Friday, September 29, 2006

Party at Sundance!

Filmmaking - Utah Commercial Contest

Utah is beautiful. I spoke there last May,
(Media Guest of Honor at ConDuit 16), safari afterward
with some wonderful Utahan friends. Thank you all, I am grateful.

Here's an interview I did there with lovely Autumn Thatcher,
for Utah Educational TV, and their wonderful "Sci-fi Friday" show.

And undoubtedly the very best 2006 music video composed
entirely of Utah place names, set to a Beach Boys tune
. Cool!

Utah is no stranger to movies, of course. Tom Mix started it all,
and Hollywood filmmakers have been shooting there since 1922.

John Ford shot several of the very best westerns ever in Utah.

Now, the Utah Film Commission wants entries for the fourth
annual commercial contest,
to promote Utah as a filmmaking
location, and showcase local filmmakers.

Up to four 30-second commercials or television spots may be
submitted through 30 Nov 2006, and the
winners will be announced 15 December 2006.

Winning entries will air during the 2007 Sundance Film Festival
on Park City tv's "In the Can" show.

Utah Film Commission awards $1,500 per winner, and also
awards passes to the Sundance film festival, including tickets
to parties and receptions.

What are you waiting for? Application information is
online at


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Lunatics Run Asylum: Low-budget

Filmmaking - Low-budget Studio Process

Of course, psychotic behavior isn't only limited in
Hollywood to those who can afford it. If you're
cobbling together a tiny, dinky little low-budget film,
and you haven't two nickels to rub together for either
budget or salary, you've probably still seen your share
of Hollyweird wackyville. Just like a big show.

Sometimes worse.

All the trappings of the big-budget mindwarp:

Insane tyrants, egotistical little actors. Love
triangles, marriage wrecktangles, suicide pacts.
Paranoia, delusion, controlled substances,
uncontrolled megalomania. Oh it's all there,
cash or no.

That is the odd part. You might think "all that money"
causes the insanity. That an outlandishly high salary
would reliably and eventually stimulate anyone into
a complete mental breakdown, but no. Seen it, seen it.
Money is definitely not required.

But I digress. Time now for crazymaking among the
impecunious. The second installment of our two-part
"Lunatics Run Asylum." Last time, we did big budget,
today it's little budget.

Many friends from back home wonder why I've worked
on such a variety of big- and little-budget movies,
many with names they just don't recognize, or didn't
end up in any movie fact book or database.

It doesn't matter what ImDb says, there are many such
"shadow" movies, ranging from little animated musical
productions to full superhero epics. Some were vanity
productions, made with private money. Some were only
made for tax reasons, or to satisfy a contract that
sounded good long ago.

One thing these features share: they will sit forever
on a shelf somewhere, because they cannot legally
be shown. They will never be seen.

One such project was undertaken by the Prince of Low-budget,
the legendary Roger Corman. Roger made this particular
picture, and it turned out surprisingly well. It was
made for Marvel comics, and Marvel locked it up, never
to be seen again.

Here's the interesting part. It's a property of which
you probably have heard, because they remade it recently,
into a big-budget movie.

Heard of it?

Three words - "The Fantastic Four."

Note to persons who love comics, and want to see
good movies made from comic books,
(I am one): don't read it.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Lunatics Run Asylum: Big-budget

Filmmaking - Big-budget Studio Process

If you aren't in Hollywood, and you work all day at
a real job, you can't begin to fathom how a bunch
of insane hacks prance about, throwing tantrums
as they spend millions of dollars. For a living.

Wow, I'm dating myself. Amend that.
HUNDREDS of millions of dollars.


Anyway, if you've ever wondered what such a
process is like, read these high points,
but bring a lunch. It will take most
of the afternoon, to bring you to
mid-1994. Read it anyway.

Note to persons with sense of decency,
or Superman fans (I am one): don't read it.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

In Praise Of Sven Nykvist

Filmmaking - There Was A Man Dept.

There should be a memorial, or a loud tremor in the Force,
or the sound of a great tree falling in the Swedish forest.
One of the cinematography giants has died.

Sven Nykvist, Ingmar Bergman's collaborator for
several decades, passed away a few days ago.

His use of light to evoke mood was unequalled, or rather
IS unequalled, as his work survives him, thank God.

Check out his films (1943-1999),
watch them, study them, and learn.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

24p-ness Envy

Filmmaking - Cameras

Sony has announced its latest 24P camera, shooting
in - of all formats - HDV. Big pix, little tape.

It's the latest and the greatest. It's compact,
with XLR pro audio connectors and everything.
Want one? Bit of techno-lust?

Read all about it


Monday, September 04, 2006

Getting Our Terms Straight

Filmmaking - Definitions

I just spent a day with a guy teaching a new digital
video program. He uses a lot of "new" terms, which
to me are just the "old" terms, used incorrectly.

Somebody has to say something, and today it's me.
Here's a list of filmmaking terms, and their
proper definitions. Learn 'em.

Thank you.