Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

On The Set – of “a Real Movie!”

Saturday, 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

SCRATCH 8 is coming soon!

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

I received this information from Assimilate today.  It looked good enough to share. So here it is.

header-newsletter
SCRATCH 8 is coming soon!

Enjoy this preview of the powerful collaboration tools for cloud-enabled work that comprise SCRATCH V8. See the unrivaled new remote capabilities that allow any number of artists to collaborate on grading, compositing, and editing – even simultaneously!

Now you really  can  be in two places at once.

 

 

October Event roundup

“In October, we held SCRATCH User Group meetings in Amsterdam, Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles where we showed version 8 publicly for the first time. Here’s what the people had to say about SCRATCH V8!

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Sony Professional Solutions Middle East and Africa Offers Free License of ASSIMILATE SCRATCH Lab with Purchase of Sony PMW-F5, PMW-F55 and F65 Digital Cinema Cameras! Read more

 

Parke Gregg at Stuck-on-On uses SCRATCH to  enhance and refine looks for award-winning features

Parke Gregg, founder and chief colorist at post house Stuck-on-On is a pro user of ASSIMILATE’s SCRATCH post-production tools and real-time data workflow. ASSIMILATE first talked with Parke about the post and DI in SCRATCH for the critically acclaimed and award-winning “Take Shelter” feature, directed by Jeff Nichols. At that time, Parke gave high praise to the creative benefits of SCRATCH, especially when working with the director and DP during client sessions.

Q:  When you get film from a director, what specifically are you looking for in terms of color correction?

A: It’s definitely a multi-faceted discipline because there’s a significant technical component where we’re dealing with frame rates and multiple codex and levels. You dive deep into the science of digital video. You have to couple that with a strong creative component, so as a colorist and as a digital intermediate (DI) post-production editor, you’re constantly wearing multiple hats. Nowadays, the creative component is significantly growing. The colorist is truly on the storytelling team and is much more of a collaborator with the director of photography (DP) and the director than possibly in the past, so every project is different . . . Read the rest of the interview
tutorial.png

Amsterdam IBC 2013 User Group Remote Demo

Check out this demonstration of how using SCRATCH Remote
increases team creativity and productivity.

This being a casual recording of a live event,  the image and sound quality is less than ideal. We decided it was worth sharing the presentation even with its imperfections.


View all ASSIMILATE tutorials

 

Pro Video Coalition reports on how to use  Surface Pro to successfully collaborate with anyone, anywhere.
Read more

FilmConvert releases
a plugin for Assimilate SCRATCH. Another Perfect Union.
Watch the video

Colorist and DI supervisor Alex MacLean discusses
his work.
Read more

 

Check out where in the world ASSIMILATE is showcasing…

November 27 & 28
SCRATCH Workshop

Mexico City

December 3-6
Ventana Sur

Buenos Aires

December 9-15
Between Stills and Motion

Havana Cuba

Follow ASSIMILATE on…

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Sign up for the
Insights Newsletter


© Copyright ASSIMILATE, Inc. | 3375 Scott Blvd | Suite 300 | Santa Clara, CA 95054 | www.assimilateinc.com

 

Blackmagic Design News IBC 2013

Friday, September 13th, 2013

- ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K ($2,495). A new extremely advanced Ultra HD live production switcher with 6G-SDI technology for only US$2,495. It includes new features such as 10 independent 6G-SDI inputs each with frame sync, built in DVE with zoom, scale and rotate, 4 upstream chroma keyers, 3 independent aux outputs with front panel control and a larger media pool that holds both still frame graphics as well as motion video clips. (http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/dk/press/pressdetails?releaseID=46474)

 
- New SmartScope Duo 4K announced today is a dual 8 inch LCD rack monitoring with built in broadcast accurate wave form monitoring, now also includes 6G-SDI for Ultra HD support. (http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/dk/press/pressdetails?releaseID=46504)

 
- HyperDeck Studio 2 and HyperDeck Studio Pro 2: New models of our popular broadcast disk recorders, which are also now available for $995 for the HyperDeck Studio and $1995 for the HyperDeck Studio Pro 2. These new models include a new machined metal design for a robust and professional looking product and a built in AC power supply. (http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/dk/press/pressdetails?releaseID=46498)

 
- Public beta of Resolve 10: DaVinci Resolve 10 public beta is now available for customers to download. We announced Resolve 10 at NAB, which is a major update including newfeatures for integrating the workflows of multiple different software, upgraded on set tools and editing features, support for OpenFX plug ins as well as new tools for delivering final project masters to cinemas. Also we are including the addition of Ultra HD resolutions and additional GPU support on the free of charge DaVinci Resolve Lite edition. (http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/dk/press/pressdetails?releaseID=46480)

 
- New 4K Mini Converter Models (http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/dk/press/pressdetails?releaseID=46492) are designed to ease the transition into Ultra HD workflows and allow lower cost Ultra HD studios to be built. These new models are fully compatible with SD, HD and Ultra HD equipment and automatically switch between video formats and will retail for $495 each.

 
- HyperDeck Software Update 4.0: A new update for HyperDeck Studio Pro, which now supports Apple ProRes file formats, ProRes 422, ProRes 422 (LT) and ProRes (Proxy). (http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/dk/press/pressdetails?releaseID=46444)

 
- Desktop Video 10: This major new software update for our Desktop Video software for our UltraStudio 4K and DeckLink 4K Extreme capture and playback products replaces all processing with a wholly new design. The update allows for new features such as simultaneous capture and playback and new frame buffer formats, and will beavailable in October free of charge. http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/dk/press/pressdetails?releaseID=46486

#INKMINIGT 7 April 2013 on Twitter

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Check out the fun tweets and Vine videos and pics from the Twitter feed, from the Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire’s NAB Show 2013 KISS Mini Golf Tournament!

Jason Konoza ‏@jasonkonoza
Busy Sunday at @NABShow. PPW learnin’ and keynote this morning. @Sony and @Avid events this aft & @INKMINIGT KISS mini golf tonight. #whew

Steve Courtney ‏@malderor
Long day of learnin’. Time for #cinebeer and later KISS mini-golf with @INKMINIGT #nabshow

Michael Kammes ‏@michaelkammes
#Blackmagic shindig over…now heading to KISS mini golf with @quintessential and crew!

Christina Vitagliano ‏@MonsterMiniGolf
Have fun! “@quintessential: #INKMINIGT in full effect! (@ KISS @MonsterMiniGolf w/ @kyl33t) [pic]: http://4sq.com/Y8xQEe ”

Tony Vescio ‏@zebratape
Oh yeah, this is happening…KISS Mini Golf!!! @ KISS Monster Mini-Golf

Michael Kammes ‏@michaelkammes
KISS Mini Golf !

Kylee Wall ‏@kyl33t
Just…yeah. KISS mini golf.

Tony Vescio ‏@zebratape
Catman @ KISS Monster Mini-Golf

Michael Kammes ‏@michaelkammes
More KISS mini golf

Scott Simmons ‏@editblog
Kiss Monster Mini Golf. Yep.

Tony Vescio ‏@zebratape
Oh hai! @ KISS Monster Mini-Golf

Steve Courtney ‏@malderor
My first introduction to @DylanReeve is us getting paired up to play KISS mini-golf together. #postchat #nabshow

Matt Penn ‏@mattpenndotcom
Kiss minigolf!

Doug Daulton ‏@dougdaulton
Rockin’ out with @oddernod. @ KISS Monster Mini-Golf

Evan Pease ‏@Jack_McFly
Fake Gene Simmons rockin at Kiss Monster Mini Golf.

Ko Maruyama ‏@ninjacrayon
Hanging with @rbirnholz and @arcohen at kiss minigolf

Matt Penn ‏@mattpenndotcom
KISS Mini Golf! #Magic https://vine.co/v/bTV5m2I00mL

Liam ‏@EditorLiam
Kiss Minigolf #inkminigt if your in Vegas for nab, you should be here

Carey Dissmore ‏@careyd
Jeff Greenberg taps one in. #INKMINIGT

Kanen Flowers ‏@kanendosei
It’s @ninjacrayon showing his Scruffy!

Tony Vescio ‏@zebratape
I took it, 3 – 2 “@Jack_McFly: .@zebratape is chewing up the air hockey table. #INKMINIGT

Evan Pease ‏@Jack_McFly
#inkminigt & #kmmg is amazing. But lets be honest, hole 11 is total bullshit.

Evan Pease ‏@Jack_McFly
#postchat represented under black light at #inkminigt

Evan Pease ‏@Jack_McFly
The #INKMINIGT at #KMMG is a spectacle to behold. Pretty wild. #fb

Scott Simmons ‏@editblog
@quintessential great time @monsterminigolf for #INKMINIGT

Brad Hagen ‏@bradvr
@INKMINIGT thanks for hosting another great #nab event.

No Whining on the Yacht — Why I Love the Scruffy Thinking Podcast

Friday, January 25th, 2013

*Explicit Tag*

I don’t believe in luck, good or bad. Although, I don’t discount tragedy.

I’m fairly certain life is a fucked up dichotomy that’s always throwing shit at you and yet gives you the opportunity to behold the most beautiful experiences there are to behold. I think in the face of this, we use whatever guile we have to hopefully steer us in the direction of more of the latter.

In travelling this road, I’ve recently and not so recently made some observations. To borrow from a quote in “The Long Kiss Goodnight”, “Life is pain! Get used to it!” or more specifically, my feeling is: “Life is not fair. Get used to it.” Moreover, if you want anything in life, you have to actually go get it.

“People aren’t lucky.”
The appearance of luck is really a whole shit-ton of hard work and putting yourself into situations where “luck” can happen. Luck is action.

“The grass is always greener on the other side”. This is a funny one. A co-worker and I were discussing this a bit the other day. He talked about how a young man asked an older man, “should I get married?” The morale of the story was basically, if you do you’ll always be wondering what life would be like if you didn’t and if you don’t, you’ll always be wondering what life would have been like if you had. We’re always wondering, “what if?” That’s human nature. I had the epiphany “what if you didn’t always wonder and were completely satisfied with every decision you made?”

“If you aren’t living the most beautiful existence you can, it’s your own damn fault!”
You cannot blame anyone else. You can but it won’t lead you out. I’ve got to tell you I am living an extremely “lucky/blessed” existence. I have amazing experiences and I get to meet amazing people. I also have “amazing” kids! They are the light of my life and encompass the entirety of my purpose to exist. I can’t go on enough about this aspect of my life so I’ll just leave it at that. I work hard at it. But like someone told me a long, long time ago, “it’s easier to live in a higher condition than in a lower one.” In other words, you may think it’s a long long hard road and see nothing but more hard work in the future but when you get to a certain level it’s less work to maintain a good existence than you would be or are exerting at a lower one.

“Don’t let your past control your future!”
We have experienced failure and it “hurts” but to let that pain control you, will limit you. Just imagine if you lived the life you wanted to live and nothing held you back. That is what’s possible. Life will continue to throw shit. Know that and move on.

“Get over it!” This one is a hard one for me but the more I can apply it, the better I am for it. There is tragedy and there are people who would like nothing better than to piss you (or anyone) off. The more you stick to those moments in life, the less positive energy you have to create more good in your life and the lives of others. Shake it off.

“Help others.”
Spend time helping others. There is so much selfishness in the world that it sometimes has the ability to spread around like an unfortunate oil spill, getting goo all over. Remove yourself from that goo and do something to help others, volunteer somewhere, tutor someone, give to a family services charity or do whatever you want that helps. It will feel good.

“Look, Listen and Learn.”
I, for one, hate stupidity. I see people making mistakes all the time. The majority of the time, it is because people go on automatic. They are not present in the moment. They are walking through a world they have imagined in their heads and assume that’s the reality of what’s outside their head. Also, there is so much wisdom around. Be here and now and look around and observe. Listen to what the world is telling you. Listen to what people are saying around you. And, learn from it.

“There’s no whining on the yacht.”
I learned this one from Kanen Flowers of Scruffy Thinking. He learned it from someone and he says it from time to time on his podcasts to emphasize how silly it is to complain about such small uncomfortable situations when we’re living a pretty amazing life. It’s true. We are. And if you don’t think you are, see above or perhaps just look at it from another angle. My wife gave a sigh this morning about some task she was about to do. I just told her, “There’s no whining on the yacht!” I mean look at the most amazing day you are about to spend, enjoying time with our amazing children. This is a time that will not repeat itself. Take it in and sip the champagne!

When you put together the meanings of all of the sayings above, and apply them to your life, one could get a pretty remarkable outlook on life and move forward with huge leaps and bounds.

This is what has happened to me, with the help of the Scruffy Thinking podcast and other experiences that I choose to expose myself to. I am experiencing a change in my view on life. Kanen has conversations with some of the most amazing people and through their sharing of life views, I have been able to examine my own life and experiences and synthesize my own ideas and approaches that I want to take. The paragraphs above are an example of that. This is why I love all of the Scruffy Thinking podcasts: Scruffy Thinking, Ruining it For Everyone and That Post Show. So, thank you Kanen! What you do means a lot. I feel you are contributing to a better world. Again, thank you!

40 years ago ACE started the Student Editor Program/Competition

Friday, December 7th, 2012

As probably one of the oldest editing students in existence, (I’m a late bloomer. What can I say?) I am challenging myself to do and learn all I can in this field that has captured my heart and soul. For the past almost five years, I have been taking college filmmaking classes, starting with my first editing class on February 18, 2008.
I have been to many events and have met many award winning editors, including Eric Kench who took home the Student Editing Award last year:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jCxQy_nVvkc

In my pursuit of editing knowledge, I recently made an eBay purchase of old American Cinemeditor magazine, the then ACE publication, and I found this among it’s pages:

Photo from the Winter, 1972-73 American Cinemeditor Magazine

So, forty years ago (I was five-years old) this competition began. ‘Could it be an omen? I hope so!

Either way, I’m proud to be participating in the competion this year and being a part of such a rich history of cinema editing. This upcoming ACE Eddie awards is February 16, 2013, almost exactly five years since I started this journey!

Congratulations to all the participants this year and years past, I am humbled and honored to be in your company.

The State of Shrinking Expos and Budgets (or more, really, What I Found Interesting at Createasphere’s ETE)

Friday, November 9th, 2012

I find it kind of sad to see expositions like DV Expo and Createasphere’s Entertainment Technology Expo shrinking in size. But, I guess, that’s a sign of the times.

I don’t know what that sign represents but it’s a sign of something.

One thing I’ve found is that while there are less companies and attendees at these expos, there is an opportunity to get more quality networking accomplished.

I also like the fact that I can discover cool things based on what others find interesting at the show.

The first, most vocal, booth wrangler was, I’m assuming, Alex Mikhaylov (at least that’s what the card he gave me said) from Production Tube (www.production-tube.com). He basically stated that it was a free site to post Who you were, what you did and videos, etc.

I ran into a few people I knew there. One, Thomas Mathai (@rebeldigitalgod), pointed me to Scayl (www.scayl.com, @scayl). I went there and talked to the EVP, Lars Soderstrom. Scayl is apparently “email without limits”. In other words, you can share large video files via email, as long as you both have a Scayl account. The service is free, up to a point, but can be very scalable to large companies. He wants people to give it a try, to see how they like it and to help get the word out about it. This is a new service that has a lot of potential for many uses. So you got a large file you want to send to someone? Give it a try.

Noah Gusdorff and crew from Creative Mobile Solutions (http://www.cmsi.tv) introduced me to the Magma (www.magma.com, @magmaexpressbox) folks who have a *very* interesting Thunderbolt to PCI-E slot solution. Take a look at these pictures and see if you can see what I mean.






Yes. All that stuff is connected to the 15″ retina display macbook pro!

Michael Kammes from Key Code Media was on hand to show off their interesting take on LEGOs and clay (actually he was showing shooting with a Red and splitting the signal off to a couple of places for PRoRes files (or DNxHD) and proxies and live streaming through a NewTek TriCaster) but he also pointed out Assimilate’s booth which was showing off a 4K Dolby monitor, which didn’t really impress me. Maybe because the guys working the booth were too busy sitting around bullshitting with each other to give a crap about us being there.

LAPPG (http://www.lappg.com) had a booth there. Yay!

And there were a couple free magazines on hand.

For my entertainment value, I sat in on the Peter Deming, ASC presentation. What a career this guys has! That was quite a presentation. Very glad I attended that one. (I’m sure they’ll post the video soon.) (It’s now posted! Click link above or on pic.)

And then the “reception”. Last year it was bigger and had free grub. This year, you had to buy at the taco truck.

Of the 20 people that told me that they were going, I saw four and heard another two were there at other times. (I find people not so motivated to attend things, lately.)

The reception was a bit dull, so we opted to go to Denny’s across the street rather than even cashing in our free drink tickets.

Did have a great time meeting with Brian C. Janes (@briancjanes) and talking post, freelance and entrepreneurial slants.

1980 All Over Again

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

This week I got a “Movie Maker” magazine from the UK, that I bought off of eBay. It’s from 1980. It’s a magazine that covers the amateur filmmaking movement. This particular edition incorporates writing talent from what seems to be a merging of two to three different magazines. In other words, this is one of the first issues where Amateur Cine World and 8mm Movie Maker and Film Making (or just Film Making) magazines are combined into one magazine. It’s a British magazine and has UK ads in it.

It’s very intriguing in many aspects. The first page is numbered “793″ and continues on to “884″. I gather this is a British convention, whereas, since this is issue No. 11, from a Vol. 14, that issue No. 1 would have started from page 1 and No. 12 will end in the 900′s. Looking at all the old gear and advices is mind blowing. It’s like a history lesson. It’s like what I should have been doing with my life in 1980. It may very well be what some of my older friends in the industry might have been doing in 1980.

As a late starter or a “late-comer” to this particular aspect of my life, I sometimes feel sad that I didn’t do more, earlier in life in this field, especially since I had plenty of interest in it. Coming from the sane place I want to come from, in my heart, I try not to be too disappointed in this fact and try hard to just enjoy that I have arrived here and try to concentrate on all the good to come.

Another thing that’s funny about this magazine is the line, “Twenty years ago, when amateur movies were experiencing their biggest boom…”. That means in 1960! Full disclosure, I was born in 1967.

The 1980 magazine talks a lot about Super 8 and 16mm but remember VHS and Star Wars have been around a few years by now. “Video” though was a thought as there is a review of a VHS recorder in the mag. It kind of reminds me of the Film vs. Digital talk of recent years.

There’s a ton of cine clubs listed in the mag too. Ah! Remember clubs? http://wordpress.quintessentialstudios.net/?p=350

The main reason I bought the magazine was the article title on the cover, “A Fresh Look At Film Editing”. The article turns out to be the first in a series on film editing by none other than Bernard Ashby. At the time, Ashby is credited with “…currently heading the team responsible for editing and dubbing Shoestring.” (for BBC Television.) The title of the article in the pages of the magazine is “A Matter of Choice” and this part, “Part 1: Choosing the Shot”. The advice in here is amazing! (I think I could copy the article for educational purposes and not violate any copyright laws, right? I’ll look into this and see what I can share.) I love the line “Don’t be afraid to experiment, however. Faint heart and feeble ‘scissors’ will never win a Ten Best Oscar.”

This magazine reminded me what it was like to be 13 all over again and of some of the ideas and reasons why I love film. It spawned my search for the Monster Makeup book that I have been trying to remember that I owned as a kid. And now I found it!

Wildebeests and Rabbits

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Alternate Title: What Inspires Me? (Every G’damn Thing I Witness!)

A recent podcast discovery of mine is Scruffy Thinking by Kanen Flowers.

I’ve known about his That Post Show podcast for some years now and his Life Zero one (now defunct) a bit too.

Since the return of That Post Show (there was a bit of a hiatus) I noticed that it was under the banner of Scruffy Thinking, apparently an umbrella moniker which describes where the idea well springs from.

I, at first, just perused the “new” podcast looking for post related content. One guest who caught my attention on That Post Show was Merlin Mann. Sorry, I’m late to the show but I didn’t know who he was. Still don’t really but he’s really smart and thus funny. I am utterly impressed with his ability to geek out on Star Wars and take you on the longest freaking tangents only to be spot on with every step of that journey and bring you right back around to the salient point of the topic at hand. I really admire his ability there, definitely a quality I wish I had.

It’s so funny how he keeps going on the tangent, all the while apologizing for doing so and still keeps going! Just fucking epic!

So, searching for more Merlin Mann content, I find Scruffy Thinking podcast episode 18, “Chasing Wildebeests”. This particular episode also has Stu Maschwitz, writer of The DV Rebel’s Guide, a book that just happens to be in a lot of independent filmmaker’s library, including mine.

I commute about an hour to work, on the days I work, and podcasts provide a great way to get more filmmaking inspiration and education (mostly inspiration).

This particular episode is also an hour and forty-four minutes long! So, it took two sides of my commute to finish but well worth it. So much so, that I’ve listened to it a number of times. I think the reason it resonates so much for me is that it talks about a lot of the things that are constantly on my mind: priorities, doing what you love vs. a “day job” and time management (which is really “priorities” isn’t it?) especially “family time”!

Kanen’s grandma, I think has had to have been one of the most amazing influences on his life, mainly because of two reasons that I know of: buying him his first computer and giving him the advice to follow what you love to do and you won’t have to worry about making a living, it’ll happen. Looking back on my life, my Grandmothers were very influential to me as well. I think I could go on for quite a long time about how important grandparents are to a child. Parents too, obviously, but sometimes a grandparent has just a bit more of a broader view. They’ve seen a bit more of what life really comes down to and imparting that loving view to a kid brings a much needed balance, they may not get otherwise.

So, in the “Chasing Wildebeests” podcast, that particular advice is examined in great detail. Stu taking the “this is why you must do what you want to do” view and Merlin taking the “let us not forget the trail of the fallen on your ‘path’ to superstardom” view. The ying and the yang of these two on this topic is EPIC!

This topic is so much on my mind these days, it consumes almost every minute of my thoughts and I’m constantly working on solutions to answer questions related to this topic. I even mentioned trying to balance what I wanted to do with my life vs. time with my family to Kanen himself at NAB, before I even knew about this particular podcast. So, I think it’s kind of serendipitous that I happened to listen to it when I did.

I’m even going to take a Franklin-Covey class, in about a week, called “FOCUS: Achieving Your Highest Priorities”. This I’ve been planning for quite awhile. It was recommended to me by one of the most (apparently) organized guys that I know. He went on quite a while about the virtues of this class and how it’s changed his life and how it helped him be able to brush off the unimportant. In short, it sounded like just the thing I needed to take!

I am pretty excited to have the opportunity to gain another tool to help me define who I am and what I want to become and, hopefully, gain more traction in that direction, all the while being able to, hopefully, achieve the balance I want to achieve in my life.

There are so many views and ideas related to this very topic, that I think I’m going to start my own webcast/vidcast on it. I want to share what I find in this arena to others. Those that know me, know that one of the most important things to me, that define who I am, is helping people do what they want to do. I have long held the same belief that Kanen’s grandmother shared, “do what you love to do.” You can see that as a common thread in my past blog posts too. It’s who I am.

At this point, if you haven’t listened to “Chasing Wildbeests“, please do so. Then return and finish reading this blog post. Then leave a comment. Thank you.

Okay, so now you get what I mean. Right?

How many of us are that hyper tiger/lion trying to catch ten wildebeests? How many of us are chasing our dreams at all? Are you “driving a beater around the track”? Were you a skater in the mid 80′s too? Yes, I too went on the hunt for Mr. Chin in my late teens. (a motorcycle accident later ruined my balance but “good times” for sure.)

I hope we can all find balance and work better at reaching our goals. It’s, as they say, the journey, not the destination, right? To borrow a line: Happiness is the overcoming of not unknowable obstacles toward a known goal.

Kanen Flowers’ podcasts inspire me to action and I hope they do/will for you too. I hope that what I “keep rappin’” here reaches some people. I hope to improve all I do too. I hope to be passionate about “every g’damn thing I do”!

Talk to you soon!

For those of you expecting a NAB post, one’s coming. In the meantime, check out @Kyl33t’s post on Creative Cow: http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/confessions-of-an-nab-virgin. Pretty much describes what I feel about NAB!

#INKMINIGT* Official Prize List

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Thank you to all the sponsors and partners and bloggers and tweeters for playing along and getting the word out!

The main point of this party is to have fun and set the mood for a great NAB!

For those of you that could pony up for the VIP tickets, GREAT! You will get to play golf for free and get the beer and food and be in the running for the sponsored prizes. There are a limited number of VIP collector’s passes (first come first served) but I think there will be enough for all of you.

For those of you who RSVP’d for a “We’ll just come hang out!” That’s AWESOME too! I can’t wait to see my old friends and make new ones!

Are you psyched? I’m PSYCHED!

I am still banging out the official itinerary but will post it here when it’s complete.

Thanks to our sponsors:
Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire, KISS by Monster Mini Golf, Blackmagic Design, JAG35, Divergent Media, Focal Press, DV Expo, DigiEffects, ArtBeats, Assisted Editing, RevoStock, FilmTees and iKan Corp!

I am sure there will be more before “tee time” and for those who couldn’t donate this year, there’s always next year!

So the prizes are…

From Blackmagic Desgn

A copy of Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve Software ($995)

A Blackmagic Design HyperDeck Shuttle ($345 value)


From JAG35.com

A JAG35 Straight Rig ($400 value)

A JAG35 Street Runner Rig ($250 value)


From Divergent Media

A copy of ClipWrap ($50 value)

and

A copy of ScopeBox 3.0 ($100 value)


From Focal Press

9 Focal Press Books:

3-DIY – Stereoscopic Moviemaking on an Indie Budget
By Ray Zone
Plug-in to After Effects – Third Party Plug-in Mastery
By Michele Yamazaki
The Insider’s Guide to Independent Film Distribution
Second Edition – By Stacey Parks
First-Time Filmmaker F*#^-ups – Navigating the Pitfalls to Making a Great Movie – By Daryl Goldberg
Final Cut Pro X for iMovie and Final Cut Express Users – Making the Creative Leap – By Tom Wolsky
FilmCraft: Editing – By Justin Chang
Make Your Movie – What You Need to Know About the Business and Politics of Filmmaking – By Barbara Freedman Doyle
Filming the Fantastic: A Guide to Visual Effects Cinematography, Second Edition – A Guide to Visual Effects Cinematography
By Mark Sawicki
Indie Film Producing – The Craft of Low Budget Filmmaking
By Suzanne Lyons


From DV Expo

A Three-day VIP pass to DV Expo West ($975 value)


From DigiEffects

3 Copies of DigiEffects DigiSuite ($499 value, each)


From ArtBeats

A prize of $500 worth of stock footage of the winners choice from ArtBeats


From Assisted Editing

AssistedEditing.com

a $100 voucher to spend on any Assisted Editing products


From iKan Corp

A VL5 monitor ($349 value)


From Film Tees

FilmTees.com T-shirts!


From RevoStock

$1,000 in RevoStock credit! (5x$100 and 1x$500)


From Red Giant Software

$5,000 in Red Giant Software Prizes!


OFFICIAL SIGN-UP HERE.

*#INKMINIGT = [I]FIE (Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire) [N]AB (National Association of Broadcasters’ NAB Show) [K]ISS (by Monster [Mini] [G]olf) [T]ournament. #INKMINIGT is the official hashtag for the event. Get involved! Tweet it up!

GOOD LUCK!!! SEE YOU THERE!!!

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