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8:00AM

Beyond the Mask - Theatrical Trailer!

The official trailer is finally here!

Double crossed and on the run, an assassin for the British East India Company seeks to redeem his past by thwarting a plot against a young nation's hope for freedom.

 

The leading mercenary for the British East India Company, Will Reynolds has just been double-crossed and now is on the run in the American Colonies. Working to redeem his name and win back the affections of the woman with whom he's never been fully truthful, Will now hides behind a new mask in hopes of thwarting his former employer. As his past life closes in on him, Will must somehow gain the trust and the help of his beloved Charlotte - as well as Ben Franklin - while he races against time to defuse a plot of historical proportions. Coming to theaters Spring, 2015, Beyond the Mask is a revolutionary new family film that brings history to life in a faith-filled adventure celebrating grace, liberty, and the true freedom that can only be found in Christ.

Movie Website

8:00AM

Twas The Week Before Christmas

An unexpected discovery leads a young boy to set out to honor the true King of Christmas! But will he be able to raise enough money, and will he find what he is looking for? A heart-warming short film about the true reason to celebrate Christmas!

This is a short film that I made with my family back in 2006-2007! Enjoy!!

 

8:00AM

Woodlawn - BTS Part 2

Hey, guys! Enjoyed the last video? Well we're excited to share the latest on what's going on with WOODLAWN with this next production diary.

https://www.facebook.com/WoodlawnMovie

8:01AM

Red Giant - SALE!

On December 9, 2014, we are having our Red Giant Year-End Sale. Here’s what you need to know:

  • 40% off everything in the redgiant.com store.
  • 24 Hours Only!
  • Sale Starts: 12/9/14 – starting at 08:00 AM PST.
  • Sales ends: 12/10/14 at 08:00 AM PST
  • The sale discount is for everything in the Red Giant store: Full licenses, upgrades, and academic store (which is already 50% off)
  • Includes suites and individual products. 40% off EVERYTHING. Really. We mean it.
  • How to Get 40% off: There will be a coupon code – it will be all over our site. You won’t be able to miss it.

3:43PM

Woodlawn - BTS Part 1

Welcome to the first behind-the-scenes production diary for WOODLAWN!

"In 1973, a spiritual awakening captured the heart of nearly every player of the Woodlawn High School football team, including its coach Tandy Gerelds. Their dedication to love and unity in a school filled with racism and hate leads to the largest high school football game ever played in the torn city of Birmingham, Alabama, and the rise of its first African American superstar, Tony Nathan."

8:00AM

Why So Many Movies Fail

FAILURE FACTORS OF ASPIRING FILMMAKERS

(Article Source) By Larry W. Poland, Ph.D.

In more than thirty years working inside the entertainment business, I have had a steady stream of people contact me with a dream of making motion pictures. Some have a vision for producing one movie, some a slate of films, some building a studio, and some even a dream of a “second Hollywood” in Dallas, Atlanta, or (believe it or not) Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Only a small percentage (10%?) of these visionaries ever saw anything come from their efforts. Of those who did see a film get made, only a small percentage (30%?) ever got decent distribution. Most (85%?) lost money for their investors. A number even ended up in court or arbitration disputing over money. I have mediated two of those disputes.

I’m weary of watching such a high percentage of these independent filmmaking attempts implode and dash the dreams and efforts of often well-meaning and even faith-motivated people. Likewise, I am distressed by the many well-motivated investors who got burned by these efforts and, as a result, will never invest in a film again.

Thus, I decided to distill the mistaken notions and actions which contributed to the massive disappointment, financial failure, and collateral damage from these efforts. Below–in no particular priority order–are the common mistakes I have observed.

“FAILURE FACTORS”

1. Envisioning a project with an absurdly unrealistic production budget.

There is something about the vision of making a movie that eats like a cancer at the practical thinking of the visionary behind the project. Commonly, the visionary postulates a movie production in the tens of millions of dollars, if not more than one hundred million. The sheer lunacy of thinking that investors, however effectively “sold” they are, are going to be part of a multi-million dollar risk venture overseen by an inexperienced film team seems to escape them.

Likewise, it escapes them that hundred-year-old, billion-dollar studios that do make these expensive films commonly lose money on them. The independent visionaries tend to believe they are not bound by the laws that bind other studios or filmmakers. “This film is different,” is the toxic notion.

When I have suggested budgets of five to ten million (or less) for starters, the visionaries often seem insulted. It escapes them that the lower the upfront production costs, the higher the probability of breaking even or making a profit at the end. If a film is any good at all and has decent distribution, revenue from the five markets for a movie should cover a cost under seven million dollars.

Equally destructive is projecting an unrealistically low budget. Recently, a film investor was told that a complicated period story could be made for $750,000. Even cutting all the corners and getting talent and locations for peanuts, this figure was inadequate to get a quality product on the screen. This investor was being led astray by this representation, and the project would have collapsed.

2. Focusing on the process or product of the vision without factoring in the basic economics of the project.

Commonly, film venture leaders are strong on the nature of the story or the big names they have attached to the film rather than on how they will raise the production money, how they will sustain cash flow until revenue eventually comes in, or even how they will get sufficient revenue in the end to avoid a total disaster for the project.

If the right brain/left brain distinction applies here, the creatives need a team of steely-eyed money managers at their elbows from beginning to end to ask the hard questions, demand that there be a sound business plan, and enforce the plan so the visionary creatives play “in bounds.” These safeguards are, commonly, not in place. Often, the creatives don’t want them – it spoils the dream.

A missing element here is that every creative decision has a financial impact on the outcome, and every financial decision has a creative impact. The two go hand in hand—and must—for a successful result.

Finally, it is absolutely essential to remember the investors. Often, those who took the risk to invest in the film, and thereby made it possible, are forgotten in the pursuit of the dream of making the movie. This is lethal. Lawsuits are the least formidable consequences of a meltdown in which investors are ignored, investments are not repaid, and money is siphoned off for everything but investor repayment. Burned investors have long memories—especially family and friends—so treat them well and generously, and they will stand in line to invest in your next film . . . and the next.

3. Being preoccupied with getting a film made without thought for its distribution and marketing.

There are a multitude of films sitting in cans around the globe that were never shown in a theater, or, for that matter, even found successful DVD distribution.

Any veteran in the film business will tell you to secure tentative, but strong, distribution agreements before you begin production. The beginning filmmaker is sure that his film will be so compelling that distributors will line up to sign a distribution contract. In general, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Then, there is the crucial marketing aspect of a production. This is so critical that the audience for the film must be defined and a plan to market successfully to that audience should both be determined before production is ever begun. The marketing plan will depend on the audience. Every different audience is reached by somewhat different marketing strategies.

4. Becoming obsessed with building facilities and infrastructure rather than building a successful, money-making model.

I’ve seen way too many grand visions for building “state of the art” studio facilities with the latest technology, massive sound stages, and such with little thought for how these increasingly-obsolete-by-the-week albatrosses will be paid for, maintained, sustained, or utilized. While it may seem exciting to show off one’s new studio facilities, the reality is that they typically represent massive overhead that no start-up studio or production company can sustain.

Furthermore, in many cities—especially Hollywood and New York—there are already many under-utilized studios, sound stages, edit bays, mixing studios, etc. They can be rented when needed without the massive burden of debt service, maintenance and replacement in a year or two when they are obsolete.

A friend of mine says, “If your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.” If only producers with vision could get this fact of economic life mastered up-front., they would keep all overhead to a minimum and put every dollar only into what will increase the probability of getting a return on the end product.

Equally lethal is building a team of highly paid people on the front end of the project—and sucking dry millions of development funds in salaries—long before there is any money coming in to sustain the personnel costs. I would estimate that billions of dollars have been wasted and lost by independent production companies in bricks, mortar, and big salaries without a single movie getting made.

5. Focusing on image rather than on product.

Hollywood worships two deities, Mammon and Glitz. Way too often, when people get into filmmaking, they “go Hollywood” and lose all sense of who they really are. They begin to bow to money or image. This becomes a Failure Factor when they spend lavish amounts of money on pricey office space in ritzy locations, opulent offices, limousines, five-star hotels, splashy promotional advertising, and other accoutrements of the rich and famous.

The thinking is, I guess, that if you are going to be in the film business, you have to comport yourself like the icons of success whom you someday want to be. This is deadly thinking. You can hold meetings in nice hotels without dazzling folks with your own lavish, purchased-on- credit facilities with interest rates of 20 to 25 percent! There is an axiom about movie production companies: “The profitability of the company is in inverse relationship to the opulence of the front office.” Dazzle folks with the quality and power of your movies, not with the symbols of wealth you have rented.

Face it – you won’t be able to impress most of the big dogs in the film business anyway. They’ve seen it all.

6. Misunderstanding the varied roles played by film personnel and failing to coordinate their functions.

Production chaos commonly results because filmmakers do not understand the titles, job responsibilities, and lines of authority in a project and do not enforce them. For example, the role and function of the Executive Producer, the Producer, and the Director on a film must be understood. If this is not the case, conflict occurs, because people are trampling on each other’s organizational turf, making decisions outside the authority limits of their role, and allowing critical decisions to fall through the cracks. The management nightmare becomes even more chaotic with roles like Associate Producer, Associate Director, etc. Even if some of these titles are merely for the credit roll, titles, job descriptions, and lines of authority must be clear, mutually agreed upon, and policed to make sure the management of the production functions well.  Given the commonly huge egos and subjective artistic differences of film professionals, clearly defined roles, authority limits, and job responsibilities are absolutely necessary.

7. Forgetting that the single most important factor in a film is its story.

Filmland history is replete with anecdotes of gargantuan-budget movies that lost mucho millions because what ended up in the film can was a lousy story. It is said in various ways: “If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage,” or “If it’s not in the script, it’s not on the screen.”

Even though, as a consultant, I’ve never been in the business of making films, I’ve had countless scripts set before me to evaluate and innumerable stories pitched to me by enthusiastic writers and producers. I have a rule of thumb I use to predict a possibly successful story: it moves me to strong emotional responses. I had a comedy story sketched out for me by a successful comedy writer in the early eighties, and I laughed so hard, I cried. I laugh 25 years later thinking of it. I’ve been pitched stories of human heartbreak and cried hearing the summary. Good signs. Every great film has to move you emotionally in some manner. We pay money to go to theaters to see a story that thrills, frightens, angers, inspires, or makes us laugh or cry. We feel cheated leaving a theater with a “ho-hum” or “blah” response.

Crucial to the story’s success is determining the “take away” from the film. Film creators must determine what they want the viewer to take away from the two-hour experience. Is it to be a more loving parent, avoid behavior such as got the main character in trouble, be willing to die for freedom, sacrifice for the poor and downtrodden, get involved in a campaign for justice, or live life to the full, because life isn’t a dress rehearsal?

Big name actors, dazzling special effects, excellent production value, mind-boggling cinematography, and Oscar-winning musical scores all put together will still not compensate for a weak story.

8. Believing the pitches given you by people wanting to work on your film.

Most people in the film and TV business are out of work at any given time, and most have some level of desperation to get work. Mortgages, families, sustaining production company overhead, expensive lifestyles, etc. are all strong motivators to seek employment! Add to this the fact that a huge percentage of these professionals are willing to lie to get a job, and you have a trap that is easy to fall into and incredibly hard to escape.

Assume that nobody is telling you the truth, even if they talk “religious” speech. Assume that the resumes you are given are AT LEAST exaggerated, if not flat-out bogus. Assume that resume titles and references to their roles in the success of highly successful projects are wildly overblown. “Success,” it is said in Hollywood, “has many parents; failure is an orphan.”

Triple check EVERY CLAIM. Talk to people who have worked with the person and spend time checking out every line of a resume before you hire them. Do not rely on “good feelings” you get from them or their stories. Remember, entertainment industry folks are actors, story tellers, and masters of fiction!

9. Failing to identify and measure the audience for a film before making it.

I’ve had stories pitched to me that are set in the world of boat racing, motocross, fishing, and golf. None of the films made any money, if they got made. Unless the compelling nature of the story is so powerful that it overwhelms its setting, it will not succeed.

Even with a century of experience, sophisticated testing with focus groups, and scientific measurements, the big studios still lose money on most of their films. It is only the big hits that keep them afloat. Often, film failures result because producers miscalculated the audience for the film, overestimated the magnitude of the interest in the subject, produced a story that moved nobody in the theater, or told a good story poorly.

If testing via focus groups and other proven methods is not feasible, then doing a limited theater release focusing on the most likely cities to like the film is next best. One can always roll out a film with more prints in more cities if it takes off at the box office, or—as this is described—the film “has legs.”

Christian filmmakers commonly fail to test the receptivity of audiences to the faith factor in their films. Because they are so into their own faith, they assume that the general populace is as well. In an increasingly secular society, this is a deadly assumption. No matter what anyone tells you, the financial success of The Passion of the Christ was, for many reasons, an anomaly.

CONCLUSIONS

Even if you believe with all your heart that your vision came from God Himself, from some mystical experience, or a prophetic voice, don’t rationalize away the filmmaking experience and wisdom offered you. If you do, you will create one more in a long string of cinematic and financial disasters. Many will be hurt.
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(Article Source)

8:00AM

The 10 Commandments of Movie Viewing

(Article Source)
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(Editor’s note [and by "editor" I mean "me" (Josh Porter)]: Though the over-arching message of this rant is sincere, the curmudgeonliness and vitriol exist for comedic purposes only. In other words: I’m not actually angry. It’s supposed to be funny. Because this is the internet, I have to specify.)

10. Thou shalt leave thy phone at the door

As we will further illustrate along the way, a movie cannot be experienced if you are not watching it. If you are checking in on social media and drafting texts throughout the film, you are not watching the film.

Is your attention span so horrifically decrepit that dedicating an hour and a half to flashing images and loud noises is simply too much to bear? Is one screen simply not enough to satisfy your insatiable lust for media? Or has your life shriveled to such a depressing state of emptiness that the running time of a movie is unendurable without a peek at Instagram or Facebook?

Turn your phone off and put it down! Any life and death matter that can only come to you via your smartphone will be there when you turn it back on. It can wait a couple of hours. If you expect that your phone may absolutely demand your attention, what are you doing watching a movie?

A film is often a complicated and nuanced thing, even a lot of the bad ones. The fifteen seconds you spend staring down at twitter may provide a pivotal glimpse into the plot that drastically alters the trajectory of the entire story, but you just missed it because you needed to see a photo of your friend’s latté? You don’t care about this movie. Why are you watching it?

Not to mention the fact that your glowing screen and the twitching blur of your thumbs is distracting me. Now I can’t enjoy the movie. I’m no longer fully immersed because of your carelessness! Turn off your phone!

09. Thou shalt not commentate

I bypassed the commentary track from the director himself, why in the world do I need a running commentary from you? Virtually all the information in the world is available to me (after the movie) via this thing called the Internet. I don’t care how exciting it is for you to possess the inside knowledge, I don’t want director cameos pointed out by you, I don’t need to hear the urban myth about the light that fell on the grip, I don’t want to know about how it’s different from the book, I just want to watch the dang movie.

My suspension of disbelief is upheld by a magical—albeit fragile—thread when I come before the silver screen. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I probably indulge in pointless movie trivia more than a dozen of the average joes, but I don’t do it while the movie is playing.

Be quiet! There’s a movie on!

And for the love of God, don’t recite your favorite lines in tandem with the actors.

08. Thou shalt not critique

I don’t even care what professional critics have to say in major publications about movies, why should I hear from you? Every time you point out how fake a visual effect looks, every time you groan and grunt at what you perceive to be holes in the plot, every time you laugh at scenes intended to scare, you shatter the illusion the movie is meant to create!

I know it’s not real dangit. I’m trying to, in a sense, pretend like it is in order to immerse myself in the movie’s story. I want to be scared when the movie wants me to be scared and I want to be caught up in the plot when the movie aims to make it so. That’s what enjoying fiction is all about! I’m almost thirty years old, it’s hard enough to get my mode going good enough to believe the Avengers can communicate with one another when there are clearly no comm devices in their ears, I sure as heck can’t pretend when you sigh dramatically and point it out to me.

07. Thou shalt not forsake the viewing

Oh, you have to pee? Really? You didn’t realize this when we hit play? You can’t possibly last another half hour? Please, by all means, get up and walk past me at the most dramatic, crucial and/or terrifying moment in the film. And wait, what’s that? You don’t want us to pause it for you? Why the heck not? Because you don’t care about movies.

Use the bathroom, changeover your laundry, get a glass of water, etc. before or after the movie has ended but never during it. If you don’t watch the movie, you don’t watch the movie. I know you aren’t answering your phone, because you turned it off before the movie started, right?

06. Thou shalt not conversate

Shut up. Both of you. The movie requires silence to cast its wonderful illusory magic spell on us. Your audible conversation reminds me that it is not actually a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It’s actually here and now, next to two yahoos talking about where they’re going for dinner.

05. Thou shalt not divide thy focus

I thought mentioning the phone would be enough, but clearly it was not. If you are reading a book, poking around on your laptop, thumbing through a magazine or doing anything other than watching the movie, then you are—by definition—not watching the movie. And if you’re not watching the movie, what the heck are you doing here?

04. Thou shalt react respectfully

That scene was funny, so go ahead and laugh. And yes, this scene is terrifying, so a gasp is appropriate. You know what, I appreciate that you’re invested in the movie. Okay… That’s enough. Wait, what did that character just say? I couldn’t hear because the chump next to me is still laughing.

03. Remember the viewing atmosphere, to keep it holy

Ahhh the movie atmopshere. What a wonderful thing. The lights go down, all distractions are put away, the volume is turned up, and everyone sits still and stops talking while we venture into the fictional world that the movie creates.

If only it were always so.

When you get up, walk around, fidget, make a sandwich in the kitchen, switch on a lamp, etc. you destroy the magic. You destroy it. And maybe the magic isn’t important to you, buster, but it sure as heck is important to me.

02. If the movie has not been properly viewed, thou waiveth thy right to any opinion on said movie

So you didn’t like the movie? Is that what you’re saying? I’m curious about this assessment, because, if I recall, while the movie was playing you were looking at your phone, conversing with your friends and getting up to pee. Why, you didn’t really see the movie at all. As such, you are allowed no opinion about the movie whatsoever.

After all, the film’s important twist was revealed while you were staring down at Instagram. You missed the funniest line because you were talking over it, and you didn’t see that one guy die because you were in the bathroom. You didn’t see the movie.

Oh, you saw most of it, you say? You got the gist, you say? Hilarious. I’d like to see you skim a handful of chapters from Crime and Punishment and then pass a test on it.

01. All thoughts on the movie from someone who has seen the movie are spoilers. THOU SHALT NEVER EVER SPEAK SPOILERS.

“The ending blew my mind!”

“It was actually really sad.”

“I didn’t like the way it ended.”

I am perpetually flabbergasted by not only the lack of sensitivity so many folks have toward what we call “spoilers”—informative tidbits that spoil the plot and/or experience of a film—but also the understanding of what constitutes a spoiler in the first place. There are two types: direct and indirect. A direct spoiler is obvious, “The protagonist dies at the end.” An indirect spoiler however, is much broader, “It was actually really sad.” If you tell me the movie is “actually really sad” then I enter into the experience anticipating something tragic, the movie can’t possibly surprise me with it. As a result, the emotional reaction the movie intends to evoke is forever lost.

“Oh come on!” they groan. “I didn’t say anything!” they whine.

“You’ll never see the ending coming!” Actually, now I will. I’ll sit through the entire movie fully prepared for some twist, fighting the urge to unravel it in my mind as it approaches, and the surprise falls flat. A twist ending depends on the impact, not just the ramifications of the impact. If I’m told that the ending is a surprise, even if the contents of said surprise are not thoroughly unpacked, the surprise ceases to be a surprise at all. It becomes an inevitability.

Imagine, if you will, that I’m attending a wedding ceremony. The mood is thick. The lighting, decor, ambience are all perfectly in place. Just as the vows are about to be exchanged, I stand up and begin to shout gibberish at the top of my lungs for about fifteen seconds. After the initial shock begins to fade, the ceremony continues. That specific moment in time and what it means for everyone involved will be forever marked by the idiot who stood up and shouted for no good reason. They could hold another ceremony if they so desired, but it’s really too late, that important occasion can never be recreated. Now, imagine that when the offended parties approach me in regards to my strange behavior I simply say, “So what? You still got married. After all, it’s just a party, it’s not like it’s the end of the world.”

Not every movie is magical, but even bad movies require a certain level of investment to even allow for the possibility of magic to take place. Most people think of themselves as movie fans, but in reality, they treat movies the way most casual listeners treat music: as something to be enjoyed in passing, perhaps even in the background, with no serious commitment. After all, they think, it’s just a movie. So who in the world are you to care so much if they don’t?

For others, movies are an incredible doorway to inspiration, humanity, philosophy, theology, art, culture… Movies, though only stories created with actors and cameras, can offer a once in a lifetime experience that may resonate with us for as long as we live. We realize that life doesn’t begin and end with movies. We could live without them. We don’t get our identity from movies, we just like them a lot. They matter to us.

And they matter to all who keep these commandments.
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(Article Source)

8:00AM

Creating Authentic Marketing 

(This is an excerpt from The Music Bed Blog.)

Tom Aiello and Daniel Chesnut (otherwise known as Process Creative) are breaking a lot of rules. While most marketers would tell you people have just 30-second attention spans, Tom and Daniel are creating branded narratives that are often 10 times that long. And while most marketers would tell you it’s all about the product, Tom and Daniel say it’s all about the story. “Mostly we try to create marketing that would work on us,” Daniel told us. “And for us, we want marketing that feels like a gift.”

We recently sat down with Tom and Daniel to talk about their video The Encounter Collection, their creative process, and what it means for marketing to have a soul.

Here’s Tom and Daniel.

TMB: So, together you guys are Process Creative?

TA: Dan and I started the company. Originally it was just a passion project. A friend of ours, Stephen Kenn, designs furniture, and we wanted to tell an authentic story about it. So we did a passion project, not really thinking anything of it, and it turned out really well. We got a big response from it. We decided maybe we could start a company doing this. Actually, we didn’t want to start a company, more of a collective — just a way to tell cool stories — and then it developed into a business. We’ve been riding that wave ever since.

TMB: What’s your guys’ background?

TA: We’ve been doing films, separately and together, for six or seven years now.

DC: We met while we were working at Hurley and Nike. Back in the day, we worked on their production teams doing in-house commercial stuff, telling stories about their athletes, a little bit of everything. Then I went freelance, and Tom stayed and did tons of awesome documentary-style stories. We reconnected a couple years later on that piece Tom mentioned earlier. It was just a good time to come back together, and it blossomed.

TMB: How did The Encounter Collection piece come about?

TA: Actually, that was Stephen Kenn again — the guy we did that original passion project for. He’s one of the most inspirational dudes you’ll ever meet. Every conversation with him turns into a story. That “live life to the fullest” idea just oozes out of him. The Encounter Collection film was inspired by him. It’s very much about who Steve is and who his dad was and who his grandfather was. Each generation took each kid on a trip to become a man. We took that idea and wrote a rough treatment. We always leave a lot of room in our treatments to be creative later though.

TMB: I’m curious to know your process — how you arrive at a treatment in the first place.

DC: It’s different with every client and every project. The Encounter Collection project was unique because Steve has a story behind every single product he makes. He literally won’t start a project unless he has a purpose behind it. He comes to us and expresses that purpose.

So our process for The Encounter Collection was basically Steve coming to us and saying, “Hey, I’m going to do a bag collection and here’s why.” And that purpose for this particular project was to leave a lineage for your child. He wanted to create something that was worth passing on, something you could build memories with. You could share stories of your time holding that bag, taking that bag on a trip, what you put in that bag, what you use your bag for. He wanted to create a product that was worth keeping.

The three of us literally sat in a room for half a day, talking about our relationships with our fathers, our memories, our stories. Those conversations turned into five different concepts, which turned into five more, which we then boiled down to one.

TA: Usually with our treatments, we try to create a story around an individual. We write a story without even knowing if it’s true or not. And then we’ll call up the person and say, “Hey, would you ever do this? Is this true?” A lot of times they’ll be like, “Yeah, I actually do that,” or sometimes they’ll say, “No, that’s not really what I do, I actually do this.” So we rewrite the treatment to fit that.

We like to create emotive stories around someone’s daily life, but stories that are also intentional about showing why people live the way they do and why this certain product fits what they’re doing.

DC: One thing we take pride in is being able to create a narrative feel within a documentary environment....Read the full article here.
8:00AM

10 Tips from Editors to Directors 

Jonny Elwyn follows-up his popular article on what editors want camera operators to do to help out the process with an equally illuminating piece, this time focusing on the director/editor relationship.

My first article on Redshark News, 11 Things Editors Wish Camera Operators Always Did, seemed to have resonated with quite a few folks, so I thought I'd put down a few more thoughts on the complex creative marriage that occurs when directors are working with editors.

As with any close creative collaboration, personality, experience and personal idiosyncrasies all play a role in shaping how successful the union will be. Sometimes those differences create insurmountable conflict; other times, cinematic magic. But it is the professional editor's role to be what the director needs them to be at any given moment, and although the editor does have the opportunity to shape the final product in momentous ways, his-or-her work should ultimately all be in service of the director’s vision and producing the best possible end result.

With that in mind, here are 10 suggestions for directors on how to get the best from their editors.

1. It's a collaborative effort.
That means I want to bring all that I have to contribute to the project. I want to engage you in lively debate about the best way to shape the project. I want you to be open to trying new ideas and new approaches. I don't want to you to see me as only a button monkey.

2. What you have isn't what you had.
The editor is the one who has to stand in the gap between what the director thinks they have or wishes they had, and what they really have. We can only cut the footage you shot. Our job is to bridge that gap as much as we can.

3. Don't tell me when to cut.
No clicks, claps, points, taps or shouts please.

4. Leave me alone.
I need time to get on with things without you in the room. To get organized, watch through the footage, find the takes I like, try things my way, try crazy things that just might work but probably won't and to have the freedom to take a crack at things without wasting your time.

5. Be available.
If you're on the phone all the time, it's hard to collaborate. I'll need some quality time with you, at the right time, to help get your feedback, thoughts and collaborative energies in a focused way. You're the director after all - it's your project.

6. Be specifically general.
When working with actors it is common practice not to tell them you hated it when they said this word in that way. You'd say "once more with feeling." With an editor, if you say "the scene feels like it lacks energy," then I can go away and do things to amp it up a bit. If you say shave 5 frames off this shot and cut in here rather than there, things tend not to work out so well. Let me fix the note in the spirit of the note.

7. Be generally specific.
Towards the end of a project, it's OK to get more specific and granular with the details of your feedback. We want to make sure you get what you want and sometimes it's easier just to sit with you and give you that, especially if either option is a viable one.

8. Do not touch the screen.

9. Share Your Wisdom.
As an editor I've learnt much of what I know about filmmaking, narrative structure and creative ju-jitsu from the directors I've worked with. Your patient sharing of hard-won wisdom is gratefully received.

10. We sometimes get things wrong.
Usually spelling. I also think my most frequent fault as an editor, when collaborating with a director, is to dismiss an idea as one that "I've already tried and it didn't work…" Instead, I would be wiser to walk through the director's version of the idea once again – either to put to rest that it really won't work, or to be pleasantly surprised that it does.
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8:00AM

How to Make Your Editor Happier

11 things video editors wish they could say to camera operators and DOPs

RedShark welcomes editor and blogger Jonny Elwyn to its growing ranks of writers. He responds with this handy list for shooters and camera ops, of ways to keep their editors happy.

As any experienced editor will tell you, after years of sifting through hours and hours of footage (some of it good, some of it bad, some of it very ugly), there are a few key things that anyone working behind the camera can do that make our lives much easier, the project far better, and the final result something we can all be proud of. 

Of course, it's very easy for editors to turn into armchair critics. They didn't get up at 5 am to make the sunrise or drag heavy gear half way up a mountain, battling the elements just to get the perfect shot. But we do have the benefit of the perspective gained by leisurely skimming through the results of your hard graft. So here are 11 suggestions for things every editor wishes every camera operator always did, and hopefully they'll improve what you get in the can, and improve the life of editors everywhere. 

The first and last suggestions are probably the most important!

  1. Shoot for the edit  - Think in terms of sequences and storytelling. Make sure you've got an establishing wide, an interesting reveal, close ups, movement etc. If an interviewee mentioned a specific location, item, or view, try to grab that if you can. Also think in terms of triplets. Three shots most often make for a nice sequence of cutaways - two, not so much.
  2. Always roll  - It's the 'bad bits' that we often use - re-focuses, lens whacking, snippets of background audio for filling in silences, etc. - so please don't wave your hand in front of the camera to say that it's no good. We might have a use for it anyway.
  3. Don't always roll  - Editors don't love it when they have to copy, ingest, transcode and organise lots of footage that then turns out to be someone's feet, the inside of a car door, lens caps or other random things. Obviously, this isn't intentional, but if you know it's happened, please weed out the clip if you can. 
  4. Metadata matters  - Make sure that the reel names and timecode on your camera are set correctly and that they increment with each new card, tape or disc. The more information you can supply us the better. If you're keeping logging sheets or camera reports, please know we do actually look at them!
  5. Fix it in Camera  - Ensuring your white balance and colour temperature are set correctly is extremely helpful. Not only is this a pretty basic element for a professional cameraman to get right, it can be sometimes very difficult to fix in the grade later on (if the project is lucky enough to have a grade), especially under more exotic lighting conditions, for example inside a factory or under-ground parking garage. And if you want to really go wild, actually shoot a colour chart.

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