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Old September 2nd, 2010, 07:20 PM   #1
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OT: My Dog Tulip a NY Times Critic's Pick

Congratulations to Paul and Sandra Fierlinger -

Movie Review - 'My Dog Tulip' - J. R. Ackerley?s Book Is Adapted and Animated - NYTimes.com

Not only edited in Sony Vegas 8, but a NY Times Critic's Pick, no less.

A quote from the review, but read it in its entirety:

"The film’s hand-drawn animation by the directors Paul and Sandra Fierlinger (they are married) and Mr. Plummer’s understated conversational voice combine to make “My Dog Tulip,” which opens on Wednesday at Film Forum in the South Village, one of the most sophisticated dog movies ever created."

And another article dealing with some of the technical aspects:

Good, Old-Fashioned & Computer Animated IN MOTION
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 07:22 PM   #2
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Paul, you assisted me a couple years ago during the editing of our feature film "Ready? OK!" - it's gratifying to see the success of your film. Dog lovers ourselves, my partner and I look forward to seeing My Dog Tulip in a theatre when it comes to San Diego.
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Old September 10th, 2010, 06:00 AM   #3
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Thanks, Mark. Quite frankly, Sandra and I were not expecting such a favorable response from critics because from the beginning we were aware of the fact that the book itself has always been received with half the readers not caring for it (some actually hating it) and half loving it. We thought the movie would get about the same split in responses.

So why spend three years of your life working on something you expect half the people won't even like? Because someone has to experiment with originality and the way I see it is that independent producers have a responsibility to be the ones to experiment. Hollywood producers with their insane budgets can't afford to take risks. When working with a small budget (ours was 1.3 million) your best bet is to take a risk and it seems that ours paid off, so it seems also to be good practice for indies to take risks.

It turns out that movie reviewers like originality too. Dog lovers like to read or watch anything about dogs. Those two factors should lead to good DVD sales, but again, I wouldn't be surprised if that would turn out not to be the case... and who can even guess why? So there was another reason we went in this direction; it was just enjoyable for us because we spent every day of 3 years observing and drawing dogs. There is not a single horror story for us to tell.
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Old September 10th, 2010, 03:55 PM   #4
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You're welcome Paul. You are an inspiration. We are in pre-production for our third feature film, an all-woman piece set in New York, and dealing with the typical independent film struggles with budget and the like, as it is a risky piece as well. To see you rewarded for your risk and hard work is extremely gratifying.

Tulip opens November 5th at the Ken Cinema here in San Diego, which happens to be walking distance from our home. I look forward to finally seeing it then.
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Last edited by Mark Holmes; September 10th, 2010 at 03:55 PM. Reason: typo
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Old September 10th, 2010, 04:07 PM   #5
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So what happened to your previous two features? How far did you get with them? Through my current experience I find the distribution part the most daunting because so many factors outside of one's control come into play, the strongest one being pure luck.

You can raise money through hard work and make the movie through your own skills and hard work, but distribution is only part perseverance with the most part involving just being at the right place at the right time by pure luck. I don't want to make myself dependent on that paradigm anymore and have worked out a new way of self distribution over the Internet which is probably outside of the realm of this forum for me to get into.
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Old September 10th, 2010, 04:52 PM   #6
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Yes, distribution is absolutely the least enjoyable part of the filmmaking process - but what can you do? The current system seems on the verge of complete breakdown, and nothing that serves the needs of indies has come along to replace it.

We were lucky enough with both of our first films to find distribution during our film festival runs - the first at the end of the run and the second, Ready? OK!, within a few festivals of our 70+ festival run. At least within the LGBT festival circuit, this seems to be pretty common. They both were distributed to DVD and cable, and Ready? OK! is also available online through iTunes and the like. I consider them to be moderately successful, but hope that our next film, which will be accessible to a broader audience, to do even better. We'll see. Independent filmmaking is much closer to playing the horses than a real business model.

I would be curious to hear your take on distribution. Feel free to shoot me an email anytime. I'm at markholmes68@gmail.com
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Old September 11th, 2010, 06:33 AM   #7
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My plan has actually much more to do with editing than I realized, so I'll keep this going; I'd love to hear input of others.

The e-book is becoming the new venue for watching videos, both of the entertaining and educational kind. I intend to cut my shows to match the habits of e-book users, which is to both read and watch. I think of this venue as a book, a magazine and a video screen.

I started my current WIP as just another feature film but after witnessing at first hand the disappearance of distributors from the indie scene, I came to the realization that other traditional venues are disappearing as well; city newspapers, magazines, small theaters, and even cable TV -- all are expected to be gone within the next 3 to 5 years -- about the time it takes me to finish a feature film.

The New York Times on line has been my home for many years now and I marvel at the way this page has been adapting to the new world of information dissemination. They frequently present videos and slide shows and animation, documentary -- all sorts of clips in ever developing formats, and it all works. What these videos have in common is the way they combine live action, animation, still photography and text into one coherent piece.

The way I am adapting my animated feature film for this new world is basically by radically rethinking the delivery formatting of ideas. I've added a lot of text and stills and even cartoon balloons which at times replace voiceovers. My strategy is to make my story comprehensible to a person who is surreptitiously looking at it, bored to tears on an i-Pod in class or a meeting or on the subway or a plane – all places where these devices have to be muted. Then later my story can be watched in the office or home with sound so the story telling has to work both in silent and audio modes.

Very few people, if anyone at all, will have the patience or time or interest to watch this show in one piece for 80 minutes or 2 or 3 hours. And here’s another thing: I am not telling my story to a crowded room but always and only to an audience of one. I realized that my work will be absorbed like a book and that I have to assume the position of a novelist as much as a filmmaker and illustrator and animator. The story telling has to also work in installments, just like novels used to be published in newspapers around the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries. There lies the method of turning my piece into a revenue generator.

What’s both interesting and amusing about this formatting is that there is nothing new to it in principle; it brings back dissemination methods of newspapers of yore and silent films, art galleries and even old time radio plays. It is also a lot of fun to make.
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