfilmmaker
http://www.youtube.com/theangryfilmmaker
http://www.filmbaby.com

Welcome Aboard Show Biz Software

December 9, 2008

Hey Everybody,

I am happy to announce that Showbiz Software is my newest sponsor.   You need to go to their site, http://www.showbizsoftware.com and check out their software.  I’ve been using the Budgeting and Scheduling software and I really like it.  It’s simple to use and it’s got everything.

They have free downloads on some programs and a terrific bargain bin.  Check them out and you’ll see why I like them.  In fact send them a message that you heard about them through me.

They are joining Film Baby, The Indy Film Co-op, Pollard Design, and Zoom Studios as very loyal sponsors.  I’m happy to have them on my side.  Check em out!

I am booking my February Tour of the UK, and my Spring Tour of the US, so if you want me to come by let me know.  Drop me a line at angryfilminfo@aol.com.

My book, The Angry Filmmaker’s Survival Guide Part One: Making the No-Budget Feature should finally be debuting after the first of the year.  I had some problems with my first publisher so I changed publishers and it’s all coming together.  I’ll let you know when it’s ready.
Other stuff
Internet Special!!!!

Check my Internet Specials page, http://www.angryfilmmaker.com/internet_special.php

Right now you can pick up Kicking Bird and The Short Films together for only $18 with no shipping and handling charges.  That’s an $11 savings!  Check this page every week and see what’s on special.

The AF Work Books will soon be available for downloading.  We’ve almost got everything worked out and we should have them available next week.  Don’t worry I’ll let you know.

You can also see some new videos that have been posted on the site, a couple of interviews with me and some footage from one of my work shops.  Check out The AF Speaks and Odds & Ends.

And just a reminder, I am available to consult on your films.

What do you get out of the deal?  You get the best value and advice in making your film. No matter what stage you’re in.   I’ve been in the business for 25 years, working on everything from animation to live action, Independent features, Real Independent features, Hollywood studio stuff, and documentaries.  If you check out my bio and filmography (www.angryfilmmaker.com/who.htm) you’ll see I’ve worked on award winning films, and films that never got distribution.

I will look at your work honestly and objectively.  If there are problems, I’ll point them out, in a constructive way.  No one wants to hear, “This sucks!”   My goal is to guide you through the process, so that you can see what the problems are, and we’ll come up with ways to fix them.  Check out (www.angryfilmmaker.com/consulting.htm.)

Feel free to link to my site and I’ll link to yours.

As always,

Talk later,

Kelley

http://www.angryfilmmaker.com
http://www.facebook.com
http://www.myspace.com/theangryfilmmaker
http://www.youtube.com/theangryfilmmaker

AF Bail Out and more Documentary Stuff

December 7, 2008

December 6, 2008

As most of you know, I just got back from Washington, D.C. where I testified before Congress trying to convince them that they should be bailing out Angry Filmmaker, Inc.  I mean, I feel like I’ve mismanaged my company just as well as any of those other big guys and they all seem to be getting money…  Anyway, they all seemed skeptical so I guess I won’t be getting any checks from them any time soon.  (As one Senator told me, “Don’t hold your %$@#*&^ breath!”)  And yes, I did sell the AF Corporate jet, I’ll just tour by van from here on out.

So I guess my financial future is going to be in the hands of you, the consumer.  Please check out my site and if you see anything there that you like, BUY IT!

I mean isn’t it better to give me money and actually get something in return, then to give it to some huge faceless behemoth.  You know that I’m going to use the money I get on making more movies, not on expensive conferences and retreats like some giant Insurance companies that shall remain nameless.  (AIG).  And anyway, we hate insurance companies!

But I digress…  What were we talking about last week?  Oh yeah,

Documentaries and funding part 2.

There are people who hate asking their friends for money.  They won’t do it, even in the form of a donation.  These people are not going to be making movies any time soon.

Let’s talk about Fundraising parties.  I have thrown fund-raising parties.  You get a few of your friends together to host an event at their homes and have them invite friends of theirs.  You all eat appetizers, drink cheap wine, and then you make a little presentation about your movie and pass the hat.  These can be really successful, or not.  It all depends on how aggressive you want to be.

An excellent resource for planning fundraising parties is Morrie Warshawski’s book, The Fundraising House Party.  Morrie is a buddy of mine, and this is a shameless plug!  It’s also a good book, check it out at http://www.morriewarshawski.com.

We did a fundraiser once at a restaurant and all sorts of moneyed people were there.  It was organized by a professional group and the woman who was sponsoring it wanted to keep everything “low-key.”  Well, it was so “low-key” that we didn’t make any money!

It would have been better to just give me the money they spent on the fundraiser!  I did follow up with thank-yous and reminders, and all sorts of stuff and made maybe $2,000, total.  The event cost around $5,000.  I found out later it was not so much a fund-raising event as a social gathering for the people sponsoring it.  Sort of a “coming out” party if you will.

If you’re going to do these kinds of fund raisers, you have to be aggressive!  You have a captive audience, now you need to bag them.  The next time I do this, trust me, it’ll be a lot different.

A couple friends of mine have been very successful with fundraising parties, it comes down to, how bad do you want to make the movie.

There are stories that Michael Moore had Bingo parties in Michigan as one way he raised money for Roger and Me.  I don’t know how true this is, it’s probably just another rumor perpetrated by the liberal media.

Other stuff…

My work books now exist as PDFs and will be posted on my site this week for a mere $10 per book.  We should have them up and running by mid week.  Or so I have been promised…

Since we are getting close to the holidays I am going to be putting different specials up each week so check out my internet specials and hopefully you’ll find something you like.  (www.angryfilmmaker.com, as if you didn’t know)

There are some new video posts up on my site, check out The AF Speaks and Odds & Ends.

Don’t forget to check out my tour sponsors, Film Baby (www.filmbaby.com), Pollard Design (www.pollarddesign.com), Zoom Studio (www.zoomstudio.com), The Indy Film Co-op (www.indyfilmco-op.org) and Cheezy Flicks (www.cheezyflicks.com).  All great people, all great companies.

If you haven’t checked out their site and their services, you better.

The first two Workshop DVDs are selling well.  You can find them at, http://www.angryfilmmaker.com, and at Film Baby.

Talk later.

Kelley

http://www.angryfilmmaker.com
http://www.facebook.com
http://www.myspace.com/theangryfilmmaker
http://www.youtube.com/theangryfilmmaker
http://www.filmbaby.com

Let’s Talk Docs and other stuff

December 1, 2008

December 1, 2008

Well, I made it through another Thanksgiving holiday relatively unscathed.

Let’s talk about documentaries here for a moment…

Documentaries are so hip right now, you should find a non-profit sponsor if you want to make one.  A 501(c)3 in IRS terms.  I don’t think you can do a dramatic feature this way, but I’m not a lawyer.  Go ask one.  You can also form your own non-profit corporation, but it’s a lot of hassle and paperwork, and to do it right you really do need an attorney.  I would only suggest forming your own nonprofit if you plan on doing a lot of documentaries or educational films.  For a one-shot deal, it’s too expensive and too much work.

So what does a non-profit provide for you in return?  Free money.  Pure and simple.  Okay, it’s not really free, you’re still going to have to work to get it.

You can apply to foundations, which by law can only give to non-profits.  You can also solicit donations from individuals and, after discussing it with their tax professional, they can probably write the donation off on their tax return.  It works wonderfully for everyone involved.

What’s the downside?  A non-profit will usually charge you anywhere from 5 – 8% of any funds you raise, to administer the funds and do all the bookkeeping.  Some non-profits won’t allow you to go after the same foundations that they’re pursing, and they certainly won’t help by giving you their contacts.   Those are about the only downsides I’ve encountered.

You’re going to work just as hard at raising money as you would for any other project.  It’s just that you aren’t dealing with investors in this case, and no one expects your movie to make any money.

On one of my docs, I needed to do a shoot in Bowling Green, Ohio, and I had no money.  I needed to do this shoot to keep my credibility intact with my subject.  So two weeks before I was to leave, I made phone calls to about 25 people I knew, and in two nights I raised just over $1200.  It was enough money for me to do the shoot and keep my credibility intact.

The big selling points for me were:  It was a donation from my friends that they could write off at tax time and they were helping me.  The personal thing will get you further than anything else.  If your friends and family won’t help you, why should anyone else?

I’ll talk more about docs next week.

Other stuff…

There are some new things happening, my work books now exist as PDFs and they will be posted on my site soon so that they can be downloaded.  I am still working out the prices, but they will be less expensive then if you buy the printed versions.  Keep watching this space.

I seem to be  popping up on YouTube and ViodaTV.  You can go to http://blip.tv/file/1370245, or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn5x3Avb45M  to catch an interview I did with Roger Bindi while I was in Madison, WI doing workshops for the Wisconsin Film School.  Check out blip TV, it’s an interesting site and go to http://www.viodi.tv/ Roger has a lot of things up there that might be of interest.

Also check out http://www.youtube.com/user/dreamcatcheriowa.  Dream Catcher Productions sponsored one of my work shops in Iowa (yes, the famous night I did the wrong workshop for 3 hours) and put up a short segment from the work shop.  Check it out!  You can also check out their web site, http://www.dreamcatcher.com.

Don’t forget to check out my tour sponsors, Film Baby (www.filmbaby.com), Pollard Design (www.pollarddesign.com), Zoom Studio (www.zoomstudio.com), The Indy Film Co-op (www.indyfilmco-op.org) and Cheezy Flicks (www.cheezyflicks.com).  All great people, all great companies.

If you haven’t checked out their site and their services, you better.

The first two Workshop DVDs are selling well.  You can find them at, http://www.angryfilmmaker.com, and at Film Baby.

Talk later.

Kelley

http://www.angryfilmmaker.com
http://www.facebook.com
http://www.myspace.com/theangryfilmmaker
http://www.youtube.com/theangryfilmmaker
http://www.filmbaby.com