What is the future of cinema? 2018-01-20T08:43:19+00:00


June 15 2015



Image by Alias Studio Sydney


Why this blog?

We live in a time of unprecedented access to information. At the same time, the technology to produce professional motion pictures has become remarkably inexpensive to rent or own.

Crowdfunding has made it possible to raise finance to produce films avoiding completely – or almost completely – old methods of financing a film whether within the ‘studio’ system or as an independent.

Yet, there is genuine concern – and mounting evidence – that cinema somehow has become more impoverished. More films are being made, many of questionable merit on any level. Ironically, where cinema should be invigorated and refreshed, its actually becoming duller and poorer.

Here at Alias we communicate with filmmakers of all levels worldwide. We know what filmmakers are talking about, what they are concerned about – and often NOT concerned about, which can be scary!

We get asked a lot of questions…  among smart filmmakers there is a restlessness and real hunger for intelligent information sharing and cooperation.

This is the start our our contribution.

Join us, you are welcome!

spacerEdited by Amanda Scott (Syd), Alan Kaye (Syd) Jim Duffy (USA) and John Bale (Birmingham, UK)


alias-studioThis blog is moving soon! Meanwhile, still adding new posts…

Posted by Amanda

I’m moving this blog to another part of the Alias site! The new url will be available shortly and posted here.

Meridiian (as a url) never felt right for something on the future of financing and making films.

Feels a bit, for want of a better word… futuristic. Ironically, Alias has started a new initiative to score very well-heeled corporate clients who desperately need better video communications. I like this area where the budgets for short promotional videos are greater than what most people seek thru crowdfunding to make features.

Profit projections from this fascinating area show that Alias itself soon will be in a position to offer finance for suitable projects.

And we will.

Space and futuristic tech it is then! Meridiian. 

Maybe I’ll go back to the Rain Room idea. Right now, too much to do… too many people to deal with.

Posted by Amanda

Untitled-2The Future of Film Has Its Head in the Crowds

Posted by Amanda and Alan Kaye

Many parts of the industry have evolved drastically and quickly. After all it wasn’t long ago that we drove down to the local Blockbuster in hopes they still had a VHS copy of Total Recall available so we could watch in utter amazement of it’s “cutting-edge special effects”.

But many vital parts of how films actually are made have gone virtually untouched by the technological advances of the 21st century. Great scripts have a better shot at getting into Harvard than getting produced unless the writer has lots of famous actor friends; casting is still done by a small group of talent agents mailing out hard copy black and white pictures of actors; and funding is often accomplished by hordes of producers flocking to Cannes to all beg the same small group of billionaires for money.

Read more:

http://www.wired.com/2014/11/future-of-film-crowdsourcing/ [hr]

cannesCannes’ Money Problems: Plunging Euro Leaves a Cloud Over Market

Posted by Amanda and Alan Kaye

There’s an ominous cloud hanging over this year’s market: the currency crisis in Europe and Russia. As a result, the financial underpinnings of several key film territories are at risk.

“The market in general is not healthy,” says Avi Lerner, chairman of Millennium Films and producer of “The Expendables” franchise. “We’re losing money territory by territory. Japan is not good. Russia is at zero because of the ruble. Europe is bad. Spain and Italy, over the last few years, have gone down. The only major territory we’ve seen growing stronger and stronger is China.”

But the Asian nation has its drawbacks, too — namely, a rigidly enforced quota system that makes it difficult for foreign films to get released, and a vast amount of piracy. But the Continent remains at the heart of the predicament: The Euro has steadily fallen in value against the dollar, and the ruble went into free-fall last year and is still climbing back from collapse.

Read more:

http://variety.com/2015/film/awards/cannes-film-festival-market-currency-crisis-1201492761/ [hr]

orson-wellesWhy Orson Welles continues to cast a long and enigmatic shadow over cinema

Posted by Amanda and Alan Kaye

Orson Welles would have turned 100 on May 6, although if he had been telling the story, he would have been at least 200. He died at his desk in Hollywood in the early hours of October 10, 1985, aged 70, after typing instructions for the next day’s shoot. That was appropriate: so many of his films never got finished.

Read more:


trtRobert Downey Jr. Trashes Indie Moviemaking

Posted by Amanda

From article:

Sometimes the little movies are the ones that wind up taking the most out of you because they’re like, ‘Hey, man, we’re just running a couple of days behind. Do you think you can stay through your birthday and then come back on the fourth of July. And, by the way, but, like, the crew — can you pay for the craft services? And, oh, by the way, man, when we go to Sundance, it’s like, can we just sit you in a chair and you can sell this for six days in a row so that we’ll make 180 bucks when it opens in one theater?’”

Read more:


And read the retort by a moron with no sense of humour.  Tongue-in-cheek anyone? Talk about missing the point.

Quote: ‘Inexperienced filmmakers are capable of making good films, and a lot of the time, these same filmmakers go on to make great ones.’ (Italics mine)

Huh? May I see the stats, please?



ali9as-studio-sydney10 Filmmaking Heavyweights Predict the Future of Cinema

Posted by Amanda

Filmmakers are often the bellwethers of the zeitgeist, but that noble position often comes with a desire to make sweeping predictions about what the future of filmmaking will be. In many cases, including, in the case of critic Roger Ebert’s predictions in 1987, these prognostications can turn out to be both right and wrong. What’s important, though, is that an educated public is taking note.

Read more:

http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/10-expert-opinions-on-the-future-of-film [hr]

alias-studio-sydney“I was never conscious of my screenplays having any acts. It’s all bullshit.” – John Milius

Posted by Amanda and Alan Kaye

In an exceptionally frank interview, John Milius talks about Hollywood, his experiences as a writer, and his dislike of books which teach screenwriting.

http://creativescreenwriting.com/i-was-never-conscious… [hr]

jc7“It’s Always the Story” – The Craft of John Carpenter

Posted by Amanda and Alan Kaye

One of the undisputed masters of the horror genre, John Carpenter is a director who straddles the line between mainstream and cult filmmaking. His most personal work, including John Carpenter’s The Thing, Halloween, and less successfully, Prince of Darkness, is permeated with a sense of dread and the inevitability of violence. Carpenter’s feature writing credits include Dark Star, Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog, Halloween II, Escape from New York, Black Moon Rising, Prince of Darkness, They Live, Escape from L.A, and Ghosts of Mars. While he tends to collaborate with other writers on his films, and nearly all of his best films have been co-written (working with Debra Hill on Halloween and Nick Castle on Escape from New York), Carpenter is a staunch defender of the auteur theory, arguing that he normally has more personal impact on a film than any other collaborator.

Read the interview:

http://creativescreenwriting.com/its-always-the-story-the-craft-of-carpenter/ [hr]

it_follows_poster-620x830The secret meaning behind ‘It Follows’ – the scariest film of the decade

Posted by Amanda

It’s rare for a teen horror to make it into the world’s most prestigious film festival, Cannes, let alone get nominated for a Grand Prize.

Everyone from Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers — who called it “nothing short of amazing” — to Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir — “the scariest and best-engineered American horror movie of recent years” — have been unanimous in their praise with the movie sitting at a 95 per cent certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, something almost unheard of for a teen horror movie.

And it’s not just the critics.

Commercially It Follows has been a sleeper hit for its writer, director and producer David Robert Mitchell, having made back its tiny $US2million budget eight times over … and counting.

The film’s plot and themes acting as somewhat of an AIDS parable, which is perhaps why It Follows has become a cult phenomenon overnight.

The best horror movies — the ones that have lasted the test of time, the ones that have gone from cheap drive-ins to being studied in film classes — have always had something significant to say.

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/the-secret-meaning… [hr]

alias-studio-sydney-55Showrunners – The Art of Running a TV Show Official Trailer

Posted by Amanda and Alan Kaye

Showrunners is a feature length documentary film about the fascinating world of television showrunners – the writers and producers of US television drama and comedy series.

Featuring interviews with showrunners, actors, network execs, and writers, it is an exploration of the making of modern American television.

Watch the trailer:

http://www.aliasstudiosydney.com/showrunners [hr]

video-seinfeld-cnd-articleLarge-v2Jerry Seinfeld Declares ‘TV Is Over and There’s Nothing Special About It’

Posted by Amanda and Alan Kaye

From the video post:

Then Seinfeld had a message for the clutter out there, posing as polished multiplatform programming.

“I don’t want to see this crap,” he said. “We have a giant garbage can called YouTube for user-generated content.”

“We’re trying to generate a little higher level,” Seinfeld concluded of the digital network he tethered himself to. “I mean, I’m still an old show business guy — I think show business is for talent, that’s who should be in it…”

Read more:

http://www.thewrap.com/jerry-seinfeld-declares-tv-is-over… [hr]

hitchcockThe Origins of Auteur Theory

Posted by Amanda and Alan Kaye

From the video post:

Auteur – it’s a favorite term of cinephiles around the world. But what exactly is Auteur Theory? In this Filmmaker IQ course we peel back pages of time and explore the origins of Auteur Theory from the economically tumultuous adolescence of French Cinema to the culture war waged in the columns of competing American movie critics.

Watch the video [hr]

alias-studio-sydney553D Cinema: Future Or Fad?

Posted by Amanda

The 3D market has since taken over the industry with film after film being released in the new medium. The number of worldwide 3D digital screens has increased from 9,000 in 2009 to 43,000 in 2012. Studios are making tons of money from new films and re-releases so you would think it is here to stay. But is it really? In this relatively short space of time, mainstream 3D has become a bit like Marmite: you either love it, or you hate it.

Read more:

http://www.raindance.org/3d-cinema-future-or-fad/ [hr]


Actors don’t do resumes anymore

Posted by Amanda

Britt Robertson, days away from turning 25, has news for those of us still living in the last century: actors don’t do resumes anymore.

“Resumes … those don’t even really exist,” she says. “I mean, now people just look you up on imdb.com and that’s all you really need to know.”

This is shaping as a big year in Robertson’s acting career. After The Longest Ride comes Tomorrowland — Disney’s mysterious, big-budget adventure which she co-leads with George Clooney.

Then, possibly early next year, will come Cook, the tale of a girl who inherits a live-in chef. She stars in that with Eddie Murphy. Currently in the editing stages, it was directed by Australian Bruce Beresford.

Read more:

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/britt-robertson [hr]

alias-studio-sydney-55David Lynch: Art house cinema is in a ‘sad time’

Posted by Amanda

Director David Lynch has said alternative cinema is going through a “sad time” because many art house cinemas have shut and the best ideas are ending up on television instead.

Lynch, whose films include Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, said: “The new art house is cable television.”

Read more:

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-30445884 [hr]

alias-studio-sydney-877Quentin Tarantino declares ‘cinema is dead’

Posted by Amanda

Quentin Tarantino has declared “cinema is dead” at the Cannes film festival, where he argued screening films in digital is simply forcing an audience to watch television in public

The 51-year-old filmmaker told journalists and critics: “As far as I’m concerned, digital projection and DCPs is the death of cinema as I know it.”

“The fact that most films now are not presented in 35 mm means that the war is lost. Digital projections, that’s just television in public. And apparently the whole world is OK with television in public, but what I knew as cinema is dead.”

Read more:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/cannes-2014-quentin-tarantino-declares-cinema-is-dead-ahead-of-pulp-fiction-screening-9430049.html [hr] alias studio sydney

Relativity Media Secures $250 Million From New Hollywood Financier

Posted by Amanda and Alan Kaye

CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is investing $25 million of his own money as part of the deal

As Ryan Kavanaugh‘s Relativity Media prepares for an IPO, the company has secured a $250 million investment from Bay Area-based VII Peaks Capital, TheWrap has learned.

VII Peaks Capital is not a traditional Hollywood financier but Kavanaugh has always been quite the salesman, and he will invest an additional $25 million of his own money as part of the deal, a 8999Relativity spokesman confirmed.

Relativity didn’t have a breakout hit at the box office last year, though its horror movie “The Lazarus Effect” has already turned a modest profit this year.

Note: At Relativity, Ryan Kavanaugh created what is now known as “the model”, a monte carlo model designed to predict the odds of a given film being successful. No film at Relativity is given a green light unless the model predicts a high probability of profitability

Read more:

http://www.thewrap.com/relativity-media-secures-250-million [hr]

alias-studio-sydney-78Good evening, ladies and gentlemen…

Posted by Alan Kaye

My name is Orson Welles. I am an actor. I am a writer. I am a producer. I am a director. I am a magician. I appear onstage and on the radio.

Why are there so many of me and so few of you?

Orson Welles [hr]

alias-studio-sydney-nolanChristopher Nolan Talks “Devastating” Career Knocks

Posted by Amanda

Given the box-office takings and critical acclaim of Interstellar, Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy, it might be difficult to imagine a time when Christopher Nolan was ever a struggling filmmaker.

But the director offered some hope to emerging creatives in London on Wednesday, explaining how his seemingly stratospheric rise to blockbuster glory wasn’t an entirely easy ride.

The director also gave some advice to filmmakers looking to make that step up from making their own self-funded features (1998’s Following was made for around $6,000) to attracting multimillion-dollar budgets from production companies.

Read more:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/christopher-nolan-talks-devastating-career-785998?source=gravity  [hr]

alias-studio-sydney-blog-1A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film

Posted by Amanda

Is there a better way of showing a text message in a film? How about the internet? Even though we’re well into the digital age, film is still ineffective at depicting the world we live in. Maybe the solution lies not in content, but in form.

Watch the video here:

http://www.aliasstudiosydney.com/a-brief-look-at-texting-and-the-internet-in-film/   [hr] alias-studio-sydney-film-blog

5 Screenwriting Lessons from Quentin Tarantino

Posted by Amanda

From article:

Love him or hate him, Quentin Tarantino has already left an indelible mark on the history of cinema. Obsessed with movies from an early age, Tarantino spent the majority of his early years devouring every movie he could get his hands on, until he eventually picked up a camera himself.

Read more:

http://www.filmslatemagazine.com/5-screenwriting-lessons-quentin-tarantino/ [hr]

Lemoine-LawA Business and Legal Guide to Making Your Movie

Posted by Amanda

Aspiring filmmakers often let the contract and business details of film production be an afterthought, thinking “that’s not fun, or creative. And I don’t have the budget for that un-fun, un-creative stuff. I’m working with my friends… it’ll all be fine.”

But they’re unlikely to do so again after the many problems arise (which they always do) and perhaps render their hard work practically and commercially unusable. Neglecting contracts and business formalities may prevent getting investors for your film, or may cause a host of other problems that mean a film cannot get interest or distribution.

What follows is a brief list of a few critical “what and why” business details that filmmakers must do, from the outset, to minimize obstacles to a film or project’s success.

Read more by Gano Lemoine of Lemoine Law Firm, Los Angeles:

http://www.filmslatemagazine.com/a-business-and-legal-guide-to-making-your-movie/  [hr]

alias-studio-sydney-667A Freelance Filmmaker’s Guide to Making a Living: Why Your Next Gig will be in Web Video

Posted by Amanda

With the news from The Daily Beast that Google is finally spending real money on original content, we are entering an age in which web video will finally be taken seriously for media consumption.

Big rumors remain that Netflix may follow. In the Tech TV world, there are already shows with a great following on web network Revision3, notably Tekzilla and including Film Riot. As freelancers, you’ve probably already worked on plenty of web promos, ads and testimonials. Soon are the days where you will be working on full-fledged web series, online indie film premieres, and subscription webstreams.

The best thing you can do is position yourself to get these gigs and learn or buy the technology necessary to stay ahead of your competitors.

Read more:

http://www.filmslatemagazine.com   [hr]

lemonCrowd-funding grew by $5.1 billion last year but an expert says it’s not all success stories

Posted by Amanda

Crowd-funding grew by $5.1 billion last year but an expert says it’s not all success stories

Dr Wendy Scaife — a woman who herself has invested in crowd-funding projects but spends most of her time researching the subject for the Queensland University of Technology — says there are real problems with the basic crowd-funding model.

She said the Donor Bill of Rights, a document created in the US to hold crowd-funders accountable, should be replicated in Australia.

“We’ve seen plenty of ‘scampaigns’,” she said.

“What the Donor Bill of Rights does is establish the core principles of crowd-funding including disclaimers in case something goes wrong and even something called the ‘lemon policy’ for when ideas just don’t translate to success, despite the financial backing of strangers.”

Read more:


glob2Top Ten Reasons Crowdfunding Campaigns Fail

Posted by Amanda

From article:

A crowdfunding campaign is an intense drama. You put heart and soul into your project. You believe in your mission. You launch a campaign and obsessively track your contributions. You go down to the wire as you work your social media connections. You contact bloggers and journalists and see if they will write about your passion and help you. The clock ticks down and, in the final moments, you don’t make your goal.

Read more:


litThe ‘Blue Valentine’ Conundrum: Why So Many Boring Women In Indie Film?

Posted by Amanda

A number of indie movies from the past ten years have portrayed female love interests with remarkable similarity, blending them all into one smudgy portrait.

Since “indie” is synonymous with counterculture, or at least alternative culture, viewers expect characters that aren’t canned. An indie romantic comedy presumes that the male and female leads will be equally realized and written. Instead, indie movies of the early 21st century contained an insidious sexism.

Read more:


alias-studio-sydney-6868Remember 405?

Posted by Amanda

405 is the name of a 3-minute film released in June 2000 and produced by Bruce Branit and Jeremy Hunt. It was the first short film to become widely distributed on the Internet and became a media sensation for a short time. It is generally thought of as one of – if not the first – viral film property.

405 is significant as an early example of the revolution in digital filmmaking and the use of broadband internet as a channel to distribute media. While the producers shot the film using a digital camcorder and created the special effects using personal computers, all on a budget of $300, the results rivaled that of many major film and television production studios at the time.

On the one hand it’s hard to believe the excitement it created at the time… but 15 years later how many ‘filmmakers’ today think the fact they can make something, anything and put it online actually means anything? The novelty wore off long ago.

Watch the video here[hr}

alias-studio-sydney-6868Terry Gilliam criticizes Spielberg and Schindler’s List

Posted by Alan Kaye

In a TCM interview, the legendary film director Terry Gilliam reveals his opinion on Schindler’s List and Spielberg and mainstream Hollywood in general, saying things that most filmmakers, critics and viewers are too scared to express.

He also mentions Stanley Kubrick, compares Kubrick and Spielberg and praises the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey for its thought-provoking ambiguity.

Another reason so many movies – especially independents – suck. How many people do you know make the effort to have what Ayn Rand called ‘a well-stocked cellar’ ?

Watch the brief video here[hr]

machete-kills-robert-rodriguezFilmmaker Robert Rodriguez Has Some Encouraging Advice for Creative People

Posted by Amanda

Failure has been key to Robert Rodriguez’s success.

Rodriguez’s point? If he had wallowed in his failures, he wouldn’t have been open to the ideas that came out of them. In other words, ego would have drowned out inspiration, which can come at any time and often when you least expect it.

“Creativity kind of flows through you, and if you block with your ego or think that you’re actually doing it, then you’re very limited,” Rodriguez said. “Creativity is available to everyone, and it can come through you if you just don’t doubt [yourself], worry or think, ‘Hmmm, how am I going to do that?’ It’s not you to begin with. You’ve got to step out of the way and magic can happen.”

Read more:


899Akira Kurosawa – Composing Movement

Posted by Amanda

Can movement tell a story? Sure, if you’re as gifted as Akira Kurosawa.

More than any other filmmaker, he had an innate understanding of movement and how to capture it onscreen.

Watch the video here[hr]

Why do so many Indie films suck?

Posted by Alan Kaye

alias-studio-sydneyCould it be this? Most movies suck. It comes down to stats. There are only 6 majors and I guess about a dozen mini major studios.

In the indie world there are a thousands of people who, for better or worse, consider themselves filmmakers.

Based on pure volume indies pump out way more stuff than the major studios ever could.

Therefore, more indie movies suck.

Worth thinking about… but, you know, I think it is this (above) “thousands of people who, for better or worse, consider themselves filmmakers”.

It became too easy to pretend you are a filmmaker. [hr]

alias-studio-sydnet4Alfred Hitchcock’s letter to Billy Wilder

Posted by Amanda


Nowadays on Twitter, Facebook, Skype, et al… personally I do not see as much sincere and genuine communication between people.

Or is it just me?

I do know I often see people achieving their crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter and the moment they do they stop communicating with their supporters.

Sometimes there isn’t even a thank you!

Do they think people wont remember next time around?[hr]

843945-e8f52882-ceb7-11e4-9cb0-ca25d560d473Go Dark!

Posted by Amanda

We all suffer from too many distractions.

A recent study found that for every one-minute email interruption, it takes on average fifteen minutes to recover and get back onto the thing you were doing. So all those little tiny distractions add up to a huge inefficiency.

Sometimes what you’re doing needs total focus. For these times, go dark. ‘Going dark’ is a phrase that is thought to have originated among software developers in the days before a big deadline. When they’re working away on something that requires total focus, they disappear off the radar. [hr]

wmwy2Jack of All Trades, Master of None OR True Renaissance Man? Don’t limit yourself…

Posted by Alan Kaye

I annoy a lot of people, I think… At the beginning of my professional career, I wrote. I wanted a start in filmmaking and being an Aries, starting as a production runner or gopher just didn’t suit my personality.  But directing was my goal, I think better and come alive when dealing with other people. Writers spend too much time sitting alone. Screw that.

Naturally I wanted control. This was at a time though when owing your own professional equipment, self-funding your own films and then distributing them was just prohibitive cost-wise.

Meanwhile, the internet arrived. Yet I knew nothing about computers and, more importantly, how to build a website. So I threw myself into learning that… graphic design, coding HTML, Flash (remember that) etc etc but the main thing, THE thing I saw as early as the late 90’s was that video will be future of the web. Even mobile devices would be able to deliver quality video imagery. The early indicators were there for me, it was just a matter of time.

My web design company did well and all of a sudden the professional technology to make films became affordable. Cameras, professional lighting, edit suites in a box, sound post etc etc. Amazing. So I created a studio to service the video needs of web clients and along the way learned cinematography sound, you name it. Ten years ago I knew nothing about cinematography – I knew how I wanted things to look, but needed a DP. Now others approach me to shoot THEIR films. Youtube and vimeo and others emerged. Then crowdfunding. The loop was complete.

So what’s the take-away from this? Some may argue that those aspiring to extensive knowledge in a variety of fields do not ever master a field. In truth, today you can master something you are passionate about, and yet aspire for advanced competence in many areas.

The true benefit comes in making the attempt, not in achieving perfection. By simply aspiring and seeking knowledge and wisdom in fields that impact all of our lives, you will become a better man, and certainly have a shot at being an indisputable Renaissance man. The opportunities offered today in filmmaking demand it, I’d argue. Then you can annoy people too.[hr]

feet2Eleven strategies for getting started

Posted by Amanda

In today’s world of smartphones, Twitter and always-on internet, it’s becoming harder and harder to sit down and actually concentrate.

So how do you cut through the distractions and get back to productive working?

According to productivity expert and author Graham Allcott, founder of consultancy Think Productive, it’s simple: think like a ninja.

Allcott’s new book, How to be a Knowledge Ninja, outlines some practical tips to cutting through the daily clutter.


053-the-shining-theredlistLife in Pictures – Stanley Kubrick documentary

Posted by Amanda

Starting out as a photographer in New York City, Kubrick taught himself all aspects of film production and directing after graduating from high school.

His earliest films were made on a nothing budgets, within a few short years he was directing a Hollywood blockbuster ‘Spartacus’. And that was after ‘Paths of Glory’.

What would he make of the technology available today compared to what he had to work with at the beginning of his career? Or thru most of his career for that matter…

Watch the documentary here[hr]

311828-7d1cca8c-ceff-11e4-b2b7-70a9cb122812Massive ‘Mad Men’ exhibit opens at NYC’s Museum of the Moving Image

Posted by Amanda

This collection of hundreds of props, dozens of costumes, two full-scale sets and scads of notes and scripts from AMC’s glorious drama series will surely thrill all Mad Men fans as they brace themselves for its final seven episodes.

What the museum wanted, she says, is more than a gallery of gathered artifacts. A corresponding goal was to shed light on this series’ creative process, reaching back before its sets and costumes were designed and the cameras rolled.

With that in mind, the exhibition has resurrected the show’s writers’ room where, for seven seasons, Mad Men narratives and scripts blossomed.

Not particularly relevant but had to include the pic of the writer’s room. Where it always begins.



shiningTen terrifying horror movies you probably haven’t seen

Posted by Amanda

And, no. The Shining isn’t on that list. Why bother to include this list here? Take a look at the number of low-budget horror films seeking funding using crowdsourcing. It’s staggering and yet so predictable too. As John Carpenter said : ‘Horror is the cinematic equivalent of an easy lay’. The concept of having something fresh to say – the very reason you would BOTHER to make a film – is rapidly being lost amidst the noise.danse-macabre_stephen-king,images_big,31,978-83-7648-170-8

And, no. The Shining isn’t on that list below. “I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud” … Stephen King

From article:

Go and see upcoming horror film ‘It Follows’ when it hits cinemas and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best horror movies of recent years, a story of a teenage girl who is given a curse after a fling and then haunted by a slow-moving entity visible only to her. It’s one of those tiny horror movies that could either slip away into a life of quiet cult adoration or become a giant breakout hit.

Read more:


finalde7 Crowdfunding Tips Proven To Raise Funding

Posted by Amanda

This post on crowdfunding success tips answers the following questions for people or businesses thinking about using crowdfunding to raise funding:

“What are the common elements behind wildly successful crowdfunding campaigns?”

“Which platform is the best fit for my business or project?”

“What should I offer funders or investors?”

Read more:

http://www.forbes.com [hr]

Untitled-34The 12 Biggest Box Office Bombs In The 21st Century

Posted by Amanda

Whether you’re from the United States or the United Kingdom, movies are a common bond across the world. The cinema has been capturing hearts and minds for over a century, and with vast improvements in film technology, special effects have further captivated us.

High-tech films aren’t easy or cheap to make, and while many of them have been huge hits, others have been complete flops.

Read more:


Untitled-3Industry Finance Leaders Talk 90-Day Window and the Future of Film

Posted by Amanda

The topic of the keynote conversation was “State of the Industry: The Future of the Big Screen.” James Moore, CEO and managing partner of Vine Alternative Investments, moderated the discussion between Christophe Lambert, CEO of EuropaCorp, and Peter Adee, founder and CEO of 88 Media.

Adee said the future of home entertainment in light of the digital revolution is bleak, and predicted that the physical parts of home entertainment will go away slowly. DVDs, he said, are already largely seen as an outdated way to consume entertainment, and yet there are still 2 billion of them produced each year. He argued that consumers’ propensity for tangible goods will keep home entertainment around long after it is considered irrelevant.

“We’re not in the glory days of Disney from the ’80s or ’90s, and we cannot assume that we’re going to make that much money in home entertainment,” Adee said. “But at the same time, people like to own things.”

Read more:


joseph-middleton-casting-directorSXSW film: casting directors lift the secrets of their profession

Posted by John Bale

From the article:

In a South by Southwest session, top casting directors break down the costs of hiring top actors for independent films and discuss YouTube’s role in hiring …

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what is the future of film blogALT-SCRIPT: How Digital Filmmaking Destroyed Screenwriting

Posted by John Bale

From the article:

I want to use this article to explain how the digital revolution has single-handedly destroyed screenwriting as a profession, and what we need to do to solve the problems created by both the technology and the naivety of the people using it. SPOILER: this article does have a happy and positive ending. However, to get to that point, I really need to unpack the horrific mess independent film has got into, and the reasons why it’s happened…

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kickstarter-banner-image-superJumboKickstarter’s Impact on Film

Posted by Amanda

In Hollywood, $100 million might be the marketisingle blockbuster, but independent filmmakers are more resourceful. This $100 million helped to create more than 8,000 films, many of which have gone on to great acclaim and success.

Documentaries have had the most dollars pledged, but every category has received millions of dollars from thousands of backers. More than 3,000 short films and nearly 5,000 feature-length films have been successfully funded since 2009.

Some examples of films financed or partly financed by Kickstarter[hr]

Untitled-4The Growing List of Online Distribution Sites

Posted by Alan Kaye
This is a growing list of online retail/rental/streaming sites that pay filmmakers something for their content.

This is due for an update- expect to see a new version in the next few weeks.


Steven-Soderbergh-011Steven Soderbergh’s State of Cinema Talk

Posted by Alan Kaye

Here is the full transcript of director Steven Soderbergh‘s keynote at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival delivered Saturday. At first he requested the festival ensure no still photographs, audio, or video of his talk at the Kabuki Theater.

But instead it was tweeted, blogged, recorded, and put online. Soderbergh promised in advance to “drop some grenades” and he opined about studio executives, indie filmmaking, and cinema vs movies.

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561152-b34a1462-bd92-11e4-b7ec-622016158095The Second Machine Age

Posted by Jim Duffy

“Brynjolfsson and McAfee are right: we are on the cusp of a dramatically different world brought on by technology. The Second Machine Age is the book for anyone who wants to thrive in it. I’ll encourage all of our entrepreneurs to read it, and hope their competitors don’t.” – Marc Andreessen, cofounder of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz

Regarding what the future holds for the film (and almost any other) industry, I recommend this book… “The Second Machine Age” by Andrew McAfee.

It describes very well what changes this new computer age has brought so far and much more importantly what other kinds of changes we should expect in the future. This book would be a good read for anybody thinking about the future of film. [hr] storaro

The Art of Cinematography

Posted by Amanda

A rereading of the “seventh art” through the eyes of the most important cinematographers. The Art of Cinematography underscores the essential importance of the figure of the cinematographer in the history of world cinema. A full-blown review that stretches from 1910 to the present day, this volume is illustrated by stunning photographic images in double vision specially reworked by Oscar winner Vittorio Storaro and provides the reader with over 150 profiles of cinematographers in a whole century of cinema.

The volume is accompanied by a DVD with images in motion dedicated to the artists included in the book.

It finally arrived! Sure, it is an expensive book but worth every cent.


hitchcock-profileHitchcock – ‘Reputations’ BBC documentary in two parts

Posted by Alan Kaye

Both in person and now more often online, I speak with a lot of young – and not so young – aspiring filmmakers.

It’s an exciting time for cinema but I find myself actually getting bored and irritated quite often. More and more I probe to see why someone actually wants to make a film and ask – even demand – to know why do you think this idea of yours will appeal to anyone apart from your immediate family and friends all of whom seem to know nothing about the history of cinema. Or life, for that matter.

I will hear about the latest technology and the pittance they raised from their crowdfunding and nothing about what really matters.

You cannot define and create the future while ignoring the rich lessons from the past.

Hitchcock? Well, I know who I studied and admire, the list is quite long actually… Truffaut, Welles, Ford, Friedkin, Schlesinger, Antonioni and countless others. I could go on. Taste is subjective, sure, but the absence of most modern filmmakers from my list is telling.

Watch both parts here [hr]

alias-photography-5Why do bad movies get made?

Posted by Amanda

Do the people who produce/write/direct/act in bad movies know that a movie is bad from the get go? Do they see themselves as “misunderstood” by reviewers and the public? Are they hoping to make “cult” so-bad-it’s-good films?

An answer by Ken Miyamoto, produced screenwriter, former Sony Pictures script reader/story analyst and former Sony Studios liaison.

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the godfather5 Hollywood Secrets That Explain Why So Many Movies Suck

Posted by Amanda

From article:

Chances are if you’re reading this, you are already mad at Hollywood. You’ve watched helplessly as it bastardized the franchises you loved as a child, or failed to promote — or even release — a project you had been excited about for years.

You can write it all off as greed and the terrible taste of the movie-going public, but there are other factors that make Hollywood the soulless blockbuster machine that it is. Some of which you’d never suspect …

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Martin Scorsese’s letter to his daughter

Posted by Amanda

scorsese“Dearest Francesca,

I’m writing this letter to you about the future. I’m looking at it through the lens of my world. Through the lens of cinema, which has been at the center of that world.

For the last few years, I’ve realized that the idea of cinema that I grew up with, that’s there in the movies I’ve been showing you since you were a child, and that was thriving when I started making pictures, is coming to a close. I’m not referring to the films that have already been made. I’m referring to the ones that are to come.

I don’t mean to be despairing. I’m not writing these words in a spirit of defeat. On the contrary, I think the future is bright.

We always knew that the movies were a business, and that the art of cinema was made possible because it aligned with business conditions. None of us who started in the 60s and 70s had any illusions on that front. We knew that we would have to work hard to protect what we loved. We also knew that we might have to go through some rough periods. And I suppose we realized, on some level, that we might face a time when every inconvenient or unpredictable element in the moviemaking process would be minimized, maybe even eliminated. The most unpredictable element of all? Cinema. And the people who make it….”

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steph34Why online video is the future of content marketing

Posted by Amanda

If it were five years in the future, would you be reading this article or would you be watching it? As online video continues its inimitable rise, it’s an interesting question to ponder.

By 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco. Video-on-demand traffic alone will have almost trebled. Leafing through a swathe of statistics on the subject, I’m hard pressed to find any indicator that doesn’t suggest rapid growth.

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The take-away? Any crowdfunding effort requires a killer video pitch. Seems obvious but many filmmakers fail miserably here. What makes a killer pitch? Details coming.[hr]

dfdffytrytryBest Crowdfunding Websites

Posted by Amanda


When considering crowdfunding a film, a lot of decisions need to be made when it comes to choosing the right website – do you want to give kickbacks to contributors? How visible do you want the marketing to be? Can you find an investor core on a more specified site first? All decisions which will directly impact the way your film will be viewed, and by whom.[hr] Untitled-9

Watch this before you start your crowdfunding campaign

Posted by Amanda

Produced by Film Courage, watch the video here

Need more help on crowdfunding? Film Courage recommends…