Podcast Episode 101- Ajay Kishore

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

I’m very pleased to announce the first six episodes of our podcast is now live on our website, YouTube, iTunes, Pocket Casts, Anchor.fm, and SoundCloud. The podcast is an extension of this blog. It’s dedicated to indie filmmakers and content creators. It’s a must see/must listen for everyone from the film professional looking to move up in the industry to the weekend warrior/DIY filmmaker.

Series one is hosted by Victoria Oliver, and in the first six episodes, I sat down with Ajay Kishore and Bri Castellini of Stareable.com, Director Meredith Edwards, Composer Adonis Tsilimparis, and Director Richard Lemay. It was an honor and a pleasure to talk to such accomplished artists and innovators in the world of indie film and series.

We would love to hear your feedback. Send us your questions, suggestions for topics, and let us know if you’d like to nominate a creator to be a guest on our show.


BTRP Recommends-Looking for Richard

Image result for looking for richard movie poster

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

How do you make a movie about a 15th Century King of England in 1990s Manhattan? Ask Al Pacino. He made Looking for Richard, a docu-drama adaptation William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Richard III.

Looking for Richard is Al Pacino’s interpretation of Richard III with Pacino directing and starring  in the title role. The film handles the complicated task of interpreting Shakespeare’s play by telling us historical context in which Richard III Gloucester came to power. It covers The War of the Roses, the victory of the Yorks, and the relationships between various royals, and relatives.  The film does this so well that the movie serves as a live-action Cliff Notes.

Pacino travels to England and visits Stratford-upon-Avon where Shakespeare was born, but the much of the movie was filmed in New York City. He made the film on a small budget and couldn’t possibly fly his cast across an ocean, so he filmed of the scenes from the play in rehearsal, the actors reading the script around a table, or sometimes in full costume on a stage.  For a few key scenes, he managed to find a Medieval setting in Manhattan. Imagine that.

This is truly resource filmmaking at its best. Pacino filmed his exteriors at The Cloisters, a museum in Manhattan built to resemble a medieval castle, and his interiors at St. John the Divine, one oldest and largest churches in the US. Combined with period costumes and the acting chops of Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, Winona Ryder, and many others, the movie makes us believe we’re in the world of Shakespeare’s play.

In addition to showing us the inner workings of the play, we also see Pacino’s struggle in making his film which took four years to complete. We see him attempt to conquer the challenge of performing Shakespeare as an American actor, grappling with the language, and the challenge of filming the film’s climax, The Battle of Bosworth Field on a small budget.

This film is an extraordinary achievement considering Pacino essentially made the film in his spare time in between movies. He didn’t have money to buy himself out of trouble, so he employed old fashion movie tricks, creative editing techniques. It’s a lesson to any filmmaker you don’t need a ton of money in order to make an audience understand a 400 year old play about a 500 year old English king.

I highly recommend this movie for anyone who is interested in Shakespeare or for filmmakers interested in making a documentary. It’s one of those movies that can be viewed over and over again. Seeing the Pacino’s process as he and his collaborators battle the play, make mistakes, but ultimately convey his love for Shakespeare and Richard III is both inspiring and entertaining. Much like Shakespeare’s plays, Looking for Richard has withstood the test of time. It was released in 1996, and is still just as enjoyable and relatable today as it was 20 years ago.

Cinesummit Part Five- Ryan Connolly


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

I learned about Cinesummit through Ryan Connolly’s YouTube channel, Film Riot. Connolly has become a master DIY filmmaker, and over the years, he’s created a successful production company. He’s built a million plus subscriber base on YouTube, and has an impressive body of work.

Film Riot breaks down the techniques used to create the special effects used in Hollywood films. They also show viewers practical hacks on how to get cinematic results with DIY equipment. The content is great for every level of filmmaker from novice to expert. I highly recommend his channel.


Cinesummit 2017 Part Two- Adam Patch


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


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


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.

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.

Casey Neistat & The Art of the Vlog

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

Recently Casey Neistat, one of YouTube’s most famous vloggers,  after posting more than 500 episodes, one episode per day, he decided to end his vlog. He brought the blog to a close because it was no longer a challenge.

I was a fan of the vlog mainly because I admire Casey’s style of filmmaking and his work ethic. Putting out a video every day takes a tremendous amount of effort and dedication. It’s a big undertaking, and I admire anyone who would even attempt it. 

I first learned about Casey Neistat through his HBO show, The Neistat Brothers. The premise of the show was simple: Casey and his brother Van would go on adventures and make movies of their experiences. The films were made on consumer camcorders from the pre-HD era. The quality wasn’t the best, but the films were innovative and entertaining. This was a new style of filmmaking we hadn’t seen on television. It was cool, edgy, and personal.

Casey took that style into his own YouTube vlog beginning on March 26, 2015, and he continued vlogging until November 19 of 2016. With only a few exceptions, he uploaded a video every day. His vlogs incorporate timelapse, stop-motion animation, and drone footage. Although other vloggers may have uploaded more videos over the years, it’s arguable that no one has created a vlog of the same quality as Neistat’s.

Vlogging as a form of storytelling raises some questions. Is it filmmaking? Is it its own art form? What is the overall impact it has on filmmaking, art, and society as a whole?  Is it a “real film,” or is this a filmmaker indulging his own narcissism? Will people go back and rewatch these vlogs, or are they to be consumed and forgotten? 

Some would say making a video of one’s life and uploading it everyday for the world to see is self-indulgent. It’s arrogant to think one’s life is worthy of such attention. I would argue that the best filmmaking is somewhat autobiographical and self-indulgent. Consider All That Jazz by Bob Fosse, 8 ½ by Federico Fellini, or Annie Hall by Woody Allen, three autobiographical films from three self-indulgent filmmakers. All three films are brilliant  because these men put themselves into their work. Perhaps vlogging is just more direct, the most personal form of filmmaking.

Vlogging presents an interesting challenge. How do you find something interesting to say every day? Casey managed to make an average work day seem interesting by presenting the story creatively. He would talk to the camera while skateboarding around New York City and amaze us with beautiful timelapses of the cityscape, cloudy skies,  traffic, and sunsets. 

He told us stories about his personal life–how he came to New York City and became a filmmaker. Granted, Neistat has a more interesting life than many. He owns a tech platform, and he travels all over the world. If you’re going to vlog about your life, it helps to have an compelling one.

His vlog became a textbook for YouTubers, a virtual how-to video. Through his innovation, he inspired others and started a new method of presenting a video diary. Perhaps the Neistat Method of vlogging will one day be taught in film school. 

As his popularity grew, people began to copy and then lampoon his style. Videos like How to Casey Neistat a Vlog became popular on YouTube. Perhaps Neistat gave up his vlog because it started to become a cliche. 

Is vlogging an art form? It’s difficult to say. There doesn’t seem to be a standard yet. Casey’s high-production-value videos with the sweeping drone shots from all around the world are considered a vlog just the same as the one where a vlogger speaks into her camera phone from her parents’ basement.

As far as the impact of vlogging on filmmaking, It’s certainly had one on me. Much of what we do now is made for the internet.  A vlogger like Neistat knows how to to grab the viewer’s attention and hold it, an elusive skill many of us struggle with daily. The fast-paced editing, the movement of the camera, and the action of the vlogs make them compelling to watch. And that’s what we’re all trying to do: create a compelling narrative in order to entertain an audience.

I don’t know that I would recommend vlogging for every would-be filmmaker, but there are skills that can be learned from vlogging. It’s a type of video you can make by yourself- you don’t need a cast or crew.  If you’re a beginner and you want to learn editing, shooting a talk-to-camera segment and putting it together in an interesting way could be a good learning tool.

Vlogging could also be a good way to journal for a filmmaker. It doesn’t have to be a public, but if you’re more comfortable talking than you are writing, speaking into a camera while you go about your day can serve as a way to stimulate your creativity for other projects. If you’re a filmmaker and you feel vlogging can help you become better at what you do, go for it.

Vlogging is still an emerging practice, and only time will tell its impact on society.  Video is an ever growing presence on the internet these days. With more and more social media sites incorporating video, it’s fair to say it’ll be the dominate form of communication online. Perhaps vlogs will one day serve as a document for their time in history. One day we may look back on these videos as we would a time capsule. For all we know, Casey Neistat or one of his contemporaries will be heralded as the chronicler of the YouTube age.