Extreme DV Interview with Rick Schmidt

Extreme DV at Used-Car Prices

Extreme DV at Used-Car Prices

Rick Schmidt has written, directed and produced over 20 features which have premiered at major national and international film festivals all over the world, including Sundance, Berlin and London.

His notorious filmmaking how-to books, Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices and Extreme DV at Used-Car Prices have influenced countless up-and-coming filmmakers and many noted indies, including Kevin Smith and Vin Diesel.

Here is what some other folks have to say about Rick’s work:

“He (Schmidt) super-empowered me. The book (Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices) changed my life.”  – Vin Diesel, Actor

“Without Rick’s book, Clerks would have been an idea that never made it past this page.”  –Kevin Smith, Writer/Director, Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, etc.

“Rick Schmidt shows filmmakers (in Extreme DV) how to use these new tools to realize their visions”  – John Lasseter, Writer/Director, Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Cars, etc.

In the following interview, Rick Schmidt offers priceless filmmaking how-to advice for any filmmakers who want to make their feature now, without waiting around for Hollywood to give them permission.

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Extreme DV Interview ©2009 Jason Brubaker and Rick Schmidt

Jason Brubaker
Rick, thanks a lot for taking time to join us today. It’s a real honor to chat with you.

Rick Schmidt
Thanks Jason. It’s great you’re keeping the ‘film’ beacon burning in the middle of all this, and encouraging DV moviemaking as well!

Jason Brubaker
I can remember getting your book, “Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices” as a Christmas gift some years ago. After reading it, I was so inspired to make a feature, that I spent the entire next summer mopping floors and cleaning toilets to save up for a used Arri BL 16mm camera and film. I bet I’m not the only filmmaker who has been inspired by your work. Did you ever think your book would become such a staple for the up-and-coming filmmaker?

Rick Schmidt
At the time I didn’t really know what the book would amount to, beyond bailing me out for huge debts at the lab! First of all, I was happily shocked when it sold to a good publisher(!). And then, once I got paid, I was relieved that I finally had some cash to pay debts, get my wife out of a lousy job, and maybe keep making movies.

Actually I didn’t really understand the book’s total effect until internet came into existence around the time of 2nd edition (1995) and I began to get lots of e-mails from readers. Got over a thousand notes over a couple year period, telling me how readers were jumping into no-budget feature filmmaking.

Jason Brubaker
I think I was one of them! Sounds like you’ve empowered a lot of filmmakers to make their feature.

Rick Schmidt
Been wondering… What has happened to all those unknown features? It seems like somebody should start a venue to play these many works. Here’s a title that came to my mind: FORGOTTEN FEATURES FILM FESTIVAL (FFFF) What do you think? Any takers?

Jason Brubaker
Kidding aside, for a lot of filmmakers, actually MAKING a feature, regardless of financial outcome is still an amazing accomplishment.

Rick Schmidt
Given that it’s tough enough to make a no-budget feature WITH MONEY – sorry to hear that you (and others) had to sacrifice so much to get a budget. In this cultural wasteland, you have to be incredibly willful to do this particular art form (how do people go from ONE feature to the next, and on to a career!!).

To be an artist in American culture means that you have to plow ahead without much of any economic support (aside from the few NEA grants or local ‘film society’ funds). And without normal people’s understanding or support for what we’re doing (ART) with our time and resources, it gets even tougher.

A now-deceased friend of mine and great writer/director from former Yugoslavia, Franci Slak, used to get his features funded by the state. And after making one, he was put back on a list of a few hundred filmmakers, so he would be funded again for a new work (with the equivalent of a couple hundred thousand dollar budget). The US doesn’t honor its artists like even the smallest country in Europe. So it takes real guts and craziness to go against the flow and make our works, somehow fund ourselves over and over again through the years.

In any case, all those many thank-you notes for my book gave ME the needed positive energy to keep working against the odds (THANKS AGAIN!)  So the inspiration worked both ways.

Jason Brubaker
Aside from the book, you’ve done quite a lot of work over the years. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started making movies?

Rick Schmidt
Nowadays I make movies through my Feature Workshops, collaborating with others who want to learn my approach, which is mostly improv and experimental, with a focus on real people and their personal stories and ironies. Aren’t there enough Hollywood movies being made that tell a simple story with known actors?

We should be making movies that we can afford, with our personal resources and groups of friends, that are original and unique in every way. It’s the best approach, I think, for an indie producer, as we head into 2010. As crazy indie writer/director, it’s not worth playing their game their [Hollywood] way.

And if the features we make don’t get in film festivals…who cares? The programmers may not be smart enough to get it.  Once, when I had a big walkout from a screening, an artist friend Mary Ashley asked me, “Rick, what did you do right?”  She thought it was a badge of honor for me, as a modern artist, to shock an audience and send them running!

Jason Brubaker
You were totally in the mix during the indie revolution of the 90’s! How has indie filmmaking changed since then? I mean, a lot of us ran around with cameras, filming stuff, excited about Dogme 95

Rick Schmidt
In the 1990’s we could still get in good film festivals (it’s a lot tougher now, don’t you think?).  I guess I have to believe that NOW IS THE REAL FILMMAKING REVOLUTION. I think that’s true because there really is NO PRESSURE to make something that could be called a ‘commercial’ movie.

Even hideously expensive Hollywood movies can barely get a screen for longer than a week.  So when we make our weird indie features, for the lowest budgets possible ($30 for three hour-long Mini-DV tapes, etc), the only constraint we have is being totally honest to our own intuition and urges. We even got a Dogme movie, Chetzemoka’s Curse (Dogme #10), that’s probably one of the first features made completely in the new millennium – shot & completed it during 10 days in January, 2000 through my Feature Workshops.  And it’s probably one of our best ones!

Anyway, we have no one to answer to but ourselves and our personal standards of excellence. I’m hoping to see some amazing works on websites and on YouTube.

Jason Brubaker
Before I made my first feature, I remember thinking I couldn’t make a feature because I didn’t have money for film processing. Or I didn’t have an audio recorder. With new High Definition technology, do you find filmmakers have less excuses and an easier time making features?

Rick Schmidt
Yes…and no. We have less excuses, but if we try real hard we can still make it appear impossible!

If you’re the kind of person who thinks they need all the best equipment and crew, real movie stars and a real budget, you’ve still got the problem. For some, the excuse will be that a RED HD Camera is $1500+ a day and too expensive to obtain. We are great at making up excuses, even when there aren’t any left. Art is risky! We are scared that we may reveal just how unskilled and stupid we secretly think we might really be.

But the alternative is worse. If we don’t ever take the risk and try, then life is just a pretty big boring mess where all we do is work to pay bills and there’s never enough money for anything anyhow. Some school near your house probably has a DV class where you can get your hands on a 3-chip DV camera. And there are other creative people around who just need to read the right Craigslist ad to get in touch with you to help with your feature.

In the Bay Area/Oakland/SF area where I now live, there are hundreds of good actors on sfcasting.com hoping to be cast for an unpaid part in a movie so they can add to their reel. These actors are growing their own careers. That’s what we filmmakers need to do!

For me it’s important not to let too many years go by without creating a new movie (I can feel the stupid blocked energy building up in my head…). If there’s absolutely no money, then you need to sell something (a used-car?) to jump-start things. Nowadays, a car of even the cheapest kind can generate a lot of DV hours of stock, along with some rental dollars for a good camera (DVX100b, or?). And as you ramp up for the shoot, read some of Boston University professor Ray Carney’s articles, interviews and mail to get inspired.

Jason Brubaker
In your book, you emphasize having a strong vision for the kinds of movies you want to make. What are your thoughts on keeping the momentum going when the going gets tough?

Rick Schmidt
If we’re talking ‘artistic vision’ then that means (to me) that each person needs to just jump in and try to make a feature or short movie without worrying about doing it ‘correctly.’ Shoot it YOUR WAY, edit it YOUR WAY, and you’ve achieved YOUR STYLE. In other words, don’t listen to what anyone else says or thinks.

The only momentum I know comes from KNOWING you are an artist (in film/DV, oil paint, clay, photograpy, or whatever). What media artists like us do is make movies. So, after awhile, we’re going to make another one. That’s just how it is!

When things get tough we have to adapt. That’s what my decision to shoot with a 1:1 ratio represents. And like I mention in my “Extreme DV” book, I met a guy who re-recorded over the same Sony 1-hr. mini-DV cassette 30 times (capturing his footage into Final Cut Pro after each shot roll) to make his feature. Total cost = $7 (plus a borrowed DV camera). Don’t let the doubters wear you down. If you wait for the ideal production situation you’ll never get started.

Forget about doing it ‘right.’

Jason Brubaker
I know from my projects, sometimes you want things to go a certain way, but they just don’t. The FX guy shows up late. The location falls apart. Some members of cast and crew leave the show for a higher paying gig… How do you recommend filmmakers stay flexible?

Rick Schmidt
My little mantra is – “EVERY PROBLEM IS THERE TO MAKE THE MOVIE BETTER!” So no matter what’s thrown at you, you absorb the punch and go on (think gung fu). Go get a better actor after the first one disappears.

My Emerald Cities had that kind of major problem. The actress, Carolyn Zaremba, moved to New York City to pursue her acting career before I could finish up my dragged on shoot (over more than a year of slowly attaining funds for more 16mm and prosessing). So I ended up appearing in the flick myself, in her place (you’ll have to see the movie to see how I did this. Emerald Cities is available at Netflix!

Jason Brubaker
A few years back, you told filmmakers to stick with a 1:1 ratio. That is, in production you should only shoot a scene once. Has this thinking changed with digital? I mean, if you ask me – it seems like digital can often make the days go longer.

Rick Schmidt
While that strict FILM shooting ratio seems no longer essential for saving money for a DV movie (was essential when shooting film; just 11 minutes of 16MM costing upwards of $500 when you cover stock, processing, workprint, sound transfer, etc), it still makes for a better (DV) movie if you proceed in a super-focused manner, taping limited takes that must be accurate enough to keep the story moving forward.

Jason Brubaker
Could you tell us a little bit about your Feature Workshop?

Rick Schmidt
At my Feature Workshops I work with participants to shoot and edit-to-completion in 10 days. So we make a feature in a week and a half.

Jason Brubaker
Wait… So you have a workshop where everyone collaborates to complete a feature in 10 days? That’s amazing!

Rick Schmidt
And just about each of the 17+ features we’ve produced this way have gotten in at least one international film festival. For six years in a row, a Portugese festival, Figueira da Foz International, flew me (or a participant) into Lisbon for an all-expenses-paid festival screening. Pretty cool reward to all the work.

(Click HERE for more info about Rick Schmidt’s Feature Workshop in the Bay Area this summer, August 1-10, 2010.)

At any rate, I’m proud of the features we’ve produced in this manner.

Jason Brubaker
What final advice do you have for filmmakers who have not yet made a feature, but want to?

Rick Schmidt
Bite the bullet and somehow get your hands on a good DV camera/Panasonic DVX100b would be nice!. Maybe an ad in craigslist.org will get you a great collaborator / co-producer/ cameraperson with the gear.  Then, get/advertise for a soundman/soundwoman (w/Sennheiser 416 mike, or some good mic & mixer).

Don’t let the lack of money distract you. ONLY if you believe…can this come together.

When I was in this state of activity (being an artist inspite of having NO money) my kindly landlord let me go 8 months without paying rent (see full story in Preface of my Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices book).

The universe sometimes makes an adjustment for an artist like you! And if you’re not a writer, you can still build a story AS you shoot (see my Extreme DV at Used-Car Prices book for how this improv approach can work).

So my advice is – sell that used-car and BEGIN!


Writer/director Rick Schmidt, author of Feature Filmmaking At Used Car Prices, has more than a decade of experience conducting moviemaking workshops. Each workshop produces a full-length feature in just 10 days. For more information about Rick Schmidt’s workshops, check out www.lightvideo.com/workshop.aspx

UPDATE: As special offer for Filmmaking Stuff readers… If you sign up for Rick’s August 2010 Feature Filmmaking Workshop you’ll get 50% OFF the enrollment fee!

  1. Goto www.lightvideo.com/workshop.aspx
  2. Sign up for Rick’s newsletter and write the word “STUFF” where it asks for your “Your favorite film?”
  3. Questions? Email Rick with “STUFF” in the subject line at: [email protected]

NEW UPDATE: Just got word from Rick. He said spaces are filling up FAST and there are only a few seats left! If you want to participate and make a feature this summer, send Rick an email ASAP and reserve your spot.

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Independent Film Financing

United States one-dollar bill

Today, I’m going to offer yet another bit of perspective on the whole question of how to raise money for movies.

As you may or may not know, independent film funding can be a little overwhelming. If you’ve ever dabbled in the business side of making a movie, you know what I mean. The first time I heard people talk about writing a business plan or offering a private placement memorandum, I suddenly felt like I was on another planet. And if you’re like most filmmakers, you would much rather focus on actually getting your movie made, instead of cold calling rich and successful people to set up random pitch meetings.

  • So, the first challenge you have in the world of film finance is: How do I find investors for my movie?
  • The second challenge is: How will my feature film provide enough ROI (return on investment) for my investor?

Assuming you’ve followed some of my previous advice on creating relationships with rich and successful people, even if you do make a favorable impression on a few rich folks, your potential film investors may still shy away from making an investment in your project. Why? Because without star talent, a known director, a film distribution outlet and an experienced crew – it’s very tough to answer the important question of ROI.

Your potential investors want to know how you plan on spending their money, how you plan on getting their money back, and when. Can you provide your investors with this information? If not, then you can understand why independent film financing, especially for your first feature, can be a pain in the butt.

However, having worked as an account executive for one of the biggest investment banks in the world, I would like to share some thoughts and end today’s article on a positive note. If you can come up with a plan that at least attempts to answer the question of ROI – then you’re in the ball park. While I can’t say it’s common, there are a few potential investors out there, for which their excess cash sometimes burns a hole in their pocket. These folks will assess the potential for gain and loss, and despite the risk (which you will always disclose and never hide!), they will still choose to do business with you.

I have a friend (who I’ll interview in a few weeks) – but anyway, he made a short film that went viral on the internet. One day he gets a call from a random multimillionaire who says he has always wanted to produce a movie. Suffice it to say, my buddy is now in pre-production on his first independent feature film.

Stranger things have happened. What’s important is that you keep pushing forward!

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If you are wondering how to get money for your movie – Almost every resource will tell you that you need a business plan. Very few resources will tell you how to actually go out, find prospective investors, qualify them, contact them, get a meeting and build a relationship.

Since getting money for movies was such a frustrating experience for me, I spent the last few months creating: The Independent Producer’s Guide To Financing Your Movie. In it, YOU will gain valuable insider experience so you can avoid my past mistakes, find investors and make your movie. To learn more CLICK HERE

Amazon Film Distribution

Image representing Amazon EC2 as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

Amazon Film Distribution is easy to access. Over the last ten years, there have been a gazillion changes in the ways movies are made. But the one area I’m most excited about is Video On Demand. I frankly don’t remember how I lived without the technology.

As a filmmaker, this technology offers us enormous opportunity to not only make our movie – but with a couple clicks of a mouse, we can now reach a global audience — well, sort of.

Unfortunately there are still a few limitations to our global reach. I’ve mentioned CreateSpace quite a bit in the past. In fact, their advertisements seem to pop up frequently on this site. I love it that you can upload a VOD movie into the Amazon marketplace. But I think a few things still need improvement. Let me explain.

1. Lag time – For one of our projects, it took CS around six months to get our movie into the Amazon marketplace.
2. Marketing – Once in, there was tremendous lag time in getting our information correctly placed on the Amazon detail page. (I’m still getting this worked out.)
3. Trailer- And instead of presenting your movie trailer, the Amazon preview plays the first 2 minutes of your movie. So you better hope you hook em’ fast.
4. Audience – With CS/Amazon VOD, you are limited to a US only audience.
5. Reporting Sales – The sales reporting is not even close to real time – There is at least a 30 day wait to find out if your movie is selling.

Still, all of this aside, the tremendous upside to CreateSpace is having your movie featured in the Amazon Marketplace while carrying NO inventory. When people buy or rent your movie, all you gotta do is collect the cash.

In a more-perfect world of Independent Film Distribution, iTunes would open the flood gates and allow all feature filmmakers to upload their work. However, at the time of writing, getting your finished feature film into iTunes is still a pain in the butt. With few exceptions, the company seems to favor traditional distributors over the indie producer. So if you one day dream of having your movie viewed on someone’s iPhone, you’ll still have to find a middle-man and ask permission…

If you want more information on Independent Film Distribution, check out The Indie Guide to Digital Self Distribution written by me.

Interview with Peter D. Marshall

Peter D. Marshall is a filmmaker from Vancouver, Canada. He has worked (and survived) in the Film and Television Industry for over 35 years – as a film director, television producer, first assistant director and TV Series creative consultant. He writes and publishes the monthly filmmaking ezine, “The Director’s Chair” which is currently read by over 3400 filmmakers in 100 countries around the world.

He is also a part-time directing instructor at the Vancouver Film School and teaches his own filmmaking workshops around the world (Canada, Dubai, Singapore).

Jason Brubaker of Filmmaking Stuff caught up with Peter for a few minutes earlier this week to ask him about his new filmmaking course.

Filmmaking Stuff

Peter, I reviewed your Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course. I have to say it’s very comprehensive and covers some detailed information that only comes with experience. Before we get to the details, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Peter D. Marshall

I first started making films (on Super 8 no less) when I was 16 years old. I’d make movies of our high school parties, film my friends as they drove around in their cars and created pixelated animations with model race cars in my basement.

During my 35-year career, I have worked as a PA, dolly grip, electrician, assistant cameraman, commercial production manager, first assistant director, TV series creative consultant, television producer and director. I have had the opportunity to work on many different types of productions, from industrial films to documentaries; television commercials to music videos; Emmy Award nominated TV series to Hollywood feature films.

I have directed over 30 episodes of Television Drama and written, directed or produced over 50 hours of documentary and educational programs. (My documentaries and dramas have won, or been nominated for, 14 International film awards.) And as a First Assistant Director, I have worked on 13 Hollywood Feature Films, 15 Television Movies, 6 Television Series, 4 TV Pilots (all of which went to series!) and over 20 Commercials.

Filmmaking Stuff

How did you get started in the movie business?

Peter D. Marshall

After graduating from Grade 12, I spent three years in film school in Toronto (1970 – 1973) and then hit the streets looking for the job that would kick-start my filmmaking career.

My first paid film job was on a Carts commercial in 1974. I was the PA [Production Assistant] holding a brown paper bag just under the camera so when the director called “Cut!” the actor could spit out his candy into the bag I was holding. In 1985, I got my first professional job as an Assistant Director when I was the 2nd AD on the 13 x half-hour Television series called “The Hitchhiker.”

The first major TV series I worked on as a 1st Assistant Director was in 1986 on a Steven J. Cannel production called “Stingray.” After “Stingray” I worked on several more TV series with Cannell until I became one of the 1st AD’s on “Wiseguy.”

I also got my first big directing break on “Wiseguy” as well. This is something that happens occasionally on a TV series when some department heads get an opportunity to direct.

Filmmaking Stuff

In your program, you offer all sorts of valuable information on how to be successful in the movie business, both during production and as a career. And you have a real passion for sharing your experience with up-and-coming filmmakers. What sorts of mistakes can first time filmmakers avoid, when it comes to prepping their movie?

Peter D. Marshall

There are many things a first time filmmaker should know and understand when it comes to prepping and shooting a movie. Basically, the whole 137 page course is designed to show this information, step-by-step, to filmmakers so they know how to end up with a properly designed shooting schedule.

Here are just a 10 of the hundreds of tips contained in the course that will help filmmakers better prepare themselves during the prep of and movie or television production:

1. They have to have an understanding of the politics of film!

2. They have to have a knowledge of who the Power Players are and how to deal with them.

3. They need to know as much as they can about everyone else’s job.

4. They need to know what is expected of them when they begin pre-production and when they step on the set

5. They need to know the differences between Feature Films and Television

6. They need to know the intricacies of the director/assistant director relationship

7. They need to understand the physical breakdown of scripts, scenes and shots

8. They need to understand traditional camera techniques

9. They need to understand the 5 stages of blocking a scene

10. They need to understand film editing techniques

Now even though the title says “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling…” this course is not just for Assistant Directors or Production Managers. When I wrote this course, I also had in mind Directors, Producers, Location Managers and any filmmaker who would like to gain in-depth industry knowledge of the entire pre-production stage of making a feature film or television series.

Filmmaking Stuff

One area you really brought to my attention is the extras budget. It’s funny, but in my experience this has been an area where filmmakers drop the ball. Can you tell us a little about the extras budget and why it is so essential?

Peter D. Marshall

The Extras budget is usually the only budget the AD department has to manage. You start by getting the Extras budget from the Production Manager which is usually listed in “man hours” for the show.

After you have a preliminary schedule, you begin your first pass on the extras count by deciding how many background performers you feel you need to have for each scene. Since you do this budget very early in prep, this number probably won’t be based on a real location, but will come from your own experience and from reading the script. (re: How many people will it take to fill a nightclub when the script says “the club is busy and jammed with patrons and dancers.”)

You should budget high for all extras because every director will want as many extras as they can for a scene. As all film budgets do, the extras budget will eventually be cut down, but at least you have a good starting point.

This meeting is very important for many departments because of the overlap that occurs with extras (Hair, Makeup, Costumes etc.) This is also the meeting where the Assistant Directors can have some creative input with the Director on the number and the look of the extras as well. Of course, your creative involvement here will always depend on your relationship with the Director at this point in prep.

Let me give you an example of the logistics involved when working with a large group of extras.

I was the First Assistant Director on the Second Unit Battle Sequence for the movie “Legends of the Fall.” I was also tasked with the job (along with the Military Advisor) to set up and train the 1000 extras who would be in the WW1 battle scenes. We had less than 2 weeks to do all this.

We spent the first week working out all of the logistics; confirming these with Director Ed Zwick and his storyboards; planning the event down to the smallest detail with the Props and Costume departments who had to dress and arm all of the extras; and had many conversations with Special Effects who had 25 special effects people who were responsible for setting off all the explosions on the battlefield as the troops charged over it – at night!

We then had the second week to set up and train the main battle group of about 200 extras who played the officers and NCOs (non-commissioned officers) of the 9 sections it would take to fill the battlefield.

On the day of the scene, (it was actually shot at night) we were only budgeted for 4 hours of rehearsal in the daylight with the entire 1000 extras! From the time the first extra got off the bus at base camp, to the last extra marching into their place in the trenches, it was 1 1/2 hours later.

When actor Adin Quinn blew his whistle and the camera pulled back on the crane to see 1000 Canadian “soldiers” climb out of the trenches and charge across a battlefield as hundreds of explosions rocked our insides and flares screamed over our heads, we knew we had helped to create a very memorable scene in this movie.

Filmmaking Stuff

Your course reads a lot like a living document. On almost every page, you’ve expanded on the content by providing a link to other, similar information. I’ve read a lot of filmmaking stuff, and I can’t remember the last time an author has been so generous.

Peter D. Marshall

I feel it is very important to “pass the baton” to the younger generation and that is why I hold nothing back when it comes to sharing my knowledge with other filmmakers. I also love teaching!

About 15 years ago, I created a 2-day workshop called “How to Design an Accurate Film Shooting Schedule.” As the film and television industry changed and grew over the years, I modified the content of that workshop to keep up to date with all the new filmmaking techniques I was learning. That 2-day workshop has now become the model for this Online course.

Filmmaking Stuff

Making a movie is tough. And it’s common for filmmakers to get overwhelmed with details. Could you tell us a little about The Reductionism Theory.

Peter D. Marshall

Reductionism, as described by Wikipedia, is “an approach to understanding the nature of complex things by reducing them to the interactions of their parts, or to simpler or more fundamental thing.”

In other words, the Reductionism Theory states that “most anything can be understood by taking its pieces apart, studying them and then putting them back together so you can see the larger picture.” For our purposes as filmmakers, we use the Reductionism Breakdown Theory as the process of “reducing a script down to its smallest elements by going from large to small, from general to specific.”

Formula: Things You Don’t Know + Research = Things You Do Know

Here is a basic filmmaking example of the Reductionism Breakdown Theory from reading the script to the first shot on set:

1. Script

2. Act

3. Sequence

4. Scene

5. Shot

6. Take

I have a very good example the Reductionism Breakdown Theory when I got the job as First Assistant Director on “Bird on a Wire.” When I first read the script, I was overwhelmed by the logistics of this production. I honestly wondered how I could possibly prepare such a huge show with two major Hollywood stars, lots of action and many locations. Well, two months of prep later, we were ready for our first day of shooting!

I was overwhelmed on my first read through of the script because I could only see the magnitude of this picture as a whole. Once I started to reduce it into more manageable elements, it became clearer on how to proceed. Time is your ally here.

The Reductionism Theory is what we use everyday to help us figure out many things – not just in the “reel world” but in the “real world” as well! (Remember the first time you drove a car, used a computer, set up your TV)

Filmmaking Stuff

This is especially true when it comes to breaking down a script. Every movie seems to have a million elements and ways filmmakers can get overwhelmed with a schedule. I was impressed to see your that your course includes step-by-step Film Scheduling Tips. Any worry that you just gave away the 1st AD secret sauce? Hahaha!

Peter D. Marshall

Quite honestly, there is so much more to cover on this subject that I have several other courses and products that I am now developing to support all the material in this 137 page course such as audios, video demonstrations, discussion forums etc.

Filmmaking Stuff

What are you working on next?

Peter D. Marshall

I have several consulting jobs that I am working on for different filmmakers around the world plus I am creating more Online courses that will help independent filmmakers better prepare themselves for a successful career in this business.

Filmmaking Stuff

Oh… And one last thing. Where can filmmakers find your Script Breakdown & Film Scheduling Online Course?

Peter D. Marshall

They can visit this website link where they can check out all the details about this 137 page online course including the content list, support materials and free bonuses. As a matter of fact. I have set up this webpage especially for your readers so they can get US$20.00 of the purchase price of this 137 page Online course.

To learn more about Peter D. Marshall’s Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course: CLICK HERE


Interview with filmmaker Casey Walker

Ever wonder how to raise money for movies, but had trouble finding people willing to participate? For feature filmmaker Casey Walker, solving this problem only took a little creativity. By selling off frames of his movie, one frame at a time, Casey Walker’s innovative approach to financing his current feature project, titled: Free For All…But You! has gotten him international attention and even caught the interest of Kevin Smith.

For 10 dollars (Canadian) anyone can become a producer in his movie. Recently Casey Walker decided to make his film totally “climate neutral” too.

Filmmaking Stuff caught up with Casey for a quick interview:

Filmmaking Stuff: Casey, there are many filmmakers reading this who are looking for funding for their movie. I guess you solved that problem. Tell us how?

Casey Walker: Well, I wouldn’t say that I’ve solved every film maker’s problem when it comes to financing, but I’ve found a way that is working for me. Instead of going to the studios or big money people, I’ve turned to the public for assistance. I created a website, mymilliondollarmovie.com to help finance my first film. For as little as $10 (Canadian) people can purchase a frame of my film and become a producer. There are a ton of benifits, and when we sell the film, you get your money back and decide which environmental charity gets your profits. It’s win win win!

Filmmaking Stuff: So if you buy a frame, you become a producer? What does a producer get in return?

Casey Walker: When you buy frames, you become a producer, get a page on our site that you can post links, photos and video to promote yourself, business or own project. You get to participate in the casting process, are entered into some cool contests, and in the end, your money is not only helping me achieve my dream, but will help keep the planet beautiful

Filmmaking Stuff: Did you have to consult a lawyer to offer this investment opportunity to the masses? Or is your financing structured as more of sponsorship?

Casey Walker: I did spend quite a bit of time with lawyers planning this out. It’s not only sponsorship based, but there is a very important charity element involved. And how many charities can you support where you’re donations get returned, and stand a chance of generating further profits for that cause. And the film is wicked funny so that ‘s a plus too!

Filmmaking Stuff: It’s a great innovation on a novel idea. How is the progress coming so far?

Casey Walker: Like anything new, it has been exciting, and there have been a lot of ups and downs. But we are picking up some great momentum and I’m having a lot of fun starting our casting process.

Filmmaking Stuff: I recently saw that Kevin Smith has become a producer and you have the video to prove it. What prompted you to get him involved? Have you heard from him since?

Casey Walker: One of the producers on the project approached Kevin Smith and things just kind of went from there. He is an insanely busy guy, and I didn’t expect to hear from him right away. But I’m sure I’ll hear from him at some point over the next few months, even if it’s just to berate me a little more. I have a lot of respect for what he has achieved and shaking his hand and getting those words of encouragement certainly have been one of the highlights of this project so far.

Filmmaking Stuff: What’s all this stuff in the press? You’re a green filmmaker?

Casey Walker: Yep, I’ve been in this business for 10 years and I’ve seen a lot of waste. I’ve always been conscious of it, but never in much of a position to do anything about it… until now. I wanted to entertain people without it causing damage to the environment, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching ways to ensure we don’t leave a big mark on the planet, just to make a movie.

I’ve partnered up with some really cool groups to ensure that our producers have access to certified environmental organizations. And I’m going to start doing weekly webisodes on little things an indie film maker can do to make their set/film green.

Filmmaking Stuff: Many of our readers have not yet made a feature. What advice do you have to newbie filmmakers who are chomping at the bit to get started?

Casey Walker: My advice would be to support your indie community, learn everything you can. and never give up on your dream. But don’t be stupid. Make sure you have a good project to get behind. Then be organized, keep your overhead low and remember, this is a creative business so apply some of your creativity to what ever problems are standing in the way of you making your film.

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For more information, check out Casey’s website: http://www.mymilliondollarmovie.com