Articles Tagged Making Films

How can I do this full time?

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Dear Doc Doctor: I can’t wait for the time when I am able to be a full-time independent documentary filmmaker—it’s been really difficult juggling so many balls in the air. Is there any way to make the path quicker and smoother? It used to be that in this land of opp-ortunity, the American dream was… Read more »

Behind the Music

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“Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.” –Charlie Parker Make a movie about an albino orangutan terrorizing Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Easy. Just… Read more »

Can Story be Taught?

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Charlie Kaufman: Screenwriting seminars are bullshit Donald Kaufman: In theory, I agree with you. But this one’s different. This one’s highly regarded in the industry. Charlie Kaufman: Don’t say industry. Donald Kaufman: Charlie, this guy knows screenwriting. People come from all over to study with him. Adaptation (Spike Jonze, dir., 2002) We have come from… Read more »

Baltimore, Maryland

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Languishing in the shadows of bigger-shouldered cities like Washington and Philadelphia, Baltimore is burdened with something of a municipal chip on its shoulder, exposed in reasonless civic sloganeering like the much-scorned recent campaign proclaiming it “the greatest city in the world.” Likewise, when, say, three studio films locate here over a one-year stretch, newspaper columnists… Read more »

Revolutionary Road

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When he’d just sprung from the college gates in 1972, John Sayles embarked on a cross-country hitchhiking trip. “It was a lot safer than it is now,” he said. “Your hitchhiker to serial killer ratio was a lot better back then.” Because he didn’t look like a full-on hippie, more like someone just back from… Read more »

Spik(e)ing The Indie Film Punch

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I met Spike Lee for the first time in the fall of 1989 at the University of New Hampshire, where I’d recently transferred from, at an event in his honor hosted by the Black Student Union. Do the Right Thing had come out the summer before, and I was sufficiently amped up about asking him… Read more »

Surprise Ending

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After the Apocalypse is a black and white science fiction film shot on 16mm, about five survivors trying to cope with the "new world" following mass destruction in the wake of World War III. After principal photography was done in November 1999, I spent four and a half years finishing the film before its world… Read more »

Subtilting within reason

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Dear Doc Doctor: Should I provide subtitles for the subjects in my documentary who speak Spanglish, or other "hybrid" languages in America? I heard sub-titled films are harder to distribute. Is it true? The world of languages and dialects can become quite complex in the United States, where so many nationalities converge. And it is… Read more »

Risky Business

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There’s an old adage in the business world that you should never risk offending a client by talking about religion or politics. What to make of the film industry, then, which in recent months appears to be dispensing with that particular rule of etiquette? A series of controversial films is testing the notion that politically… Read more »

What’s (still) experimental?

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For filmmakers, being experimental isn’t as easy as it used to be. Fifty years ago, tossing aside Hollywood’s conventions of narrative, acting, cinematography, and format exposed plenty of directions in which to push the envelope. Maya Deren challenged viewers by confusing them. Stan Brakhage manipulated his film by hand to create images never seen in… Read more »