Tales of Creation at the Garden State Film Festival

GSFF _Postcard_Front

My film Tales of Creation is going to be shown this weekend, Saturday April 2, at the Garden State Film Festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Congrats to Victoria Guthrie, Eric C, Bailey, Stephen Long, Lenny Gonzalez, Jenna Payne, Jil Guyon, Celeste Hastings, Christine Coleman and everyone else who worked on the film! If you’re in Atlantic City Saturday afternnoon, check it out!

Garden State Film Festival



Big News

AriaHaven’t been updating the site lately, because I’ve been very busy getting to know the cutest baby in the whole world, our beautiful daughter, Aria. She’s five months old, and every day she brings new joy and fun to our lives.



Kim Production Diary: Making a Budget, Fundraising and Business Plans

Kim Production Diary

Been crunching numbers lately, but before I go on, I’ll define a few terms for those unfamiliar with the intricacies of film production.

Pre-production is the time spent preparing the film before the actual shoot, this includes writing the script, hiring the crew, auditioning, casting, and rehearsing the actors, finding locations, rasing money, and whatever preparations we need for the camera crew and the art, props and sets.

Production is the time when the cameras are rolling and we’re shooting the picture.

Post-Production is everything that happens after the shoot. Editing, composing the music, doing the sound design and sound editing, festival submissions, marketing, and distribution of the final film, etc.

At this stage of Pre-production, Leeah and I have been working to finalize our Budget, Fundraising Plan and Business Plan, three essentials for proceeding with the production. With these three key components, we’re trying to answer these questions:

The Fundraising Plan: how are we going to raise the money for Kim?

The Budget: How are we going to spend the money once we get it?

The Business Plan: How are we planning to make the money back once the film is made?

Investors and funders will certainly want to see the Budget and Business Plans before they contribute money, but they’ll probably also be interested in seeing the Fundraising plan to make sure that our plans are solid and we’ll be able to raise the rest of the money for the production.

As we finish up the Budget, some of the issues we’re facing are trying to nail down the locations and the costs for the locations, deciding the size of the crew we’ll need on set as well as the length of the shoot, and deciding how many paid pre-production days we’ll have for the actors, the art department, and camera crew. We also need to include money in the busget for post-production or be forced into a second round of funding after the film is shot, as well as a little extra contingency money for unforeseen emergencies (usually about 10% of the budget).

Our Production Consultant, Jenna Payne, has been invaluable to the process, providing us much needed insight and guidance as we nail down the numbers. With her experience and expertise, she’s helped us cut expenses and helped us stay realistic in terms of what things will actually cost.



Kim Production Diary 3

Kim Production Diary

As I mentioned in the last post, Elle, our Production Designer, is beginning to work on images for pre-production. She delivered her first group of pictures this week, and they are AMAZING! They really capture the look I am going for.

Here are a few of them, you can see more on the Kim Website.

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We Found Our DP for Kim

Matthew Boyd PhotoWe’re very happy to announce that Matthew Boyd has joined the crew of Kim as Director of Photography. Matt is an award-winning Cinematographer who has worked on 13 feature films and over 30 shorts. Originally from Connecticut, Matth got a B.F.A. in Cinematography from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Films he’s shot have been gone on to award-winning success on the festival circuit and on television.

Matt is smart, dedicated, and talented, and we’re very excited to have him on board. I know I’m personally looking forward to working with him to craft the look and feel of our film.



The Art of Dreaming Reaches 1500 Plays

AoD 1500 PlaysIt’s been a slow and steady haul, but I’m happy to say that people are still watching my last film, The Art of Dreaming, and today it reached 1500 plays on Vimeo.

If you haven’t watched it yet check out out here: Watch The Art of Dreaming



We’ve Hired a Producer!

Progress on my new movie, Kim is proceeding. We’ve just hired a Producer, Leeah Odom.

Leeah has spent the past three years working her way through the New York entertainment industry. In between producing gigs, she has worked in every field from television distribution to on-set dresser to Art office PA. She has produced a number of shorts. Kim will be her first feature.

We’re very excited to have Leeah on our team. She’s got a lot of energy and a lot of great ideas. I’m sure she’s going to be an invaluable asset to us as we move forward.

Look for more announcements soon!



Weaving A Different Magic

I saw Richard Linklater’s new film Boyhood over the weekend. In case you don’t know about this film, it tells the story of a fictional boy’s life from the time he is six years old to eighteen. The unusual thing about the film is that it was shot with the same actors over 12 years, so in the course of the 2 hour and 45 minute film, we watch the actor playing Mason age from a young child to a young adult. We also watch all the other actors age around him.

It’s a remarkable work of art, for so many reasons, but I want to talk about it in relationship to the so-called “rules” of good screenwriting.

In a previous post, I talked about how good drama involves working toward a goal against obstacles, but also how, other than that, the standard rules of a good screenplay are artistically limiting. (By the ”standard rules,” I mean, put simply, that in a good screenplay, the protagonist must have both an overarching goal and some growth that needs to be achieved. The obstacles the protagonist faces are such that the he or she must achieve that growth in order to successfully reach the goal).

Most every how-to-write- a-screenplay book buys into this notion, and even people like John August and Craig Mazin, who in their Scriptnotes podcast are usually pretty insightful about screenwriting, subscribe to it.

But, as I stressed in that previous post, this is only one type of story among many that you can tell in film, and I encourage every one to use their imagination, honesty, and life experience to free themselves to the possibilities of other stories.

This is what Linklater does in Boyhood. There is no over-arching goal providing the main thrust of this movie. In individual sequences and scenes through the course of young Mason’s life, there are goals to be achieved, but what provides the forward thrust of the film isn’t any overarching goal, but the cinematic magic of seeing Mason grow up before our eyes. That provides a sense of wonder and melancholy and even spiritual wisdom that is far removed from the usual goals of traditional, mainstream screenplays.

If that same script had been filmed with different actors playing Mason at different ages, that magic would have been lost, and the script would seem mediocre, but this doesn’t mean the script is lacking anything that would have made it better. As with Russian Ark (a 90 minute film shot in one continuous take), the means of creation becomes as vital to the power of the film as anything. And creating some kind of overarching goal for Mason would have diminished the impact and truthfulness of the film, which remains honest to the rhythms of a young boy’s life.

That is real magic, and it reminds us that film can accomplish many different things and tell many type of stories. Don’t let you imagination be limited by the rules others set for us!



My Editing Career

You may not know this, but in addition to being a writer/director of my own films, I also work as a freelance editor.

I’ve worked for many talented filmmakers, including Jenna Payne, Boman Modine and Sammina Sammi. Right now I’m finishing up work on a short called Loss by writer/producer/actress Jessica Kaplan, and directed by Dave Carroll.

I’ve just updated my Editing Reel page, you can check it out here:

My Editing Reel

Keep me in mind when you need an editor for your next project!



Zompire Vixens From Pluto!

ZompireLogoZompire Vixens from Pluto is a campy and fun web-series being written and produced by my friend, Jenna Payne, who also produced my mini-feature, The Art of Dreaming.
Foxy zompires invade Brooklyn in retaliation for Pluto losing intergalactic aid after it was demoted from Planet status.

Last spring she presented a live stage reading of the first 6 episodes, and now she’s releasing one episode per week as we approach Halloween. I helped out by handling the editing on these 6 episodes:

Check it out:

Zompire Vixens on Youtube



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