Monthly Archives: February 2015

What to consider before relocation

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We all face tough decisions in our lives but I believe one of the hardest is whether or not to relocate for work in the film industry. As reported by John August “Every year, thousands of 20-something guys and girls pack up their cars, leave their beloved suburban towns and head west to Los Angeles”. http://johnaugust.com/2010/moving-to-hollywoo

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What if you are not in your twenties and have a family that depends on you? Might not be as simple as it sounds Right? I have researched and found some valuable things to consider as you contemplate your move.

On the positive side a move often will create more opportunities as well as greater growth potential than where you may be at now. Exceptional or expanded exposure is also a possible by product of re-locating. If these are not prominent in your search, it is something you should consider as you pursue a new location for work.

On the negative side moving across town can prove to be costly let alone across the country. Research what the cost of living is in the area you are considering and weigh that against what your earning potential will be. It is also often hard to adjust to being a small fish in a big pond when you were just the big fish in a little pond. Finally, leaving your network of associates that took years to build can leave you feeling like are starting completely from scratch and can appear overwhelming and stressful.

http://www.iadtxmagazine.com/10-pros-cons-of-moving-to-a-bigger-city/

In conclusion, I would like you to consider all of the discussed concerns and benefits and the effect it would have on those who depend on you. Research and take your time making the final decision.

To L.A. or Not to L.A.?

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Unless you want to create major Hollywood films, relocating to Los Angeles is no longer necessary to become a filmmaker. Best selling author of “Linchpin” Seth Godin says, “Many other digital evangelists, the age of generic ‘Entertainment’ is over. People want stories that are more personal, specific and relevant to their communities – Not generic ‘Holly-where’ locations.” To further Godin’s point, there are several directors that made their own films without being in L.A.

For example, Richard Linklater has produced and directed his own films in the state of Texas. “Slacker,” one of his earlier films, was shot in Austin, TX where Linklater resides. It was nominated for the 1991 Sundance Film Festival. His most recent film, “Boyhood” was also shot in Austin and Houston, TX. IFC Films, a distribution studio based in New York, funded “Boyhood”. The film currently has six Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Motion Picture. Even though Linklater received funding from IFC Films, he remained in Texas.

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John Sayles is another director that is not based out of L.A. Sayles’ “Honeydripper” was filmed in Alabama while he was living there. The independent film “Honeydripper” won three awards, including Best Screenplay at the 2007 San Sebastián International Film Festival.

“If you want to make other people’s films, drive to LA, stand in line and after a while, you’ll have a chance among the ranks of soldiers who make other people’s movies,” according to Thefilmcircuit.com. There is no need to relocate to Los Angeles if you want to be a successful independent director like Linklater and Sayles.

Reference Links:

www.imdb.com

http://thefilmcircuit.com/?p=244

http://thefilmcircuit.com/?p=233

http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/default.asp

Getting Your First Job In The Film Industry

New to the industry? Just graduated from film school and looking for a job in your field? Looking for that job to get your foot in the door? Well you’re not alone. Many recent grads and people who are new to the industry go through the taxing process of finding that first gig to be a `part of the industry they love. Thanks to the Internet finding a job opening is just one click away. But there are many websites out there and it can be overwhelming at times. The Raindance Film Festival’s website (http://www.raindance.org/where-to-find-film-work/) provides a list of job finder websites that can help you find your first career opportunity in the entertainment industry.

 

  • radarmusicvideos.com

Radarmusicvideos.com is a site that helps directors, labels, managers, and artists get in touch with one another to produce music videos. They also offer a director development plan to help new directors learn about pitching, producing a music video, editing and interpersonal skills.

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  • productionhub.com

This site provides a very broad and wide reaching search engine for a plethora of varying film production positions including casting for the for the project as well as the working crew. You can also sign up and create a membership.

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  • indeed.  com

While Indeed is not specifically an entertainment industry job site, it has a very wide search and allows you to use keywords to search for specific jobs and locations.

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Obviously there are a lot more job search sites out there. These were three that we chose. When looking for your first job, always remember to approach each offer in a professional manner because your first impression is an important one and will reflect how your employer thinks of you.

The Lazarus Effect

When you think of horror movies what month do you think of? If you said October, you’d be wrong this year. RelativityThe distribution company, behind The Lazurus Effect produced by Jason Blum, has decided against releasing the low budget horror in October. Instead they are releasing it on the 27th of February up against competing thriller Lluís Quílez’s Out of the Dark and action movies like Joe Lynch’s Everly and Glenn Ficarra’s and John Requa’s Focus starring Will Smith. The distribution team behind The Lazarus Effect likely has a number of reasons for this move, which may prove to be a good one.

The chief amongst those reasons is likely the other horror releases happening in October. Considering The Lazarus Effect is a lower budget film it would be unwise to put it up against a blockbuster horror film such as the new Paranormal Activity film or a remake of a horror classics like the Frankenstein remake. On the weekend of the 27th of February, on the other hand the only other horror film being released, Out Of The Dark, looks like the familiar story of a family moving into a haunted house. The producers for The Lazarus Effect claim in the IGN aticle 10 Horror movies to watch in 2015 (http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/01/21/10-horror-movies-to-watch-in-2015), that it is a unique take on a classic horror premise of bring someone back from the dead. They may be banking on that uniqueness to push it over the top. By staying away from an already crowded month The Lazarus Effect ensures that its film will not get lost in the shadow of other, better-funded titles.

Another reason for the release date change could perhaps be the distribution company Relativity trying to duplicate the results of their horror film Oculus (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=oculus.htm). They released the $5 million budget film in April 2014 and grossed more than $44 million at the box office. They have also upped the ante by using award winning actress Olivia Wilde and Grammy nominated rapper, comedian, actor and writer Donald Glover to boost the film’s drawing power. Whatever the reason, we will soon find out if the schedule will work in the films favor in a few weeks.

 

 

The War of the Release Date: Super Summer Blockbuster Showdown

Did Warner Bros. blink when they made the decision to pull Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice from the May 6, 2016 release date?  That date would have put them in direct competition with Disney’s Captain American: Civil War, and some would argue that the fear of losing the Box Office showdown is the prime motivator.  It’s my opinion that not only would Batman V Superman have won the Box Office showdown, but that it is a big enough event to still break records while being released on March 25, 2016 instead of the normal Summer Blockbuster timeframe.

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Superhero movies have become big business in Hollywood this past decade, with even the worst received, i.e. Hulk (2003), breaking $132M (BoxOfficeMojo). That being said, there are numerous reasons why Batman V Superman would do extremely well regardless of the release date or competition from other Superhero franchises. Superman and Batman are the first two superheroes the world has known, making them the most iconic. The last 2 movies in The Dark Knight Trilogy broke $1B each worldwide (BoxOfficeMojo), and this Batman, being the first in the new DC Cinematic Universe, is being introduced in an Adversarial/Team Up movie with Superman, making this the first time anyone will have seen these two iconic superheroes on the big screen at the same time. While Captain America: Civil War is a team up of Captain America and Iron-Man, it will be the third movie in which we see both of these characters, and the seventh movie in which we’ve seen either of them.

DoJ

Batman V Superman moving to the Spring instead of later in the Summer not only shows that they are not afraid of Captain America: Civil War taking some of their thunder on the backend, but also that they are confident enough to believe that they will be able to hold the Box Office from March until May. Currently on the IMDB MOVIEmeter, Captain America is rated at 249 (IMDB) while Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is rated 32 (IMDB). Lastly, the biggest competition BVS has in March is Kung Fu Panda 3, which can not compete with this film’s mass appeal (MovieInsider). Therefore Warner Bros. did not in fact blink, or run scared, but strategically placed their tent pole film in a spot where they can break as many records as possible and maximize their profits.

Movie Release Date Strategies

Though general audiences may not dwell on movie release dates and scheduling, studios fight to schedule specific dates to insure the success of their films. An example is Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games movies.

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The Hunger Games was released on March 23, 2012. The studio did not expect it become a “tent pole” (a film that earns enough to allow the studio to make films that are more likely to win awards, but may not be as profitable) movie and was given a 78 million budget, a small amount for an action movie to be released in March. With a smaller budget and a March release date, The Hunger Games was not expected to do well. However, its international gross was $407,999,255. Because of its success, Lionsgate made the decision to increase the budget for the next film and move the release date to November to draw in an even larger audience.

 

Catching Fire was released on November 22, 2013 with a budget of $130 million. With its gross of $424,668,047 worldwide, Lionsgate decided to split the last book into two parts, much like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Twilight’s Breaking Dawn. This strategy allows the studio to benefit from the huge fan base as well. Mockingjay Part I was released on November 21, 2014 with a budget of $125 million and grossed $335,694,000 as of January 23, 2015.

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Again, Mockingjay Part I secured the November release date to have a larger audience and because it is expected to do well. Following the same pattern, Mockingjay Part II is scheduled to release on November 20, 2015 with a budget of $125 million.

 

In conclusion, The Hunger Games was not expected to be a “tent pole” film. This shows how studios will change up their release schedules to attract a larger audience and make a better profit.

 

References: http://boxofficemojo.com/search/?q=hunger%20games

http://www.movieinsider.com

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Why-Hunger-Games-Made-Right-Decision-By-Splitting-Mockingjay-Two-Parts-68344.html

 

The Business of Whitewashing

Hollywood’s “old boy’s club” mentality is causing them to miss out on major international box office revenue by excluding black actors from lead roles. We live in a culture where a movie starring a majority of black actors, is (unofficially) labeled a “Black Movie” – (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2005-10-19/features/0510190174_1_black-director-black-people-african-american), but why is that? Is there a certain acceptable number of black lead characters that Hollywood will allow, or is there another, more politically acceptable explanation? To answer this question, let’s take a look at the recent film “Exodus: Gods and Kings” by Ridley Scott, and explore his claim that he would never have achieved funding for this film if he cast actors of more historically accurate races – (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/26/ridley-scott-exodus-controversy_n_6225022.html)

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The film “Exodus: Gods and Kings” faced major scrutiny and a social media campaign to boycott the film, due to it’s “whitewashed” cast. The term whitewashing refers to the Hollywood practice of casting white actors in major roles that are based on historically non-white people – (http://stopwhitewashing.tumblr.com/about). Exodus is a retelling of the story of Moses and Ramses, starring Christian Bale and Sigourney Weaver, that takes place in the Northeast African country of Egypt.

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When we look strictly at the numbers, Exodus was made for $140M and made $194.6M in the Foreign Box Office. Compare that to a lower budget film, Equalizer starring Denzel Washington, which was made for $55M and made $90.8M foreign. Although Exodus has a bigger and better looking number, the amount of profit actually made is almost identical. There are many other films led by black actors that have made even bigger profits, like “I Am Legend, made for $150M and made $328M foreign. “12 years a slave was made for $20M and made $131M foreign.

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When you have the bottom line as the alleged excuse for making these types of casting decisions, make sure the bottom line actually backs up the excuse. This is the information age, and numbers don’t lie.