Archive for the ‘DIY Filmmaking’ Category

It started with a tattered box…the making for FOR MEMORIES’ SAKE

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Today begins the first postings by Ashley Maynor on our film For Memories’ Sake. (She’s the director; I’m the producer.) Take it, Ashley….

It’s Christmas 2005 and I’ve begun the crazy whirlwind of travel that results from being part of a Southern, Catholic family and a child of divorce. My grandmother, Angela Singer, who always gives the most unique (if utterly bizarre) gifts, often salvaged from garage sales or Dollar Store specials, surprises me with a tattered cardboard box. Within the box is a ratty paper bag, and within the bag a treasure trove: 79 3-inch reels of 8mm and Super8 home movies.

I had begged Angela for months to see if she could find her home movie collection, which I knew must have been buried in her house in Cheatham County Tennessee. What once housed nine children and all their things (most memorably for me: potato guns, slingshots, and dirt bike helmets) is now a cluttered mess of papers, mementos, newspaper clippings, and photographs that document time gone by and its slow, continual creep.

Having deciphered Angela’s handwritten labels, organized the reels as best I could, and researched home movie transfer houses, I sent the films off in late 2006 for a low-cost telecine transfer. The films came back to me in digital form and I began to cut up and reconfigure these celluloid relics of time immemorial using a Macintosh Powerbook and Final Cut Pro.

After expressing such a fervent interest in the home movies, Angela keep digging and presented me, piecemeal over the next year, with more and more documents: over 130 VHS-C tapes of home video, dozens of photo albums from the 1990s, her latest photographs on CD-rom, baby books, photo collages, and so on. In sum, what began as a modest attempt to preserve a few precious films turned into an unexpected discovery of the immensity of Angela’s film and photo stockpile and an involved (if unintended) campaign to protect and preserve as much of her archive as possible.

My next post will discuss how I learned (taught myself, really) to preserve Angela’s “archive” and how I began shaping this raw material into something that I could use to create For Memories’ Sake.

New Final Cut Studio released: Yawning and Gnashing of Teeth Ensue

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Apple announced a major (i.e., “you have to pay for it”) Final Cut Studio upgrade yesterday. It doesn’t have a flashy name like “Final Cut Studio 3” or anything like that. They’re just calling it Final Cut Studio. Kinda like The Velvet Underground calling their third album… The Velvet Underground.

As most readers know, I’m a fan of Final Cut, so it’s a big deal to me when a major upgrade of the software is released. (more…)

LED Lighting Units review

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

David Tames of Kino-Eye has just posted a great review of four professional LED lighting units under $1K.

I really trust David’s insights on technology (not just tools, but how to use them), and I’ve been looking into acquiring one of these units myself, so this helps a lot.

For Memories’ Sake

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

The last couple of months have been pretty darn busy, so blogging has taken a backseat. I’ve been working on a few different projects — some writing, a DVD of two short films, and some tests with a new camera. And I got married — eloped to Walden Pond, to be precise. It’s been good to have some downtime from the blog, but now I’m back.

I’ll have some more information about some of these projects of mine later this summer, and I’ll be making some changes (hopefully good ones!) to Self-Reliant Film as well. But for now, I want to announce the launch of the For Memories’ Sake website.

For Memories’ Sake is a new half-hour documentary directed by my wife, Ashley Maynor. I’m the film’s producer and, though we’re still in the latter stages of post-production on it, I have to say I’m about as proud of this movie as anything I’ve been involved with.

In the coming days, as we complete the movie and prepare it for distribution, Ashley will be blogging on SRF about some of the things that were involved in making the film. Until then, I encourage you to become a “fan” of the movie on Facebook and check out the aforementioned website.

No Budget Film School this weekend…

Friday, May 29th, 2009

I’ve written about Mark Stolaroff’s No Budget Film School before, but he’s holding a two-day class this weekend in L.A. that looks like it might be interesting. Guests include Peter Broderick, Alex Holdridge, Jay Duplass, and others.

If you’re in L.A. and interested in no-budget filmmaking, this is probably worth a look.