Cool SF on no(low) budget? Yes, it’s possible!

Over at they’ve got a tip of the hat to the guys at Hive Division, an indie production house in a tiny town in Northern Italy! Yes, I want to live and work there! ­čÖé

Anyway, the guys at Hive created this rather awesome 12 minute Sci-Fi short on no/low budget and it looks friggin amazing! It shows that if you know your way around VFX yourself you can get amazing value for money.

On the page is the short film as well as a (all too short!) look at the making of.


More about the power of film and images.. Before They Pass Away

Funny how the internet has a connected…web. Just after writing the last piece about the amazing ‘Tibet Film Archive‘ I stumble across this guy.

Jimmy Nelson has to be the coolest photographer on the planet. I want his life. Jimmy seems to travel to the remotest parts of the planet and shoots the most beautiful pictures of the people who calls these places home.

He has an amazing book of his photography. I hope to god there is also a documentary in the works.

Again, if you are looking to support someone who is using the art form of photography and film then this is another worthy project.

The Lost Films of Tibet

Sometimes I have to remember that film is more than entertainment. In some cases it is an important historical document.

Out of New York City comes an interesting story. Tenzin Phuntsog found a box of 16 films and started, with his own money, the Tibet Film Archive. His mission is to preserve these, and other, rare images of Tibet and also to try to get these images to the people who need them most: the current generation of Tibetans who have only known life under Chinese rule.

It’s a noble pursuit, and in itself makes fascinating reading and watching! If this is your kind of thing, and you are looking for something film-related to support, you could do worse than this!

Because suing people always stops piracy. Not.

There is something unusual in this story from Philippines new source

The story is about the Philippines-based TV company ABS-CBN and a lawsuit to stop piracy. That, in itself, sadly, is not so unusual. The same network “successfully” ┬ásued someone earlier this year, winning a $10 million reward.

The strange thing, for me, is that these lawsuits are being filed in America, and are often against Americans. This despite the fact that the situation that drove this latest lawsuit was a raid in Australia.

First – really, are there so many people in the world who want to watch Filipino┬áTV?! And second, do Americans, or many other people for that matter, have legitimate access to Filipino┬áTV shows?

At the heart of this, of course, is money. ABS-CBN claims that the dozen or so website who were doing this piracy were depriving them of income, or, misusing copyrighted materials. Why does ABS-CBN not set up a site of their own where people can download the shows for free? Because either a) they don’t have the rights to do so (which points to a glaring lag in their contracts given the 21st century media distribution conditions) or, they want to charge more money.

So, the money the pirates are making is not enough for the network, but its enough for the pirates.

This is a kind of idiocy, or at best, lunacy.

Maybe (?!) I am an naive idealist, but, all this lawsuit could possibly do is this:

  • shut down some websites
  • cause the content to move to other websites
  • at best inconvenience people by removing their tv shows for a little while

Even if they did stem the tide of those shows they are in fact cutting their own noses off – once people have turned away from a tv show they won’t go back (ask someone who used to watch soap operas and then stopped or changed). These companies seem to think that viewers are loyal (which they are not except in very rare cases) and even worse, are loyal to a production company!

These people will either find other Filipino TV shows or just watch other shows.

Recently a popular website that offered pirated Japanese TV has shut down its service. The majority of its users were from Japan. They used the service not because of the money (most of the shows you can get for free on broadcast TV) but because there was no easy way to download shows to watch on laptops or mobile devices!

Will this drive the TV Networks to offer such a service? No. They have ‘won’ against this pirate and consider it job done.

Companies will never learn.

We need a new distribution model.

Rant over.

We now resume normal programming (ha ha!).

And here’s the article.

Lynch Lessons

I’m a big fan of David Lynch. He is a true artist, intent on bringing his ideas, in his vision, to the screen. I also love that he once said “if you have to have two people talking in a room, at least put a deer┬áhead on the table”

Over at they’ve got 10 lessons (I’m so glad they didn’t say tips. Lynch is not about ‘tips’!) from Lynch about what it takes – and what it means – to be a filmmaker.


Tips on producing a good short film

There’s an article on from Richard C. Bailey about things he learned making his short film ‘Cleave’. It boils down to 1 thing really – find good people and let them do their thing.

Richard breaks it down a little more than that, but that’s the jist.

My only issue, and ok I’m in a bit of cynical mood today, is that Richard titles his piece “The 5 (or maybe 1) things you MUST know before making your first GOOD indie film”.

In truth, we don’t KNOW if Richard’s film is any good. Of course he says it is. I’ve never met a director who says ‘oh, I’ve just made the biggest piece of crap’. Though you learn MORE from the crap than the good, it’s nice to make good. I hope for Richard’s sake the film IS good, but, it’s a bit early in the day to start writing articles with a title like that as it might come back to bite you in the butt.

Now, Richard might also be defining ‘good’ in a different context. Not artistically, but, practically. He got through the shoot. They got all the shots (though in the trailer I have issues with the lighting!). ┬áIn that sense the film shoot was ‘successful’, though perhaps using a word like ‘good’ is not the best thing.

Anyway… please don’t listen to me. I HAVE made crap films. A lot of them. I can’t seem to STOP making crap, though I learn every step of the way.

Oh yes… here’s Richard’s article:

Things to consider before clicking ‘submit’ to a film festival

Over on indiewire is a flawed (in my opinion) article about things to remember before submitting to festivals.

The bulk of the article is spot on and offers great advice. But, at the opening is something I disagree with: Master the Short film first.

This is just plain bad advice. Short films are a good technical training ground, but apart from the technical aspects they don’t teach you anything about writing or structuring a good feature. Do NOT stop making your feature to do shorts first.

That’s my opinion.

Anyway, the rest of the article is very good!

Director, meet DP. DP, meet Director

Over on the FilmCameraCourse blog they’ve got an article that helps two key creative people – the Director and the DP – understand each other’s perspective.

The DP handles the technical aspects of the shooting the film, the director the ‘creative’ aspects (ok, it’s not that cut and dried, but you get the idea). But, because of the whole left-brain, right-brain thing that the great creator saddled us with, sometimes these two prime movers of a movie have a gap of understanding.

The article gives 6 handy tips that each should remember when dealing with the other.

Now, if you are BOTH a DP and Director then I guess you have to remember these things when talking to yourself.

Old and New Media… finally happy together?

It’s a May-December romance that might just work. Old school content creators (read: tv networks) are finally figuring out how to incorporate new media ‘stars’.

Over at the LA Times they discuss the transition – from Viacom’s massive lawsuit against YouTube in 2007 to having YouTube stars guest on their shows.

A fascinating transition, as the bumpy times for online media might be quieting down.