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Showing posts from 2011

All Your Questions will be Answered

It's no secret, to those who know me.  I spend some time in front of the television.  Well, maybe more than just "some".  Many people would probably look at my definition of "some" and redefine it as "a lot".  In a culture where the average person watches approximately four hours of television a day, I can honestly say, I'm above average.  Which is almost always a good thing to be able to say, right?  Truth be told, I enjoys me some TV, but I won't watch just anything.  I have to be drawn in by either the story, or by the characters.  There was one show, in particular, that drew me in.  It had all the makings of a great story.  There was a plane crash, a tropical island with polar bears, some sort of smoke monster, and people who were once in wheelchairs could walk again.  Week after week I would watch this show and get more and more drawn in, as more and more mysterious things began to happen.  After a few years there were those that became d…

The Grass is Always Greener

We've all heard it before, gentle reader.  "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence".  It can't possibly be true.  It's a cliche.  But, even as I write this I am reminded of Dennis Miller's line in the workplace thriller "Disclosure" as he rebuffs a colleagues dismissal of his argument with, "Come on Hunter, how do you think a cliche becomes a cliche"?  To which, I must answer with, touche Dennis Miller.  Touche indeed.

Is it possible that these phrases get tossed around with so little thought because they are so very true?  Is Dennis Miller right?  Well gentle reader, I must confess while in the process of making "Wireless", I did find that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence, no matter which side I happened to be standing upon.

In the previous weeks you and I have talked, (or to be more accurate, I have typed and you have read) at some length, about how much I struggled to write my first feat…

3 Jobs in 1

Well hello there gentle reader!  It is good to see you again here on the road to honest to goodness, real live, filmmakerville.  I'm not going to lie to you, at times it is a very lonely road, so I am quite grateful for the company.  When last we met, round the ol' proverbial campfire, I spun the yarn of how I went about casting my "no budget" film.  So after getting all the casting pieces into place, it was time to get to work and start making words printed on pieces of paper into a motion picture.  The motion picture that the world will come to know as "Wireless".

It seems to me, in my somewhat limited experience, that there are three main phases to getting a film made, (after the screenplay has been written).  Phase One - Pre-Production.  As near as I can tell, this is when a lot of the decisions about the film are made.  Locations are scouted and selected.  Costumes are made or purchased.  Crew is hired.  A schedule is made.  Rehearsals with actors take…

Casting

So, the first major milestone in my journey had been reached.  If I wanted to be a real live, honest to goodness, filmmaker, I needed a real live, honest to goodness, screenplay.  Mission accomplished.  It may have been a little shorter than I had originally dreamed of, but at least I had some words typed out on sheets of paper.  Now, to reach the next milestone in my journey, I was going to have to find some real live, honest to goodness, actors.

The casting process is one that I fear I have continually underestimated.  In truth, I think I underestimate every aspect of the film making process, each and every time I film something, (yet somehow I'm always surprised).  It's not that I am unaware of the importance of the actors.  I know it is they, rather than I, who will be bringing the characters to life.  It is they, the audience will bond with, and it is they, who will bear the brunt of the storm if the audience decides they hate my work.  You can't make a live action fi…

"Feature Length"

When last we met, gentle reader, I was regaling you with the tale of completing my first screenplay, in the hopes of having a film to submit to the “Big Break” film contest.  As I mentioned last time, I had given myself two weeks to complete the screenplay (which I had already started months earlier), in order to stay on target and complete the film.   Now having completed a first draft a few days ahead of schedule, I was faced with one of those, all too familiar, good news, bad news situations.
The good news: I had actually sat down and completed something that a few months earlier seemed a near impossibility, shrouded in mystery.  The bad news: I wasn’t sure that the screenplay I had finished was going to count.
As I have stated before, (but I will restate it again to refresh your memory, gentle reader), every screenwriting book that I have read talks about screenplay length as being one hundred and twenty pages.  The reason for this being, most movies are two hours long and one page …

Deadlines

I have always had a strange relationship with deadlines.  Maybe because I am a procrastinator by nature.  Especially in high school, I can remember instances where a due date for a term paper would be ever approaching on the calendar, but everything else in the world just seemed so fascinating.  Sit down and write my paper?  How could I possibly do that when my room is such a mess?  Just look at the dust that has accumulated on those base boards!  No, it’s not time to write, it’s time to clean.  Almost anything would prove to be more interesting and important than the task at hand.  Why write your paper when there is a riveting program on PBS about the manufacturing of drywall?  Given the choice, I must say, gentle reader, there is no choice at all, it’s going to be drywall.  Then there is the transition from procrastination to boredom.  Once I would finally force myself to sit down, and write the term paper, there would be that all too brief feeling of relief and freedom, but five mi…

Seeing You Tube for the first time... Again!

Greetings, gentle reader, I trust that all is well with you and yours.  Today's post is going to be a little bit different.  Instead of continuing to catch you up on the events that transpired during my absence from the Matthew 13 Blog, I thought I would share some recent thoughts I've had on DIY distribution.  Last week as I was roaming the Inter Web I came across a blog post by independent writer, director, Mike Vogel.  If you would like to read his post please feel free to do so, you can find it HERE.  But to sum up, Mike is exploring the idea of using You Tube as the primary platform to distribute his independent film.  Now, placing films on You Tube is certainly not a new idea for me, it was something that I had always planned on doing, but only as a last resort.  My thinking about You Tube was more along the lines of, "well, if all else fails, I can always put the movie up on You Tube... to die".


As I read Mike's post it changed my perspective quite a bit.  …

Your Big Break

A break.  Usually it's a good thing.  Something to be desired, unless of course, the break being discussed involves a personal appendage.  In that case most people will take a pass, unless of course the person in question happens to be an actor, and the appendage to be broken is a leg.  But, in most cases, everybody needs a break.  This includes the late Nell Carter, who would go so far as to ask for said break in no uncertain terms.  One might even say she demanded one, singing loudly "Gimme a Break" on a weekly basis for several years back in the eighties.  Now, as a person who dreams of going from an aspiring, to a real live, honest to goodness, filmmaker; I have always known that I would need some sort of "break".  How that break would come, or what form it would take has always been a mystery, but if one is going to make it in the movie biz, eventually one's work is going to need to be seen by someone else who can help the first person to be seen at a …

The Screenwriter's Workbook

So, when we were last together, gentle reader, I had fifteen pages and a severe case of writer's block, not exactly how I had hoped my first attempt at writing a feature length screenplay would wind up.  But, truth be told, it was exactly what I had always feared would happen if I made an attempt to write something other than a short.  Now that fear was proving to be a reality and every other form of fear and self doubt was beginning to find its own voice and shout from the rooftops.  It was a discouraging place to be, but all was not lost.  Help was on the way, via the United States Postal Service.  Help was also taking its sweet time in arriving due to my desire to have everything shipped to me free of charge, but it was on the way nonetheless.  One afternoon, five to nine days after I had placed my order, I was rewarded when opening my mailbox with not only two utility bills and an offer to get cheaper car insurance, but a small key.  Oh yes, Christmas had arrived again.  That …

Super Saver Shipping

I must admit, gentle reader, I'm one of those people. When shopping at a particular online store, named after a great river and rain forest, if I happen to hit the "check out" button and receive a message informing me that I must spend just a little more of my hard earned cash to qualify for free shipping, I spend the money. I spend it each and every time. Super Saver Shipping has got to be one of the most ingenious concepts that a retailer has thought of since some baker way back when asked himself, "What if, instead of selling these huge awkward loaves, we sliced the bread?". It does not matter if I have to spend ten more dollars or ten more cents, I will spend (or if I'm real honest with you, over spend) that extra amount to qualify for the free shipping. It's not just that I need an excuse to spend money on myself, I think it actually makes some sense. I tend to look at the situation this way. I could buy one item and pay the money to have it…

21 Days Later

Writer's Block. The two most dreaded words in the writer's lexicon. Never before have two words combined to cause so much pain, frustration, and self doubt. It's like quicksand. One minute you're strolling around the jungle looking at all the pretty trees and wildlife, the next, you are waist deep in muck that is pulling you down into the unknown depths with seemingly no way to get out of it. The blank page may be a mighty adversary for the writer to overcome, but writer's block is some monster out of the ultimate nightmare that literally kills many a story in almost any stage of development. It is the other silent killer, of dreams. Three days into my first attempt to write a feature length screenplay, I was face to face with it, and I was loosing.
On my journey to go from an aspiring, to a real, live, honest to goodness, filmmaker, I found myself stopped out on day 2 of what I had hoped would be a 21 day process. That process of course being the one found …

Mole hills or Mountains?

So, when last we met, gentle reader, I was basking in the glow of a successful first day of my 21 day schedule to write a feature length screenplay. But even I felt the warmth of success wash over me, I must admit I had a concern or two going into the second day. I knew that Day 2 was going to hold some challenges for me. However, I was unaware of how much of an understatement the word "challenges" was going to be.
While in the process of doing the prep work of writing a screenplay, author Viki King has the reader, (and in this case the writer), lay down some structure for the forth coming work of art. More specifically, she has the reader write down certain events, that will take place over the course of their movie, onto specific pages. For example, what event will happen on page 1? How about page 10 or on page 30? In this way, a type of outline of the movie is formed. Essentially, before the reader/writer types a single word, they are already aware of what page wil…