Buddha and Jesus, According to Bob

May 22nd, 2015

I have here an example of why sometimes it’s great to engage in conversation with your fellow human beings, instead of just sitting in silence, waiting around for something.

Arriving early to the AAA office to register my car, I sat on the planter next to “Bob T.”. At least that’s what the name tag on his trucking company shirt said. Bob was an older Asian fellow (originally from Thailand, I would later find out) who was quick to return a smile and engage in conversation.

Through his heavily accented English, which I knew most people wouldn’t be able to understand, Bob started to talk to me about strange weather we were having and how it was due to the Earth actually spinning slower than normal. He also went on to tell me that because of this phenomenon that this was the reason we were losing planes. The wind was unable to keep up with them as it should and radar tracking doesn’t work right under these conditions. This was not all that was wrong with the planet, it turns out.

Because of it being still cool in May and the varying of hot and cold and hard rain, etc., Bob has had to replant his flowers, over and again. Things were off. Man, you see, is adding more and more chemicals into the environment. These chemicals are seating themselves into the dirt. The dirt and dust that comes down when it rains. (Apparently, that’s why your car gets so dirty when it rains!)

These chemicals are having an effect on humans and animals.

These chemicals are making people more and more easily angered and wanting to fight with one another. That’s why there is such an increase in violence on the planet. It’s not just here in the US. Bob is a world traveler and has witnessed these things in people all over the world.

I asked Bob if there was a solution to this problem. Well, you see, Jesus will be coming around again. We need to make ourselves right for that time.

Bob has made it a point to study religion from many backgrounds. Particularly helpful was an old pastor of his whom recently passed away. I gather he was a born-again Christian type of pastor from the talk we’re having. Bob said that the pastor helped him understand the bible and the different concepts in it. Bob added that I shouldn’t believe what he said but to take these ideas and inspect them for myself and see if they are true for me.

He explained further that it was the falling away from the first five commandments that was leading mankind down the wrong path.

Bob went on to tell me about how Jesus died for our sins so that we could be saved and that the problem Jesus had in his time, was that he fought against the government, fought for people to not pay taxes and preached directly to the common man. Doing so, he made the government angry and that is why they hung him on a cross. Buddha on the other hand took a different approach.

There wasn’t much difference in what Buddha and Christ were teaching. They just took different approaches to spreading their word. You see Buddha went directly to the ruler and sold him on his ideas and because of this was given free reign to spread his teachings amongst its people. So therein, I learned a very important lesson. If you want to reach more people without getting hassle from the Man. You need to go to the top honcho around those parts and sell him on the idea. Then he’ll give you the keys to the kingdom.

And it was at that time, AAA opened for business.

Thanks Bob!

#INKMINIGT 2015 What Is It and The Official Prize List

March 26th, 2015

In 2012, the first Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire, NAB [National Association of Broadcasters], KISS [by Monster Mini Golf] Mini Golf Tournament (INKMINIGT) was born.

What is it and why do I throw this party?

It is indoor glow-in-the dark mini-golf in a KISS (the band) theme. And, yes, that is all that it sounds like it is! And, it is a fun way to start off NAB.

“Way back” in 2009, I went to my first NAB. I was also on Twitter at that time and I made a lot of friends in post production. Going to NAB was like a class-reunion or a coming home week. I got to meet all my friends face to face, or as they say these days, IRL (in real life).

The NAB Show is very cool and overwhelming but it’s the time after hours that really shines. There are big events and parties galore. This is where you get to see people with their hair down, so to speak.

Each year it’s the same and only gets better. Sure, sometimes I think, ah maybe I won’t go this year. But, I end up going and it has always been the best decision because it really, really pumps me up for the rest of the year.

Anyway, the first and second year, we used to meet at the Yardhouse on the Sunday night that starts NAB. It was okay but it kind of dwindled down and was kind of boring. In 2010-2011, I saw a movie that had an indoor GITD monster mini golf course in it and thought that would be fun to do and soon learned that soon a KISS themed one was opening in Vegas, just before the 2012 NAB. The rest is history.

Because I also founded the Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire (ifotie.com), I had connections to sponsors and I enlisted their help in prize contributions. (Who are more than eager to support it by the way! So big props to our sponsors because they get it!) So far, with the exception of 2014, when my friends over at Going Postal Show (http://www.goingpostalshow.com/) ran the party, I have used my own money to throw the party. Yes, the ticket costs money to attend, but for each and every person that attends, I personally have to outlay about $15. That adds up and one day I hope to get sponsorship money to make up that difference, but for now, it’s just my gift to my friends in the filmmaking community. And it’s worth it! This community is my second family.

    Now on to the prizes for this year:

  • An UltraStudio Mini Monitor from BlackMagic Design
  • An UltraStudio Mini Recorder from BlackMagic Design
  • 2 copies of audio master suite from Sony Creative Software (one for MAC and one for PC)
  • Some copies of DIGISUITE from DigiEffects
  • A couple Imagine Products Power Banks
    Have you ever been on set or location and realized your phone or tablet is about to die? No electrical outlet in sight, right? No worries, We’ve Got Your Back(up!). These power banks use the USB cord from your phone or tablet to re-charge your device in less than an hour from 0 to 100%. We’ve always helped you protect your assets, now we are helping you stay in touch.

  • Three (3) $100 credit packages from Revostock
  • One $100 credit for any of Intelligent Assistance apps
  • Two $500 vouchers from ArtBeats
  • Prizes from Digital Rebellion
  • 2x Atmospheres from That Studio
  • 1x CONFORM STUDIO from That Studio
  • A copy of ScopeBox from Divergent Media
  • A copy of EditReady from Divergent Media
  • 3 iOgrapher cases and a wide and telephoto lens for each
  • 8x Certificate for a Focal Press book of your choice
  • Media Composer from Avid
    • The following Toolfarm training classes:

    • After Effects Expressions Series 1 – 6
    • Toolfarm Professional Keying with Keylight: Toolfarm Expert Series
    • Toolfarm Professional Training for Primatte Keyer Pro: Toolfarm Expert Series
    • Toolfarm Professional Training for the After Effects Camera: Toolfarm Expert Series
    • Toolfarm Professional Training with Trapcode 3S: Toolfarm Expert Series
    • Toolfarm University After Effects and CINEMA 4D – 3D Tracker Training
  • Adobe Swag
  • Special Limited Edition Surprise from THAT Studio! (You’re going to want this one folks!)
  • A subscription to Adobe CC
  • 2 individual product downloads of choice from Rampant Design Tools
  • A copy of Magic Bullet Looks from Red Giant Software
  • $100 gift card to the Wooden Camera webstore
  • A copy of Zombie Apocalypse Sound Effects Library from Blastwave FX
  • $100 Gift Card from Maxon
  • Some T-Shirts from Maxon
  • 5 HDRI Steel Balls from Maxon

To register for the event go to: http://inkminigt2015.eventbrite.com

NABShow 2015 and #INKMINIGT

March 6th, 2015

Well folks, April is around the corner and that means the annual migration of “broadercasters*” to Las Vegas for the NAB Show.

Since 2009, I have been attending NAB and as I’ve mentioned over and over again, I think I will always try to find a way to go.

In 2012, I threw the first #INKMINIGT (Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire KISS Mini Golf Tournament) and we will be throwing the fourth one this year, on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 9 PM.

Tickets can be purchased here: https://inkminigt2015.eventbrite.com.

I am dedicating this year’s party to the memory of one of our regular attendees and all around great video production person and friend that we lost in 2014, Brad Hagen. He was the founder of Video Resources and a personal inspiration to me and many others.

I will be attending NAB and going to #INKMINIGT, MediaMotion Ball and Supermeet.

Stay tuned for news and updates. Follow my twitter feed for the most up-to-date information!

Divergent Media announced today immediate availability of EditReady 1.2 with support for AVCHD and HDV

March 6th, 2015

Divergent Media announced today immediate availability of EditReady 1.2 with support for AVCHD and HDV camera footage, integrated from their industry leading ClipWrap application. Upgrade pricing is available for existing ClipWrap users.

March 2, 2015 San Francisco, CA – Since its launch in mid-2014, EditReady has quickly gained a reputation as the fastest, easiest transcoding tool on the Mac. With frequent updates, it has gained support for formats like MXF and Sony’s XAVC-L. EditReady 1.2 adds support for hundreds of the most popular cameras which shoot to AVCHD and HDV transport streams.

“By combining the rock solid AVCHD and HDV format support from ClipWrap with the advanced hardware acceleration, GPU filtering and modern user interface of EditReady,” said CEO Mike Woodworth, “we’re one step closer to our goal of a single application for users to prep any footage for edit, dailies, or delivery.”

Consolidating the two products gives EditReady users access to a huge collection of newly supported source cameras. ClipWrap users transitioning to EditReady will be able to take advantage of EditReady’s clean user interface, video preview, metadata editing, and hardware accelerated pipeline.

About EditReady

Rewraps and transcodes HDV and AVCHD, QuickTime, MP4 and MXF input
In addition to the various AVCHD and HDV cameras supported by ClipWrap, EditReady can transcode footage from MXF and Quicktime cameras such as the GoPro, iPhone, Arri Alexa, Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Sony F7, digital SLRs and many more.

Preview videos and see thumbnails
EditReady shows thumbnails of clips for at-a-glance review and organization. GPU accelerated preview allows quick review of footage before transcode and even supports LUTs (look up tables) for simple color correction.

Custom metadata and file naming
EditReady’s metadata editor makes it simple to check the metadata embedded by the camera, correct problems, and add additional info. Any of the metadata can be used to build custom naming schemes for output files.

Fast
EditReady was written from the ground up to use hardware accelerated encode and decode available in many modern Macs, as well as GPU based color transforms. EditReady takes the power and speed of ClipWrap and turns it up to 11.

Availability
EditReady 1.2 is available as a free update for existing EditReady users, and as a $29.95 crossgrade for existing ClipWrap users.

To learn more about EditReady, visit http://www.divergentmedia.com/editready.

About Divergent Media

Divergent Media is a San Francisco, CA based software company providing flexible tools for video monitoring, acquisition, transcoding, and quality assurance. In business for over 10 years, we pride ourselves on making well made tools for video professionals.

2015 – Where Do I/We Go From Here?

January 2nd, 2015

I talk a lot about trying to find out who I am and what I want to do. So, what does that say about me? I guess I’m unhappy with what I’m doing for a living, overall. A creative stuck in a boring non-creative job. I make up for that lack of “fun” by filling as much of my free time with as many creative things as I can.

Recently, like yesterday, I got some more inspiration from Sue Bryce, of Creative Live fame.

She said some things on her Confront Your Challenges course: https://www.creativelive.com/courses/confront-your-challenges-sue-bryce that really made me think.
(When this airs on CL, you can buy the course and watch it anytime you want.) She was questioning a participant as to whether they really wanted to be a photographer, if they weren’t doing what they needed to do to be one. Then, Segment 10, Emotional Honesty, had me in tears. (Most anytime I hear stories about people doing what they love after being told they can’t, I break down.) I think I have some unresolved issues in that arena!

Anyway, that brought me to this kind of thought process:

For my New Year’s Resolution, “Be the person you want to be. Do the things you want to do.” Well… Then:
Who do I want to be? What do I want to do?

As Sue asked her participant, I ask myself: What do I do for free or spend most of my time doing, that I should be doing as my career?

Outside of my day job, I spend time:
Being with my kids/family
Helping people do what they want to do/Consulting/Advising
Shooting Music Videos
Shooting pictures
Shooting home movies
Writing
Taking Classes
Watching Movies and Television and Videos
Reading Internet Stories or forums
Selling and buying online
Gardening
Traveling
Reef Aquarium Keeping

What I want to do but don’t spend time doing or at least haven’t in the past year:
Editing
Shooting more videos and films
Dekludging my life

What ideas stop me from doing more of the above?
1) Time? (not really)
2) Money? (not really)
3) Thinking that there are already resources out there for people to accomplish the above? (Somewhat)
4) I, also, get side-tracked every time I run into a negative person that I have to deal with. I lose a week or more of creative productivity.

I once worked out for myself, that my job in life was to be a student, I was constantly learning things and figured I’d be doing that for the rest of my life and beyond. So, that is what I concentrated on. I think now that I must adjust that. Especially being a parent. I won’t stop learning but I need to start teaching and not the “those who can’t do, teach” kind of teaching but teach by doing and doing what I do very well.

So, for 2015, I’m upping everything I do.

I’m not sure exactly what that means but these notes are more for me to look over and apprise. So, we’ll see.

Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire Has a New Meeting Space

October 26th, 2014

From the beginning, finding a place to meet for IFIE (Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire) has been a challenge.

Last month The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire reached out to us and offered their facilities to us for our November meetup. I toured the space and it is awesome. I had no idea that we has such a great facility right in our own back yard!

Needless to say, we decided to give it a shot.

November 5th’s meeting will be to discuss the possibility of an upcoming group film project.

Please come to:
The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire
674 E. Brier Dr.
San Bernardino, CA 92408

The meeting is at 7:30 PM

Hopefully, we can continue to use the space for our 2015 meetings!

#TBT on a Saturday – Intro to Pro HD Class Intros – June 24th, 2008

September 13th, 2014

Intro to Pro HD Class Intros – June 24th, 2008

Eric:
My name is Eric Harnden. I, like my namesake [another person in the class named “Eric”], found out about the class through the LA final Cut Pro users group. My main passion is editing. I only recently got involved in it. I’ve always thought that I wanted to make movies, write, that kind of thing. In fact, when I was 38 I got kind of serious about writing and started going to creative screenwriting magazine’s screenings and then this last year volunteered at their expo and went to a few seminars there and learned a little bit about the craft. Just the whole process. I’ve had some intro to it because my ex-wife was a makeup artist. So, I’ve been on some sets and have seen how that whole thing works and you’re absolutely right about the craft services. (class laugh) Making the crew happy. I’ve seen that happen. I’m a network engineer, that’s my day job and I do alright and my wife’s a registered nurse, so I’m not doing this for money, it’s just a passion I have for editing, actually.

Jim Lindsay:
You know I think I’m going to have a red light that goes off every time the word, “passion” comes up….

Eric:
I think my end goal, I guess, is I can imagine myself getting an Oscar for editing, that would be the pinnacle of my career or whatever. Obviously I don’t see myself jumping right to that (class laugh) but I’m a realist as well. A kind of thing happened to me when I was 38 and I decided to write. I always had these stories in my head and I always thought that, you know, one day I’ll just run into like Stephen Spielberg or George Lucas and I’ll just tell them my ideas and that’ll be it. and then I realized well, (class laugh) that isn’t going to happen so you better start writing and putting stuff out there and do… make yourself known, before anything like that will really happen.

So anyway, I was kind of following the writing track for a couple years and then it’s a funny thing but I guess I was putting together, I got married a little over a year ago but I was putting together the wedding video and that whole, just kind of sparked in me, that I really liked putting this together and so I just started doing a lot of research as far as what would be the best programs and a guy I work with [Synthian Sharp] is a kind of advocate types of films [maker] and he was telling me about Final Cut Pro and he gave the whole how it’s like how Pro Tools. Like how Pro Tools isn’t actually taught much and how this other program [Logic] was coming up that these young guys where learning more and the final cut vs. Avid argument and so I researched that a lot and figured that Final Cut was the way I was going to go.

And I couldn’t afford to get my own system and so I went to my community college and took the class there. I just recently finished that and then during that whole process, got my own system and then started going to LA Final Cut Pro User Groups and then saw your announcement there.

And one thing I guess I want to get out of the class is I want to understand the whole cycle and how would I fit into that.

I also know, I want to be an independent editor so probably will do like music videos or something after this class and get some chops and maybe get a story written or produced or whatever.

Perseverance, Taking a Break and Rejuvination

August 9th, 2014

At about the time of my last post, Dec 2013, I bought an aquarium. I dove full on into that hobby and kind of put filmmaking on hold. I now have six running aquariums, a large shed full of empty tanks and stands and etc. and my office is overrun with aquarium supplies.

During that time, I also have been developing a movie idea, slowly. I have been doing it really to just keep my toe in the water, so to speak, but it’s a great idea. At least anyone I’ve told about it says so and I think so. So, that’s what matters, right?

My problem has always been stick-to-it-iveness, or lack thereof. I want to be good at and know a lot of things and I start of with a bang but then after awhile my enthusiasm for things wanes.

I’m at an age in this life where it doesn’t make much sense to start new things. I mean I’m a few years from 50, I should be accomplished in everything I was going to tackle this time ’round, shouldn’t I be? “If I had stuck to ___ when I first got interested in it, I’d be something, I tell ya!” Well, my friend, that didn’t happen. I turned around and poof got old. I don’t feel that old and actually hope by the time I am fifty that I’m in better shape than I’m in right now. That’s my goal anyway.

Now about longevity and completing things. I started this round of filmmaking interest or more acurately, wanting to be an editor, in 2008. Spring 2008, I took my first editing class (FCP6) at RCC. Over the years, I have taken more classes there and at other schools. I recently looked at the number of FTV classes I’ve taken at RCC and realized I’m only two classes away from getting my Film, Television & Video Production Specialist certificate. My schedule being what it is, it’s hard to get more than one class or external activity in at a time. Looking at the catalog, I figured I could squeeze one more class in this coming semester. So, at the end of this month, with my son starting Kindergarten and my daughter starting preschool and all of the other commitments I have, I am taking a writing class, Writing for Broadcast TV and Radio.

Before this editing journey started, I was convinced I was going to be a Hollywood writer and spent a few years starting to feel the waters of that whole side of things. I never really ever even started to write things or even learn proper formatting. I guess now I’ll finally get my chance to learn. I’m actually pretty excited to do so.

Also, at the end of this month, I am attending the Cutting Edge Tour with Adam Epstein, the SNL digital shorts editor. It’s a whole-day experience where he will show you the workflow that they use to create the short films used on SNL. He will also focus on the creative side of things. I’m excited for that too. I feel I really need this kick in the butt to get re-motivated to actually producing more and more content. I’m even more excited because I was planning on buying this and ended up winning a ticket through a Twitter contest. Go Internet!

It is my hope that the two classes will culminate in helping me put together a bunch of unfinished projects. In addition, I hope to use my new skills to put together the IFIE film project, which members of the Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire are really chomping at the bit for.

My wife doesn’t ever seem happy about anything I do but she’s begrudgingly helping me. I wish she could feign enthusiasm for me but I guess that’s just asking too much. Life should be a burden, I guess. Well at least one of us can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or maybe it’s just the walk in the tunnel that it is all about. ;) I’d rather drag a bunch of suitcases along in the sand trying to get to the goal than just sit and make camp. That’s just me. I’ll make it regardless. Or at least die trying!

Why The Future of “The Independent” Film is Lost

December 3rd, 2013

I really meant to say “fucked” but opted for a milder word in the title.

I’m not going to say it’s all lost because it’s not. But the following two things have solidified that the traditional route for independent film and a certain independent magazine are not long for this world.

1) Here is an email exchange. Read as if I’m forwarding an email to you. Names have been changed blah blah blah….

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

from: An Independent Film Magazine
to: Eric Harnden
date: Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Hi Eric,

Thanks for reaching out. We have a pending grant request to get enough money to overhaul our site. We are very aware that it needs to be done. Until we raise the money, we don’t have resources to hire anyone. So unless you want to volunteer…

I don’t think returning to print is a viable solution for us. We are working on a book right now, and may publish more books in the future. But not the magazine.

All best,
Miss So and So
Editor, An Independent Film Magazine

from: Eric Harnden
to: An Independent Film Magazine
date: Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Dear Sirs,

I’ve been involved in independent film for five years and this is the first I’ve heard of your magazine.

I think that’s a problem that I want to help solve.

One of the reasons this is concerning to me is that there is still a big “missing ingredient” to indie film and your publication can fill it.

I have recently been looking into becoming an independent film “aggregator”, if you will, and came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to do the job. I sure would like you guys to perhaps fill that need, then.

With your fine history, I think it’s quite doable. With just enough social media push it could be overwhelmingly so.

What are your plans for future print publications? Would this be covered in your “Phase Four” agenda? I think a continued print version is vital.

To get more of an idea of where I’m coming from about the missing ingredient/the aggregator/the cool DJ concept for indie filmmaking, please see my post here: http://www.meetup.com/Independent-Filmmakers-of-the-Inland-Empire-Meetup-Group/messages/boards/thread/38512032 and listen to that referenced podcast.

Let me know what you think. I am very interested in what your future plans are and how I can help.

Thanks,
Eric

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I mean WTF! They have completely missed the boat. Did they read my email. Am I completely off the island? I don’t think I asked for a job?! Holy Toledo! I don’t think they understand finance, marketing or business 101. “We need a grant to continue”? I just don’t get it. I wrote my email as a reply to a mass email asking for advertisers. Someone help me understand. Should I have worded things differently? Of course I want to “volunteer”. All I do is volunteer to help indie filmmakers. That should have been apparent in my signature text (which I have not included in this post). But how about a mission statement at least? I think they’re all over the map. This is an online film magazine that used to be in print.

2) I said there were two things that brought me to this conclusion. The second? Three views on my original blog post and I think those were all me.

Please comment below.

On The Set – of “a Real Movie!”

November 16th, 2013

Over the last month, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend nine days on the set of a feature film that was being shot in Los Angeles. The film is called Submerged and is written by Scott Milam (Mother’s Day) and directed by Steven C. Miller (Silent Night).

“The story follows a group of college kids on limo ride home from a party, they are soon forced off the road by a ring of vengeful kidnappers and must do what they can to survive.” – Dark Horizons

I met Steven, as I’ve met most of my film and TV contacts, through Twitter. In January of 2011, he spoke at my Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire group meeting and we’ve stayed connected, ever since. He is one dedicated filmmaker and his story is amazing. I’m not a big horror film fan, but I’m a fan of passionate drive and Steven is very driven.

Always willing to help people on their own filmmaking journeys, Steven invited a few individuals to be on set to witness movie-making magic. Additionally, someone involved with the film, posted that they were looking for extras for day 1. It was that post, because it happened to be on a day I was off of work, that set in motion my being involved.

Day 1
I arrived early to the base camp. As I exited the freeway, it was cool to see the yellow production signs guiding me to the right location. Upon parking, I saw Steven and he invited me on the transport van with him to drive to the filming spot. He gave me a little rundown of the film and when we got there, he flew into director mode and I hardly saw him the rest of the day. I say I hardly “saw” him. This was because, mostly, I was gathered with the extras (called “background”) and he was usually just out of my sight range but I could hear him all day. :) “…and ACTION!”, “CUT!”, etc.

We covered a few scenes that first day, at a “school” and at a restaurant. There were quite a few extras there and it was fun to get to meet them and hear their stories. Everyone has a story, from the top to the extras. Over my time on this production, I heard many. It’s almost as entertaining as the movie itself, all these different paths that brought people to and what they’ve done in Hollywood.

Most of the extras were young, playing high school students. I, being a little older, played what I’ll call “The Teacher”. So, that is the uncredited role I will always imagine myself as having played. So when you see the movie and you see some kids talking in the quad of the high school. Imagine me in the background as “The Teacher”.

You may also see my blurred out elbow passing behind a car’s back window as people are talking inside. If not that, then maybe you’ll see me walking past the window of the restaurant before the bullies enter, or maybe the top of my head inside the restaurant or maybe even one of the two guys grabbing a beer at the bar of the restaurant. As you can see, I’m a multi-faceted actor!

Getting the Education of a Lifetime
I was on set days 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12 out of the 15 that were shot.

Day 2, I almost got bumped up to PA, driving a big 20’ plus box-truck but they ended up having someone to drive it. One of the following days, though, I was called to action and spent a few days bopping around L.A. dropping off and picking up equipment at various rental locations. This was also fun, as I got to learn what and where certain things were gotten from and the process of that part of the production. My advice here is, keep your ears open, pay attention to what’s going on. If you have a skill that’s needed, speak up… and step up.

From being an extra to being a PA to just being on set being able to observe all of the moving pieces of a movie production, was amazing and invaluable as far as education goes. I learned more in those nine days then I have in all of the years I have been studying filmmaking. For that, I am eternally grateful to Steven and to all of the cast and crew for allowing me to be a part of their process.

While I was on set, I mostly stayed out of the way and watched and listened and learned. I surely engaged in conversations with cast and crew alike, but I made sure to not get in the way and to not be annoying. There is such a thing as asking too many questions. People on set have jobs to do, let them do them. There are plenty of opportunities to ask questions, when they’re not busy. There is an ebb and flow to the work on a set. Be aware of the tide.

I learned that one of the positives of this set in particular, is that each of the crews (separate groups within the main “crew”, like camera crew, grip crew, electric crew, hair and makeup crew, art crew, etc.) all got along. Sometimes, and most of the time, from what I gather, this isn’t the case on other sets. I consider myself lucky to have had my first extended stay on a film set be this positive.

No film production is all roses though and I did get to observe some issues that arise on set. This, too, though is invaluable as a learning experience. I’ve learned things to do and things not to do. Because of non-disclosure agreements, I can’t go into detail but for you, I will share this bit of advice, get on a set. Start with a small local set if you like, a student film, what have you, but get on a set and help out. Eventually, get yourself on a big production, on many big productions. Get on set and learn. There’s nothing else in the world like it.

Due to the nature of the actions and environments of this film, gun fights, fights, submerging vehicles, etc., safety was a top concern and we were given more-than-daily safety briefings about what was happening, what to be aware of and what to do. This was very helpful and kept me alert to potential dangers not only on this set but even thinking back to my own projects in the past and what to be thoughtful for future projects.

Back to Morale
I heard over and over again how this was either the best or one of the best movie experiences that people had been on. This was from all levels of the production. At the wrap party, I asked one of the guys from the art department, why he thought this project was so fun to work on. Note: this was a low budget movie (for Hollywood standards). People working on this project weren’t motivated by money to be on this project. They were here because they believed in something. Either they believed in the project itself or another person involved in the project. He said that there’s a lot to be said for the passion of the people involved and to see the amazing things that were being produced from their work. And, he added, that amazing Crafty that came on the second week. “People seem a lot happier when they have an amazing breakfast in their stomachs!” Amen Art Guy! Amen! That harkens me back to the “Number one rule” an early producer mentor of mine used to say, “Feed your crew!”

As far as the amazing things (pictures and acting) that were being produced, first off, the pictures (and by that I mean the footage that was being shot) were amazing! It was just damn beautiful to look at. I mean seriously, just beautiful. Then the awesome acting that was performed, I was awestruck. I was truly witnessing something amazing being created. This alone brought me back each day I could arrange to be there. I was hooked. It was awesome. Or as one Intern and I joked, “It looks like a real movie!”

Unfortunately or fortunately for me, it was so awesome that doing anything else, paled in comparison. Going back to my “day job” blew. I could think about nothing else but to get back on set. As I am now. I’m writing this at work!

High Caliber of Crew
One thing that impressed me was the ability of all the crew involved. Each was performing at the top of their game. Grips were able to set up flags and gels with blinding speed to attain the perfect lighting required of the amazing camera crew. The art department had to think on their feet and make last minute changes flawlessly. Makeup and hair, Costume Dept, on and on I saw each department working with or without instruction to create what was needed. It was like a ballet, each person and group performing their piece to the end of a perfectly executed show performance. The PA’s on the set were well grounded and each with complete filmmaking backgrounds themselves. It’s funny how many directors there were on set! People who have or are going to be directing their own films. There are a lot of these as PA’s. They were impeccable PA’s and rounded out the entire ensemble.

Everyone brought their “A” game to the table, from Executive Producers to Producers, to the Director and Director of Photography and his camera crew, from Writer to Actors to Stand Ins to Extras, from Scripty to Crafty from Stunt Coordinator to Stuntmen and Stuntwomen to the Behind the Scenes guy. Well, maybe not him… but he’s a hell of a nice guy! This was a magical slice of time that will stand for a long time as a litmus test to what can be. I know that I, for one, will be comparing my future endeavors to this production.

A “Final” Word
I will be writing more on this at a later date (when plot secrets can be revealed, etc.) but for now let me sum up. I have been a fan of Steven C. Miller’s work for some time now and it’s very satisfying to see him climb higher and higher and create bigger and better features. I have had the Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire for some time now (four year anniversary next month) and it’s very satisfying to see members of that group rise higher and higher. I have been studying filmmaking for some time now and it’s very satisfying to see my own understanding grow and grow. I am poised to make a leap to the next level and I hope you are too. Whatever that next step be, take it. Do the next thing. Don’t wait. A writer friend of mine recently told me of something that Rian Johnson said that just really clicked with him and that was something like, “There’s 500 of you in this room and my next piece of advice will be for the 5% of you who don’t need it. Most of you will go off and try to find the money to do your film and it will never be made. The other folks will gather all the money they can and back their project into that budget and make their film, regardless.” I am paraphrasing all over the place but it was that piece of advice that made him realize, he needed to make his film now, right now, with whatever he’s got. Whatever it is that you need to do next, please do it. You’re going to learn more by doing it than anything else.

Thank you.
Eric Francis Harnden