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.
Alice: A collaboration with filmmaker Amanda Murphy.
As a filmmaker myself this film helps points out the power of collaboration. So often our creativity becomes stymied. We focus on future gigs, new production and editing software, new cameras. We forget that the reason we started this process was so that we could create and collaborate with other artists.
The production plan for the camera department was largely improvisational. My approach to the production was similar way I approached my Dutch Bikes piece; to discover the essence of a “process”. Of course more goes into it then that. Amanda and I are both graduates of the film program at Seattle Central. I should warn folks that some of the shots in this film may be difficult to view. For my part I am impressed with it’s overall quality. Amanda edited the piece nicely.
The project was filmed in Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle Washington. The camera used was the Canon EOS 7D. The lenses used were the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and the Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6.. Lighting was achieved through practicals. The music is from Nine Inch Nails Ghosts I-IV released by Trent Reznor under a Creative Commons license. I was attracted to the interesting decorations found around the studio apartment and included some of them in my shots. Amanda was a brave and talented performer/filmmaker.
The film program at Seattle Central is scheduled to end forever in 2014, barring an economic miracle. I am still holding out hope that the program can be saved. Perhaps with closer integration and a sharing of resources with the existing photography program and the schools Creative Academy? It would be sad for future students to miss out on an opportunity to create. Seattle’s art, film and media communities will miss the yearly influx of talented technicians and artists.
In Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People, we are introduced to the power on unconditional positive regard, the golden rule or basic human civility on our public relationships. In retrospect it is odd somehow, that we must be educated into thinking that treating our peers with respect and decency is the way to go.
To our modern eyes that book might at first seem childlike and simplistic. It is divided into four parts. Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People describes key social behaviors we can employ in getting others to help us while seeming to be helping themselves. In fact the key here is to develop a strategy by which both efforts are synonymous.
Part Two, Six Ways to Make People Like You, describes techniques that will improve how people respond to you and how to improve the impression you make. In part Three: How to Win People to Your Way of Seeing Things, we learn techniques we can employ to get others to do what we need them to do while helping them to complete meet their personal agenda.
Part Four, Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment describes ways in which empathy and compassion can be used to guide and support others in meeting a mutual end. This is so important in business as we hope to influence clients, employees and associates to match their behavior to the needs of a mutual enterprise.
My company, Aesthetica, Film, Photography and Video, deals with three or four offerings which together require a sophisticated approach to a potentially diverse client base. I’ll go through these areas one by one in order to describe the ways in which Dale Carnegie’s ideas may best be put to use in this context.
My company approaches Film in two distinct ways. One is as a company offering individuals to fill crew positions we need to emphasis client/contractor relations in contract negotiations, honoring of contracts and in supporting the overall health of productions within the roles we are contracted to perform. This means that we must achieve a relationship of mutual respect and support. Techniques for doing this include providing a supportive and attentive regard to details, while maintaining proper professional conduct and business professionalism.
Our other involvement in Film is in the development of feature narrative and documentary projects. This is where Mr Carnegie ideas become most important. Knowing how to create a positive mutual environment is crucial in every stage of the project, from planning meetings, to investor relations to cast and crew camaraderie production efficiency post production planning and follow through, to marketing and distribution. All these steps require a positive, trusting environment be nourish and maintained.
Photography can be very personal for people. We are all concerned about our image is perceived and how we ourselves perceive it. In retail photography we are often dealing as much with how we make people feel about how they look as with how they look. On the commercial side making clients feel that their wishes are being met, even while we express our vision. Along the same lines as in film is maintaining a professional relationship which allows for proper professional etiquette, payment and respect.
Video production can be complex. From preproduction planning, to production and then final delivery the clients needs intermingle with the professional and personal needs of the production company. Creativity and the creation of a commercial product lead to a complex relationship wherein artistic and commercial elements are intermingled inexorably.
From the creation of proposals, to script and storyboard approval, to the negotiation of contracts, to the recruitment of crew and the casting of talent the video producer must act as both the representative of the clients needs and the commercial and artistic needs of the professional staff. The bottom line remains customer satisfaction and professional relations. The production company must always guard against individuals and entities which will seek to defraud it of it’s real intellectual property. Dale Carnegie would argue that it is the astute business person that works in turning the potential enemy and adversary into an Allie and partner in business and creativity.
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 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.
Watch this and other fun slow motion videos on from filmmakerIQ.com .
In my continued conquest of the Seattle Indie film scene i had the distinct pleasure to work as a sound technician on the presentation reel for the film “Cut the Rot”. My good friend and fellow thespian Jon Peck is DOP on this project. Although the call was 7 to 12 PM we ended up shooting until 5AM. Oh well, everything for art! I’m back in school also. Taking some courses at Bellevue College in order to round out my film education. Two of the courses I am really excited about are Business of Film and Video and Digital Cinema. More on that later. BC has a number of excellent film classes taught by professionals with long careers. Not as intense as the film and video program at Seattle Central but something can be said for learning from those who have been there. By that I mean no disrespect to the instructors at SC. They are awesome too but in a much different way. Alright, it’s 6, time for bed.
Dateline Bothell: Late braking news from Sundance. The Indie is Back! Or is it? In this informative piece by Hammer to Nail Blogger Michael Ryan we learn what Sundance liked this year, what distributors thought about this & what this might mean to fledgling filmmakers like Michael Kleven. Read on…
Yesterday I posted about the new 32 mp camera phone. Upon further research I found that it is a design prototype from this Seattle company Artefact. Their point was to speculate about where pro-sumer cameras may be 3 to 5 years in the future. I think this discussion raises some interesting ideas about the future of film production & professional photography. DSLR’s are now being used for professional film production. This kind of system has the potential for easier remote control of a film production camera. Easy OS updates & the potential to develop creative/technical plug ins & apps, make this an exciting time to be involved in film production & photography. That said the Artefact Camera Futura is not going to be seen on the market any time soon. Thanks Artefact for starting a conversation.
A film I made last year has been accepted into the Local Sightings Film Festival here in Seattle. The film “Solving the Quantum Riddle: Interrupted” is based on 5 haiku’s & shot on my Canon 7D. The fest runs Oct 1st thru 6th at the Northwest Film Forum on Capital Hill. I’ll keep you updated once I have the schedule.