Archive for the ‘Rants and Raves’ Category

My Latest Favorite Podcasts

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

In an effort to define (more like, “find”) myself artistically, I’ve turned to photography. Like most of the arts I’ve been interested in, I’ve been interested in photography for a long time. I keenly recall taking pictures, fairly intently, since the age of ten.

Recently, I saw a post on Facebook by an old-time “opinion leader” of mine (I say opinion leader but more in the vein of “I pay attention to what they say and am willing to think about those thoughts and see how I feel about them”, as there aren’t too many people whom I’ll attest to blindly listen to.) that went something like, “a dabbler’s life is just dabbling.” I’m pretty sure I’m misquoting that but it was something like that. I’ve also recently confessed in one of my notebook notes that I’ve never really been good at anything.

Since I’ve found editing and filmmaking, which has been about ten years now, I learn a lot of things online, whether via videos, classes, blogs, vlogs or podcasts. My favorite podcasts currently are: Artful Camera, Our Week in Video, Here be Monsters. I’ll do a Go Creative Show, if none of the above have anything new but it’s starting to get a little too glitzy for me. I just discovered The wondering DP, so I can’t favorite it yet but I found his approach to learning, as interviewed on the Go Creative Show podcast, to be genius so I hope it will become one.

I like the Artful Camera podcast because Carl Olsen seems to be like me in that he likes a lot of different kinds of art, although assuredly he’s much more advanced than I am. He recently re-invented and re-branded his podcast from the Digital Convergence podcast and I like the direction he’s taking. He covers a wide array of photography and videography, including many analog forms. This is quite refreshing.

I like Our Week in Video because it’s a couple of blokes from the UK who talk about wedding videography and the challenge of it and the tech and craft of it and it challenges me because I’m a “I don’t do weddings” kind of guy. Although listening to them, I think, “ooh that’s challenging. Maybe I will try.” They are guys who push themselves and I appreciate that and want to foster that in myself.

Here be Monsters is a KCRW podcast, one of many I might listen to that has very interesting stories and for storytelling’s sake, they expand my mind and give me ideas. It’s on the dark side and I tend to like the dark side of things, when it comes to movies, news, etc. I wish life wasn’t so dark but I can’t shake my interest in these types of stories.

For this current dabble of mine, I think it’ll improve me cinematography, although I don’t necessarily want to be a DP or a Camera man. I also see it improving my editing, which has kind of been on hold as of late. All together, I think it’ll improve my writing, as well.

None of the above holds a candle to being a father and the joy I get being around my kids but I hope it’ll help me be better at that too. I think it’s important to be an example of “follow your dreams” to them.

Six Years of #IFIE!

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

In the summer of 2008, I felt alone as a filmmaker, living 40 miles outside the mecca that is Hollywood. It was an interesting time. The digital revolution was beginning and I had begun in that direction with the purchase of an HVX200, after learning all about it’s virtues from History and Discovery Channel veteran, Jim Lindsay, during a 20-day intensive class on HD.

Along with digital media’s growth, social media was blooming. MySpace died but we got to see Four-Eyed Monsters come on the scene and then Twitter took over, followed by Facebook.

I spawned a project-based filmmaking group with some friends and we began to learn every aspect of filmmaking that we could. This experiment concluded with a 48-hour film project. After which everyone went their own separate way.

Again, I was alone. In the desert of the IE…

I looked for a group like the groups there were in L.A. for filmmakers. There were none. I knew I had to create one, here in the Inland Empire, where the flakes and the misfits, including myself, lived. And we must be called, “IFIE”!

And in the winter of 2009, the Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire was born. Six-years later, we have grown from eight members to over 1,000 registered members and a regular attendance to our monthly meetings.

We continue because of the continual comments from our members thanking us for existing and telling us that they now have a home, with kindred spirits.

We thank all of our sponsors and presenters over the years. Thank you for helping to provide a home for wayward filmmaking souls!

I look forward to what the future holds. My seven-year old son just started his filmmaking journey with his award-winning first film, Giant Land Snake vs. the Volcano, Cloud and the Farmers. My five-year old daughter acted in her first short film and wants to make a film now. I’m finishing up my last class required for four Film and Television certificates at RCC. Creativity abounds and I meet new filmmakers every month. I think it’s time for a new era of IFIE.


Find out more about our IFIE Meetups at

Perseverance, Taking a Break and Rejuvination

Saturday, 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

Tuesday, 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: 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.



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.

Passion vs. Pay

Friday, August 9th, 2013

I was asked last night, in a conversation about pay vs. passion, what the selection process is like for me, since I’m not a full-time editor and I really base all of my projects on “passion”.

I unfortunately have to base my day job on pay, I do have a family to feed, after all.  That isn’t really different in my eyes than editing something I’m not passionate about, like a lot of working editors do.  What benefit are you getting then, other than a pay check?  That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me either.  But having a job just makes my “free” time even that more valuable to me.  That is the time I have to spend with my kids, my wife or my friends.  You almost can’t pay me enough to give up any of that time.  Fortunately, with my current job, I have a decent amount of that time.

As an artistic type, I am drawn to create.  I am passionate about what I do and I want to spend endless amounts of time doing that.  It’s just a part of me. I can’t stop it without there being a price of unhappiness.

The time I spend away from my son and daughter, kills me too, even more so.  It’s a balance between getting enough time into all of my passions in life so I don’t sink into a depressive pit of despair.  With the limited time and ALL of the things I want to do, it’s almost an unwinable battle. Time is my worst enemy.  As I’ve tweeted, “So, my main problem to solve is how to squeeze 268 hours into a 168 hour week.” You’d think as an editor, controlling time would be an easy feat.  I guess I gotta get better!

So, my process of selection goes like this: I have the following criteria, 1) Do I want to do it? i.e. Do I care about the project or the people involved in it?  2) Is it worth missing out on time with my kids?  This is a big one.  If I want to do it, then maybe we can work something out, IF, 3) Is there enough time for me to spread it out over enough of a period of time that I don’t feel like I’m missing out of #2 above.

I feel that I don’t have to work inside the box or work my way up in the business the standard way.  I feel that I can find more than enough projects to build my skills that will take me where I want to go, through contacts, friends, etc.  I also feel, there is some power in creating your own projects to work on.  I have a few of those up my sleeve.

I am a firm believer in doing what you love.  I don’t think it’ll be that long until I can do that “full-time”, either.  The opportunities keep broadening for me.  I’m happy with the progress I’m making.

I was also asked if I considered myself a hobbyist, you know, just doing it as a hobby.  No, definitely not a hobby.  I spend so much time organizing events for others to be able to do and learn about filmmaking, putting together training for others to learn filmmaking and editing, doing projects and just proselytizing about the subject in general that it’s much more than a hobby.  And note, I do make money doing what I do.  Not a lot, yet, but I refuse to work for free and I refuse to pass on work to others unless there’s pay involved.  I’ve long passed the point of doing free work.  But I understand why some may do it.  There’s more to pay than “pay”!  There’s experience, being recognized, other forms of exchange and barter.  These are all valid reasons to take on projects.

As long as you’re happy doing the project, then it’s okay.  Do it, I say.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

How the NSA Inspired Me to Organize My Film Book Library

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

This week I was listening to a story on public radio about the history of technology and how this all lead to the ability of the NSA to do what it does now, scan our emails and phone calls.

Some interesting early technologies that lead up to this were: the telegraph (1874), by Thomas A. Edison and, of all things, the Dewey
decimal system.   Melvil Dewey developed this system, the first hexadecimal system, to code books for cataloging.  With this number you could almost know everything that was in the book.  This was in the mid 1870’s.  In 1889, the U.S. Census bureau adopted Herman Hollerith’s punch card system to tabulate the U.S. population within weeks.  Also, by the turn of the century, American cities were wired to an innovative telegraph system for police and fire alarms.  These key factors required a lot of human interaction to work but they laid the groundwork for the technology that exists today.

The one thing that stuck with me was how amazing it was that all that information on a book could be detailed within its call number.

Coincidently, I made a film book purchase this day.  The ad read something like, “10 feet of editing and film books for $40”.  There were 89 books in all.  This brought my personal collection to over 300 film books.  I was eager to let a couple of film friends I met for dinner know about all the books I now had.  Earlier in our conversation, I had also mentioned to them about my curiosity about the Dewey decimal system and how I was now going to study it more.  One of them said, “So are you going to organize your film library with the Dewey decimal system?” and that was it!  Of course I was!

I’m still learning about it but figured a good place to start would be to just look up the call numbers of the books I have and go from there.  I currently have been able to find about 150 books’ call numbers.  They fall mainly into two major divisions 778.5 and 791.  According to the Dewey Decimal Classification:  Class 700 is fine arts and recreation.  770 is photography and photographs.  778 is specific fields and special kinds of photography; cinematography and video production; related activities.  791 is public performances.

Further classification has 778.5 as cinematography, video production, related activities. 778.59 is video production.  791.4 is motion pictures, radio, television, although I seem to have books from 791, 791.01, 791.02, 791.03, 791.1, 791.37, 791.45, 791.76, 791.9 and 791.92.

While I realize my nerdiness is showing, I’m really quite enjoying this project.  I think it’ll help me to actually read more, a goal of mine.

Perfect Your Craft, Indie Producer

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Listening to a lot of tech talk on podcasts lately and seeing a lot of talk out there on workflows, etc., brought a thought to my mind…

Technology be damned! Perfect your craft!

In today’s age, it is just a matter of time until perfect pictures can be transmitted to any device or venue. This will also be a democratized situation, where it can happen at practically any budget, if not basically free.

So, stop fighting for perfect pictures now or for the top of the line this or that. Really, you can shoot perfectly good video and audio with a micro-micro budget and post-produce and post it now. You have to hand the ability to create endless streams of content. Everyone has it. There are countless channels of drivel out there. What stands you apart from everyone else out there? Your stories. Your viewpoint, your angle of view of the world. So I’ll repeat, hone your craft.

Not a producer? Just an editor or a shooter or a grip? Perfect your craft! Digital storytelling requires as few or as many hands as are needed for each different situation. There have always been different sizes of productions. Size has never been the deciding factor for quality. There are quality projects at all levels of production size. That being said, if you plan to be a part of a bigger team, a team is as great as the sum of its weakest parts (they say). Do your part to be the best at whatever you do. Obviously some parts are more technical than others, but technology really isn’t that important. What is important is what do you have to say and how well do you say it?

Artistry is a quality of communication. Communication is basically a technical factor. Technologically, it can be delivered with precision. That is constantly being worked on. It almost happens without effort. But the art with which it is delivered is what I think most of you reading this blog would be most interested in. So as artists, artisans and crafters, that is the one thing we can really concentrate our efforts on, to the end of a well received piece.

So, let me admonish you all to “perfect your craft!”

–Eric Francis Harnden

“The Four ‘A’s’ of Editing” or “‘Smoke’ and Mirrors”

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Posted March 3, 2012

Wow! I nearly went a month without a blog post. (Oops! I waited too long to finish this entry and now I’m over a month!)

Just for the record, this has been a wonderful week for me (Knock on wood!) I guess I’m “manic depressive” because the following week wasn’t so grand… :(

I have recently been selected to train and demo Autodesk Smoke. I’m pretty excited about that! Due to time constraints, I’ve been informed that I may not be able to do this… :( <- The main reason for my duldrums.... BUT... I am still going ahead with my self-study of this program. It's very complicated (and I'm a bright guy and a good study!) So, the challenge is appealling to me!

[The good week:] SaturdayA couple of Saturdays ago, I had a great call with a very helpful Hollywood editor who I will be working with to help people reach their Hollywood goals. I really love talking to guys like that who are into helping others. They’re really a great inspiration. I was also hinted to by a company head that a post job that I really would like to do was available again. I was able to get some good Smoke training in [that] Sunday and then Monday and Tuesday I was able to spend a whole lot of time with my kids, which is the best part of anything I do! Tuesday, we also went to see our accountant for taxes and that went well. Great dinner with the Mrs. after that (lots of future planning, etc.) and followed up with yesterday (Wednesday) going to LAFCPUG and hanging with a ton of editor friends and meeting some new ones! Today, [couple Thursdays ago] I got to spend some time with my kids again and shuffled off to work to no real traffic, good weather and a stop at the mailbox to see lots of editing books awaiting me! (I love getting editing books and mags, etc. It’s like Christmas to me!) I learned tomorrow is bonus day and I got a gift certificate from a co-worker to one of my favortite lunch places. So, yeah, things are good.

Following all of that, Saturday, February 25th, I am officially calling “International (well So Cal, anyway) Editor Networking Day”! Was just amazing. I started off the day carpooling to the ACE IAVA event and hung out with a lot of editor friends listening to the Oscar nominated editors talk about the films that they worked on and career, etc. Then we went to an after-event ACE Intern get-together and met a lot of great people. Then a couple of us went to the Act of Valor Q&A screening. Got to see some more twitter friends there and, even after that, met some more photo/editor people (who happened to be at the screening too) in line to the restaurant we went to. So that was definitely a WHOLE day of editor networking! And, that was a great week, Sat. – Sat., in whole.

So, what’s on my plate for this “semester” then? Apple’s Final Cut Pro 7, additional training; Avid’s Pro Tools 10, totally new to it; Autodesk’s Smoke on a Mac, as above; perhaps some Apple (again) FCP X, as it actually is gaining appeal with me and I think Adobe will have to wait until they really come through with their Adobe Prelude or another CS release (which is rumored to be soon). Which reminds me. This next post was supposed to about said Adobe Prelude but alas, there isn’t much more to add than what Philip Hodgetts and Scott Simmons have blogged about.

Above, I mentioned for “A” companies: Apple, Adobe and Avid, the “major” players in the pro editing game but there are a few other companies that are out there. Autodesk’s Smoke, I also mentioned, is a complete post workflow solution from aquisition to finish. I’ve marveled at their promo reels for years. Just stunning work comes from the talented finishers using this program. It’s almost like they were first and then Adobe and Apple came along trying to emulate what they do and they get a little closer each time.

The “big” downer is the “big” price. Smoke on a Mac costs $14,000.00. In todays environment, it seems like that’s a steep price to pay for an “editing” program. Over pizza, after LAFCPUG, one editor said “I wish Grant (Grant Petty CEO of Blackmagic design) would buy it and make it $999 and call it a day!” That would be awesome. Blackmagic design has worked hard, helping to democratize the post production line. They bought DaVinci Resolve and made it $999, after all! But don’t let the price of a program deter you from learning it. Autodesk has a 30-day free trial and TONS of on-line tutorials. They also have a free student license. So, enroll in school (Hey! like I do!) and avail yourself of it, if you’re so inclined, and we can be study buddies!

I have a feeling we’re going to hear some great things from Autodesk Smoke at NAB. I just hope they don’t make my training obsolete like Apple did with FCP X, last year!

Just for the record — Other video editing options (that I know of):
Sony Vegas
FCP Express
Windows MovieMaker
Photoshop (yes, photoshop)
Avid Studio
Media 100
Lightworks <-Free!

Alright. That's enough for this rant. I've got a NAB party to plan! Talk to you soon.

Oh! BTW, we are touring Light Iron (the Hollywood digital post facility) March 12th. Feel free to join us!

Four Years! (Time to Reach Some Goals!)

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

As one gets older, time goes by faster and faster. It’ll be four years (on Feb 18) since I started on this video editing journey, when I first stepped into TEL-64, Digital Editing Principles, at Riverside Community College, taught by one Nino Giornalista and began to be amazed at this wondrous program called Final Cut Pro 6!

Since then, I’ve amassed over 100 filmmaking books, countless magazines, thirty-five film and TV and computer related college credits, some CEUs, quite a few certificate classes and seminars and a few hundred(?) hours of actual experience (including a couple IMBD credits). Even with all of this education, I would still not say I’m “ready for prime time”.

I have a firm belief in “too long a runway” will give you more opportunity to fail. So, I’m prepping for take-off soon, so that I don’t fall off the cliff. I’d rather get some miles flown away from the island toward filmmaking civilization than be forever stranded and never accomplish anything.

In my quest, I also reach back and try to help others in similar quests too. As you know, I run the Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire. I do this to help create a community in my area. It’s rewarding and I get more back than I put into it, so that’s cool too.

In taking off, it helps to have a flight plan and, per my earlier post, I’m defining more and more who I am, or more accurately where I’m going.

At LAFCPUG this last Wednesday, there was a career coach that talked about “Breakthrough goals”. These I would describe as steps toward a larger objective. This quarter, I am going to edit for someone else’s project. This is something a little bit off of my island that I feel will really start me on my journey.

I’m also going to start to finish reading the books I have. The key word there is finish. I seem to start a lot of them but an easily distracted toward some other thing. I guess this all fits into my overall goal for myself to be more streamlined. I think finishing what I start is a good definition for that goal. Shot.edit.learn has started a filmmaking book club, this should help me get through some books!

I am working with some others who want to work on their filmmaking goals this year too. Working together helps.

Here’s to you and you reaching your goals! If I can assist in any way, let me know!

Two Weeks In. How’s Your 2012 Shaping Up?

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Okay, so I promised to write here more often and here’s another post to help keep up with my word.

It’s already been two weeks and it barely feels like two days!

I’ve had one photo-travel getaway, had a couple of great meetings, and I almost have all the Christmas decorations put away.

I tweeted this the end of Dec: “If ‘writing is rewriting’ and ‘editing is re-editing’, I’m going to ‘invent’ myself in 2012.” I think for me, at this point, that that means I’m going to try to really define what goals I want for myself and define, more clearly, who I am. Existentially, that, really, always changes but for this phase of “me”, I am deciding to give myself some more clearly defined “boundaries”, let’s say.

Hmm… yeah… so I guess this post is really about how as much as I want to be defined, I am always well aware that life is a “globulous” organism, constantly in flux. I’ve heard it said, “You never know which road you’re on” when it comes to career. You may start out doing one thing and never realize you’re going to be heading down a path to do another thing, that you’re going to completely enjoy but that you’ve never heard of before.

Having said all of that, let me start to define who I am. By “who I am”, I mean in the working sense. This has no bearing on what kind of person I am (necessarily), my family life nor my political views (I hate talking politics, BTW), etc. I am an editor. This itself has many definitions and is my favorite label. I am a producer. I founded and run a filmmaking usergroup. I am a student (on many levels, career and life and I consider this under the term “life-long learner”).

Now that it’s clear who I am… crystal, right…? I will try to keep my future posts related to the above four labels. (Note: “editor” label will include the occasional VFX, colorist, audio, etc. [anything post related really] topics and “producer” label may include various filmmaking topics.) I have many adventures planned this year. I hope you’ll join me.