August 21, 2011
NYC Shooter / Editor
The beautiful thing about living in NYC is that with enough persistence you don’t need a day job while pursuing work as a film shooter or editor. The work is out there it’s just a matter of having a good work reel to not only showcase your skills, but your dedication to the art. No one wants to hire a nickel and dime phony whose only out to make money. You will not sustain returning clients that way.
I arrived in September of 2003 without this knowledge or belief that someone could just “jump” into it. While pursuing “on the side” video work, I also worked retail. Back in Maine, very few people can actually make a living producing films and video because it’s just not a field that exists up there. Not on a massive scale anyway. Some of the more successful visual/audio producers made their name away and then moved their operation to New England after acquiring a dedicated client list. Not that I intend to ever go back, but if you ever want to make a living in your hometown, it may be worth venturing to NYC first.
When I finally quit and left the horrific world of retail once and for all, I was surprised by how many more people were willing to hire me when I told them that I was producing media “full time“. It seemed to change their perception of me and allow them freedom to trust the services that I had been offering. I’ve now been doing it full time for several years now.
Another aspect of being a full time shoot, editor, producer or what have you is to avoid nickel and diming your clients. Freelancers, especially in NYC, are very skilled at getting blown off by potential clients because they have way too high expectations for compensation and will resort to games to ensure those expectations are met. Many don’t want to have to work on gig after another. They want to maybe do one or two gigs a month and have that be sufficient. I never subscribed to that mentality… I believe in work. Call me crazy, but what’s the point of sitting around all day?
August 15, 2011
Caroline of Virginia Screening – This Thursday
Come to the Tribeca Grand for a screening of Caroline of Virginia. Caroline of Virginia is my latest film, completed just under a month ago. We premiered a pre-mix on July 4th at the New Filmmakers New York Shorts Series at Summer Fest. On the 29th of July we screened in Maine to a sold out audience and this coming Thursday (the 18th of August) we’re screening at the Tribeca Grand Hotel Screening Room in lower Manhattan. This will be the third screening for the movie, which is a big deal. I can’t go into the significance of that right now, but will eventually when the time comes.
Screening also includes three other short films by other filmmakers.
Chip by Arhtur Tabuteau
2 Shorts: Monkey Love & Hula Hoop Love by Dongchan Lee
$10 is the price for the evening, it buys you access to all four movies, Chip, Caroline of Virginia, Monkey Love and Hula Hoop Love – plus if people really dig what they see we can play them again. Proceeds donated to Healing the Children Northeast and funds the After Set Indie Film Program.
Check in time is at 7PM.
1 Train to Franklin – all others Canal.
Caroline of Virginia is the story of a deaf woman, who befriends a musician. She wakes up the next morning with the ability to hear. At first this comes as a blessing, but she quickly realizes it’s at the expense of the musician. This fairy tale shows what she chooses to do with the limited number of days that she has to hear. It’s a film about appreciating what you have.
August 11, 2011
Did you see A Home For Brownie?
This week I released a video called A Home For Brownie – under the Norcross Media Experimental Films name. A Home For Brownie is a children’s story written by Jan Major and illustrated by Madelyn Germosen. It is a wonderful story about a pit bull puppy who can’t find a home because of people’s pre-conceived (and false) ideas on the breed. A daring rescue group makes every effort to place Brownie, only to have door after door shut in the their face. Does Brownie find a home? Check it out here, it’s about five minutes and change.
Also connect with the Facebook Page if you all get a chance: http://www.facebook.com/ahomeforbrownie
Thanks all and have a fantastic weekend!
August 09, 2011
Endings – Be Careful How You Close Your Story
It’s funny, whenever I talk to a fellow filmmaker or writer about the endings of their movies or books, I’m always astonished. The conversation usually develops into a personal expose’ on their difficulty at figuring out what their endings should be. Most of my peers have trouble wrapping up their stories (take a few who understand story structure and so forth). Two weeks ago while I was conducting a Q&A at a screening in Maine, the seed was planted to start formulating a blog about movie endings. Someone asked how/why I came up with the ending I did for Caroline of Virginia. This in itself illustrated something that I’ve known, but haven’t really thought too much about: people know how to be entertained by movies, they know how to follow plot and character struggles – but most people don’t know how to watch movies in that they don’t think to take certain things into consideration.
Movie endings that work, work because the filmmaker has stuck to the reality that he or she has established in the world that the story is set and in the characters that inhabit that world. Think about the ending of American Beauty… if you’re reading this, I assume you’ve seen in, otherwise stop reading and GO SEE IT. At the end, Kevin Spacey is shot, not by his wife whom the director hints will be the murderer, but by the neighbor, whom we didn’t see entering the house, but exiting after the sound of the gun shot occurred. Some of my peers in film school were upset by this, it didn’t make sense to THEM why the writer would have done this. But the writer already presented us, the viewers, an explanation as to why and how the neighbor was the killer. The reasoning is that he’s the only character in the entire film capable of killing anyone. Sure, the wife had a lot of loose nuts and bolts, but she wasn’t a killer. The neighbor on the other hand was a trained killer, a military man with some notches on his bat and pent up anger unlike any other character in the movie. The writer established early on that he was capable of it and followed through – he stuck to the reality he created and therefore the ending is PERFECT.
How about a more fun example? Let’s talk about Robocop. Awesome movie, crazy sci-fi crossed with gratuitous violence. You can’t go wrong! From a dialog and plot standpoint, the writing is pretty straight forward and at times a little too Hollywood, but the genius lies in the core of the story and in the ending. The core of the story is the idea that an android was once human, and tries desperately to reconnect with his human side – or the small bit of human that is still left within him. If you can accept this as the true core of the movie, then the ending once again becomes a stroke of genius when the President of the company asks Robocop for his name and he replies “Murphjy”. BOOM! Character arc complete, search finished, the important issue resolved. Cut to credits because let’s face it – you can’t end on a higher note than that!
So why did I choose the ending I did for Caroline of Virginia? Well, watch the movie and tell me…
August 05, 2011
Appreciation vs. Liking & Disliking
Hey all, I just wanted to whip off this quote note about appreciation. Appreciation is a word that has lost its meaning, its value and integrity. To appreciate something does not mean that you have to love it, like it, dislike it or hate it – it just means you acknowledge the existence of this “something” and understand its place in the world. I do not like a lot of movies, but I appreciate them. I do not like a lot of music, but I appreciate all music. I do not read every book that interests me, but I appreciate that it is available for me if the desire should arise. Catch my drift?
Appreciating what you have and don’t have is vital in finding happiness in life. I appreciate what I have and I appreciate what I don’t have. I appreciate what I want and what I don’t want. Appreciation is key. Appreciation, in its most sincere form, will affect your work as a filmmaker, as a writer, as an artist and a storyteller. In my film Caroline of Virginia, the Musician, played by Michael Scott Ross, says that ‘all he ever wanted, was someone to truly appreciate his music’. He doesn’t say that he wanted someone to like his music, or love it, but to appreciate it. Truly. He knew that he could get that with someone who has never heard music before in their life, in this case, a deaf woman named Caroline.
Just something I’ve been thinking about this week…
August 02, 2011
Spend the Evening with Us on August 18th
On August 18th, Caroline of Virginia will screen at the Tribeca Grand Hotel Screening Room with indie film “Chips” by filmmaker Arthur Tabuteau and two shorts by filmmaker Dongchan Lee, “Monkey Love” and “Hula Hoop Love”. I have not seen these films but I’m looking forward to it, and I look forward to having a wonderful evening. The order of things on the evening of the 18th will started with Chips, which is about 23 minutes, then our film Caroline of Virginia, then the two shorts at the end (each I believe is about 10 minutes).
Tickets for the evening is $10 per person and 10% of the proceeds will be donated to Healing the Children Northeast, the remaining funds will go to funding the After Set Film Program.
For more info as it developes, please connect with the COV Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/carolineofvirginia
August 01, 2011
So we had a wonderful screening in Maine on Friday night (the 29th of July) in my hometown of Long Island. That’s right, Long Island, Maine – not New York. Although I wouldn’t mind screening in Long Island, New York at some point (hello Hampton Film Festival? – reach out to me gosh darn it!).
The projection was very clear, the sound was pristine and the audience reacted well within my expectations and some people beyond my expectations. It was a mix of people I knew, know or didn’t know altogether. Some folks I was surprised to see show up and support the film and others I was surprised by their lack of presence. You learn a lot about people when it comes time for them to take action and you realize very quickly who truly matters in your life.
The Q&A was my favorite part of the night because the questions I was fielding were excellent, well thought out and came from people who, very clearly, truly appreciated what they had just watched unfold on the big screen. LI, ME was only COV’s second screening and was a major success by all counts. We even ran out of seats! The room could only sit 25, the head count was 36 – some folks stood in the back the entire duration of the film. I appreciated that, because I know they wouldn’t have if they didn’t truly enjoy the experience.
The next and third screening of the film will be here in New York City at the Tribeca Grand Hotel Screening Room on August 18th at 7PM. We’re showing with a few other movies. We’re the second movie. A series of 5-10 minute shorts will close the evening. I look forward to seeing many of you there.