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.