Category Archives: Adventures of a 1st time filmmaker

Adventures of a First Time Feature Filmmaker

5 reasons why the film The Law of Moises should be on your to-see list

Quick — Name a disabled actor.  Not an able-bodied actor whose character is disabled.

HINT

CLICK HERE FOR ANSWER

I admit that most of you are probably wondering, “Who is Aaron Fotheringham?” Perhaps the bigger question is why the biggest minority in United States has the least representation in the media?

According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau about 56.7 million people or 19% of the population has a disability in America. The report describes into account a broad definition of disability, with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe.

Since film is 100% of is about engaging its audience and if most people enjoy viewing films with characters they can relate to then why not provide films that nearly 20% OF THE population can share in its experience? Just asking.

Aaron is set to play his namesake in The Law of Moises. He has Spina Bifida but is an incredible moto-cross athlete.

Aaron’s character is present day Aaron, i.e. Aaron from the Bible. He is Moises’ best friend.

Here is a snippet from the script
AARON (V.O.) And reason number 2 as to why I’m telling you his story…if you already hadn’t noticed, Moises stutters. It started when he lost his parents. So, he doesn’t talk much cause he can’t get much out before he s…s…tutters which is only funny because I’m in this wheelchair.

 

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Thanks Crystal

Adventures of a First Time Feature Filmmaker

Sagging Pants & Attracting an Audience
ManySaggyPants2 While I’m not a fan of the style of sagging pants I have to admit that after talking with two young men as to why it is such a “thing” they do, I was reminded of the most fundamental concept of economics and marketing. In other words, why some businesses are successful at reaching their audience and others are not? So………..I had just witnessed some kid who without exaggeration had his pants down so low that I questioned if he should be wearing any pants at all. Then I saw a young man from my neighborhood and I asked about the trend; the conversation went a bit like this:

Me: Why do guys wear their pants so low?

Him: I do it because (blah blah blah).

Then his friend chimes in:

Friend: Some do it because it’s the style.

Me: So, that’s why? No other reason?

Friend: Well, if I walk by a group of girls and if I can get a number, then…

Me: So girls like it?

Friend: Not all, but enough.

Me: I guess that makes sense, because if you didn’t get attention you wouldn’t do it.

Friend: Right.

Me: (Feeling like “oh no, this style could go on for years!”) …Okay…

Friend: (As the car is pulling away) But, if a guy wants a girl who’s kinda more upper class like, if she don’t like it, he’ll come back with a suit on.

WHOA!!!!!

Which brings me to the question stated earlier – Why are some businesses successful at reaching their audience and others are not? (All things being equal: time, money, talent, etc.).

Drum roll

 

BECAUSE FILMMAKING IS AS MUCH OF A BUSINESS AS IT IS AN ART.
Because filmmaking is as much of a business as it is an art. Consequently, filmmakers must begin thinking more like entrepreneurs rather than just artists. And it reinforces the necessity of knowing who your audience is, what drives them, what interests them and what they care about.

There are 3 things I took away from this experience and I’d like to share:

1.WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE 

  • Read Here...
    This keeps coming up and I am definitely growing in my conviction that this is so important that to miss it is to PUT YOUR FILM AT RISK FOR FAILURE. Because most independent filmmakers can rarely afford to make a film intended for the general public, it’s important to know whom the film is intended for. If you are creating a film without knowing your audience you could be unintentionally creating a film for the wrong audience. For example, if your film is for young women who like men in suits but all your characters are wearing sagging pants YOU WILL FAIL TO REACH YOUR AUDIENCE. There is an audience for all kinds of people and if the filmmaker knows her audience and you give them what they want, you can TAP INTO A FAN BASE that you can engage and grow.

TIP Write down things from your script that targets a specific group.

2. YOUR FILM ALONE WILL NOT REACH THEM

  • Read Here...
    If by the time your film hits the theaters or streaming (hopefully) and you’ve done nothing to make your audience aware of it. YOU’VE MADE A FILM THAT NO ONE WILL SEE. If your target audience is young women who like guys who wear sagging pants, then you’ve GOT TO RESEARCH on where they live, how they view their entertainment, and most of all, how to reach them and their friends.

TIP   Start talking about your film before you begin to shoot.

3. IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME

Read Here...
The cold hard facts are that even if you have a distribution deal, (and most will not) you still have to do some marketing. Whether its social media, traditional advertising, or word of mouth, YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING THAT WILL GET THE PEOPLE IN THE SEATS. (Unless of course Brad Pitt is in your movie, but even then there is no guarantee).

TIP Build awareness and a fan base (before the film is even made).

 

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Thanks!

Crystal Barnes

Golf is a lot like Filmmaking

So…I’m learning to play golf. I’ve taken a few lessons and I’ve learned two things – 1) While I’m usually pretty athletic, I’m no natural with the golf clubs and 2) Whoever came up with this game sure found a difficult way to hit a ball with a stick!

My last lesson out, I realized that learning to play golf is a lot like filmmaking with one major exception. Golf is usually a sport played one person against another; filmmaking is rarely a one-person sport. It is very collaborative. Yet, the skills are transferable.

For example, many people think that the most effective way to develop a consistent golf swing is to stand on the range whacking balls until you get it right. But the best way to develop a consistent golf swing is to break the swing down into pieces that make up the swing and ensure each part is being performed correctly: the grip, stance, posture, alignment, backswing, downswing, impact and follow thru.

Similarly, producing a film is not just one thing but many different pieces working in tandem to create a finished product. Production of the film encompasses finding the right screenplay, breaking down the script, writing up a business plan, crewing, casting and a whole lot more. As with a golf swing, all these things go together in the making of a film. I don’t believe one part is any less or more important.  The challenge is that there are many things to think about simultaneously. With both, it is easy to either over think things or forget something altogether.

One item most filmmakers forget is AUDIENCE; but they are an essential part of this business. You should always ask yourself- Who is your audience?  How do you to reach them?  Without an audience the best film in the world never makes a dime.

 

Here are 3 tips to grow audience 

1. Know your audience. Is there already an audience who likes that sort of stuff? In other words, are there any publications out there that  cater to your niche subject matter?

2. Go to Netflix or iTunes, and look up a movie with a similar genre to yours. When you do, you’ll notice that the site will generate similar movies to the one you’ve searched for.  Next, browse the Internet for the titles of the suggested movies. Change to the image view to see pictures of those titles. Finally, drag the images to the Google bar and a list of sites will come up. Some of the sites will be blogs and various publications that cater to your niche audience.

3. Build a website, get an email marketing account and add people to your email list (with their permission of course!).

BONUS: Check out my golf swing below…

 

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Thoughts, questions, and/or comments are welcome.

Adventures of 1st time feature filmmaker

Hello and welcome to the workings of my mind!

Well, this is not really as much a blog or newsletter as it is sharing of thoughts, ideas, and the progress of producing a feature film for the first time (hence the catchy title).  As expected there are a lot of bumps in the rode to creating a film (some good, some not-so-good) and I wanted to share this ride with anyone interested.  Weather you’re a fellow filmmaker, film buff or just someone who always wanted to know things like ‘What is a best boy anyway?’ These posts for you!

I know it’s a bit late for this but, I’ve decided my goal for 2014 is to build and audience and engage and audience for the upcoming film The Law of Moises.

Couple of ways to do it:

  1. Shoot a trailer
  2. Start a blog
  3. Go to events where market audience will be in attendance
  4. Ask more questions
  5. Attend the American Film Market (AFM)

I’ve started this blog – check. I’ve begun planning to shoot the trailer this fall – check. I got some events I’m attending – check, plans are in the works for AFM – check. So… that leaves asking some questions. Here’s one:

Noah, the movie came with much controversy. If you were going to make the movie, how would you mold your story with this beginning…

 

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14So make yourself an ark of cypressc wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.d16Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubite high all around.f Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

22Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

 

Feel free to use the comments on the page to share your thoughts.

 

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AFM

I landed in LAX on Thursday evening, November 7, 2013 – excited, anxious and tired. I lucked out and was given a Toyota Prius at Enterprise. Found my way to my friend’s home and played catch up for about 2 hours. I thought she was kidding when she said I would have to leave at about 6:30am to get to Santa Monica by 8:30am…(15 mile away)…She wasn’t.

One of the best things I did was download and GPS app on my IPhone called Scout – it saved my life, as I’m horrible with directions.

DAY 1 @ AFM

Parking was already at its capacity, so AFM offered alternate parking at the beach lot right off the ocean! Here is a view!IMG_0249

I attended the Finance Conference and like most people in the room after a 4-hour session of numbers talk – my head was spinning. Basically what I came away with was to do a co-production with Canada (I can’t tell you how many times that was suggested). No, really. There were a few things I already understood through research and trial and error, but some tidbits that were helpful: As more people are using mobile devices for entertainment, people elect NOT to watch commercials, so companies are increasingly interested in presenting their products in the movies (product placement) for a captive audience in exchange for $.

The rest of the day was basically meet as many people as I could and get cards and CONNECT. As the saying goes; “Its not what you know, its who you know.”

AFM Poster

DAY 2

The Pitch Conference! This is what I’ve been preparing for. I was ready. 2 minute pitch, ditch deck (Power point presentation about the film), and post cards.

In short, I didn’t get to pitch but the preparations were beneficial as you’ll find out in day 3.

IMG_0245

DAY 3

I made some very good connections. I was able to meet with some distributors, 2 of which were interested in The Law of Moises, Gil at Koan, Inc. and Eddie at Curb Entertainment, both of which suggested with the right budget and cast, the film would have no problem making profit even if on a limited theatrical release and VOD (Video on Demand). I also talked with Rick Eldridge from Reel Works Studios, Ygor Siqueira of Graca Filmes (Brazil) and Adam from Go Films about possible co-productions.

What are the 2 most important elements in Filmmaking?

Since its invention the film industry, like other industries, has undergone a number of changes from how films are made to how the films are viewed.  But throughout, what has not changed is a great story that connects with the viewers.

Some people would argue great dialogue makes a great film, but there are a large number of silent films that are timeless. Others would argue that special effects makes a great film, but one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen (Lifeboat by Alfred Hitchcock) had very little, if any, special effects. Another argument could be made that actors make or break a film, but the here again a case can be made for bad movies that have great acting and great movies with bad acting. The arguments could on and on.

In my opinion, the essence of a great film is a great story and the connection it has with its audience.

So why is it that most filmmakers focus on the peripherals of filmmaking like music, or the look of the film, or location rather what has stood the test of time? I don’t know the answer, and I have been guilty of getting too focused on the details and losing sight of the story, as well.

To this end, we should (or maybe just I should) conclude that the 2 elements filmmakers should spend their time and effort on are the story and the audience.  That being said, the script is my number one priority. Targeting the right audience for the script and making sure I get that story to them will be my primary concerns. Because without a great story, no one will care to see the film I created. And without an audience, a great story may never be seen.

GOAL 1: Create and craft a great story!

GOAL 2: Find out who is the target audience for your story. Research how that target audience consumes media. Connect with that Audience.

What I’m learning and doing…

Give people I trust the opportunity to read and comment on the script. This requires me to listen openly to their input and comments. I can feel really protective of the script, so listening with an open mind isn’t as easy as it sounds. Finally, I cannot be afraid to accept or reject any comment, regardless of how strongly the point was felt by the person giving me input. The strength of the argument doesn’t make the story better.

DO re-writes

DO a public reading

DO identify the target audience

Regarding the target audience – connect with the audience in the script stage, research blogs and media outlets where they go and build relationships.

What do you think is the most important part of a movie film? Let me know what you think and feel free to share any positive or constructive ideas you may have. I’m interested in your thoughts!

If you want to receive a notice each time I post material, as opposed to stumbling upon it somewhere, please register for updates over there →

Thanks

Crystal

Adventures of a 1st time feature filmmaker

Hello and welcome to the workings of my mind! Well, this is not really as much a blog or newsletter as it is sharing of thoughts, ideas, and the progress of producing a feature film for the first time (hence the catchy title).  As expected there are a lot of bumps in the rode to creating a film (some good, some not-so-good)  and I wanted to share this ride with anyone interested.  Weather you’re a fellow filmmaker, film buff or just someone who always wanted to know things like ‘What is a best boy anyway?’ These posts for you!

This is not intended to be a one way transaction. If you learn anything here or like what you read – PLEASE share it with others, or feel free to visit the entire site, or like my facebook pages, or tweet something about it, or leave a comment or get involve with Ark!

If you want to receive a notice each time I post material, as opposed to stumbling upon it somewhere, please register for updates over there →

Thanks

Crystal