Archive for the ‘Principles & Productivity’ Category

The story so far… and your daily dose of inspiration

Friday, February 24th, 2006

A flurry of postings about this site by various people around the internet has led to an uptick in traffic. Greetings, newcomers. This site’s less than four months (and 50 posts) old, and if you’re new to Self-Reliant Film, allow me to give you a recap, a tour if you will, of some of the highlights.


Self-Promotion for Filmmakers: Do’s and Don’ts

Monday, February 20th, 2006

On this website and elsewhere, there has been a lot of talk, writing, blogging, and general carrying-on lately about self-distribution. It’s undoubtedly an exciting time for self-distro. Since promotion is part of distribution, it follows that self-promotion is an often necessary facet, at least at first, of self-distribution. And that is tricky stuff. Here’s a true story:


FresHDV’s Oakhurst Interview

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

Matt at FresHDV has been running a two-part interview this week with indie film/postproduction techie blogger Josh Oakhurst. Josh’s from-the-hip style suggests what might happen if you crossed that Mad Money guy on CNBC with a video engineer. This is my way of saying Josh’s energy can make some otherwise somniferous subjects (say, differences in video codecs) interesting.


Frederick Wiseman: Pro and Con

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

This year’s honoree of the ASC’s Award of Distinction is Frederick Wiseman. American Cinematographer‘s appreciation of his career is worth a read, and there are some great photos of Wiseman editing on his Steenbeck 6-plate. Wiseman’s a great filmmaker — probably one of the five or six greatest living American filmmakers. If you’ve not seen High School or Titicut Follies, add it to your to-see list.

Of course, if you haven’t seen any Wiseman films it’s not like I can blame you. Unless you’re friends with bootleggers, your best bet for seeing one is to go to a university library, which is about the only kind of institution that could remotely afford one of his movies: $400 per title. (That’s $400 per VHS tape, folks.)

This is the way Wiseman wants it, apparently. Here’s a quote from his company’s website:

I am a student/filmmaker/individual without the resources to rent or purchase a film. How can I see a particular Wiseman film?
We have the Wiseman films on deposit at several public libraries and archives throughout the United States. One of the largest collections is at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York City and Los Angeles. Patrons may not remove the films from the premises but there are video booths available to view films and television programs free of charge. If New York and Los Angeles are not convenient please call us and we will let you know if there is a library in your area with any of the films.

Wiseman is, of course, entitled to do whatever he wants with his work, but it seems at least a little hypocritical that the people he’s trained his camera on (the poor, those living in remote areas, etc.) are those that have the least access to his movies. I guess I expect more from a filmmaker who’s otherwise so sharp at seeing the relationships between people and institutions.

Gleaning at

Friday, February 3rd, 2006

I don’t think I know of any self-respecting independent filmmaker that hasn’t done a little dumpster diving in her/his life. (The best find: My friend Rob once reclaimed about a hundred unspoiled 16mm film prints of educational and documentary films, which a university library was throwing out. Mind-boggling.) If you’re too proud, watch this and get over yourself.

Anyway, this link’s for all you guys in New York.

And regardless of whether you use when you dumpster dive, don’t forget to whistle while you work.