Cinesummit Part Four- Blake Farber

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By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

Blake Farber is a director who made his way into the industry by making music videos. He’s traveled all over the world and works with everyone from Korean K-Pop bands to Beyonce. The main take away I got from his talk was that we as filmmakers need to see the whole market place. There is work all over the world, not just in New York, Los Angeles and other major American cities, and if you want to be successful, you have to go where the money is.

Another huge part of his success was networking. Farber started out as a musician and was in a band. He went on tour and made friends with other bands and started shooting music videos for them. He built his reel working with people he knew. Word of his talent spread through the music community, and with a reputation as a highly capable director,  he was referred to more and more clients. It’s a very traditional “go with what you know” approach, but it works.

He also wasn’t afraid to go out and find work. When he wanted to work with K-pop bands in Korea, he made cold calls, found connections, and was able to get bands to work with him out there. It’s a lot of leg work, but he was successful because he made the effort.

Every director needs to be his own agent when starting out. If you want to get something made, you have to have that business sense and ability to sell yourself. Building a reel and marketing yourself is essential. This interview again stressed the importance of networking. If you’re a filmmaker, and you don’t feel confident talking to people at an event or asking your friends to work with you, or selling yourself to a new client, it’s definitely a skill to improve. Blake Farber took himself all over the world and built his career on his talent and his ability to sell himself.

If you’re not networking right now, start looking on social media for filmmaker groups. They’re are quite a few on Facebook. Start checking resources like meetup.com to find events in your area. Those are good places to start.

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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.

 

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.