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ReelCast Blog - MOVES to FACEBOOK

As you may have noticed the blog hasn't been updated for quite some time.

Eventually much of the blog and the asocciated pages will be integrated into the ReelCast Productions website.
However I have moved over to posting news and tips on my business page on Facebook.

Be sure to go like the page and set the notifications to "on" and "see first"
to stay up to date!


10 thoughts on working for free in exchange for “exposure.”

A multi-billion dollar company wants my friend to do free work for them in exchange for exposure.

The company makes billions of dollars a year and wants to pay him zero dollars for the honor of working with them. This kind of thing often drives me crazy.

A lot of companies are doing that these days. “We won’t pay you for your designs, writing, photos, code, INSERT SKILL HERE, but it will be great exposure for you.”

The challenge is that sometimes it makes sense to do some free work. It’s not a black and white issue, there’s a whole lot of gray.

Here are 10 things you need to keep in mind.

1. If someone asks you to work for free because it will be great exposure, ask them to specify what that means. If they can’t, don’t. Don’t let “great exposure” be code for “we won’t pay you anything.” Click To Tweet

2. Exposure that can’t be detailed or explained is fake exposure. Here’s the difference: Real exposure = “We have a mailing list of 100,000 people and will send an email to everyone on March 9th with links to your site or social platforms.” Fake exposure = “Our people will love your work and will definitely check you out.” Get specific or don’t expect anything valuable.

3. It’s on you to make sure they deliver on the exposure. Don’t wait for the company to send out the email or post about your work. Do your best to be persistent without pestering.

4. Exposure comes in a lot of shapes and sizes. In addition to a new audience finding out about you, working with the right clients can legitimize you. If you need to build up your resume, the ability to say, “I worked with Apple” has real value.

5. If you’re going to be shy about using the street cred that exposure gives you, don’t bother doing the work for free. Exposure you don’t cash in on is useless.

6. Dear companies who take advantage of the free model, I just came up with a new idea. Here it is, “You get what you pay for.” When you demand someone work for free, don’t be surprised if the work isn’t amazing. If you wouldn’t work for free, why do you expect other people to?

7. Play the system. In some industries, to get your foot in the door you have to work a free internship. If that’s the case and you want the job bad enough, play the system. I would have loved to be paid for every speaking gig I did when I was starting out, but guess what? I wasn’t good enough to get paid. I had to earn that. That wasn’t failure, that’s how that process works.

8. Beware the free client. The most difficult and demanding clients I have ever worked with are the ones who wanted me to work for free or at a grossly reduced rate. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but I promise it’s true.

9. Volunteer for free when you want to. That’s ultimately what I dislike about this whole game, it removes your ability to be generous. Donate your time. Give your skills and talents to causes you’re passionate about. But don’t let someone force you to.

10. Joy is pretty amazing form of currency too. I still do some free work just because it’s fun. In the grind to build a business, don’t forget to smile.

Should you work for free? No. But also yes.

Do you deserve to be paid more for what you do?

Maybe, if you’re great at what you do.

To get great, read my New York Times Bestselling, worth $1,000 but on sale for only $15 book, Do Over.

Considering it took me 18 years of employment to write, that’s practically free.

But maybe I needed the exposure.

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Written by Jon Acuff
Source Article


Risen - The Movie

I had the chance to see this film in the theater and both my wife and I really enjoyed it! Be sure to check the reviews below, but I do recommend this film!!

Risen is the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer. Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a powerful Roman military tribune, and his aide, Lucius (Tom Felton), are tasked with solving the mystery of what happened to Jesus in the weeks following the crucifixion, in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.

“RISEN is powerful and gripping! Masterfully done! To see the Easter story through the eyes of a Roman soldier left me in awe! Brilliant!”
Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times Best–Selling Author

"Risen is a breath of fresh air for moviegoers who have longed for a quality, biblical-themed movie that upholds the truth of Scripture rather than attacking it. Due to its unique approach, viewers get to experience the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ through the eyes of an unbeliever."

Read the full Answers in Genisis' review of the film.

"[T]he story here is one that may very well prompt many moviegoers to see the one called Yeshua through fresh eyes, just as Clavius does."

Read the full PluggedIn review.



The Three Most Common Mistakes Of Amateur Colorists

Many filmmakers are now attempting to color grade their own work. Here’s why some are coming up short, both technically and creatively.

It wasn’t that long ago that color correction was an extremely costly process that was reserved for high-end productions working with large post facilities. As time went on and the overall cost of software decreased, more and more filmmakers started to take the color process into their own hands — and I can’t blame them. After all, DaVinci Resolve can be had for free (one version, at least), SpeedGrade comes bundled with your Adobe subscription, and there are so many other options out there too — so why not color your own work?

While it makes a lot of sense financially, even creatively, for filmmakers to attempt to color their own work under certain circumstances, there’s still quite a big learning curve involved. If you’re an amateur colorist attempting to brush up your skills, here are a few of the most common pitfalls you need to avoid.

1. The Wrong Order of Operations

The Three Most Common Mistakes Made By Amateur Colorists: Wrong Workflow
Image from Blackmagic

This is probably the number one mistake made by amateur colorists. It’s extremely common for filmmakers without coloring experience to attempt a “look” or grade without first balancing their image. This is breaking the rules of color correction 101.

The absolute first thing you need to do when color grading any piece is to balance all of your shots (contrast, levels, white balance, etc.) so you have a clean slate to work from. Only once your shots are balanced can you go in and set your creative look. If you avoid this step, you’ll never get your shots to match and the look of your finished piece will be very inconsistent.

2. Overdoing Looks

The Three Most Common Mistakes Made By Amateur Colorists: Overdoing Looks
An example of extreme color grading. Image from IMDb

Seasoned colorists understand the art of subtlety. They know how to make an image feel warm and inviting without having the audience notice it overtly. Knowing where to draw the line plays a big part in their craft.

Most amateur colorists will push their looks either way too far or not far enough, failing to find that ‘sweet spot’. There’s a time and a place for more extreme looks on both sides of the spectrum… but in 90% of cases, the best result will be found by keeping the look somewhat natural and organic, while still leaving enough room for style.

3. Using Presets

The Three Most Common Mistakes Made By Amateur Colorists: Using Pre-sets
Image from Blackmagic

Arguably, the biggest giveaway of an amateur colorist is their overuse of presets or filters. Many filmmakers will start their “color sessions” by clicking around on pre-created looks within the software they’re using, and wind up with a very poor-looking final product.

Personally speaking, I never use any presets for my work, though I’ll occasionally use them to spark creative ideas. This is typically the best way to use presets. You can quickly see what type of looks might work well for your footage (saturated, bleach bypass, black and white, etc.) and then start from scratch to build a custom look that’s tailored to your specific shot.

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(Article Source)


Know Your Crew: Pitfalls Directors Should Avoid

“Movies are made in post-production.”

While some producers and cinematographers may take issue with this maxim, Nancy Kirhoffer, an accomplished post-production supervisor whose credits include Memento, 50/50 and Bernie, makes a compelling case: “Movies are three things: picture, sound and music and two of those happen in post-production.”

Last week, Kirhoffer spoke to Film Independent Members about the responsibilities of her position. “I basically take over from the line producer. My job is to get the film through post-production. I oversee the editing, sound, music and I make sure it’s delivered.”

Kirhoffer recommends finding a post-production supervisor in pre-production. After all, they’re the ones responsible for helping the film reach the finish line.

“I’ve worked with so many people whose first movies never get finished.” By bringing in a post-production supervisor early on, filmmakers can know what to expect when they arrive at the editing bay, how long they should take to finish the film, and how much they should expect to spend.

“The truth of the matter is whether you spend $100 million or $100,000, the process is the same,” said Kirhoffer. “In that same vein, if someone is going to pay $15 to see your movie in the theater, they don’t care that you only had $100,000. They only want to make sure it’s worth their $15, and there’s an expectation that the film is going to sound a certain way, and it’s going to look a certain way, and you can’t get over that fact. It has to sound good.”

And good sound isn’t cheap. “There is no world where a sound job costs $20,000. No world where that happens. You’re going to need to spend at least $65,000.”

That’s why it’s key for low-budget filmmakers to bring on a post-production supervisor. They need to know, according to Kirhoffer, “the bare minimum that it’s going to cost to get your movie to where you can distribute it.”

To demonstrate just how tricky navigating post-production can be, Kirhoffer brought along her calendar for post on Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. A variety of stages stretch and overlap, different tasks to accomplish by different points in post-production, comprising a tightly organized period of about 23 weeks from editor’s assembly to finished film.

Or at least, that’s how things should go.

“I call [the calendar] my work of fiction. It never goes this easy, never this good.”

Often, delays are caused by...[read full article]

Daniel Larios / Film Independent Blogger
Source Article


Woodlawn DVD

Woodlawn is now available on DVD and Blu-ray!


We enjoyed this film and I highly recommend it.


Motion University - Pre-launch

Build a career, not a hobby.

This is a new film training project that I'm very excited to be part of!

Motion University will give you access to an entire new ecosystem of online training. Learn from industry professionals through lectures, interactive Q&A, and weekly assignments. By the end of the program you will also create your own promo video and get an in-depth critique by seasoned filmmakers.

Sign-up to Stay Updated -


Family Ties - SHORT FILM

Follow the journey of a young man as he discovers the importance of being grateful.

We put together this short project for the Fatherhood CoMission video contest.

Canon C100 MKII (C-LOG)
- Canon 70-200 L f/2.8 IS
- Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS
Edited and color graded in Adobe Premiere


Organize Your Hard Drive

Post Cover

Keeping your assets organized in your NLE is vital, but now you’ve got to organize your hard drive! Here’s a great way to do it.

Keeping your project nice and organized when editing is essential – you never know who you might have to hand the project off to, or if you might have to come back to it much, much later. If it’s not organized, headaches and cursing ensue. Keeping things organized outside of the NLE – on your hard drive or server – is just as vital for passing off a project or archiving it. Here’s a look at one potential project organization setup that I use, plus a free download of the folder structure!



This folder is for non-final versions that are ready for the client to look over (usually .mp4s in my case).


There are 4 folders inside the Audio folder:

  • Mixes – specifically for mastered & mixed .wav or .aif files
  • Music - for the raw stock or original music used in the project. Even if you use a master library, I recommend copying the songs in here so they stay with the project.
  • SFX
  • VO


I put scripts, interview questions, project briefs, casting notes, etc. in here.


This folder is for any non-footage elements like logos, images, pre-rendered lower thirds/motion graphics, etc.


Directly inside the Masters folder is where I put the master .mov files – ProRes 422 HQ typically.

There’s also a subfolder called Deliverables: This folder is specifically for non-archival delivery formats needed, like H.264 for web, ProRes or XD Cam for TV station delivery, .m2v/.ac3 files for DVD, etc.


Some people prefer to keep their media in a different place/drive than their projects. If you like to keep it all together, put it in this Media folder, organized by “Reel X” folders to separate card/shoot days.


This is for all project files, including Premiere/Avid/FCP/whatever, After Effects, Motion, Cinema 4D, Flash, Audition, Soundtrack Pro, etc.

I also like to add subfolders for each program, like so: PR, AE, FCP, FL, C4D, and so on, plus an XML for any XMLs created for program interchange: FCP -> Premiere/After Effects, Premiere -> Resolve, etc.


This folder is distinct from the GFX folder – I use this for any footage elements like green screen passes, background plates, or non-mograph output from After Effects or Motion (like speed changes, logo blurs, etc.)

Hopefully this system helps you easily manage all of the project assets on our drive. You can download a .zip containing an empty version of this folder structure by clicking here.

If you’d a few more organizational tips fro videographers, video editors, and filmmakers, check out the following links from PremiumBeat!

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(Source Article by Aaron Williams)


MINDCASTLE’s Obsessive Scouting Methods

What’s that thing real estate agents always say? Location, location, location? Well, the same could be said about film. Knowing how to find great locations is an essential element of filmmaking — and it is equal parts vigilance, thoroughness, organization, and plain old luck. In our last conversation with Casey and Danielle of MINDCASTLE, they talked briefly about their, shall we say, exhaustive scouting methods. So we thought we’d call them up again and dig into their process.

If these two seem obsessive about scouting (they put two weeks and 1,200 miles into scouting their film The Journey), that’s because scouting has made such a difference in their work. “All of the projects I want to change afterwards are the ones where we were forced into a location, or we were rushed into something and didn’t have time to properly plan,” Danielle told us. “When you have time to properly plan, I think those are the projects you’re going to be most satisfied with.” Here are Danielle and Casey telling us everything they’ve learned about the art of the scout.


Danielle Krieger: Let’s start by talking about The Journey, which was probably the most complex scouting we’ve ever done. Sometimes a client will give you the location, and you have to pick the best spot within it. But on The Journey, we got to start from zero and go wherever we wanted.

Casey Warren: Our pitch was all outdoor activities. We wanted a plane, we wanted kayaking, we wanted hiking, we wanted a motorcycle, we wanted a ferry.

Musicbed: You had all of these hypothetical locations in mind. What was your first step to start scouting?

CW: The first thing we do is look through our own library of locations. Whenever we have free time, we go driving and look around. We take photos of awesome spots we find. So step one is looking through places we’ve already been. Step two is Google Earth. Or, actually, a really handy way to scout is on Instagram. You can type in different locations and see what they looked like today or yesterday.

DK: You can see if it’s snowy or muddy.

CW: Google Earth doesn’t always help you because the images could have been taken three years ago. Instagram is usually right now. I use it to help with some of the more remote locations, just to see what the conditions are like. So for The Journey, scouting started with our own library and computers, but then we purposefully went out to see places for ourselves. We probably drove something like 1,200 miles. It took about two weeks. Every morning we’d wake up and say, “Hey, let’s go to this island or take that ferry.” We tried to travel and explore as much as we could.

We make sure to go to the location at the time of day when we’re planning on shooting. It’s important to know where the light is going to be.

I know a lot of these locations are places you’ve been to in your normal lives. Do they look different when you’re there to scout?

DK: Definitely. For instance, we take ferries all the time. We live five minutes from a ferry launch. But when we were looking for a ferry to shoot, we rode every single one; and we realized they are all different. There are some from the ’70s, which look really cool, and some new ones don’t look as cool. That’s the first thing you’re scouting for: creative elements. How will this location help tell the story? But you’re also scouting for technical elements. Where is parking? Do I have to pay for parking? How easily can I get there? Is it close to power? Are there bathrooms close by? Those are the things you don’t really think about in your normal life.

CW: The ferry was one of the hardest scouts because we wanted to end up somewhere that had a good road we could drive a motorcycle on. We went on all the ferries to see where they ended up, and there was nothing. Just cities and towns. But we kept driving around, and we finally found this back road that happened to lead to a dock. So we got a bonus. But finding that involved three or four days of scouting where we didn’t end up with anything at the end of the day.

DK: Also, some locations look beautiful in person, but when you shoot them they come out much differently. When we scout, we always take pictures in every direction. We also make sure to go to the location at the time of day when we’re planning on shooting. It’s important to know where the light is going to be. It’s important to know what might change throughout the day. For instance, the dock in the film. We scouted that in the evening and the water was low. We thought, Oh, we’ll go down below the dock and shoot some stuff. But we ended up shooting the dock in the morning, and the water was high. So we had to change our plans. Those are the types of things you need to think about. Tide reports. Fog. If you’re using a drone, you need to think about power lines.

CW: I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing the things I need to be looking for when we’re scouting. There are basically four things: (1) Where are we going to shoot? (2) Who do we need to get in touch with for permits and permission? (3) What info do we need to get this location on our insurance? And (4) Where is the crew going to park and be? If you don’t have a specified place for the crew, you’ll inevitably want to film where everyone has decided to hang out. You always need to keep 180 degrees clear because you might end up shooting the opposite way.

Do you always get permission for the places you’re shooting?

CW: We pretty much make sure we have permission for every spot. It can depend on the size of your crew, though. If you’re two to three people — I’ve talked to the permits office about this a couple times — they’re like, “Yeah, if it’s two to three people, don’t worry about it.” But if you have more than that or if you have extensive gear, then you definitely want to get permission. We have an entire booklet full of forms and contracts just for The Journey locations alone. The biggest amount of paperwork for that entire project was about the locations.

DK: I used to think getting permits was this big, scary process and people were going to say no. But it’s really no big deal.

That’s what we try to do with any location: get people excited and involved.

CW: One of the most important things is not just getting permission, but also building relationships. Don’t call someone up and say, “Hey, how much would it cost to shoot on your land?” Build a relationship with them. Explain your project. Get them involved and excited about it. For the seaplane scene in The Journey, we literally went around knocking on doors at this lake, which led to us meeting the family who founded the first homestead on Lake Wenatchee. I hung out with them for about 40 minutes, and they had this whole homestead area up on the mountain where we could land a helicopter. Plus, they owned all the beaches except the State Park beaches. And then it turned out their son was in film school, so we got this awesome PA who brought us coffee every morning. That’s what we try to do with any location: get people excited and involved.

Do you have to pay for permits?

DK: Yeah. They’re usually somewhere between $25 and $150.

CW: For State Parks, you have to go through a certain film permits office, and that usually takes a while. Using private property is easier because you can just get in touch with the person who owns the land. Like that family I met on Lake Wenatchee. They were like, “Yeah, cool. You can shoot here.” And that’s literally all you need.

DK: But because I’m a nervous person, we decided to rent their cabin so at least we were giving them money and they couldn’t back out. They were totally awesome and wouldn’t have backed out, but it helps lock things down when there is some kind of transaction involved.

For a scene like the boathouse, what’s the etiquette there? You had this real boat maker working in his own shop — do you pay him?

DK: It depends on the project. If we were shooting a little video and there was no client, I think it would have been totally appropriate not to offer any money. Maybe trade some imagery. Edit a little bit of footage together for their website. But if there’s a client involved, that changes things. We negotiated a day rate to shoot in their space, and then I also negotiated a rate with Peter (the boat maker) for his time. It’s sort of a personal preference, but I don’t feel comfortable not paying someone when we have a budget.

CW: We don’t usually come in with an offer. We just explain the project and then ask what they’d like. We’ve never had anyone come back with anything crazy.

DK: Paying people is actually a good thing, because then there’s an agreement involved. You know they’ll show up. If they’re doing it for free, it would be really easy for them to back out at the last minute. Still though, you never know what’s going to happen. You always need to have some sort of backup plan in case something doesn’t work out. What are you going to do if it’s pouring down rain? You’ve got 15 people staring at you like, Now what? Have some thought-out plans so you’re not put into emergency mode.

For example, after scouting Lake Wenatchee, which is where we did all the canoeing and boat stuff, we decided we needed a dock for the plane. So I contacted the lady we were renting the cabin from and asked if she knew anyone. Because it was winter, everyone had pulled their docks in. But she was able to find me a person who had a nonretractable dock, and she sent me, like, 16 photos. I thought, Oh, wow! This is great. It’s going to work perfectly. But when we showed up to shoot, it did not look good at all. To the left and right, there was this red monstrosity of a boathouse. The only way to make it work was shooting straight on. Luckily we had a backup plan: shoot on the beach. All that to say, Plan A didn’t work.

Is there anything about The Journey you would have changed?

DK: I wouldn’t change anything. And that’s because we did so much planning and scouting ahead of time. All of the projects I want to change afterwards are the ones where we were forced into a location, or we were rushed into something and didn’t have time to properly plan. When you have time to properly plan, I think those are the projects you’re going to be most satisfied with.

CW: Scouting is part of the creative process, especially on a film like The Journey. Going to those places helps me become more creative. It became really symbiotic — making a project about exploring helps you within your own creativity.

So I’m guessing scouting for The Journey was a lot different than scouting for From 1994.

DK: One of the biggest differences was that From 1994 was a personal project, so we paid for the whole thing. Originally I thought we could shoot in friends’ houses or maybe even our own house. For that project we ended up looking at, I think, over 20 houses.


What were you looking for?

DK: Mostly the size of the rooms. We needed to fit lighting in all directions and a crew of 10 people, while also being able to move around. You can use a professional location scout to find a house, but we were told it would be $2,500 to $4,000 per day to shoot in some of these houses, and we were going to need the house for about a week. So that was out. We started trying to find houses that weren’t prevetted. We looked on VRBO and Airbnb. I emailed the owners, told them about our project, and asked if they’d let us film. A lot of people said no. But a few people said yes. Anyone who said yes, we’d go scout the house.

CW: In the end it came down to that relationship-building I was talking about before. The main house we rented for the film, we ended up becoming really good friends with the owners. We even invited them to the premier. They were awesome. They keep asking us when we’re going to come back and do our next film. It’s cool to have people like that become a part of your team. They give you this positive emotional support that you’re doing something cool.

We’re given only one light: the sun. That’s the one we use to shape everything else.

DK: That’s also why it’s important to keep a list of your locations. Like, if we ever need a house to shoot in again, we have a house. If we need a boathouse to shoot in, we have a boathouse. That’s so much easier than starting with nothing, which is how we started From 1994. We scouted forever. And even then, the place where we ended up shooting wasn’t really my style.

CW: We brought in all different furniture, props, everything.

Do you think the world is uglier than we realize?

CW: I think it all has to do with light. Often when I walk into a shoot, I’ll shut off all the lights. The producer will be like, “What are you doing?” And I explain that it’s best to start with what’s coming in from outside. It’s better to start there and add, rather than subtract. I forget what filmmaker said this, but they said, really, we’re given only one light: the sun. That’s the one we use to shape everything else. So that’s the mind-set I have when I scout a location. I start with what’s naturally there.

Has scouting so much changed the way you see the world?

DK: I think, more than anything, scouting has helped us hone our style and better understand the things we like. When we scout, it gets us more excited about the things we love; and it helps us make the films we want to make. The more I see new things, the more I want to make films — and vice versa. Scouting opens up creative ideas.

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(Source Article by Music Bed)