STOP WAITING FOR RED TO DEMOCRATIZE FILMMAKING… IT’S ALREADY HAPPENED

Everyone is up in arms these days over the announcement of RED not targeting the prosumer crowd and the Scarlet being more expensive. I think we all need to take a step back here and realize what’s going on.

First off, what RED has done so far is amazing. The RED ONE simply is an amazing camera and at an even more amazing price. We all had hopes that the Scarlet would be THE camera to democratize filmmaking so any teenage kid with a rich daddy or someone saving their hard earned pennies could afford a tool that is truly (for pixel peepers) on par with Hollywood equipment. Stop right there, it was a nice fantasy…

See, there’s a reason equipment costs so much. RED, even with the price increase, seems like they’re not even charging for the R&D of their products. Cameras like this usually cost at least $60K. I mean, a camera that records RAW, 5K (or even 3K), and a 2/3″ sensor. Name one camera that does that for under $10K let alone for under $60K. In fact, is there even another camera out there that records 3K or 5K that we can afford without selling our house and our first born? We should STILL, even at this price point, be grateful RED is even letting us have this equipment for that price. It really is a gift.

Look, I’m not a RED fanboy, as I’ve frankly grown sick of hearing people talk about what they’re working on. That’s not to say that I hate the company, because I don’t – they’re doing amazing things. What I’m saying is that I’m sick of hearing people talk about buying a camera that isn’t finalized when they don’t even have a script to shoot yet. For me, I’ll worry about the camera after it ships.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be mad. If anything, maybe you should be mad that RED said something but didn’t “deliver” but then again, they ALWAYS had the disclaimer, “Things are subject to change. Count on it.”

Guys, filmmaking has been democratized basically since the DVX or before that. DVX films won best film and best cinematography awards at numerous prestigious film festivals around the country. Those who couldn’t afford to buy the DVX could always rent one. Nowadays, we have cameras like the T2i that can do 24p, basically 35mm sensor size, all for about $800. $800. Someone in highschool can afford that on a part time job if they were willing to save their money for a few months. It’s not the camera holding you back anymore, it’s you or your script.

Don’t worry about the compression, etc, on an HDSLR or other decent cams because if you learn to shoot correctly with your tool, your audience is most likely not going to notice or even care. Put your energy into making a good movie.

Over the summer, I shot a commercial with a total budget of $30K. I could have bought a RED with that money, but I didn’t. I couldn’t justify spending that money because most likely, it may never get paid back. As a business owner, I need my equipment to pay for itself rather quickly in order to profit. What’s my point? My point is…

We all want our backyard videos to look as good as possible, but don’t be mad at RED because you can no longer afford the Scarlet. Use what you can afford because most likely, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, if you can’t afford to use a certain piece of equipment on set, then most likely you/your project doesn’t need it.

Stop waiting for RED to democratize filmmaking. That’s an excuse to not film something. Look at the tools we have now. It has already happened. Now stop waiting, go out there, and create something because the filmmaking world is moving ahead without you… and you don’t want to be left behind.

Speaking of creating… here’s my latest short film (end shameless plug)

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SCARLET YAY! UNTIL THEN, KEEP MAKING MOVIES!

RED SCARLET ANNOUNCEMENT – NOV 30th

Ok, so RED has finally made an announcement about the 2/3″ Scarlet system and the s35 Scarlet. There are plenty of reason we should be excited, and plenty of reasons why you SHOULD NOT WAIT to shoot your film. I can’t decide for you, nor should I. Only you know what you need. Only you can decide. I can only talk about what works for me.

EXCITED I AM

Guys, we’re getting REDCODE 100 for $4750 (fixed lens) or $2750 (maybe more like $6000+ with all the “extras” you need in order to shoot properly) for a fraction of the price of what a true digital cinema camera typically costs. If you have worked with RED footage, you know that the RAW format is awesome for color correction. It would be great to have this accessible to us on a cheap Scarlet.

I don’t want to hear people complaining about the 2/3″ imager. People in Hollywood, even Oscar winners, have been shooting on 2/3″ systems since the beginning of this (soon to be last) decade. You can still achieve shallow depth of field with these systems with a little trickery. Most people overdo this stuff anyways. Obviously, for indies, this option is great, but some Hollywood or “pro” people may hate the 2/3″ size. That’s fine, because when you’re at that level, you can just get a RED ONE (remember that cam?) or any other expensive cam and shoot with that. The Scarlet is not so much targeted toward those people as it is for lower budget indie films. Not for a main cam anyways – B cam, different story.

So basically, what I’m excited about is the REDCODE 100/RAW format and the 3K image size / higher rez. Guys, if you’ve seen Sin City in theaters (digitally projected) you know that 1080p is more than enough (in my opinion) for a great image so 3K is perfectly fine since we’ll be getting high rez, plus a bigger frame size for VFX work. I don’t see a reason to whine about no 4K. 3K is more than I’ll likely ever need, even if a film of mine has a theatrical release. This is all assuming that we’re getting all/most of that resolution instead of the size without the resolution, like the Panasonic HVX200.

So aside from the RAW format and high rez, plus proper monitoring solutions, there’s not much else for me to get excited over. Oh wait, I forgot sync sound 🙂

Just remember who this camera is geared towards. You most likely wouldn’t shoot a typical Hollywood feature on a Scarlet, and whatever “shortcomings” (and I use that word VERY LIGHTLY) that the Scarlet has, I’ll deal with. C’mon guys, we’re indie filmmakers! We’re used to that!

ON THE OTHER HAND, BLAH

I’m NOT dissing RED here, trust me. What they’re doing is amazing. But guys, at the level us indies are at, we don’t need 6, 12, 18, 123432K footage in order to make a good film. Get your grimy little hands on a Canon 7D, a 5D, or the 1D MK4 if you’re willing to spend that much, and GO OUT AND MAKE A MOVIE NOW! Why wait until next summer. If I waited, I would not have the collection of films I have now that I’m currently showing off in order to get MORE WORK and MORE OPPORTUNITIES. Get a 7D/5D/HMC150/EX1, etc. if you have the money and start shooting NOW. The Summer 2010 date on the Scarlet is temporary. Why risk important opportunities NOW?

Brian Ramage shot his film on an HMC150 and he’s (as far as I know) gotten interest from some big names (Brian, if you’re reading this and want me to link to your film, EMAIL or TWEET me with the link and I’ll link it up). I’ve shot stuff on my DVX that’s done some decent things and STILL continues to get work/investors interested in my future projects. I suggest you do the same!

I’m not going to discuss the tech stuff here because you can hit up any message board and read people’s arguments with each other on why one camera is better than another. I suggest that after learning a camera’s shortcomings, make your decision and go shoot. There are plenty of cameras out there that will give you amazing pictures, dare I say Hollywood quality even, if you handle them properly and skillfully. Don’t get drawn in to all that technical debate over which camera resolves 11.5 lines more resolution than the next.

Like I said, if you can’t get one of the current cameras to make your non-techy friends go, “dude, it looks like a real movie,” then don’t expect a “real movie” look from a Scarlet, or even a Panavision Genesis. Leave the numbers and theories to the techs and scientists out there. That’s not you. That’s not your job.

Your job is to have an engaging story and to get enough people to be engaged in your movie so much, that they don’t care about the tech shit or if you edited on Sony Vegas or if you shot on a Sony 1/3″ HD camera.

“It has set the record as the most profitable independent film ever made having earned over $100 million with a production budget of $15,000.”The proof is out there!

Your audience doesn’t care about the tech. Why should you?

You’re a filmmaker. Now go out and make a film.

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FILMMAKING PODCAST & NEW CAMERA

What’s up, ya’ll.  Yes, talking to my friend Brad Parler (http://www.PoweredProduction.com) from Texas has rubbed off on me. Actually, no, cuz he doesn’t even talk like that, but I digress. A few new things to talk about.

PODCAST

First off is Kenn Bell’s (of THE DOG FILES) new podcast called Mac Media Tech. Search for it on iTunes. I was a guest on it with Paul Zadie, Matt Jeppsen and Kenn Bell. We discuss many interesting topics including filmmaking.

NEW CAMERA PURCHASE3175361941_039a615e31

Recently, we made a new camera purchase for our upcoming projects, as we have sadly outgrown our trusty PANASONIC DVX100a. Now, we have moved up to high def with a bigger sensor so we can be more artistic with our projects. The thing is, we’re not going to discuss which camera we purchased. Why not? Because it doesn’t matter now. What matters is the story, the characters, the FILMMAKING and STORYTELLING. With all the different camera options out now, anyone can make great images if they know how to rock the equipment. Let’s stop worrying so much about gear and concentrate on compelling stories and storytelling.

Expect to see a lot more content coming from us in the near future!

Until then, keep making interesting stories!

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WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO LATELY

This blog hasn’t seen much of an update for a while, but that’s because the production and post production side of the film stuff has been a little slow. I’m currently working on scripts, and doing some non-related movie work. For those of you wondering what is going on, CLICK HERE to read up on the current project I’ve been hired to work on.

Don’t worry guys, because more stuff is coming this summer! ASHER anyone?

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SCREENWRITING ARTICLES

screenwriting1Here is a LARGE compilation of of SCREENWRITING ARTICLES. Whether you have a question on formatting, breaking into the business, or about character and plot, there’s an article here for you. A lot of these articles are a must read. And remember, keep writing. The hardest part is getting started. It gets easier… JUST SIT DOWN AND DO IT!

http://www.writersstore.com/articles.php?type=Expert+Series

Let me know which ones are your favorites! If you have access to any other screenwriting articles, please share them in the comments section!

 

 

 

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OSCAR NOMINATIONS 2009!

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS

Congrats to all the nominees! I’m a little disappointed that THE DARK KNIGHT didn’t get nominated for BEST PICTURE but what can you do?

Congrats to DANNY BOYLE too! DANNY BOYLE is one of my favorite DIRECTORS so I’m glad he’s enjoying much success!

Also, congrats to ANTHONY DOD MANTLE, one of my favorite DPs.

BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
(Paramount and Warner Bros.) A Kennedy/Marshall Production; Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
“Frost/Nixon”
(Universal) A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment
and Working Title Production; Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
“Milk”
(Focus Features) A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production; Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
“The Reader”
(The Weinstein Company) A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production; Nominees to be determined
“Slumdog Millionaire”
(Fox Searchlight) A Celador Films Production; Christian Colson, Producer

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.) David Fincher
“Frost/Nixon” (Universal) Ron Howard
“Milk” (Focus Features) Gus Van Sant
“The Reader” (The Weinstein Company) Stephen Daldry
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight) Danny Boyle

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” (Overture Films)
Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon” (Universal)
Sean Penn in “Milk” (Focus Features)
Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Josh Brolin in “Milk” (Focus Features)
Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder” (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt” (Miramax)
Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.)
Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Angelina Jolie in “Changeling” (Universal)
Melissa Leo in “Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Meryl Streep in “Doubt” (Miramax)
Kate Winslet in “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company)

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Amy Adams in “Doubt” (Miramax)
Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (The Weinstein Company)
Viola Davis in “Doubt” (Miramax)
Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
(Paramount and Warner Bros.) Screenplay by Eric Roth; Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
“Doubt” (Miramax) Written by John Patrick Shanley
“Frost/Nixon” (Universal) Screenplay by Peter Morgan
“The Reader” (The Weinstein Company) Screenplay by David Hare
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight) Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics); Written by Courtney Hunt
“Happy-Go-Lucky” (Miramax); Written by Mike Leigh
“In Bruges” (Focus Features); Written by Martin McDonagh
“Milk” (Focus Features); Written by Dustin Lance Black
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney); Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon; Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.) Lee Smith
“Frost/Nixon” (Universal) Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
“Milk” (Focus Features) Elliot Graham
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight) Chris Dickens

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR

“Bolt” (Walt Disney) Chris Williams and Byron Howard
“Kung Fu Panda” (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney) Andrew Stanton

ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION

“Changeling” (Universal) Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.) Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando
“The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films) Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
“Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage) Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

“Changeling” (Universal) Tom Stern
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Claudio Miranda
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister
“The Reader” (The Weinstein Company) Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight) Anthony Dod Mantle

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN

“Australia” (20th Century Fox) Catherine Martin
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Jacqueline West
“The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films) Michael O’Connor
“Milk” (Focus Features)Danny Glicker
“Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage) Albert Wolsky

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)” (Cinema Guild) A Pandinlao Films Production, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
“Encounters at the End of the World” (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment) A Creative Differences Production, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
“The Garden” A Black Valley Films Production, Scott Hamilton Kennedy
“Man on Wire” (Magnolia Pictures) A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
“Trouble the Water” (Zeitgeist Films) An Elsewhere Films Production, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

“The Conscience of Nhem En” A Farallon Films Production Steven Okazaki
“The Final Inch” A Vermilion Films Production, Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
“Smile Pinki” A Principe Production, Megan Mylan
“The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306” A Rock Paper Scissors Production, Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR

“The Baader Meinhof Complex” A Constantin Film Production; Germany
“The Class” (Sony Pictures Classics) A Haut et Court Production; France
“Departures” (Regent Releasing) A Departures Film Partners Production; Japan
“Revanche” (Janus Films) A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production; Austria
“Waltz with Bashir” (Sony Pictures Classics) A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production; Israel

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
(Paramount and Warner Bros.) Greg Cannom
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.) John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (Universal) Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Alexandre Desplat
“Defiance” (Paramount Vantage) James Newton Howard
“Milk” (Focus Features) Danny Elfman
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney) Thomas Newman

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)

“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” (Walt Disney) Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman; Lyric by Peter Gabriel
“Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman; Lyrics by Gulzar
“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

“La Maison en Petits Cubes” A Robot Communications Production; Kunio Kato
“Lavatory – Lovestory” A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production; Konstantin Bronzit
“Oktapodi”(Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production; Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
“Presto” (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production; Doug Sweetland
“This Way Up” A Nexus Production; Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)” (Hamburg Shortfilmagency); An Academy of Media Arts Cologne Production; Reto Caffi
“Manon on the Asphalt” (La Luna Productions) A La Luna Production; Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
“New Boy” (Network Ireland Television) A Zanzibar Films Production; Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
“The Pig”An M & M Production; Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh
“Spielzeugland (Toyland)” A Mephisto Film Production; Jochen Alexander Freydank

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.) Richard King
“Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment) Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight) Tom Sayers
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney) Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
“Wanted” (Universal) Wylie Stateman

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.) David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.) Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight) Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney) Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
“Wanted” (Universal) Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.) Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
“Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment) John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

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HORROR-MOVIES.CA INDIE HORROR IN 2009 ARTICLE

Elke and I got a mention over at www.Horror-Movies.ca in an article on indie horror to look out for in 2009! What a great way to start off the new year! 2009 is gonna kick much ass!

You can read the article HERE.

Big shout out to Luke “Goon” Franklin for writing us up in the article!

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