IN THIS ISSUE:
1. Next Class Scheduled!
2. No Budget Film School At Filmmakers Alliance
3. Spring Reading - Filmmaking Books You Should Know About
4. Who The Hell Is Jody Hill?
5. Shooting "Crank 2" on Family Cam
No Budget Film School is back in action! After taking the better part of a year developing, prepping and then shooting my
new no-budget feature, "Pig," I am finally putting my Instructor hat back on while we are in post production. In addition
to freshening up the content on my website, (not the design of the website--that still looks like 1995!), and putting out
this newsletter after a long hiatus, I have scheduled a new class in Los Angeles. "The Art & Science of No-Budget Filmmaking",
my two-day no-budget filmmaking immersion is scheduled for May 30 & 31, 2009. More on that below. If you've been wanting
to make a film and wondering how to do it with the little money you have access to, this is the class to take. I have some
great speakers and after shooting this latest feature, a few new tricks up my sleeve, as well as some hard-learned new lessons.
1. NEXT CLASS SCHEDULED!
After a long hiatus, No Budget Film School is back and better than ever. I will be teaching my two-day no-budget filmmaking
immersion, "The Art & Science of No Budget Filmmaking"
on May 30 & 31, 2009
in Los Angeles at Raleigh Studios.
I will be joined by some excellent guest speakers:
(President, Paradigm Consulting). Considered one of the world's leading authorities on alternative
distribution strategy. Peter was the founder and president of Next Wave Films, the finishing funds company that discovered
filmmakers like Chris Nolan and Joe Carnahan. He now consults with hundreds of filmmakers all over the world on unique and
powerful distribution strategies that take advantage of the new tools and new thinking in this New World of Distribution.
(Director, "The Puffy Chair," "Baghead"). One half of the filmmaking duo the Duplass Brothers, with brother
Mark. The $15,000 "Puffy Chair" was a cult hit following their 2005 Sundance premiere, garnering theatrical distribution and
picking up several film festival awards. Their follow-up, the similarly tiny-budgeted "Baghead," premiered at the 2008 Sundance
and was picked up for theatrical distribution by Sony Pictures Classics. Jay is currently finishing principal photography
on a new $10 million feature for Fox Searchlight, starring Marisa Tomei, John C. Reilly, Johah Hill, and Catherine Keener.
(Director, "In Search Of A Midnight Kiss"). Alex's hilarious comedy "Midnight Kiss" was shot for $15k
all over Los Angeles the way I like to do it--without a permit! After playing several top festivals, it was picked up for
domestic distribution by IFC Films and was also sold to several territories overseas. It recently was awarded the coveted
Cassavetes Award at the 2009 Spirit Awards, given to the best feature made for under $500k.
(Producer; Director; Founder, Different By Design). Matt has produced numerous low-budget features (including
Sundance winner "TV Junkie") and runs the post house Different By Design which caters to independent filmmakers working on
all budget levels. Matt has particular expertise with the new tapeless workflows like RED and XDCAM.
More guest speakers and other goodies to be announced soon. For more information and to register, please visit the website:
And join our new Facebook Group to catch updates as they happen:
No Budget Film School Facebook Group
2. NO BUDGET FILM SCHOOL AT FILMMAKERS ALLIANCE
For those of you who live in LA and want a free preview of the class, I will be giving a presentation entitled "No Budget,
No Problem - An Introduction To Successful No-Budget Filmmaking"
at the Filmmakers Alliance office on Sunday, April
Please visit the Filmmakers Alliance website for details:
3. SPRING READING - FILMMAKING BOOKS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
I have three filmmaking books to recommend that cover a wide spectrum of topics related to independent filmmaking:
• THE REEL TRUTH: Everything You Didn't Know You Need to Know About Making an Independent Film by Reed Martin
Martin, a former exec at Cary Woods' production company and a professor at Columbia University and NYU, has written a one-of-a-kind,
exhaustingly researched indie film bible for the first-time filmmaker. Stories from some of the most respected names in independent
film, as well as a few of the author's own filmmaking experiences, combine with nuts-and-bolts, practical information on everything
from new cameras to how to deal with security and parking on a New York set. His tips are remarkably specific and he addresses
many issues most independent filmmakers learn about the hard way. I should know--I contributed a few of my own lessons-learned
to the book. The Reel Truth
goes on sale in April. Check out the amazing reviews and pre-order it here:
The Real Truth
• BE THE MEDIA by David Mathison
Renowned media consultant and author Mathison has assembled a who's who of new media experts and compiled this essential guide
to the "personal media renaissance." Until recently, publishing books, music and film required years of education and the
expensive assistance of publishers, labels, studios, distributors and lawyers. Today, artists can leverage low-cost tools
and new methods of distribution to connect with their audience directly, and keep more of their royalties and rights. This
book covers everything from how to blog and podcast to the ins and outs of social networking and internet syndication. Specific
chapters help authors, musicians, and filmmakers, (yours truly contributed to this chapter).
• FILM FESTIVAL SECRETS by Chris Holland
This book answers most every question a short or feature filmmaker asks when they're ready to start down that difficult festival
trail. B-Side Entertainment exec and film festival insider Holland gives you the candid, honest dope on a whole host of topics:
selecting the right festival for your film, preparing your festival screener, saving money on festival fees, creating marketing
collateral, crafting a screening sell-out plan, and much more. What's the second best thing about this book? IT'S FREE!
Follow the links and download your free copy. I did it myself.
4. WHO THE HELL IS JODY HILL?
|Jody Hill speaking at No Budget Film
One of the first things I cover in my class are the differences between no-budget independent filmmaking and studio filmmaking.
I argue that the two are in alternate universes, where the opposite rules apply to each discipline, (credit where credit
is due--Peter Broderick came up with this comparison when we were at Next Wave Films). One such difference is that no-budget
filmmaking is about launching careers, while studio filmmaking is about sustaining careers. This is an important and key
difference, and understanding what this means will influence the kind of film you choose to make in each universe. While
generally speaking, studios tend to produce safe, run-of-the-mill, broader-audience, commercial films (for obvious reasons),
filmmakers attempting to launch their careers with no-budget films need to do everything but that. Your films need to be
bold, unique, and niche. You need to take risks and make something that will differentiate you from every other guy or girl
with a camera, (which will soon be everyone--with a cell phone). If you're trying to figure out how to make a crowd-pleasing,
safe, commercial film for $10,000, you are doomed to failure. Believe me, I've seen literally hundreds of these films, and
it's never pretty.
So even if your little no-budget film doesn't make you a buck, if it gets you to the next level--hopefully the ability to
make another film on someone else's dollar--then you have succeeded. So while you may not have heard of Jody Hill
or seen his $70,000 shot-on-credit cards subversive comedy "The Foot Fist Way"
--which premiered in the Midnight section
of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and nearly disappeared after that, until a half-assed distribution effort last year by
Paramount Vantage before they called it quits--that's not important. Will Ferrell saw it and loved it and now Jody has a
show currently running on HBO, ("Eastbound & Down"
) and a $30 million studio comedy starring Seth Rogen coming soon
to a theater near you, ("Observe And Report"
(Incidentally, Jody was a guest speaker in my October 2006 class).
5. SHOOTING "CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE" ON FAMILY CAM
Ok, I'm really pissed at no-budget filmmakers! Why did it take so long and a studio film, no less, to figure out that it
would be really cool to shoot an action film with tiny consumer cameras. This idea was proposed to me about eight or nine
years ago by an established indie producer who was starting a production company that was going to take advantage of all the
cheap digital cameras that were coming onto the market, and make action films where you would put these cameras in all kinds
of crazy places--grill of a car, on objects falling from buildings or flying through the air. Who cared if you destroyed
a few along the way--they were cheap, and think of the shots you'd get! But then that company never happened and now years
later I read all about how "Crank 2" (the sequel to "Crank" - get it?), used dozens of tiny HD consumer cameras, including
the Canon XH A1 (a $3,000 camera), the Canon VIXIA HF10 (a $950 camera), and the slightly higher-end Sony EX1 (a $6,000 camera,
used for slow motion work). The A1 is an HDV camera shooting on miniDV tape, while the HF10 shoots AVCHD on tiny SD memory
cards. One scene was shot with 15 HF10's, five A1's, and one EX1--at the same time--hidden all over the room. The coolest
aspect of the shoot was how they moved these cameras, attaching them to cheap store-bought rigs, (like Manfrotto's $300 Fig
Rig), or their own home-made rigs, (see picture). No dolly or Steadicam was used on this film--they often rollerbladed with
the camera in hand. This is a $20 million studio film, people! If they can do it, you can do it too. Say "no" to expensive
cameras and tape formats! Read 27 year-old DP Brandon Trost's interview in the current issue of HD Video Pro magazine. Look
for it on newsstands.
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