Monthly Archives: October 2014

A Great Film Festival Experience.

I spent some time at the Orlando film Festival this year and I was really impressed at the quality of work being represented by filmmakers from across the country. It was a great time to network, mingle with great people, great ideas, and simply have fun.

This is only the second film festival that I have been to, but this experience was drastically different from my first one. It was far and away a more positive experience than the original than the first, but I did take note of several of the key factors which I believe make for a great overall film festival experience.

Great Filmmakers market their films at film festivals.
A lot of films have great posters on the wall that obvious effort went into with very creative people doing great graphic work. But as I walk through the hallways of the theatre, I am struck at how many posters have no logline or indicator of the film’s content. What’s more, many of the film’s have no one marketing the film while myriad’s of people meander about looking for a good flick to invest a couple hours into.
Compare that to the several filmmaking teams that were busy handing out chocolate tickets, shaking hand’s while handing out postcard’s , greeting passer’s-by with well-thought-out 30 second pitches. These director’s and producer’s were still marketing their film’s and showing people that they were still excited about their product regardless of how well it faired elsewhere or how long it had been on the circuit. When done well, I got excited about a couple film’s that had not previously been on my radar.

Great Filmmakers don’t bandstand on/or at the expense of other filmmakers’ platform’s.
Most individuals that show up for a more highly-profiled film festival are absolutely professional and let their work speak for itself. That being said, there are a handful of filmmakers who find it necessary to talk up their credentials over and against other people’s work. They even push into theatre’s where people are about to watch someone else’s work and do a standup routine to advertise their own film to a seemingly captive audience.
These tactics, while done with an airs of professionalism and experience, are slightly shameless and lack integrity. If your work is great, it can stand alone as great on it’s own merits. If you are an intelligent filmmaker and mentor, your reputation will be built upon the integrity of your work. Theirs is never a need to put others down in order to present yourself in a more advantageous position. For the more mature individuals you encounter, these behaviors do exactly the opposite for your reputation and return on investment. Develop your pitch and platform and do it well during your fifteen minutes, but let other’s have theirs and let the audience make their own decisions about others.

Great Filmmakers celebrate their team.
Most film’s are not one-man/woman-shows. Celebrate those who helped you earn the spotlight. Simple.
Great Filmmakers have fun.
Filmmakers come in every shape and size, from every conceivable background, with tons of represented life experience. But the people who are exciting to meet are the people who are enjoying the filmmaking process, including sharing their work with the world. This industry is full of creative geniuses and beautiful work. There are times when work represents passion, art, dreams, inner demons, or the inner child – but the process has to be enjoyable if it is going to sell. People will put up with heavy, even dark material, but they want to know and see that the film is not just a project but an enjoyable experience. They see that in the manner with which the film is pitched and presented; the manner in which the Q&A time is handled; and the way in which the filmmaker relates to his audience and admirer’s afterwards and throughout.

Be positive. Have fun. Be professional. Have fun. Be approachable. Have fun. Be prepared. Have fun. This is what makes a great film festival experience.

You can check out more of the happenings of the Orlando Film Festival here: orlandofilmfest.com/
Orlando Film Festival

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The Influences That Shaped the Landscape of 21st Century ChristianCinema. Part I.

Can you imagine a silent Jesus. A Jesus who only performed miracles, put zealots in their place , but never told stories, made illustrations, or painted parabolic pictures. Some of the early 20th century preachers seemed to forget that the Jesus they swore allegiance to and claimed to love was a master storyteller. Take away Jesus’s compassionate storytelling and you’re simply left with the miracle worker and great Judge. Sounds like the preachers who wanted to throw the film baby out with the immoral Hollywood bathwater. A Jesus made in their own image.

But most Christian leaders have come a long way. Today Hollywood is championing the “faith-based” messages of the westernized Church. And Churches are hungry for the feast. So what happened?

Back in the 1930’s, Christian leaders preached the vices of Hollywood to their congregations as a matter of principal. The silver screen was a prophet to the masses, proclaiming the sinful pleasures of adultery, drink, smoke, debauchery, hedonism, frivolity, and lust. Where the staunch shepherds had once reigned sovereign over the façade of pristine social lives of their congregants, a new form of cheap entertainment allowed the middle-aged housewife the visual aide to indulge in fantasy; young men were given cheap smut and thrill-by-the hour for a nickel; and older men could now lose themselves in the escapism of a dark theatre imagining a less practical, more frivolous live of adventure and hedonism. The pulpit harbinger had lost control. The Hollywood driven theatre and its Silver Screen were akin to the Anti-Christ and the Beast.

But the harder you fight something with hatred, the stronger it typically becomes. Compassionless hatred fuels rebellion. Just ask the Prodigal Son’s older brother. How’s that for Biblical irony? Yell at the world to be less sinful, only you do it exactly like He said not to.

What can happen though in the better part of a century? By the end of the 30’s, many well-meaning religious faithful could read the writing on the wall. Movies were not going anywhere, and they certainly were not going to lose their audience. If anything, the audience would grow! Thus, these once pious zealots began to explore how film might be used for the Kingdom of God.

By the 40’s, Hollywood had seen the introduction of Christian filmmakers (primarily for non-theatrical entertainment) and even a production studio devoted solely to their works. By the 1950’s and 60’s, it is argued that the plethora of primarily protestant pictures was one of the driving factors of cultural formation in America. For a great historical read on Christian cinema, visit here.

By the 2000’s, we have mainstream major Studio’s producing faith-based and family friendly films. Not necessarily a faithful representation of the faith (a smorgasbord of material where Mel Gibson and Tyler Perry are mentioned together in one sentence as giants of Christian Film), but faith-“based” nonetheless. So how did this happen? In my next blog, I’ll theorize on that question.

Link

The old approach to making films, both Hollywood and Indie, are fading away. Creative filmmakers are having to find new ways to fund, produce, and distribute film. Those who don’t HAVE to, have already been pioneering affordable filmmaking alternatives because they could see the cultural shift emerging from within a struggling, though very traditional business model.
Of all the ways to create great stories to share with the world, one of the most problematic is the video-capture platform itself. If you want to be competitive, you need a good camera – period. The problem here is that a “good” camera can be anywhere from $5000 dollars to $30,000 (or more, depending on your perceived needs and who you talk to).
But Apple may have just upped the ante (or lowered it as the case may be) with it’s newest technological version of the iconic iPhone. Specifically, the iPhone 6 and 6 plus. For the purpose of this article, I am going to focus on the 6 plus.
With a 1080+ screen resolution, advanced optical stabilization and high ios range noise cancelation, the 6 plus just made a serious bid as an already tested weapon of choice for filmmakers.Cam
With the iPhone 5 having already broke ground as a camera platform for short and feature length films alike, the 6’s notable improvements and other upgrades such as 128 Gb storage capability, adaptable lens mount hardware, increased monitor size and the plethora of free and affordable editing software apps available, this could quite possibly be one of the best Indie assets to hit the market in decades.
For a great demonstration of the i5’s capabilities and what to expect from the 6, view Ricky Fosheim’s video at http://www.wired.com/2014/09/iphone-6-filmmaking/.
Already being tested, the i6 plus is building a well earned reputation for being a dependable camera where other cameras simply cannot go; those small corners, even unobtrusively invading personal space. It is literally a camera in your pocket ready-to-go. If you want the additional lens mount, you have about 60 seconds until you are set up and ready to shoot. That is amazing!
Visit http://m.imore.com/iphone-6-vs-iphone-6-plus-camera-comparison-6-plus-actually-better to see test footage of the 6 plus in action.
There are challenges for the 6 plus to overcome, like lens flare and optical light shadowing, but so far, these problems are minimal – at least no more than you would have with any other camera system.
While nothing can be perfect, for the money, Apple just gave us a true contender for our already limited resources. In an industry saturated with fund-draining needs, Apple reinvented a platform that will propel a lot more storytellers toward that ultimate goal. For those with limited budgets, Apple has opened the door; for those with ample budget, Apple has made the inroad a little wider with the opportunity to spend money in better places for distribution and creativity.
For more exciting info about the i6 and movie making
visit http://www.sellcell.com/blog/will-camera-iphone-6-revolutionize-movie-making/