Archive for the ‘Basics’ Category

A New Coat of Paint

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

To overstate the obvious, there’s a new look here at SRF.

As I prepare for the premiere of my new film, Quick Feet, Soft Hands, I have been doing some re-tooling of the Lovell Films website. Since I was already spending hours digging around in web design apps it seemed like a logical time to revamp this site as well. SRF has looked the same for nearly two and a half years, which is ages in cyber-time. I, for one, am happy to see a change.

As for the content, nothing’s changed. Self-Reliant Film is the same ol’ website you know and love.

The only difference of any significance is that I’ve tried to create more of a bridge between this site and the Lovell Films site, which promotes my own film work. There was a kind of design schizophrenia going on between the two sites — they didn’t look like they represented the same person, and the links between the two were virtually hidden. The links certainly not hidden in real life — the blogger and the filmmaker are one and the same — so I’ve tried to address that a little with the nav bar at the top.

So, that’s the main difference. If you’re compelled to explore the Lovell Films site, go for it. And if not, I hope you continue to enjoy what you find here.

Ok, enough about the re-design.

Coming soon: The remainder of my long-delayed reviews of Apple Color training tutorials.

ADDENDUM: Oh yeah, one more change: You may notice that the banner of the site has been shortened from “self-reliant filmmaking” to “self-reliant film.” That’s what I call this blog, that’s what most other people call this blog, and that’s the URL of the blog. So it was time to have the banner actually use the proper name.

SXSW 08: Blogs, Buzz, and Buddylists

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

This afternoon I’ll be moderating the Blogs, Buzz, and Buddy Lists panel at South by Southwest. If you’re in Austin for SXSW, stop by. You’ll see:

Karina Longworth: film blogger, Spout.com

Victor Pineiro: Writer-Producer, “Second Skin” – premiering at SXSW

Ian Schafer: CEO, Deep Focus

Alison Willmore: Film blogger, IFC.com

… along with yours truly.

And if you don’t catch the panel, I’ll be in town through Wed blogging about the screenings and panels I attend. Drop me a comment or email and we can connect.

UPDATED: Two more sites that we discussed on the panel today:

All These Wonderful Things

The Workbook Project

Woo-hoo! Spring Break! Time to… Study?

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

All filmmakers are, in some way, students of filmmaking (I know I am), but this one’s for the REAL (i.e., in-school) student filmmakers out there:

Some of us are starting spring break today, while others will be enjoying spring break later this month. Assuming you’re not already using this time to make a movie this week, here are some ways to spend your time if you’re unable (or uninterested) in traveling to Cancun, Panama City, or wherever it is the kids go these days. No excuses — any of these suggestions can be done on a budget:

Read your camera’s manual! Seriously. I’ve met a lot of people that have never read their camera’s manual. You might be surprised at some of the things it’ll do. After you read it….

Take a daytrip for inspiration! Get out of your apartment and explore your area. Take your camera and shoot some location scouting shots. Already got some inspiration?

Work on that script you’ve been meaning to write! Visit your local library, take your notebook or laptop with you and don’t leave until you’ve written a few pages. And while you’re there…

Catch up on film history! Check out (literally) some of the greatest films of all time. Blockbuster probably doesn’t have them, but your library might. And get some books while you’re at it: Bazin and Sarris are your “beach reading” this week.

And for extra credit:

Teach yourself filmmaking software! There are a ton of ways to do this. Here’s just one of many: Lynda.com’s excellent Final Cut Studio tutorials are all available online, and for $25 you have access to every single one of them for an entire month. That’s enough time to learn enough about Final Cut, Compressor, Motion, DVD Studio Pro to move you to the head of your class.

The most precious resource for us filmmakers isn’t a camera or even money — it’s time. If you’re not already making a movie this week, use this week to recharge your batteries. Literally. Then go shoot. If filmmaking isn’t just a hobby, it’s your compulsion, I can almost guarantee that in ten years you’ll look back and consider this time better spent than doing tequila shots in front of MTV’s Spring Break camera crews. At the very least, you’ll remember more of it.

Film Preservation Manual

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Chris Cagle over at Category D recently posted information about a film — as in 16mm, 35mm, etc. — preservation manual he found online. For me, this is perfect timing. Just this week some librarians at Virginia Tech asked Stephen Prince and me to look at our 16mm collection to assess what should be kept and what should be thrown out.

The guide, authored by the University of Washington, is clearly geared to librarians (one chapter title: “I Found Motion Picture Film in My Collection — Now What?”), but it’s a useful (and free!) resource for anyone that has (or has access to) film prints.

You can download it here.

Documentary Interviewing Techniques

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

… from a surprising source: ESPN.

John Sawatsky, ESPN’s senior director of talent development, has tutored reporters, anchors and producers around the world. Since 1991, he has devoted all his time to teaching interviewing to professional journalists. ESPN asked him to assess the prospects for the upcoming “60 Minutes” interview of Roger Clemens.

Sawatsky’s assessment amounts to a lesson in interviewing technique (and rips Mike Wallace to shreds in the process). Fascinating reading.