Archive for the ‘Blog-related’ Category

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.

Self-Reliant Film on Facebook

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Via the new “network blogs” tool Self-Reliant Film can now be seen on Facebook. If you’re on Facebook, click the link above and join the page.

In addition to seeing some of the other readers of SRF, the SRF feed will start broadcasting on Facebook as soon as a four more readers (like you) join up and confirm that I am, in fact, the author.

Best Film List, By Alphabet (x 2)

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Chris Cagle at Category D tagged me for the Alphabet Meme.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.*

2. The letter “A” and the word “The” do not count as the beginning of a film’s title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don’t know of any films with those titles.

3. Thanks to some clarification by The Siren, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number’s word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under “T.”

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that I can eventually type “alphabet meme” into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the King of Google.

6. If you’re selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

I have rejected Cagle’s new guideline that with foreign titles one should “rely on the original title if in Roman alphabet, the translated title otherwise.” This rule had me making even more tough choices than I wished, so I threw it out. I’ve cheated, in fact, by using foreign titles or translations whenever it helped with difficult letters, tough choices, etc. My guilt is nil.

And to make the choosing even less painful, I have created two lists: One satisfies the theme of this website, the other lists more general favorites. Of course, MANY of my favorite films — a ridiculous number of them beginning with the letters “M”, “T”, and “G” — are left off of both lists. And if a film got listed on one list, I tried to list a different film on the second list.

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Fassbinder)
Black Ice (Brakhage)
City Lights (Chaplin)
Dance Party USA (Katz)
Edvard Munch (Watkins)
Frownland (Bronstein)
The Gleaners and I (Varda)
The Hours and Times (Munch)
Isle of Flowers (Furtado)
Jo Jo at the Gate of Lions (Sjogren)
Killer of Sheep (Burnett)
Last Chants for a Slow Dance (Jost)
Meshes of the Afternoon (Deren)
Night of the Living Dead (Romero)
O Dreamland (Anderson)
Pather Panchali (Ray)
Les Quatre Cents Coups (Truffaut)
Rome, Open City (Rossellini)
Shadows (Cassavetes)
Thirteen (Williams)
The Unchanging Sea (Griffith)
Les Vampires (Feuillade)
The Whole Shootin’ Match (Pennell)
Xala (Sembene)
Zorns Lemma (Frampton)

Harrill’s list:

The Awful Truth
Best Years of Our Lives, The
Chinatown
Diary of a Country Priest
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Fly (Cronenberg)
Grand Illusion
The Hours and Times
Isle of Flowers
Jacquot
Killer of Sheep
Love Affair
The Mortal Storm
Night of the Living Dead
Ordet
The Parallax View
Les Quatre cents coups
Ruggles of Red Gap
Starship Troopers
Tender Mercies
Unforgiven
Vivre Sa Vie
Woman Under the Influence
Xanadu
Yi yi
Zero for Conduct

Finally, I want to hear from David Lowery, AJ Schnack, Darren Hughes, Alison Willmore, and Karina Longworth.

The Election: How Filmmakers Can Help

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a filmmaker with access to a video camera. Video The Vote needs people like you and me on Election Day.

What’s Video the Vote? From their website:

Video the Vote is a national initiative to protect voting rights by monitoring the electoral process. We organize citizen journalists—ordinary folks like you and me—to document election problems as they occur. And then we distribute their footage to the mainstream media and online to make sure the full story of Election Day gets told. Watch our 2006 highlights and join us as we Video the Vote this November.

If, like me, you find yourself in a swing state this year, you might feel like it’s especially important to be a part of this.

It takes less than a minute to sign up, and you can volunteer for just part or all of Election Day. So get involved. And spread the word to your filmmaker friends.

Finally, if you’re not sure why such an organization even exists, check out this interview between Bill Moyers and NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller. Warning: Viewing this will keep you up at night.



cicadas on PBS in New York, OR: How to Write a Press Release

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Because of this website, I receive press releases on a daily basis from a multitude of PR firms. It’s clear with many of them that the sender hasn’t spent more than 5 seconds thinking about the audience for this website. Some of these are pretty unintentionally funny: My favorite media alert is probably the one about a re-recording of a jingle for canned beans by a Country music recording artist. But I digress.

The point is, few notices get my attention. And even fewer do I end up writing about. When I receive a notice like the one quoted verbatim below, though, I try to act on it.

Why? Four reasons:

1) The thing being promoted sounds interesting.

2) The people that read this website might be interested in it too.

3) The thing being promoted sounds as if it could use my help as far as promotion goes. I tend to favor humble affairs, not stuff with a big advertising budget. (In case you hadn’t noticed by now.)

4) The release sounds like it was written by an actual human being. You’d be surprised at how rare this is. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

Oh yes, I’m sure Kat Candler’s email breaks all sorts of “rules” about writing press releases. But I have noticed that there seems to be a direct correlation between points #1-3 and point #4. In the end, the result is that, Candler’s email not only makes me want to see this movie — it makes me want to tell others about it.

And in my book that’s a press release that works.


cicadas 

cicadas
Screening on PBS in New York
Saturday, 7/19, 11:55pm
Sunday, 7/20, 4:25am
WNET, Reel 13
http://www.bside.com/films/cicadas

Long ago, I made this feature film called, cicadas. We shot it over the summer of 1999 in a tiny, tiny town called Bertram (population 835). We shot the film on a Canon XL1 back when mini-DV was brand spankin’ new. Over 6 weeks, Thursdays through Sundays a cast and crew trucked out to the middle of nowhere Texas to make a story loosely based on a crush I had at age 16 on a skater punk kid.

The summer of 1999 was one of the best summers of my life. We had no expectations, no grandiose ideas of making it big … we just wanted to make a feature film just to learn how to do it. And what came out of that little film was a family of friends, a super fun summer and a little movie that could.

The film went on to win some audience awards at festivals, get picked up for distribution and then dropped by distribution. And then picked up again for distribution.

If you have friends in New York who like to stay up crazy late or can record stuff to their VHS or DVD players, pass this along. It’s fun to share your heart with people. Even if it’s super rough around the edges and frayed along the hem line.

***

One other thing to note about press releases. For me, whether or not I write about something is also a matter of timing. Some days and weeks I’m slammed. Some days, a notice will come in and, if I’ve got a few spare minutes, I’ll throw something up on the web. People that are paid to blog full time probably work differently, but that’s how I roll.

As always, thanks for reading. And if you’re a filmmaker, don’t be afraid to see if I can cover your film. Just don’t be hurt if I don’t.