Tag Archives: chicago films

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

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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.