Archive for the ‘Film making’ Category

How to get an Academy Award nomination – on a budget

March 3rd, 2010 3 comments

…When all the odds are stacked against you

My friend Rick Goldsmith has just received his second nomination for an Academy Award, this time for his feature length documentary “The Most Dangerous Man in America” which he made with Judith Erhlich.

Rick’s previous nomination was for “Tell the Truth and Run.”

That was back in the days when the web was young (mid 1990s.) Rick and I put together one of the first web sites built around a movie. The site looks pretty primitive now, but pioneering things often do. (We haven’t updated it in at least ten years, but it still gets the job done!)

It’s pretty amazing to get nominated for an Academy Award, even more amazing for it to happen twice.. especially for films made on a limited budget and on serious subjects.
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At last, a reason for HD: Prairie Home Companion

January 9th, 2010 No comments

I like the way HD looks, but for the longest time it seemed like overkill.

I mean do we really need digital transmission and HD quality on our television sets? Really?

But here’s a use of HD that is truly exciting: real time transmission of live performances to theater audiences around the world.

A variation of this has existed for a long time (ex. championship boxing matches), but this is a much more interesting use.

The next best thing to being there

The pioneer of this new approach seems to have been the NY Metropolitan Opera.

Make senses.

Opera is expensive to produce and it’s near impossible to take a Met show on the road which means hard core opera fans (and there are few thing more hard core than a hard core opera fan) were deprived of the Met experience.

Prairie Home Companion is another logical candidate

Much of Prairie Home Companion’s charm is the fact that it’s a LIVE show, but of course, a live show can only be in one place at a time.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of fans listen to the show on the radio every week. It will be interesting to see how this works. I have a feeling it will be a hit. It’s great to people watch, eat popcorn and laugh along with a good show.

Writers strike

November 2nd, 2007 2 comments

I happen to be in LA this week so I’m seeing lots of new about the looming writers strike.

Writers on strike?

Believe it or not those charming airheads on the tube don’t write the words that come out of their mouths. A back office of writers keeps the game going.

Now those writers are on the verge of walking off the job. Their complaint is that they’re not receiving compensation for DVD sales and other digital repackaging of their work.

Is this really a big deal?

Yes it is for two reasons, one micro and one macro…

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Further adventures in disposable video

December 9th, 2006 16 comments

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the first disposable video camera. It’s been out for a year, but was unknown to everyone I’ve talked with about it.

Too bad because it’s a big breakthrough in video. Put down your $29.95 and walk away with a camera that has a built-in hard drive that will store up to 20 minutes of pretty good video.

But it gets even better…

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Coming full circle

December 5th, 2006 1 comment

Sometimes it takes a long time to turn a buck on an idea…

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Give it away smart – Advice for film makers

September 22nd, 2006 3 comments

I have a lot of friends who are filmmakers. I even worked briefly in that industry myself. Who knows, I might even get back into it.

I wrote this piece specifically for a magazine for documentary filmmakers, but I think the advice could be helpful to anyone who uses video to sell.

Give it away smart – Advice for filmmakers

Twelve years ago, I organized and sponsored the first conference on the
subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web.

Our sponsors and supporters included Pacific Bell, a then-obscure
twenty-person company called Netscape, the International Interactive
Communications Society – and  the National Alliance of Media Arts and

Why did I make a special effort to get independent film makers involved
in this formative effort to kick start the Internet revolution?

Two reasons:

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How to shoot a video testimonial

August 1st, 2006 7 comments

A friend wrote me saying that he is at his wits end about video testimonials.

On the one hand, his customers are ecstatic with the training he provides them (he’s a top horseback riding instructor), but on the other hand, they freeze up when he tries to capture their excitement on camera.

Getting good video testimonials is one of those things that should be filed under the category of "Looks easy until you try it."

Here are the challenges you face when you try to get video testimonials and how to overcome them…

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No more big pictures?

March 7th, 2006 2 comments

From the print version New York Daily News (3/6/06) – A column by Lloyd Grove

Star Wars maker George Lucas believes the days of the big budget blockbuster Hollywood movie are over. He points to two factors:

1. The quality of "small movies"
2. Old fashioned artithmetic


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Breaking the four minute mile

March 3rd, 2006 Comments off

My hat’s off to a production crew in India that recently wrapped an entire
feature film in just  two hours and fourteen minutes.

"Wrap" means to totally complete the production phase of making
a movie.  Normally feature films take weeks to shoot. Sometimes
even months.

There’s a lesson in this for all of us…

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