A cheap production Netbook or Notebook

31 01 2010

I was checking all the netbooks at Best Buy.  As I was browsing, I wonder could netbooks be used in production or is a notebook better.


Used be used to ftp dailies or used for a dump drive. Is it possible to link a camera to a netbook and run it as drive?

Script writing

Light music or sound editing

Light photo editing or proofing

Budgeting software

Paperwork such location releases, model releases, project costs


Video conversion (promos for youtube)


All of the above plus

Dvd burning

Effects design

Heavy editing video, sound and photo

Playback….used for director and script supervisor, as video village

Production meetings through Skype

Recommended programs (some free others not so much)

Open Office (free word doc, spreadsheet, power point…etc)

Avid (video editing)

Windows Movie Maker (video editing)

Adobe Production Suite (photoshop, after effects, soundtrack)

Skype (video chat)

Audacity (sound editing)

An audio/ video converter (mov-mpeg-h.264-avi-mp3)

Google Docs and Calender to coordinate among teams


How not to hold a film premiere

5 12 2009

How not to hold a premier

Find an out of way place to hold your showing

Offer no or limited food

Have a small view screen

Have uncomfortable seats or none at all

Do not advertise

I hope you do realize this is a joke. All these things should be accounted for when you hold a premier or screening of your work. It’s a lot easier than you think to cover all this.

1 # rule of real estate location…Location ….LOCATION. Find a theater to show your film. Use your phone book or a suitable online substitute. Call your local multiplex or the local art house to rent their space for a few hours. If they sell food better, talk about maybe cutting a deal for showing your film and having them cater. By offering them an event during a slow season (February to May or October to December, depending on your area) it helps to drive business during a time when business slows down.

Food. Keep it light. Finger food or small sandwiches are good. Check out some catering websites or the Food Network for ideas. Avoid a lot of sauces that may stain your audience’s clothes. Popcorn is an old standby. If you can keep it in the theme of your film even better.

Small screen….why?? Even projecting against the side of building is better then having all your friends huddling around your iphone. There are so many better way to show off your project …movie theater is awesome…if not possible try finding a place to set up a projection screen. Think movies in the park…use your imagination.

Seating is important…I don’t know about you but if my butt hurts I leave. I had this happen at a local presentation. Offer comfortable seats or let your guests bring their own.

Advertise…pick one or more avenues. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, blog….etc. Use your local TV and newspaper…GET THE WORD OUT. Team up with local shops….the possiblies are endless. Use your imagination but plan ahead.

I’m writing this after watching a filmmaker hold a local premier and seeing the results of a half hearted effort. It kills me to see someone put so much work into a project only to trip before the finish line. It was a ski film (which I love) was held in a basement room …which I only knew about because I work at TV station that posts local events. The chairs were those cheap metal chairs like those you see the VFW hall….great if you want to take five and sit out a square dance but not for more than an hour. As soon as there was intermission I was out of here. To the defend the film I borrowed a DVD copy and watched at home…yes on my comfy couch….I was really interested and enjoyed it.

Outsourcing Hollywood

1 12 2009

Outsourcing hollywood

get a virtual assistant..check the e-book source control or the 4 hour work week on how to locate and test a VA

what the VA can do for you

set appointments ( in person or skype/cell) Get a google voice # with an LA area code

research ( ideas for scripts…locations…travel…crew…companies…etc)

Update website…blog…twitter

roll calls (keeping track of contacts who’s called when and who need a call back)

Press Releases for your project (post pics and vids from behind the scenes)

Running the call sheets


Manage the your and the projects calendar

Running reference checks on crew members

Help managing logisitics

Planning the wrap party

Top 10 reasons to run a minimalist production (can be used for tv/web/feature film productions)

25 11 2009

Top 10 reasons to run a minimalist production (can be used for tv/web/feature film productions)

  1. Costs less money

a) less gear less to insure

b) fewer PC programs less to buy easier to use faster training

c) Smaller crew less payroll less insurance moves faster

2. Offers more creative solutions

a) forces the crew to work w/ different ways for dealing w/problems w/o the money to throw at it

3. Forces focus on the story not on effects

4. Work more effectively and efficiently

a) know the desired output of your project have the right programs to convert the audio and video to the end product

b) offers experiment w/ open source programs and/or cloud computing

c) offers more coordination across time zones (outsourcing)

d) allowing people to work to their strengths

5. Some positions could be outsourced

a) location scouts

b) script writer

c) editor/ after effects/ sound editors

d) publicist

6. Allows for flexibility

a) fewer distortion through the team “clearer communication”

b) faster to move “IE. Company move” fewer transportation costs

7. A small team is easier to motivate

a) have a like minded, energetic and focused team

b) get the best DP Script Sup and Sound guy/gal

8. If the project is profitable a bigger take for each member

9. Using speed as a start up tool

10. Faster turn around leads to availability of team members to take on more projects and allows for easier scheduling

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.  http://audio.sxsw.com/podcast/interactive/panels/2008/SXSW08.INT.20080308.TheArtOfSpeed.mp3

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 IMDB.com. 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