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How Not to Make a Short Film-Book Review

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As I read “How Not to Make a Short Film” I felt more and more cheated, not by the book but by my film school. Why hadn’t my instructors taught me this stuff? This is a book every film student, every filmmaker must read before writing, producing, or directing a short film. It’s a must-have resource that guides one through filmmaking’s precarious decisions and shows how to avoid the many errors in judgment that mark mediocre films. Written by Roberta Marie Monroe, an award-winning filmmaker, and former Sundance Film Festival short film programmer, Roberta brings to the table a wealth of knowledge about every phase, from conception to production to distribution.

For filmmakers, film festivals are the major outlets and they have become the judge, jury, and sometimes the executioner when it comes to evaluating the worth of a short film. By knowing what not to do you can greatly increase one’s chances of having your work being seen and appreciated. In this respect, the book walks you through the minefield of mistakes that aspiring filmmakers and seasoned pros make, so that you don’t have to make them yourself. In addition, the book features interviews with many of today’s most talented writers, producers, and directors, as well as provocative stories from Roberta’s own short film experiences.

The book is laid out in a most pragmatic fashion and follows the steps one would normally take in producing a short film. The first chapter on the script story talks about keeping it fresh and lists a multitude of storylines to avoid, storylines that have become mundane through overuse. When programmers say, “Been there, seen it,” you lose them as well as your audience. This chapter I found most fascinating as it allows us inside the programmer’s mind and the primary selection criteria, namely what’s the story and why should I watch it? This chapter also covers the script evaluation such as hiring a consultant and the pros and cons of getting feedback from friends.

Another chapter discusses film length and how it should match the story. DP Geary McLeod comments, “Every single frame has to work, it has to move the story forward. ‘Economical’ is what short filmmakers need to remind themselves.” The book goes on to point out that it’s also easier to find a slot for an 8-12-minute film versus a 28-minute opus. Meredith Kadlec adds, “Don’t fall into the trap of trying to prove how MUCH you can do, rather [show] how WELL you can do it.”

“How Not to… ” covers a wide array of filmmaking considerations, from picking a producer, knowing their duties, to budgeting, plus ways to save money and raise funds. The chapter on Crewing Up is most relevant to first-time filmmakers. It talks about the synergy of a film crew and how to guide their efforts and deal with the ever-changing dynamics. This chapter describes the key positions, people you need to consult before you shoot along with topics that need to be addressed. The chapter reiterates the need for harmonious collaboration and the fact that you cannot do it all by yourself.

All these considerations may seem daunting at first but if they are not addressed, your film suffers as a result. After reading this book, I was overwhelmed by the multitude of responsibilities. But then I remembered Roberta’s mantra that you need to have good people around you and this book provides direction on how to select your support team.

Casting is another area where the author suggests seeking assistance. She goes through the process of finding and hiring a casting director along with the reasons for doing so. One would assume that casting directors would avoid short films but many look on it as a way to provide work and exposure for their clients, especially those that have breakout potential. Advice on auditions, rehearsals and creating a safe space for your actors in also offered in this chapter. Actor Chase Gilbertson talks about how neophyte directors sometimes drift off track. “Obviously if I’m doing your film, the story was good enough in the first place but now instead of simply telling a good story, you’re trying to make a Hollywood blockbuster. Yeah, you’ve got a lot of cool toys but ultimately what is the end result? What happened to the story?”

The chapter on production discusses numerous precautions relating to the on-set experience along with creative solutions to some of these problems. One of the best was using New York Calls to outfox an innocuous business owner. Other problem areas covered include on-set etiquette and attitude, insurance and permits along with meals and craft services. What was especially important is Roberta’s advice to have a good time, be prepared, and enjoy the magical moment of being a filmmaker.

Post-production is the love/hate relationship of filmmaking. All mixed together is the footage you love followed by the worst shots, lighting, performance, and blocking of your life. Roberta repeats several times, “This is normal.” She also suggests reading Walter Murch’s book “In the Blink of an Eye” to gain some extraordinary insights into the editing process. Knowledge of how editing works is paramount to your success on set, she says, for then you’ll know which shots are most important to tell your story. The chapter also hits on how technology has made filmmaking less disciplined, i.e., shooting more footage, cutting faster, and ending up with more versions while wasting labor.

Roberta sights a MPAA report saying that only 2% of all feature-length films actually secure a theatrical or DVD release. From that one might surmise that in the short film world distribution could be even more difficult. Orly Ravid of New American Vision points out that distribution process starts before you make your film. You need a sense of who is the audience, conceive the film’s appeal in advance and have compelling marketing illustrations or photography that sells the film. Orly also advises budgeting funds for marketing and outreach. This chapter discusses numerous channels for distribution but states that your short may also have value as a TV pilot or when expanded into a feature. Orly’s priceless questionnaire “Is Your Film Distribution Ready?” covers the most problematic and overlooked areas. Academy qualification information is also covered in this chapter. Roberta makes finding short distributors easy by posting an up-to-date list of U.S. and international companies on her website.

The chapter on the Sundance Film Festival provides an illuminating background as well as effective submission strategies. The submission do’s and don’ts list by Sundance programming manager Adam Montgomery will help move you film further up the selection ladder. The section on publicity and marketing tells what you need, basically a robust website, a stellar collection of still photos and a simple business card directing people to your site. In addition, posting a trailer will greatly enhance your ranking on Google and give viewers a better glimpse of your work.

The rest of the book is allotted to sample budgets, top short filmmaker clichés, and an extensive resource guide. This guide includes listings of short friendly film festivals, short film distributors, blogs, community outreach organizations, databases, plus broadcast and online television companies.

“How Not to Make a Short Film-Secrets from a Sundance Programmer” vividly depicts the enormous task that filmmaking entails. Yet it shows how by avoiding the many pitfalls one can save time and money and create a short film that remains memorable in the minds of programmers and audiences. Well written and timely, I strongly recommend this book as an addition to every filmmaker’s resource library.



Source by Erik Sean McGiven

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American Actor: Jason Ritter

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Birth Name: Jason Morgan Ritter
Nickname: ‘Jace the Ace from Outer Space’
Height: 5′ 9″ (1.75 m)
Born: 17th February, 1980
Age: 30
Place: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Jason Morgan is a movie and TV series actor, who was born on 17th February, 1980 in Los Angeles, California, United States. His parents are Nancy Morgan and John Ritter, who were both actors. He is the grandson of the actor/ musician Dorothy Fay and Tex Ritter. His siblings are Stella Ritter, Tyler and Carly Ritter. Jason stepmother is Amy Yasbeck. Jason Ritter is perhaps popular for his role in the ‘Joan of Arcadia’ TV series as Kevin Girardi and in the NBC television series The Event as Sean Walker. Jason Ritter spent a lot of summers in Estes Park, Colorado at the Cheley Colorado Camps.

He was graduated from the “Tisch School of the Arts” of the New York University where he attended at the “Atlantic Theatre Company”. Jason also attended at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He also starred in the “The Dreamer of Oz: The L. Frank Baum Story.” Then he appeared in the 2002, movie PG and a year after he starred in the Swimfan. In the year, 2003, he had a main role in the horror movie Freddy vs. Jason in which he appeared as Rollins. He starred in Happy Endings and Raise Your Voice. He appeared in the Oliver Stone film “W” as Jeb Bush. In the year 2007, Ritter voiced substitute teacher in the ‘All Grown Up’ for animated character Mr. Fisk and then in the ‘The Rugrats’. Ritter newly released a movie ‘Good Dick’, in which he appeared along with girlfriend, Marianna Palka.

He also received several awards such as Clarence Derwent Award, Martin E. Segal Award and many more. He stars in “The Event”, a NBC drama series that premiered on 20th September, 2010.



Source by Kathy Mercado

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23-Year-Old Ashley Espinoza-Sanchez, Who Went Missing During Rolling Loud Festival in Miami, Has Been Found; Ended Up Hospitalized in Naples, FL, as a Man Reportedly Was Able To Help Her Get Medical Attention

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Last weekend, the first major hip-hop festival to return with fans in attendance was Rolling Loud, in Miami. The three-day festival featured performances from superstar such as A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, Post Malone, 21 Savage, Lil Baby, DaBaby, Megan Thee Stallion, and more. This all went down at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

A woman also went missing during that weekend, who ended up being identified as 23-year-old Ashley Espinoza-Sanchez, according to HotNewHipHop.com. A few days ago, Espinoza-Sanchez was reportedly found, as said by her cousin Demetria Madrigal.

It turns out that Espinoza-Sanchez was last seen with a man, who was IDed as “an unknown black male, 5′10″ – 6′0″, thin build.” He was actually who helped Espinoza-Sanchez, who may have been drugged by someone else. She was hospitalized in Naples, FL as well.

“She actually spent the night with this gentleman, which I need to reach out and thank him very much because she didn’t have any money, she didn’t have her phone, she didn’t have anything,” said Madrigal. “If he didn’t give her a place to sleep or give her shoes and socks she would have been wandering without anything.”

Madrigal hasn’t seen Espinoza-Sanchez since RL, but is definitely glad to have found out where she was. RL’s next festival will be held at Citi Field, in Queens, NY, from October 28-30.



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Megan Thee Stallion Reportedly Has Had The Biggest Crowd During a Lollapalooza Set So Far, This Weekend, With Over 180,000 Fans [VIDEO]

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Today is day four of Lollapalooza at Chicago’s Grant Park, as over 120,000 fans have been in attendance to see some of the biggest stars in the industry, such as Miley Cyrus, Roddy Ricch, Playboi Carti, Polo G, and more

Megan Thee Stallion also hit the stage last night, and needless to say, it was definitely lit. The H-Town Hottie performed some of her hottest hit records to date, and drew a massive crowd for her set.

Megan reportedly had 180,000 fans there, when she performed, which is reportedly the biggest crowd for an artist so far this weekend. Tonight’s headliners include the Foo Fighters, Young Thug, and more. DaBaby was scheduled to appear at Lollapalooza tonight, but was scrapped, after his homophobic and comments against people with HIV/AIDS, at Rolling Loud, last weekend.

Check out Megan Thee Stallion’s Saturday performance at Lollapalooza below.





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