WMM Film Geeks 013—2013-07-20

Film Geeks Unite!

we’re back with our signature writers’ workshop on Wednesday at the Theatre Asylum.
one of the runner-up pieces from our last script competition has just finished production this week. “Agnes” by Amanda Lippert, was produced by Elan O’Connor with some assistance from RED Studios and Reducation-X student Denton Kukahiko. Amanda played Agnes, Sam Mestman directed and the rest of the cast and much of the crew were filled up with We Make Movies members and Reducation-X students.

NFMLA’s July Program is tonight at their really cool new space in the AT&T Center downtown. the first shorts program starts at 6:30 with a 6pm reception and there will be one more shorts program and a feature screening before the end of the night. there will be a fair amount of WeMakeMovies people there, so go to newfilmmakersla.com to get your tickets. it’s lots of fun and you have to see their new digs if you haven’t yet.

Elon Musk, the man who co-founded Paypal and Tesla Motors and founded SpaceX, has been talking about something he’s calling a “Hyperloop” – which is to be some kind of ridiculously high-speed people mover that will be able to move people up to 600 miles per hour. so for instance people moving on a this hyperloop would be able to get from Los Angeles to San Fransisco in 30 minutes. well apparently he tweeted on Monday that he’ll release the design and that it will be open-source. this dude is like a modern day Tesla – no wonder Musk named his car company any him. he’s clearly a fan and he’s clearly following in Tesla footsteps.

It’s Comicon weekend. Where nerds, geeks and dorks from all over the world head to San Diego CA, to put on costumes, awkwardly ogle 1/2 dressed booth babes and sit in lines for hours just to see that one actor that was in that one episode of Star Trek: Enterprise and maybe get a picture (for $20).The highlights: There are rumors of a Man of Steel 2 or even Justice League movie announcement. Footage from Amazing Spider-Man 2 was screened. Trailers for Riddick, Kick Ass 2 and Walking Dead Season 4 were released. Riddick actor Vin Diesel teased an upcoming announcement. It looks like he’s joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (aka Avengers, Thor, Cap, Iron Man, you know, those guys). Look for news on that in the next month or so. Lastly, but not leastly, the pilot for Agents of Shield, the Marvel Cinematic Universe spinoff tv show, was screened. The response seems to me overwhelmingly positive. Be careful though, there are spoilers out there on the net. For those of us not there, a great online resource for all things Comicon this weekend (comic book and pop culture related) is bleedingcool.com. Check it out.

This week the guys were practically forced to watch a movie called Upstream Color, written by, directed by and starred filmmaker Shane Carruth. Verdict: They respect it, but it was NOT a film they would ever watch by choice or watch again. Just not what I like as an audience member. But the things that were great about it—the cinematography, the editing, its thought-provoking nature—prompted me to do a little research on the film and the guy. Shane Carruth has only ever done this movie and Primer. The crazy thing about both of those films is that they had micro-budgets (Primer was made for $7K, and Upstream Color couldn’t have been much more) but just through direct, on-demand and streaming sales, Carruth has managed to make over $400K on both of them. In case you’re bad at math, that’s a profit ratio of about 55x the investment. Which is fantastic! If you could do one of those a year, that would be enough to live for you, the actors AND the twenty-odd crew you’d need to make the films.

How did Carruth market this movie? He is doing what most of us want to do: making a LIVING—not millions, but a LIVING—making movies.
Todd Spangler posted an interesting article on Variety.com a few days ago about how several of the content providers who’ve started with YouTube new paid subscription service aren’t very happy.  http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/youtube-pay-channels-arent-taking-off-yet-some-partners-say-1200563548/

Back to the world of Comicon. BTS footage and the first trailer for the new Veronica Mars movie have been released. Here’s the youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LVJhjV3EOY4 For those not in the know, Veronica Mars was a WB/CW show about a teen girl detective. A new reunion movie recently destroyed crowdfunding records via Kickstarter. It’s releasing in 2014 with a limited theatrical run and via VOD and online channels. So that gives you plenty of time to catch up on the 3 seasons of the show. Give it a shot, you won’t regret it.

http://www.tubefilter.com/2013/07/18/machinima-paid-subscription-service/ — the YouTube channel Machinima is seeking another round of investment funds and they’re saying that it’s for the creation of a paid subscription service. note to geeky fanboy writers out there: get your series pitch together NOW. or better, start production on it immediately. if Machinima is successful, they will need the content.

chad’s spotlight: “i want to talk about the bottom line. in October 2007, i launched a web site called lastdaysjournal.com – it was the world’s first social network for survivors of the zombie apocalypse and it did quite well during nearly the entirety of 2008. i was averaging hits in the 2-to-3 hundreds per day and would occasionally spike for one reason or another, but the truth was it was an extremely interaction-poor site compared to what’s available now nearly six years later. i manage a site for a friend of mine who’s band is doing quite well by most standards. their first full-length album is almost a year old now and they’re touring all over the world, but i watch their analytics and their numbers are only barely better than what lastdaysjournal used to be back in 2008. the point is that the goal posts for what is possible are constantly changing. knowing whether or not you’re surviving at any given point in time is relatively easy – you just have to look at your bank account to see how much is in there – but what about tomorrow? and what about projects you haven’t even launched yet. how can you tell if they’ll support you – or if they’ll lead to something that will provide for you. that’s the bottom line. you need to be honest with yourself. if you’re creating a facebook or a twitter, you can absolutely live off nothing and worry about nothing but adoption for a while – and by adoption, for all you non-tech-geeks out there, i mean how many people are using your app or web site. just like on YouTube or at really anything else right now, if you have millions of people using your app or site or product, you don’t necessarily have to charge them. perhaps like google or facebook, you can gather all of the data that their usage of your product gives you and then sell that to advertisers. or you can sell the tiniest little opportunity to people who want to reach your audience. the question is does your price multiplied by your user-base, also known as your audience, does that pay your bills or no? is it the kind of business model that looks like it’s going to last? these are the questions you need to ask yourself as you put your plan together – and be honest with yourself. you do NOT have to give up your dreams to be happy and successful, but you DO need to dissect those dreams into the individual, honest component parts that can make them attainable. that’s the bottom line.
Warner Bros. vs. Marvel Studios and what WB is doing wrong that Marvel gets right everytime.”

The boys talk relationships. Agnes came together because of relationships. That’s the thing about the We Make Movies community—it’s not JUST networking, we actually get out there and, you know, make movies. But in addition to that, We Make Movies (primarily Sam) has been cultivating a relationship with the guys over at RED studios. And Denny, the DP of Agnes, was in REDucation. So they were shooting with RED equipment and lighting that was totally free. And they were given access to private property owned by RED the company and individuals within RED. Those relationships helped take the film from the level of “”good”” to the level of “”amazing.””

Now, the important thing about relationship building is: you have to actually do it. There are TOOONS of filmmakers, even actors or crew members, who will go through the early part of their career without actually building any relationships. They’ll work on sets, often at cut rates or for free, and they’ll do good jobs. But if no one reaches out to them, they fade from memory. Build a conscious relationship and try to maintain it. Start cultivating relationships. Make it about more than work. Try to have events that you can invite people to. Friend them on Google+ or Twitter or Facebook, but don’t just “”friend and forget””—interact with the people. Make it a point to check in on them at least every couple of days, and communicate with them. That’s what relationships are really all about, after all, is communication. This really gets into networking, but that term is douchey. Build relationships with people you like and want to work with again, because you never know where they’ll end up taking you. 

This Wednesday, the 24th of July, is the next We Make Movies Wednesday workshop! Come on by to the Theater Asylum at 7:30pm.
speaking of Elon Musk, his space travel company SpaceX posted a video a couple weeks ago of a rocket that shot up 325 meters – that’s over a 1000 feet – and then landed again, facing straight up. it’s very cool to watch – just go to youtube.com/spacexchannel and look for the Grasshopper 325 meter video. very cool.