Friday, 25 February 2011

MOFILM New York 2011 Competition

Times Square, New York
Enter the MOFILM Competition via Shooting People and you get a 3 month trail of Shooting People. My Shooting People account has lapsed, but I found it useful when I was making Pub Crawl. I posted adverts for actors and crew there. They also have networking meetings once a month. I would recommend them, the link is at http://shootingpeople.org/mofilm/  

By entering as a 'Shooter' you get some unique bonuses:

  • you need collaborators to make your MOFILM entry, and you can do this using our casting and crewing tools
  • any Shooter that picks up a prize will get free publicity through the site and our international partners, reaching approx 2 million eyeballs
  • we’ll keep you up to date with all the latest MOFILM news direct to your inbox so you won’t miss out
  • one Shooting People member who enters the competition will win a Flip Ultra High Definition Camcorder With 8GB Memory
If you aren't a member of Shooting People - you can also get a free three month trial (usually £20) to help you make your film. I would love to win and go back to New York, it's a wonderful town...

I used some an image and some text from shooting people website here. Sorry about the text layout bloggers formatting went crazy when I added bullet points...

Thursday, 24 February 2011

83rd Academy Awards

The 83rd Academy Awards is live on Sky and ABC on Sunday. While I have Sky 1 and Sky Living, I don’t have SKy Premiere, as it would cost me an extra £20 on my Virginmedia bill.

I could get Sky movies for a month, but I thought I would try and see if I could watch it free on the Internet. The first one I found offered to let me watch it free, if I paid $49.99 as a one off payment. They seemed to totally miss the concept of free... if I pay $50 it’s not free.

I found that for $4.99 I can watch everything on the Internet direct from oscar.com, the Academy’s official website. OK all I have to do is register and enter the credit card details... what this it is telling me, I’m un-invited because I don’t live in the USA.

I found another site Livestream.com have the Oscars, but it seems to be live from the Red Carpet. That’s like being outside and not being able to get a ticket.

I did find a blog that had 15 ways to watch the 2010 Oscars, not really what I wanted. So i’ve decided to watch the show on Sky Living on monday night. All I need to do is not watch any news Sunday night or monday morning...

Google Adverts

I’ve added Google Adverts to the website in the hope of making a little bit of money. It all helps.

I’m trying use YouTube promoted video’s, but all I can find is Google AdWords in my Google account. When I select Promoted video’s, it just takes my to my YouTube account.

I can’t seem to find the promoted video reports, that I saw when I created the campaign.

I’m not spending much, just seeing how it works. my bids for a click thru are £0.02. I should have selected dollars so I could bid lower.

So far none of the ads have run and it seems to be saying I need an AdWords specialist to look over the words I’ve selected.

THe other thing is it gives information on how much bids are for the words I have and the smallest is £0.55 going up to £2.00. This may be fine if I was selling a car, but I’m trying to sell a $3.95 internet movie viewing.

I think I would go broke quick if I pay £2 so as someone can think about wether he will down load our movie for £3. I must be doing something wrong somewhere. I’ve Emailed youTube sales, no reply so far.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

New Nikon 7000 does 1080p video with Auto Focus

This new Nikon 7000, it does full 1080p HD video with Auto Focus. I know everyone is using Canon &D or 550's for shooting movies, but all my SLR gear is Nikon and I like the lenses. I want one.
So things are changing and Nikon DSLR gives filmmakers a choice. NIkon website has information about Nikon D-Movie HD video http://tinyurl.com/6zc7zv8

Read review on dpreview.com

Nikon D7000 Key Features

  • 16.2MP CMOS sensor
  • 1080p HD video recording with mic jack for external microphone
  • ISO 100-6400 (plus H1 and H2 equivalent to ISO 12,800/25,600)
  • 39-point AF system with 3D tracking
  • 2016 pixel metering sensor
  • Scene Recognition System (see 2016 pixel sensor, above) aids metering + focus accuracy
  • Twin SD card slots
  • 3.0 inch 921k dot LCD screen
  • New Live View/movie shooting switch
  • Full-time AF in Live View/movie modes
  • Up to 6fps continuous shooting
  • Lockable shooting mode dial
  • Built-in intervalometer
  • Electronic virtual horizon
  • Shutter tested to 150K actuations
More Details on Nikons website at http://tinyurl.com/2utpa77

Short Crawl

This is a short film, it is edited from Pub Crawl. It's in the Cannes Short Film Corner.

It is low res, I made it 480 x 270 so it is true 16 x 9 image. The scenes I used, don't include Jay Wheddon who plays Bill, a photographer in the film.

The track used is by The Absolute Belters it's called Bollox to the Bouncers. They are on myspace at http://www.myspace.com/theabsolutebelters

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Pub Crawl Trailer on YouTube

I'm promoting the Trailer to Pub Crawl movie, on YouTube, with a link to movie on our website. Not sure how well it will work, I will update about it in the future when I know more.

Pub Crawl Movie Shoot

Pub Crawl was shot on a Canon XHA1 in 1440 x 1080 HD. It was shot in available light on location in Camden town, London , UK. We used a small crew, mainly one camera and boom sound with sound recorded on the camera.

The nice thing is as we shot it in bars, beer and food was on set. Real beer is used in the shoots. Everyone had a good time shooting the movie and it was shoot in 10 days.

We shot in the most well-known Camden Pubs, The Oxford, the Hawley, The Lock Tavern, the Barfly, The Enterprise, The Fiddlers Elbow and The Dublin Castle
Most days we wrapped by 4pm. The last days shooting was in the Dublin Castle, where we filmed the band The Absolute Belters, so this was also the wrap party.

I grew up in Camden and I lived there for more than 30 years, so I know the area well. The idea of shooting Pub Crawl came to me while drinking down the pub. I thought that pub conversations could make a good story. Going for a drink and watching the Grand National, is something that I’ve done many times with my mates.

The trailer and the start of Pub Crawl movie are on 555 Films website at www.555films.net and more information about the movie is available on IMDb at www.imdb.com/title/tt1600846/

The movie will be released first on the Internet and in May 2011 on DVD.

Pub Crawl movie

Pub Crawl movie is now available for viewing on the Internet from our website on www.555films.net or click on viewer above.

It costs $3.95 to watch it for 30 days. I used Dynamo Player as viewer, it takes money vi PayPal and Amazon.

We will be releasing it on 29th March 2011 in London.

DVD should be out in May 2011.

So go watch it and let me know what you think.

Writing a Press Release for Pub Crawl

I needed to write a press release for Pub Crawl. I have done a night school journalism course at the london school of printing, but that was a while ago. So I did a search on google and found lots of articles about how to write one. The first paragraph needs to have most of the information. The who, what, where, when or why of the story.

Does the release need pictures or just text?

Well I did both. One with the poster at the top. The story I went with is that I started 555 Films while I was unemployed. I had already been writing scripts and I had written the Pub Crawl script, just after the 2006 Grand National. I did go out and watch the race in the pub, with my mates. I had thought about writing a script about conversations down the pub. I liked the idea of how it tends to change the drunker you get.

Tony comes up with plan for solving all the worlds problems, in a bar, usually this is a sign of being very drunk and is the sort of thing you totally forget in the morning. Paul and Bill discussing the lottery. Bill likes to buy a ticket so he has a chance of winning, while Paul thinks it’s a waste of time, because a 14,000,000 to 1 chance is no chance.

Bob talking about making a movie called Pub Crawl, Jaz his lawyer who has invested in one of his past movies and who he has had an affair with, while remaining friends. Ray, Bill, Tony, Mick and Bob played in a band and used to go to see bands in Camden Town, in the 80’s. So they talk about gigs they remember. Bill remembers losing his jacket and walking home cold on a white christmas.

None of this conversation is in the press release to get that you have to watch the movie. Penny could have written a much better press release than I did, as she’s been a journalist for twenty years...

So now I have the press release, I’m using PressGo to send it out and I’ve booked the Soho Screening Room for the press screening. What exactly is supposed to go in a Press Kit? I think I should have hired a PR company..

Looking for Investors for Distribution

I have added an investors page, basically I need to borrow about £5,000 from the Bank or some other lender to get the money for the self distribution.

If I could get 10 investors to put in £500 for 1% or one investor to put in £5,000 for 10 % producer profits, that seems easier to me.

So if you want to be a Film Producer and you have some spare cash to invest email me, you have my business card.

As the Film is finished, it’s not the same as investing in a script, you can watch the movie before you invest.

I can link the movie to anyone serious about investing in Pub Crawl.

New Website ... New Blog

I’ve moved the website from RapidWeaver to Apple’s iWeb. All the dates on the blog have been reset to 14th Feb 2011. Oh well it’s old stuff anyway.

I’m trying to get Pub Crawl released in the Cinemas. I don’t have the money yet or any quotes for how much it will cost to hire cinema’s, which is kind of holding up any business plan.

As this is all supposed to happen next month there is not much time. I have no idea why Odeon can not give any quotes for how much it is to hire Camden Town Odeon.

I just found out that cinemas use DCP files, not Apple quicktime...They seem complex, so I’m going to see if I can get the 69 GB Quicktime file of the movie converted to a DCP on a USB Hard Drive.

I will add to the blog as I know more.

indie Film Festival

I’ve started a new website called indie Film Festival at www.indieff.com

This is an Internet Film Festival for films that didn’t make it into the festival circuit.

Distributors don’t seem to be buying films with no stars now.

The original films the started the whole independent film scene would now be passed on by most distributors.

It also seems more films are being made than can be screened by film festivals.

I hear that festivals like Sundance and Cannes get about 5,000 films submitted and about 100 get accepted by the festival.

I’m still hoping our film gets into Sundance, but the chances are 50 to 1.

OK I’ve added Pub Crawl into IndieGoGo. No idea if it will raise any money. The money will go towards releasing Pub Crawl as a DVD, if we don’t get a distribution deal.

The word on the street is that film distribution deals seem to have dried up for indie films, so the way to go is to try and make money from self distribution.

So I will be offering Pub Crawl Tee Shirts.That’s the picture above on the Tee Shirts.

Crowd Funding

Need to raise money to make your movie?

Why not put a project on IndieGoGO or Kickstarter and use crowd funding to get the money.

I have checked out these sites and with Kickstarter, you pick an amount that you want to raise.

Then setup a project and offer people various things, such as Tee Shirts, DVD’s, TIckets, Credits with dollar pledges.

You don’t get the money until the full amount is raised and Kickstarter take 5%, it sounds a great idea, I don’t know if it is legal or not. I think it must be.

The other thing is you keep 100% of the rights to your project. The pledge gets you something, but not a percentage of the film. I know there used to be problems asking for small investors to invest in movies.

I don’t think are any limits, so in theory you could ask for $100,000,000 to make an action block buster, full of hollywood A-list actors. If you did that and it only raised $90,000,000 in the time, no money would change hands and the funders would not be billed on their credit cards.

IndieGoGo is a similar idea, but more focused on making indie films. the only problem I have is I looked at how it works and I still haven’t figured out how it works. I can see you can make a project, but is it the same as kickstarter, where the money is transferred if the project is full funded and does IndieGoGo take a percentage, I didn’t find this information.

More later when I find out how it works.

I’ve put Pub Crawl up on IndieGoGo

How not to Write a Book

I published my book Megachrist.com on Createspace. If you haven’t checked it out, Creatspace is a great place to publish books, Film DVD’s and Music.

Anyway I first started writing screenplays and I was inspired by Robert Rodreiguez ’s first film “El Mariachi”. I also read his book about making the movie Rebel without a Crew

So I wrote some film scripts. Some big budget and some low budget.

I also started looking into production, to see if I could produce one of my low budget scripts.

I don’t know why, but the other thing was at about the same time I read the Harry Potter first book. I liked how small it was and I got the idea, that maybe I should try writing a book.

One of the first scripts I wrote was based on Harry Potter, but the story moved to New York and it was a college for evil megalomanic Wizard who wanted to mostly take over the world. So this was bad wizards in an american college. Not really a low budget movie.

So I had some scripts and rather than converting books to scripts, I went the other way and converted one of my low budget scripts to a book. This is the megachrist.com book, but it was a bit short and as one of the characters was a sc-fi writer, I added the book he was writing into Megachrist.com. I also added a book, the main character Kate was writing.

So Megachrist.com is made from 2 film scripts and a couple of short stories. The one script wasn’t long enough for a whole book.

Publishing on Createspace was fairly easy. I used Microsoft Word to layout a manuscript and outputted it as a PDF file.

I have the proof copy, which I’m reading. It needs a little more editing, but I think it is OK to get most of the story. So I have approved the copy and it should come up on Amazon.

The other reason for writing the book, is now I can sell the movie rights to the book, it seems some people think films are better if they are adapted from books.

How not to write a book... don’t start with a screenplay

More from the BECTU Meeting

OK I was at the meeting and I am a low budget filmmaker and a a recent new member of BECTU.

I think there is nothing wrong with having low budget movies use a collaboration, like carving up a pie. Obviously the director, producer, heads of departments, DOP, camera operator, sound recordist and the runners will get different size slices of the pie.

This might be dealt with by having a maximum or minimum share anyone in the project can get. What about investors? They usually want at least 50%.

Then you need to work out is it a gross or producer net profits pie (eddie murphy quote "monkey points"), the problem being if you carve up a project into gross points no distribution or sales agent will touch it.

There is a good book that deals with collaborative film projects "Feature Film Making at Used-Car Prices: How to Write, Produce, Direct, Film, Edit, and Promote a Feature-Length Film for Less Than $10,000 by Rick Smitt".

I think the other thing you would need to do would be figure out what kind of budget this might be appropriate for say below £50,000.

Make it a code of practice, but not mandatory. There should be some reason that would make it easier for low budget filmmakers to use this such as standard simple contracts that everyone understands.

Then get Equity to accept it, Post production houses, and the music industry to accept it too.

The only problem is getting them to believe that there will be any profits.

Well if someone works out blueprints for how it might work, then someone else . ie a low budget filmmaker will have to try it out to see if it works, I hope they get a grant from somewhere.

I still think the problem is filmmakers, getting little or no money for films once they are finished.

For more information checkout Chris Jones blog http://www.chrisjonesblog.com/2010/03/bectu-debate-and-the-national-minimum-wage-lets-all-throw-stones-at-each-other/comments/page/2/#comments

An Internet Festival for the Rest of Us

In my other post I mentioned the idea of doing a Reject FIlm Festival, an Internet Film Festival for the Film that don’t make it into the major festivals.

What purpose would it serve?

1. It would help publicise Indie low budget movies
2. It might those films get into some smaller festivals
3. I’m curious to see what doesn’t get in.
4. If you’re like me, you probably think your movie is great and can’t understand why it didn’t get into Cannes and Sundance
5. Maybe your right...

OK I’ve been checking out Internet film festivals and so far I don’t think any of them have even got started.

The sites I’ve been finding from google are pretty much dead. They will be accepting films in the future, but they are stuck in the past.

It just did not happen. I don’t want to fall into the same trap.

Things I’ve figured out so far.

1. You need a cool name, most of the sites seem to have spent most of their time trying to think up cool names.
2. Then they mock up what the site might do with a simple website that does not actually work.
3. The they give up, go to sleep, run out of money or energy and the website sort of dies.

I’m not going to name any names...

The problem that I see is f you don’t have something that pretty much unctions as a film festival on day one, then I don’t think it will ever work.

So I think I need...

1. A cool name.
2. A way of taking features, Documentaries and shorts from filmmakers, we need their info, their film and a small fee.
3. Decide on a fee features $20, Docs $20 and shorts $10.
4. Have a non exclusive licence that allows filmmakers to shut down film downloads.
5. Have a time period films will be in the festival for, say 1 year.
6. Have a chart top 100 films based on downloads, shorts have their own chart.
7. Figure out how films get higher in the chart views, downloads or votes.
8. We can do2 and 3 by accepting films from Withoutabox.
9. Accept DVD or secure screeners from Withoutabox.
10. Have a preferred display format 16x9 is display as 160x90 or 320x180 or 430 x 270. Also accept 4:3 and 2.35:1.
11. By keeping films low rez it allows for sell thrus of DVD’s from Createspace.
12. Try and get sponsorship from Createspace.
13. By keeping rez low on films we also reduce the amount of webspace and bandwidth the film festival uses.
14. Figure out how to show festival entries.
15. have name of movie, date, budget, festival rejection list, movie website, facebook, myspace, twitter, trailer, movie stream or download and comments.
16. A search site facility.
17. Recommended new movies.
18. Genres top 10 charts features, documentary, action, thriller, comedy, drama, world, short.
19. Awards for top of charts film of the week, film of the month.
20. Festivals are monthly 04.2010 april 2010 RIFF.04.2010 for Reject Internet Film Festival 04/2010
21. Save old charts.
22. is there a way to import a movie to hard drive then save it as a movie in low rez or do I need filmmakers to send in .mov format?
23. Is Apple quicktime to much of a restriction
24. Do we need to use Apples Quicktime Streaming server (Darwin), WebBbject and java.
25. I think we need a database type website.
26. Or we could hand build the whole thing and drag in quicktime files.
27. The hand built thing will not give enough information on votes or views.

Cannes Film Festival

I’m going back to Cannes this year for the Film Festival.

I did go last year, but I didn’t have a pass, which was kind of boring as you need the pass to get into things.

Short Crawl is in the Short FIlm Corner it’s not to late to enter this http://www.shortfilmcorner.com/uk/home.html

Reject Film Festival

OK I have just got some new software RapidWeaver, for editing the 555 Films website on the macintosh it’s from http://www.realmacsoftware.com/ and it seems to work fine, but I can only make a 3 page website.

So if the website still has less than 3 pages, then it was written using the download demo.

Checkout new website http://www.555films.net if you’re reading this on myspace.


OK I have just got some new software RapidWeaver, for editing the 555 Films website on the macintosh it’s from http://www.realmacsoftware.com/ and it seems to work fine, but I can only make a 3 page website.

So if the website still has less than 3 pages, then it was written using the download demo.

Checkout new website http://www.555films.net if you’re reading this on myspace.

BECTU Meeting

I’ve joined the union BECTU so I was going to go along to the debate tonight. I got the info from Chris jones blog.


So maybe see you there.

It’s at 7pm at the University of London Union in Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY. http://www.bectu.org.uk/events/2010/03/18

Pub Crawl Poster

I went to see a talk about "Dead Wood" a low budget film by Menan Films.

The film has 3 directors and it is a horror movie that was shoot in the woods.

They explained how they had made it and sold it to Lionsgate Films.

Very interesting talk and I found out about it from the organiser, Chris Jones of Living Spirit Pictures. The blog is at http://www.chrisjonesblog.com/

Anyway please checkout their movie and also chris's blog is very interesting for low budget filmmakers.

So one of the things I took away from their talk was that I need a better website, which I sort of know and we need a poster, which is what I decided to have a go at.

I don't really have the right software for making posters. It seems maybe I need to buy a copy of Photoshop. My only problem is whenever I checkout Adobe products, they come in packs of 3 or 4 programs that cost £600. So I downloaded Gimpshop, which is supposed to do the same thing as photoshop for free.

Remember, I said I was a low budget filmmaker, currently I'm a no budget filmmaker, waiting for next cheque to hit the bank.

More on Gimpshop if I get it to work on my Macintosh.

Rather than spend the time figuring how Gimpshop worked, as it needs Apple X windows... I fired up Microsoft Word and had a try seeing what it can do.

I found using a watermark I could lay text over a graphic.

So I came up with this as a poster using a still from the movie Pub crawl.