Thursday, February 28, 2008

What's Happening/AF Tip of the Day

People keep asking me what I am working on right now. Am I going to be making another movie soon? My Daughter has really been bothering me! So here's an update.

I am working 60 hours a week.

I am booking my Spring and Summer tours, marketing and self-distributing my movies, working on the marketing strategy for my book (The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide: Making the Extreme Low Budget Film), writing 2 scripts (that are almost finished), out lining my new book (The AFSG: Marketing, Self- Distribution and Tales from the Road). I am on the lookout for funding for two of my docs, (Dangerous: Kay Boyle and Life Without...), I am trying to edit two short docs of my own (the American dream & Short Stories from the Road), I am consulting on the Sound for a horror film from KC that's in post-production, and I am outlining a class and writing a script for a Masters Class I will be teaching through the Indy Film Co-op this summer. More about the class later.

And did I mention I am writing blog stuff five days a week on 4 different sites.

So I have a lot of stuff on my plate right now, and I'm not complaining. Those of you who know me know that I love what I do and I wouldn't have it any other way. (Although a real vacation or a social life would be nice...)

Anyway, if you want to donate to any of my projects go over to the web site ( and hit the "Donate" button.

The rest of you, I'll see out on the road. Talk later.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Always have people you trust and respect read your stuff.

- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Name the Tour Contest/Guest Quote of the Day

The Name the Angry Filmmaker Tour contest is over! Our judges are counting the votes and I will make an official announcement next week. I want to thank everyone who participated, it was fun. And hey, maybe we'll do it again next year!

Check this space next week for the winner.

I am still booking slots for the Spring and Summer Tours (yes Virginia, there will be a summer tour) so contact me and let's get you all signed up. Moses and I want to see as many people as possible.

Drop me a line at

You know what? I am in the mood for a Guest Quote. Take it away Phyillis...

Living in Hollywood is like living in a lit cigar butt.

~ Phyllis Diller

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Frozen Grand Central/AF Tip of the Day

I was going to write about this yesterday until that whole plagiarism thing came up. I got this link from my friend Vicki and I think it's pretty funny.

Apparently all sorts of other people are doing this in other parts of the country, according to The Oregonian (my local paper) a group of people did this yesterday in front of Powell's Books.

I know there are "flash mobs" all over the world, my buddy Josh showed me some amazing stuff from Japan a few months back. I think just the fact that they pulled this off at Grand Central Station and did such a great job makes this worth writing about and worth sharing.

If you've seen it already pass the link on to friends, if you haven't seen it, enjoy.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

I love being on the set and the act of shooting is one of the all time greatest acts of aggression that I can imagine.

- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ripped Off? / AF Tip of the Day

Guess what happened to me over the weekend?

I was plagiarized! Actually I don't know when it happened, I just found out about it on the weekend. A friend of mine who is associated with a media art center sent me a note to check out a posting advertising a Guerilla Marketing and Self-Distribution Workshop on a set of CDs. He said the words sounded familair...

I went to the link, and checked out the ad. The words did sound familiar all right, THEY WERE MINE!

It was the opening 4 or 5 sentences that were pretty much word for word, exactly how I have been publicizing my Guerilla Marketing and Self-Distribution Workshop for the last 3+ years!

They say imitation is a sincere form of flattery, or something like that. So what does that make plagiarism? I certainly wasn't flattered. It didn't take me long to trace back to the web site and send them a message asking what was going on? I got a reply in a couple hours from a different email address. Now I don't want to give this guy any free publicity so I am not going to tell you his name, or post his web address. Let's just refer to him as "Alex". "Alex" wrote me back with a pretty lame excuse, but asked where he could find my work shop description (so he could see for himself, I guess). I sent him the description and told him where it could be found on my site. (On the Workshops and Tour page oddly enough.)

I got another email a few hours later assuring me that he would make changes to his site and the advertising of his CDs.

If other people want to teach similar workshops I don't have a problem with that. My work shops are based on my experiences and almost 25 years in the business. But I have to wonder about someone who is going to teach ways to creatively get your movie out to audiences in non-traditional ways and they can't even write their own course descriptions. Maybe that's just me.

Maybe this is an innocent mistake? Maybe I should give the guy the benefit of the doubt? (I am trying to remember if this guy has ever been to one of my work shops? Is there anything on these CDs that is mine? Interesting questions…)

As far as plagiarism being a sincere form of flattery, I don't think so. It's annoying. Although I must be doing something right if people are copying me word for word.

I can say that I am happy that I have lots of friends out there who look out for these sorts of things and contact me. Thank you Gary, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

As for "Alex", I'll be checking his site from time to time, just to see how things are coming a long. I'll let you all know what I find.

And if anyone out there wants a workshop on Guerilla Marketing and Self Distribution? Check mine out.

Guerilla Marketing and Self Distribution of Your Film - - Independent filmmaking is alive and well, it's independent distribution that is dead. At a time when "independent" films have to have a star and at least a couple million dollar budget, how do you get your films seen? Forget Sundance, Miramax, and PBS. These places get hundreds of submissions a year. From wooden nickels to websites, to press kits and reviews Kelley Baker walks you though different ways to get an audience to turn out for your screenings. He challenges you to assess the real market for your film and provides examples of other filmmakers getting their work out, after their films were turned down by traditional distributors. You've already made the thing, what good is it doing sitting on your shelf?

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

When you are making a film give it your all. It shouldn't feel like an obligation. Same thing with marketing and distribution. - - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Talk later.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Oscar Thoughts/Indie Spirit Awards/AF Tip of the Day

Where does the time go? I didn't even realize the Oscars were coming up. Not that I'll watch them, because I have no interest. People assume that I hate the Oscars, being the Angry Filmmaker and all. I have no problem with the Oscars (I have even watched them a couple of times over the years), I have no problem with Hollywood. Hollywood has never, ever been anything other than what it says it is. It is a commercial movie making town. Actually it is more like a factory town, and they make movies. It's not about art in Hollywood, and it never has been. It has always been about making money. I have no quarrels with that because Hollywood and the studios have always freely admitted that.

My problem lies the day before the Oscars in Santa Monica, CA. The Independent Spirit Awards! That's what I hate. A bunch of trust fund kids making movies for under 20 million dollars with big stars and calling themselves "Independent"! (Okay to be fair not all of them have trust funds, some of them are just the kids of rich people and probably get their money directly from mom and dad.) They usually put up a big tent on the beach and talk about what an alternative they are to Hollywood. They are all about real movie making and they are all "Independents". Kiss my ass!

The Independent Spirit Awards are a joke! I think it was Film Threat that looked in to the awards a couple years ago and found that all of the category winners were the most expensive movies in their category. I know they have a category for films made for under half a million dollars, but no one ever pays attention to those.

The whole charade of "Indie" movies is really tiresome. Those people that will gather under the tent on Saturday don't represent us, we are the "Real Independent Filmmakers", and they never will. Because what we do is not glamorous, we just make movies. Most of us are not in it for recognition, we do it because we have to. Lots of us struggle to survive and do what we do, yet we still do it.

I say, sit back and enjoy the Oscars on Sunday, I am hoping that Jon Stewart will be funny. On Saturday sit down and write, or edit, just do something that has to do with "Real Independent Filmmaking" and join me by ignoring what will be going on under that big tent in Santa Monica. Because that's not about what we do, and who we are.

And now, the AF Tip of the Day.

There's usually a set amount of hours you can work before you have to feed people. Even on independent films. It's around five hours.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Zazzle vs Cafe Press/AF Tip of the Day

I'm slammed trying to get some things completed today. So all you get is an AF Tip of the Day. Sorry about that, I just have too many things on my plate.

Hey, does any body have experience using for merchandise? I use, and I wonder if there is any difference, besides Zazzle looks like it can do black shirts.

So here it is, your AF Tip of the Day.

The easiest way to tell an amateur filmmaker is to look at the cast.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion/AF Guest Quote of the Day

I still have openings on my Spring Tour. Moses and I are on the road from mid-March until the end of April so if you are interested in having us come by, please let me know.

I am being reminded by my pal Margie that I also need to do a shameless plug for my stuff.

Announcer Voice: "Now is the perfect time to go to my web site and buy some of my DVDs, or a T-shirt. (The large and X-large shirts are on back order, but I have plenty of small and medium.)

There are no holidays coming up, and no high-pressure sales people. Just my stuff, waiting for you.

Come on, you all read my blog where I give you all sorts of tips on filmmaking. If nothing else you're all killing a few minutes each day checking out my site. I have all of these DVDs that need a good home. Just look at them, sitting patiently, waiting for your order... (Isn't this how they do it on PBS, trying to make you feel guilty?)

So come on over to and pick up a couple of DVDs.

And don't forget a T-shirt for Mom!"

How was that Margie?

And now, let's have a Special Guest Quote of the Day.

I'm a Hollywood writer, so I put on my sports jacket and take off my brain.
~ Ben Hecht

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tour Name Contest Finalists/AF Tip of the Day

Okay everybody settle down.

The judges have picked 7 finalists in my Angry Filmmaker Tour Name Contest, and here they are…

The Finalists …

The Angry Filmmaker's Anger Management Tour
The World Needs More Anger Tour
Compromise Kills
Anger to the People: The 2008 Pissed Off Tour
Angry Filmmaking 101 Tour
The Angry Filmmaker's AU-TOUR.

Please vote for your favorite Tour Name by sending an email to

You have until Monday Feb 25 at 5:00 PST to get your vote in. Remember, the author of the winning name gets 2 of my DVD's, autographed, (your choice).

So let's name this Tour!

And now, Your AF Tip of the Day.

Shooting a movie is not really about shooting, it's about planning.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Friday, February 15, 2008

President's Day/AF Tip of the Day

I have been waiting to write about this for awhile, and the time is finally here.

There is no such thing as Presidents Day! But wait a minute doesn't it say Presidents Day on calendars and aren't government buildings and banks closed on Presidents Day? How can it not exist?

The proper name of the holiday being celebrated on Monday, February 18, 2008 is George Washington's Birthday.

According to The New Yorker magazine, (February 19 & 26th, 2007), "Ever since 1968 when, in one of the last gasps of Great Society reformism, holidays were rejiggered to create more three day weekends, federal law has decreed the third Monday in February to be Washington's Birthday."

"According to Prologue , the magazine of the National Archives, it was a local department-store promotion that went national when retailers discovered that, mysteriously, generic Presidents clear more inventory than particular ones, even the Father of His Country. Now everybody thinks it's official, but it's not."

So there you are, President's Day is just another phony holiday drummed up by business' to sell stuff. I hope fans of Benjamin Harrison, Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, Warren Harding, and all of the other presidents take no offense at this. It's Washington we should be recognizing! So tell all these retailers to get it right! And tell the calendar companies and the schools to stop recognizing a holiday that doesn't actually exist!

I know you are probably saying what harm does Presidents Day really do? Isn't it just another phony "holiday" dreamed up by retailers to sell stuff? Yeah it is. So why don't we have a real President's Day holiday during another part of the year, and stop disrespecting George Washington?

In my opinion, it is just another instance where people are lead to believe that something is true, when it's not! What else are we being told or taught that also isn't true?

Not enough people question things they are told anymore. They follow blindly whatever someone tells them is "fact". On Monday take a moment to think about everything we are being told and try to separate the fact from the fiction. And celebrate Washington's Birthday (which is in fact on either Feb 11th or Feb 22nd depending on which calendar you are using), by not buying anything until he finally gets his due.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Figure out how long you need for pre-production, the double or triple it!

- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tour Names/Howard Zinn/AF Tip fo the Day

You have 2 more days to submit your Angry Filmmaker Tour name, so don't forget. We're going to post our favorites next week then you can vote on them. Who ever submits the winning name will get two of my DVDs (your choice), autographed.

I just watched the Howard Zinn documentary, You Can't Be Neutral On A Moving Train. It's a keeper, check it out. How can you not respect Howard Zinn?

I must be in a working class/union mood, I also just re-watched The Wobblies (1979), a history of the IWW. Another great doc. The way things are going these days it's nice to see people who are not afraid to speak out and stand up for the workers. The working class is being squeezed out of existence. Also check out Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days series. He does one show where he and his girl friend move to Ohio and try to survive for a month on minimum wage. Very enlightening.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Never put the final scene, big climactic scenes, or any love scenes early on in your shooting schedule if you can avoid it.

- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cast & Crew Respect/AF Tip of the Day

A friend of mine sent me a note recently.

She was in a low budget movie, for free like everyone else, and after production had been completed for a couple months, she tried to get hold of the writer/director so she could find out how things were going. After a few weeks he sent her a short note not really saying anything. She was curious about her role and a few other things so she kept trying to make contact. The upshot is he rarely has communicated with anyone on either the cast or the crew and they are all wondering what's going on.

When you make a film and have people working for nothing, keep in touch with them! How tough is it to send an email out letting people know what's going on? You put together an e-mail list of the people who helped you out and once a month or so, send out a note saying this is where we are as far as the movie. Even if there is not much to report.

I keep saying the same things over and over. Treat your cast and crew with the respect that you would like to have shown to you. How tough is that? These people worked hard to help make your vision a reality and you can't drop them a note or return a phone call every now and again? Who the fuck do you think you are? Without your cast or crew you're nothing. Return calls and messages from your cast and crew.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Treat your cast and crew right, and they'll work hard for you. - - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

DVD Labels/AF Tip of the Day

I have found this to be a problem recently (I know, most of you don't do this) but there are enough people out there who are doing it that I figured I should write about it. If you burn your own DVD's beware of paper stick-on labels.

A lot of people still seem to be putting paper labels on their DVD's. Here's the deal, if you put a paper label on a DVD and you don't get it on absolutely straight, I can't watch it. No, it's not because I hate paper labels. If the label is crooked it throws most DVD players off balance. It stops in most DVD players because it can't spin straight. And it doesn't take much to throw DVD players off.

This is an easy fix. You need to find blank DVD's that are white on the top, you should be able to buy them 100 at a time at places like Best Buy or Frye's. Then buy an Epson printer, like an R220 (that's the model I use), anyway these printers can print on to the white DVD's and CD's and the printers usually cost about $100. They are cheap and pretty rugged over all. I have two of them, and my first one has probably printed about 2500 discs. The reason I have two is that I have retired the first one from CD/DVD printing, I just use it for paper documents anymore.

The Epson's come with a program so that you can load your DVD art work in to it and the printing looks good. It is a cheap investment and your DVD's will always play. For some reason CD's can handle those paper labels better than DVD's, but I don't recommend those either. Lots of people have trouble with the paper labels, and there is nothing worse then telling someone you couldn't watch their DVD because of the labels. It also makes the person who gave you the DVD look foolish, and kind of amateur.

I know there are other printers besides the Epsons that will print on to CDs and DVDs, Epson is the one I use and I have been very impressed. I am not a fan of Canon printers. I have a portable that I travel with and it is my second. They are over priced and they really don't hold up all that well.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

I put very few titles at the beginning of my movies. Why? Because no one has ever heard of my cast or the crew. So let's just start the movie!
- - from The Angry Filmmakers Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Penn & Teller/AF Tip of the Day

I got a phone call from a friend of mine on Friday, he was concerned about me. He said in my last few posts I sounded depressed. Thanks for your concern, but I am doing fine. I am physically tired and I'm getting a little annoyed at the weather we have been having here lately, (enough with the rain already...) but I am fine.

I guess I better write a positive piece today...

I just finished watching Season 3 of Penn & Teller's Showtime series, "Bullshit!" If you haven't seen this I highly recommend it. These guys are so funny, so irreverent, and they swear more than I do! Not an easy thing to accomplish.

They look at things like the Boy Scouts (and homophobia), the Death Penalty, Prostitution, and even Cryptozoologists, (one of my favorite episodes). They interview people on both sides of an issue, and they call "Bullshit!" Most of the stuff they point out is common sense, and whether you agree with them or not, you will enjoy the ride. Pick up their DVD's where ever you can and watch them. I am still laughing about some of the stuff. These guys are good. I guess this is the kind of stuff I miss by not having cable.

I am looking forward to a great week. Good stuff is going to happen. I can just feel it. Hey is that my glass over there? The one that's half full?

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

If you treat every short film as a one day feature shoot you're going to learn a lot more and be better prepared when you move up to longer projects.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Help Me Out/AF Tip of The Day

I could use a little help here...

I am asking everyone who reads me and checks out my web site to do me a favor. LINK to me! If you have a web site please put on a link to

If you have a blog, please tell people about me and give them my url. Ask them to link to me.

And if you don't have either a blog or a web site, how about sending an email to someone you know who might think that what I do is interesting. Talk about me.

I have no advertising budget! The only way I can get the word out is to have the people who read my blog or check out my web site tell their friends about it. This is word of mouth advertising at it's best. If you like what I am all about, please pass it on. That's all I am asking.

So please take a moment and link to me, or tell someone about me. It may or may not make you feel good about yourself. But I'll feel good knowing that people are spreading the word about the Angry Filmmaker.

Don't forget,

Thanks and I hope you all have a good weekend.


Here is your AF Tip of the Day.

Many a good story has been hurt by bad performances. And that's not always the fault of the actors.
- - from the Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sarah Moore/AF Tip of the Day

I just finished watching some "Handmade Films" by a friend of mine named Sarah K. Moore. It is so refreshing to watch experimental films made by someone that just loves film. Her work is wonderful, and it's inspiring. Here is a person who is not going to make money on her work (experimental filmmakers rarely do), but she does it anyway, for the love of the medium. All of her films are short, in the 2-4 minute range, and I think that is one of the reasons they are powerful. They are glimpses in to another world, short and sweet. Okay sometimes not so sweet, but worth watching. Her film Desolation Landscape is particularly powerful. Shots of a damaged and destroyed building with a really haunting sound track.

What I didn't know before I started watching her films is that Sarah is also a violinist and she did a lot of the sound on her own movies. Sometimes she credits a sound designer, but I think she has her hands all over the design of her movies. Home and County Fair are also two stand out films by her.

In this climate of rampant commercial films and most so called independents working their asses off trying to get a deal in Hollywood, (and all the time telling us how independent they really are, we know it's bull shit, but keep trying to convince yourself that you are an independent), it is refreshing to watch the work of people like Sarah Moore. It's all about the work for her.

Sarah, keep doing what you are doing. There are a lot of us out here that really like your work.

Check out Sarah's blog at, tell her I sent ya.

Here is your AF Tip of the Day.

What I learned is if you do something, you need to go all the way. Go big, or go home!

- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tour Names Contest/AF Tip of the Day

Don't forget our Name The Tour Contest. I have gotten some pretty good names so far and I want more. Get your tour names to me by Feb 15th and my blue ribbon panel will pick the best ones, we'll put those up on the web site and you can vote for the best one. It's that easy!

Remember all you get out of the deal if you send me the winning name is 2 signed DVD's of my movies, your choice. And I'll even pay the shipping!

Go back to my blog dated January 31 to see all the details and some examples of tour names.

Here is your AF Tip of the Day.

Sound quality is a bad place to try and cut corners. Remember, if people can't understand the dialog in your movie, they won't watch it!
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Bowl/Commercials/AF Comment of the Day

I didn't watch the Super Bowl, I watched something better. My daughter had a basketball game at 3:00 yesterday. Her team lost, but she scored 5 points and pulled down quite a few rebounds. Watching her play, and have fun was better than any Super Bowl.

And here is the thing that I don't get. 364 days a year people hate commercials! They do everything they can to avoid them. But one day a year people want to watch commercials? Commercials are NOT an art form! There are some really good commercials, and on occasion people can sneak art in to them, but they exist for one reason only. TO SELL US SHIT!

I do enjoy watching football every now and again, and I do enjoy a well done commercial. The fact that companies shell out millions of dollars per spot to make the commercials and then something like 2.7 million to air the 30 second spots during the game. Think of all the good independent features we could make with the budget of one SB commercial and the money spent to air it. (I use to make commercials and I am appalled...)

I hope I have better things to do then to sit in front of the television watching a game that isn't about the game anymore. I mean come on, a red carpet for celebrities to go in to the stadium? I also read that the biggest traffic jam after the game was actually going to be at the airports because it was estimated that close to 1000 private jets would be trying to leave after the game.
Next year lets have the Super Bowl game in Green Bay and see how many celebs show up for that one.

And now for something complete different... (with apologies to MP)

Your AF comment of the Day.

Why is it that people in the commercial business refer to themselves as "Creatives"? They are usually the least creative people I've ever met.

- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Friday, February 01, 2008

An Amazing Guy/AF Tip of the Day

I want to write about something/someone different today.

Michael Totten ( is a free-lance journalist, an Independent Journalist if you will. He lives in Portland, but spends an amazing amount of time in the Middle East. We had lunch months ago when he was in town and the guy blew me away.

Like an Independent Filmmaker, he picks up free lance jobs (articles) here and there, but basically he funds his own trips over to the Middle East and writes what he sees. His blog is amazing! He doesn't hang out with the big time news media, he goes and sees thing that most of the media miss, and writes about them.

He has met a lot of real people over there and he covers them. He talks about their problems, and how they are just trying to survive. He writes about power struggles between groups and goes behind the scenes and does the background work. I read his stuff and get a real sense of the people and the struggle of their daily lives. I mean here is a guy who most of us have never heard of and he is mostly by himself (sometimes he's with another friend), moving around observing and writing. And he does it all with out major backing.

How does he do it? Like I said he picks up some free-lance writing work, but he also has a space on his web page where you can "donate" or subscribe to him. When you think about it, Michael is like an Independent Filmmaker, only he is doing his work in a much more dangerous place than most of us. His "donation/subscribe" buttons on his website are pretty small and unless you are working your way through his site you might miss it.

His archives go back to August of 2003, which is a long time to be covering that area. He lists tons of other people's blogs on his site, including bloggers from the Middle East! Wow. This guy deserves out attention.

I read his stuff every chance I get, and meeting him was terrific. He is a quiet, unassuming guy with a pretty good sense of humor. He certainly was not what I expected of a journalist who funds his own trips over there and writes what he sees. If more people read his work, we might have a greater understanding of what is going on all over that part of the world.

And get this, he doesn't have a political agenda that he is trying to ram down our throats like a lot of these famous morons on TV and radio(and the ones who are hawking their big best selling books). You know, the experts who know what is going on over there, but have never been there. They tell us who to vote for and try to make us hate and distrust others who aren't like us.

Michael just writes what he sees, and experiences.

Please check out his site,, and if you like what he is doing, send him a couple bucks. The guy is a REAL INDEPENDENT!

Let's support him because he is like us. A normal person who is working out side the system to let people know what is really going on. He just uses words.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I like Michael a lot.

And now, Your AF Tip of the Day.

I don't care how much you think you or your friends know about movies. What many of you have learned has come through watching the special features and director's commentaries on fucking DVD's. That doesn't tell you anything.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)