How To

I Blog….Therefore I Am

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Freak boy and Festivus poles. Gutted tuna auctioned in Tokyo. And Thanos-the-PR-man singing “Feelings” at karaoke. Whoa-oh-oh. I’m a blogger, but the existence of blogs isn’t news. What Freak Boy (a home-movie role I have twice played) wants you to know is how the use of iMovie, Apple Computer’s low-end, low-cost movie editing software for… Read more »

What Rolled Up Must Come Down

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Written by? Created by? Screenplay by? Screen credit can define a writer’s career—in fact, the exact words that rolled up the screen after his/her last project often determines a writer’s next gig and salary. Given the time and high stakes involved in writing for film and television, especially when little compensation is involved, credit becomes… Read more »

Making Room

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I’m the director of the low-budget psychological thriller Room (2005), which premiered at Sundance and had its international debut in the Directors Fortnight at Cannes in May. Room was produced by The 7th Floor along with Jim McKay and Michael Stipe’s C-Hundred Film Corp. Our four-week, twenty-four-day production was equally divided between two weeks in… Read more »

Acing the Deal

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Distribution. The Deal. That’s the goal of any independent producer after finishing production within budget and on schedule. Ideally, a filmmaker would want to have the film or program distributed by a single company with a reputable track record that would handle distribution in every market. However, although major distribution companies deal in both the… Read more »

Networking 101

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Everyone knows the value of networking, right? It can get you a job, it can get you a great DP, it can get your film into the hands of a first-rate distributor. The right network can even get your movie an audience—if you’re producer Gill Holland. Holland himself was an important part of the promotion… Read more »

From Idea to Story

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Suppose that you’re thinking of doing a documentary film about Elvis Presley, or a diner in your home town, or images of Islam in American popular culture. Something about the topic has caught your interest, and you think you want to take it to the next level. First, ask yourself what it is about the… Read more »

Courting cash

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Lots of things pile up after a shoot. For Steve Gentile, producer of Loaded Gun: Life, Death, and Dickinson, the end of post-production brought a surplus of bills and lots of beer. “When we were premiering at the Museum of Fine Arts [MFA] here in Boston, they said, ‘Hey, can we help?’” recalls Gentile. “And… Read more »

Playing Niche

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Securing funds as an independent producer is often the most difficult and crucial aspect of successfully completing your vision. Money from the government, non-profits, corporations, private foundations, and individuals is out there for film and video projects. But most funding sources have a particular interest and seek projects closely aligned with that interest. Knowing this… Read more »

High-Tech Homebrew

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The past few years have seen significant advances in the tools for creating visual effects with desktop computers. Yet these tools cost at least a few hundred dollars and can quickly move into the thousands with the addition of plug-ins and ancillary tools. For the independent filmmaker interested in creating the illusions of visual effects… Read more »

Field Report

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STEP 1: GENERATE SUPPORT Talk to friends and acquaintances who share your thirst to support and make the local independent film and video projects. Seek media artists within the community. You’ll find them buying tickets at the local arthouse theaters, renting movies at video stores, and grousing over the latest releases at coffee shops. Post… Read more »