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Dec 18 / Truly Free Film

May You Never Really Know What You Are Doing

Okay, we aim for mastery (yes and autonomy and purpose too) but it’s most exciting to grow.  And personally I think it is more exciting to WATCH someone who is learning than someone who is demonstrating what they know.  I describe this as loving the experiment over the proof.  I get chills when I watch [...]


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Dec 17 / Truly Free Film

Ads Could Save Independent Film: Part 1

There is little I hate more in life than online advertising. Dental visits, food poisoning, taxes; I hate ads more. That’s at least what I would have told you a few years ago, and I would have been right. I’d tell you that they were the worst thing to happen to filmed entertainment since online streaming began. You think anyone is going to risk sitting through five commercial breaks on Hulu to watch your random indie movie? Our overstimulated brains have a hard enough time keeping focused and interested as it is.

So what’s a cinephile to do? [...]


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Dec 16 / Truly Free Film

Pop Culture Called For Revolution In 2014

"If you can't break eggs to make an omelette, break the plate."

“If you can’t break eggs to make an omelette, break the plate.”

We love to bring down oppressive regimes — at least in our films. What does this say about our ability to recognize our own situation regarding our desire for greater freedoms? Are we tapping our desire for change with the stories we tell? Are our artists as free to explore this desire for change as we think? Do they have to take the quiet road when walking that talk? If they are somehow oppressed, how and where is the oppression manifest? What can we learn by examining the work we made, distributed, and consumed this year?

In other words, if art is partially about showing us all that we can aspire to as individuals, communities, and a planet, what are our films telling us about where we should be headed this coming year? [...]


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Dec 11 / Truly Free Film

16 Predictions For The Film Biz 2015 And Beyond

"Stare into the sun"

“Stare into the sun”

Okay, I did not get it all right last year.  Perhaps you think my crystal ball had a crack in it. But I did not say they would all hit this year. Check back on 2014′s predictions come the 2020′s and you might be surprised how right I am. Or not, but still if we don’t look at where we think we are going, how are we to pave the roads to take us there?

So what I do I predict this year for the years ahead? In examining this list, take in mind that I am not advocating for these developments, nor am I ranking them.  I just took the moments needed to examine where we are today, what’s been said, and where it may all lead. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and where you think it may go too. [...]


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Dec 9 / Truly Free Film

A First Time Writer/Director’s Trial by Fire, Part #5: Not Wise to Ignore David Lynch

I was going to post about the fun and vitality of look books. Removing the writer’s hat and stepping into the director’s shoes to create the bridge that offers potential producers, managers or investors a first glimpse into how you intend to transform your story into a visually vibrant world. Next time. After reading an inspiring article by Ariston Anderson in Filmmaker Magazine about David Lynch, I slammed on my brakes to focus on a more esoteric topic: hope.

DL: “Looking back I did not have much self-assuredness in the beginning.”

Whether you enjoy his work or not, David Lynch is one of the most unique cinematic artists of our generation. [...]


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Dec 5 / Truly Free Film

The Really Good Things In FilmBiz 2014

Let's look at the bright side!

Let’s look at the bright side!

Some rituals help keep us focused throughout the year. This marks the 4th time I have looked back at all the good things that occurred in the film biz and listed them out for all of us. Tracking them through year, keeps me from abandoning hope. Sometimes they may just be the silver lining in the storm cloud, but nonetheless they keep me going, keep me convinced that in fact we truly are: building it better together. I hope they do something close to that for you. It’s been a good year, and I have thirty two morsels to tempt you with. And of course the year’s not through yet, so perhaps you have some to add to this too. 

If you’ve encountered elements of this list earlier on my postings in Film Comment and on Keyframe, pay careful attention as I have weaved some new points into all for your reading pleasure. And if you like a little of the bitter to wash down the sweet, don’t forget the list of 30 Bad Things In 2014′s Film Biz here.

[...]


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Dec 4 / Truly Free Film

30 Really Bad Things In FilmBiz 2014

IMG_9903It is now time for my complete list of The Suck In Today’s Film Biz. Earlier this week, I’ve dropped some bits on Keyframe and Filmmaker Mag. IndieWire picked it up. There’s so much that is wrong, it is easy to share the wealth. But here is all of those combined lists  plus many more. Can’t you hear everyone screaming “OMG, there is so much too fix! It is time we made this really work for ambitious and diverse film once and for all!”?  We wish, right?

I have been chronicling the negative in our film industry for sometime now — six years in these type of posts, but my original rant goes back to 1995 for Filmmaker Magazine.  Much of what I have stated in years’ passed remains still in need of getting done. Dig in to my past lists and when you combine them you will have well over 100 things that we could be doing better.  You’d think with so much wrong, more people would stand up and say “this has got to change!”. Where is the film industry’s national leadership? For the first time I believe we are capable of conceptualizing what an entire systems reboot could be — and one that looks out for ALL the stakeholders.  Isn’t it time for a international summit on this?

I have been also chronicling the good too, but today that’s for another day. Come back tomorrow for my comprehensive list of 30 Good Things In The Film Biz 2014.

By detailing what we have failed to do, done wrong, or continue to ignore, we build a road map of how we can improve things for the future. Here’s my contribution to that map for 2014.  Let’s build this better together.

  1. The “Winners Take All” Blockbuster Model Has Stomped “The Long Tail” Flat (in Hollywood). And as much as I hoped people would try to resist [...]


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Dec 6 / My Films

If The Art Of The Samurai Is Not Having To Draw One’s Sword…

IMG_9072

Gary Meyer’s blog EatDrinkFilms captures three of life’s great pleasures in a single dose. I am very pleased to have one of my favorite tales from my book excerpted there now.

Picture this: it is the first film you’ve financed yourself. You and your team are in a foreign land. Your money has been cut off and your financier picks […]


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Dec 3 / Issues and Actions

Get Your Next Fix Of More Good And Bad FilmBiz2014

Your cup runneth over.  So much happens you barely can determine if it is half full or half empty.  To capture this abundance, please turn to our friends at Keyframe for ten additional good things, and our pals at Filmmaker Magazine for ten additional bad.

[…]


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Dec 2 / Issues and Actions

The Good And The Bad In FilmBiz2014: Initial Dose

We are trying something a wee bit different this year. Instead of launching with a massive list of either the good and the bad, I’ve teamed up with some partners to help distribute the news.  What’s good or bad in the film biz in 2014? Well check out Film Comment for ten good (complete with swell photo selection) and check […]


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Nov 27 / My Films

Happy Thanksgiving!

"The Ice Storm"

[…]


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Nov 27 / These Are Those Things

Thanks To William Burroughs And Gus Van Sant

[…]


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Nov 25 / Issues and Actions

Add Five Female Characters To Your Script

Less than 30% of all speaking characters in the 100 top-grossing films are female. “If filmmakers just added five female speaking characters to their current slate of projects (without taking away or changing any of the male characters) and repeated the process for four years, we would be at parity.”

[…]


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Nov 21 / My Films

My Greatest Films That No One Has Ever Seen

whathappendposter

Recently Jon Brooks at KQED wrote up a very nice piece on Tom Noonan’s WHAT HAPPENED WAS (1994). That film won multiple awards at Sundance but barely go seen.  Unfortunately it does not sleep alone in my bed of barely seen almost-masterpieces.  As strong as my track record may be, it still holds some flops, misfires, and damn bad luck […]


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Nov 20 / Issues and Actions & The Next Good Idea

Sometimes We Forget To Do The Obvious

If the best solution is the easiest solution, what takes us so long to do it?  The film industry complains about piracy.  But what do we do about it?  If you want to find a movie available illegally, all you have to do is search for it.  But what if you don’t want to have the artists or their supporters […]


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Oct 23 / My Films

Come To My First LA Bookstore Reading EVER!

Yup.  I will tell some great tales, read a few passages, answer a lot of questions, and distribute some free gifts.  All this and more this Friday evening.  At Book Soup. 7p.  8818 Sunset Blvd.  See you there!

[…]


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