Filmmaking - milestones Roger Corman, the elegant "King of the Indies" turns 90 years old today! Go Roger! I had dinner with Roger Corman, on a boat in Seattle years ago, and could not get over it, this elegant gentleman in a cashmere sweater was the same man who Directed a movie called "Bucket of Blood." Years later, I worked at his secret Venice movie studio, and learned a lot about making movies, perhaps the most important thing is, Don't listen to anybody who says you can't. Back when, Roger had a rubber stamp and a ream of typing paper for his stationery, dressed in simple elegance, and refused to waste a cent. He wrote the book on the subject. Ninety years old is quite an achievement, so I send a heartfelt (and cheap) Happy Birthday Roger Corman!
South of Seattle's Downtown and Sports Stadium, on Airport Way, across the street from the Mercedes Dealership, is LeftJet Studios. Owned by Joshua Redmond, who created it as a labor of love, both for himself and many Seattle Photographers and Videographers and Filmmakers, for whom it is their creative home.
LeftJet Studios has two main stages.
"Hangar A" (above) has a curved Cyclorama wall, which means persons and objects may be photographed with no apparent horizon or shadow.
Before the "Cyc," objects can be photographed as separate from the real world, to be recombined with other backgrounds and elements, for a seamless representation of a new and created "reality."
With 24 hours notice, the "Cyc" can be repainted a particular shade of electronic green, to allow combination of all the elements, in the Visual Effects compositing computer.
"Hangar B" is a large open space, with flat walls, and many rolls of photo background paper. Any setting or location can be created in it. Recent use has yielded a bedroom, a kitchen, a spaceship, and a shanty kitchen for a black-and white period comedy!
We have Stage and Screen, (White or Green), Paranormal, Panorama, Cyclorama,Comedy-Drama, Baby and Mama, Vasco De Gama, President Obama!
Still Photos, Moving Pictures, Digitally Composed. LOWEST PRICES OF THE YEAR! SHOOT SO WE GET HOSED!
Audio, Video, Applicated, Pixillated, Animated Movies, MANY FRAMES PER SECOND, OR ONE FRAME AT A TIME!
CGI, ADR, JFK AND FDR, Happiness and Gladness, October Movie Madness!
TELL US WHEN YOU WANT TO SHOOT! WE WILL GIVE YOU PRICES GOOT! YOU HAVE NEVER HAD IT CHEAPER OR EASIER RENTING A STUDIO! SHOOT YOUR MOVIE OR STILL PHOTO, WEBISODE, TEASER, TRAILER, FEATURE, SHORT FILM, COMMERCIAL, PODCAST, WEBINAR, TV SHOW, STILL PHOTO, PORTRAIT, WEDDING, BIRTHDAY PARTY, PASSPORT, ACTOR/ACTRESS HEADSHOT, GLAMOUR, FASHION, PORTRAIT, GROUP, AERIAL, ACTION, SPORTS, PETS, ARCHITECTURE, MUSIC VIDEO, REAL ESTATE, ARTISTIC, ASTRAL, ASTRO, BLACK & WHITE, COLOR, DIGISCOPE, DRONE, MACRO, MICRO, NATURE, SCENIC, LANDSCAPE, CITYSCAPE, SATELLITE, SCIENTIFIC, TIME-LAPSE, SPECIAL EFFECTS, ANIMATION, URBAN, AND UNDERWATER!
IMAGES, IMAGES, IMAGES, HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA! SHOOT YOUR PROJECT!
YES, YOU CAN SHOOT IT LATER, BUT YOU GET SALE PRICES ONLY IF BOOKED DURING THE SALE! CASH, CHECK, PAYPAL, CREDIT CARD! ONLY 4 DAYS! 4 DAYS ONLY!
Photography Jobs - Cinematography Jobs - Where The Cameras Are
First, don't look for Camera work on Craigslist. He wants you to bring your own camera and gear, which means invest in his show, so maybe all you get is screen credit - if you get that. Don't take those jobs, if you can avoid them.
Let me tell you a secret. When you decide not work for free, all the Paying Jobs show up. Once you're good enough to charge money - Charge it, and be proud to be worth the money.Don't take hobby-jobbies!
You have a Gift. You know what the shot should look like, and which two shots it goes between. They wouldn't know a well-composed and beautifully taken photo, if it clutched them around the neck. So they need you. They really must pay you - You have the gift, and they don't.
Look on Mandy, and look on ProductionHub, and work little jobs for cheap at the start, but always get paid and always do a Pro job, to build your Pro reputation. Your reputation is really all you have - protect it. If you hear somebody talking smack about you, bring it to his attention, fast! But get to be friends if you can.
Don't pass along bad rumors about anybody. Denigrating somebody is amateur night, both in real life and (especially bad) online. Some guys think they're safe behind a computer screen, so they print outrageous things about you. If he does that, he's just jealous. Report bad behavior, and go on. Just focus on your own job - and do it, quickly and well.
Seattle Film Industry - Where Is It?
"You wouldn't say there was a Beef Industry somewhere, just because they eat a lot of hamburgers there. Even if they bought a lot of forks, and discussed forks and hamburgers and cattle incessantly. You wouldn't call them cattlemen, you'd call them enthusiastic beef consumers."
-- Sam Longoria
Lots of Film Classes - Speedy Film Contests - Endless Local Film Festival
I've been working here in Seattle (the city of my birth, where I made my first 35mm feature) on projects for the last two years, just working and holding my tongue, really.
I don't see a "Seattle film industry" here. All I see here is "meetings," and "begging for state money," and "meetings about begging for state money." I see people working in media, and in television, and corporate video, but no movies. If you don't know those are different businesses, you don't get it. I see a great big Seattle film TEACHING industry.
I'm about to move along to the next phase of my projects, and I'm mentioning this in passing. I don't expect anyone to listen to it, because I grew up here, and I know how resistant people can be. I am discouraged so much energy here is spent making short films that will never be seen, (except at the local endless film festival) and filmmakers rushing to "the next one" when they don't even bother to sell "this one." Not my problem, but it is discouraging, even to watch.
An "industry" means SALES. No sales, no industry. Just a lot of activity. Busy for no reason. If you knew a pumpkin farmer, and he grew fine pumpkins, but never took them to market to sell them, he just piled them in his yard, and left them to rot, wouldn't you think he was crazy? What if there was a club for "Pumpkin Farmers," and that's all any of them did? And they got together often, to discuss it endlessly? Pretty weird, it seems to me. There is much talk in Seattle about the local "Film Industry." Honestly I don't see one. Certainly not the "Selling The Film" part, which is what pays for all the other parts. I see a whole lot of enthusiasm here for making movies, and God bless it, but very little attention is paid to "Selling The Film." (Which, I can tell you, takes away all the problems of filmmaking). You get money, time, and wherewithal to make "the next one," and even get enough to eat, and to buy new gear, by "Selling The Film." All those mansions in Beverly Hills? They were paid for by "Selling The Film." They were not paid for by "Making The Film," and certainly not by "Talking About Making The Film." Why is there no emphasis here on selling? (Not just the lame discussions of "Distribution," or which streaming service is best). I mean learning how to SELL your movie, and sell tickets to it, which is more than just hanging them up for people to take or leave. It is obvious ALL the money in Filmmaking comes from "Selling The Film." So why is Seattle film focused only on cameras and gear, endless pointless meetings, and on making lame-o, poorly conceived, poorly written, poorly acted, poorly made, unfunny, undramatic, unpaid shorts, and NOT on making one good marketable feature movie, and selling it? Why?
Somebody explain it to me. There is a disconnect here, and it's not mine. I've spent a good deal of time thinking about it, and I still don't get it.
Beatles In My Life - Paul Rutan - Restoring The Beatles Films
It was the middle of the Burbank night, 3 or 4 am, working late at my film printer, and Paul Rutan called me. "Sam, get over here, you're gonna want to see this."
I got over there. Paul is a master film restorer, and archivist, always working on great stuff, and he'd showed me some amazing things. I was really not prepared, though. Really not.
The room was dark, lit only by his printer, clacking away, and Paul handed me a film can. Black and white. "That is the original negative for "A Hard Day's Night." Wow. Slowly sinking in. I carefully read the label. Beatles.
I set it carefully down on the film bench. "And this is the original for 'Help!" Beatles. Colour. Wow.
I was dizzy. A lot to take in. I held in my two hands the original film from two favorite movies. Light bounced off John, Paul, George, and Ringo, and was focused onto this very roll of film I was holding.
"Hard Days Night" was photographed by Gil Taylor BSC, who also shot "Dr. Strangelove," and "Star Wars."
"Help!" was photographed by David Watkin, who shot "Three Musketeers," "Four Musketeers," "Out Of Africa," and "Chariots Of Fire."
Just wow. Overload. What could top this?
The door creaked open, and an elderly man entered the room, and Paul politely introduced us. "Mr. Shenson, this is Sam Longoria." I was dumbfounded, and answered, "You're Walter Shenson."
Mr. Shenson smiled, and said, "Do you know me?" I said, "Of course, you Produced the Beatles movies." He said, "We're just finishing up. Mr. Rutan has just restored them." We chatted a bit. I had to remember to breathe slowly.
Mr. Shenson had an amazing deal with United Artists. They paid for the Beatles films to be made, and because they didn't think pop stars had market longevity, the rights reverted to Mr. Shenson, fifteen years later.
He'd released "Hard Days Night" through Universal in 1981 (I ran it at my movie theatre), and wanted them to look even better now, so Paul had done a high-quality photochemical restoration.
That was in the '90s, and I just found Paul Rutan Jr. on Facebook. Hurray! Such an amazing person, still restoring great movies, so great to re-connect with him. Paul knows all there is to know about movie picture and sound.
Paul restored many films, including "Spartacus" and "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly," and two other Beatles films, "Magical Mystery Tour," and "Yellow Submarine." He's been restoring classic films for 40 years.
If you want to restore your classic movie, or make a new one, Paul has my highest recommendation.
REVIEW - "FIRST YOU JUMP" by Eva Moon - Directed by Gary Schwartz
I love North Bend, and saw a great show there. Eva Moon wrote and Gary Schwartz directed "First You Jump," 24 January, at the Valley Center Stage, which is a modern black box theatre, located in the North Bend Masonic Hall for the past 11 years.
North Bend is East of Seattle, past Issaquah and Snoqualmie. All trees and little town. Pound for pound, so much more going on than in Seattle. Nice movie theatre and restaurants, world-class improv and jazz, wonderful live theatre, and the original "Twin Peaks" diner. (Mar-T's, now Twede's), beneath majestic Mt. Si.
"First You Jump" is a deceptively simple show. Up on the raised stage, its clever set unfolds differently for each of the show's five scenes. Director Gary Schwartz introduced the evening on that stage, with only a flag and lectern, draped in red, white, and blue, there with him.
Each of the show scenes is introduced by its own song, written by Eva Moon, and sung by Kathleen Roche-Zujko. The songs are sweet songs, bluesy, funny and ironic. Not too "on the money," which is the danger here. They don't give away the scene beforehand either, and they are good.
Each scene is essential comedy, leading us to believe a certain situation, and then... something important is revealed, which changes everything.
I love a good story, especially with a good surprise. I don't enjoy being able to predict what will happen next, or when it turns out there is no surprise. Each scene in "First You Jump" has a good surprise, and delivers it.
Eva did a wonderful job of protecting her five little surprises until exactly the right script moment, while Gary's direction delightfully heightens and explores the implications of where those surprises lead. The Cast nimbly played the material really well.
I can't really tell you exactly what happens here, because I don't want to wreck it for you, but obliquely...
Scene 1 - Damage Control Sharon (Rocelle Wyatt) spins an odd situation.
Scene 2 - Red Algernon Dolores (Robin Walbeck-Forrest) has to decide which candle to be - bright, or tall.
Scene 3 - Gepetto's Funeral Pinocchio understands control, more than most.
Scene 4 - Growing Feathers Corinne (Robin Walbeck-Forrest) is drawn to a new situation, by a dark and compelling need.
Scene 5 - Terminal Velocity Esther (Gretchen Douma) meets her hardest choice.
Scenes are almost certainly not what you think from their titles. Early scenes tease their structure, in their setup and reveal, but after Intermission, they play with the form, pack serious emotional power, and the stakes are high. I was still thinking about them the next day, which is the test of good show and ideas, for me.
Props and Sets created by Fred Rappin, Jonathan Seaton, Gary Schwartz, and Craig Ewing.
Simple and effective Lighting Design by Fred Rappin, Brandon Comouche and Gary Schwartz. Brandon Comouche rendered Lights & Sound, perfectly.
Capable House Managers were Wanda Boe, Tina Brandon, Gary Schwartz, and Becky Rappin.
This show is over far too soon, and I can't really say that about many shows. I really enjoyed it, and I'm sure you will, too. After the show, I really recommend Boxley's, for live music and good food and drink.
Do you love film in Seattle, and yearn for a real film industry,
where Artists get paid?
Then run and buy a ticket TODAY for Lynn Shelton's new feature movie "Laggies."
(UPDATE - Lynn Shelton's "Laggies" is available on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, Vudu, Xbox, Playstation, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Comcast. Don't miss it! Every sale helps Lynn make more movies, and that helps YOU. Do it! http://bit.ly/laggies)
I will give you examples. All those people at the American Film Market (AFM) every year, raising money and making deals, they are selling their movie.
Will YOU be there, or are you making plans to go next time? If you are not, or you are not in some other way selling your feature movie, (for cash money), you are just pretending. You are not even playing the game.
Lynn Shelton's movie "Laggies" opens today in New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Lynn has been all over the media, and is selling her movie.
If you support Lynn (and you should), go to the movies today or Sunday, and buy a ticket and see it.
Your dollars go toward the only thing that matters in the Movie Biz - box office. If there's enough dollars, Lynn's Distributor will keep playing the film in more and bigger theatres, and she'll find money for her next one.
That's how you can help Lynn sell her movie. Her success will help YOU, in ways we cannot even guess.
All those people who spend their time just talking and thinking, taking or giving endless classes, entering contests and film festivals, with the result of only making short films that cannot be sold commercially...not so much.
Now, how about YOU?
Do you have a finished feature film? Are you working toward that? Are you calling and writing and wheeling and dealing?
When I'm doing a show or film, in Seattle or Hollywood, my first choice for Costume Design is Janessa Styck. Her designs are classically elegant, perfectly suited to the Production, and remarkably well-priced. All those make my little Producer heart go thump thump thump!
Lord Richard Attenborough - Actor - Director - There Was A Man Dept.
He was riding high, when I met him. 55th Academy Awards, in 1983. He and his picture (Gandhi) had just won eight Oscars, and he'd made a fine speech about it, and he was positively giddy with triumph.
It was my first Academy Award ceremony, and I really wanted to talk to the Best Picture's Best Director, Sir Richard Attenborough.
It's a funny thing about the Ceremonies, It's nothing like you see onscreen.
There are boos and screams and funny noises, and weird things happening all the time, but such brilliant Camerawork and Floor Direction, you never see any of that. Anything out of the ordinary, switch to stock shots, or remote cameras, or an Ad.
In this particular instance, once Best Picture was announced, much of the Audience arose and swarmed the exits, heading home from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, to beat traffic, although you would never know that, at home on TV.
Sir Richard spoke of "Gandhi," his film, and Gandhi the man, and what Gandhi means to our times. He was quite moved, and he delivered his message, even though he spoke to a mostly (and increasingly) empty room.
Then the show was over, and he gathered his thoughts on his lectern. I approached, with my program and pen. He gave me a warm, white movie star smile. I only had a moment, so I was somewhat direct.
"I loved 'Gandhi,' it was wonderful!"
"And you were in one of my favorite pictures."
"The Flight of the Phoenix."
His smile got brighter and wider.
"Oh! With James Stewart! That is one of my favorites, too!"
We chatted about it, and I asked for his autograph. He took my pen, with a flourish.
"How shall I sign it? Shall I sign it 'Sir Dickie?'"
And he did. "To Sam, Sir Dickie."
I wrote him after that, when he made the wonderful "Chaplin," and when he became a Lord, (my salutation then was "Dear Lord," and I hope it made him smile).
I think his last picture I saw was "Jurassic Park." His grace and his decency always came through, in his pictures.
Nancy Beiman Reviews Elliot Cowan's "The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead and Roundhead" A delightful and revealing review of Elliot Cowan's new Animated Feature "The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead and Roundhead," by the great and renowned and greatly renowned Animation Guru, Nancy Beiman.
Nancy's conclusions are especially interesting to me, because of her thorough grounding in Feature and Television Animation. It is quite good to get a glimpse of Elliot's film, through Nancy's trained and Professional eyes.
Raising Money For Your Movie, Bogie Style - Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is raising money from a crowd, hopefully your crowd, that you cultivate online. They know you, and they know your work. There is nobody who wants your success like your crowd, and you want to entertain and inform them.
There's much superficial Crowdfunding information, but every so often a simple idea how to play the Crowdfunding game is published. I found just such an easy article, with the right mindset, and I want to share it with you.
I'm a big Humphrey Bogart fan, and there's just something about Bogie's no-nonsense character. Every filmmaker should pay attention to him, and what Bogie knew instinctively about playing to a big group of people.
Amazing! Such a career! Rick Baker has played King Kong, brought life to "An American Werewolf In London," and to Bigfoot in "Harry and the Hendersons." Great films! "Star Wars," "Planet Of The Apes," "Men In Black," oh his list goes on and on.
Most recently, Rick has applied his Special Makeup Effects Artistry to "Maleficent." Rick Baker got started making Halloween makeup for the other kids, and he did it so well he freaked out his neighborhood.
I've met Rick at the Oscars, (he has 7 of 'em), and I always ask him for an Autograph on my program. He signs it "Beast Wishes!" What a great guy.
Movie Food - Egg and Onion Sandwich (From "Harvey") 1 Egg 2 Tbsp Butter 2 slices Buttered bread 2 slices Onion (I like thinly sliced, you may prefer thick) Sprinkle Salt and Pepper to taste Ketchup (or spicier) on top Break egg into bowl, and beat it mercilessly. Melt butter in pan at medium heat. Fry egg, and fold into bread size. When solid, spatula egg onto bread. Top with Onion slices, Salt, Pepper, and Ketchup.
An excellent snack. To neutralize onion breath, eat Parsley. Or make an Egg and Onion Sandwich for your girlfriend, so she doesn't notice. Yummy snack! Good any time. WILSON Harvey? Well I'd better get goin' Myrtle. MYRTLE Oh, but Marvin, you haven't finished your egg and onion. WILSON Business before pleasure, Honey. Even if it's a pleasure bein' with you. You make a great egg and onion, kid. A great egg and onion.
ELWOOD Oh, Doctor, I - I - (stammers) Years ago, my mother used to say to me -- she'd say, 'In this world, Elwood, you must be --' She always called me Elwood. 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. And you may quote me."
Kind of a lost art today, front-projection was the Next Big Thing for studio and independent filmmaking, in the '70s and early '80s.
Does it still work? Yes! Good, quick, cheap, and remarkably convincing, front projection will enable your production to pull off many shots you'd find difficult with live or greenscreen techniques. View it through the viewfinder, real-time, no computer or monitor!
Is it easy? Not exactly. It takes a whole lot of testing and tweaking, to find the "sweet spot," where it all works. And you can't pan or tilt much, and your projector fan makes noise. Not much, but some.
What is the main advantage? Speed. When you write up the camera report and can the film at the end of the day, your composite is done! Overhead View
Simple explanation of Front Projection
scotchlite scotchlight sam longoria beamsplitter beam-splitter beam splitter front projection retroreflective screen front projection screen independent filmmaking
Born in the crater of a live volcano, on the planet Mars.
I'm able to work without sleep for more than a week,
food for more than a month,
water for a week, and air for about four minutes.
If the paycheck bounces,
I'm outta there, but I do
freebies sometimes, if the script is good, and the project is interesting.
I've attended the Academy Awards 17 times, and the Grammy Awards twice.
I've worked on a bunch of big-budget Hollywood movies, and have very few screen credits.
(I usually work on doomed movies, past their time and budget, their credits are already allocated.) Not in ImDb, yes I know. I don't care, paycheck please.
I've worked on several movies that were nominated for an Oscar, and one winner.
Mostly in visual effects, but lots of other jobs. Focused on Producing and Directing. Worked on your favorite Hollywood movies. Making my movies now.