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Making Movies is HARD!!! Posts

Episode 120 – Finding an Audience with Smarthouse Creative

No two films are alike, how will your film find it’s audience? We’re joined by Ryan Davis and Brad Wilke of Smarthouse Creative to talk about how they work with filmmakers to release their film in the world and assist in branding, promotion and publicity.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Meet Ryan and Brad of Smarthouse Creative

Ryan Davis (@indieartsvoice) is a film publicist and communications professional with ten years experience in film and arts marketing. Named by Media Inc. as one of Washington State’s most influential women in film, TV, and media, Ryan has worked in almost every aspect of the film business–from production and festivals to distribution, exhibition and sales. She has placed stories in outlets ranging from CNN and The New York Times, to community newspapers and local radio.

Ryan worked for Arab Film Distribution/Typecast Films where she was part of the production and release of the Academy Award-nominated Iraq in Fragments. She has worked for a variety of nonprofit arts groups and organizations, including heading the marketing departments for Northwest Film Forum and Northwest Folklife, and was the assistant director of Couch Fest Films from 2010-2014. Ryan was on the jury for the International Documentary Challenge for 2012-3, and a juror for the 2015 Seattle Shorts Festival.

J. Brad Wilke (@jbwilke) is a co-founder and principal of Smarthouse Creative. Brad holds an MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington’s Department of Communication, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Brad designs and executes digital, social media, and film distribution strategies for Smarthouse’s clients. Brad is also the founder of tech nonprofit, Flash Volunteer, an adjunct lecturer in digital marketing & film, as well as an award-winning filmmaker, produced feature-length screenwriter, and artistic director of the Portland Film Festival.

What is Smarthouse Creative?

Smarthouse Creative offers services in promotion, branding, publicity and project representation. They connect with entrepreneurs, filmmakers, artists, distributors, exhibitors, small businesses and nonprofits to help build an infrastructure to help connect filmmakers with and audience.

Working with a PR Company

  • What does a PR company do?
  • What kind of results can filmmakers hope for?
  • What’s the first step in talking to a PR company?
  • How much does it cost?
  • When should a filmmaker hire a PR company?
  • How important are film festivals to a film release strategy?
  • How does social media fit in?

We talk about a few projects Smarthouse Creative has worked on in the past including Second Nature and Chatty Catties.

Second Nature was released theatrically and did well enough to compete with “It.” Here are trailers for these two films.

Find Smarthouse Creative

Website: http://www.smarthousecreative.com/

Twitter @teamsmarthouse: https://twitter.com/teamsmarthouse

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smarthousecreative/

Contact Us

We want to hear from you.

Send us an email or leave a comment here

Find us on Twitter and Facebook

Episode 119 – Horror Equity Fund with Brian and Marlon!

This week we have two very special guests, Brian Herskowitz and Marlon Schulman from Horror Equity Fund! We hear all about what the Horror Equity Fund is, what it does and how they work with filmmakers and investors to make the business side of filmmaking work!

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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No Show Notes?

Timothy and Alrik literally start a two day shoot today, so we don’t have time to put up proper show notes, so here is what you get!

https://horrorequityfund.com/

Who is Marlon?

Marlon W. Schulman’s leadership in creating targeted, revenue-producing communities within the entertainment industry is enhanced by his intuition and passion. As an entrepreneurial producer and attorney, his specialty is the creation of diverse profit-driven entertainment products and services through innovatively conceived integration of proven strategies with new technologies.

Who is Brian?

Brian Herskowitz is a veteran Hollywood producer, writer, and director of feature films, TV series and digital series. He is the author of the best-selling book, Process to Product: A Practical Guide to Screenwriting and is a faculty member at the Boston University of Los Angeles’ graduate degree program, Writer in Hollywood.

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn

Contact Us

We want to hear from you.

Send us an email or leave a comment here

Find us on Twitter and Facebook

Episode 118 – PR and Getting Your Film Seen

We’ve released a few films over the last few years but we can’t remember if we’ve ever gotten into the details about a film release. What do you include in a press release? Who do you send it to? This week we give advice on press releases and the best way to get your film seen.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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PR Releases

We talked a little bit about this in year one I think, but now that we’ve released several films since then, let’s talk about it some more. Between our releases of Brother, Over My Dead Body and The Spirit Machine, we’ve managed to get writeups in:  First Showing, Ain’t it Cool, The Slaughtered Bird, Geek Tyrant, IAMAG, Dread Central, The Movie Critic Next Door, The Blogging Banshee, Anty Radio and more.

How did we get our short films written about on all these websites?

  • Finding contacts / Who to send them to
  • What should your email say?
  • What should your Press Release say?
  • What else should you include: photos, posters, links to the film
  • Do you hear back from these people?
  • the mysterious way writeups just appear.

Here’s the Press Release for “The Spirit Machine” in case anyone needs an example.

 

Watch The Spirit Machine Now

YouTube: https://youtu.be/XFoVFU2CCDo

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/229925445

Contact Us

We want to hear from you.

Send us an email or leave a comment here

Find us on Twitter and Facebook

Episode 117 – Advice for a 15yr Old Filmmaker

This week Timothy and Alrik answer a listener question from a 15 year old filmmaker, read a itunes review and catch up on what they’ve been doing lately. All that and much more on this week’s Making Movies is Hard!

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Catching Up

Alrik and Timothy talk about what they’ve been up to and how busy they are about to be.

Advice for a 15 Year Old Filmmaker

We received an email from Bryce in San Jose and he writes:

I am a 15 year old filmmaker from San Jose Bay Area, I’ve wrote , directed and shot 3 short films (There not very good). so what would you recommend for young filmmaker trying to make connections in the Bay Area. Would you recommend working for free to gain experience and connections? It would be great to hear an episode about this topic. I want to get a head start for when I go “professional” , so currently I’m just gaining as much knowledge as possible. Although I was considering trying to intern on shoots just to Gain experience, when I turn 16. I’ve heard many different opinions for and against film school, but I don’t know yet, it would be great to hear your opinion on the topic. My main question is, in general, how do you find people to collaborate with?  Because making movies is hard especially by yourself.

Our Advice for Bryce

  • Look for people your age to collaborate with.
  • Get as much experience as you can.
  • Learn how to work hard.
  • Get on big sets (or as big as you can).

In the vein of ‘Share whatever you have, if you are willing to talk about it’ here’s a music video I shot with a friend of mine when I was probably 17 or so.

Resources

Our First Three Star Review

We got our first three star written review, hooray!

Timothy and Alrik talk over the review, what it means to us and do our best to respond to the criticism.

Alrik then brings up another negative email they received, which probably didn’t need mentioning, but, well what can we say.

Thanks to everyone who has responded to the show and keep it coming, good or bad, we want to know what you think!

Contact Us

We want to hear from you. What do you think? What should Bryce do at 15 years old?

Do you agree with our analysis and criticism? Or have something new to share?

Send us an email or leave a comment here

Find us on Twitter and Facebook

Episode 116 – A Critical Look at “The Spirit Machine”

The Spirit Machine is officially out in the world! Be sure to check it out on YouTube or Vimeo before listening to this gloves off conversation about how the finished film turned out. What works? What doesn’t work? After years of hearing Timothy say The Spirit Machine is not that good, he finally gets to explain in detail what his problems with the movie are.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Watch The Spirit Machine Now

YouTube: https://youtu.be/XFoVFU2CCDo

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/229925445

What People Are Saying About The Spirit Machine

The Spirit Machine was released on Friday August 18th, 2017 and since then has gotten some nice write-ups. Here are a few of them.

Ain’t it Cool says “…pure bliss, with fun visuals and interesting characters…” [a] “…kickass film that’s utterly exciting.” http://www.aintitcool.com/node/78427

The Slaughtered Bird called it a “…four out of five star short film” http://theslaughteredbird.com/review-spirit-machine/

First Showing said “…I admire the ambition and the VFX are great.”
http://www.firstshowing.net/2017/watch-80s-inspired-fantasy-adventure-short-film-the-spirit-machine/

AntyRadio said “…the atmosphere of the 80s was captured.”
http://www.antyradio.pl/Film/News/Niskobudzetowy-film-nawiazujacy-do-kultowych-produkcji-lat-80-zobacz-The-Spirit-Machine-16895

Contact Us

We want to hear from you. What Do You Think of The Spirit Machine?

Do you agree with our analysis and criticism? Or have something new to share?

Send us an email or leave a comment here

Find us on Twitter and Facebook

Episode 115 – Hoarding Acorns with Winnie Wong

This week we talk with freelance producer Winnie Wong about making the leap from a full time producer at a major company to going back to the world of freelance. We also talk about finding your identity as a producer, crew rates and how you know when to finally make a big change in your life!

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

__________________Winnie Wong has been working in the bay area in film production for almost a decade but she has spent the past three years as a full time producer at Pandora. Having just made the transition back to life as a freelancer, we thought it would be fun to have her talk through how the process is going.

Life as a Full Timer

What lead to the full time position at Pandora and why was it time to leave?

Was there a specific project that help you take the leap?

Winnie takes control of the podcast and starts asking Timothy questions about his full time job.

Why is Timothy still at Goodby?

How did he end up where he is?

Will he ever leave?

Jumping Back Into the Fray

What steps did you take to re-introduce yourself to the freelance world?

What are some of the challenges you are facing?

What kinds of projects are you hoping to work on?

Finding Yourself as a Producer

What do you feel makes a great producer?

What’s the difference between all the different types of producers?

What do you enjoy about producing?

Winnie asks us another question: What was our favorite experiences with a producer?

How to Find Winnie

Winnie Wong on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/winniew83

Winnie Wong’s Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/winniewongsf

Lastly Winnie Wong on IG: G: @wnne_wng

Contact Us

Thanks for listening. You can find us on Twitter @timothyplain@alrikb or @mmihpodcast! And on Facebook

We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think. Leave a comment on the episode here or send us an email

And if you dig the show, please leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher

Episode 114 – Visual Effects Supervisor Kaitlyn Yang

This week we talk Visual Effects with Kaitlyn Yang, an artist and supervisor that opened her own boutique VFX house after working as a freelancer for some bigger places like Zoic, Framestore and MPC.

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Alpha Studios offers services in Compositing, Matte painting, Set extension, Match moving, Rig removal, Motion Graphics, Editorial, Color and more.  This week, we spend an hour with founder, Kaitlyn Yang, to ask her how VFX work and when and how filmmakers should use post effects.

Starting Your Own Company

How did Kaitlyn go from freelancing to starting her own company? What sort of team did she put together?

Working With Visual Effects

It’s very easy to dismiss that things are happening in a computer but what actually goes into a VFX shot? Or it may just seem like magic.

Kaitlyn helps breakdown the VFX process, what sort of artists you need to get a shot done and how it all works.

When should you shoot something in-camera and when should you use post-production effects?

What’s a common misunderstanding filmmakers have about VFX?

When do you need a team of artists and when you can rely on just one person?

If pulling off Marvel level VFX is unrealistic, what is realistic? Kaitlyn says everyone should check out Miss 2059 for realistic expectations.

Working with Filmmakers

What’s the process, how does a project begin?

When should you bring in a Visual Effects team?

What does a filmmaker need to understand VFX to be good at VFX?

What’s something filmmakers aren’t doing that you wish they would?

How to Find Kaitlyn

Alpha Studios Website: http://www.alphastudios.com/

Kaitlyn’s Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/kaitlynyang

Contact Us

Thanks for listening. You can find us on Twitter @timothyplain@alrikb or @mmihpodcast! And on Facebook

We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think. Leave a comment on the episode here or send us an email

And if you dig the show, please leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher

Episode 113 – Cinematographer Jason Joseffer

Jason Joseffer has shot films for both Timothy and Alrik. This week, we talk to Jason about how he became a Cinematographer, how he works with directors and much more!

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Meet Jason Joseffer!

Born and raised in San Francisco, Jason’s first “real” job was working as a news cameraman during which he learned how to move quickly and efficiently.  A greater interest in narrative and documentary compelled him to leave the broadcast world and pursue work in film.  Jason has since shot a multitude of feature, short, documentary and experimental films.

Jason’s Narrative Reel

Finding Projects

We talk about how Jason finds his projects, focusing on the narrative and creative projects.

  • Are you involved in the funding process?
  • How do you come up with a camera budget?

Working with a Cinematographer

Alrik and Timothy get into the nitty gritty of working with a cinematographer. Here are some of the subjects they covered.

  • Lenses
    • Does a director need to know lenses?
    • How does Jason like to work?
  • Shot Lists
    • How do you prefer to approach shot lists?
    • Do you always need one?
    • What about Storyboards?

After the recording, Jason sent over a breakdown of shot lists from the magazine ‘American Cinematographer’, here’s what he sent.

From an article written by Jim Hemphill, the quote shown is from Cinematographer Danny Mixer.

  • Coverage
    • What does Jason think of getting coverage?
  • Sequences
    • Alrik saw Atomic Blonde over the weekend and was inspired to make sure to have at least two sytlistic sequences in his film, does Jason think about sequences when prepping a film?
  • How Many Shoot Days for a 90min Feature?
    • We take a classic movie and talk about how many days we want to shoot it. We use Reservoir Dogs as an example, which was actually shot in 35 days (we were pretty close).
    • How many days we’d want versus what we will get…
  • Advice for Aspiring Cinematographers?
    • Listen to find out!

How to Find Jason

You can find all of Jason’s work at his website below and on his Instagram page. Sorry, no FB or Twitter for Jason (boo!).

HOME

https://www.instagram.com/jasonjosefferdp/

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2398616/

Contact Us

Thanks for listening. You can find us on Twitter @timothyplain@alrikb or @mmihpodcast! And on Facebook

We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think. Leave a comment on the episode here or send us an email

And if you dig the show, please leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher

Episode 112 – Make a DAMN Movie!!!

A listener challenges us to just go make our movies already! Plus we talk about how much you should get paid as a professional

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Make a Damn Movie!

One of our listeners writes in:

Make a damn movie! Your first movie doesn’t have to be the alternate or spirit machine or whatever, write around your limitations, to make a movie that can showcase your skills, talents, and tell a story.

Guys… I’m not gonna lie, I’m getting a little frustrated.

Tarantino didn’t start with Reservoir Dogs, he made a terrible movie called My Best Friend’s Birthday.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6MUbRZSg80 So your first movie might be terrible, but it doesn’t mean your second movie has to be.

Make a damn movie guys! It ain’t hard.

 

Plus: How Much Should You Get Paid as a Professional?

How do you decide how much you are worth? What should you get paid when you’re first starting out? How much can you eventually make? We discuss all this and more.

Contact Us

Thanks for listening. You can find us on Twitter @timothyplain@alrikb or @mmihpodcast! And on Facebook

We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think. Leave a comment on the episode here or send us an email

And if you dig the show, please leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher

Episode 111 – Becoming “Professional”

After two years of podcasting, Alrik and Timothy finally get into details about how they became working professionals. We talk about how we got our start after graduating and the steps we took to get to where we are now. Plus we respond to the Filmmaking Sucks Podcast about what it means to be a professional.

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Hey, guess what? Alrik and Timothy just worked together for the second time this year. Alrik produced and Timothy directed a four day shoot. It was the biggest commercial for both of them. Keep a look out for this commercial campaign in August. We will be sending it out. We talk about the pros and cons of commercial work and whether or not we’d do it again.

Working Professional vs Hobbyist

Back in episode 104 we had listeners dial in, one of those was Lindsay Serrano, a filmmaker from New York who also has a podcast called “Filmmaking Sucks” with Manny Serrano. A few episodes ago, Lindsay and Manny talked about MMIH and we had to respond to a few things they said.

First of all, we may be professionals on paper but we don’t feel like it.  We share more in common with Lindsay and Manny than we do with anyone in Hollywood. But point taken, we do work professionally. How does that help us? How does that hurt us? We discuss how being a professional is holding us back and what it means to be a professional. We also point out how the way we work as professionals is no different than being a hobbyist.

Timothy points out that a big hurdle for us to think in microbudget terms is that the crew we have access to costs a certain rate and getting them to work for little to no money is near impossible. The math of microbudget filmmaking for us costs more because of our contacts.

But that’s not to say we can’t do it. Be sure to check out Alrik’s short “Cake” which he made with no money in a short amount of time as part of the Werner Herzog Master Class.

 

Becoming a Professional

We have two new listener reviews to share this week. One of them contains a question about how we got our start in filmmaking. We answer the question in detail. Thank you R.C. Gates for the question.

How Timothy got his start out of college

  • In 2000, Timothy graduated college and went directly to being a full time employee
  • When Timothy graduated he did not have a plan to get into filmmaking
  • After two and a half years of working for a sailboat company, Timothy found a job at Goodby Silverstein & Partners on Craiglist
  • And it wasn’t until 2005 until Timothy made his first short film out of college.
  • In 2006 he moved from facilities to the production department at Goodby Silverstein & Partners
  • For the first two years in the production department, Timothy was a one-man crew shooting, producing, editing and it wasn’t until 2009 that he got a chance to produce his first TV commercial
  • He stopped directing commercial projects between 2008-2015 and was only producing
  • In 2015 he started directing again with the Cisco spot we talked about on the podcast

This is the first commercial Timothy produced: https://vimeo.com/26651556

How Alrik got his start out of college

  • He was paying the bills with work as a bouncer and customer service at Lens Crafters
  • He gave him 3-months to get a job in filmmaking
  • Unlike Timothy, Alrik stepped directly into the world of freelancing
  • His first job was an an AD on a feature film shoot: https://youtu.be/IZdnpQO_Us4
  • Alrik went on to PA on TV and movies, including a position on Francis Ford Coppolla’s crew
  • Alrik then worked for Studio B
  • Alrik tells us about how he met the people he still works with today and how all his early opportunities led to where he is now.

Contact Us

You can find us on Twitter @timothyplain@alrikb or @mmihpodcast! And on Facebook

We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think. Leave a comment on the episode here or send us an email

And if you dig the show, please leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher