Thursday, July 21, 2011

Is CHBP good for local businesses?

Capitol Hill Block Party. Its kind of a big deal. Some people are excited, I'm sure. You'll see them bouncing up Pike and Broadway on the day of but if you look at the comment section of any given local blog (here / here), you see hate.

So I did a video interview with CHBP planner Jason Lajeunesse. Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought that would be a good idea.

My goal here was to put Jason's authenticity on display. Quotes in text articles lay flat within the context of the journalist's words. Video interviews are less easily manipulated. And here, you can look Jason in the eyes when he admits "getting people to shop durring the block party can be difficult" and decide for yourself if he is being genuine or not.

Cinematography is by Brody Willis. I performed the interview and edited the video.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Making Movies For Nothing

Sometimes when I am home watching Netflix, I think about how I would much rather be making movies than watching them. And as a young filmmaker, it's tough. The first temptation is to call up all your filmmaking buddies and say "come on! lets make a movie!" but that doesn't always work. Then you're just sitting around and waiting for the phone to ring.

Find things to go to. Seattle puts on a filmmaker happy hour. Local film forums often put on nights for local filmmakers to show their work. And of course, you should always keep an eye out for local films on Kickstarter and make a modest donation.

The most difficult thing to remember is that nobody owes you a spot on their film crew. Especially as you start to grow in experience and pride it is easy to forget that film crews come together with trust. Don't sweat the gigs that don't work out. Just keep your head up and look for the next opportunity.

Sometimes you have to learn to create opportunities for yourself. Don't worry if you don't have gear and you don't have money to rent gear. The most valuable asset in a filmmaker's toolbox is his ideas. If your ideas are sound and inspiring, the rest will fall into place.

My ideas start with the experience that I want to capture and share. For example, an early afternoon cocktail with one of Seattle's top bartenders. Or hanging out with the owner of Seattle's finest basque restaurant. Or taking a walk with a busker.

The next challenge is to find someone with gear but doesn't know what to do with it. It sounds easier than it really is to convince someone that the prospect of bringing your idea to fruition is better than watching Netflix.

Most importantly, you need to make people feel like not just anybody is qualified to help you and that you need them for their specific skills. It is imperative that you are authentic because people will know when you are just using them for their gear. You should watch their reels and talk to them about what they love about filmmaking. If you can't find some common ground of mutual appreciation, you probably shouldn't ask them to help you.

Lastly, if you're asking people to help you, a lot of people are going to say no. If you have some strategy to your alliance building, you can find mutual benefit. Cinematographers need beautiful subjects. Sound guys needs interesting situations to show off their skills. Gaffers also need practice overcoming situational challenges. There is a trick to selling ideas to people. They need to feel that you're giving them a genuine opportunity.

You can never really make movies for free. If you have a day job, you have to take time away from making money. If you hire a crew, you force them into making a similar decision. Also, don't forget the time of your subject but don't sell your idea short. I believe good ideas are as good as money and if you have a good idea for a video, the time and money part will fall into place.