Saturday, August 30, 2008

SAY GOOD-BYE to SLIDESHOWS

Animoto is a new web application that produces MTV-style videos using your images and your music. Produced in a widescreen format, Animoto videos have the visual energy of a music video and the emotional impact of a movie trailer. And best of all, no two videos are ever the same. Ever.

Sharing these videos is easy too. You can easily embed them into your website or blog or onto social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. You can also e-mail them to friends and download them to your computer.

The guys at Animoto used to produce shows for MTV, Comedy Central & ABC, study classical music in London, play in rock bands in Seattle and develop software in Japan. They developed ANIMOTO, a patent-pending, Cinematic Artificial Intelligence that thinks like an actual editor and director. This A.I. makes the same sophisticated editing techniques used in television and in film available to everyone.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE: http://animoto.com

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Friday, August 29, 2008

How Movie Distribution Works

If you are making or have made an independent feature film with the hopes of having it play in movie theaters, you will need to understand how distribution works.

You've probably seen advertisements in your local paper for movies playing at a theater near you. Sometimes, the ad will say "Held over" or "Special engagement." What exactly does that mean? And just how do those movies get from the motion picture studio or the independent producer to the screen of your local theater?

In this aricle, you'll see the path of a film from an idea in someone's head to a movie screen at your neighborhood multiplex.

You'll learn what the "nut" is, find out the difference between negotiating and bidding, and finally understand the big reason why movie popcorn is so expensive!

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE by Jeff Tyson - http://www.howstuffworks.com/movie-distribution.htm

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

WHY FILM IN MICHIGAN?

Because the State of Michigan announced the best film tax rebate credit program in the nation! It's 40% Film Tax Rebate - 42% in 103 cities.

Additional Michigan Film Incentives include infrastructure & digital filmmaking funds and production company loans. CLICK HERE for full details of the Incentive Package proposed. - http://www.michiganfilmproduction.com/michigan_film_incentive
To begin you will need quality film budgets. These will enable you to present your projects to investors and the State of Michigan Film Commission to initiate the funding process for the Michigan Film Tax Rebate Credit.

The State of Michigan is a beautiful location to film your movie, television or new media project.

With 100's of miles of beaches and coastline, and scenic lakes, rivers, ponds, sand dunes, cities, countryside, farmlands, metropolitan and suburban settings - Michigan can provide locations for most any story. A true cross section of America, Michigan can double for 1,000's of towns, cities and rural settings of U.S. States and foreign settings as well. Combined with the Soon to Be Announced Film Incentives, Michigan is poised to draw many new projects to the state.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DELETED...THE GAME

This fall 2008, a new original web TV show is being released and it promises to blur the lines between fantasy and reality by drawing viewers into an online social game.

The original web TV show entitled, DELETED:THE GAME, revolves around Tyler who is struggling to piece together her life after a traumatic incident leaves her with a memory failure condition. Tyler develops a system to cope, recording important facts she uncovers in a chain of video logs.

Each episode comes out every Friday night running 5-8 mins long.

During the show's first season, she finds herself embroiled in a conspiracy. Tyler seeks help from her friends in the show but goes further to appeal for help from her current, and prospective online friends, on prominent social networking sites.

The producers have hidden a trail of clues in each episode and across the internet, setting up a massive online treasure hunt, an innovative combination unprecedented in TV history. For their help, viewers earn points towards prizes including an all-expenses paid trip to meet the cast at the end of the season.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE - http://www.deletedthegame.com

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Film Festivals

Hollywood is debating the cost of premiering its films at festivals. In frugal times such as these, the value of a large festival premiere has to be questioned and some festivals are far more expensive than others.

Films Festivals and awards were always chances for publicity and glorified photo opportunities where the rich and famous could get noticed and people could meet and network.

The saying is, "All publicity is good publicity, as long as they spell your name right," and festivals provided that. But, there are many new and innovative ways for publicity today and our world is changing with higher energy prices and green concerns. Today, every major city has a festival and in this digital electronic world, any film festival can be visited by anyone, anywhere in the world via the Internet. A lot of unnecessary travel and events will certainly be curtailed as people consider, "Is it worth it?"

We can meet and network with all the people we want via our computer but only at festivals will we meet the real movers and shakers. The major festivals will survive but the way we do things is clearly changing.

©2008, Stanley Lozowski. All Rights reserved.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Eight Hours a Day Watching TV by 2013

U.S. consumers will spend as much time consuming video by the year 2013 as they do sleeping!

“People are spending a lot more time with alternative forms, like PC-delivered video,” said Kaan Yigit. The analyst with Solutions Research Group added, “We believe the pie is expanding, and the appetite for video is remarkable, and non-video consumption on the net is converting, and there is and will be ambient video everywhere.”

The average American 12 and older spends about six hours a day with video-based entertainment today, up from 4.6 hours in 1996. That number will steadily increase to about eight hours in 2013. Video-based entertainment will include video games, Internet video, DVDs and mobile video.

But not all segments of the video pie will grow. The study found that PC, Web video and mobile video consumption will rise to about 2.9 hours per day from less than one hour today, while TV likely will shrink in market share.

CLICK HERE to READ MORE By Daisy Whitney at http://www.tvweek.com/news/2008/06/web_video_consumption_seen_hit.php

©2008 Crain Communications, Inc.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

From Stock to Stories

Using Different Content Libraries to provide stock footage to add context to your movies may not be a new idea, but it certainly works.

Stock footage has often been the last minute, gotta-find-this-shot, solution for producers as they scramble to complete a project.

But “stock” shots are being redefined by today’s professionals as they never pick up a camera and choose instead to create entire stories from existing libraries.

For instance, we recently worked with a producer who was creating a documentary on a college basketball team from the 1970s. Although our library contained NCAA footage of this team in competition, there was more to the story than just basketball. The story needed footage of other events from this time period, and these were found in other collections of stock footage.

For some high production value establishing shots, it was necessary to use content from HBO Archives and Sony Pictures. Even though great shots and content existed within each library, it took all of the libraries together to provide the scenes that would tell the story exactly the way the producer wanted. Countless stories just like this exist within existing content libraries, waiting to be told (or retold).

READ ALL BY Matt Winninger, Marketing Manager - http://www.thoughtequity.com/video/shell/txp/from-stock-to-stories.do?title=From%20Stock%20to%20Stories


Copyright 2004-2008 Thought Equity Motion. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Spotlight on: Writer-Director Lorrie Sheehy

It's interesting how we the theater-going public will salivate over people once they stand in the limelight on the rich red carpet of a Cali or West End sunset. Having wound their way around miles of velvet rope to get there, deservedly so - in one way or another, something glistens about them, and the attention paid is not really avoidable. The market demands it as we walk down streets plastered with posters and splash screens. Love us! Pay attention!

Yet for every dozen shining faces who catch a glimmer of the flashbulbs out front, there are a hundred others on the razor's edge making it happen in the background. Many filmmakers don't realize in their quest to land the big connection that it's the people who are actively "making it" in the "now" who will soon be on a cabbie screen near you as fully present "made" entertainers you'll want to know when your time comes to step up at the pitchfest.

In other words, hedge your bets. Pay attention to the powers that be going about their business behind the scenes to really make things work, and you'll get a much better understanding of who to approach next about your new film or project. Research and set out to meet the people you actually need to know.

To that effect we've tagged a few real life film and theater professionals who are out making a name for themselves being active in the industry, as opposed to active in the photo ops, and asked them relevant (we hope) questions about their basic strategy for survival and success in their industry.

Creative Producer Lorrie Sheehy, a well made name already in the UK, currently works at Lost in Soho, based in Salisbury, UK, with a passion for film, theater and television writing. She's won a Writers' Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) award, and has directed Love Me, Dorothy! in London's West End as a musical comedy.

She's also spent time at Warner Bros. Television, as well as Taylor-Bologna Productions, working for Oscar-nominated writing duo husband and wife Joe Bologna and Renee Taylor. Next, she's working on her fourth feature film - it's under wraps - but she's willing to share a few answers on her experiences writing and working for Hollywood...


MC: So the obvious question. What first turned you on to stage writing?

LS: I started writing for the stage aged 15 when Writer in Residence of the Royal Court Theatre, Hanif Kureishi (later nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay For My Beautiful Launderette) came to my school. Hanif invited me onto the Royal Court Young Writers Programme and I was hooked! After a hiatus in Hollywood, I returned to the stage after completing an MA in Playwriting.

MC: Well that's quite a beginning. What have you been up to lately?

LS: I've been working on the very intricate and involved research for my third screenplay, which is based on a very famous murder case, and which I can divulge no more about except to say it's a psycho-noir.


MC: Hmm... Black Dalia? Ok. Next question. Was working for Warner Brothers part of the overall strategy or just a bit of luck in the right direction?

LS: I worked for WB in London for about a year in which time - during their merger with AOL - I learned a huge amount about business, contracts and, most importantly, that ultimately all art and entertainment share a common basis: an absolute need to find an audience. I still use lessons I learned during that time when looking at potential projects to either invest my time or money in!


MC: It's true. - Anything you've learned about the WB system that might help would-be filmmakers with fantasies of calling on the big shots?

LS: Like all huge corporations everything is run from Head Office. In WB's case Burbank, which I think makes it difficult for UK based individuals to really feel part of everything. Not many recent WB films ever originated in London (unless you include Kubrick who was nurtured by WB for years.) Even Harry Potter went via a First Look Deal with WB Burbank and not WB London.

MC: Oh look, we've gone and key worded ourselves to the Harry Potter phenomenon. Dear me. What will the server administrator say to me tomorrow? I think I'll be mysteriously on vacation...

LS: I'm sure that with the Harry Potter-

MC: Again! You said it twice! Can you feel our server shaking?! You can say Voldemort all you want. We don't stand on ceremony here. Just avoid the Potions Master. We'll be offline for weeks.

LS: -

MC: Weeks. He's got 347 groups on meetup.com Somebody should really study that, speaking of making money...

But truthfully the struggle of local production workers is a complicated issue when working with corporate financing. The blessing of a major studio is that it brings a huge amount of funding and expertise in a whirlwind single production so that we can get astounding 3D Potter flicks out there at Christmas to put a smile on every little kid with a chopstick and a head dent. This is fundamentally a good thing. The smile, not the dent. Chopstick is neutral.

To give you a perspective even from US production artists, I know production crews in Connecticut who have a hard time getting jobs even when filming is in he heart of the state due to the way the NYC production houses sweep in with their crews. Likewise I know people who live in Connecticut who work for the same crews in NYC. It cuts both ways. With big money comes an incredible amount of controlling interest.

LS: With the HP franchise... if you look at the [studio] company as a whole, even HP is a very small drop in the corporate ocean.

MC: It seems like the bigger studio efforts will get damned either way, unfortunately. The films promote UK-regional talent on a large scale to everyone, global audiences familiar with a specific style of (some would say boring, others seizure-inducing) American cinematography, and while those films probably could not have been as illustrious from all the blockbuster special effects without a multinational corporate interest to fund them, you do have to wonder if something made completely in the UK by local crews with only local funding would have been more genuine and more true to the culture of the story - or would it have been rejected due to inflated expectations from larger studio competition? It's a hard question.

The good news (I think) is there's also a more long term advantage in the short-term compromise - that more awareness of UK-native actors as advertised by these films will give more options in funding to future films by boosting UK Star power in the periphery of all the HP madness. I'm being an annoying optimist, aren't I?

LS: Despite its billions raised at the Box Office.

MC: Yes, people seem to love those films in the US because he's so quintessentially representational of the hero / survivalist. However Americanized a concept of British values we get in the films, the Potter kid bucks up to the challenges he faces. In a world currently hard selling enable-ism (is that a word?) he's out there slaying dragons. I think we even get to see him running naked in Equus in a few weeks. He's what, sixteen now? One buffed little - I'm sorry, go on...

LS: On the flip side of the coin I think it's very sad that [many studios] have recently gotten rid of their classics division to concentrate on blockbusters.

MC: Well it's sort of inevitable, but one thing we try to at least encourage through our efforts is the idea that technology will prevail, and with it the unyielding storytelling spirit. Even so there is a lot of fading tribal knowledge that is still relevant as we work on new mediums, digital processes, solitary projects. etc. It's always sad to see the classics listed as "no longer in stock" or shoved out of the line at the rental store.

LS: I think that is a huge loss for the independent film-maker and film-goer but obviously the numbers didn't stack up.

MC: Well, if you're ever in, oh, say the Eastern Seaboard, there's always Best Video. But I know what you're saying. Still, it's good to encourage that same spirit in newer projects, as you've done in many of your works. I applaud that. In a way I think that's the natural progression of things. It has to be. Otherwise what choice is there? - OK, last Question - Favorite inspirations?

LS: Shakespeare, Pinter and Mamet.

MC: Of course. The Cliff's Notes served me well!

LS: For film I am a cinematically inspired writer. Talking has very little place in film, a fact most British writers don't actually realise which is why they make films that look and sound like bad TV shows.

MC: We have got to see the match between you and McKee. I'd pay money.

LS: Films you can watch with the dialogue turned off (not the music!) and not miss a thing include: Apocalypse Now; Lawrence of Arabia; and Picnic at Hanging Rock. Seminal films.

MC: Fantastic choice of movies. Mike Figgis would agree about the music. As for wit, I downloaded the pilot episode of Little Britain the other week, thinking it would be classical Brit comedy. I'm still a bit scarred. There was no dialog, just some grunting and a loss of towels.

LS: When you add dialogue it should be absolutely pared down to its essential core, not just there to film the page with black type.

MC: I still think they needed to keep the towels, but seriously you're spot on about the need for good dialog. People write awful conversation these days. That's the tribal knowledge that's gone missing and they need help finding. New writers don't just get it right without practice. I'm STILL practicing. Good scene turning is hard work!

MC: So... what's the elevator pitch for your current project?

LS: It's absolutely top-secret - I could tell you but then I have to throw you down the elevator shaft. You choose...

MC: Oh and me without my spare parachute. Curses. - On that note, thanks for giving us some fantastic insight into Independent filmmaking in the UK, and an insider's view of working with US studios in Europe. It's been a real pleasure! Best of luck with the new project and keep us posted when you're ready to reveal what it's about.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

FAN ART takes off!

POWER GIRL MOVIE
and
WONDER WOMAN TEASER POSTER

Many filmmakers and film fans are creating careers for themselves by producing "fan" art.

It's becoming common to see filmmakers use comic characters in their films and artists who are creating their own renditions of famous comic heroes. Fan art and fan films of copyrighted characters produced as "tribute" pieces enable newcomers to demonstrate their mastery and skill and they offer professionals a looka t alternatives.

Chris Notarile's POWER GIRL film is an exceptional example of what independent filmmakers are producing. "After mutliple "incidents" involving massive property damage to Metropolis and New York city, the JLA and the JSA agree that Power Girl should take a little vacation from crime fighting to collect herself and to allow her out of control powers to settle. And after a phone call with her cousin, Clark Kent (aka Superman), during this "time off", he suggests Power Girl get a day job to help fit in. Easier said than done." A great comical piece!



From Australian Wonder Woman artist Josh MC: "Here's a quick bit of fun I whipped up. A mate of mine mentioned my recent Wonder Woman artwork would be a great shot for a movie poster, so it got me thinking and this is a design for a teaser poster I came up with.

I manipulated the airbrushing a bit to look more like my regular WW model, actress Cobie Smulders, and gave it a slightly degraded/ancient look to go with the serious tone for the movie (well the one I have in my mind anyway).

The logo I'm quite happy with and I'm quite pleased with the tag line (see all those years at graphic design school paid off!)".

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE POSTER - http://joshwmc.deviantart.com/art/Wonder-Woman-Teaser-Poster-90624848


Wonder Woman Teaser Poster by ~joshwmc on deviantART

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

DEAD STARS TO STAR AGAIN IN MOVIES?

We all know that every independent filmmaker who can afford $399.00 for Canon's HV 30 1080i camera is planning to shoot their feature film with a very low budget. The HV30 is turbocharged with 30P mode in addition to 60i and 24P. For the best in high definition at this low price (and even at higher prices), right now you just can't beat the HV 30. CLICK HERE FOR CANON SPECS - http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-HV30-Camcorder-Review-34401.htm#

There are great implications in today's news for independent filmmakers because most indy films are shot with low/no/micro budgets and that always means that the producers usually have little or no money and cannot afford to employ big name stars unless the stars agree to work for deferred pay or no pay. All this might change very fast especially if you're willing to work with dead stars...

According to Neil Dessau, chief marketing officer for Advanced Micro Devices, it is now possible to produce a new movie starring Marlon Brando with a "virtual" Marlon Brando. Of course, you would have to license Brando's personna and image from his estate (but this might not be as expensive as one might think early on in this crazy game).

Unveiling the company's new ATI Radeon graphics card here in New York Tuesday, Dessau said that the card will permit directors to control not only the lighting, staging, and dialog of movies digitally but also create virtual actors and easily manipulate their facial expressions.

The online edition of Advertising Age quoted Jules Urbach, founder of a firm developing high-quality animation as saying that it is now "possible to bring back actors from the past and realistically put them in new films."

Imagine a new film starring Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe with John Wayne thrown in for good measure! This has been possible for many years (but with lesser quality results by today's standards) since the program VIRTUAL MARILYN first sought to reproduce the image of Marilyn Monroe in films many years ago. The fact is that today's processors make the portrayals a lot more realistic and lifelike. CLICK HERE TO SEE a Demonstration of virtual Marilyn Monroe Footage (Miralab) from one decade ago - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/specialfx2/marilyn.html

In the past, we have been treated to TV commercials using digitized and edited versions of Louie Armstrong, Humphrey Bogart, W. C. Fields, Marilyn Monroe, Groucho Marks and Abraham Lincoln, to name just a few of the deceased celebrities who have been used in films. Producers sought to put Marlon Brando in 2006 movie "Superman Returns" this way and they ended up with some amazing scenes that appropriately incorporated footage and Brando's old voice tracks with his reflection in the crystals.

© 2008, Stanley N. Lozowski. All Rights Reserved.
portions © 2008 Contactmusic.com Ltd, all rights reserved

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Streaming VIDEO

Many companies offer streaming video for ease of content delivery and StreamZilla is a leading European B2B media hosting and content delivery expert. They can host video portal content, WebTV and mobile channels for your product videos, podcasts, vodcasts, music, movies and commercials. You can also start your own online video rental services, produce large scale webcasts by outsourcing your media hosting and delivery to them to gain on features and performance.

StreamZilla processes millions of views per day, in Flash Video, Windows Media, 3GPP and H.264 for well-known international customers offering seamless scaling from low entry media hosting packages up to enormous content delivery volumes at very attractive rates.

A review of their ABOUT page gives you the company history, expertise, industry influence, applications, specs and a thorough lesson in everything you need to know about the current state of streaming video.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE - http://www.streamzilla.eu/about.html

© ® 1999-2008 Jet Stream BV

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

- - - - - - - I.O.U.S.A. - - - - - -

THE U.S.A. IS GOING BROKE...

ONE NATION-UNDER STRESS-IN DEBT

SEE THE PREMIERE on AUGUST 21st.

There is more and more proof that independent filmmakers with an important message can be heard today. And, if your film is well made, it will get distribution and find an audience.

The critically-acclaimed independent documentary film I.O.U.S.A. was conceived, co-written and executive produced by
Agora Financial's Addison Wiggin.

This must-see documentary uncovers the source of critical economic concerns that touch the lives of every American. A tapestry of archival footage, hard data and candid interviews woven together, it paints an authentic profile of today’s economic condition. Solutions for what we can do to impact this nationwide crisis and evolve into a more fiscally sound nation for future generations are offered in the documentary’s powerful conclusion.

In July 2008, the film was acquired by The Peter G. Peterson Foundation. It will be featured in a Live Premier with Warren Buffet, Pete Peterson and David Walker in 400 theatres around the nation on August 21st, 2008. As a concerned American, please consider joining this celebration on August 21st.

CLICK HERE to visit the film's official site.

CLICK HERE to locate a theater near you. - http://www.fathomevents.com/news/default.aspx?newsid=144

CLICK HERE for your personal invitation from Dave Walker to attend the premier on August 21st - http://www.agorafinancial.com/iousa/davidwalkerinvite.html



May be to the U.S. Economy what "An Inconvenient Truth" was to the environment. - Reuters

SELF-DISTRIBUTION THAT WORKS!

Fritz Donnelly’s ‘TOTHEHILLS2’ DVD Goes From the Streets to ‘AWESOME’

It's always a great feeling when a new independent filmmaker gets his work noticed and Fritz Donnelly is a filmmaker and performance artist who has made his reputation by selling thousands of copies of his DVDs on the streets of New York City. It's a fact that many filmmakers survive this way and some even make a good living at it.

All you need is a large city where thousands of people pass by, a well-made film and a little bit of luck. Someone is always bound to notice you and pick up your DVD and maybe even buy a copy. It's important to have a really good cover and a hook to peak every person's curiosity.

Fritz Donnelly's sequel to the original TO THE HILLS features new, strange characters, striking cinematography in Williamsburg, Harlem, Bushwick, and every up-and-coming or down-and-going neighborhood in New York.

If you're sick, it will make you better. If you're down, TOTHEHILLS2 will bring you up. It's the first collection of short films to give the satisfaction of a full-length film while pushing the film medium to its limits. If you want new and different, you've come to the right place.
TOTHEHILLS2 is a collection of his short independent films about dreamers, professionals, hustlers, and “people like you and me,” as Donnelly explains it.

The important thing is to keep showing your work and talking about it and making sales. TOTHEHILLS2 was finally "noticed" and picked up by a dozen distributors through a discovery and distribution festival known as From Here to Awesome, and Manhattan socialites are taking note.

Last week Lee Black Childers, a celebrity and rock n’ roll photographer perhaps best known for being the assistant to the late Andy Warhol during the Factory days, left his own birthday party to attend “Read & Discuss the Articles in Playboy,” a party hosted by Donnelly and his girlfriend Christina Ewald at her hip Lower East Side performance space "HiChristina." Childers snapped numerous shots of party guests re-enacting Playboy photo shoots, and by the end of the evening, he had requested a copy of "TOTHEHILLS2".

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE - http://blog.digitalcontentproducer.com/briefingroom/2008/08/04/fritz-donnelly%e2%80%99s-%e2%80%98tothehills-2%e2%80%99-dvd-goes-from-the-streets-to-%e2%80%98awesome%e2%80%99/

CLICK HERE For more information on "TOTHEHILLS2" -
http://www.tothehills.com/


CLICK HERE for information on From Here To Awesome - http://showcase.fromheretoawesome.com/2008/07/tothehills-2/

CLICK HERE to purchase "TOTHEHILLS2" on Amazon.com - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000EZKZTW/

© 2006 Penton Media, Inc.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Review: Bottle Shock


There's an unsaid snobbery against independents that make it to national distribution - overstepping festival screenings to ante up at the real box office. This is also true of wine that oversteps major bodies of water to turn longstanding establishment on its head. Most often they go unsung because they are tragically mislabeled, by expectation or name. Think Charlie Bartlett, or even Juno if it hadn't had the right buzz. Both of these succeed on quirks that would never have been allowed in standard formula productions.

America's got a history with wine - during colonial rum runs the Portuguese discovered prolonged heat and rolling seas led to casks of intensified Madeira wines - with funny color and a great taste still celebrated today. So too Napa valley honed its winemaking to produce a successful American flavor sharply against international expectation. To its credit, Bottle Shock is a celebration of Californian wine growing into its own American dream.

As a hybrid documentary turned drama, Shock is not a comedy, despite some effort, yet is too light-hearted to ever land a heavy drama award. Not quite theater-escaping slow as it builds to the competition, but to expect a fever-pitch comedy is a setup for disappointment. This is loosely based on a true story, after all. The objectives are clearly set on hard labor bringing the finest wine. The dryness of the valley echoes the history of midwestern sensibility.

There's also the problem of wine stores that don't look like Paris, and a French countryside that feels like a let down when it's obviously still California with a sign in French hung on the gate, complete with reused extra in a beret with a cow. Noting budgetary constraints that luckily do not effect production quality, it becomes clear Shock is not going to look like a Merchant Ivory delivery. Instead it satisfies an inspiring and patriotic historical note. Even if cash is short, performances are polished and even. If anything it proves a well acted film can still be pulled off successfully from a shoestring.

There's the required dose of post-hippy Californian girls, and the lonely, dust bowl climate from the perspective of a marauding British wine snob turned American vineyard explorer. His indoctrination to American culture is muted, limited to a quiet inspection of the local KFC bucket as he sits lost in his car.

There are cluttered extra devices that don't need to be there, like the ubiquitous flat tire, or the convenient empty gas tank.

What it doesn't commit are characters with gag-inducing, stereotypical conversation that plods along like a Catholic church wedding. Instead of following common dialog clichés, Shock commits the mistake in the opposite direction. It reaches for almost no conversational commentary at all, leaving the scenes to speak for themselves and the layman to root for the underdog and enjoy the tasting. As the film progresses, this works well to narrow the story on the wine contest itself. It's a nostalgic reminiscing set to pretty countryside sunsets and feel good rock theme music. There's not enough room (or permission from the real Steven Spurrier) to make a go of historical accuracy beyond the admission that American wines won big and the apple cart was forever overturned. It's hard to tell though, if the closing monolog is odd because it's in character of a stuffed shirt or because the script is driven by uncertainty that a relative connection has been made with the audience.

"Modesty is the virtue of servants," retorts one aspiring winemaker, Gustavo Brambila, played by the likable Freddy Rodríguez who makes the warm glow and free-love, shack-shagging feel almost noble set against the flirty coffee talk and wayward farm girls at dusk.

The cultural clashes are underplayed, something missing from a movie about the appearance of the American pedigree. There are quiet conversations and meaningful music, but the dialog needs to pick up some swerve where the cultural setting doesn't. For a comedy, the swells of music fill in too long where the witty dialogue should be crackling. For a drama, it's an acceptable vehicle for talented performers. Despite ridiculous attention paid to wine huffing and face scrunching, the occasional table dusting catch-up by an unsympathetic, politically ruined British snob is only a small afterthought.

The real prize fighter here is Bill Pullman, who portrays the tense perfectionist who has become so good at winemaking that the textbooks no longer have instructions for the type of perfection he's concocted. While devastated that he's made a mistake, and deeply insecure of his Warren Buffet style fortitude, the French think differently, and are just as pained to find a face-off so puzzling with no easy disqualifiers.

Geriatric fears of speed and fury aside - at least for the sort of affectionado who would be riled about how true Hollywood can't be, this is an inspiring and eventually tender story about a turning point in wine making history. Refreshingly, the plot's a good one - that a band of quiet Californian farmers won the tour de force not by becoming part of the political machine with the disdainful establishment, but by going about their hardworking, Puritanical business, making grapes and enjoying their own good taste.

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Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link

The new Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link device that makes it a snap to access multimedia content on your spanking new high definition TV (or standard definition if you have not yet made the jump - it doesn’t matter) without the need for a computer to function as a bridge.

Each Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link is accompanied by a full-function remote control
, while the inclusion of a USB port makes it a snap for you to hook up compatible stotage devices such as external and portable hard drives, USB flash drives and maybe a compatible portable media player for you to enjoy audio and video content on the TV.

This device is smaller than the average deck of playing cards, and will rely on similar display technology as found in Iomega’s ScreenPlay HD Multimedia drive. The Iomega ScreenPlay HD Multimedia drive is slightly different though despite offering similar audio and video quality with upscaling to high definition as it comes with a 500GB hard drive inside.

The ScreenPlay TV Link is missing out on this, but the good point would be the ability to hook up just about any video content stored on a USB external storage device, so you aren’t limited by the space within the ScreenPlay TV Link instead.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE - http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20080807/iomega-screenplay-tv-link/

Copyright 2005-2008 Sagecroft Technologies.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Post From The Publisher Scott Wolpow

While I have never made a film [yet], I do love movies.

My life has always had a tangent to the motion picture industry. Growing up as a child, a close family friend was VP of United Artists. My Mom was Barbra Bain's roommate in college and Martin Landau's sister is my neighbor. Later in life, my client and his business partner bought Artisan Entertainment and recently sold it to Lionsgate.

When I first bought the domain on 1997-07-22 I had envisioned people promoting their films on the Internet. In those days getting started cost more than it does today. So I left the project on the back burner.

The time in between saw a few different versions of the site.

In 2005 I re-launched the site in it's current version.

Now, three years later, I want to bring the site up to the next level.

I want to know what you, the reader, wants.
Some thoughts:
Opinion Polls
Reviews on mainstream movies
Reviews on Indie films
A place to distribute the films
Potential film venues [working on a deal with a major theatre chain]

The site will have a complete make over by the fall. Included will be new features. I want to here hear about what you the film maker or film fan wants.

Should there be member's only areas?

Should a fee be charged so that we can hire more people for the site?

Do you want to post responses and threads on topics?

Please let me know. Send to requests@myfilm.com

On a final note, we are working on a deal to 100% finance films with a third party. While you must have some track record you must also have 10 to 20% of the money to post to escrow. You will get that back once the film gets financed. More details to come shortly.

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How to make awesome green screen (Chroma key)!!!

This is a new updated video about chroma key (green screen). We go over what chroma key is and how it works, chroma key muslins (cheap and expensive) and how to light your green screen background. Part Two is only available on the DVD on my website named "Chroma-key Made Simple"

SEE THE BASIC VIDEO by Mark Apsolon - CLICK HERE - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6brdwY-dvU

Go to my website for detailed training DVD's! CLICH HERE TO LEARN MORE by http://www.markapsolon.com

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Ribbit Films’ Motion Green Screen Gets Higher Click Through Rate

Ribbit Films is the leader in high-def green screen motion stock footage. It is observing a strong shift towards video and motion formats in the world of internet advertising. The marriage of video with interactivity poses a great opportunity for advertisers to reach web surfing consumers in an effective new way.

Researchers find much higher click through rates with various forms of video advertising over stationary images. The click-through rate for online video ads up to four times greater, depending on the video format, than the click-through rate for plain GIF or JPG image ads according to DoubleClick data.

As creators of green screen motion stock footage, an increasingly popular resource for internet advertising programmers, Navarre Joseph (president of Ribbit Films) predicted this shift in advertising after opening his company in 2004. “When we first started, we were at the beginning cusp of high-def and web viewed TV programming,” Navarre Joseph said. “It’s no surprise that innovative motion advertising is becoming the medium of choice for internet advertisers. It drives brand awareness and sales so much better. . . when starring at a still computer screen, live action motion ads catch the eye really well, and advertisers have really begun to understand this.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE by http://blog.digitalcontentproducer.com/briefingroom/2008/08/06/ribbit-films-motion-green-screen-gets-higher-click-through-rate/

© 2006 Penton Media, Inc.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Professional Spotlight: Paul Debevec on 3D

Peter Plantec interviews USC's Paul Debevec about some of his latest innovative 3D work.

Paul Debevec leads the Graphics Laboratory at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies and is a Research Associate Professor in the USC Computer Science Department. He earned degrees in Math and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan in 1992 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 1996. He began combining research in computer vision and computer graphics in 1991 by three-dimensionally modeling and rendering a Chevette from photographs.


CLICK HERE TO SEE THE INTERVIEW - http://www.awntv.com/videos/fmx-08-debevec/

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

MOVIE MONEY: WHERE IT IS & HOW TO GET IT

Protecting Your Internet Distribution Rights

An internet distributor (“Distributor”) wants to exhibit your movie or program (“product”) over the internet on its website and provides you with its “standard” distribution agreement.

Of course, you are flattered, but now what do you do? First, check with your partners, colleagues, and business and legal advisors to determine if the internet is your first choice for exposing your product.

There are a number of issues to consider in this arena including your collective analysis as to whether or not theatrical, television, video, ancillary and international distribution of your product are available options, the costs and expenses associated with traditional distribution means, and whether or not the genre, subject matter and quality of your product is appropriate for internet exploitation.

Once you have determined that the internet route is indeed right for your product, there are some key issues to consider; everything is negotiable.

The Key issues being: The Grant of Rights, Exclusivity, Crosslinks, Territory, Licensing Period, License Fee/Payment Terms/Audit

CLICK HERE to READ MORE: http://www.medialawyer.com/RIGHTART.htm

© 2000 by Harris E. Tulchin. All Rights Reserved

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

THE ACTOR'S TOOL KIT

OUR REAL BUSINESS

Too often we actors get so caught up in the sub-atomic details of our 'inner lives,' our insatiable desire to perform, the lengths to which we will go - to satisfy that itch, our financial distress, and our recent lousy experiences with the business - that we tend to neglect our REAL interests.

Take it from an old fish - who has traversed these waters for 4 decades - in real life, it is an absolute necessity to view your acting career as a business. A small business to be sure, but one that has the real potential to grow into a rather large small business.

And, as naturally as putting on weight follows Krispy Kremes and Coca Cola, we must conclude that in order to have a successful small business, we are probably going to have to learn some skills that will help us in ... 'Anyone? Anyone? - Bueller?' ... BUSINESS.

It is very important to really understand the concept that your business is very much like any other small business. The first concern of business is to develop a large group of satisfied customers.

Here's where some actors come a cropper. Other actors, production companies, agents, managers, casting folks ... they are the suppliers, sales people, distributors, co-contractors, and marketing people.

My friends, they are OTHER businesses, with whom you hope to do some joint ventures.

These other show biz folk are NOT your customers. The actors' customers are called "the audience." Forget this (or argue with it) at your own risk.

CUSTOMER BASE & PUBLIC RELATIONS

The bigger the customer-base we bring to the table, the more our business is going to flourish. Which brings up the second rule of sustaining a "going concern:"

Keep improving the product. You are the product ... the rest is self-explanatory.

Public relations, sales, advertising and referral business contacts are four fundamental areas that also must be attended to. These things are what bring you new business. They are all important to sales. You will probably have to start out doing these things on your own.

Public relations is mainly about being nice. Charming. Memorable - in a good way.

SALES

When it comes to sales, here are a few important concepts:

Be dependable. Why do you think you hear "It's dependable" on so many commercials? Dependable (on time, off book, in the zone) is a big part of the sales pitch.

Deliver the goods. Delivery is another big advertising pitch for good reason.

Be easy to work with. This is a good beginning, but the key phrase you want attached to your efforts is: "A JOY to work with."

ADVERTISING

Since advertising is a scientific enterprise, your headshot and resume (and your online presence) can be tested for effectiveness - so you should test.

For instance, direct mail advertisers (who mail unsolicited sales pitches) consider 3% a minimum effective return. It follows that we should consider our unsolicited direct mail the same way. If you are not getting called in 3 times for every 100 headshots (or other mailings) you send - maybe it's time to try another headshot or mailer.

Test. Which means you have to keep accurate records. Like sitting down and counting and listing and math and stuff. I know - yuck. But if you don't do it, who is going to do it for you?

Referral business contacts. This is the sole reason to act without getting paid. Student films, equity-waiver, and actor-collective productions are okay, IF you are meeting and working with people who are better than you are. If you are the best in the group, it's probably time to move on.

The best way to make business contacts is to be involved in your own life and your own business. Like love, business contacts will come to you in the strangest places. You will meet people at the gym - the museum - the produce section - the Krispy Kreme store...

THE RULES

Try very hard not to be anxious, or grasping, or needy - or - just like with love - you can 'go too fast.'

In the final analysis, you will have to handle the elemental business things of your acting career - or they won't get done. All you have to do is be nice, dependable and a joy to work with. You'll also want to become an advertising number cruncher, a memorable collaborator and paying attention to your customers - all while still having an outside life.

If this is not how you naturally behave, and you can't (or won't) develop these habits - well, there are other businesses where being nice and a joy to work with aren't that important - like ... morgue attendant.

Just kidding. I know you. I know you'll pay attention to business.

============================================================
"Reprinted from ACTOR'S TOOL KIT, the email course just for subscribers of Show Biz How-To, the FREE e-zine for actors. Get your own subscription at: http://www.showbizhowto.com/
© 2007, Bob Fraser Productions. All Rights Reserved"

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

ACE Fest in New York September 4-7

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is presenting the American Cinematic Experience (ACE) Festival September 4-7 in the main theater of New World Stages.

The venue is near Times Square, located at 340 West 50th Street, and promises to be an exciting and fresh look at the new generation of American filmmakers. Festival directors Tom O'Malley and Luke Szczygielski have steered the festival into its second year, with a line-up that includes 4 world premieres and a dozen New York premieres.

"I can't even begin to express my excitement for the films we're playing this year," says O'Malley. "Cutting well over 800 entries down to just 40 selections has given us the luxury of choosing only the best of the very best. Even beyond our premieres are dozens of unique gems just begging for a standing ovation."

ACE Fest tickets are $10.00 per feature-length screening. Shorter films are sold in blocks of 3-5 short films for the same price.

If nothing else it's a smart plan to disguise a cheap date while taking in some quality apple-pie cinematic Americana.

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HORROR - TERROR - SUSPENSE

Everyone is making Horror films today and I recently spent an evening talking with two gifted and notorious filmmakers about the differences between Horror, Terror and Suspense.

The terms HORROR and TERROR are often interchangeable and present for interesting discussion and debate.

Famed RKO Producer and Screenwriter Val Lewton once described the following: "Terror attracts an audience....you know something is coming but you can't look away. Horror repulses an audience......something is happening and you shield your eyes as to avoid a lasting memory."

"For example: at the end of the movie "Casino", you see a group of men reach into the trunk of a car and pull out baseball bats and it's terrifying to imagine what they are going to do with them but you keep watching. Then you see the horror of the beatings and you feel compelled to look away" (at least I did).

What is suspense then?? -Gary Gustin

According to Alfred Hitchcock, The "Master" Of Suspense, building anxiety and anticipation in the minds of the viewer was the key to building suspense. Hitchcock, probably better than or as well as most filmmakers before or since, really understood the psychology of movie audiences and capitalized on it. He had his own incredible ability to push their buttons.

It all comes down to this: If we are watching a scene of people in a room and there is a sudden explosion: that's terror, that's horror.

If we are watching the same scene of the people in a room and cut to a shot of bomb ticking under someone's chair, we, the audience have information that the characters on screen do not have and our inability to warn them of the danger that we know is so imminent, creates suspense. We know that something bad is going to happen but we don't know exactly when it will happen and/or if the characters will find out in time to get away safely, which creates suspense in our minds. - David

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...http://filmind.meetup.com/239/boards/view/viewthread?thread=5169194

© 2008 Meetup Inc.

Friday, August 01, 2008

QUESTIONS about the AFM

Are you thinking about attending the American Film Market?

This November 2008, over 8,000 industry leaders will converge in Santa Monica for eight days of deal-making, screenings, seminars, networking and parties.

Acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, the world's press and all those who provide services to the film industry will be in attendance.

Getting in is expensive and if you are considering paying the price, make certain that your pitch is perfect and that it will stand out over and above all others. Don’t leave anything to chance. Have ready answers to any and all questions that you might be asked.

If YOU can’t answer questions about YOUR project, who can?

Be prepared on all levels. Whether you are a screenwriter or an independent filmmaker, do not carry your screenplays, business plans or any other lengthy reading materials that could be construed as excess baggage.

The people attending AFM will be swamped with reading material and this is not the best time or place to give then another hundred or two hundred pages to carry. They are there to see what's out there, meet new people and find what is innovative and what will shape the future of this industry. They are there to make contacts and eventually, cut deals.

It's totally unreasonable for anyone to think that they will take the time to read your printed material no matter how good it is. AFM is the place to entice the people you meet, build a relationship and get their interest up so they will go home and contact you and ask for additional information if your project peaked their interest. And you can always follow up with a polite phone call to see if it did.

For information CLICK HERE: http://www.ifta-online.org/afm/home.asp

©2008, Stanley Lozowski. All Rights Reserved.

"Film will only became an art when its materials are as inexpensive as pencil and paper." -Jean Cocteau

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Stereoscopic 3D CG Art Contest for Siggraph 2008

For those CGI artists that are using 3D programs:

Stereoscopic 3D (S-3D) is probably the most talked about technologies today in the gaming market, and Meant to be Seen, CGArena, and iZ3D have teamed up to launch a special S-3D CG art contest at SIGGRAPH with the help of some exciting prizes put forward by leading industry members.

Stereoscopic 3D (S-3D) refers to the ability to display true volumetric 3D content using 2D media. Some examples include explosions that pop out of the screen, and a sense of depth that makes players think they can reach inside the game. S-3D technology is quickly becoming the equipment of choice for avid gamers and has already shown as much as 3:1 revenue benefits over 2D theaters in the Hollywood cinema space with films like Beowulf 3D, Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, and U23D.

"We wanted a fun way to show how easy it is to turn ordinary CG art into something visually exciting through stereoscopic 3D technology.

Working with Meant to be Seen and CGArena to make this happen at SIGGRAPH made perfect sense for us," said David Chechelashvili who is VP of Marketing for iZ3D LLC (and makers of the leading stereoscopic 3D display and software driver solution).

Contestants are asked to submit stereoscopic 3D images of their CG artwork to a special page on http://www.cgarena.com. The left and right images must be full color in a minimum 1680X1050 resolution (16:10 aspect ratio). To make this easier for artists, Meant to be Seen (http://www.mtbs3D.com) has written guides to help CG artists convert and/or capture their images in stereoscopic 3D.

Meant to be Seen is the foremost authority group on consumer stereoscopic 3D technology. It has quickly become the largest S-3D community in existence by working jointly with its members and partners to grow the stereoscopic 3D gaming industry through advocacy and business relationships. Their site features industry interviews, active forums, S-3D game reviews, game certification and a member driven massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) called MTBS Nations at War.

We recommend downloading and running the free stereo photo maker CLICH HERE http://stereo.jpn.org/eng/stphmkr/ because it will make your job easier.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE at http://reel-exchange.com/insider/stereoscopic_3d_contest_siggraph_072908

© 2007 Penton Media, Inc.