A micro-budget winner? Currency shows how it’s done

Brad Rosier is clearly insane.

There are certain ‘rules’ about micro budget films that you will hear repeated by every ‘authority’ on the subject. They are

  1. Limit number of locations
  2. Limit number of characters
  3. Don’t do ‘period pieces’
  4. Limit special effects (VFX)

But, as ‘Currency’ writer/producer/director/editor Rosier points out, there is in fact only 1 rule

Make a good film.

‘Currency’ is Rosier’s first feature. I guess he finished it in 2012 and had some good success – winning 9 awards. (Note to Brad: please put more info on your website!!!) and now – mid December 2014 – the film is available on Amazon and iTunes. I’m trying to find out more about this film because I think it is inspiring and also a good example of how long things can take. Unfortunately

There’s a short interview with him here:

And an press release about the releasing of the film onto these two significant platforms here.

Will you board this Vessel? A new platform takes its first steps

Over at Digiday the kick around some ideas about the yet-to-be-launched video platform Vessel. Vessel is well-funded ($75m from VCs) and well staffed (led by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar).

Their model is interesting – creators but their new content exclusively onto Vessel for a short-ish period of time. Users pay a small monthly subscription fee to get access to that content early. Then, after a few days, everyone will get that content as normal, through the normal channels (YouTube, Vimeo, etc).

It’s an interesting idea.

Vessel is pulling in some top YouTuber content creators by cutting big checks. What this means for smaller creators is unclear. The Digiday article focuses on YouTube’s reaction and that of other big content makers. But for me, YouTube is a platform for smaller creators too… will Vessel and YouTube’s battle squeeze them (us) out?

Time will tell.

Read on….

Big Data – a potential future for indie film revenues?

Over at VentureBeat is an interesting article about melding Big Data into music services – in much the same way that targeted advertising and branded content have been integrated into Instagram (and other) feeds.

Can this also be a source for indie movie makers… beyond what is currently offered by platforms?

It’s an complex issue – and article! – and I haven’t fully got my head around it. But, whenever I see people talking about creative, forwarding thinking ways to generate revenue in other sectors I always wonder… why not film?

Read on! Comment if you have any ideas!

Great tutorial on image composition

Ryan Connolly over at FilmRiot recently recommended this tutorial and it is pretty amazing. In 30 minutes it teaches you pretty much everything you need to know about composing your scenes. It is aimed at 3d/Computer Graphics artists, but, since filmmakers in a sense ARE 3d graphic artists I found everything Andrew Price says in this tutorial spot on.

Andrew breaks down the tutorial into 3 principles – Focal Element (what you are looking at), Structure (where you put it) and Balance (how it fits in with the rest of the scene). Master this – or at least be aware of it – and your images (still, animated, live action video) will be that much more appealing. If I wasn’t so lazy I’d do a matching video with film examples, but, I am lazy.

The Piracy Problem – how the entertainment industry has learned nothing

Good article from TorrentFreak pointing out the obviously – shutting down (perhaps permanently, perhaps not) The Pirate Bay does little except inspire pirates who had become complacent by TPB’s ubiquitousness, to develop new schemes of sharing. This legal action will – already has, in fact – fuel new technologies. Which is kind of cool, even if done for the ‘wrong’ reason.

They also have a great title for the article.

And read the comments – like why this proves the world will never become like Star Trek.

Suffer no illusions – for most of us there is no ‘film business’ any more

It’s pretty grim reading.

Modern cinema icons like Spike Lee, David Lynch, John Waters and more can’t get movies made. As detailed in this somber article from Flavorwire.com, there is no such thing as a mid-budget film any more.

If you think you are going to get into this business and have a career like you imagined your cinema heroes had, you are wrong. Simple as that.

Am I saying don’t try? No. But be aware of the situation out there. And make the most amazing, incredible films you can for the money you can find. Films that appeal to the masses, or a big enough mass, that will get you noticed by studio, press and audience alike.

But it’s going to be tough. For the foreseeable future.

Japan’s new law effectively silences political documentary filmmakers (and others)

Today, Dec 10th 2014, a new law went into effect in Japan. This law (see article below) gives stiff penalties to those deemed to be leaking state secrets and, more terrifyingly, those who request the information!

This will stop the production of any documentaries not just about Japan’s politicians and their corruption but also anything about the fiasco that is the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Any story that might be touched by government action is now in jeopardy as what exactly is considered a ‘state secret’ can be redefined at any time (under the terms of the law).

I am not a political person per se, but even I can see how this could directly impact me. If I start complaining about the lack of tax and government support for the film industry – and seek to dig into it – could even I, a lowly blogger, be in violation of the law? Only time will tell.

It is a dark day for personal freedom in Japan.

Peter Jackson gives hope to us all

Peter Jackson was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 8th, 2014. He is, of course, most famous for his Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

But Jackson’s career hasn’t always been $300m mega pictures.

At Variety they’ve got a good article on Jackson’s career, and it gives hope to all of us starting out small.

For instance…this is the trailer for Jackson’s first film – Bad Taste

Good lord.

And here’s the article about his rise!

Walk of Fame Honoree Peter Jackson Leaped From Micros to Major Hits

Peter Jackson’s unexpected journey to the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Dec. 8 began with an exercise in “Bad Taste.”

Turning no profit into non-profit – interesting idea for the future of indie film

There’s an article over at indiewire that, well, I’m not sure how I feel about!

In this article (see below) filmmaker Nick Toti proposes approaching film as poetry (shudder!) was approached and then theatre – by creating non-profits that can accept donations, and give tax credits, and use that money to fund projects. And Nick is proposing this not for 96 hour art films about the colur mauve, but, for scripted, narrative, films.

It’s an interesting idea.

I am not sure how this would pan out. Would people invest? Doesn’t the average person associate film with stardom and riches? Film is not usually the haunt of the starving artist. It is perceived as a commercial endeavour. It is almost like saying you’d run a software company as a non-profit. Almost. but not quite, which is why I am curious about the idea.

Now, where I live (Japan) creating a non-profit is not quite so simple. They are not used willy-nilly like in America. Also, isn’t there an air of defeat in this? Saying that we can’t make money?

Again… I’m just not sure how I feel about it! But I want to follow up.