Saturday, October 1, 2011

Heroes Homecoming

This week I learned about Heroes Homecoming, a 10-day celebration of Vietnam Veterans to give them the welcome home that they didn't get 40 years ago. It sounds awesome, and it all leads up to Veterans Day 2011. Here's info from their website:
Fayetteville created HEROES HOMECOMING as our way of showing all Vietnam Veterans we remember and appreciate their courage, their sacrifice and everything they’ve done to defend our freedom – now and forever. American soldiers returning from Vietnam never received the homecoming they deserved, and Fayetteville wants to rectify that. We have a unique bond with all Vietnam Veterans, as our town was the point of departure and return for hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

As America’s First Military Sanctuary Community, we will give our brave Vietnam Veterans the welcome they so richly deserve. Fayetteville will host the Heroes Homecoming as the biggest commemoration/reunion of its kind for the 10 days leading up to Veterans Day 2011, featuring celebrations, discussions, fellowship, and memories for all those who attend.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Love for Producing

My love for making films started early. I can't remember the beginning, it's been there for so long. Is it possible to love filmmaking as a child, without really knowing anything about it? Hollywood and the process of making a film absolutely fascinated and intimidated me.

This week I met someone who made me remember my initial relationship with filmmaking, and helped me realize how much I've learned while making Abandoned Allies. He expressed an interest in filmmaking, but wasn't quite sure exactly what he wants to do in the industry. He had a huge smile when he talked about it, and an eagerness to get started. Oh boy, do I remember feeling like that.

As I approach a huge milestone in the production of my first film and I start to think about what I want to do next, my love for producing and directing is almost tangible. There are so many different stages of making a film, and each one is so different. I have really, really enjoyed getting a taste of it all: producing, directing, interviewing, camera operation, editing, motion graphics, etc.

It's when I'm producing and directing that I feel alive. At least, I think that's what those roles are called. They might mean something different to everyone.

I enjoy the collaboration, building of a team, picking a project, getting it going, getting it finished, being on set, building relationships, helping everyone do their job well, and being a part of the project from the beginning to the end. It will be interesting to experience another project where I may hone in on that and perfect any skills currently in development.

In the meantime, there's plenty of work to be done. This weekend will, hopefully, be the last one spent in the depths of editing video. If I can get all the clips in order the way I want them, then I can send audio files off, wrap up the end credits, and start working on color correction.

We are so close. I'm unbelievably anxious to share this film with you. The time is coming, my friends. Soon. Very, very soon.

Photos from #TriFilm

Sumit, the man behind LoneRider!

Jarvis, who recently moved back to N.C., was totally cracking me up.

I wonder what's happening on that phone? I totally interrupted to take a pic. My bad.

Beth and Jim are probably talking about the film community. I love it.

LoneRider was the perfect location for such a laid back evening

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#TriFilm / TFSIG Gathering

Last night about 40 local film makers gathered to drink a beer and talk shop in the tasting room at the LoneRider Brewing Company. The evening was so fun.

Soon I should have more photos to share with you. It's delightful to be in a room full of people who are passionate about film making--and really great beer!

I'm incredibly grateful to the folks at LoneRider for letting us use their tasting room for the evening. Special thanks to Christin for helping set everything up, and tending bar last night. Congrats to LoneRider for being named one of North Carolina's 25 companies to watch by the Center for Entrepreneurial Development. (Read more about this on Also, big thanks to my fellow event organizers Jim McQuaid (@turnipvideo), Zach Abrams (@compcipher), and Matt Hayhurst (@matthayhurst).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Explaining the Filmmaking Process

Compare the process of building a home to that of making a film. There are finishing touches that make it more aesthetically pleasing, like paint on a wall, base boards, shoe mold, and polished hardwood floors.

Recently I've explained the filmmaking process to the people in my life who are not familiar with it. This is an interesting position to be in, having no formal training in the art and business of making a film. I can only relate my personal experiences to help people in my life understand what I'm doing.

There are a few analogies that have helped me explain the process. The most successful, thus far, has been the comparison of making a film to building a single-family house. A home is a familiar concept. Lots of people have seen a home under construction, visited an existing home, or live in one of their own. So the comparison is a visual, familiar one that works relatively well--even if none of us are home builders.

There are many steps to building a house. Similarly, there are many steps to making a film. There are also lots of people involved, each with their own special set of skills. These people join the effort to do certain jobs, and when their part of the film making process is finished they move on. There's someone providing direction to everyone's efforts, overseeing the entire process, and making sure the work meets their standards.

Turns out, this comparison works pretty well. I spend a lot of time trying to explain what I'm doing to others because this part of the process is not often "seen" by audiences. I mean, when you watch a movie you don't often think about the editing, color, or sound--unless you're obsessive, in the business, or it is unsettling to you.

Since we're finalizing post-production, I say that we'd be working on things like baseboards, shoe mold, and paint if it were a house. These are all finishing touches that make the aesthetics of the home (or film) more pleasing. Once we have picture lock, we'll improve sound, correct color, and finalize motion graphics. Each helps tell the story and makes watching the film more pleasing--so that audiences can put their energy toward taking in new information, instead of being distracted by the quality of production.

Tangential info: This is similar in graphic design. People don't often "see" design, just as audiences don't often pay attention to color or sound unless it is unsettling. A person complains about design when it doesn't meet their needs: a menu that's illegible, road signs that mislead drivers, voter forms that fail, etc. There's a caveat, of course, because not all design is mean to be functional or even legible. David Carson, for example, said, "Don't mistake legibility for communication."

I've also found that by explaining the filmmaking process I'm getting a better understanding of it, and how I can make it more efficient. Working with my composer, for example, has taught us both that he should see the finished film so he can score certain segments.

What do you think? Does this comparison make sense, or do you have a better one? How do you explain your work so that it is more easily understood?