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7 Tips for Filmmakers From SXSW: Words of Wisdom from Lena Dunham, Dana Brunetti, Casey Neistat, Ted Hope and Jason Blum

Paula Bernstein recounts the advice from the movers and shakers of SXSW.

Lena Dunham

Amazingly, I spent five days at SXSW and didn’t see one movie. But it was far from a waste of time. Sitting in on keynote sessions and panel discussions, I came away with a broad sense of how technological advances and the internet have expanded opportunities for filmmakers who no longer have to rely on the traditional gatekeepers to pursue their projects.

After two years in beta, VHX, the direct-to-fan distribution platform, opened to the public during SXSW and all artists are now be able to sell their work directly to fans from their own websites. VHX co-founder Jamie Wilkinson said he was trying to get the word out to filmmakers that they don’t need to wait for a distributor to acquire their film.

“Filmmakers at Sundance are used to the model of the last 35 years which is I make a great film. I sell it to somebody else and they do all the legwork. That’s where we’re embracing the shift in the model where you can do it yourself,” Wilkinson told Indiewire.

Meanwhile, for filmmakers who already have a distributor, producer John Sloss urged them to take control of their careers by demanding distributors to show them their VOD numbers.

While fledgling filmmakers continue to seek advice at SXSW about how they can break into the industry, hoping for some easy to follow answer, the panelists all emphasized that there are no rules. In the case of Casey Neistat and Jason Blum, they both attained success with commercial projects only to realize that they’d rather be in control of their own destiny. In both cases, they redirected their careers to follow their passion — to great results.

Indiewire | Read the Full Article

Larry Jordan on the state of video editing and post production

Larry Jordan, a well known video industry figure speaks about editing, color correction, the cloud, and whether he’s looking forward to April 2014′s NAB – the biggest show of the year.

Larry Jordan

RedShark: Do you think color correction/grading should be part of an NLE or kept separate from the editing workflow?

Larry Jordan: There are good arguments for both.

For editors on a budget, working within the NLE makes for faster workflows. However, the stand-alone tools offer more features and increasingly tight integration between the NLE and the color grading software.

What about cloud solutions? What would you want from a cloud provider?

Solid answers and not marketing hype to three questions:

1. How do you assure the security of my assets on your system?
2. If you go broke, how do I get my assets back (in other words, who owns my media)?
3. How does this service save me time when I have very limited upload/download speeds to the web?

I am SUCH a skeptic about The Cloud. It is great for pre-production collaboration and script-writing.  It’s fine for sharing address books and calendars. It’s even fine for final distribution. All the videos on my website, for example, are distributed using Amazon S3 servers and their Cloudfront CDN.

Not a day goes by but that we read about yet another “major US corporation” that was hacked, assets stolen, and, “gosh, we are really sorry about this…”

Storing media on The Cloud does not give me warm and fuzzy feelings.  I could go on, but you have a page limit.

There are big changes on the editing front. What do you think about Avid’s future? And what about Lightworks (especially for Mac?)

Avid is a HUGE cause for concern. You can’t survive as a business unless you are making money. And Avid hasn’t been making money for years. Avid is in a very difficult position for the long-term. I wish them well because they are a good competitor, which benefits all of us; but am I concerned? Yes.

I haven’t played with Lightworks. I’m looking forward to seeing it at NAB.

Redshark News | Read the Full Article

Stanley Kubrick’s Daughter Shares Photos of Herself Growing Up on Her Father’s Film Sets

Open Culture explores the story of Stanley Kubrick’s daughter Vivian – a first hand witness and resource on life with Kubrick who has recently released a number of candid behind the scenes photos of her and her legendary father.

Vivian Kubrick

Since Vivian Kubrick was in grade school, she worked as a collaborator with her famous filmmaker father. She had cameos in a number of his movies including 2001: A Space Odyssey and Barry Lyndon. She shot the behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of The Shining at the age of 24. And she composed the score for Full Metal Jacket under the pseudonym of Abigail Mead. Kubrick seemed to groom his daughter to be his cinematic heir. And then in the late 90s, that all stopped. She cut off all contact with her family

Kubrick’s family was initially cagey about what happened to her, saying simply that she was living in LA. But then in 2010, Kubrick’s stepdaughter Katharina opened up. “We weren’t lying, we were just being economical with the truth,” she told The Daily Beast. “Because if you say, ‘My sister has become a Scientologist,’ where do you go from that?”

The Church of Scientology’s policy of disconnection is one of its most controversial practices. It’s not clear if Vivian formerly disconnected with her family but she did reportedly attend her father’s funeral in 1999 with a Scientologist minder. When her sister Anya died of cancer in 2009, she did not attend that funeral even though they were, by all accounts, inseparable growing up.

Open Culture | Read the Full Article

Farewell to Abby Singer, Creator Of The “Abby Singer Shot”

Hollywood says farewell to another pioneer – this time to legendary production manager Abby Singer who’s namesake shot goes right before the martini shot.

Abby Singer

Abby Singer, a veteran production manager and assistant director and aDGA member for more than 60 years, died this morning of cancer and old age at the Motion Picture & Television Country House in Woodland Hills. He was 96. Singer got his start working as an assistant for Harry Cohn’s right-hand man Jack Fier at Columbia Pictures in 1949 after a stint in the Navy and moved on to Universal in 1957 to work in TV. He eventually landed at Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker’s MTM Productions, where he oversaw such series as Rhoda, Phyllis, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP In Cincinnati, The White Shadow, Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere. His last film as unit production manager was on 1997?s Family Plan. He later taught at the American Film Institute Conservatory.

But Singer’s name is known to film and TV crews everywhere for a production shot that came to be known as the “Abby Singer shot.” Partly thanks to his training under notorious tightwad Fier, Singer spent his long career honing his skills at saving productions dough, and his idea was to begin moving crew and gear to the next location one shot before the last shot of the day, with the idea that the next location would be set up ahead of time — thereby saving money and precious shooting time.

Deadline.com | Read the Full Article

The Abby Singer Shot [From Wikipedia]

According to Burt Bluestein of the Directors Guild of America, “It all began when Abby was a 1st AD and people on the crew would ask him how many shots were left to do before lunch. Abby would answer, ‘We’ll do this and one more.’ At the end of the day, when they asked what was to be done before the wrap, Abby would say, ‘This and one more, then we’re out of here.’” [2] Abby Singer himself explains the reason behind calling out the second to last shot; “In television, we would make maybe five or six moves during the day — going from one set to another, or from one stage to another. Or we’d move from the back lot to a stage. I would say, ‘Fellas, we’ll do this [shot] and one more and then we’re moving.’ This would give the crew a chance to begin wrapping up their equipment or to call transportation for gurneys, so they’d be ready to get out quickly… I did it really to save time for the director. If we did it during the day, I could save 10 to 15 minutes each time we had to move. I could give the director another hour a day of shooting.”

Casting, Celebrities, and Archetype Theory

Charles Peirce dives into the strategies of good casting and how the public responds to star power.

Nobody Knows

Casting is one of the obvious essentials of any film, and like all aspects of the process worth examining: the assumptions that define it and the possibilities of how it might be used to best advantage. Casting’s key place comes in financing, where attaching the right star allows raising money based on their monetary value to specific regions or demographics. Enough attached stars offer the promise of pre-sales in distribution, and enough pre-sales can then determine a base budget. This would seem to follow the simple logic of a star’s popularity guaranteeing viewers, a shortcut in the task of finding an audience. It is an idea that continues from the Studio System legacy and still exists in many people’s mind as the inviolable component that determines a film’s success. [1]

That stars bring with them an audience is without question: whether that audience is willing to watch them in a particular film — or enjoy them in that film — is an often ignored element of this. Stars have an audience, but like anything, it is a specific audience, with its own needs, desires, and interests. You can see the disconnect between a star’s audience and their potential value in a film most obviously in obsessions with social media metrics, where a huge fanbase represents scale but not depth. Just because you have one does not mean you have the other.

Hope For Film | Read the Full Article

When Do Memes Stop Being Funny? | Idea Channel

Old meme is old. But why is this such a bad thing? Once the height of internetiness, the sight of a LOLCat now is unforgivable. Memes become passé crazy fast: after just months or even WEEKS of a new meme, we tire of the once hugely popular. Why does this happen, and happen so QUICKLY? Is it a reflection of the sheer volume of visual information we absorb from the internet? Or does it say something about this specific visual culture?

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