Archive for the ‘Principles & Productivity’ Category

Rest in Peace, Paul Newman

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Paul Newman died today. He was 83.

He leaves behind an incredible body of work, as both an actor and humanitarian. He will be missed.

That Newman was one of the greatest — and best-loved — actors this country has ever produced is not a subject for debate. Here is a quintessential late-career Newman moment, a nearly four-minute long take from The Verdict. Astonishing stuff.

Peter Broderick’s “New World”

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

This was originally pub’d in indieWire and is getting some linkage, but I’ve got to link to it too, as it’s an astute piece on old and new distribution. Some of it is common knowledge by this point, but it does feel more up to date than Mark Gill’s “sky is falling” speech a while back. Why?

Mark’s keynote focused on the distributors, production companies, studio specialty divisions, and foreign sales companies that dominate independent film in the Old World. Mark has many years of experience in this world. He was President of Miramax Films, then head of Warner Independent, and is now CEO of the Film Department. He sees things from the perspective of a seasoned Old World executive.

I see things from the filmmaker’s perspective. For the past 11 years, I have been helping filmmakers maximize revenues, get their films seen as widely as possible, and launch or further their careers. From 1997 until 2002, I experienced the deteriorating state of the Old World of Distribution as head of IFC’s Next Wave Films. After the company closed, I discovered the New World of Distribution in its formative stages. A few directors had already gotten impressive results by splitting up their rights and selling DVDs directly from their websites.

Read Welcome to the New World of Distribution.

Bruce Conner, R.I.P.

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Bruce Conner — avant-garde cinematic giant, co-founder of one of the first and most important film distribution co-operatives, and spiritual godfather to all youtube mashup artists (though most of them are clueless to the fact) — is dead at the age of 74. GreenCine is compiling links to obituaries and remembrances.

Valse Triste, a haunting film that draws on his midwestern childhood, is the film of his that most feels appropriate to watch today. You can find it on YouTube, but its quiet power is utterly diminished by the small screen.

So instead I offer this, the first film of his that I saw, which turned me onto his work: Mongoloid




The(ir) Sky Is Falling.

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Brian Newman of the Tribeca Film Institute has the best response I’ve seen to Mark Gill’s “The Sky is Falling” speech, the one that has the (film-centric) internets all abuzz. An excerpt from Newman’s post, which summarizes much of what I was thinking when I read Gill’s speech:

[N]either I nor the people making the music I like are in this game to make a lot of money….Same with most of the filmmakers I know – they are passionate about making films, want an audience and would like to just make enough to live on. The suits are in it for the major profit, and for them the sky is falling – it actually fell a long time ago, but all that dumb money kept the eyes glazed enough not to notice it. So, from the rest of us to all of you just joining us – welcome to our party, it’s not making us any money, but some of us are still finding what we want and having fun.

Click here for the whole thing.

Celtx 1.0

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Celtx, the free screenwriting/pre-production software, just launched its 1.0 version.

According to the press release, new features include: 

    1. Adapt To – a single click now converts a fully formatted script of one type into a fully formatted script of another – for example a Stageplay to a Screenplay – displaying instantly the multi-media potential of your work.

    2.  Comic Book – a new editor to write properly formatted Comic Books, and a common framework for collaboration between writer and artist.

    3.  iPhone – now view your Celtx projects from just about anywhere with a display optimized for your iPhone.

    4.  Catalogs – a new organization and searchable dashboard view of all your story’s elements and production items.

    5.  Sidebar – annotate and break down each scene with notes, media (images, audio, and video clips), and production items through an easy to manage, thoroughly upgraded new sidebar.

    6.  Project Scheduling – has been vastly upgraded to fully integrate with the script breakdown and provide a Call Sheet and a host of new shooting reports.

    7.  Storyboarding – you can now choose from a variety of ways to view and manage your images, create a storyboard outline based on your script, and add shot descriptions to each image.  

I’ll try to dig into this in the next few weeks and give a report. But first, I’ve got about 500 emails to reply to and some bags to unpack from my European travels.