Starting Over

3 03 2010

Wednesday Afternoon

int my cubical

Working on my computer loading that weeks interviews to YouTube. My boss comes over and said the worse six words in the English “I need to let you go”.

Lay-off….getting fired…being let go. No matter how is it said it all means the same thing. You will not be working at your post for any longer. It’s uncomfortable for both parties. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING THAT YOU MIGHT REGET. You never know if the lay-off is temporary or if you may need your boss’s reference. Never burn your bridges.

After hearing the news, I was shocked, I had been working for the station for over a year. Not only I had I learned the work flow, I became a event videographer and field reporter along as a graphic operator and digital content manager. Basically I could do almost everything except host our live show. I liked the people that I worked with and hoped to stay near my hometown.

Now I’m filling out unemployment, updating my resume and roll calling my friends. Not to say I’m not fighting depression and the WTF questions like “What am I going to now?” “How am I going to pay my student loans?” “Was film school a mistake?” are running around in my mind.

Luckily for me I have a non-media job that I’m slowly beginning to hate, that unfortunately provides me my income. I do realize some media professionals aren’t as fortunate. Plus all those damn tech schools piss me off ….I was told too that if I had a degree I would be making a lot more money that working with out one. No one put a gun to my head and made me go to college, but I did it anyway. I loved my college and they do offer career support.

I hate the idea that you “have to” go New York City or Los Angeles. Hundreds of film grads and wannabee’s flock to both cities and are run through the “internship” gauntlet. Six months minimal of long hours and no pay for the promise of “connections”. For some people that will be they ticket in to the industry. For others their dreams for fame and fortune will be shattered and they will go back to Des Moines or Lexington and give up. Please don’t. Find what you love and make a movie or tv show or web series.

The Hollywood system has changed and shows little to no chance of returning to the way it was. The faster that people realize this the better off they will be. Filmmakers now need to be PR trained, entrepreneurs with technical skills to sell their films. I hope I can help out by offering advice and technical support.

Find people that share your passion and make it happen!


The Art of Speed

1 11 2009

I was listening to The Art of Speed podcast from 2008 SXSW. It’s a panel discussion on startups and ipo’s.

I thought a lot of it could be applied to the art of filmmaking.  Filmmaking I do include film, television, webisodes and anything with audio and visual component.

My biggest surprise was the extremely short timelines that they use. Day one before they even started all of the speakers had great simple to start  ideas and stuck to them.

For instance  Mike Cassidy did all his hiring all in one day.  Checked the references while in the interview and told applicants  employees they have till 9am the next day accept the job or not.  Also once there were hired they already had their job list and timeline waiting for them on their desk. No first day HR meetings , w-2 forms or extra paperwork fill out to kill time.  That stuff was handled once they accept the job.

Also one other great idea that he had was to have 90% of his team already thought out. He knew through his network of friends and business associates who he wanted and didn’t to waste time postings positions online.

I was impressed and a little embarrassed.  If it was soo easy, why haven’t I done something yet. I’ll beat myself up about that later.

So far 2 simple ideas.

1) create one awesome easy to start idea….a logline… a pitch

2) get people that know their stuff and like your idea…in a perfect world you would already know how to call

What if my stuff isn’t really that awesome….. finally something I could relate to.

Cali Williams stated it the best….just do it and work out the kinks later.  Most people focus on the perfect..get frustrated and give up.

In the Army there’s an expression “Embrace the suck”  “Embrace the suck”: Translation: The situation is bad, but deal with it.

Meaning that no you will not be a rockstar on the first try but will practice you’ll get good enough as not to kill or embarrass yourself or others.

Nice so now we have 3 key points

1) create one awesome easy to start idea….a logline… a pitch

2) get people that know their stuff and like your idea…in a perfect world you would already know how to call

3) Just do it and work it out when problems come up. You will infinitely learn more if you screw up rather than doing everything right.

Ok so that sounds pretty cool right?  But how an Art of Speed film schedule look like?

I’ll show you.

1 day loglines 5-7 or more if you’re really good at ideas (be original…please. A lot of cool films don’t get the press or buzz that they deserve because they are hard to define. Try to find a way to define your story that stays true but can used to sell it. But please be original theres already too much crap in the cineplex)

1 week testing on Also look into Adsense domain names (to create a buzz)

3 weeks writing the script based from the logline that received the most interest from IMDB (by interest I mean from producers who can get you funding or advertisers who can get you press)

3 days recruiting (remember you should have your team in mind with a few alternates in your #1 is busy) Keep in mind also if you’re #1 isn’t busy….. time to find a new #1 if your guy/gal is really good they will be busy.

1 week  Pre production shot lists casting location scouting scheduling

4 weeks Production start editing on day 1

3 weeks Post Production creating deliverables

All in total 3 months 5 days.

You could condense this further if you are so inclined.  Ideas such as write your script to include cheap or easy locales.  Cheap props…properly dummied props.  Fewer characters as well.

Hollywood takes 6 months to a year to complete a movie not including the typical 7 year wait for a script to emerge from development hell.

I wish you good luck and see ya in the pictures!!!!

PS. I would love the hear the arguments if there any against this timeline. Please clean rational arguments just because it never been done or “they say so” or “I say so” are not valid points