Filmmakers, I have unearthed for you this ah-MAZE-ing video interview conducted by The Hollywood Reporter. It’s a full uncensored interview with Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), David. O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Ben Affleck (Argo), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) and Gus Van Sant (Promised Land).
These are some Film Maestros and Auteurs just shootin’ the breeze and coming clean about some of the ups and downs of their jobs. And it’s about an hour long and worth every second. Like, halfway through, you find yourself asking, “Who is Ben Affleck texting? Dude! You’re on-camera! Stay in the moment!”
Lots of gold nuggets in here for everyone, so enjoy…
As technology grow and changes, we seem to have more and more and more choices. 10 years ago, for example, a Sony DVCam would have shot DVCam. That’s it. You could swap out lenses, but beyond that you’re pretty much ready to roll.
Today’s cameras shoot varying aspect ratios (widescreen, fullscreen), varying frame rates (24p, 30p, 60i), progressive or interlaced and resolutions (MiniDV, 720P, 1080i). Some camera teams are coming equiped with a Camera Tech position to setup and maintain the camera throughout the shoot.
But that’s just the production side. Apparently all theater projectors are not created equal either and 3D has just opened up a whole new world of choices, choices, choices.
This article from the Hollywood Reporter by Carolyn Giardina delves into some of the complexities of modern deliverables. KInda makes you wanna go back to Flannel Graphs.
(EXCERPT) It wasn’t so long ago that deliverables — the final copies of a movie that are distributed to theaters — were synonymous with film prints. Then digital cinema came along, and more recently, 3D.
Now theatrical deliverables are a combination of film prints and digital media with various technical specifications. For international day-and-date releases (as far as tentpoles are concerned) the process of creating, managing and distributing these versions is astonishingly complex, and even more so when it comes to 3D releases like the monster May opener from DreamWorks Animation, “Shrek Forever After.”
The issue with 3D is that it doesn’t represent just one additional version of the movie. The various 3D projection systems created by such companies as Dolby, Master Image, RealD, Xpand and Imax have different technical needs and therefore demand a whole range of versions. Add to that dubbed and subtitled foreign-language editions for each system, and the number of extra versions can be overwhelming.
“We have the same or tighter delivery timelines,” says Ahmad Ouri, chief marketing officer at Technicolor, “and the number of deliverables are going up.”
Nowhere was the complexity of these deliverables more apparent than with “Avatar.”
More than 100 versions of “Avatar” were created, color-timed at different light levels, even with different aspect ratios, all planned for individual theater configurations.
This result was made possible by a remarkable effort by Fox, Lightstorm and key suppliers, notably Modern VideoFilm and Deluxe.
“What ‘Avatar’ demonstrated is, you can deliver day-and-date at a larger scale than ever before,” notes Jim Whittlesey, senior vp operations and technology at Deluxe Digital Cinema.
But at a larger cost, too.
When the digital cinema push began a decade ago, studios had an eye on the elimination of film prints as a way to save money. That was especially important as movies started opening on ever-more screens, meaning that studios had to pay millions of dollars for enough prints to launch a “Spider-Man” or “Dark Knight” across the world.
But today, the market continues to require 35mm film prints — and hard drives and files sent via satellite. “And we are preparing to deliver via fiber and broadband soon,” says Rick O’Hare, senior vp at Deluxe Entertainment Services Group.
What this means is that, even as the major distributors are working around the world to help movie theaters go digital, the savings could be quite a while in coming.
“We believe there is a long tail for this transitional period,” Technicolor’s Ouri says. “It’s going to become more complex before it simmers down.”
New 3D systems could complicate the matter even more. One new version is Technicolor’s 3D film format, which was used for the first time for Katzenberg’s “How to Train Your Dragon” and has roughly 200 domestic installations.
Ouri says other 3D projection systems, some with 4K resolution (four times the picture information found in today’s commonly used 2K digital projection systems), might at some point mean still more versions are needed.
So what’s the good news?
At least one issue, “ghostbusting” — an extra post processing task that reduces or eliminates faint shadows around some images — is getting resolved. So far, deliverables for the RealD format have required the ghostbusting postproduction process, while Dolby, Xpand and Master Image systems have required non-
ghostbusted media. But RealD has been working to change this.
“I don’t think we are going to see too many more, if any, new 3D releases that will require ghostbusting — which makes our job a lot easier,” Whittlesey says.
But that’s just one of the many variants that must be resolved.
To help streamline the process, Whittlesey says establishing standard industry practices is crucial. Like figuring out light levels.
“We have to figure out how to get to standard light levels for 3D,” he says. “It is still a little bit Wild West right now.”
Read the FULL ARTICLE HERE at HollywoodReporter.com
Thanks to John J. Schafer for the heads up on this story.
The Hollywood Reporter posted this news item recently about a new show in development for the Comedy Central Network. Now, I always figured the Nazarene as more of an Oxygen Network kinda guy…or maybe a hard-hitting CNN news show after Anderson Cooper called “Crosstalk180″ or some such. But, no. Apparently the Yahweh-meister’s got a bone to pick with us…a funny bone!
Nah, but the show should open and close like Seinfeld with some good ol’ fashion, rowdy JC standup.
JC: “So a Sadducee, a Pharisee and a Roman walked into a bar…BAM!” (loud boo’ing from a heckler) “Hey look everyone…the Anti-Christ” (canned laughter) “Thank you very much, I’ll be here til the post-trib, don’t forget to try the Gefilte fish.”
(Excerpt) Comedy Central might censor every image of the Prophet Muhammad on “South Park,” yet the network is developing a whole animated series around Jesus Christ.
As part of the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers, Comedy Central is set to announce “JC,” a half-hour show about Christ wanting to escape the shadow of his “powerful but apathetic father” and live a regular life in New York City.
In the show, God is preoccupied with playing video games while Christ, “the ultimate fish out of water,” tries to adjust to life in the big city.
“In general, comedy in purist form always makes some people uncomfortable,” said Comedy Central’s head of original programming Kent Alterman.
When asked if the show might draw some fire, especially coming on the heels of the network’s decision to censor the Muslim faith’s religious figure on “South Park,” Alterman said its too early in the show’s development to be concerned about such matters.
“We don’t even know what the show is yet,” he said.
“JC” is produced by Reveille (“The Office”), Henrik Basin, Brian Boyle (“American Dad”), Jonathan Sjoberg and Andreas Ohman.
A Hollywood Reporter story by Elizabeth Guider about a recent shift in the Academy’s Best Picture rules which increases the category from 5 nominations, up to 10 nominations. And the aftershocks of that news throughout Hollywood.
(EXCERPT) If ever there were a time that the town needed a jolt of adrenaline, Wednesday was it — but from, of all places, the staid, mostly predictable Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences?
What everyone thought would be another sleepy announcement about an arcane rule change in the documentary or foreign language category turned into the headline of the day — opening up the Oscar race to 10 best picture nominees.
The rationale is not that hard to fathom: The awards telecast has been dwindling in the ratings for a decade; at the same time, folks have been carping about the tilt of the noms — too arty, too downbeat, too too — or the exclusion of comedies or the relegation of animation to its own category. Some had even hazarded aloud that, of all things, the Golden Globes were the guys with the right idea, even if their 10 best pic noms are bifurcated by genre.
So with one masterstroke, all the goal posts have been shifted.
Most folks were gobsmacked by the news, with many — think all those filmmakers who believe their films have been snubbed — applauding the stratagem. As for wannabe Oscar consultants, now is the time to hang out that shingle.
“I think (Academy president) Sid Ganis has a great marketing mind and that this is a brilliant move,” media consultant Michael Levine said. “After all, the biggest sin these days is irrelevance, and whether the expansion ultimately resonates with the public or not, the move will get a lot of attention. Sometimes you just have to do something bold to re-energize a classic brand.”
But from a different perspective, longtime Oscar maven Tony Angellotti, who now consults for Universal and Disney Animation, thinks the move could well dilute “both the quality and the impact of the award. I would imagine the studios are grieving over this. They’ll have to spend more money and not likely see a return — just what they don’t need in a recession.”
Check out the full article at Yahoo!News
There’s a lot we can learn from Joss Whedon. For those who haven’t been out of their caves since they headed for the hills during the Korean Rapture of 1992 let me introduce him to you.
He started off with a rather diverse Writing portfolio. His scripts include everything from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, to TOY STORY, to ALIEN RESURRECTION. And then he began creating tv series including the hits BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ANGEL, FIREFLY, and now DOLLHOUSE.
He’s diversified into Comic Books and recently into Short films for the Web. His latest Web Hit is a quirky piece called “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog”. There’s no rating on it, but just so you know before you run out to google it and watch it with your whole family, it probably weighs in at a PG-13.
Anyway, I’ve heard Joss speak on a number of occasions and he’s hilarious. Very down to earth and you can tell he has spent a lot of time contemplating media. And bottom line he loves to tell a good story. Here’s an excerpt of an interview with him in The Hollywood Reporter by Lesley Goldberg.
THR: In terms of producing content specifically for the Web, how far have you seen it come in the past couple of years?
Whedon: People are kind of dancing around it. There definitely has been some interesting stuff that I’ve seen. I haven’t seen as much as other people; I’m kind of new to the field, truthfully. I feel like we’ve seen some cool things and some advancements, but people have gotten stuck in a rut already.
When we were making this, people were like, “You can’t have anything over seven minutes long,” and somebody else was like ‘You can’t have anything over three minutes long; attention spans will go at two minutes and 49.7 seconds every single time no matter what.” It’s a very nascent field and everybody was very entrenched about the way you could create content and what people would sit for on the Internet.
So we were like we were going to make it however long we’d like. We shot for 10 minutes, but it’s me so it came out long.
THR: Based so far on your experience with “Dr. Horrible,” do you think the Web is a good business model?
Whedon: None of us is going to become a billionaire from doing this but yes, I think it’s very tricky and most people will tell you it can’t be done. I had one person who might actually be a billionaire, and he said, “Yeah, you’ll make $2,000.” And he wasn’t being mean. … I’m happy to say, we’ve topped $2,000.
The thing is, as a business model, what it isn’t is a cash cow. Most of the territory has been staked out. Unless you create a YouTube or a Google or something that’s all already been done, now the field is crowded. There was 1.0, where it’s basically the open prairie, now that’s all done. And there’s 2.0, where the ideas are smaller and they fit in what is now an existing structure.
And so you have to find a niche in there ,and you have to accept that that’s what it is, especially if you’re working on my level. A studio isn’t really interested in making an investment unless it’s a huge one. I can’t do that.
But I do think that’s the best way to find a sustainable model on the Internet is to build something that is always exactly the size it needs to be. Don’t throw $100 million and need it to start bringing back (returns); don’t say, “Oh we’ll get in the black in five years’ time.”
I was prepared to lose every cent that I put into this. I did this because well, I got to make a musical that’s first and foremost, but because we do need new business models for the creative community as residuals are going to become a thing of the past. Some people are going to need to get into this and I feel the way to get it is to always stay at the exact level you’re at.
“Dr. Horrible” should turn a profit and just enough to continue at that level. At some point it could get bigger and turn into a bigger thing, or it could get smaller. You have to have that malleability. If your expectations are too high, if you’re in it to make a fortune, you’re going to have a bad time, I think. If you’re in it to make a living, you might do OK.
So there you go. Everyone wants to make money with web video, few are doing it. Joss is one of the few. So when we find a success story, we go in to study it and ask “why?” and then see if it’s perhaps a repeatable process.
In this case, it is. All you have to do is write and sell 4 hit scripts, then turn one of those into a tv series, spin off 2 other series from that series and make some comics and then create a funny Web Video during a Hollywood Writer’s Strike and BAM. You’re making money. Simple.
So, stop whining and go start writing!
The full interview can be read at The Hollywood Reporter
(DEC 24, 2008) A Yahoo! News article by Josh Grossberg detailing the story of Disney splitting from Walden Media for future Chronicles of Narnia flicks….which leaves an uncertain future for “Voyage of the Dawn Treader”. The full article can be read HERE.
(EXCERPT) The lion, the witch and the wardrobe crew is getting the boot from the Magic Kingdom.
Proving that not even Mickey is immune to the downturn, Disney has decided against coproducing and distributing the third film in the Chronicles of Narnia series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. And that means Walden Media, the production company behind the C.S. Lewis adaptations, will have to find a new partner for the big-screen franchise to continue.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Disney’s departure is based on “budgetary and logistical reasons,” though reps for both declined to comment beyond that.
(MAR 25, 2008) Gregg Kilday of the Hollywood Reporter writes an article titled“BUCKET LIST Lived Life to the Fullest at Box Office.”
(EXCERPT) The crude rule of thumb is that a movie will go on to gross a multiple of 2.5 times its opening weekend. But the real stories prove to be those movies that command even higher multiples, hanging in there week after week. These days, movies with family appeal often show the longest staying power.
(APR 12, 2007) Thomas K. Arnold of the Hollywood Reporter covers the latest studio to venture into Faith-based filmmaking:
(EXCERPT) Lionsgate has become the latest studio to tap into the lucrative Christian entertainment market, with two initiatives that the independent Canadian studio is expected to announce Thursday.
The studio has acquired exclusive North American home entertainment distribution rights to three DVD documentaries based on the best-selling books by leading Christian nonfiction author Lee Strobel: “The Case for Christ,” “The Case for a Creator” and “The Case for Faith.”
(Dec 2, 2006) A Hollywood Reporter article by Gregg Goldstein about Kirk Franklin’s latest Film production gig with Lionsgate. The entire article can be read (with a subscription to HR) HERE.
(EXCERPT) — Gospel superstar Kirk Franklin will play himself in “Church Boy,” an autobiographical feature he’s producing for Lionsgate. Franklin is composing the soundtrack to the film, featuring his signature songs and several new numbers.
“Church Boy” follows the singer from his abandonment by a young mother to his direction of a Texas choir at age 11, a teenage dive into sex and drugs and his ultimate redemption and success.
“Lionsgate is the perfect home for ‘Church Boy,’” Franklin said. “This is a studio that has made a strong and genuine commitment to African-American audiences and faith-based audiences.”