How To: Identify Your Shooting Style

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King of BGuest Blogger: Lamont Jack Pearley

How To: Identify Your Shooting Style

For a good fraction of us, we as independent filmmakers can identify our shooting style early, do to the fact that we “write it, shoot it, and work it” ourselves in many cases. That being said, with full creative control and a very small budget, your thought process should be: how could I tell a compelling visual story with little to know resources… well I’ll tell you. I’ll start with giving you an example of how I shot my independent film KING OF B. There is a scene where my main character has an altercation with Harrison Ford and I don’t know Harrison Ford, nor can I afford Harrison Ford. So my dilemma was, how do I shoot a scene with someone who I don’t have access to and have it play out reasonably enough? Okay, if you’re a true filmmaker you know that production is really nothing more than problem solving, quick problem solving, thinking on your feet, thinking on your glutes, not allowing a situation to disrupt the creation of the project and finding ways out of problems that go beyond dumping money into them.

King of BSo I had to think fast, I had to be creative or I could lose my audience.  Then it came to me, my movie is a fictional dark comedy about the fictional Kevin Schmitz, an aspiring actor, who takes his craft seriously and believes he is his idol Kurt Russell. Losing all sense of reality, Kevin ends up in a psychiatric facility. In this facility it’s discovered that Kevin has Grandiose Delusional Disorder.  Since this is a dark comedy, I made the decision to have my character look directly into the camera and have it out with Harrison Ford, from Ford’s point of view.  To do something like this more than once is either a mistake or poor compensation for not having a budget. We don’t make mistakes and we don’t compensate, we create. Now I had to re-think the rest of my film visually. I made that the story style of my film. All the players pretty much had moments where they spoke directly into the camera. This made it a style, a good style that served the story and the characters.

King of BKeep one thing in mind, no matter what you do visually, the basic is and always will be telling a good story, but if you need to alter how you tell the story based on a lack of funding or support from certain individuals (like crew with gear or A-list actors), this can be extremely fun and you can find a shooting technique that you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

Contributed exclusively for Film Anthropology by LAMONT JACK PEARLEY | Filmmaker

King of B

Manhattan Film Festival Submission Testimonials

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mffavatarThe Manhattan Film Festival has released a video of filmmaker testimonials, featuring selected filmmakers from the 2012 season. Included are: Phil Nelson (Festival Director), Eric Norcross (Caroline of Virginia), Mark Blackman (Welcome to Harlem), Kristina Harris (Diminished Chords), Erik Peter Carlson (Transatlantic Coffee) and Chloe Elaine Sharf (Nora).

The video was produced to build support among the independent filmmaking community in the hopes of discovering works that would otherwise not be submitted to the festival. MFF’s regular deadline ends February 25th, 2013 so filmmakers have time. The late deadline is March 18th and WithoutABox users can submit up until April 8th.  For more information visit MFF’s website at: http://www.ManhattanFilmFestival.org and find them on Facebook & Twitter.

Direct Link URL: http://youtu.be/3Hv-dsVutFY

Teen Titans Fan Film

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teentitans1Film Anthropology had a chance to talk with Omer Ben-Zvi about a Teen Titans fan film he and his friends are producing. Currently they’re in the fund raising process via Kickstarter and while we don’t normally back Kickstarter projects, we rather liked the idea and thought we’d give them some face time. We sent over some questions for Omer to answer, with the help of the Teen Titans crew, so we could throw this up to our readership. If it appeals to you, they have a long ways to go in 18 days to make their funding. Check it out:
FA: What is Teen Titans for those who have never heard of them?
OMER: The Teen Titans are a team of teenage superheroes based off of characters in DC Comics, including Robin (from Batman and Robin), Superboy and Wondergirl.
FA: What is the project you’re raising funds for have to do with Teen Titans?
OMER: The project that I’m composing music for is a live action fan-film/web series based off of the characters from the Teen Titans.
teentitans3FA: Why Teen Titans? Why put all this effort to creating a fan film about this specifically?
OMER: Besides the fact that we are all superhero geeks on the team, the reason why Teen Titans was chosen for this fan-film is because it has never been adapted into a fan-film or any sort of live action film in the past. Our director Chelton Perry wanted to create something that has not already been done in the past.
On my end, I’m interested in working on this project because I am a huge fan of superhero film music. I have always wanted the opportunity to create a heroic superhero theme and build a score based off of it. There are also character themes which will be used in the project which can be found on our director’s youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpYPtf_Vb6iCUHHCHq0Kb5Q
FA: Where will the finances go?
OMER: All of the money which we are currently trying to raise goes solely to production, and nobody on the team will be profiting from it. Most of the money will go towards renting equipment such as lighting and cameras, and the rest will be for miscellaneous equipment, food on the set, and the Batmobile which is going to be built.
FA: Tell me about the previous work that both you and your producing partners have done (provide links if available).
OMER: The works which I have done in the past can be found on my website: omer.ben-zvi.com.
OMER:. We are using Kickstarter to raise money for the project. People interested in contributing should go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/teentitansproject/teen-titans-project-a-fan-film
The site contains all of the information necessary to know for those who are interested in learning about it.
FA: Who can people reach out to if they want to learn more?
OMER: We have a Facebook page where people can post any questions they have about the project: http://youtu.be/UIbR9JFXsj0
Besides that, all of the information about this project can be found on our Kickstarter.
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Lipstick Lies | Philip K. Dick Sci-Fi Film Festival Photos

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pkd2Last night LIPSTICK LIES screened with the PHILIP K DICK SCIENCE FICTION FILM FESTIVAL at IndieScreen in New York City and Film Anthropology was there to support the filmmakers. Here is a link to some of the photos from the screening, including movie director Eric Norcross with the film cast: Samantha Rivers Cole, Gerard Adimando and Bill Woods among other attendees including Manhattan Film Festival Director Phil Nelson and actor Dan Shor (Tron, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure).  All showed up for the PKD exhibition of this film.

Direct Link URL to Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/norcrossmedia/sets/72157632214894945/

 

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Future of Film Photos

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Here is a link to a Flickr set with the photos we took while at the FUTURE OF FILM SUMMIT in Beverly Hills last week. The photos were taken throughout the day to provide a broad perspective of what went on throughout the day at Sofitel.

The event was put on by Digital Media Wire and Variety and sponosored by a number of organizations (including Film Anthropology).

Direct Link URL to the Flickr Set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/norcrossmedia/sets/72157632220102662/

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Future of Film Summit Recap

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The 2012 Future of Film Summit in Beverly Hills was a busy, informative series of panel discussions that didn’t fail any of the attendees. Many Los Angelenos mixed well with filmmakers from all over the United States, including representatives of production companies in San Francisco, Chicago, Arkansas, New England, New York (yours truly) and a few international producers, specifically from France and Great Britain.

As expected, the most attended event of the day was the keynote discussion with Ralph Garman and Kevin Smith. The discussion revolved around Smith’s experience going from an indie filmmaker to a full fledged highly recognized Hollywood Director. Smith was honest in talking with the crowd about his “Cindarella story” and how the way he was discovered and handed a career is no longer an option for new filmmakers because they have to work harder for the recognition. Smith went on to make some poignant quotes, which we’ve not failed to
tweet and retweet, among our favorite is: “the audience will always take you further than someone in a position of power”.  You can read more on FA’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

-Eric M. Norcross
Via cellphone from Hollywood, California

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Follow Us December 5th | Future of Film 2012

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Hey everyone,

This is a friendly reminder to follow our activity on December 5th (this Wednesday) as we’ll be Tweeting, Facebooking and Blogging the topics of the day, live from the FUTURE OF FILM SUMMIT in Beverly Hills, California.  Trending topics will be marked with the hashtag #futurefilm.

This is relevant to all filmmakers whether you work in Hollywood or on the Indie Scene | the Future of Film affects all of us. The annual event is hosted/produced by Variety and Digital Media Wire.

-E

The Digital Era

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Internet_map_1024Guest Blogger: Lamont Jack Pearley

FILMMAKER TUTORIALS: The Digital Era

If you haven’t heard already, a new way of film making has emerged. Where at one time, the power was divided between the big five and those blessed with wealth, now a great deal of that power finally lies in the hands and visions of the filmmaker, which places him or her in more of an Entrepreneurial role, able to compete with people they previously stood little to no chance at competing with. Using the basic essentials, which are a great story, understanding how to tell that story visually, a few ready willing and able crew members, an HD camera, and Final Cut Pro or whatever video editing program you prefer, she is literally in business and it’s time to go into production.

So what do you do with your film after it’s shot?  Remember, most indie filmmakers’ only option used to be the film festival circuit, but now, to the new generation of filmmakers, options are completely limitless. There is everything from straight to DVD, to Movie On Demand, to self-distribution on the Internet proving once again, the digital era plays a big roll in the generation of new filmmakers.  Digital video, as young as it is, has already been replaced with things such as the eight gig chip, via cameras such as the Canon 7D which takes professional still pictures and shoots professional grade HD video on a sensor similar in size to a 35mm frame of film. No more losing tapes, or carrying ten extra bags during a long shoot, just a camera, tripod, a couple of lenses and a laptop. Now the topic of discussion is: will this digital era put a dent in the film industry the way the internet brought down the music business? Though that’s still out for the jury, in a time where most people’s attention span is under 5 minutes  and everyone wants more control over their free time, the digital era makes life much more convenient for the creative and the consumers alike.

Written By Lamont Jack Pearley for Film Anthropology

— EDITOR’S NOTE —

Film Anthropology editors will be attending the FUTURE OF FILM SUMMIT in Los Angeles on December 5th, where this topic and many other discussions relating to the future of film will take place. Check back to Film Anthropology for live updates on these and other topics.

From The Pen Of: Alexander Jacobs

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The_Seven-Ups_1973In the forth installation of the ongoing series  designed to spotlight that “brutally neglected” figure “most often forgotten” in the film making process, the screenwriter, the Anthology Film Archives recently screened films penned by the late Alexander Jacobs. Last night they screened HELL IN THE PACIFIC, THE SEVEN-UPS and FRENCH CONNECTION II. Last night, NYPD Detective turned actor, turned author, Randy Jurgensen was there to introduce the film THE SEVEN-UPS and participated in a question/answer session afterward.

THE SEVEN-UPS is a feature length thriller from 1973 starring Roy Scheider and directed by Philip D’Antoni. Buddy Manucci (Scheider) is a police Detective who has been getting reprimands from his superiors in the NYPD because his team of policemen, known as The Seven-Ups, has been using unorthodox methods to capture criminals; this is made clear in the opening of the film as the gang of cops destroy an antiques store that is a front for the running of counterfeit money. The name “Seven-Ups” comes from the fact that most of the convictions done by the team heralds jail sentences to criminals from Seven years and Up.

In his introduction to the film, Randy Jurgenson talked about some of this experiences working on the film as well as his experiences working on the original FRENCH CONNECTION.  Mr. Jurgensen was one of the detectives on the real life French Connection case and is one of the men who figured out that heroine was being smuggled into New  York and New Jersey through Marseille.  Mr. Jurgensen made it a point to talk about the film’s famous car chase scene. Back when the film was made, every cop thriller had to have a car chase. It was the hip thing to do. He talks about how the chase in this film was created “real to reel”, meaning there isn’t anything in the sequence that’s fake, apart from creating intensity with the editing. What we see is what they filmed. The chase takes the audience from Hell’s Kitchen/Midtown West, up the Upper West Side, crisscrossing the streets from one avenue to the other as cops and bad guys make their way uptown to Morningside Heights and then West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, we laugh as the the bad guy’s car plows through a haphazardly built police barricade and enters the on-ramp that leads the chase further onto the George Washington Bridge and we are in awe as the chase continues onto Interstate 95 through Fort Lee, New Jersey. Quite remarkable actually, because there’s no way in hell this could ever be done today. Many producers, yielding millions of dollars to the city, have tried but to no avail. What we see in THE SEVEN-UPS is not only history, but something you will not ever see again in New York City.

Serpico CardsLike many NYC made films from that era, New York City was the star of the show. It was clear that the filmmakers made a conscious effort to keep the camera outdoors as much as possible.  I enjoyed seeing some of the old neighborhoods – areas of Manhattan I have lived or worked in these past few years, as they used to be.  It’s quite grounding to see them in such dilapidated, under-developed states.  Anthology screened the film with a crisp 35mm print, that was in such good condition one would think the film was just finished yesterday. You wouldn’t think several decades had gone by.  This helped enormously in trying to figure out which neighborhood the actors were in, because imagery of building facades were projected onto the screen with such detail and street names that would usually be blurred on a DVD came out crystal clear. The format in and of itself was key in making it clear that this was REAL.

The film screened as part of Anthology’s FROM THE PEN film series, which puts an emphasis on the screenwriter. Today they are screening films penned by Waldo Salt, including MIDNIGHT COWBOY, SERPICO and COMING HOME all in 35mm format so if you’re interested in viewing these films how they were meant to be, stop by 32 Second Avenue this afternoon and give them a gander.

For screening schedule visit: http://anthologyfilmarchives.org/

-Eric Norcross