It is important that we allow our passions and commitment to lead us.
2016 has been an amazing year so far. When I graduated from film school I took on the risky proposition to not only attempt to make my living as a freelancer in the competitive film/video industry but also to continue to pursue a breadth of professional roles both in film and as a photographer. There is a pressure in all industries towards specialization. But particularly so in film/video. Yet I continue to hear anecdotal stories of people doing their own thing, such as directors who edit their films and others who have forged their own professional identity. In school, I had worked as a producer, a director of photography, a director, and an editor. It wasn’t until after school that I began to get hired regularly as a sound mixer. My first job was unpaid, but my second one was paid and others followed. People seemed to like my work and enjoy my personality on set and so I began to feel like maybe I had found my niche.
At the same time, I continued to pursue my other creative interests, gaining experience as a camera operator and DP on ultra low budget narrative projects, working as a one man band shooting and editing videos for local businesses and taking photographs at family events and of our unique NW environment. I have always worried and will probably continue to worry that practical career interests will compel me to focus on sound. It is the one thing I have the most experience at and the most specialized equipment for. But I continue to find that as long as you are passionate and committed to your craft, you can indeed forge your own unique path. I think it is important to young people and to those starting out in a new field, to consider what drove your interest there in the first place. We all must consider long-term financial impacts our decisions may have on our careers. But it is important also to consider what we love doing. It is that love, that passion, that will drive our careers forward. If you are charging for something, you must be very good at it. And to move forward we must continue to hone and improve our craft. By this, we reap the benefit of rare skills and unique abilities. The good money comes after we have committed ourselves to something or some “things” we truly love. Passion and commitment are the pathways to success
What I continue to find is that if you have passion and commitment for your craft, even if it is in multiple areas, you will succeed if you apply yourself seriously and continuously. If you are a young person or someone starting out in a new field, consider what drove your interest there and hold onto that above all else. I think the worsed thing you can do is to settle for doing something you don’t love, or don’t love doing all the time. A diversity of talents can lead, not only to synergy but to practical skills in communication and problem solving.
The good money will come after we have committed ourselves to become really good at doing things we truly love. Passion and commitment are the pathways to success
In 2016, (and 2015) I’ve found myself working not only as a sound mixer but also as a director, DP, camera operator, producer, editor, and photographer. My goal for 2016 is to not only advance my craft as a sound mixer but to push myself to bring my skills in other roles up to a similar level. If I can do that successfully I might add acting and screenwriting into the mix. If it stimulates me professionally I say why not. Hopefully my peers and those who hire me will feel the same way.
I just purchased the Zaxcom ENG wireless system for sending broadcast quality sound and frame accurate timecode to camera. The audio signal is encrypted to ensure secure transmission of the signal for productions where security or secrecy are essential. On productions where time is of the essence, the high-quality signal sent from the sound mixer to the camera can allow syncing in post-production to be skipped. This can be essential in broadcast news and streaming applications. On narrative projects, the director and producers can review sound quality and performance on set during video playback. This can provide the production with confidence that a scene is, “in the can”, thereby avoiding expensive and risky ADR. The units are the Zaxcom TRX900s and RX900. I’m looking forward to using these units in the field in 2015 and beyond. (Photos by Travis Jordan).
I’m on the plane preparing to depart Ted Stevens Airport in Anchorage for my flight home to Seattle. Anchorage is a hotbed for film and culture. Or is at least well on it’s way. The folks in the Alaska film office are really friendly. I registered with them as a director, sound and camera guy. Sometimes in helps to have parents on Alaska. But heck, I sure miss them most of the year. I’m hoping my networking efforts will lead to work in the growing production industry in Alaska and throughout the Pacific Northwest.
I also enjoyed the lively theater in Anchorage. In particular off Broadway hit “Freud’s Last Session” at Cyreno‘s Off Center Playhouse in Downtown Anchorage. Me, my brother Wayne and niece Carmie all took in a day of skiing at the municipal ski area “Hilltop”. The slopes were mostly gentle which suited us just fine. It was the first time on a lift for Wayne and Carmie and my first time since 1985. At the end of the day we were all swooshing down the slopes like pros.
I really enjoyed the photo ops in the Chugiak Mountains near my parent’s home, at Hatcher Pass and on the frozen lakes. Hopefully I will have some more of those to share with you here soon.
As always Alaska, you offer so much and always leave me wanting more.
Hello friends. I’m trying out this new WordPress App on my new iPhone 5. I’m hoping that this makes it easier to blog while I am out and about, which is most of the time.
This is my brother Wayne Kleven at his office. He works as a manager at a Native owned fuel supply company, Northstar Gas.He’s been doing a great job helping keep costs down and quality supplies available year round. I’m so glad to see him doing something he enjoys.
This is my nephew Joren goofing around on Christmas Day. He’s a great kid and I love him a lot.
I pulled off the side of the road in Palmer Alaska to take in some of the amazing scenery. The Alaskan sun in December stays near the horizon all day long. This makes for some dramatic light and photo imaging opportunities.
This post is a test of both the WordPress iPhone App and the iPhone 5 photos on the blog. As you may know I work professionally with the Canon 7D and other higher end cameras. But since I’m on vacation now I will be interested in looking at these results. Hope you enjoy. Happy 2013! Let me know if you need wedding or portrait photography, or video services for business or production camera or sound services for film?
Hello friends. As I write this I am happily tucked into my parents cozy home in Anchorage Alaska. I was just up in the Chugiak Mountains near here taking in the lovely views of tiny Downtown Anchorage in the distance and the surrounding Cook Inlet. I hope to have some photos to share with you from this trip soon.
But the reason I’m writing today is about the upcoming free filmmaking and editing course at creativeLIVE. I’ve thrown my hat into the ring for the opportunity to be an in-studio student for the course January 14th, 15th and 16th 2013. The course will be taught by Jeff Medford and Ross Hockrow. Based on there popular CineStories trainings, the focus will be on narrative storytelling for live events and commercials. The course will stream free online. Please view and like my submission video and join me for this exciting course on the 14th.
I’ve enjoyed a number of the courses put on by creativeLIVE in the last several years. In particular the opportunity to be a student of Gale Tattersall, Lesa Snider and Skip Cohen. They provide an amazing service to the community of media content creators. You might enjoy this recent podcast from the folks at This Week in Photography where talk with creativeLIVE co-founder Chase Jarvis about the history and future of creativeLIVE.
Update 6/9/12: Thanks to all of the creativeLIVE viewers for visiting my website and checking out my blog. Day one on the show was really fun and informative. Skip Cohen has a wealth of knowledge that he has been so gracious to share. Good luck in your creative endeavors. On to day two!
(Original post) Okay, I’m not really an orphan. But I would like to be a student of Skip Cohen at the creativeLIVE studios on June 8th and 9th. No money is involved, all you need to do is watch and hit the like button on my very short video. After a lot of hard work I am finally gaining traction producing videos for business and corporations and work in film sets as a director, DP and sound recordist. But my long term strategy is to balance my work in the world of sound and motion with stills work. I’ve actually been a photographer for a very long time. I offer services as a commercial, event and portrait photographer. Even though I get a lot of complements for my work and am constantly upgrading my skills and gear I still have a lot to learn on the business side. Skip is known as a master of marketing and is sure to help me focus my energies in this area.
You can connect with Michael on the social media via the following links:
Last year my housemate turned me on to podcasts. Since then I have become hooked myself. Podcasts are free, informative and often entertaining. Most of my podcasts relate directly to film production, writing, pre-production, post and distribution. I want to share a few with you today.
The Art of the Guillotine from founder Gordon Burkell is focused on editing and post production. Whether you are an editor, a filmmaker or just interested in the process this is a great podcast to keep you up with what professionals are thinking. In particular I recommend the three part Canadian Cinema Editors Sound Panel featuring Jane Tattersall, Mark Gingras, Jill Purdy, Steve Foster, David Hayman, and Michael Doherty C.C.E. This series delves deep into a world particularly dear to me; post production sound. In my opinion high quality post production sound is one area that separates the average production from the outstanding. You can subscribe to there podcastThe Cutting Room here oniTunes. Art of the Guillotine on Twitter
Another awesome podcast for filmmakers and fans of indie film is The Q & A with Jeff Goldsmith. Jeff has a nice personal touch while talking with top players in the world of indie film. At the same time he still always gets to the point. Recent podcasts I really enjoyed were one with Indie Director and Actor Ed Burns talking about his new film Newlyweds. Ed describes how even a filmmaker of his stature is forced to make films for nano-budgets! On the positive he also describes how this may be a sustainable business model for indie directors. Another inspiring podcast was with Pariah writer/director Dee Rees. This podcast delves deep into her creative process for that film, how she went rose from Production Assistent to Director and exciting projects she has coming up. This podcast will be particularly interesting for those interested in screenwriting, and for that film in particular. Here is a link to subscribe to Jeff’s podcast on iTunes. His work is consistently an intriguing mix of personality and theory. Here is a link to the Jeff Goldsmith Twitter feed.
My third and final podcast Simply Scripts focussed on screenwriting and the business of screenwriting. Featuring Literary Agent, Babz Bitela of Silver Bitela Agency. Babz has a charming delivery while cutting through the BS and getting to the essential elements of story telling and script marketing. I have two scripts I am finalizing right now, GI Joseph & Mary and Grand Coulee. I really appreciate Simply Scripts for the way it shares important elements of the writing process. Her is a link to subscribe to Simply Scripts on iTunes.
This is a website for a short science fiction film I worked on this Spring. I was a Boom Pole/Sound Mixer. I also took some kick ass production stills during my breaks. Check it out. In talking recently with the director Dave Miller I believe the premier will be coming up later this Fall. The film was shot on 35mm film on $150 thousand dollars of professional equipment donated from Panavision. I was balancing things quite nicely with my Zoom H4N digital recorder, Senheisser ME67/K6 Shotgun Mic, K-Tek Boom Pole and Senheisser HD 280 Pro Headphones
Lucky is a “relationship representative” who saves prospective couples the time and drudgery of courtship by professionally standing in for one of the parties on a first date. She evaluates the level of likely interest in the other party on behalf of her client. In the year 2000, the use of relationship representatives has become so widespread, it is a near-certainty both parties are representatives standing in for their respective clients. Lucky finds herself in an unusual predicament and a role for which she never rehearsed, when she is assigned to meet with Lena Nigari, a young woman doing something unheard of — going on a date herself.
Check out this informative podcast episode from my favorite podcast Film Courage. In this episode Doug Block goes into great detail discussing how he went about creating and distributing several documentary features and his forum for documentary filmmakers The D-Word.
Me and Sandra Kleven, a writer and filmmaker in her own right, are currently in the process of developing our own feature documentaryJumping Russian Rope about Native Artist Neva Rivers, Hooper Bay Alaska and previously unidentified historical Russian influences on the Yukon/Kuskokwim delta of Southwest Alaska. Using remnants left from Russian explorers and traders in both the language and DNA and potentially a previously undiscovered shipwreck, our film hopes to push back by several hundred years the record of Russians in this region and greatly expand upon what is known today. In the process viewers will gain a unique perspective on the land and its people. Doug’s advice comes at a key time for us, as we pitch our film to potential funders, collaborators and participants.
Thanks again Film Courage, for rising above and beyond with the high quality of your coverage of indie filmmakers, their creative process and professional practice.
I really like this rebuttal to those who have been hating the new Final Cut Pro X. I first found this posted to the Facebook Page of my favorite podcast Film Courege. Be sure to check them out. I haven’t purchased it myself yet. But I feel confident after watching this video that I will be happy with my results. By the way, I have started a Michael Kleven Facebook fan page who those who would like more news about films I am working on, access to my photographs and occasional tidbits about my acting career. I hope everyone has been having a wonderful Summer with at least one good hike, family picnic or amazingly awesome vacation. We here in the Northwest must now prepare ourselves for 8 months of potential gloom. Actually from October to May we usually have at least 10 nice days. I really shouldn’t be so pessimistic! I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did.
From the videos description: “In this special Tekserve event, presented by Evan Schechtman of @radical.media and Outpost Digital, and co-sponsored by Manhattan Edit Workshop, we took a look at the history of digital video editing—with a particular focus on Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, and how this just-released software sets the foundation for the industry’s next big revolution.”