Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Midnight Rider" Videos

I don't have words today. This video is moments before the train ran into this crew. Director Randall Miller recently accepted a plea deal to serve 2 years in prison and 8 on probation. Executive Producer Jay Sedrish and 1st AD Hillary Schwartz received 10 years of probation each. Charges were dropped against Jody Savin.

This is the scene on the bridge.

Happy Filmmaking, and RIP, Sarah.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Moment of Silence for Sarah Jones

Tomorrow, the parents of Sarah Jones ask those in the film industry to have a moment of silence before the first shoot of the day.  Jones died on-set a year ago while filming in Georgia. If you are affiliated with the film industry, please honor this moment of silence. If you are on-set and you see something dangerous, report it, possibly with this app.

Be safe and happy filmmaking!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Magic Bullet 12 Released!

Need a color job, but can't afford a colorist? While nothing replaces a good colorist, smaller jobs can be done with the use of the proper editing tools. Magic Bullet has been around for a while, and today, Magic Bullet 12 was released. The entire suite looks fantastic for quick jobs, like music videos or wedding videography. Demos are available on Red Giant's website. Check it out! The suite is not cheap ($800), but you may be able to offset the costs if your production volume is high.

Happy Filmmaking!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New Year: What Are Your Filmmaking Goals?

We are now 10 days into the new year. When I was at the Richard Lawson studio, we learned how to map out our goals and visualize your career road map. It's a very good practice to me instead of making yet another generic resolution. By zeroing on on how to actually achieve your goals and your deadlines, you are far more likely to complete them. Here are my filmmaking goals as a model:

  • I have a thesis I am working on as a short film. Because I must complete the film and showcase it to graduate, this is my primary goal for the year. I will complete this film by the designated deadline as agreed upon by my professor and me.
  • I'm going to buy a cine lens set by August since I am shooting far more often. I will offset the cost by completing more work.
  • I will advertise for more work by making an updated reel and promoting myself in other cities.
  • I will enter production on a new music documentary by November. I will start preproduction slowly, but I should complete preproduction by July.
  • I will write another script by October.
  • I will update the WGA registration on all of my materials by March.
  • I will collaborate and network with more local film talent, joining their projects and visiting their groups. This will be a continuous effort. I started to work on this goal by joining local "film scrambles."
  • I will try to support as many projects as I can. My network is very talented and I believe in them.
You can always expand on some goals or eliminate impossible ones. Try it. Happy New Year and Happy Filmmaking.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Working for Free: Part II

Again, in case you are bombarded with this "proposition"...

Happy Filmmaking.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Is Hollywood a "White Industry"?

Chris Rock recently wrote an essay about being black in Hollywood.

While I agree with Chris Rock on many points, I feel his argument is a little actor-centric. He did state that key decision-makers/creatives are rarely black. Too many blacks in the industry focus on being in front of the camera instead of behind it. Therein lies the problem. We also have to move beyond black showrunners, black screenwriters, black directors, and black producers. We also need black executive producers, black distributors, black theatre owners, black editors, black DPs, black MPAA raters, and black entertainment professionals.

When I was interviewing at many production companies post-graduation, I noticed how "white" many of these companies actually are. Some companies had no racial or ethnic minority visible. It's a terrible feeling to know you may be wasting your time. And unfortunately, many black production companies cannot afford to hire you, as they may be folding next month. But as a young emerging creative who happens to be a minority, you are often pigeonholed into creating films that emphasize your otherness, not the next Wizard of Oz. The plus side is that many young professionals are passionate about diversifying Hollywood, and if enough of those passionate people get together, Dear White People, or films like it, emerge.

The following quote struck a chord with me the most:
I don't think the world expected things to change overnight because Obama got elected president. Of course it's changed, though, it's just changed with kids. And when you're a kid, you're not thinking of any of this shit. Black kids watch The Lord of the Rings and they want to be the Lord of the Rings. I remember when they were doing Starsky and; Hutch, and my manager was like, "We might be able to get you the part of Huggy Bear," which eventually went to Snoop Dogg. I was like: "Do you understand that when my brother and I watched Starsky and Hutch growing up, I would play Starsky and he would play Hutch? I don't want to play f—ing Huggy Bear. This is not a historical drama. This is not Thomas Jefferson. It's a movie based on a shitty TV show, it can be anybody. Who cares. If they want me to play Starsky or Hutch, or even the bad guy, I'm down. But Huggy Bear?"
Rock's frustration resonates with me because my mother, my brother, my fiancé, and I are huge science fiction fans. We are able to enjoy science fiction just like anyone else and largely do not understand why #blackstormtrooper is so controversial. Black people cannot star in science fiction, fantasy, or superhero films? The new Spiderman received the same racial backlash as #blackstormtrooper, and so did Hunger Games despite the character being originally written as a black girl.

I wrote an unproduced pilot for a production company that folded called The Adventures of Maxis and Kevin. It's about this adventure-like video game character and this everyman community college student. I wrote no racial identifiers for Kevin, but envisioned him in my mind to be a black kid. He could easily be any race. But the reason I wrote this story was because I grew up on video games. I'm a Gen-Yer born in 1984. I related to Oregon Trail, Super Mario, and Zelda. I didn't feel the need to write that Kevin was black because it added nothing to the story, however, just because I didn't specify doesn't mean he's automatically a white character either.

Once a minority filmmaker can make films without them being consider "race" films, we can say we have arrived. But we are not there yet.

Happy Filmmaking.