The Mynerthins – Part One

Brent couldn’t take his eyes off his own reflection. His mind felt as if it were a bouncing water balloon.

Dirt, sweat, and blood – From his forearms to his forehead. And his muscles – fatigued to the point of instant cramping. Brent washed himself off thoroughly then went to bed.

Breakfast was served – 2 eggs, toast, and a slice of bacon.

“Good morning Brent,” said Keira. “Did you sleep well?”

“Good morning Kiera,” he responded. “I did, how did you sleep?”

“I slept well also,” Kiera said, than held her bacon up.

“No,” said Brent. He scoped the room – nobody else had seen the gesture.

The bacon was the size of his pinky finger. It was Brent’s favorite part of his meal. He often wondered what eating must’ve felt like in the old world. Meat was consumed at a gluttonous rate before the world became uninhabitable. Not every Mynerthin ate meat – in fact it was considered a weakness.

The fluorescent lights above increased to full strength and the Mynerthin’s took their place at their desktop computers.

“Good morning everyone,” said Director Limeley.

There was a strange look about the director as his eyes swept around the room. Two men with dark glasses stood at his sides. It was rare to see anyone from a parallel dwelling, but always a source of excitement.

“Assistant Plethor has died,” said Limeley.

A rush of disbelief overtook the room. Brent turned to Kiera and shared her confused expression. “Plethor’s dead?” he said.

“I’m sorry to inform you at the start of your day,” continued Director Limeley. “We have received two grief counselors to speak with each of you. My hope is that you will communicate them honestly about your feelings and answer whatever questions they may ask you. Please do not discuss this matter amongst yourselves.”

Brent took his place at the computer desk and began his humble obligations. With limited communication between dwellings, many other communities looked towards his group to provide informative discussion that could help prepare civilization for a return to dirt and grass.

At lunch time Brent spotted the available seat beside Kiera. He continued onward due to the inherrent dangers of sitting beside the same person for two consecutive meals. Unfortunately for Brent, the only remaining seat was beside Durk.

“What do you think happened to Padley?” Durk said.

Brent eyed his own bowl of rice. “I believe Director Limeley urged us not to speak it.”

Durk nodded and shoveled a scoop of rice into his mouth.

Brent wasn’t hungry. This was odd, as he hadn’t eaten much at breakfast, either.

“I do feel it is a tragedy and something worth feeling sad about,” Brent finally said.

“I agree,” said Durk.

Brent took a sip of water. Rice was a good meal and one that he was grateful to receive. He wondered if he required a medical evaluation.

“But Plethor will never instruct us again.” said Durk.

“It is awful,” said Brent. He stared fiercely back at Durk. “We should not speak of it any further.”

“Yes, it is a tragedy and something worth feeling sad about,” said Durk.

The two men returned to eating in silence. A song played through the overhanging speakers just loud enough to overcome the chewing. It was a positive song that evoked feelings of joy and happiness. The Mynerthins used many tools to maintain a positive work and life environment.

“But I’m glad he’s fucking dead,” said Durk.

Brent searched the room and found nobody staring back at them.

The urge to eat suddenly returned. Brent took a bite of rice.

Pre-Sales for Filmmaking

Good morning. I’ve enjoyed my return to wordpress and communicating here again.

In case you missed it, I created a post with specific information for film financing. I included 3 videos, all by Sky Moore, and summarized his main points. I learned a ton from summarizing the videos so I have decided to do it again today. Furthermore, the information he provides is practical. I’ve seen far too many videos that fail to provide any tangible directions.

Pre-sale Financing:

Pre-sale financing is how a filmmaker will raise the majority of the money for their project. With a script and an actor attached, you can attend a film market and “Pre-sell” the film. This is often done with the assistance of a sales agent. You may then sell distribution rights to a foreign distributor so that they may acquire the rights to your film once it is done. These distributors may agree to pay you a large amount money, but they will require delivery of the film prior to forking over the dough.

Take the contracts acquired over to the bank. Here you will change out those contracts for a “Notice of Assignment.” Here the distributors agree to pay the bank once the bank delivers the film to them. This new contract will typically override whatever was in the initial distribution agreement. You are now eligible for a sizable loan to budget your film.

But what if the film never reaches completion? For the bank to ensure that it will receive its money, you will need to involve a “Completion Guarantee” company. This company guarantees that the film will either A) get made, all contracts work as planned B) not get made, and the company guarantees the bank that it will receive its money from the loan provided to you.

For a typical film budget – $10 million – you may be able to do pre-sales of 7 million. After taking the contracts to the bank and following the steps above, the bank may provide a 6 million loan. Congratulations, 60% percent of your $10 million dollar budget is now covered.

Film Finance, Tax Credits, and Securities Laws

Today I want to get a bit boring. I’ve discussed vapid dreams and ambitions here for quite a while now. But as I set out to begin a new project, I must prepare to deal with an element that I haven’t encountered before – raising money.

In the world of art the dollar symbol is nearly a curse word. There is so much joy throughout the creative process that the financial burden is completely ignored in favor of fantasized recognition. The irony is that a person who loses a quarter of their income on a poor financial investment will be more angry than an artist who pisses away half their lifetime on a masterpiece that’s never fully realized.

I’m making a commitment to myself to learn more about film financing. I cannot make legitimate films without an external source of income. Today I’m going to summarize a few of the key points from the video series I’ve been viewing, with links to each. I want to add that I have no connection to Sky Moore and am citing his videos specifically due to the wealth of information he provides in each. If you enjoy his videos, I encourage you to “like” them and subscribe to his channel. My summaries simply recite the main points that he provides.

  1. Basics of Film Financing –

Sky Moore urges us prioritize learning inner workings of the film industry over all other aspects of filmmaking. He states that 80% of films that are made lose money. Moore informs us that studios make money primarily through distribution. They often acquire films that were financed by a third party, get the film to a distributor, and take a cut from that. The principal distinction between film studios & independent studios is that Independent Studios will often collapse after one film failure. They do not have deep enough pockets to cover a major loss. Studios control distribution – Independent Studios do not. Never invest in your own film.

2. Equity & Security –

Moore tells us that if we violate the securities laws, we go to jail. We are also at risk for being held liable for any losses incurred. Security laws apply anytime a person is paying money with an expectation of receiving money back. You can comply with the security laws by filing with the SEC (a headache) or by filing for an exemption. Rely on Rule 506 – All investors must be credited investors: (investors with net worth over a million (excluding their homes), annual income above 300k, or an entity with over 5 million dollars of gross assets. They must meet one of those requirements and also sign a document stating such. Congrats, you got yourself a credited investor! Now file form D with the SEC and don’t do advertising (not sure why).

You have an obligation to disclose all material facts to your investors through a Private Placement Memorandum. (A summary of script, projected budget, distribution plan, your background, etc. Can be short but must meet the burden of meeting all material facts.)

3. Tax Financing –

There are 3 different ways to use tax subsidies for film financing:

1. Foreign (tax shelters) – Sale/lease back model. Sell your rights to a foreign entity. They license the rights back to you. You recover 10% of your budget.

2. US – Section 181. Deduct the first 15 million dollars of the cost of a film produced in the United States. Realize it’s not a credit. It accelerates the deduction by a year. It doesn’t work and ya goofed.

3. State tax credits – This one does work. There are two different models.

  1. Assignable – Receive tax credit based on producing in a local jurisdiction. Sell the credit to a buyer (taxpayer) within that jurisdiction. Some states will give a credit of 20-30%. Spend a million on your film, receive a credit as high as 300k.
  2. Refundable – The state will refund the amount of your credit. You may not be able to sell it but you can borrow against it. You can pledge it to a bank and monetize it (use it to raise money for your film).

I hope these videos and summaries were helpful to you. I know very little about film financing but am motivated to educate myself. I stumbled upon these videos online and found them immensely helpful. I share them with the hope that someone else can find them as invaluable as I have. Once again, I have no connection to Sky Moore.

Have a good one.

Moore, Sky. “1_ Basics of Film Financing – YouTube.” Www.youtube.com, Sky Moore Attorney, 3 Aug. 2017, youtu.be/Qyf97tFxUEE.

Moore, Sky. “3_ Equity & Security – YouTube.” Www.youtube.com, Sky Moore Attorney, 3 Aug. 2017, youtu.be/zkt2EvkSvDg. Accessed 15 May 2022.

Moore, Sky. “4_ Tax Financing – YouTube.” Www.youtube.com, 3 Aug. 2017, youtu.be/2vFJLztFQwc. Accessed 15 May 2022.

Writing Genre Specific Fiction

Each genre of fiction incorporates specific nuances. Comedy must be ripe with jokes, thrillers constantly elevate the stakes, drama evolves conflicts, and horror unleashes fright. The best writers do not compress their stories to fit within the limitations of a single genre, but often utilize elements that will enhance their own story from parallel genres. When a song is composed it is written with a specific key in mind – but elements of the song will inevitably transition to other keys – relative minors, fifths, parallel minors, etc.

I have yet to write a horror story but look forward to utilize the elements of dread, terror, and shock. I am also certain mystery will be the engine that keeps the viewer captivated. I recently rewatched Pirates of the Caribbean (action) and was shocked to find just how frequently mystery was used to carry the story through each act. Major reveals catapult the first and second act into the third – the pirates on the Black Pearl are all dead, Will Turner is the son of a pirate, the gold medallion is valuable because an Aztec curse was placed upon it, and Jack’s seemingly garbage compass actually works precisely as its supposed to.

These captivating reveals are never dumped as information but occur as payoffs. In the beginning of the film we see Will wearing the medallion but do not know its significance. We know there is a supernatural aura regarding the pirates from the skepticism villagers display. Still, we have no reason to assume they are immortal. Jack Sparrow’s compass appears to move erratically – but he studies it as if its telling him something.

I feel that unfolding a story in this way requires the writer to know the secrets before they are revealed. That may seem obvious, but I remember another show where I am convinced the writers had no idea what the hell they were talking about. That show was “Lost” – where an airplane crash lands onto an island and everyone on board struggles to survive as they encounter supernatural phenomenon. The mystery that jaded me the most was the numbers – 8,16,32,64… something like that. I swear they spent an entire season talking about those goddamn numbers, including a flashback where a character won the lottery with the exact digits. Anyways, I finished the whole series and never found out why those numbers were so important. That left me unfulfilled and quite honestly resentful.

What do they mean? Nobody knows. Not even the writers.

It’s easy to write a mystery when you don’t know the answers to the questions you are presenting. Imagine a rabbit starts eating a treat out of a box then suddenly disappears. Ya, obviously there is motivation for you to keep you reading, but the explanation is the pay off. If I tell you that the treat was a magic invisibility pill I’d wager you’d put the book down. But if that rabbit ate a genetically altered carrot that included a chemical composition discovered at MIT by 3 first year engineer majors, and that same composition is theorized to accelerate redox reactions by electrons, you might believe me. It’s incoherrent bullshit, but at least there is a method to the madness. You’d rightfully anticipate a legitimate explanation to how the rabbit disappeared and why that matters. I feel “The Prestige” is a great example of this specific comparison at work. The payoff was worthwhile, despite remaining unrealistic in accordance with real world science.

So as I begin my course with this story I must choose the information the viewer will receive early and the information that will be delayed. But more importantly than that, I must figure out the elements of fear that will make this story a horror. If I fail to find ideas that are terrifying and disturbing than I am better off writing a science fiction thriller. And those scares must occur repeatedly throughout each scene. Dread, however, is an awesome area, as it basically suspense with the anticipation of terror.

This is the end of my post. One day I will discover the correct way to end them.

Returning to the White Pages

I’ve been largely absent from this blog this year. That’s in large part due to my interest in music. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about music theory, production and sound design. After completing “Doctor with the Red Houseware,” I needed some time before I felt ready to tackle another project.

I have a terrible habit of overthinking details. This results in the phenomenon of “Analysis leads to paralysis”. I’ve flirted with several premises I would like to develop but have yet to take the plunge and commit to any of them. There are a few main reasons for this – but the greatest pitfall has been the almighty dollar.

I feel filmmaking is somewhat unique to other branches of entertainment. If you are a great musician, comedian, actor, or even writer, your number one asset is yourself, your number 2 asset is exposure. The creation of a film has much less to do with talent, ability, and skills, and much more to do with budget. You can create an outstanding film with less, sure, and you can use your problem-solving skills to tackle obstacles that pose a risk to production. But at the end of the day, you’re going to need money if you intend to create a film that can rub shoulders with major box office productions. You will want the best camera, best sound, best effects, and most famous actors you can afford.

Acquiring that money is the obvious challenge, but of course there are unlimited strategies to accomplish that. From watching interviews with other filmmakers online, I’ve arrived at a variety of potentially successful avenues. The common thread for soliciting investments, however, tends to involve having a product worth selling – so obviously you must begin with a completed script.

As any writer knows, each project requires an overwhelming amount of time, effort, and anguish to complete. The major salt on the wound for writers is finding a single reader is even more of a challenge.

Part of the joy I’ve experienced in filmmaking has been the knowledge that I would produce and shoot the scripts that I wrote. As I begin work on a new feature length script I can’t help but confront the obvious – I am going to need external financing to complete a 110-130 page story.

I have developed several daily habits that require 30 minutes or less. I find that the more I limit my time the better I manage it. I’m actively considering ways in which I could post a new video to youtube each day. I feel that developing a fanbase could help me reach my goal in more ways than one. I also fear, however, that I will be tempted to devote more time to each video.

Another habit I am considering implementing has to do with knocking on doors. By routinely networking with other producers, distributors, and production companies, I can greatly improve my odds of having an ear open for me when my story is ready to pitch. I can begin to immerse myself in the business of filmmaking rather than hiding in the fantasy of it all.

I would like to return to the idea of crowdfunding the film. Of course, before I can launch a kickstarter campaign I will need to have the script completed and a sizzle reel shot. The sizzle reel is something I can take care of without any hefty investments. This would include a single location with legitimate actors that provides the overall tone and promise of the story I would like to tell.

Just wanted to share some thoughts today. I hope to do so again tomorrow.

Doctor with the Red Houseware – Update

Official Poster for Doctor with the Red Houseware

I’m beyond thrilled to announce Doctor with the Red Houseware – the short film I wrote and directed – has been selected by “Xumo” with the opportunity to reach televisions worldwide. Xumo is a streaming service that is readily available across a variety of devices. If you have a Samsung TV and no cable, it is more than likely the host of television channels that will start playing automatically once you exit Netflix. Though it has been selected, I will celebrate with much more alcohol when it is officially featured and available for viewing.

Xumo is a free streaming service with thousands of movies and over 190 channels of streaming content. It is available in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico.

I find myself overwhelmed by time. I work 12 hour shifts 3-4 days per week. I have one day off per week with my girlfriend where we watch movies and order pizza. When I am not working I am creating something. Currently I am developing a song that I love.

I have never looked for a job in the film industry but have decided to begin my search following completion of this song. Spending so much time at a job that is unrelated to my areas of interests seems misguided and wasteful. I would love nothing more than to begin work on a feature length script, yet I feel burdened by worry that such an undertaking will be wasteful. If I take the time to write a script I will make damn sure it gets produced. In order to produce a feature length script I am dependent on money that is not in my possession.

The benefits of working in the industry would be numerous as would the drawbacks. For one, I anticipate regular pay for consistent work is difficult to come by. I feel that working as a sound engineer or mixer could perhaps be the most promising, despite my first love of writing. I am concerned jobs of that sort require a degree in the audio production as they deal with the most technical & mathematical aspects of filmmaking. For instance, mixing for a theatrical release requires much more specific sound assignments then a 2.0 stereo mix. I am confident I can mix in surround but until I have a setup at my disposal I cannot prove that.

These are just some of my thoughts as I am, as always, pressed for time. Today I will work further on the song, tomorrow I will see my girlfriend, and the following day it’s back to work. Happy Easter and God Bless.

Tone & Premise

Still from “Mountain Cult – Doctor with the Red Houseware”

As I set out to write my next project, one writing element comes to mind as the dominating cornerstone – tone.

Its importance is oftentimes understated, but I believe it plays an enormous factor in the viewability of a story. We enjoy watching films that satisfy a certain longing. It is the same reason we may return to a barbershop with sub-par barbers – if the music is “cool”, the workers are “chill”, and the “vibe” is right, we may still have an enjoyable experience. We can learn from real life experience that people are drawn to power and certain moods. It is the reason why radio stations play garbage disposals on repeat instead of music.

The second major element I intend to exploit is premise. This contains the basic idea behind the story – and what most viewers are considering when they search a film to watch. Think “Aliens land on earth to impregnate cows and form a competing intelligent species.” Within the premise you may find a motivation for watching.

I have some early ideas and routes I would like to go down, but nothing is cemented yet. I will take my first crack at a short draft on Monday. I’m hoping to produce a short film that contains the essence of a feature length story. From there I will solicit funding and distribution. It’s a long, treacherous road ahead, but the well paved roads are too boring to skate down anyway.

Lofty Goals and Loose Plans

Still from Mountain Cult – Doctor with the Red Houseware

After speaking with a competent and knowledgeable filmmaker, I am beginning work toward my next project. “Mountain Cult – Doctor with the Red Houseware” has yet to be released but I intend to make it widely available by the end of the month. I uploaded it to filmhub a couple days ago, but it failed quality control due to poster image & subtitle issues. I would like to provide my film to a marketplace distributor with the high-end goal of selling it before making it free to view. Lofty goal but shooters shoot.

So this competent filmmaker has consistently worked on other projects and takes his craft very seriously. I am excited about the opportunity to work with someone who knows what they are doing and recognizes the value in preparation.

Thought yesterday we made loose plans for rushing a script and filming a type of “practice” short relatively soon, I am now second guessing that idea in favor of my loftier goal for 2022. I would like to write a scene for a “sizzle reel” – a short scene that encompasses the tone, characters and premise of a feature film. If you want to secure funding for a film, the best way is to complete a visceral sizzle reel and use it to leverage your product’s merit with people who have the money to make it come to life. It is also wise to secure distribution before funding.

I have a few ideas floating around that vary in genre and budget requirements. The one thing I have learned through experience is that no matter what idea I pursue, I will inevitably fall in love with it and devote much more time and effort than I had initially planned. It is for this reason that I have decided against a practice shoot.

In other news, I have been updating an instagram account and facebook page for the film regularly. I hate doing it but it doesn’t take much time. I don’t quite understand how facebook business pages are supposed to attract followers when you cannot friend request them. I’ve built a good amount of “friends” on my personal page and use that one primarily to market the film. Because I click on random people each day to add as friends I inevitably have friends from regions of the world that don’t use English. I guess I have much to learn about marketing.

Anyways, that’s today’s update. Hope you have a great day.

Self Doubt and the Assumption of Guilt

I just woke from a dream that contains a lot of the building blocks for a successful plot. In the dream, a schoolbook was circulating through national news due to its connection to an unsolved crime that occurred decades earlier. On the inside cover of the book there was an address and a phone number. I immediately recognized the number, address, and handwriting to be my own – but I had no part in any crime.

I took it upon myself to contact the detectives, despite my father’s warning for potential consequences. My neighbors spoke to me afterward and I realized that I wasn’t the only person to recognize the book belonged to me. Be assured this was all still a dream – which did include several giant spiders and a detective who forgot he was still on the line midway through our conversation.

I woke up with a hazy wondering about whether my friends might have been responsible for this non-existent crime. I even considered my own guilt, despite not knowing what crime had even taken place. I guess that’s what this post is about.

Nothing feels worse than being interrogated – having your words, body language, and moral compass subjected to scrutiny. Now imagine that instead of being interrogated by a detective to clear your name you are defending a composition of your own creativity to a judgmental audience.

“Is it good, or bad?” Just as the detective is studying you on whether he believes in your innocence, any audience will analyze your work in an effort to determine the worthiness of its existence. When someone criticizes our artistic work we immediately discover reasonings within ourselves for why we failed as an artist.

I am very much put off by youtube channels that review films and determine whether they were a failure or success. In the same way I find any personality similar to Simon Cowell of American Idol a complete fraud. We offer so much attention, weight, and undeserved elevation to personalities who consistently judge others and embellish their own qualifications for reserving the God complex in their respective fields.

When you are determined to improve at your chosen craft you will recognize talents, abilities, and the observance of principles in the works of others at your level. You will hopefully find yourself hesitant to eternally damn the careers of others as they depend on the same improvements that you must make in order to find success. It is only when we have ceased to look inward and strive for personal betterment that we can sit comfortably in the judges chair.

Searching within for your own shortcomings is not a confession of guilt; it is a product of humility and willingness to learn. When we shield ourselves from introspection, reflection, and our own inadequecies, we simultaneously shield ourselves from the ability to empathize, develop, and create effectively. Resist the urge to sit in the judges chair and learn to sit comfortably under scrutiny.

I know I have been away from here for a while now. I became preoccupied with building an instagram and facebook audience for “Mountain Cult.” I have some followers on there, but somehow that led to my getting more involved in music production. I swear my brain feels like it floats and turns with the seasons. My tendency toward obsession never halts but the object of its fascination always does. Anyways, “Mountain Cult – Doctor with the Red Houseware” has already won at 3 different festivals and has been selected for a handful of them. I am trying to submit it for distribution through filmhub but am having trouble understanding some of the spec requirements. I plan to release the film this month regardless.

Check out the IMDB page for it if you’d like. Hope to write here again soon.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt17677268/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Aleister Crowley – Magic & Mayhem

Well I’ve been quiet on here lately but that’s because I’ve been finishing up the Aleister Crowley documentary I’ve been working on. Originally I was making a cartoon for it but that was too time consuming. Regardless, here’s the documentary below. I composed the song for it along with the synths used in the song. As an aside I do enjoy composing horror music because it is simultaneously simple and wide open for creative decisions.