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.
In 2008 Canon released the Canon EOS 5D and shortly after the Canon EOS 7D. Little did they know that these high end photography cameras would shake up the world of indie filmmaking, documentary journalism and television production. The cameras had originally been designed so that photojournalists would have the option of shooting some video while they were on location shooting stills. With sensors as large or larger then 35mm film and a vast array of high quality and low cost lenses available these cameras have quickly become very popular for creative applications. A typically “cinema camera before costs anywhere from to $35,000 and $200,000 or more. These cameras cost anywhere from $800 to $2,500 depending on the make and model. Gale Tattersall the Cinematographer of HOUSE MD and FROM EARTH to the Moon, gave a presentation on the foundation of filmmaking with these cameras at the creativeLIVE studios in Seattle on July 8th, 9th and 10th of 2011. I was fortunate enough to be one 6 students with a “golden ticket”. Please enjoy these behind the scenes and instructional photos. I think Gale can help people like me take our Cinematography to the next level.
Workshop Behind the Scene and Educational Photos Day 1
Some of the topics covered included proper camera settings for filmmaking, camera rigs including proper use of fluid head, sliders, follow focus and the glidecam. Gale described some of the complexity that went into the shooting of the season 6 finale to HOUSE “Help Me” with the 5D. Later we applied our skills with the new gear following some talented swing dancers. Please click on the image to see other photos. A full screen option is available on the lower right side of the frame.
Workshop Behind the Scene and Educational Photos Day 2
On day 2 we got a proper introduction to lighting units and some experience lighting a Psychiatrists office in both night day and nighttime settings. Later we discussed shot selection and creative options using shallow depth of flied and camera movement to capture the complexity of a scene and to enhance it’s dramatic impact. Shooting for the edit was discussed as well. Please click on the image to see other photos from day 1. Full screen option is available in the lower right hand corner.
Gale Tattersall @ creativeLIVE Day 2 – Images by Michael Kleven Workshop Behind the Scene and Educational Photos Day 3
Day 3 was much more hands on for me and my classmates. We discussed a number of interesting low cost lighting options for indie filmmakers. Some of which can be made at home with common materials purchased at a local hardware store. We filmed a good cop, bad cop interrogation scene and discussed ways to maintain a high level of craft and artistic integrity even when budgets are small. Gale entertained everyone with the complexity of lighting a bull ride for House at an indoor rodeo at 1600 frames per second. Gale is a very classy gentleman and a committed educator. He and his assistants Steve and Jason really brought it. The folks at creativeLIVE were super fun to work with and made sure we all had a good time while learning a bunch. They offer live feeds of their classes for free. In these days of rising education prices you can’t beet them apples. I hope to work with them more in the future.
Here is the link to the course from Gale on HDDSLR on the creativeLIVE website. They list more about the course their and information about gear used and other resources. If you have a chance check out the rest of my website. I make my living with wedding, event and portrait photography, wedding and event films. I produce commercials for small business‘ and non profits. On the creative side I am available to filmmakers as a Cinematographer, Director, Producer, AD, Production Manager or Boom Pole/Sound Recordist. Keep me busy. I love to stay busy! I am currently helping complete a short film called Reminisce. Future projects include a documentary film about an Eskimo Artist Neva Rivers and a family drama called GI Joseph and Mary.
Link to HDDSLR course information at creativeLIVE
This is Michael Kleven’s 1st music video. Ending to Dhoom is now available for viewing on both Youtube and Vimeo. The project was a collaboration between me and James Whetzel the lead singer of Seattle indie rock band Das Dhoom. James also appears in the video as “the boyfriend” and again singing and playing the traditional Indian instrument the sarod. Deepayin Archarjya appears in the video playsing the dhol and Sebastian Lange is seen in the video performing on the violin.
This work would not have been possible if not for the creative contribution of members of Seattle’s indie film, fashion, dance and photography communities. The video was shot primarily on the Canon EOS 7D. Leave it to say that I love that camera. My editor Sanjeev Tandle provided some interesting effects to the footage and some interesting creative choices, influenced no doubt by his experience working on Bollywood features. Lead actress Ronee Collins is a veteran of Northwest stages and Indie films including my award winning film MARCELL. The “other man” was played by Bjorn Whitney. Local model and actress Stephanie Raven was “the new girl”. My AD Patricia Bennet helps manage her husbands photography business when she isn’t working on film projects. Her husband Patrick helped out, with shooting on the fire sequence. Additional cameras for this sequence were provided by Mike Gurley of Canon Camera. Amalia Cuthbert was our principle dancer. Will Carson was our stunt coordinator and primary fire breather. Jennalee Evavold, (I know, quite the name), was our animator. For the scene where James enters the water this was necessary lest we forfeit our PG 13 rating.
The two versions differ slightly. The Youtube version can be viewed at full 1080 and has 10 seconds of additional credits. For the Vimeo version we cut the credits back a bit and did some extra effects work on the footage where James enters the fantasy with the dancer, (Amalia). The scene with James and Deepayin was filmed in the water tower at Volunteer Park. The scenes with Ronee and Bjorn were filmed on the monorail, outside of McCaw Hall at Seattle Center and in the conservatory at Volunteer Park. The silhouette scene with Sebastian on violin and Amalia belly dancing was filmed near Marshall Park on Seattle’s Queen Ann Hill.
Page 91 has an interview Michael Kleven completed in the Summer of 2010 with Seattle Poet and UW Professer David Wagoner regarding his relationship with the seminal literary figure Theodore Roethke. My mother, writer and artist Sandra Kleven & Seattle filmmaker and DJ Omar Taboada both deserve credit for their work on this project. This interview was an outgrowth of the short film we did about Roethke: To The Moon. I am planning to direct a long form documentary film about Roethke and his influence on his students life and growth as artists. This film will be based on my Sandra Kleven’s writing and research done in conjunction with her studies at The University of Alaska Anchorage. In 2011 she earned an MFA in Creative Writing at the school.
I was at the event she mentions in her blog. Actually two panels hosted by Seattle’s chapter of Women in Film. One on Film Financing and the other on Film Distribution. I filmed an interview with Scilla Andreen from Indieflix a few weeks back. I find the whole idea of making money very interesting. Especially for making films which are art.
Other good news. Me and Wenda Zonnefeld share a silver medal for our collaboration on “Marcell” from the Park City Film Music Festival. Here is the posting:
Silver Medal for Excellence in Original Music for a Short Film for the film MarcellComposer(s) Wenda Zonnefeld / Director(s) Michael Kleven
I need to learn how to use Kellie’s good advice now that I am an award winning filmmaker for Marcell! I am currently wrestling with pulling my films from Youtube and Vimeo and selling them, or learning how to give them away more successfully. My music video Ending the Dhoom is about to release. I am in love with it. But it cost more to make then I was paid. I’ll find it hard to remain a full time working artist unless I can find a way to change that trend soon!
Thomas Beale Cipher: How to Launch your film: www.tiny9.com/u/9841
My film “Marcell” was recently selected for the Film Music Festival at Park City Utah! This is indeed a great honor for me. My composer Wenda Zonmefeld deserves special props not only for her compelling score but for completing the ardues application process. With this Marcell qualifies for an IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1893281/ This film was inspired by Marcell Ivanyi’s insurmountable short film “Wind”. Marcell was originally filmed in an industrial neighborhood near South Lake Union in 2009. I want to give a shout out to the members of my cast. Michael Brill has worked with me on a number of productions since our first meeting that day. His craft continues to guide. Ronee Collins recently completed shooting the Ending to Dhoom music video for me. Expect to see her stunning performance shortly. David Reyes worked with me on “TacoMan”. Filmed in the Summer of 2010 in Tacoma. Craig Stratton and John Elkin my classmates in film school, continue their careers as filmmakers here in Seattle. The film could not have been made without the intelligent guidance of filmmaker Sandy Cioffi.
Check out indie producer Mike Ryan’s guest post on the Hope for Film blog on indieWIRE. In his view indie producers who used to be like Rock Stars are now more like Jazz Artists. This is somewhat disheartening for me as I continue in my efforts to develop several feature documentary and narrative features. On the other hand he points out that this may lead to a return to a focus on artistry and integrity in indie films. That’s a refreshing view point and I hope my films can attain the highest level of legitimacy once developed and released.
During the recent Meetup of Seattle’s DocuTalk@911 indie producer Nadeem Uddin shared his own experience producing Bhopal: The Search for Justice amongst his other films. I was so impressed with his own commitment to difficult topics that I began to recommit myself in my efforts to produce The Stanley Mute Project. This is the film about an Yup’ik artist incarcerated under unbelievable circumstances by our Western standerds and his odyssey and that of his people.
In my perspective earning a living wage with some creature comforts is acceptable. If I wanted the Hollywood lifestyle I would have gone Hollywood years ago anyway! During another recent Meetup of King County wedding vendors I began to feel more confident in my own abilities in making a living at my day job as a photographer, videographer and production crew. Creative work in this area will support my efforts as an indie producer/director. Please look around my site and let me know if I can help you out in any way. Then give Mike’s post a good read!.
Check out the link below for some valuable advice on how to use Kickstarter to fund your film project, (or other creative endeavor). I have a couple of projects which may get the Kickstarter treatment soon. One is a music video with James Whetzal of Das Dhoom fame about all of the interesting city and town names in Washington State. The other is a documentary about incarcerated Alaska Native artist and family friend Stanley Mute. You can see some of his work here on my mother’s website: http://www.heartworksak.net/
And for more on Kickstarter check out John August’s blog.