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Techniques for Independent Production
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Old April 5th, 2005, 01:24 PM   #1
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Working on new show "Lights, Camera...Action!"

Hey all,

I'm developing a new television show called, "Lights, Camera...Action!". It's anything and everything about "Independent Films and Filmmakers".

The style and format of the show is currently being worked out. I actually shot a pilot in 2002 and now I'm going back and re-visiting it with a fresh perspective. It's going to be 30 min. (instead of the original 60), less sit down interviews and more "on set" footage. Also, I'm going to have a "News" type segment talking about everything happening in Indie news. In addition, I want to do a "Tips and Tricks" segment that talks about various pre/pro/post issues.

Something very cool I plan to do is have a segment called, "The Film Boutique". We'll play a short film (if that's what we've been talking about) - or a feature trailer and some extended scenes.

This time around we're ready to market it locally in New England and also look for cable network distribution nationally. (IFC ideally) We've got goals for the show, but want to keep it simple to start. My #1 goal is to get a few shows in the can.

I've worked on many shows and shot lots of pilots, but I'm always looking to learn new things. This "Techniques for Independent Production" forum is perfect for my questions!

If anyone out there has (in the recent past - maybe 2 years or less) completed or is now in production for a short or feature film and would like to be a "Spotlight" on the show....contact me. Ideally, you've shot "behind the scenes" footage of your film and interviewed cast and crew. I want as much details as possible....I'm talking about everything down to the types of batteries used in your microphones. Yes, I want details! It's the one thing lacking on all the television shows that are similiar to "Lights, Camera...Action!". I want this to be very educational to novices and pros too. Personally, I love details down to even the battery level!

So, contact me if you'd like to be on the show. If you live in the New England area I could come to your film set. I'm producing the show and looks like I'll be the main host. We're looking for guest hosts interested in field work too...visiting sets, film/video/audio production companies etc.

More to come.......Thanks!
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Old April 6th, 2005, 04:53 AM   #2
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I just wanted to say that I really like the idea. Could give a whole
new view on the indie market out there!
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Old April 6th, 2005, 07:54 AM   #3
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Thanks Rob!

I know there are many "Indie" places to get information, but I still haven't seen anything on television that is truly educational. There are a few shows that definately fit the catagory of educational, but they also have A-list actors taking up 70% of the show blowing smoke up the directors ass. Anyone else noticed that? Most of the Hollywood and also Indie shows about the business usually are filled with ass-kissing.

I'll have a little bit of that, but not 70% of the show!
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Old April 6th, 2005, 08:53 AM   #4
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Sounds like something you might see on G4 Tech TV, or maybe Bravo... HintHintHint. Good luck with it.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 06:59 AM   #5
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Thanks Keith!

After I find out the interest from the indie film community I'll know more about where it could go. I'm putting together the overall treatment, style/format and budget for the show now. If no one sends me content (which I'm assuming is what will happen) that means I have to venture out to film sets - that's a large chuck of production cost.

Ideally, I'll contact 100 filmmakers and 10% will reply and actually participate with sending me some content (behind the scenes footage and interviews with cast and crew). If I can get 70% of my content from others than I only have to budget for post production. After getting some money from sponsors I'll budget more for original production shoots.

I'm flying to LA at least once a month, so I can meet with filmmakers out there too. That adds quite a bit of production value right there - having east and west coast footage shot by me.
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Old April 8th, 2005, 07:44 AM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Christopher C. Murphy : Thanks Rob!

I know there are many "Indie" places to get information, but I still haven't seen anything on television that is truly educational. There are a few shows that definately fit the catagory of educational, but they also have A-list actors taking up 70% of the show blowing smoke up the directors ass. Anyone else noticed that? Most of the Hollywood and also Indie shows about the business usually are filled with ass-kissing.

I'll have a little bit of that, but not 70% of the show! -->>>

What shows are you thinking of? (just curious)

I definetly like the concept.
Last year, I did a "tips & tricks" kind of segment for a similar kind internet show called Inside Report.

I like their overall format and approach, but I think they tend to latch on to fan filmmakers too much and have too many interviews with filmmakers where every single one is talking about how they are so different from everyone else. It's a bit ammusing when you see all these interviews back-to-back and realize that they are all exactly the same. :p

Your approach of digging into more practicle issues sounds very appealing. How many film productions did you focus on back in '02 when you shot your pilot. Where are those filmmakers now? A then and now look could be very revealing/interesting.
If your material is limited at the moment, but you have time, one idea might be to get out there and shoot material on many indie projects currently in production, then revisit them in another year or so to see how things are going.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Have fun.
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Old April 8th, 2005, 11:11 AM   #7
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Hi Nick, thanks for the comments. So far, it's been pretty positive on this thread...I was waiting for the negatives and I'm encouraged now!

The original "Lights, Camera...Action!" pilot breakdown:

- I had 5 crew members (including me doing most of the pre-production). There were 2 camera people, 1 producer on-set, 1 PA and myself. But, I was also the main host - so, I was not "crew" during the actual shoot. I did direct everyone between breaks though...it was pretty loose.

- We used 3 PD-150's in DVCAM mode (40 short damn minutes!) and I SCREWED UP! I figured all the camera people I had would set timecode on their own without me having to remind them. We also didn't use a clapper, so the audio and video sync in post was a NIGHTMARE. Live and learn. Usually, when I do multiple camera setups it's in an actually studio setup. This was 3 PD150's in my studio (not an actually studio...it's a production studio with my equipment and desks, a bar and a couch!). So, anyway...I should have made sure we were properly recording the show.

- There were 3 guests on the pilot - a local commercial producer that worked at a commercial television station, a local independent filmmaker (director/producer) from the Boston area and I also had the Director of the New Hampshire Film Commission.

- We did sit down interviews with all 3 at my bar (nice wood bar, warm and fuzzy). Also, we had a "round table" discussion where everyone talked about the latest in television and film. This went very well...my questions were broad and also very specific. The Iraq war coverage came up and we also talked about the "trials and tribulations" of their productions. The Film Commission guy was also an actor and director previously.

- The post production was mostly me, but I had a student of mine do a rough cut. I'm glad I did because it took a month to sync the footage...lol.

- I did really simple opens and closes, bumps and teases for the show. It was mostly black background with white text...simple, but professional. (IMHO) The music was mine from when I was in a rock band - I own the songs, so it was easy to use.

Afterwards, I had the show play on a couple public access stations and people seemed to like it. It was a time thing - but, now I have time.

The NEW and improved "Lights, Camera...Action!" will be broken down into segments a little differently. I'm working on it now. There won't be so many interviews that run on and on.
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Old April 8th, 2005, 01:26 PM   #8
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"- There were 3 guests on the pilot - a local commercial producer that worked at a commercial television station, a local independent filmmaker (director/producer) from the Boston area and I also had the Director of the New Hampshire Film Commission. "

Sounds like a potentially interesting panel, but the rest of the infromation you provided really doesn't say anything about the show, only how it was put together. Also, as far as pilots go, this sounds like a very different scenario vs your description of having a lot of on-set coverage, etc.

What were the specific topics discussed by your guests?
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Old April 8th, 2005, 04:05 PM   #9
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Yeah, it was pretty much talking heads. The pilot was meant to see how much time it would take to get everything.

I can upload the show so you can check it out - it'll be sized way down, but you can see and hear everything. It'll be almost 2 gigs in size though...got broadband? It's obviously not the most exciting show! But hey...there is so much crap online to download anyway. At least this is film/television related!
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Old April 9th, 2005, 07:21 AM   #10
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I don't know if I'm what you're looking for, but I'm about a week away from completing my first feature film, RAP QUEST. Unfortunately, I did zilch when it came to documenting the making of my movie (I did 80% of everything by myself, so production stills were the last thing on my mind...unfortunately.) I have no behind the scenes video footage or production stills to show for it. But I do remember the batteries I used in my mics, ENERGIZERS!
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Old April 9th, 2005, 07:47 AM   #11
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Hmm, it's a little hard to "spotlight" a film with no materials!

Do you have a trailer that's "PG"? (don't want to deal with content issues on my end - it just needs to be accessable to the entire public)

I was thinking of doing a segment about films seeking distribution. We'd play your trailer and say, "Wanna see this film at a theater near you? Speak with your dollars and support Independent Film!"

Something like that...not exactly sure yet. We could have a full screen graphic after your trailer telling people where to buy it (or rent it?).

If you have a trailer - I'd prefer it already digitized in DV NTSC quality with 10 seconds of black on both ends. If you upload it somewhere I can download it...or send me a data DVD. (Quicktime format preferred) If you don't have an FTP site anywhere I can open one up, but it's easier for me to just download it from a link. So, yeah...just the trailer and ALL contact information and anything else prudent to your film. Maybe we can do a short intro to it - "This film was recently completed by...etc etc." and then launch into your trailer.

Now that I'v written this out here...it seems like a very good idea to me! I like the "Support Independent Film" thing and a trailer aspect is perfect for me. I don't have to do any work! That's my goal for this show..to have it produce itself as much as possible by getting some content already produced. (trailers etc.)
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Old April 9th, 2005, 09:47 AM   #12
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I hear you....not having on the scene photos and videos pretty much cancels me out from your project. As for the trailer, I don't have one yet. I was actually thinking of releasing the first 20minutes of my movie over the net, instead of a trailer. Why? Because my feelings are mixed about trailers. Trailers are very deceptive, and I think a lot of people kind of know this in the back of their minds (just a theory I have.) But, if it can promote my movie, I'm all for it. I just don't know when I'm going to get around to it....I still have to finish the movie. I'll let you know. Glad to get you thinking of new ideas for your project, though. Good luck!
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Old April 9th, 2005, 04:53 PM   #13
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It's all good Glenn. If I had known a little earlier about putting together the show I'd have come down and visit you on-set. I'm not far from Jersey..

Keep in touch regarding your film!
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