Cinesummit 2017 Part Two- Adam Patch

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4749584 By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

CineSummit is an online educational event for filmmakers. It’s an forum that showcases filmmakers from around the world as they give helpful advice to up and coming film professionals. This year’s focus was on directing. One of the directors featured this year was Adam Patch.

You’ve probably seen Adam Patch’s commercial work over the years. In his career as a director, he’s made commercials and promotional videos for some of the biggest names in business including: Apple, Google, and Visa. In his interview, moderator Aviv Vana had Patch critique several commercials, and through his critiques viewers learned about his process and the skills that made Patch a successful director.

I found this to be one of the most valuable talks. As one who wants to direct more commercials and promotional spots, I was hanging on Patch’s every word. Through his examples, one could see that he is a perfectionist who is always thinking about the final edit and how everything will look, sound, and feel in the completed video. He talked about the attention to detail a director has to have and how each and every minute detail is important in a commercial spot. If you’re making a commercial for a restaurant, it has to look perfect, down to each plate of food. Each actor’s performance has to be as well defined in 30 seconds as it would be in feature film. The art direction, costume design, and music all have to tell the story.

One helpful tip he gave by showing a commercial for Whole Foods is using an image or a visual motif that is consistent throughout. The Whole Foods spot used a circle in the center of the frame that gives the viewer a central focus point. All of the circles culminated in the circular Whole Foods logo in the center of the screen at the end. Little touches like this help tell the story and captivate the viewer. In his interview, Patch gave us a real world picture of how high the standards are in the world of commercial directing and what clients are expecting in a competitive market. If you’re a director looking to break into commercials, I highly recommend checking out Adam Patch’s work.

 

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CINESUMMIT Part One: Roger Christian

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4749584 By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

CineSummit is an online educational event for filmmakers I was able to attend this year. It’s an forum that showcases filmmakers from around the world as they give helpful advice to up and coming film professionals.

This year the focus was on directing and featured directors from around the world including: Roger Christian, Adam Patch, Blake Farber, Alex Di Marco, Ryan Connelly, Martin Rosete, Verena Soltiz, and Matthew Jenkin. Each one had a different perspective and insights on the art of directing and the film industry itself.

Roger Christian is a legend. He is a Director/Art Director/Set Decorator who worked on the iconic science fiction classics, Star Wars and Alien. He has 18 directing credits and was a 2nd Unit Director on Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. He created the iconic light-saber for Star Wars, and is a wealth of knowledge and stories about the film industry.

In his interview, he talked about the way he managed to break into the film industry. For Christian, it was the art department. He has been to art school and connected with friends who were in the film industry. From there he networked as he moved his way up the chain and finally found himself in the director’s seat.

His first short film, Black Angel, was shown as a companion to The Empire Strikes Back. He was able to get the opportunity to direct that film because he had worked with George Lucas who encouraged him to make the film.

Roger Christian enjoys mentoring filmmakers and other industry professionals and saw CineSummit as a chance to pass on his knowledge to those of us who have aspirations to make feature films. His story is a delightful tale and the first one I watched.

Other than hearing about the rich history of the classic films Mr. Christian has worked on, I found the main takeaway was that the industry is about networking. He got the opportunity to work in the industry through his association with people in the Art Department of films and eventually was able to direct a film through his relationships with people like George Lucas. The thread of “it’s all who you know” could be seen in most of the talks given this year. It’s an important lesson to all of us in the entertainment community.

 

IFP Week September 2017

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4749584 by Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

This September I attended the Independent Feature Project’s Market Week.  IFP was founded in 1979 with the purpose is to connecting filmmakers with resources and help them advance their projects.

Recently IFP started connecting filmmakers and content creators with people in the television and streaming/digital world. I attended a program called Direct Access. It was a day full of meetings with some major players in the industry. There were people from  major television and streaming channels as well as media companies.

My main takeaways were that every network/distribution channel does things differently, and they’re all looking for different things. If you’re pitching a network, the network is looking for your idea. They have directives they need to achieve, and they want to buy your idea and mold it for their audience.

In the digital world, I still get the impression that it’s still a bit of the wild west. One way to get your show made is to make the show release it online, build an audience and then bring that audience to a channel, much like the show High Maintenance did. That was a show Vimeo that was later picked up by HBO after it built a following.

Another way is to pitch the pilot script. Let them read it and see if they think it works for them. They want to see how you write and get a feel for your show. They also want to see it at that script stage, so they can make changes if they feel they’re needed.

The speakers gave us an idea of what the world of TV and streaming series is like and how competitive it is. They also gave us the perspective on what it’s like to be on the other side of the pitch meeting.

IFP Week is also a great opportunity to network with other filmmakers. I met people with whom I can potentially work, and production companies I can work for, as well as potential clients.

Networking is INCREDIBLY important in this business. You can say that about any industry, but film seems to be more of a who-you-know business than any other. If you have a personality, and you can talk to people, you’re much more likely to get a job. Film sets can be pretty intense environment. You’re working closely with the same people and working together to achieve a goal often under very stressful circumstances. As a filmmaker you want good people you can get along with who are dependable. Those relationships have to start somewhere.

I would recommend the IFP experience for filmmakers/content creators, but I would also recommend doing research before you go. Choose the conferences and panels that are right for your goals, research the speakers, formulate intelligent questions, and make sure to go to the mixers and after-parties and network with the people there.  You’ll get the most out of the experience that way.

 

 

No Rest for the Weekend-The Series

4749584 by Jason Godbey, Creative Director of Behind the Rabbit Productions

Recently we produced a 22+ minute version of No Rest for the Weekend. We expanded on the web series by adding new footage and interviews.

This is the pilot show in the series where we go behind the scenes of indie film projects and talk about issues concerning independent filmmakers. We’re also looking at doing   a podcast version as well. The goal of  show will to provide helpful information and inspiration to all of our fellow independent content creators.

What’s Happening Now at BTRP.

4749584 By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

Here’s a quick update on what’s going on here at Behind the Rabbit. We just finished shooting the podcast/web cast for The Slash Generation.  We also have our new full-length version of No Rest for the Weekend. I hope to make some make more videos like this to keep you updated.

Artist Profiles-Nicola Raggi

4749584By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

Nicola Raggi, an accomplished cinematographer from Italy. I spent a day with him while he was shooting a film in Central Park. I shot some behind the scenes footage of the movie and got him to talk about himself and his craft.

BTRP Recommends-Killer’s Kiss

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4749584by Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

In order to make films, you have to watch films. It helps to watch movies that are made by great directors.

Killer’s Kiss is second feature length narrative film by Stanley Kubrick. It’s a film noir, made in 1955 and shot in black and white. Killer’s Kiss is the story of Davey Gordon, a down-on-his-luck prize fighter who becomes an unsuspecting hero when he sees his neighbor, Gloria, having a fight with her mob boss boyfriend. He comes to her aid and rescues her. It’s a classic film noir with all of the noir elements: the beautiful blond, the reluctant hero, and the seedy underworld and shady characters.

The miracle of Killer’s Kiss is how it was made. Kubrick made the movie almost entirely on his own. He wrote, directed, produced, shot, edited and even did his own sound, an amazing feat for anyone making a feature.

While the film is not the visual masterpiece like 2001: A Space Odyssey or an epic like Spartacus, it has a visual style all its own, and it tells a compelling story. It’s by no means Kubrick’s greatest work, but it’s a great film to watch if one wants to learn the craft of filmmaking. Its seams are showing just a bit, and the craft of the film is apparent.

In it we can see the beginnings of Kubrick’s cinematic style, his precise framing and composition, the movement of the actors through the frame. He even uses some primitive visual effects in a dream sequence. These elements would appear in his later films but on a grander scale.

Killer’s Kiss is shot on location in New York City, and it’s a great street style movie. He often shot on the street without permits and in apartments. Even though the cinematography is stylized in high contrast black and white, you still get a sense of realism. These are real people in a real place going through real struggles.

He was able to sell the film to United Artists and made enough money to make this next picture, The Killing. The snowball effect of this movie resulted in Kubrick becoming a rising star who controlled every frame of his work.  He would later go on to revolutionize the the art of filmmaking and influence countless directors, visual effects artists, and cinematographers the world over. Long before Robert Rodriguez made El Mariachi, Kubrick was already taking filmmakers to school.

BTRP and The Slash Generation

4749584 By Jason Godbey, Creative Director of Behind the Rabbit Productions

For the past year, Behind the Rabbit Productions has partnered with a lifestyle project called The Slash Generation, a weekly series on Facebook that includes a vlog from Maria Aparo as well as videos from people we feature on the site. The Slash Generation refers to people of any age who are managing multiple careers. We’ve been creating and managing video content for the project, and we are currently developing a web/television series and podcast.

For the first big promo, we wanted to illustrate the aspect of playing multiple roles in a fun and entertaining way. I came up with the idea of seeing behind the scenes of a promotional video where Maria would play all the roles. She’d be the director, the sound person, the production assistant, the camera operator, and then play herself as the host/presenter.

For the production, we had a small crew. Marcello Carnevali shot the promo and Lera Vital assisted on crew. We shot it in an afternoon in a studio which gave the video authenticity and added production value. It was tedious with Maria having to switch costumes after each setup, but all in all the shoot went very smoothly.

Post production involved some special effects like compositing and rotoscoping in order to create the effect where Maria appears to be in the same shot with herself. The decision to have the crew scenes be in black and white and the green screen shot to be in color came from necessity. We wanted to show the difference between on camera and off, and that was a visual short cut. It also gave a certain shine and glamor to an otherwise drab studio. Marcello did a great job with the edit, and I credit him with the look and the feel of the promo. Finally Christopher Gillard brought the promo to life with his wonderful score.

The Slash Generation is a growing project we hope to develop further. It has a lot of potential for filmmakers. Think about every DIY filmmaker you know.They’re all wearing many hats as  writer/director/producer/editor, etc.. If you’re a filmmaker or anyone with a multifaceted background,  The Slash Generation is definitely worth checking out.

New Project- Shakespeare [rehearsed] The Web Series

4749584 By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

Currently Behind the Rabbit has a lot of irons on the fire. Our latest project premiering this week on Facebook, is a web series called Shakespeare [rehearsed]. We made the series in collaboration with Doyouthinkhesaurus Productions, our good friends Mark Granville Merritt and Michael Hall Lindsey.

The series is about two New York theatre actors living in New York City. The show begins when they both get a gig working for a less than famous Shakespeare repertory company  in Brooklyn. Even though they have aspirations of playing the Bard’s greatest roles, the guys get bit parts and play supporting characters.

We did the show as a very DIY production. In order to make it on the budget we had, I wrote it with the resources we had in mind. For locations we had an apartment, a rooftop,  and Prospect Park. I wrote the with Mark and Michael as the main characters. The most important element of course was Shakespeare. I started my career in theatre and had done quite a bit of Shakespeare. I knew the plays well and knew which ones I could use in the show. The plays gave a a strong foundation to build on.

Mark and Michael were great to work with; they have a natural chemistry because they’re good friends, and they also really know their Shakespeare. They’re both trained theatre actors, and they really got the material. That was huge. It’s nearly impossible to do Shakespeare if you don’t have the actors who know what they’re doing.

Series I is five episodes and starts this week on Facebook. Check it out and let us know what you think. For actors, theatre and Shakespeare fans, it’s a must-see.