Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Reindeer Singing White Christmas

Film Production - Reindeer Singing White Christmas

I've spent too many years wrestling with cel animation, and animation cels, not to really appreciate this 2D cartoon, and the way it was made. A little gem.

From gifted Animator Joshua Held in 2002, over (of course) The Drifters, Santa and his Reindeer Singing White Christmas.

Song written by Irving Berlin for the Movie "Holiday Inn," sung by Bing Crosby in 1942. (It won the Oscar).

Bing re-recorded it in 1947, (most popular version), and then Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters did this one in 1953. Charted #2 in 1954. Delightful!



For better quality, download file to your computer,
then open it in your browser to play. To watch it, you need to
get Adobe Flash Player.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Sam

Don't Forget - Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life"


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© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Film Production - Make A Movie In Your House!

Film Production - Make A Movie In Your House!

My friends Paige and Joshua Sternin sent me a really good
and darkly funny web video series they shot in their house.

It's "Overkill: A Love Story," four YouTube episodes.
There are some famous people with roles in their show.
Yes, that's Tom Arnold - see who else you can spot.



My friend Bob Kushell does a great web video show from a garage in Van Nuys. It's called "Anytime," and it's got a band and comedy and a dog, which is deeply and meaningfully in love with Bob's leg. You know, something for everybody. New episodes each Thursday.



Way back, we were all kids, doing improv in Hollywood. I hope you enjoy my friends' cool home-made 5-minute shows.

Sam

film school
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digital filmmaking handbook


© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vintage Movie Camera For Film Production?

Filmmaking - Vintage Movie Camera For Film Production?

Patents from 1926 adorn the side of a classic Mitchell studio camera, legally protecting the design of its internal gears and sprockets.

1926 was a long time ago, and that camera is an antique. Could it still be used, in today's modern film production?

Yes, and in fact, many are. No modern movie camera is more precise than those classic pin-registered film movements. They really knew how to build them in 1926, and the cameras still work, millions of feet of film later.

To get a particularly difficult shot, it's not uncommon for visual effects cameramen to dust off a trusty 35mm Mitchell GC, NC, or BNC film camera. To alter time, fast or slow, just add a stop-motion or high-speed motor.

Build the camera on its rig, set the focus, aperture, shutter, and tachometer. Now you can shoot a cartoon, stop- or slow-motion movie sequence. Just like movie cameramen have been doing for a century.

There is much recent talk about new digital movie cameras. Filmmakers line up at seminars and shows, just to see one. Nevertheless, digital cameras still only provide 6% of the footage for feature movies. 94% of movies still are on film.

Digital standards are still evolving, and reliability and ruggedness are still hit-or-miss for digital cameras. Film cameras are tested and reliable, at 10k of resolution, compared to digital's 2-4k.

Hollywood Manuals is a website that offers out-of-print and hard-to-find technical manuals for vintage movie cameras and projectors.

Arriflex, Bell & Howell Eyemo, Cameraflex / Cineflex, DeVry, Mitchell BNC, GC, HS, and S35R vintage movie cameras and projectors are among those represented.

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© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Friday, November 07, 2008

Film Production - Mini DV or HD Camcorder? Make your Independent Movie!

Film Production - Mini DV OR HD Camcorder? Make Your Independent Movie!

Filmmaker Anthony Watkins shot his two feature movies (2003's "Counseling Day," and 2008's "Mall Robbers") on Super 16mm film, but admits other people's movies might get done faster if they'd use readily-available digital movie gear, in Mini DV or HD camcorder formats .

Anthony has bought and/or built camera dollies and film equipment, to support and move his film cameras through their shots and sequences. So he appreciates the new digital formats can be lighter and less unwieldy for transport and use.

Anthony loves the look of film, and Super 16mm is cheaper and easier than industry-standard 35mm film, so that's what he shoots.

Once shot, Anthony's film is digitally scanned into computer files, which he edits on his Apple G5 workstation, with his Final Cut Pro HD editing software.

Anthony's veteran comments and information are included on his "Making Of" DVD, included in his new feature film "Mall Robbers."

You can learn film production and where to rent movie gear and film equipment, and how to make your own indie film.

Discover secrets of film financing, as you secure your own film funding for your independent movie.

"Mall Robbers" was shot in 35 nights, in a suburban mall in Washington State. A wild slapstick comedy, about three groups of witless robbers, who break into the same mall on the same night. Matching wits (or lack) with them is the alert, uniformed Mall Security Force.

Laugh your head off, and discover how Super 16mm or 35mm film, or Mini DV or HD camcorder digital formats, can help you make your own independent movie.

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digital filmmaking handbook


© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Filmmaking - Do you know MoCo?

Filmmaking - Do you know MoCo?

I got my start in the movie business waaay back,
making computer-controlled "robot cameras,"
when "motion control" was all the rage in filmmaking.
(1970s.)

Now it's "MoCo," and it's still around, and it still
makes impossible shots happen. Very cool.

One of the great MoCo players is Bill Tondreau.
If you're in visual effects, you know who I'm talkin'
about.

I met Bill on "Ghostbusters," as he made his motion
controller jog the Boss Film 65mm Oxberry around,
after I'd rebuilt and motorized it.

Bill's software made steppers make musical tones,
on their travels. I got so I could play tunes on it.
(Challenge was to play the tune without driving the
camera into the wall, or the light box.)

About Bill, I can only say, what an interesting guy.

Here's Bill's great MoCo page, from his outstanding site.

Hope you enjoy it,

Sam

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© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Friday, June 06, 2008

Filmmaking - Indy SAG Waivers

Filmmaking - SAG Strike? Welcome to Indy Waiverland!

With a looming SAG strike, a work-around situation is being
carved out. Welcome to Waiverland!


film school
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digital filmmaking handbook

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Filmmaking - Sam Longoria Digital Filmmaking Handbook

Here's a little book you can download, and get
started making your film, (whether digital or
celluloid), right away!

Sam Longoria Digital Filmmaking Handbook

Everything you need to know, crash course.
Read it, and get going!

Sam


film school
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digital filmmaking handbook


© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 07, 2008

In Praise Of Charlton Heston

Filmmaking - There Was A Man Dept.

Filmmaking























One of my favorite movie stars, the great Charlton Heston has died, at 83.

His birth name was John Charles Carter, and he was from Evanston, Illinois.

I won't dwell on his illness, other than say it's a dirty trick when our powers are taken, and one of the quick and strong is laid low. Which happens to us all.

And I won't discuss his politics, except to say any Hollywood movie star, of whatever political bent, who stands up for personal liberty, in this dark age, gets my vote.

I interviewed Charlton Heston for tv, at a 1997 Palm Springs Tennis Tournament. I've met lots of movie stars, but he was in a class by himself, perhaps the starry-est.

I learned something extremely valuable from him. I asked him some silly question, one he just didn't want to answer, and you know what he did? He just smiled. That's all he had to do.

A wide, white movie star smile, beaming out to everybody, like the spotlights on the 20th Century Fox emblem.

He waited, smiling, until the question dissolved like smoke. I was caught in the high beam, recovered from being transfixed, and said to myself, "So that's how it's done."

Rest in Peace, Mr. Heston. What a career you had! Moses, Michaelanglo, El Cid, Ben Hur. Any one of those... But, he did them all.

I've heard some belittle Mr. Heston's acting. Those persons always reveal, in that, how remarkably little they know about anything.

There are many Actors. There are only a few who are fascinating to watch. He was one of those. A Movie Star. People plunk down money to watch him, do...anything.

If you can do that, then you can criticize.

Oh, and Oscars for Best Actor don't just fall down from the trees. Mr. Heston earned his in 1959's "Ben Hur."

Bigger than life, bigger than other movie stars. He worked in a lot of Big Pictures, and he made them bigger.

He made the silly Planet of the Apes movies something remarkable. He made them entertaining.

Goodbye Mr. Heston,

Sam Longoria


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digital filmmaking handbook

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Filmmaking - Glimpse of Werner Herzog

Filmmaking - Glimpse of Werner Herzog

I have always enjoyed the films of Werner Herzog,
but after this perverse interview, by
documentarian Errol Morris, I am not so sure.

Ghoulishness, mass murder, bizarre behavior, and worst of all, procrastination. Something for everyone. Filmmakers take note.

film school
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digital filmmaking handbook

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Filmmaking Gear - Film Synchronizer




Filmmaking Gear - Film Synchronizer

When you're shooting real film, and you need the magnetic sound film to match up to the picture film time-wise, sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. You need...the machine.

Although you'll probably be cutting the sound on a digital workstation, you might see a venerable "film synchronizer" or "sync block," on a shelf somewhere in your editing facility, because they're still useful for measuring print length, and comparing exact length or duration of any two pieces of picture or sound film.

A film synchronizer is a blocky aluminum casting, usually painted green or silver, some are black. A common shaft on bearings supports 1 to 8 sprocket wheels, called "gangs," each a foot in circumference, with keeper rollers that clamp down, and keep the film on the sprocket teeth. The gangs can be coupled or decoupled from the shaft, and so can rotate independently of one another.

65mm film has 12.8 frames per foot, 35mm has 16 frames per foot, 16mm has 40 frames per foot, Super 8mm has 72 frames per foot, Regular 8mm has 80 frames per foot, so each turn of the synchronizer's shaft moves the film one foot, and is geared to a mechanical counter, which displays how many rotations (feet) have gone by.

Yes, they're still made, and new they're thousands of dollars. You can find shiny brand-new ones at good old Christy's Editorial, or EEP (Editorial Equipment Parts.)

I can remember how much of my early filmmaking training was geared (pardon) toward learning how to use, borrowing, renting, or finally buying, a film synchronizer.

It was a lot, and they were soooo expensive, hundreds of dollars then, and now I see used film synchronizers cheap on eBay, and like much film equipment, I've bought at least one of each film gauge.

Film gear still works fine, and this current topsy-turvy situation, where heavy metal quality is cheaper than junky ephemeral digital gear, somehow feels rich.

Sam Longoria

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© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sam’s Oscar Report Sun, 24 Feb 2008

Filmmaking - Oscar 2008


Dear Film Friend,

I wrote another Prediction Edition of my Oscar report, and you can find it here. See if your guess is as good as mine.

If you are watching the Oscars, enjoy yourself!

But...

I urge you to examine if you're wasting your precious and all-too-finite time, watching others' success or failure.

Or, if you are instead, consciously and with intent, living your own life, and making your own movies.

I'm not watching!

Time is short, and getting shorter. I'm working on my books and movies, and furthering my own projects, rather than watching or attending the Oscars.

Good wishes to my friends who are nominated,
and may all our dreams come true.

My Oscar reports of previous years can still be found here.

Best to you,

Sam Longoria


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digital filmmaking handbook

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sundance Film Festival 2008 - Aftermath
















Filmmaking - Sundance Journal

Seattle filmmaker Paul Fraser returns from Sundance 2008, to a media frenzy with Sam Longoria and BJ Shea, on Seattle's #1 Morning Radio show, KISW - FM's the BJ Shea Experience.



Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Paul Fraser and Sam Longoria are interviewed by BJ Shea at Seattle's KISW radio station.







Paul explains the finer points of his filmmaking,
and his film "The Battles of Tim Eyman."
















BJ comments on clips from the film, in which he appears and speaks.








Sam tells what it takes
to promote an indy feature film.





























Studio video, shot of Sam at the end, at 4:20. Quite vulgar up to that point, and perhaps during.


Here's Paul and Sam's interview itself.
NSFW!
It's a guy show,
#1 Seattle morning show.

Paul and Sam and BJ and the Crew had a great time,
and it was very good radio.

BJ Shea's "Steve the Producer's" blog explains all of science, including quantum string theory.
Video Blog of part of the show.  At very end, slow-mo Sam Longoria and his moustache.


Hope you enjoy it!

Paul Fraser
Sam Longoria

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© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sundance Film Festival 2008 - Homeward















Filmmaking - Sundance Journal

Our Sundance correspondent is Seattle filmmaker
Paul Fraser, who has just enough time in the numbing
Sundance cold, and mind-numbing Sundance blur, to
snap a few pics and pen some notes from the festival.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hey Sam,

The Toxic Avenger roams the streets again! As you know,
TA's the mascot of Troma films, a distributor promoting
its own film festival. Of course, it's "Troma Dance."

Went to "Traces Of The Trade," a moving film I saw at
Holiday Village Cinema, all shot on video, chronicling
the tragedies of several families in the Katrina disaster
in Florida.

A first-hand personal account, it's directed by the
ironically-named Katrina Browne. She did a great job.

Afterwards, took a flight back around eleven,
and got back here in Seattle around Midnight.
Man, am I tired, but it was all very well worth it.

Today was especially good, I networked like
crazy and got my film out to a lot of people,
and met with all those I'd scheduled.

Came home to an invitation to guest on the
"BJ Shea Experience" radio show
on KISW, the Rock of Seattle!

Thanks Sam,

Paul Fraser


film school
filmmaking
film financing
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passion for cinema
digital filmmaking handbook

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sundance Film Festival 2008 - Snow Problem!





















Filmmaking - Sundance Journal

Our Sundance correspondent is Seattle filmmaker
Paul Fraser, who has just enough time in the numbing
Sundance cold, and mind-numbing Sundance blur, to
snap a few pics and pen some notes from the festival.



Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sam,

Today, woke up to at least a foot of snow in Salt Lake. Got in
my car and braved it, driving the icy roads up to Park City.
Hotel manager told me not to try, but I did it anyway!






















































Caught a little of the talk at the Filmmaker Lounge,
"The Producing Cap." Panel discussed obtaining financing
to get projects off the ground.

















So many of us crowded into the Lodge, some had to
watch it televised, in the room next door.
















Handed out promo materials for my film,
"The Battles Of Tim Eyman" to press and producers
along Main Street. Also entered my film into an Avid
pitch contest, at the New Frontier.

Paul Fraser


Filmmaking

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sundance Film Festival 2008 - The Play's The Thing




















Filmmaking - Sundance Journal

Our Sundance correspondent, Seattle filmmaker
Paul Fraser, has just enough time in the numbing
Sundance cold, and mind-numbing Sundance blur, to
snap a few pics and pen some notes from the festival.



Monday, January 21, 2008

Hey Sam,

Supporters for a film called "Len Bias" throng Main Street,
handing out DVDs of their trailer, can't miss them. They've
been on Main Street every time I've been out, since I got
here on the 17th.

I've done my share of film promotion, too, as I shop
my film, "The Battles Of Tim Eyman." I give out DVDs
and posters, to press and distribution people.













Word up - lots of other filmmakers leave promotional
materials in the lobby - and Big Brother Sundance
throws them into the garbage, if they're not in the
festival. Can't blame them - this is business, after all.
















Next stop, the Sundance Filmmaker's Lodge, where
I listened to Martin McDonagh, a playwright-turned-
film-director, notorious for his dark comedy writing.
















I asked Martin if a film like "Bug," adapted from Tracy Letts's
play of the same name, would have an easier transition to
the screen, since it was a play to begin with? He disagreed,
saying, in his work, he prefers to keep a play a play,
and not try to "turn a dog into a cat."

Really crowded at this event. I had to wait in the
hallway, to get into this old rustic-looking building.

Later, over at the New Frontier, on Main Street...
















I sat in on an event called "Avid Presentation:
From Production to Post to Distribution."

Editor Kevin Trent ("Sideways," "The Golden Compass," "Blow")
discussed challenges faced by today's digital Editors, and their
computer systems, such as Avid.

Kevin described how the editing process has been streamlined,
from thirty-odd people working on the editing (on the film "Reds"),
to a single Editor and two Assistants, a total of three.














After I took this picture at the Eccles Theatre,
it started snowing like mad, and I caught the
midnight show of "Just Another Love Story"
at the Holiday Village Cinema.

Another dark love story actually, along the lines of
"Strangers," and Michael Keaton's "The Merry Gentleman."

So dark, the Danish Director (Ole Bornedal) warned us
in advance. It was really an involving and original film.

Three-quarters through, the young woman sitting next to me
lost her nerve, and left, because of its energy and realism.

Who knew the Danes were so dark and moody?
Oh, wait, there's Hamlet.

Made it back to my room, through the snow,
in one piece, without driving off the road.

Talk soon!

Paul


Filmmaking

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sundance Film Festival 2008 - It's a riot!















Filmmaking - Sundance Journal

Our Sundance correspondent is Seattle filmmaker
Paul Fraser, who has just enough time in the numbing
Sundance cold, and mind-numbing Sundance blur, to
snap a few pics and pen some notes from the festival.



Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hey Sam,

Today at Sundance, more people than ever crowding
the frozen downtown streets of Park City. Sidewalks
literally so overpopulated you must walk in the street!

People communicate and schedule by bulletin boards
and flyers, and notices, and pictures. Like a riot,
a war, or a natural disaster, I can't decide which.




















More interviews, it's all chaos. I was interviewed by
tv news, and discovered the HP Broadcast Studio,
where I spoke a bit more about my filmmaking,
and my film, "The Battles Of Tim Eyman."

















Up the street, at the Sundance Filmmakers Lodge, a
wine-tasting event called "Wine Escape." Industry
Producers, Actors, and Directors mingled there.

Later, at the Egyptian Theater, I viewed a great Israeli
film called "Strangers." The Director, Erez Tadmor, was
there, and spoke of the film's production. Very moving
and gritty romance, shot on HDV and converted to 35mm.

Story was completely improvised, and written, by the Actors.
The war that tore the protagonists apart was a real
situation, and framed the story. Shot in under a month,
for under $100K.

That film is the second I've watched here originated on
HDV, then upconverted to 35mm. New trend? I wonder.

Tomorrow will be a busy one, I can feel the buzz of
filmmaking rising in pitch. Gotta go. Talk soon!

Paul


Filmmaking

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sundance Film Festival 2008 - Park City - NOT!



















Filmmaking - Sundance Journal

Our Sundance correspondent is Seattle filmmaker
Paul Fraser, who has just enough time in the numbing
Sundance cold, and mind-numbing Sundance blur, to
snap a few pics and pen some notes from the festival.



Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sam,

Thousands pack the streets of Park City, Utah, for
the Sundance Film Festival. One of them this year is me,
and I'm happy to be here. It's every independent filmmaker's
dream come true.

I don't know what will happen, but nobody does. There are
lots of great movies, and crazy colorful characters. It's
really the filmmaking business in a teaspoon.

Just meeting people here is a positive step. I'm astonished
how few people have business cards. They just meet and
bounce away, only colliding occasionally in the chaos.

My strategy? I'm finding out where people go, and going there.
Hardest part is parking my car. I drive from Salt Lake City,
and park miles away and ride the shuttle bus.

I expected lots of parking for my car because
of the name, Park City, but no.














What I wasn't expecting - I've been interviewed a couple
of times today, about my filmmaking, and my film,
"The Battles of Tim Eyman."

It's a documentary about a Mukilteo, WA
watch-salesman / citizen-activist, and his battles
to get his tax-cutting agenda onto Washington state
ballots, using the initiative process.

It has Tim Eyman, and Washington State Senator
Ken Jacobsen, and radio talk-show hosts Michael Medved,
B.J. Shea, and Dori Munson. It was a fun film to make.

















I'm surprised I was interviewed. I didn't expect much
interest in Washington state politics. Nobody's ever
heard of any of the people in my film, but they pointed
video cameras at me, so I told them about it.

Documentaries are very big right now, and I hope to
see what others are doing with their filmmaking.
Gotta go, it's freezing, and lots to see.
Write more tomorrow.

Paul

Filmmaking

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sundance Film Festival 2008 - It's cold outside!














Filmmaking - Sundance Journal

Our Sundance correspondent is Seattle filmmaker
Paul Fraser, who's shopping his documentary film,
"The Battles of Tim Eyman,"
about a Washington state citizen activist.

Paul has just enough time in the numbing Sundance
cold, and mind-numbing Sundance blur, to snap a
few pics and pen some notes from the festival.



Friday, January 18, 2008

Sam,

Very chilly down here at Sundance. Main Street is crowded
with Producers and Press, at the various filmmaking events.

I attended the "Filmmaker Lodge" opening reception.
I met Joe Kleber from Red Acquistion Warehouse, and he
demonstrated his Red digital motion picture camera to me.

Also attended a seminar, at The New Frontier on Main Street,
"Creating A Low-Budget Film". They discussed production
workflow, and editing techniques. It gave me new insight.

Speakers were the Producer and Editor from the film
"Jack In The Box," who talked about productive collaboration.

The Editor, a USC professor, described filmmaking techniques
to keep the audience interested, and on the edge of their seats,
while telling the story.

I always get a lot from these seminars, and there
was also free food there, too! Can't lose.

9:30pm tonight, at the Eccles Theater, I attended the film
premiere of "The Merry Gentleman." The Director is
Michael Keaton, who recounted the making of this film.
It is his first feature as a Director.

Keaton seemed apprehensive about "Merry Gentleman's"
running time, but the film was warmly received by
the audience.

Pictures are on the way, took only a few on Main Street.
I'll shoot off a roll tomorrow, and I'll send some
along to you. Hope all is well with you!

Paul

Filmmaking

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Filmmaking - Biggest Mistakes Filmmakers Make Raising Money

Filmmaking - Film Financing

Are You Making These
10 Film Financing Mistakes?

Special free report, "10 Biggest Mistakes Filmmakers
Make Raising Money."


Describes exactly which devastating errors to avoid in your
search for Film Financing. Are you making them right now?

Mistake 1: A money attitude you learn from Parents,
Teachers, and Friends. Unlearn it, or it will destroy you.

Mistake 2: You finally have five minutes with your Movie Angel.
Have you done your Homework?

Mistake 3: You know "It takes money to make money,"
but what does it take to raise money?

Mistake 4: Guessing how much to ask for, or what to
give in return
, is a one-way ticket to failure.

Mistake 5: Even if you know the right thing to say,
saying it the wrong way will sink you.

Mistake 6: Pitching the wrong Prospects.
Do you know who yours really are?


Mistake 7: What never to say to a Movie Investor Prospect,
and what he's hoping you'll say.

Mistake 8: These 8 POOR PITCHES never get you money.
You're probably doing one right now.

Mistake 9: Even if you really believe in your project,
this one little mistake will send you home a Loser.

Mistake 10: You found and approached your Movie Angel.
He said, "Yes!" Can you still screw up? You bet.

And much, much more...

Discover the right way to raise money for your movie, regardless of your filmmaking or film financing experience or location.

Filmmaking

© 2008 Sam Longoria, All Rights Reserved