1. You could have gotten the the gift that keeps on giving.
2. At least you don't govern one of the economically worst states in America.
Jingle All The Way in 5 Seconds
3. Its the thought that counts.
The wooden pickle from Bad Santa (2003). Click the picture to see how the kid really put some effort into this gift.
4. Santa could have just been looking out for your well being.
Scanning past the article right now, I realise it is already getting stale - which means I might have to write the Top Ten Trends of the 00's. (Does anyone else hate the term 'naughties'?)
And then there are the most influential this and the most influential that of the next decade.
At any rate, you might now be totally bored, or you might want to read the list I came up with for:
10 Top Trends For Independent Film 2009
This blog is run by ex Raindance intern Charlie Burroughs who does all the hard work. I waltz along once and a while, post something kinda mediocre like this, and let Charlie pick up the pieces.
Let me tell you about one of our current interns, who has jsut, BTW, talked herself into a work experience position at Raindance, which means, financially, more or less, we buy her lunch.
Anyway, back in the summer of 2009 Frederica started a 6 week volunteer position, one that I was glad to see her fill as she had done such a brilliant job on a shorter placement the summer before.
On her first day she asked me what to do, and I gave her an impossibly difficult and complex task which i hoped would take her the entire week, and thus reduce the time I needed to spend with her. To my amazement, she finished the job in twenty minutes and asked me for another job, and again finished it in record breaking time. I could quickly see that Frederica was going to be really good,and if I was going to use her effectively, it would mean I would have to put in the effort to stay a step or three ahead of her. Exhausting.
The third time Frederica turned to me and asked for a job I was emptying my junk mail - and wow do I get a load of junk - hundreds every day. As she asked me what to do next I realised I had paused at the title of a sex spam in my junk mail folder: 5 ways To Make Her Come Every Day.
I wondered why I was pausing at this particular headline when I realised that the phrase "5 ways To Make... Every Day" is actually highly emotive. I opened the sex spam and saw a rather well structured article. I copy pasted the text into word, and did a seacrhc and relace for the work COCK replace with FILMMAKER and sent the text over to Frederica, who had no idea where this idea had come from. This new project kept Frederica silent the rest of the entire day, and the resulting article, 10 Things Filmmaker Uses Every Day is one of the highest visited page on our website.
From now on, both Frederica and I will be scouring sex spam emails to see what inspiration for new articles for Raindance.
My good friend Patrick Tucker says there are 10 things you need to do immediately, and 6 of them have to be done within the fierst 10 seconds.
Read more about what a film director has to do after yelling 'CUT'.
Source: Associated Press
A former school in Michigan will now be housing an indie film festival in the coming months. A new film festival, The Detroit Independent Film Festival, is accepting films for its first festival on March 3-7.
Michigan Film Industry is a booming
8 Tips on how to portray convincing fights on the screen.
Tip 3 : Motion
A static fist-fight looks dated and unexciting. Fights are dynamic and violent, and to achieve this feeling you can dictate the movement of the camera by the movement of the actors as they struggle and drag each other around the room. For example, if you start with a medium shot set up alongside the actors around head height, as they struggle one actor should drag or push the other across the room, perhaps into a wall. The camera should move with the actors across the room, without changing the height, pan angle or distance to achieve the strongest feeling of movement.
The actors will not be completely even as they move across the room, and if you follow them as a pair it will diminish the sense of motion that you are trying to achieve. Instead, keep the camera focused on only one actor, to maintain the dynamic feeling of the shot. Once the actors come to a stop against the wall, you can change the height, distance or pan angle, as this will emphasize that the dynamic motion of the shot has ceased.
LA MOTTA V JANIRO
Hollywood has always been obsessed with the apocaplyse. Here is a top 10 take on the best Hollywood world disasters.
They are missing a few good classics though:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
War of the Worlds (1953)
The Blob (1958)
Do you ever wonder why Quentin Tarantino’s films so often feature the same set of actors? And why is it that each time Samuel L. Jackson, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Uma Thurman or even Tarantino himself appear in one of his films, they always turn out to be a perfect fit for the part?
In short, it’s not only the actors who make repeat appearances in Tarantino’s films. The characters they play also appear in each one of his films, undergoing different incarnations but always fitting a clearly defined character type.
The Top 10 Tarantino Characters
A Raindance Indie Tip
Long time film critic Roger Ebert gives a laundry list of do's and don'ts for the film writer. Here were a few of my favorite rules.
Do the math. If one week you state, "'Mr. Untouchable' makes 'American Gangster' look like a fairy tale," and the next week you say, "American Gangster" was "Goodfellas" for "the next generation," then you must conclude that "Mr. Untouchable" is better than "Goodfellas."
Be wary of freebies. The critic should ideally never accept round-trip first-class air transportation, a luxury hotel room, a limo to a screening and a buffet of chilled shrimp and cute little hamburgers in preparation for viewing a movie. If you go, your employer should pay for the trip. I understand some critics work for places that won't even pick up the cost of a movie ticket, and are so underpaid they have never tasted a chilled shrimp. Others work for themselves, an employer who is always going out of business. Yet they are ordered to produce a piece about Michael Cera's new film. I cut them some slack. Let them take the junket. They need the food. Also, I admire Michael Cera. But if they work for a place that is filthy rich, they should turn down freebies.
I admit the Freebie Rule was a hard one for me to acknowledge. In the good old days, movie critics flew more than pilots. I flew first class to Sweden, Ireland, Hawaii, Mexico, Bermuda, Iran, Colombia, Italy, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. I was virtually on the Los Angeles shuttle. I flew to England in November for the filming of "Battle of Britain," and was whisked at dawn to a rainy WWII air field near Newmarket where I was able to stand for hours and freeze my ass off while watching the filming of a scene involving a dog gazing wistfully into the sky for its master's missing airplane. If someone had given me a chilled shrimp, I would have rubbed it between my hands to warm them.
No posing for photos! Never ask a movie star to pose with you for a picture. No movie star ever wants to do this. They may smile, but they're gritting their teeth. "It is the Chinese Water Torture," Clint Eastwood told me. "And 99 times out of a hundred, the stranger they hand their camera to looks through the lens, pushes the button, and says 'It isn't working!' and then the fan has to walk over to the guy and demonstrate the camera and say, 'now try it'. And then it isn't working again. Looking at someone looking puzzled at a camera, that's the story of my life."
A Raindance Tweet
Paranormal Activity isn't a great film. But it is a brilliant indie filmmaking strategy. In my article "10 Story Techniques You Must Use to Sell Your Script" (see below) I state that "if you're writing a screenplay for an indie film, write horror, thriller, or love." Horror is the most consistently popular genre around the world after myth. But unlike the epic-scale myth, horror can be made for very little money.
One of the greatest challenges for an independent filmmaker is getting people to actually watch your film. Big-budget Hollywood films spend millions and millions of dollars on marketing. In 2007, the average marketing budget for a major Hollywood film was almost $40 million, more money than most independent filmmakers can possibly hope to get for their entire budget. So how can independent filmmakers promote their film?
The answer: guerilla marketing. Independent filmmakers have to compensate for their lack of a large marketing budget with creativity. The internet in particular has made it possible for independent filmmakers to get their film noticed. One cost-effective way to do this is by organizing a flash mob event.
A flash mob is when a large group of people assemble suddenly in a public area, simultaneously do something unusual, and then leave. The flash mob began as more of a social experiment or form of performance art than a vehicle for marketing, but it was quickly hijacked by large corporations when they recognized its popularity. Companies like T-Mobile and Coca-Cola have organized flash mob events, but the nature of a flash mob makes it an ideal tool for a small group that needs to promote something on a budget.
How to organize a flash mob:
Step 1: Have an Idea
A successful flash mob needs to have a unique idea behind it. The comedy group Improv Everywhere stages performances similar to flash mobs, such as freezing 200 people in place for 5 minutes in Grand Central Station, or holding no-pants subway rides. They have also done things with smaller groups of people, like creating a time-loop in a Starbucks. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out their YouTube channel. While a flash mob is technically a large group, you can still make a scene and promote your film with just a small group of people as well.
If you want to promote your film through the flash mob, you should organize something that relates to your film in some way. For example, if your film is a horror zombie flick, have a bunch of zombies show up. Or if your film is a musical, you could use a smaller group and stage an impromptu musical number in a public place, perhaps using one of the songs from your film. The possibilities are endless.
Some things to keep in mind: if you want people to show up, make sure that when you do hold the flash mob that the participants won’t be breaking any laws. People come to these to be spontaneous and have a little fun, not to get arrested. So pick a public location where its legal for your group to gather, and don’t do anything that threatens or endangers bystanders.
A "Matrix Reloaded" inspired flash mob
Step 2: Get the Word Out
If you want people to show up at your flash mob, people need to know about it. In this, the internet is your most valuable tool. Create an account for your event on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook—and make sure you are active on the site too, respond to questions and provide frequent updates on the event. You can create a website for your film, where you can provide detailed information on the event, and use Twitter and Facebook to get people to visit the site. Post in forums and chatrooms, send out mass emails, and tell people to forward the information on to people they know. In short, do everything you can think of to let people know what you are doing.
A flash mob that took place under the glass pyramid in the Louvre
Step 3: Organize
In order for your flash mob event to go smoothly, participants need to know exactly what is happening, where, when, and what they are supposed to do. There are several different ways for you to organize and synchronize the event.
...In truth, "Pirate Radio" is about mid-1960s disc jockeys -- not television personalities -- and they're stuck on a boat off the coast of southern England. They're marooned by choice: Back then, as the film's intro credits remind us, because the BBC programmed such a limited amount of rock music (just less than hours per week), the popular alternative was for rock 'n' roll DJs to broadcast from ships anchored in the North Sea just beyond U.K. borders. Aptly named pirate radio ships broadcast the hit bands of the time -- the Who, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Kinks -- across the airwaves and into transistor radios tucked lovingly under the pillows of millions of adolescents up past their bedtimes. Including Curtis.
We sat down with Curtis and the film's young protagonist, played by Tom Sturridge, to find out what happens when a film's cast members are shipped away to "Boat Camp": the director's unique version of preproduction rehearsal.
Question: Tell me about Boat Camp.
Answer: Tom Sturridge- The notion of Boat Camp makes it sound like we did some intense military training before filming -- which it wasn't remotely. Boat Camp was more like, we all slept on the boat for three days, watched DVDs, got drunk and became friends. Which was amazing, but not in any way rigorous.
A is for Actor
...the most exploited component of an independent film. Usually actors work free in a feature film hoping that they will be discovered and be able to launch their careers. Often, independent filmmakers will hire a name actor for a day or tow on the set in a cameo role hoping that the 'name' will help to pull in investors and enhance sales. In America, the actors on low budget independent features are called 'the moveable props' in deference to their abundant supply.
In the USA, actors are represented by SAG, and in the UK by Equity.
B is for Blonde
... the nickname for a 2k portable light that can be plugged into household current. A 750 watt light is called a redhead. These lights are considered the staple of independent filmmakers. Thus the phrase: I'm shooting with a blonde and two redheads. This equipment can be packed in a small case and easily transported with a camera in the back of a taxi.
At Raindance we have a great evening course called the Power of Lighting in which simple three point lighting is explained.
BIFA: Acronym for the British Independent Film Awards, the only awards specifically for independently produced film in Europe.
Not to be confused with Biffa - the London-based waste-disposal company.
B is for Budget - uuaully the first thing you get asked when you are trying to drum up interest in your film.
C is for Culture Jamming
...a publicity technique employed by many independent filmmakers as a way to enhance scanty marketing budgets by associating themselves (uninvited) with successful brands, or by courting controversy.
Camera is used for image capture. Independent filmmakers chose the right camera for the story and the budget. Rentals can vary from £50 per day for a near broadcast quality DV camera to £10,000 per day for a large 35mm kit with track, dolly and lenses.
Film cameras are defined by the width (gauge) of the film stock: 8mm, 16mm, 35mm and 70mm. Specialty gauges are super 8mm, super 16mm, and super 35mm. Imax cameras take 70mm film sideways to allow for a 135mm x 70mm frame.
Tape formats are VHS, Super VHS, Beta, Digibeta, Mini DV, DVCAM, DVPro and HDTV.
Raindance Film Festival screens work originated on all formats. See the submission requirementshere.
D is for Distribution
Ernest Hemingway had an interesting method for getting himself started in the morning. At the end of each working day, he’d grab all his pencils in his big fist and slam them down on the desk, breaking all the points. When he came in the next morning, he’d pull out a penknife and start to whittle them. When he’d sharpened four or five – six, if he had a hangover – he’d find himself reaching for one and beginning to write.
Grahame Greene’s credo was to get up from bed and go straight to his writing desk. He had to get going before the banality of everyday life interrupted his stream of consciousness.
Somerset Maugham, whose output was huge, told an amazed admirer that he only worked four hours a day. “Only four hours,” he admonished, “but never less.” Consistency is all – but each will have his own voodoo.
So where do you start with a screenplay? With a treatment, step outline, improv – or by just plunging in? I can’t tell you what will work for everyone, but I can tell you what works consistently for the writers I work with.
Some people start with a character, but no particular story. I advise them to write a scene that puts their character under stress. Hemingway defined courage as grace under pressure - what qualities does your character reveal when the going gets tough? How can you create a journey for them that brings out their inner qualities?
I advise you not to go too far with this exercise, though. Once you start writing dialogue, it’s all too easy to fall in love with your words – and find it hard to cut them, even when they have nothing do with your theme.
By Elliot Grove
An extract from his book Raindance Writers' Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay. Focal Press 2008
Just as writing your screenplay requires a method plus creative thought, so too does the task of marketing your screenplay. Try to market your screenplay without a plan, and plan to be confused. So see if you can follow the marketing plan.
There are two things that writers hate – writers hate writing and writers really hate selling.
Unless you master the art of selling, you will never be a professional
screenwriter – no one will pay you for your work. And selling your work need not be a painful and dreaded experience. In fact, it can be a lot of fun, if you have a plan of attack.
These next chapters are designed to help writers who hate selling, sell their script. But you have to follow my little system. Let’s assume you have finished your script and are asking ‘Now what?’
1. Let it rest
Put your screenplay aside for at least two weeks. I like to let mine rest for a month. You want to leave it long enough so you forget it – so it seems fresh when you see it again.
Perhaps you will start working on your next project, or simply try to catch up on seeing as many films as you can. This is a sweet moment. You have actually written your screenplay. You still don’t want to show it to anyone, but at least you can announce that you are finished.
Hint: Rewriting is a crucial part of the writing process, but is often
If you have done your homework and made a detailed plan, your first draft will be built on a solid foundation. Then determine exactly what the theme of the piece is. Make sure all scenes focus toward the theme. Ask yourself if there is a bolder, fresher, quicker way to say the same thing. Cut, cut, cut. Fix the dialogue last.
2. Character rewrite
Go through the script with a fine tooth comb and set aside anything that does not directly pertain to the goal of the main character.
When you read the script again, you will be amazed at how much energy it has. Look at your script and see if there is anything new you can add to the script, or perhaps you can retrieve and recycle some of the material you set aside earlier. Maybe that scene you thought was a great set-up to the page forty-five scene would work better as the page seventy-five scene, and so on.
3. Table reading – the dialogue rewrite
Get up on a ladder; shoot out a window, from a helicopter, anything. A birds-eye view allows a perspective that is completely new and different from what we are used to seeing. High angles can also be used to make the subject of a shot look smaller and more diminutive, enabling you to influence how the viewer perceives the subject.
Who says your horizon has to be perfectly level? Directors like Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton use canted angles frequently in their films, and even the 2008 Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire makes extensive use of canted angle shots. Canted angles, in addition to being visually striking, can also emphasize a sense of disorientation or alienation in the subject of the shot.
On Nov. 6, the National World War II Museum in New Orleans will unveil $60 million renovations that include the Victory Theater, where a new 4-D World War II film by Tom Hanks will screen. According to The Washington Post, which has a gallery of photographs revealing the exterior and interior of the museum, a new on-site restaurant will serve “1940s-inspired food” and a canteen will feature recreations of wartime entertainment.
Source: finding Dulcinea
The Best Cinema Experiences
...A film poses a question with the first big twist in Act 1. It creates a problem that must be solved, or a question that must be answered, by the end of the film. If it hasn’t been, then your story hasn’t delivered.
But a good ‘hook’ does more than that. It makes inevitable a climax in which the forces that have just gotten entangled must fight it out to the finish.
In Vertigo, when James Stewart’s character unwittingly pulls a policemen off a rooftop to his death after an attack of vertigo, we know what’s got to happen by the end of the film. This defeated, devastated man is going to have another opportunity of saving a life – and to do it, he’s going to have to overcome his vertigo and climb.
In The Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis is just celebrating an award for his achievements in the field of child psychology, when he gets confronted by an enraged former patient, and shot. But we know Willis is going to get a second chance. He’ll be offered a new patient, a boy who also says he sees ghosts. And this time, he’ll have to take him seriously.
A good ending should feel inevitable; but perversely, remain in doubt right up to the finish. The audience may despair of ever achieving the right outcome – but they’ll be so relieved when it comes.
That doesn’t mean all endings have to be neatly resolved. In fact, audiences are inclined to be disbelieving of such neat endings...
Read the article in its entirety
Just for fun the trailer from 1958 Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo
by Charlie Burroughs
There are a few ways you can show the hero and opponent are similar. One way is subtle visual cues. On the night of District Attorney Harvey Dent’s fundraiser Bruce Wayne gives a heartfelt toast to the “white knight.” Wayne is distraught and before drinking the glass of champagne he exits the pent house for some air. Outside Wayne tosses the champagne over the balcony without taking a sip. Moments later the Joker crashes the party looking for Harvey Dent, “You seen Harvey Dent?” The Joker explains he is the night’s entertainment and grabs a glass of champagne. He tosses the beverage over his shoulder and takes a drink from the empty glass. Why would the director want to waste alcohol like this unless he wanted to point out these characters are similar. Of course you don’t have to be so subtle the opponent can come right out and say he is similar to the hero. “I don’t want to kill you,” The Joker says when being interrogated by the Batman. “You complete me.”
Visually Dirty Harry does something similar to The Dark Knight. This visual cue is a little more harmful than wasting alcohol. In Harry’s first dirty job he cleans up on a failed bank robbery. He snaps off six shots leveling the get-away car and crippling the bad guys. However, Harry didn’t leave unscathed after getting shot in the leg by a robber. The placement of this shot on Harry’s leg is the same spot Scorpio is stabbed at by Harry later in the movie. This is a physical weakness both characters share.
Side Note: Make the opponent impervious to physical pain. In Dirty Harry Scorpio pays a man to beat him to a bloody pulp. Then Scorpio tells the media it was Harry who beat him up. Harry’s response to the police chief? “He looks to good for me to have done that.” In The Dark Knight the Joker is physically abused by Batman, but for all his strength Batman can do nothing to crack him.
What about the structure of these movies? I already noted the introductions were similar, that isn’t all these two movies share structurally. The Hero has to overcome a societal problem...
Read the article in its entirety
A little about the hero and opponent.
Viral shorts have taken the web by storm! It’s a tough game with its own rules—here are some ways you can keep your viral short up to speed with the Internet traffic.
1) Make it something you want people to see:
There are millions—if not trillions—of viral videos all over the web. Why should browsers click on your short over anyone else’s? Are you offering important information? Or a profound message? Have you captured the most hilarious human belly flop of all time? Whatever it is, identify the reason why people want to watch your short.
2) Make it fun:
The vast majority of people who get on a kick of watching viral short after viral short are BORED. Ok, maybe that’s just me. But either way, those seeking their online quick fix are looking for something entertaining. Have fun with your videos and other people will too!
3) Post it everywhere:
After uploading your viral vid on a site like YouTube or Vimeo, don’t just let it sit. We have tons of options to seamlessly post videos. Facebook or MySpace will allow you an interface for your video to show right on your profile. Twitter is also a great forum for links, and all your followers will be interested in clicking. The more spaces you post, the more hits your short will get.
4) Tag, tag, tag:
5) Give it an interesting title:
Treat your video’s title like a headline on a magazine cover. Since viewers have a lot to choose from on the net, they’ll be drawn to the most attractive heading. Strong adjectives like, hysterical, unbelievable, exclusive, leaked, or important can convey specific, compelling feelings.
1. A good mobile telephone
A good telephone will become your mobile office.
Get the best phone you can, one that can allow you to surf and accept and write emails, and take location pictures.
An invaluable tool that lets you stay connected even when you are on the fly.
A good website to find the best deals
2. A good email address and website
Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail might be free and easy to access, but getting your own domain name means you can have an individual and bespoke email address.
Register a domain at whois.com, and get a basic package that allows you to create your own email address, like email@example.com, and join the professionals!
To build a website, use a programme like Apple's iWeb and DIY. Doesn't need to be fancy, include a section About You, Contact Details, Current Projects and your Showreel.
The 7 Steps to Building Your Own Website
Get a good service package from as little as £3.18 + VAT per month with Nativespace (the hosts of Raindance Film Festival)
3. A good laptop with a good battery
And load it up with a useful editing programme like Final Cut Pro, an office admin programme, like Word, and something you can make good presentations with. It is also really useful to have a software package that will let you resize and optimise pictures for the web.
Here's the computer I use: Apple laptop
At £145, 720 HD, and an 8 gig hard drive, this little beauty is a must.
- See the review video from Computer Now
- See a camera test
- How one blogger got over $20,000 of free publicity using a FLIP
You can get your FLIP HD on Amazon for just £139.99 inc VAT
Perfect for getting those spur-of-the moment interviews to add to your DVD extras.
Order online here
For More Guerilla Filmmaking Tips
These same elements are present time and time again in the great movies, like King Kong, The Outlaw Josey Wales, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Meet Me in St. Louis, It's A Wonderful Life, Sunset Boulevard and Touch of Evil and they are worth highlighting:
1. These movies tend to have strong single line - with one overriding problem or goal for the hero - to give the story drive, momentum, and a sense of priorities, or in the extreme, a sense of the first cause.
2. These films occasionally digress from that strong line to allow the film to "breathe." That is, they play with the structure to comment on what is happening, to cause the viewers to rethink their expectations, and to present actions or words that make an abstract, or thematic, point.
3. These films usually have heroes with a moral problem. The hero commits or fails to commit actions that hurt other people. These are characters with moral flaws, and the stories drive toward the moment when the hero uncovers his or her moral blindness.
4. Perhaps the most crucial element of great films is that the audience believes, what each is fighting about. Even more important, these movies attach entire clusters of values and beliefs to the two antagonists. The great movies set up, around a single central opposition, an array of other oppositions that grow until they have national or even international implications, and present the essential predicaments of human life.
5. The great movies have powerful, condensed openings that present the crucial patterns of the story and then slowly bring these patterns to the surface and explore them in an explicit way. By the end the audience has a sense of the patterns of thought and values that cause problems, not just for these particular characters but for anyone anywhere.
For Elements 6-9
Multicamera Imagine Engine
Here's what Adrian Peterson had to say about working with Fincher on the Dan Patrick Show,
"You could tell he was a perfectionist," Peterson said. "He wanted everything to be right, I guess when you make movies like that, then you can understand and see why. I kinda looked at is as far as the way I approach game day the way I go out there and make sure everything is perfect and not make any mistakes. That's how those guys are."
Peterson also said he tried not to take Fincher's persistence on multiple takes as personal. He said he knows that's why he is good. Fincher also directed a spot with safety Troy Polamalu and LaDainian Tomlinson a year ago.
The Wall Street Journal blog.
Filmmakers need to be held responsible. With the amount of time, effort and money it takes to go to see a film, you ought to know what you'll get out of it first.
On the other hand, all good films deserve advocates. Independent films, especially those with limited releases, often have none. This section is here to remedy this.
by Grace Leong
The basic idea behind film marketing – is that after you have made your film, you want as many people as possible to know about your film, so they may buy tickets to see it.
As attested by numerous social media commentators, Twitter is huge now, at a growth rate of about 1300%. Major corporations like CNN and Ford are on Twitter and marketing guides for Twitter have sprouted up everywhere on the internet. Raindance had a bit of a snoop around and found an article ‘10 Tips for Twitter Un-marketing’ by Leigh Duncan-Durst who is said to have sampled 3000 social media sites, tools and applications. Based on her work, we offer our concise and value-added version of Top 5 Twitter Tips for a Film Marketing Campaign.
1. Understand the medium
Twitter is not webcasting nor a promotional channel for marketing. Twitter is more like blogging (some say micro-blogging) or short message or group chatting. Thus Twitter is about sustaining conversation. The greater the level of engagement, the stronger the network and the quicker or more flexible you are in responding, chances are, the more positively you will be looked upon. As a guide, best practices of corporations with a strong Twitter presence prescribe daily monitoring and response.
Be prepared for long-term commitment. Don’t get started on Twitter if you are not prepared to commit. Otherwise you end up undoing all the networking and relationship-building you achieve.
A good tweet may be an insightful observation or a kickass link. Read the 3 golden rules of Twitter etiquette for more background information on Twitter. More people will choose to be a follower of your tweets if you consistently offer insight, value or service through them. Start giving if you want to gain.
Finally, know that Twitters prefer to speak to people, not brands or companies. Check out twitter.com/comcastcares which is a wonderful example of personalising technical service to customers.
2. Creating dialogue and audience
Twitter is excellent for fostering open dialogue and gaining a network of prospective audience or customers. Sneakily (or skilfully) promote your film by telling them about it and asking them what they think. This creates an open line of communication. Be careful not to engage in overt marketing or appear pushy.
Since Twitter marketing is very much like a word-of-mouth campaign, try to strike up conversations with influential twitters or bloggers but be prepared that you may influence but not control what they say about your film. Go for it if you are confident.
3. Increase presence and influence
Think beyond expanding the number of followers. You can increase influence by increasing your presence online as well as offline.
Look beyond Twitter online and don’t limit your responses to tweets. Twitter ties in with other social networking sites and blogs. Keep your eyes peeled for blog posts and respond to them. Bear in mind also that Twitter can be linked to more traditional online channels such as your existing websites.
Another useful thing to do is to try to create affiliations with organizations, publications or activities which also do their own publicity to help get your word out.
When creating promotional messages, don’t go beyond 120 or 140 characters. This will make it easy for tweeters to tweet or retweet about your film for you.
The usual suspects are all present in the second edition: The Boondock Saints: All Saints Day. That is all but William Dafoe's flamboyant character. In addition to Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, and Bill Connolly the cast includes newcomers Clifton Collins Jr. and the more than pleasing to the eye Julie Benz
From the web:
Pictures and Stills
Clara Law's drama "Like a Dream" bagged nine nominations for the top Chinese-language film awards, as jurors shunned star-studded blockbusters for unheralded art-house fare when they announced their top candidates Wednesday.
The other top contenders at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards are the island's "No Pudeo Vivir Sin Ti," which is up for eight awards, and China's "Cow," a nominee in seven categories.
Read more: Law's 'Like a Dream' up for 9 Chinese film awards
The Daily Beast take
A part of the production scheme includes a "road show" which can latch on to existing festivals.
According to The Irish Film and Television Network, "This touring multi-media piece combines performance art with new-media, filmmaking and art film content."
Read the full release here.
"I blame The Sixth Sense. Not because that film is anything less than brilliant. No, it's because it woke studios up to the fact that a plot twist could be a marketing gimmick. The Sixth Sense took an unknown director, an eerie kid and a lead actor now into the slowing-down part of his career and turned them into nearly $700 million worldwide. Suddenly everyone wanted their movie to have a sting in the tail, whether it made sense or not."
Richards list his Ten worst plot twist in films whether pre or post Sixth Sense.
I'm in between classes so I thought I might list my favorite twist. Everyone's so cynical I'm in a good mood today so here is my favorite twist.
Wayne's World (1992)
I told you I'm in a good mood and I know this isn't a serious movie by any means, but tell me you saw this ending coming and I'll give you a million dollars. This movie had three endings, that's right, three.
The set up: Wayne and Garth hold a special Wayne's World episode from the basement of evil agent Benjamin Kane (Rob Lowe). Garth has set up a transmission to a talent scout Frankie Sharp's limo with the help of Stan Mikita's Donuts finest. A perfect ending would have Cassandra (She's a Babe, schwing) Wayne's rocker girlfriend, landing a gig with Frankie who arrives at the basement in time to hear her rock out.
The Plot Twist(s):
Instead of Cassandra landing the gig Frankie tells her she just isn't ready yet. Cassandra blames Wayne and leaves for what looks like the Bahamas with Kane. Their studio burns down and Wayne's creeper girlfriend comes out of no where to tell him she's pregnant.
"You didn't really think she'd end up with Wayne, did you?"
As if. You thought we could end the movie like that? Wayne and Garth reappear and break the third line rule talking directly to the camera. They rewind the movie and give what they call the scooby-doo ending, literally. In this twist Cassandra is hired by Frankie and Kane is arrested and his mask is torn off revealing, "Old Man Whithers, from the haunted amusment park." Excellent Scooby-doo ending, but how about the Megahappy ending?
In the final ending Cassandra gets signed to a six-album deal. Garth gets his dream woman. Kane learns a valuable lesson about money and everyone is "fished in".
From the Web:
Pretty good list here.
Pic, which nabbed the special jury prize at Sundance, centers on two straight buddies who test the limits of their friendship when they attempt to make a gay porn video. Pic has been picked up by Vertigo Films in the U.K.
Other films with local distribution include Steven Soderbergh’s “The Girlfriend Experience,” which closes the fest on Oct. 11; Marc Price’s ultra-low-budget zombie pic “Colin,” made for just £45 ($72); and Sean McConville’s thriller “Deadline.”
World preems in competition include Brett Sullivan’s “Special When Lit,” a doc about the history of the pinball machine; Ozgur Uyanik’s thriller “Resurrecting the Street Walker”; Dom Shaw’s music doc “All the Years of Trying”; Douglas Arrowsmith’s music doc “Memory and Desire: 30 Years in the Wilderness With Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time”; and Till Kleinert’s skinhead thriller “The Longest Night.”
by Elliot Grove
Filmmakers in Britain have always considered short form narratives and documentaries as a viable step into filmmaking. The BBC and Channel 4 in particular have commissioned and purchased shorts for broadcast on terrestrial television, often as a way to test new talent before awarding the filmmakers a more substantial contract to produce a feature film or documentary. However, since 2003, the landscape has changed. In the current climate the terrestrial television channels have scaled back their commissioned shorts programs and rarely acquire shorts for broadcast. This has left filmmakers with relying on festivals as the main alternative to getting their work seen.
Shorts typically have punchier story lines, are often shot on very low budgets giving them a gritty look, that combined with sharp short stories make compelling viewing. Filmmakers have been shooting movies on their mobiles since 2003 when Nokia introduced the first camera phone. The haunting images on television after the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London demonstrated their news ability. This ground-breaking moment paved the way to the present BBC practice who issue quality mobile handsets such as the Nokia N93 to home-based journalists, who then email in their footage for quick assembly, edit and broadcast in the studio.
Using a short film, or a series of short films has always been considered a viable and useful way to demonstrate one talent to the industry powers-that-be on route to building a career in features, or in commercials and pop promos. Here are the routes novice filmmakers are using in Europe. Many of these techniques are applicable universally.
1. Film Festivals
A festival screening allows you to screen your film in front of total strangers, and often, in Europe at least, to people with whom English is not their mother tongue. Until you have sat in a screening room full of strangers watching your film you do not really know how the film "plays". Do they laugh at the right place for example.
Getting your film accepted into a film festival is not easy. Firstly, you research the festival world (there are nearly 3,000 film festivals around the world), download a submission form, and send it, along with an application fee and a copy of your film. Then you wait to hear if you have been selected. If you are selected, you then need to send the festival a screening copy of the film, usually on digibeta, along with a picture of yourself, or a still from the movie that they can use in their festival catalogue. Try and book your holiday around a festival screening. Get there a few days earlier and pass out postcards with a good strong image of your film on one side, and the screening dates and times on the reverse. Festival organizers should also be able to help you with a list of local distributors and sales agents who might be interested in acquiring short films (ie: buying a license to screen your film). Contact these people by email and telephone.
Screenings at certain film festivals almost certainly guarantee other festival invites. Many festivals rely on bellweather festivals such as Raindance, to act as a filter to whittle down the huge number of films to a manageable lot of a certain quality.
Remember that each festival has different taste, and to be rejected by one festival is not to be taken personally.
The best way to research film festivals is to look at these two sites: www.filmfestivals.com, an English-speaking company based in Paris, and www.withoutabox.com, an American company with a subsidiary office in London.
Top European Film festivals for shorts:
There are at least 9 European short film festivals which show shorts only. Other festivals, such as Raindance, have dynamic short film strands. Research the festivals and try to ascertain which ones have videotechs, such as Rotterdam. At those festivals, even if you are not selected, industry scouts will be able to see your film.
International Short Film Festival Leuven January
International Film Festival Rotterdam January
Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival February
Tampere Short Film Festival March
International Short Film Festival Oberhausen May
Cannes International Film Festival May
Cineam Jove International Film Festival June
Vila do Conde International Short Film Festival July
Raindance Film Festival - October
Kinofilm Manchester International Film Festival November
Encounters International Short Film Festval November
Last week outlined was numbers 1-10 of How To Fake Being An Indie Auteur. The emphasis was on the making of the film. The Plot, The Script, Dialogue, Casting, and Direction were mentioned on the blog. This week part II: getting noticed.
by Suzanne Ballantyne
It is not enough to have made the definitive indie auteur film. That is a mere ten percent of the equation. The hard graft revolves around getting noticed.
The entry-level auteur must not venture anywhere near standard PR. His/her career is far too fragile to be left in the hands of hard nosed professionals. Some degree of subtlety is required for navigating the blatantly self- promotional road ahead. The way forward includes blogging, a certain degree of dalliance on my space - although the indie auteur should not stoop to having his own page, that should be reserved for the two lead characters in his film.
Far better that he should instead be talked about by others. This can be achieved by posting short daily production diaries on his blog, which should be slightly irreverent and may, due to time constraints, occasionally appear in haiku format. i.e:
Sound roll camera
Action can't act, cut print drink
drink bad day away
He should engage in live web chats, appear sporadically on video forums, post an interview with himself on You Tube, network at loft parties on Second Life and hold intimate screenings of either his rushes, work-in-progress or finished film at the home of a famous new friend - ideally a grungy rocker who frequently appears off his face in the tabloids. The indie auteur is after all creating brand awareness for his burgeoning career and by associating with indie luminaries in parallel art forms the brand of the wannabe can only strengthen.
12. Getting The Word Out.
Do not wait for the public to figure out what your film is or isn't . Tell them first or rather, tell a few trusted friends and get them to pass the word along, again taking full advantage of the power of the internet. Gently suggest your work be compared to that of the great modern artists. Your single twenty minute, opening tracking shot could be compared to the stark genius of Picasso's line drawings, the 'look' of your film to early Schnabel and your ‘vision’ to an almost Warholian reverence for the ordinary.
13. Business Cards.
Under no circumstances.There's no way any self-respecting indie auteur should appear to have put such forethought into his career. When asked for one he reaches into his obscure festival branded shoulder bag and tears off a scrap of whatever asking the recipient if he would mind lending a space of his back for him to scribble on. Or try this more advanced tactic, simply utter – ‘You can reach me through Paul at Gold View’. Few phrases command as much respect as this immediate ring fence approach. The unspoken message is Paul shelters me from the hoi poiloi. This, coupled with the lofty pretentiousness of the Asian Sales Agent –you are after all,the director of their only English language project, and you have virtually catapulted yourself into the land of must-have auteur du jour.
14. Start A Movement
If you do have friends use them. Get them involved in your film. If you don't make some. They must be like-minded and have skills that you as an indie auteur could use. Musicians who can provide music rights- free are excellent. Even better if they have some following of their own - they'll get the music press talking about your film and perhaps some free publicity. They may even turn out to support you and add to your screening figures. Get other friends on board - editors, lighting people,dop’s. They just need to passionately believe in you. Encourage them to make their own films in your style- help them out and call yourselves a collective based in some place like Manila. All of you get together and submit to festivals. Festivals are a little bit in awe of collectives.
15. Learn To Flirt
And get good at it since you'll be doing it a lot. Flirt equally with men and women. Blur the lines sexually. Flirt with junior programmers, budding journalists and bouncers at parties. Flirt with the big directors and get them interested in you. After all it can't hurt to have proven auteurs like Abbas Kiarostami,Jafar Panahi or one of the Makmahlbafs put in a good word for you. When you approach them at a festival party they will assume you are an equally important director and be surprisingly nice to you. Look them in the eye and whisper mentor under your breath.
If you liked tips 11-15 check out 16-20.
The download includes 6 different industry editors for writing including:
- Stageplay: International and US standard
- AV scripts: including documentaries, music videos and advertising
- Audio play: including radio plays and podcasts
- Comic Book
- Plain text
by David Parkinson
Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience is the highest-profile picture on show at the 17th Raindance Film Festival. But big names are not necessarily what this exceptional event is about. Over the years, it has introduced British audiences to the talents who would come to dominate the US independent scene, while also showcasing newcomers from around the world. Over the years, it has developed a special affinity with Japan and this continues in 2009, with the focus falling on such women film-makers as Momoko Ando (A Piece of Our Life - Kakera), Sachi Hamano (Lily Festival), Naomi Kawase (Hotaru), Yuki Tanada (Ain't No Tomorrows) and Yukiko Sode (Mine-Mine).
Raindance also has a reputation for launching new British artists. But few have made such an impact on so small a budget as Marc Price, who who produced Colin for the princely sum of £45. It speaks volumes for the Welshman's acumen that he has since secured a theatrical release for a zombie flick that was cast through Facebook and MySpace. Yet for all the praise being rightly heaped upon Price for attempting to reverse torture porn's tendency towards excess, this is more an exercise in pragmatic avoidance than a revival of the lost art of supernatural suggestion.
Clutching a bloodied hammer, Alastair Kirton returns to his suburban home to cleanse a wound on his forearm. But though he is still initially able to kill in self-defence, he's soon powerless to fight his craving for human flesh and he ventures on to streets where lone motorists are crowbarring the skulls of feeding zombies, muggers are attacking them for their watches and trainers, perverts are keeping them tethered in basements and vigilante gangs are targeting them with a pitiless savagery that's extended to anyone within their own ranks who get bitten in the line of duty.
Since 1998, Raindance Film Festival has continued in its strong support for Japanese filmmaking, with its Way Out East section the largest annual showcase for new Japanese cinema in the United Kingdom, screening at least ten recent features and documentaries annually. The 17th Raindance Festival, held between 30 September – 11 October 2009, this year turns its spotlight on the rising number of women filmmakers in Japan, with a special selection of five features and one shorts program from some of the country’s most exciting talent.
Director Momoko Ando will be in attendance to introduce the World Premiere of her debut feature, A PIECE OF OUR LIFE - KAKERA -. The film, scored by Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, is a touching portrait of a romantic relationship between Haru, a college student whose relationship with her self-centred boyfriend is going nowhere, and Riko, a bisexual medical artist who makes prosthetic body parts. Born in 1982, Ando is the daughter of the acclaimed actor-director Eiji Okuda and the sister of rising starlet Sakura Ando (LOVE EXPOSURE, AIN’T NO TOMORROWS). A former student of the Slade School of Fine Art, her return to London to present her new film promises to be an unforgettable experience.
Also in attendance will be Sachi Hamano, the most prolific female director in Japan with over 400 films to her name, mainly in the genre of the erotic pink film. She will be here to present her 2001 non-pink title LILY FESTIVAL, a comedy drama in which the inhabitants of a residential home for women, aged between 69 and 91, find their passions rekindled when the first man moves in amongst them, a 75-year-old lothario with a charming manner and a colourful past. Hamano will be accompanied by LILY FESTIVAL’s screenwriter Kuninori Yamazaki.
More on the Japanese Films at this year's festival.