I’m still working on the animated video regarding admiral byrd, but in the meantime here’s a look at day 3 of production on “Doctor with the Red Houseware”
I have been tirelessly editing 5 separate youtube videos that briefly summarize the work that went into the production of “Doctor with the Red Houseware” – a 32 minute film that has now been picked up by Xumo, Tubi, Box Brazil Play, and Lookhu.
It seems counter-intuitive, but the reality is that artwork dies as an unknown soldier if it is merely brought into existence. In other words, I have discovered that the least inspiring actions are often the most important. Similar to people and society.
For example, gaining acceptance from filmhub required a 2 week effort to create a new poster, render the film according to new specifications, and capture stills in 16:9, rather than the 1:35 aspect ratio that the film was mastered in.
One of the best practices of any modern artist/entepreneur/pipe-dreamer is to sit down and identify exactly what they seek to accomplish. Each and every day we have time to work. But simply working is no guarantee that you are moving anywhere.
Off the top of my head, I can think of a numerous “to-do” list – email a singer a track, re-record the roulette wheel sounds, add to my film financing notes, identify an accessible film market, record narration for youtube videos, read the 3 writing books I purchased, etc.
Only 1 or 2 of these objectives can make a fat impact on my filmmaking journey. Shaking hands with professionals at a filmmaking marketplace would be by far the most beneficial to me, but promoting a film that I’ve already completed is a necessary final step in its production.
I must be diligent with time. I love writing on wordpress (though adding photographs or italics makes me want to punch a wall…it wasn’t always this way), but it is time. Every task requires time, yet every task is necessary. So how can a nobody like me get anywhere?
Deadlines. I’ve begun requiring production of myself regardless of how unprepared or overwhelmed I feel at the onset of an uncomfortable undertaking. Attacking with a blunt axe-head to escape a whimsical dungeon.
By tomorrow I will have 5 youtube videos ready to go. I will release each video separately in order to promote the film’s release. I will simultaneously market the film through Instagram. I can than put “Doctor with the Red Houseware” behind me and focus single-mindedly on the writing and financing of a feature length story.
I’ve spoken much about distinguishing between actions that move you toward your ultimate goals and those that provide minimal return. I consider instagram, wordpress, and youtube as minor annoyances that I could enthusiastically abandon. I will not however, as a consistent effort in these self-promotional activities builds an audience, a brand, and a community.
I created The Riverside Film Network (a Meetup group) because I didn’t have any local network of filmmakers to communicate with. That group now has 200 members, a consistent conversation on its own discord server, and weekly discussions. The group includes producers, actors, agents, and writers. This wordpress blog has over 1000 followers, and my youtube channel has 70 or so (lol).
Consistently releasing material over time, regardless of its quality, is more beneficial than spending years crafting an imaginary plan for success.
It takes less than 5 seconds to gain access to a free song or a free movie. We all have Netflix, Youtube, and Amazon. On these platforms you can casually stream content that required millions to manufacture. You pay in other ways – your privacy data, your subscription fee, your viewing of advertisements.
How do you begin making a dime creating what you love in a market like this? There is endless advice, insights, and “shortcuts”. But no matter which way you look at it, your success relies on unknown strangers willing to risk their time viewing your creation.
My mind has been running in circles trying to figure out my next step. My goal for 2022 is to secure funding and distribution for a feature film. It is no small task, but it is possible. If it were not possible, then nobody would do it.
I have a plan of action for how to do it – film a sizzle reel for story I like, put a 5 page treatment together, and begin making phone calls. But nothing can help my chances with investors better than demonstrating I was able to turn a profit during my latest film production.
I am constantly weighing methods to generate revenue for the short film I have just created. The only clear answer is to launch a kickstarter campaign, likely in January. The important aspect of this campaign is to succeed. I must hit the ground running with impeccable organization, an enticing trailer, and consistent updates. I have many of the rewards prepared that I will offer during this time. Obviously, supporters of the kickstarter campaign will have free access to viewing the episode on its release.
I cannot rid myself of the desire to place a paywall before the episode for a general audience. I am completely aware of how limiting that can be for a film of this magnitude. The issue I have is that artists today are so hungry for fame and recognition that they’ve devalued their own artwork. Imagine a hundred strangers have surrounded you to view, judge, and survey the artwork you’ve poured your heart, soul, and blood into. Is it really fair to any artist that they receive only a handful of pennies? It is the platform that is reaping the reward, not the artist.
But I get it… nobody wants to throw a dollar when there is much better, social-proofed content available for free in the blink of an eye.
This is where I feel you must cease viewing your work critically and instead view it as a salesperson. If someone wants something, they are not going to hesitate to fork over a buck to receive it.
The key to successful advertising is to create a need that wasn’t previously there. But why in the world would any person feel the need to view your artwork, poetry, or story?
There is a youtube channel called “Mr. Beast” that routinely features outlandish giveaways and enormous cash prizes. It is incredibly successful at generating views and sponsors. Its success is largely, if not entirely, due to the engagement of their fanbase that hopes to win this sort of lottery.
It seems that by upgrading my wordpress to a paid account, I will be able to offer a giveaway with the assistance of a plug in. Now if I am able to offer a $100 cash prize to one lucky viewer, I feel that my odds on receiving a $3-5 payment for viewing episode 5 improve drastically.
Another option I have is my youtube channel. By regularly uploading content that speaks to the behind the scenes efforts of “Mountain Cult” production, I feel I have a free method of generating interest for viewing the episode in its completed form. If I can build a fanbase for the show, I can also offer merchandising in the form of Coffee Mugs and T-shirts.
I know from experience that the effort to convert your work of passion into a fruitful pursuit is the greatest undertaking an artist can pursue. But I have also learned that the same steps and plateaus that cause you to stumble will also trip-up those around you. It is only by standing and learning to climb a different way that you will continue on your journey. Many will lack that fortitude. By educating yourself, taking action, and putting forth consistent effort any obstacle can be overcome.
Well good morning.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on any form of social media. The truth is I’ve been busy filming Mountain Cult Ep 5 and in fact only have 1 scene left to shoot. Beside wordpress, I was making a habit of posting “film journals” to my youtube channel. Believe it or not I recorded a new episode of FJ about a month ago – I just haven’t gotten around to editing it.
As a matter of fact I have so much material I’m hoping to edit that it overwhelms me at times ( I want to remaster former episodes by fixing audio issues, send each actor from mountain cult a 1 minute clip for their acting reels, film a youtube “short” everyday, and – unrelated – but I’d also like to try my hand at singing to see if the vocals would improve the songs I’ve put together). The important thing is that I’ve edited much of Episode 5 already. However, it’s been a unique experience after learning so much about audio this year – I never thought that sound mixing would be more time consuming than coloring.
I’ll give you an example – imagine you film a scene on your porch where all that you’re doing is speaking on the phone to an offscreen character. Sounds simple, right? Well that all depends on how involved you’d like to get. If I were to go all out this is what I would do –
- A clean take with mic focused on character speaking
- A full minute recording of ambient noise with nothing else
- A full take that focuses only on the rustling cloth and movements of the character
- Focus the mic on any distinct sounds – phone placed on table, phone picked up
- Sound of the voice coming through the other end of the phone (an easy improvisation in post, but always sounds better when played in the actual environment)
I think those are enough pertinent tracks to make the scene. When I get to the editing room, I’ll isolate each sound on a separate track – ie, dialogue, sound effects, foley, background noise, special (like editing a normal voice to sound like its coming through a telephone… or cellphone since nobody uses the word telephone anymore)
So now each layer is on a separate track. From here I’ll place audio effects to each track – EQ, highpass filter, dehummer, deesser, and finally mastering. The less effects needed the better. Often Dialogue needs the most. (the better the recording, the less I have to do in the editing room).
Once the sounds are placed I’ll add cross fades and some quiet audio to the start and beginning of dialogue bits. This prevents those sharp, millisecond blips that you hear when an audio level changes dramatically in an instant.
After all the audio is placed, I would import the tracks into ableton. Here I can design a score that is specific to the scene I am editing. It is important during every step of the process to level your clips appropriately – dialogue should always be the loudest, most distinguishable track. I like loud, crisps sound effects (the phone being picked up and placed down). Foley, or the cloth movements, should fit the scene appropriately. In others words the common viewer should not even know that track exists. Ambient noise should also be at a low level, but consistently present. The music volume depends on how important it is to the scene. For something such as this I would keep it at a low volume. I might even sidechain it to dialogue so that it lowers in volume during each moment a character speaks.
After all this is finished, I would focus on panning – or speaker assignment for each layer. Dialogue will be front and center, but the other sounds and noises can be panned to the side speakers. Panning audio is something I still have a lot more to learn about. For example, I am uncertain if it is better to pan most sounds far left and far right, or to settle them closer to the center.
The cool thing about making my own score is that I can pan each instrument separately along the speakers. I am also unsure of where sound effects should be placed – I enjoy panning them according to the object creating them in relation to the visual scene.
My biggest question when it comes to panning is how it effects surround sound. I believe that exporting in 5.1 means that each track will go directly to the speaker it is assigned even if it is not panned. What I am curious about is whether a hard right/left pan makes any change to the speaker it is assigned to. 5.1, for those that don’t know, means that your audio set up includes 1 center speaker, a front left and right speaker, and rear left and right speaker, and 1 subwoofer that plays the low frequency waves (explosions are popular).
The final step for audio would involve leveling it once again. Where will the clip be posted? Youtube, broadcast television, and film festivals each have different leveling specifications. Youtube requires audio that is much louder than the other platforms. The other consideration for this is surround sound – cable and youtube will not support surround sound audio. I believe most film festivals will.
The other major concern for me has to do with kickstarter – I desperately want to offer episode 5 of mountain cult on a DVD. I want it to supply 4k video with surround sound. I’m sure it’s just a few web searches away, but I have some big questions before I can promise this. #1 – can basic DVD-R support 4k and surround sound? #2 – Do I need a special DVD writing drive, or is a simple CD Rom drive capable of writing these specs to a DVD? #3 – Do I export 2.1, 5.1, and 7.1/7.2 to the same disc? Or do I write the most advanced surround sound tracks to the DVD and allow the AV receiver to fold the surround sound according to the viewers audio setup? For example, you can upload a surround sound clip to youtube, but youtube will fold the rear left & rear right speakers so that it is incorporated into the stereo track and plays through front left and right speakers. I believe Youtube supports 2.1 audio, but I could be mistaken.
Anyways, thank you for listening to all this audio gibberish. Definitely not what I intended to write about when I sat down here but I’m glad I got it off my chest. I hope to begin posting stills from my footage soon I’m just too lazy to press the upload button now.