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How To Blow Up Your Video Marketing Efforts

November 7th, 2014

Vidpow

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Jeremy Campbell Production Tool, product, resources , , , , , , , , ,

How a Friend’s Murder Led To Producing This Film

October 28th, 2014

WHO AM I 2

I recently had the opportunity to interview Thomas Williamson who produced and starred in the film “WHO AM I?” This film is a story  about two friends Sean and Darren growing up in Hackney, UK. Sean is determined to go straight, but instead he heads into trouble with his mate Darren who go up against a local gang member looking for revenge. This seemingly typical day for Sean and Darren ends in a way neither would have wanted.

You can watch part 1 of the film below, and read what Thomas had to say in our Q and A.

1. What’s the story behind you wanting to develop “WHO AM I?” into a film?

I was spurred on to make the films by my desire to raise awareness of gun and knife crime in London.

The day that one of my 20-year-old mates was stabbed to death it was an emotional turning point.

When that happened I thought, I’ve got to sit down and write something. And then I just did, rather than using professional actors, I sought out friends and local kids around Stoke Newington to take part to give young people and hopeful actors a chance they might otherwise never have.

2. Who is involved with the project?

O2’s Think Big called me up after seeing info that I was making it and I was awarded funding of £300 from them..

3. What kind of impact do you want the film to have?

“WHO AM I?” highlights the problems young people in urban areas face on a day to day basis, I would like to develop the film to raise awareness of gang culture which is prevalent on the streets of the UK.

4. What have been the biggest project challenges and struggles to date?

What has been a challenge is getting part 1 of my film out there more, and also starting part 2 of “WHO AM I?” as the camera setup I had tried, was to shoot the film from behind my back so I had to pull out of filming as it didn’t work so well.

5. How does your team collaboratively manage the project work flow?

I collaboratively manage the project on my own.

6. Do you have any tips or insights for producing a film?

Making a film is divided into three stages – pre-production (scripting, raising funds and planning), production (shooting the film) and post-production (editing, grading and visual effects). What you do before the camera starts rolling is as important as what you do on the day. Script and storyboard your film, make sure you’ve budgeted for all your needs and get copyright clearances for visuals and music – otherwise you might not be able to show your film in festivals or get distribution.

Probably the most important part of the process is writing the script – you can take the best actors and the most expensive kit, and still make a bad film if the script isn’t up to scratch. It’s also the cheapest part to fix, so take your time with it.

7. Part 1 of your film has been released, and you are now looking to produce Part 2, what do you need to make that a reality?

To make part 2 I just need to work on getting a quality cameraman, and a hospital for a scene which has been hard to secure as you might imagine.

We thank Thomas for his insightful answers for filmmakers to learn from! We also wish him and his team all the best with WHO AM I? going forward.

Enjoy this interview?! Great! Then subscribe to our blog via email as we will be doing more of these fun interviews in the future with other amazingly talented video creators, filmmakers, actors, writers, directors, animators and producers from our members on Spidvid.

And if you are a web series, TV, short film or feature film creator or producer and want your story and content featured here, then reach out to us and lets discuss.

Jeremy Campbell Lists, film, interview , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Really Frustrating Things About Filmmaking

October 24th, 2014

Frustration

Filmmakers inevitably face many challenges along their journey towards producing and eventually releasing films to a viewing audience. Below are 5 really frustrating things about filmmaking. If you have a 6th one to add, then feel free to post it below with a comment.

1. Rewriting your script dozens of times - Scripts are messy documents that never seem to really get done. If you aren’t almost sick of your script by the end of the editing process then you should likely edit it some more until you are. And don’t be afraid to share your script with others to let it breathe, and get different perspectives. Be ready for criticism, and if you don’t get any then you need to talk to people who will offer some, otherwise the end product won’t improve the way you want it to.

2. Raising money – Securing the budget you want for your film projects is tough. Pitching investors is hard, and hearing no time after time can be very disheartening. The good news is you may only need one or two people to say yes to get your projects green lighted. If you’re going the crowdfunding route make sure your content and rewards appeal to the backers you’re looking to reach. And a little street hustle doesn’t hurt either.

3. Spending money – Most of the time we enjoy spending money on ourselves and on the people we love. But when it comes to distributing funds into film projects it can be a very stressful process. You can budget all you want, but there are always going to be expenses that come out of nowhere and hit you square in the face going 100MPH! Be sure to allocate extra funds where you see the most risk. For example if you think you can shoot your entire project in 10 days, but worry it could go longer then it likely will so be prepared for that reality.

4. Running out of power – Batteries can be pricey to buy, but the more juice you got on set the better. Not being able to power your production equipment on set is a recipe for disaster, and will really piss off your entire team. Be professional, have multiple batteries that are charged up and ready to go at all times.

5. Wasting time – The larger your team on set, the more time that’s likely to be wasted. Making schedules work between many people is a tricky thing, so be sure everyone is on the same page so the collaborative process can unfold relatively smoothly. Communication and leadership are keys to success, so make sure the core of your team all have these two attributes. And ensure that everyone’s goals are aligned towards the common goal. And if someone is continually screwing things up then have the kahunas like Donald Trump to say “YOU’RE FIRED!” Pointing at them while doing this is optional.

Got a 6th to add? The comments are yours below!

Jeremy Campbell Lists, Production Tool, Rant, film , , , , , , , ,

Lily Tells Is a Killer Animated Web Series

October 15th, 2014

Lily Tells

I recently had the opportunity to interview Vincent Ethier and Bruno Mercure who are co-creators of the new animated web series, “Lily Tells.” Lily Tells is about a 6 year old girl who summarizes, in her own way, various trivial elements of classic movies including The Exorcist, The Shining, and Batman.

You can watch Episode 1 below, and read what Vincent and Bruno had to say in our interesting Q and A below.

1. What’s the story behind your team wanting to develop “Lily Tells ” into a web series?
We (Vincent Ethier and Bruno Mercure) have known each other for more than 20 years (since elementary school). We started making stop motion animations with Legos using a Hi8 camera when we were 10 years old, before it was even cool. A couple of years ago, Vincent made a short film that became the basis of Lily Tells. A young girl summarizing a movie that she should not have seen in 60 seconds. The animation technique was developed at that moment : mixing 2D crayon animation and stop motion. After seeing that short film in a film festival, Bruno joined Vincent in making a series with the concept.

2. Who is involved with the project?
We founded the animation studio and production company “Dans ta pipe” (which is a french expression for “In your face” in Québec) for the project. We are both movie geeks and creators who studied filmmaking and film production. Embracing the resources we had, we put together a really small team for Lily Tells. Us two, the talented 8 year-old actress Sienna Mazzone that was cast for the voice of Lily, Maxime Ethier who composed the music and performed it, and Olivier Houde who managed the sound and mixing.

3. Why was animation the chosen format for the series?
Animation came naturally. We wanted to tell the basic story of those movies but we had to change some elements; we had to distort it from a little girl’s point of view. That meant we would have to come up with our own visual materials and the easiest way to do that for us was animation. The type of animation came naturally too. We both are nostalgic of the traditional ways to make animation. We are not fans of flash-animation or CGI. So when it came to decide how we were going to do it, we chose things that fit with the world of a six year old girl. Crayons, macaronis, felt, etc. Basically anything you can find on a 6 year-old girl “arts and crafts” table.



4. What are the core goals for the series?

Since Lily Tells is Dans Ta Pipe’s first production, our main goal is to put our name out there and have as much people as possible see it.

5. What have been the biggest project challenges and struggles to date?

We had to do everything ourselves. So it took a year to complete the project. From script to promotion. I guess promoting the series is the most challenging step. We already launched the french version here in Québec, called “Camille raconte”. We had good support, and it received a respectable amount of views considering the audience we can reach. But it is harder for a French-Canadian crew to launch a worldwide web series, without having a small local audience to get off to a good start with.

6. How does your team collaboratively manage the project work flow?

Vincent wrote most of the scripts while Bruno corrected them and added his soft touch. Then Vincent made the animation and did the editing. Bruno was mostly involved on the production side of the project.

7. Do you have any tips or insights for producing a web series?

Web series budgets tend to be slim to non-existent so embrace the resources you have and develop around them to make sure you don’t burn yourself out, declare bankruptcy or end up with overly complicated ideas and unrealistic expectations.


8. Your series recently just debuted, where can we watch Episode 1 and what can we expect in the future?
We currently have 5 episodes in the English version and will release them periodically in the very near future on our YouTube channel (Danstapipestudio). We had the (incredible) chance to be financed by a private fund (The Independent Production Fund) to produce the first season of Lily Tells and are now working on finding ways to finance and produce other episodes. We are also working on multiple other animated projects that were offered to us after the release of the French version “Camille Raconte”.

We thank Vincent and Bruno for their insightful answers for web series creators to learn from! We also wish them and their team all the best with Lily Tells going forward.

Enjoy this interview?! Great! Then subscribe to our blog via email as we will be doing more of these fun interviews in the future with other amazingly talented video creators, filmmakers, actors, writers, directors, animators and producers from our members on Spidvid.

And if you are a web series, TV, short film or feature film creator or producer and want your story and content featured here, then reach out to us and lets discuss.

Jeremy Campbell Lists, Production Tool, interview, web series , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Johnny Dynamo Season 2 Will Rock Your World

October 9th, 2014

Johnny Dynamo Season 2

I recently had the opportunity to interview Joe Thomas who’s the Series Creator/Producer/Director of the hit web series, “Johnny Dynamo.” This series is about Robert Pierce Mitchell who was known around the world as JOHNNY DYNAMO, television’s toughest cop in the 1980’s. Now, 20 years later, Robert Pierce Mitchell is a forgotten man, living a quiet, uneventful life with his wife and daughter in a Nashville suburb. But three fans, young entertainment hotshots Meredith, Motlow and Stein have a plan to get JOHNNY DYNAMO back to the top. All they need is a little cooperation.

You can watch the trailer for Season 2, and read what Joe had to say in our interesting Q and A below.

1. Season 1 of “Johnny Dynamo” was a great success, is that basically what sparked an effort to produce Season 2?

We had always planned on shooting a second season, but a funny thing happened after Season 1 – We became somewhat successful! I had already started writing Season 2 based on the same 10-15 minute episode format. Then, I reached out to Terry Kiser (Bernie from Weekend At Bernie’s fame) and I asked if he would help us do a little promoting – I had worked with Terry on another project and we had struck up a bit of a friendship. Terry was 100% on board with helping out, but he suggested possibly coming on as a series regular. I really didn’t see a great spot for him and I made the mistake of asking him what type of role he was thinking about. He said, How about a mob boss? Well that pretty much changed everything, so I went back to the drawing board and reworked everything I was thinking about Season 2. From there, we decided to expand the episodes to a full 30 minutes. Of course, in expanding the episodes, the budget got bigger, the storyline got darker and did I mention that the budget got a lot bigger?!

2. Who from the cast and crew is back for Season 2, and what additions have been made to the team?

Almost every cast member from Season 1 is back and we’ve added about 20 more roles. As the story line grew, the need for additional characters grew with it. Currently, we have a cast of about 15 regulars and 20+ recurring roles. Along with the expanded episode length and characters, our crew has almost tripled in size. Ed Lamberg remains our DP and has taken on an expanded role as one of our producers. We’ve added Will Fulford to our camera crew and Hunter Dixon as our main gaffer. Ender Bowen and Danielle Richardson are working as AD and DIT. Mike Psanos, who handled audio for Season 1 is now doing all our post audio and Tommy Figlio has joined the team to handle our audio recording. Dennis Mareno is writing another project for us so I did all the writing for Season 2. Honestly, we have become a very well-oiled machine. For Season 3, we are adding even more to the crew with Katie Mamie handling set design and Leia Goodpaster taking on the wardrobe duties. Stacy Lockhart and Amber Cannon returned for Season 2 to handle make-up and hair. My word, we obviously pay too many people :-)

3. How do the goals for Season 2 differ from Season 1?

Season 1 was like one big, fat test balloon. We really didn’t expect the show to explode like it did so we never really had a chance to worry about monetizing it. We spent about 90K producing the entire season. For Season 2, the stakes are a whole lot higher. With a budget that has crossed the 400K plateau, we’re looking to actually recoup our investment. One thing we’ve learned between the 2 seasons is that the web series audience expects a quality product. The days of shooting 3 minute episodes with a Wal-Mart camera are gone. If you want to compete with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and the other usual suspects, you better put a quality product out there.

4. Has this new project been easier than Season 1 since the series is established, or have new pressures and expectations been created with the successes that Season 1 attained?

Is that a trick question? Obviously, the stakes are a lot higher for us in Season 2. We’ve kind of set our own bar a little high so the pressure to be bigger and better is pretty daunting. We feel like Season 2 is a whole different type of series. It truly is bigger and higher quality than Season 1, but then again I’m a little bit in love with our own product – I imagine our audience will let us know pretty quickly if we jump over the bar.

5. What can we expect from Johnny and his mustache in Season 2?

I hate to give away any spoilers, but Johnny’s mustache is history. But we’ve replaced the mustache with a mafia family, a hip hop record mogul, a girlfriend, a hotel room, a beating, and a mini golf course.

6. When and where can we watch a teaser or trailer for Season 2?

The trailer for season 2 was recently released, and you can view it below.

7. Based on the learning experiences from Season 1, what tips and advice would you offer to web series creators who want to also do a Season 2 of their show?

Yikes, well I think I’ve made just about every mistake you can make in putting together a web series, but I will tell you this:

a) Don’t take short cuts – make sure you have the budget to create your vision, and don’t let anybody tell you it won’t work.

b) If your series is a serial, be sure to leave the audience wanting to know what happens next – sounds simple, but truth is, long, complicated stories are really hard to make work. Keep it entertaining but simple.

c) PLAN AHEAD – Shit happens.

8. Where can we watch Season 1 to get caught up?

Oh, finally, an easy question – season one is free at JohnnyDynamo.com. And Season 2 will be released in its entirety shortly.

9. Any parting shots?

Sure, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. My DP told me one day, “You can’t flip the line”. I wondered for a few minutes what that meant, and then it occurred to me that I didn’t know what the hell ‘the line’ was so we shot the scene anyway – turns out it was one of the best scenes in Season 2. Mistake? Maybe, but it worked. Do what feels right – not what they teach you in line flipping school!

We thank Joe for his humorous and insightful answers for web series creators to learn from! We also wish him and his team all the best with Johnny Dynamo going forward.

Enjoy this interview?! Great! Then subscribe to our blog via email as we will be doing more of these fun interviews in the future with other amazingly talented video creators, filmmakers, actors, writers, directors, animators and producers from our members on Spidvid.

And if you are a web series, TV, short film or feature film creator or producer and want your story and content featured here, then reach out to us and lets discuss.

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