“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”
Niels Bohr (1885 – 1962)
“There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down errors instead of establishing the truth.”
Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)
French Chemist & Physicist
If you have a film, the cornerstone of your marketing campaign is the film’s website! A few weeks ago, the Podcast with Paul DeNegris emphasized how useful his website for THE FALLS was in his marketing and distribution effort. Last week, I wrote about the DV horror flick ROAD CLOSED that was shot in New Mexico and produced by my friend, Bob Lewis. Their site is up and active at this very early stage in the process.
This weekend I’ll be doing a podcast with Wisconsin writer/producer Jim Meyers on his latest film HER MINOR THING. They have an excellent site for their film. I’m looking forward to the podcast. Be sure to catch it on Sunday!
Eugene Hernandez (eugonline) recommends, “If you have a film screening on the festival circuit, then it is essential to build a website to promote the movie. Once you hit the festivals, your film is in distribution so it’s important to have a site where you can build awareness for it. [blogs.indieWIRE.com: Independent Film]
Do You Woot?
If you’re looking for great technology buys on the internet, there isn’t much that beats WOOT. They post a sale item each weekday (often an incredibly good deal) and, when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Today’s WOOT is the Motorola DCP501 home theater which includes a DVD/CD/MP3 player, 100 watts x 5-channel amplifier, and an AM/FM stereo receiver, so you can turn your living room into a grand film palace without ever leaving the womblike security of home.
- Built-in Decoders Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Digital, DTS decoder
- Audio D/A Converter 24bit / 96kHz
- Digital Sound Processor (DSP) Yes
- DSP Preset Qty 6
- DSP Presets Stadium, Arena, Theater, Club, Concert, Church
- Surround System Class 5.1 channel
0 V ( 60 Hz )
Disclaimer: Woot staff doesn’t know much about Digital Cable, but we know enough to not guarantee that this will work in your area, with whatever cable you have (even if that cable makes use of other motorola equipment).
Check early, check often! No WOOT! on the weekend.
Dave LaChappelle brought the amazing RIZE to Sundance 2004 and I’m excited to see it getting a lot of coverage these days at, among other places, SXSW Producer Matt Dentler’s Indiewire Blog. The film opened at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Saturday to an energetic and enthusiastic crowd.
Also getting much deserved credit is Sundance 2005′s MURDERBALL. An audience and critical favorite, MURDERBALL (aka quad rugby) combines the finesse of soccer with the bone-jarring collisions of a demolition derby. The athletes use custom wheelchairs that look like something out of a Mad Max movie. Players careen around the court with reckless abandon, slamming into each other, fueled by an unrivaled competitive spirit. The result of a two-and-a-half-year, all-access pass to locker rooms, bedrooms, churches, and hospitals masterfully put together by filmmakers Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Shapiro. It’s a film about relearning everything you’ve ever known–from brushing your teeth to driving a car to having sex. It’s a film about standing up, even after your spirit–and your spine–have been crushed.
Mike says, “If you are thinking about making a movie and want to actually make some money from it, you should read these to understand the system. Not that you’ll get to use any of these tricks yourself, but merely to understand what you’re up against, and what the real game/business these folks are playing.”
This week, Moviefone posted an interview between Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg about their latest project. It isn’t very long or too in-depth but you will find that the Cruise/Spielberg War of the Worlds Podcast (Audio) does make a few interesting points for Independent Filmmakers. Among the things discussed:
- What drew Spielberg to the story.
- What Cruise likes about Spielberg as a director.
- Commitment to story and creative exploration.
- Spielberg’s love of working with gifted actors.
- Childhood stories Spielberg would remake.
- Researching roles and creating character.
- Advice for aspiring filmmakers. NOT about camera magic. It’s about how you tell the story. Is it original, compelling and does it hold together?
- Spielberg’s early films in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- Economy and ease of digital filmmaking creates opportunity. Derivative films okay in the beginning but must find original voice.
- What makes Cruise commit to a story.
- Spielberg on when to commit, on his “time” to tell a story.
I was most pleased to hear Spielberg say that he looks for original, compelling stories told with an original voice. As a professor in the Fine Art Department, our whole focus is having students create original work (whether in visual arts, graphic arts, animation, media or digital filmmaking) with an original, distinctive voice. As the Program Director for Media Arts, I know that MCC is distinct because we balance teaching the pragmatic, concrete machine skills with developing original points of view. It’s exciting work.
The link above is for the audio only. If you have a lot of bandwidth, you can find the VIDEO of Moviefone’s War of the Worlds Interview. Be sure to check out the Moviefone site for more video media.
“I’m seventeen and I’m crazy. My uncle says the two always go together. When people ask your age, he said, always say seventeen and insane.”
Ray Bradbury (1920 – )
U.S. Science Fiction Author
from Fahrenheit 451, (1953)
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)
Orson Welles was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a suburb of neighboring metropolis Racine, Wisconsin (where I was born). After I saw CITIZEN KANE for the first time, this information was more than enough for me to develop an affinity for his work. I was pleased to discover several terrific articles on Welles at Everything You Need to Know about the 1953 War of the Worlds. It turns out that film was only 85 minutes long, was made for $2 million (a pittance nowadays but quite a sum in ’53) and portions were filmed in Florence, Arizona!
Levy also takes a look at director Steven Spielberg and compares one of his early “alien films” with his most current. Spielberg: War of the Worlds and Close Encounters The image above is from the film which stars Tom Cruise and the fabulous Dakota Fanning!
Finally, just for silliness, a link to a silly movie clip called Cruise Kills Oprah!
From our favorite High Def Nerd Geek on the blogosphere, a site with details on how determine the level of artifacting in your HD Workflow using this test procedure. Mike at HD for Indies links to a pretty dang slick site! Using the Belle-nuit info, you can check cropping, color bars, super white, super black, resolution, ramps and more. This is just sweet!
If you don’t already, be sure to check the Daily Shorts at Green Cine Daily. The writing is clever and entertaining — (example) “Forty minutes of stills unfold. The gentle harp and strings echo between rooms, and throughout the piece, no one speaks, a word can’t be heard, yet there is one constant strain, as if a troop of 165-pound mice were afoot.” Evocative, clever, concise and voluminous! A little of this and a lot of that in the world of cinema.
DWHudson’s daily summary for 6/23 includes a bit on DARKNET, JD Lasica’s book on Hollywood’s war against the digital generation. I met JD at a Digital Storytelling workshop in Sedona last summer. He’s a great guy with terrific perspective and insight! Check on the Shorts and the summary!
Do you know what your computer does when you’re not looking? An excellent NY Times article details what is being done with An Army of Soulless 1′s and 0′s. Without the owners’ knowledge, thousands of computers are being commandeered each week for illicit purposes. If you notice a drag on your system, maybe your computer is “stepping out” on you!
[NYTimes > Technology]
IFC Films’ ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW resoundingly triumphed at the specialty box office over the weekend, scoring the highest per screen average of the week in recent memory at its debut at the new IFC Center in Manhattan. Self-distributed film, THE TALENT GIVEN US ranked second on the iW BOT, calculated on a per screen average, in limited release, while fellow theatrical newcomers HEIGHTS from Sony Classics, THE GREAT WATER from Cinema Guild, and Focus Features’ MY SUMMER OF LOVE rounded out the chart’s top five titles.
MAD HOT BALLROOM maintained its title as the specialty list’s top earner, while the overall weekend “indie” grosses declined from the previous week’s totals. Brian Brooks reports. (06/22/05) [indieWIRE]
HEIGHTS, TALENT GIVEN and ME & YOU were all screened at Sundance in January 2005.
“It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.”
Neil Gaiman (10 Nov 1960 – )
U.S. (British born) Author & Artist
“It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars.”
Garrison Keillor (7 Aug 1942 – )
U.S. Author & Humorist
You may recall that Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman had the visually compelling MIRRORBALL at Sundance this year. Now , McKean’s art is also showing up on Cory Doctorow’s novel. According to Doctorow: Last week, my third novel, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town started turning up in bookstores. It’s another fine Tor hardcover, with jaw-droppingly beautiful cover art by genius Dave McKean to boot. This is a physical artifact worth owning. Hell, buy two.
As with my first and second novels, I’ve posted the entire text of this book online under a Creative Commons license that allows the unlimited, noncommercial redistribution of the text. You can send it around, paste it into a chat, beam it to a friend’s PDA, or print out a chapter to hand out in the university common room. Like Woody Guthrie said, “Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”
The whole point of giving away electronic books is to experiment with electronic text and spot where the new opportunities for earning a writer’s living lie — working with my audience, not against them. So with every release, I’ve tried some experimentation. This book is no exception.
This book is the first novel to employ the new Creative Commons Developing Nations License. That’s a license that lets anyone living in a country that’s not on the World Bank’s list of high-income countries treat the book as if it were in the public domain. If you live in a developing nation, you can print your own editions of this book and sell them, you can make your own movies, radio plays, translations and whatever else you can think of, charge whatever the traffic will bear for them, and never give me a penny or ask my permission (though I hope you’ll drop me a line and let me know what you’re up to so I can keep up on the book’s spread!). The only limitation on this right is that you may only export your works to other developing nations: the rich nations where my paying customers live are strictly off-limits.
A couple of days ago, I got an email from Jim Meyers. Meyers grew up in Wisconsin, went to UW-Madison and lived in Madison for seven years after college. While he currently lives in Sacramento, he’s planning to move to Sedona, Arizona. Jim is also a writer/director/producer of feature films.
According to their very professional looking website, the film is about the life of a successful 25-year-old professional woman turns chaotic when her boyfriend accidentally reveals on TV that she’s a virgin. The film stars Estella Warren and Christian Kane. Comedy talents include SNL’s Rachel Dratch and Victoria Jackson. I’m hoping to have the opportunity to do a podcast with Jim in the near future!