Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Found Footage 3d Screening

For the found footage genre to survive some people are going to have to take risk. This film, Found Footage 3d, was a risk and so far if word of mouth can be believed then that risk has paid off. Check out the trailer and try to check out one of the upcoming screenings.

You can visit the official site by clicking here.   

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


“I counsel you, put down in record even your doubts and surmises. Hereafter it may be of interest to you to see how true you guess. We learn from failure, not from success.” ― Bram Stoker, Dracula

Before we begin, if there is anyone who wishes to do a guest blog post about a film project that they are working on you can contact me by leaving a comment at the bottom.

Now we are going to look at the learning power of failure. Film making unlike almost any other endeavor, is an exercise in trial and error. You get take after take to get a scene right. Before it was very expensive when film was used, but now with digital cameras and audio recording we can try and try again until perfection is found. The video that I would like to show you was shot around 2011 and the film maker made a ton of mistakes that he is happy to share with us.


 You as a film maker can help other film makers by recording behind the scenes footage and going over what worked and the mistakes that you learned from. One of the best interviews that I ever did was with a found footage film maker who made the mistake of shooting with multiple cameras and while not using the same frame rate. The editing process turned into a nightmare that took months rather than weeks. Always keep in mind that low-budget filmmaking is about learning a process. It is more difficult than big budget filmmaking because we can not solve every problem that pops up by throwing money at them. This a business where learning is everything. As the technology changes, you should learn and adapt along the way.

Good luck guys and please take a moment to share this post on your google plus.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016



What qualifies me to give the state of Found Footage film making address? 

Have I ever made one? 

God no.

 Would I make on? 

Sure, but not in the horror genre and not pure found footage. 

Now back to the address. I am qualified because I spend almost an entire year writing a book on the subject. I interview dozens of low budget filmmakers for the book and sat through almost two hundred found footage films. I am a found footage war vet. I am the American Sniper of found footage films. When one is about to come out I get sent trailers and screening passes. I watch the trailers and never go to the screenings. Well until I got a pass for the new Blair Witch. I try my best to encourage film makers and rarely criticize them, but in this case... WHAT THE HELL? Scream, fall down dead and get dragged away. Lucky we have multiple cameras present or else we would not be able to scream, fall down dead and get dragged away some more and more and more and again. We are talking Eat, Sleep, Suplex, repeat.


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  The state of found footage on the big screen comes down to this that during the last three years the only film maker who cracked the code (I am from Philly and have seen the guy) is that legendary waster of movie goers time and studio's money M. Night. Yeah, The Visit points us in a direction that we needed to go if we are going to save this genre for future generation to suffer through. It works because it broke the unwritten rule about death. The leads do not have to die. The kids in that film survive because they behave like human beings, not puppets, when trouble strikes they actual use reason to survive it. I suppose that the lesson from the Visit takes us back to the first Blair witch Project. The movie is character-driven. The kids drive the film in the same way that heather drove the events in The Blair Witch. These two movies also have natural humor. Think about both films and I would bet that you can recall every major character in the films. Can you do that with any other found footage film? Maybe Paranormal activity, but come on there are only two real people in the first movie. Perhaps character driven is the way to go save this genre. 


  Found footage films are still films. To make a good found footage film you have to go out and make a good film that happens to be found footage. Go found footage only if it enhances the story like in the movie End of Watch. Remember there is also the footage film where no one was harming during the making of the film. With the ability to shoot world class footage with a smartphone the possibilities are endless. To conclude this post I believe that going back into the past to try to copy the success of the Blair Witch Project was a tactical mistake that will hurt the genre in the short term while looking into the past for inspiration in the form of another new film could be part of the answer.  Operation Avalanche.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Film School with Werner Herzog and Other Filmmakers

Film School with Werner Herzog and Other Filmmakers

I have mixed emotions about a director who has on many occasions put the lives of his cast and crew at risk. I have mixed emotions about a director who is fond of hiring Klaus Kinski to carry more than one film. His daughter Nastassja would be another story, but Klaus was a talented actor who was under the best of circumstances a lunatic. 

Back to the subject of this digital film making post, Werner Herzog is offering you a chance to learn from the master. You can learn film making from him in a course that he offers. If he is one of your favorite film makers I would jump at the chance to learn from him if I were you. Hitchock use to teach film when he lived in LA. and I would have killed for a chance to sit in his classroom. 

 Let’s first have a look at who this film maker is. 

Now 10 questions for the famous film maker.

Next the trailer for his course. You can find a link to the course by clicking on the trailer.


 When I want a master class of film making I watch a great film. I visit the film makers who understood that film and art could walk hand in hand. Not every artist realizes that they are making art while it is happening, but there are a few who know it and still manage to do it well. Here is a glimpse at the work of one such film maker. The class can be found in his few films. YasujirĂ´ Ozu was an amazing film maker who understood stillness and shot (for you camera buffs) almost totally with a 50mm lens. He chose this because this comes closes to the human eye.


Thank you for visiting. Now go out and find a great filmmaker and study them whether they offer you an actual course or a few films as a masterclass. Good luck and remember to share this post on your Google plus and to follow me there. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016


 A few weeks about I found myself at a screening for the film Conjuring 2. I did not want to be there because I did not love the first one and the sequel rule (sequels usual suck) was ringing in my head, but I went because it was free tickets. Well it turned out that I loved the sequel. It was a much better film that the first and I chalk this up to the fact that the filmmaker had improved since the first film.

 I give the filmmaker most of the credit because I thought that the first script was better than that of the sequel, but not nearly as well shot. Filmmakers like athletes should get better with practice. They should learn and grow. This thought made me consider doing this post. Let’s begin with Saw. He directed the short film version as a pitch for the feature. Something that many micro budget filmmakers have done. 


 Next came Insidious, a very effective horror film. I did not like the last act, but still a good film. 

I think that horror is like composing music. Hitchcock described suspense that way. He would imagine himself as a conductor and the audience his orchestra. There is a rhythm that a good horror movie must have. When it is there you do not notice it and when it is missing you find a thousand things wrong with it. For me the Conjuring has a great many good scenes, but lacks rhythm. While the sequel has nearly perfect rhythm.



 Thank you for visiting my blog. Please share this post and if the Conjuring 2 interested you as much as it did me take a few moments to check out my new ebook on the story behind the script, the Enfield Poltergeist. You can find it at itunes and Kobo and B&N, click image below. Good luck with your filmmaking.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


There are those in Hollywood (the Industry) who believe that they have figured out the concept of micro budget filmmaking.

 There are those who went to film schools and worked on big budget films who believe that they can drop down and play in this digital filmmakers world. A few filmmakers have mentioned to me that they are worried about an invasion from the big boys as if the Avengers are going to show up armed with Dslr cameras and Zoom recorders. I wish that they would. They would not last long out here on the frontier. You know, down here in the fields where we fight for our meals.

Before I continue I want you to take a look at a fantastic video that was posted on what a 200 million dollar budget looks likes.


 Can you imagine those pay checks? I am a screen writer and I do not think that the writer is worth that much money up front, especially if you wrote any of the last mega budget super hero films. I could produce and distribute five feature films with name actors for what the script supervisor gets paid. Then again all of us would love to hit it big with a micro budget film so that Hollywood would come knocking and throw a few million at us.

 Look at it this way, the industry list micro budget as 250,000 dollars. That is their floor.

Now let’s look at what is meant by low budget film making and then micro budget. I would like you to picture it this way. If a film shoot was a date, low budget is burgers at Five Guys, without the bacon or cheese and micro budget is grilled cheese sandwiches at your place, the bread is the dollar loaf for the dollar store and the cheese is that orange stuff that is 99 cents a pack in the supermarket. You know the cheese they do not even have to keep in the refrigerators. All real micro budget film makers know where to find this bread and cheese because we feed it to our cast and crew.



Bonus footage:::: Here is sort of a Ted talk for the producers out there. I love this advice and let us all remember that producers are people too and they are the ones with all the grey hairs.

Thank you for visiting my site and please take a few moments or better yet a few hours to share this post online. You can post it on facebook, you can add it to your Google plus you and even go twitter or pick up the phone, call someone and say hey I just read a great blog post. The guy who runs that blog is amazing and we should buy all of his ebooks on film making and if we can’t afford it let’s leave 5 star reviews on B&N and Amazon to convince others to buy them.

Get going with GoDaddy!

Saturday, April 9, 2016



When you purchased your dslr it either came with a kit lens or just the body only. As you developed as a filmmaker you most likely added a few lenses.

 This post if for those of you who maybe neglected to do this and are now scrambling to add a few more. There is a thinking that if you are ever given the choice between a really expensive camera and a low cost lens r a cheap camera and a high end set of lenses the real film maker will spend money on the lenses. My response to this is that spending money is wrong. You are a micro budget film maker. You buy nothing brand new and you only spend money after begging and waiting for the seller to die fails.

The first thing that we are going to look at is a tutorial on what lenses and why we need them. It ends with prices for certain lenses. They are in the five hundred dollar plus range. Please ignore this. We are low budget digital film makers. We cannot afford that kind of money. Five hundred maybe the budget for your whole feature after camera cost.

 Now let’s look at some low cost lenses. We are talking under one hundred dollars.

Do you feel better about lenses now? No. What do you mean no? I did not mention camcorders.Well I do not know as much about camercorders and lenses. This is ancient and buried knowledge known only to the Sith, but I will give you my own advice. My camcorders are Canons. The vixia series and the Hv series. This is what I can tell you. All of the Hv cameras and most of the Vixia cameras have threads for lenses. If you gave me one hundred dollars to spend on one lense and I do not have a depth of field adapter then i would get a Raynox 6600 lense. It is a wide angle lens that gives you a kind of depth of field if you light well. also it travels well. You can go indoors and outdoors with it.

 Thank you for visiting. Plese take a moment to share this post on your google plus and to follow me. I want to leave you guys with the trailer for the new Star Wars film, Rogue One. I do not hate the fact that Disney is going to make a Star Wars film every year nonstop or until one flops. I feel like they are making up for the five or six films that Lucas did not make for the hardcore fans (he made Willow instead). Also I know what some of you are thinking before I post this Rogue One trailer, this site is about low budget film making and what is up with the Star Wars love. There is a movie or a series of movies that made each of us consider for the first time the idea of making movies. For me it was Star Wars. I am that little boy again everytime that I hear that intro music.


 Two crowdfunding campaigns I want to share. They are fiends whom I have interviewed in the past and they are raising funds for their new projects. If any of you want to do an interview about your project and crowdfunding campaign you can let me know by leaving a comment and I will get back to you.

 Visit the Joker Rising/ City With Two Faces Campaign. click here.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Fan Films are the Sith

There is a great new fan film that I want to talk about today. Darth Maul, Apprentice. I have to say I liked this little film more than Star wars Episode one which it would serve as a prequel to. 

Let's face it, a great many film makers got into the business shooting fan films. You could make the argument that Raiders of the Lost Ark is a huge fan film based upon chapter series from the thirties and forties. 

The film making is just as difficult as if you were shooting a film that you were planning to market and the love and care involved is far greater because all that you get in the end is to see the finished product. I have been a Star Wars fan for most of my life and there is probable a Star Wars fan film in me if I can ever find the money and someone who can pull off playing Ahsoka as a grey Jedi. 


  Back to the subject of this post. A fan film can become a digital film making classroom if you approach it the right way. The built in limitations of both character and situation will make you a better screen writer. The requirements of set and situation will force you to be inventive. You will have to learn to construct sets and do special effects that you may have not learned how to do otherwise.

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  Below is a bts video of the fan film. I know it is in German. 


  Thank you for visiting and I am still looking for showreels and acting reels for the page that I am adding.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Behind the Scenes Hateful Eight and Campaigns

Been super busy with projects big and small.  I love this blog, but finding time for the next few weeks is going to be hard.
Right now I would like to share at little bts from the Hateful Eight. I have mixed feeling about the movie, It brought back memories to see a movie shot in actual 70mm. it is stunning on the big screen. Many of you have seen the Hateful 8 by now, some of you love it, some hate it and some like me have mixed emotions about it. It looks like a Spaghetti western, it is bloody like one, but is too talky to be one. Also it was of course not shot in Italy by an Italian film maker.

Watching this film makes you want to grab that western script from the back of the dresser drawer (I have three such scripts) get some 70mm (really 65) camera equipment and shoot a modern masterpiece. Then you find out that you are gonna need 20 to 30 grand for the equipment and another 30 to 50 to process and edit the footage. Without a massive kickstarter or indiegogo campaign that ain't happening.

Let's look at some bts footage from the Hateful 8.

Now a scene from the movie.

The last thing I want to mention about the movie is the cast. I think this is the best job of casting that Tarantino has ever done. It is almost a perfectly balanced cast. I had forgotten how good Jennifer Jason Leigh was and this film is probably her best performance.

Thank you for checking in and please take a moment to bookmark this site and to check out these two kickstarter campaigns I have been following. If you have an upcoming campaign. Let me know and I will be happy to post a link in a future post. If the campaign looks really interesting maybe we will do an interview to go along with it.