Monday, March 31, 2008

Summer Filmmaking Class/AF Tip of the Day

In conjunction with The Indy Film Co-op, I am going to be teaching a Masters Filmmaking Class this summer in Franklin, Indiana. It's a three week class based on my Making the Extreme Low Budget Film Workshop. As part of the 3 week course we are going to make a 20 minute short. I am working on the script as we speak.

I will be posting more about this class in the upcoming weeks, so watch this space for more info. Also check out The Indy Film Co-op at

There will be a web site with all of the details on-line in the next few days.

I am going to be putting my money where my mouth is, this ought to be good…

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Talking about your first film is like talking about your first girl friend - - it takes guts.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Reader Responds/AF Tip of the Day

I received this email and I asked the author's permission to copy part of it on my blog. He asked me not to use his name which is cool. I think his experience is pretty interesting….

"Upon reading your latest blog posting ("Sundance Institute") I just had to finally send an email and say thanks. I can’t tell you the number of times I have read your blog and found the ideas and thoughts expressed there so parallel with mine. There are times when I don’t 100% agree with you, but many times it feels like I’m having a conversation with myself. With regards to the Sundance posting, it’s really great that you told this little story and actually posted the survey and your answers. People need to really know what goes on there and at other similar places who claim to be about independent filmmaking. I live and work in New York and if you don’t mind I’d like to share my own Sundance story with you:

Now, I’ve submitted a couple short films to Sundance (that were rejected) and I’ve also applied to their Directing/Screenwriting Labs. When I first moved to NYC I took a position at an independent film production company whose producers have had some well-known success in "the industry" and who have deep connections with the IFP. Well, to make a long story short, while I was working there one of the producers received a phone call from, I presume, someone at the Sundance Institute. Now, of course I only heard one side of this conversation, but from what I heard I could safely conclude that the purpose of this phone call was to help Sundance find "untapped, up and coming talent" for their Directing/Screenwriting Labs. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It seems that Sundance was calling their "insider friends" to see if they knew of particular filmmakers they could tap for the Labs. So here I am, a filmmaker with few major connections, who had applied to the Labs via the normal application process and paid the application fee with my hard earned money and now I’m discovering that Sundance is basically "inviting" or planning to invite directors who are well-known through these "insiders." This didn’t completely surprise me since I know Sundance does this with many of the films that screen at the festival, but I was still somewhat floored by this reality and definitely disappointed that my application would be overlooked in lieu of this other method of finding talent.

This is just one of many stories that have proven to me how incestuous the so-called "industry" is, and this goes for the so-called "independent" film world as well. I know you don’t need me to tell you all this, but it’s just one of those things that really frustrates me."

Thanks for your story man. I am sure lots of others have stories like this. Basically, Sundance isn't about "Independents", it's just another little club that wants to be exclusive.

So if you do submit anything to them, this is what you're up against.

We don't need them, and I sure as hell don't wish to play in their sand box.

And now, Your AF Tip of the Day.

You’re not going to get much accomplished the first day of shooting. That’s when a lot of logistical problems and all sorts of other stuff start to happen.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sundance Part 4/AF Tip of the Day

And here is Sundance's response to me and what I wrote on their survey.

"Hi Kelley,

I hope you’re well. Thank you for responding to this survey, and for your candor. I completely understand your frustration with the system of arts funding, exhibition, etc. Doubt I can do much about that, but it’s a nice reminder for on down the line, whether that is program development, opportunity cultivation, etc.

If you don’t mind, I’ll keep you on our (very occasional) email list in case opportunity arises that strikes your fancy. I’m sure you’ve already engaged with the Pacific Pioneer Fund, but I did note that they have a deadline 5/1 and fund film in your area. Should anything else pop up I’ll send a note.

Best Regards,"

It's kind of anti-climactic isn't it? I did remove the name of the person who was corresponding with me but this was the entire note besides the signature.

What have we learned here?

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

I listen to what people have to say about my films, but I also take it all with a grain of salt.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sundance Part 3/AF Tip of the Day

And finally, Sundance Part 3

16) We have just launched a website, DocSource at, which will be scaling up this year. Would you be interested in writing some journal entries (6-8 over a period of 1-3 months) about your film?

A. I already blog on 4 sites Monday thru Friday on all aspects of filmmaking. So what's one more? Make me an offer?

17) Please check those opportunities which you would like to be considered for:

____June Sundance Edit and Story Lab (June 21-28). World class editing and directing advisors engage with you and your team about story structure, character development and voice in your advanced rough cut. Editing facilities provided.

____Sundance DFP Work-in-Progress Screening (scheduled throughout the year with partner festivals and organizations). Present your film in the context of a Sundance screening and discussion at partner festivals and groups.

____Sundance Creative Documentary Producer's Lab (July 29-31, leading into the Independent Producer's Conference, Aug. 1-3). Sundance's newest DFP Lab, coordinated with the Feature Film Program, to support creative and strategic skills for creative producers in a complex marketplace.

____Sundance Independent Producers Conference (Aug. 1–3). Independent producers and directors meet industry professionals for discussions, panels, one-on-one meetings, and networking.

____August Documentary Composer's Lab (Aug. 3-7) A DFP Lab co-run with the Sundance Film Music Program to help directors work with composers on their documentaries. Four outstanding Composer Fellows are matched to four documentaries.

____IFP Rough Cut Workshop (New York City) Feedback and advice on specific technical, creative and post production issues from experienced film professionals.

A. I went to USC's Film school (BA & MFA in film production) and I am a veteran of IFFCON (2 times), and IFC's IFFM (3 times). I really don't think these sorts of things are for me. I have worked on major "independent" movies and what I have realized is that contacts don't mean anything. I stopped going to those places years ago.

18) Given our resources and mandate, is there something else you think we could be helping with? Please specify.

A. I have no idea what your resources are, what I will tell you is that the perception is that it is the same people getting funded all the time. It is all about contacts, or political correctness, and not about the ideas and the talent level of the applicants.

I recommend that you go to my web site You will see more about me and what I do. I really don't think I am the right person for your programs. I am a "Blue Collar" filmmaker who goes to work every day. I quit working on other people's movies years ago because I saw the joke that "Indie" filmmaking had become. It's all about famous stars, predictable stories, and getting big deals with studios where everyone wants to change your movie, but no one there has ever made their own movie.

I did not intend to be flip in any of my answers, I do have strong beliefs on Real Independent Filmmaking. I hope my answers are of some use to you. It is up to you whether you keep me on your mailing list or not. As I have said in the past, I will keep making and self-distributing my films no matter what anyone else does.

Good luck to you in your endeavors.


Kelley Baker

Stayed tuned tomorrow for their reply…

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

I like shooting in the winter because of the short daylight hours.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sundance Part 2/AF Tip of the Day

Here is part two of the Sundance Questionnaire.

9) Are you interested in showing clips or a work-in-progress to audiences if we were to invite you to be a part of one of our Work-In-Progress screenings?

A. What is the purpose of the screenings? Is it so that people can give me their input, or is it to help raise money? Input I don't need.

10) Are you working with an editor or consulting editor? Who?

A. I spent 20 years as a picture editor, sound designer, and a supervising sound editor. When I need input I put together a small screening for my friends and colleagues in the business. I am a filmmaker; I put my stamp all over my films. It is the way I prefer it.

11) Are you working with a composer? Do you need a consultation with Peter Golub, the Director of the Sundance Film Music Program and a composer himself?

A. I know and work with lots of wonderful music people. No offense to Peter I know his reputation and his work. I prefer my own people.

12) What kind of editing system do you use for this project? What formats have you used for shooting?

A. I have been an Avid owner and user since the mid 90's, so that will probably be what I use, although I am teaching myself Final Cut Pro which is a nice bit of software. I have shot both beta cam and mini DV for this particular project.

13) How many versions do you anticipate making for your film? broadcast only? festival/theatrical only? classroom length? outreach modules?

A. Since I self-distribute all of my films, I will make a version I can show out on tour, probably a full hour, so I can do Q&A and show a selected short film or a piece of one of my earlier docs. I will do a broadcast version for a one hour slot (I think that's still around 52 minutes), and two versions for classrooms, one aimed at middle and high schools, the other at colleges and universities. That seems to be the best markets for my earlier work.

14) Where, geographically, will you be editing your film?

A. I do all of my editing at home in Portland, OR. (I have an Avid Express Pro, and FCP, as well as Pro Tools.) I used to mix my features in Berkeley at the Saul Zaentz Film Center, now I am currently looking for another mix facility that'll give me a good deal.

15) Where are you in your fundraising process?

A. I am always on the lookout for funds. I have a proposal that is out at a few small foundations. It made the finals a few times over at ITVS but I haven't re-submitted it in awhile. I will be looking at another round of foundations to send it to in a few weeks.

Part 3 will be posted tomorrow…

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

I can usually find a theater that will let me sneak in and play back my mix, so I can hear how it sounds in a big room.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sundance Institute/AF Tip of the Day

Some years ago I received some money from George Soros to make a documentary about the children of prison inmates. The film is called Life Without…, and I received some development and pre-production money. Apparently, Soros eventually turned his whole film funding stuff over to the Sundance folks. They now oversee his program, and they inherited my project.

Let's get this straight right now, I have a problem with what Sundance has become, NOT what it started out to be. I also know that there are some really nice people that work there, because I have met one of them. (Who no longer works there.) I have written and spoken extensively about my problems with what Sundance has become and what a joke I think the place is because it no longer has any real connection with Real Independents. (It's a great place for $10 million films with big stars, and to watch Paris Hilton party)

Anyway, I was invited there 2 years ago to meet with this fellow about Life Without… (I was in town anyway.) This guy proceeded to introduce me around the office. Everyone was checking me out in a very weird way. I was informed later that they all knew who I was and some of the things I had said about their organization. I actually thought it was pretty funny, I don't think they shared my sense of humor. In fact they seemed rather humorless. I would still get updates from Sundance about different programs they have going on and how I should be applying for these things.

A couple weeks ago I received a note with a survey they asked me to fill out. As a public service I am going to re-print it the survey with my answers over the next few days.

Here is part one…


1) What stage is your Project in now? (development, production, rough cut, advanced rough cut, fine cut, finished)

A. I am still in development, and fundraising. In reality, Life Without is on the back burner.

2) Do you have a projected completion date (it doesn't have to be firm)?

A. No, but I always finish my movies.

3) Do you intend to apply to a subsequent grant category from Sundance? Which one?

(We're moving to a deadline system for grant proposals. The deadline for the fall round will be July 4, 2008. We welcome proposals submitted before the deadline.)

A. I seriously doubt it. I don't have much luck with programs like yours. Programs like yours usually ask for too much stuff that has nothing to do with making movies. You all seem to want consultants, and famous people signed on. It's not what I do.

4) Do you intend to/hope to apply to SFF 09?

A. No, I won't be applying to SFF anytime. Not my kind of scene.

5) Where are you in your storytelling? (have characters, have story structure, have a migraine...)

A. Life Without is a documentary. I know what I want and I know what I need. I just need to find the right people for the movie.

6) Do you have the team you need for this stage? Are you seeking other people to continue or complete?

A. I am an Independent Filmmaker, I have people I can call on to work with me on production, I usually handle everything else myself. I have been working this way for 25 years.

7) What would you say you need most (consulting editor, executive producer, broadcaster or foreign sales agent, festival strategy, outreach and impact plan, time in the editing room, web master, other?)

A. I need time and money.

I am a touring filmmaker, I spend 5-6 months a year on the road showing my films and teaching filmmaking work shops. I have a book coming out in a couple months (The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide) which I am doing the marketing for. I also self distribute my movies, 8 short films, 3 features, and 2 documentaries. When I am home I am editing my new films, trying to raise money for Life Without… and another documentary I am working on, writing another feature, handling the marketing and booking for my tours and trying to be a Dad.

I am also looking for sponsors for my tours. Both financial and equipment sponsors, do you know how expensive gas is these days? I drive over 30,000 miles a year to get to my gigs.

If I had the time and money to spend 6 months at home without having to worry about bills I could get a lot of things done, not just on Life Without…

8) Are you available to travel?

Yes. See the previous answer.

End Part one.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Avoid the star bullshit. There are plenty of great actors around who will work their ass off and give you great performances.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Gail Silva/Doc Funding/AF Tip

Do you all know who Gail Silva is? She was the head of San Francisco's Film Arts Foundation for years (almost 30). She is a good friend of mine who left there a couple years ago. In my opinion the FAF has suffered seriously since she left, (and I don't think I am alone in that opinion), but FAFs loss is our gain.

Gail Silva is working with filmmakers as a consultant (, and if you are lucky enough to work with her your projects have a pretty good shot of landing in the right place for funding. I have known Gail for years, and whenever I would run in to her at a film festival, a film market, or just a screening, she always had someone she wanted me to meet. And the people she would introduce me to were always quite impressive. I met people who worked at foundations, film festivals, media art centers, and scores of other filmmakers.

Gail has helped so many people over the years, I couldn't begin to count. Lots of people know Gail because for the last 30 years she has been a tireless advocate for independent filmmaking. Her friends range from the famous, wealthy, and established filmmakers, to the poor, unknown and struggling filmmakers. Gail's gift is that she treats them all the same. If you are serious about filmmaking, she always seems to have time for you.

What I like about Gail as a consultant is that, unlike some in this business, she only works on films and with filmmakers she believes in. Yes, she makes money as a consultant, but I have also seen her donate time and make suggestions to filmmakers who have no money. She can spot real filmmakers long before these filmmakers break out and become established. She is really about "Independent" filmmaking and the films and filmmakers she has helped out illustrate that.

Check out her website,, and see what sort of things she's done. She loves documentaries and documentary filmmakers. And if you have a really interesting project, drop her a line. Tell her I sent you.

And Gail, (if you ever see this), I'm sorry I just can't tone down the "Anger" and yes I know it prevents me from getting funding. But thank you for always letting me be me and still introducing me to people that can help. One day maybe, I won't shoot myself in the foot with those people. I'll call you next time I'm in town, I promise.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Try to keep your shooting times down to a reasonable length. Keep your days to ten hours.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Name Issues/AF Tip of the Day

That storm really messed things up at the Dallas airport yesterday. All of my flights were late yesterday so I got home later than planned. But at least I got home.

I had a nice email exchange with Sherry Mills at Reel Women in Austin, Some group in LA was using "Reel Women" in their name, which is a problem. Reel Women in Austin own that name. After some emails back and forth the group in LA has changed their name. (

Don't people ever think to do a name search before they start calling themselves something? It's not that hard to do and saves a lot of time and effort when you find out that you have taken another groups name. You have to do a search when it comes to internet domain names, so why not go all the way and really check out the name you want to use? How stupid are these people?

I trademarked Angry Filmmaker for exactly that reason. It cost me a few hundred bucks and a little time to have my lawyer do the paperwork. No one likes their name or image being used by someone else. I really don't want to waste my time going after someone who wants to use Angry Filmmaker, but I will. I am the Angry Filmmaker after all.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

When you plan your first day's shoot give yourself less to do than on the rest of the schedule.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

AF Tip of the Day

I'm traveling all day today so here it is…

Your AF Tip of the Day.

Making a movie is a lot harder than you think. If making a movie was so easy, there would be a lot more good movies out there.

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Texas Rain/AF Tip of the Day

It's raining! In Texas! I saw somewhere that we might get 4 inches of rain today. Great! I have to drive to College Station in a few minutes; it's about 90 miles away.

Yesterday at Baylor was great! I did 4 guest lectures, a screening (of Kicking Bird) and a Q & A. My day started around 9 AM and finished around 9:30 PM. Long day, but it was worth it. I had some great questions, and although it was tiring I had a lot of fun. It was also good to hang with my buddy Chris Hansen.

I am off to Texas A & M. I hope the roads are okay with all of this rain.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Personal films should have some sort of universal appeal. They should contain something that we can all identify with.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Texas Day 1/AF Tip of the Day

I flew in to Dallas yesterday and drove to Waco. I am at Baylor today where I'll be doing 4 guest lectures, a screening and a Q&A tonight. I am tired and there is a couple hour time difference. This ought to be interesting. I'll let you know how it goes.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

You can always tell some one who used to shoot film that is now shooting video. They turn off the camera in between shots. They don't leave the camera running when they are trying to focus. They don't waste tape, which saves time.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Friday, March 14, 2008

On-Line Distributors (cont)/AF Tip of the Day

So I couldn't get any information about how these guys do business, and how that would affect my take of any money my movie makes. So I finally asked the big question.

Why should I sign with you and put my films up on your site?

I was told about all of the traffic they get, I would have my own web page, the people who run the site go to places like Sundance and promote their films and look for others to add. I would have a much bigger reach as far as potential audience if I went with them. My page would be listed on all sorts of other web sites like Amazon, and others.

So I asked them about promotion. What kind of promotion do they do, and what places would they take my movie to?

I was told that the films and filmmakers, who do the best on their site, are the ones that go out and do a lot of self-promotion. The ones that really get their film out in to the marketplace. They submit it to all sorts of film festivals, send it to publications, and constantly get the word out about their movie. "That's the filmmakers who do well on our site."

So if filmmakers are going to promote the hell out of their films, and do most of the work themselves, why would they want to be on a site that does nothing but make a master of their DVD, splash their logo all over it, take a good sized percentage to put YOUR film up on their web site, and then sit back and wait while you do all of the hustling. Which part of this doesn't sound good to filmmakers?

There are too many distributors out there that are doing this same thing. You are doing all of the work, they're putting their name and logo on it, and then are waiting for you to sell it for them.

I think one of the reasons they wouldn't let me talk to any of their filmmakers is probably because they had no success stories. They probably don't have anyone who is making money.

There is nothing that these people are doing for you that you couldn't be doing for yourself. And keeping a larger share of the money your films make. There are good distributors out there who will work with you, the key is finding them.

When you talk with a distributor you need to find out what they are going to do for you.

I'll write more about distribution later.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

When it comes to budgeting remember, Everything is Negotiable! Don’t pay full price for anything!

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

Don’t forget to check out, because you just never know...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

On-Line Distributors/AF Tip of the Day

I was talking recently with an on-line distributor; they were inquiring about my films and were they available. They wanted a non-exclusive contract (which is the only deal I will ever do), for internet distribution they would be marketing just DVDs and they promised me 70% of all sales. I downloaded a contract and asked them why my contract said I would get 33% of the gross and not 70%? They apologized and sent me the new contract which was for 70% of the net.

We talked for awhile and when I asked for the email addresses of some of the other filmmakers who distribute through them (so I could see if they were happy); I was told that they don't give out that information. In my experience most legitimate distributors are happy to give you names and contact info from their other filmmakers. It's like asking for a reference, if other people speak well of you the odds are the prospective filmmaker will have a better feeling when it comes to signing the rights over.

Not only could I not get other filmmakers info, but when I asked about their use of sub-distributors for things like ipods, cell phones, web streaming, etc, and what kind of deals they cut with subs (because that will effect how much is left over to pay my 70% or 33% whichever I take), once again I was told that was information they don't give out…

Are these people serious?

I will continue this story tomorrow. Come on back and hear how it ends.

I need to get back to work now.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Talking about your great script idea is not going to get it written
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tired/AF Tip of the Day

I am really tired as I worked very late last night, so all you get today is your AF Tip of the Day.

See you tomorrow.

You need to make your pitch so tight that if you stumble across an executive, an actor, producer, or whoever; in an elevator you can tell them enough about your movie in a few short moments to get them interested and want to talk to you.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Film Books/AF Tip of the Day

There's new stuff on my website, (

For those who want to sign up to my email list you will find sign ups on both the home page and my blog.

If you want to know more about the nuts and bolts of filmmaking there are three new books up on my site.

50 Things You Better Know About Pre-Production Before You Embarrass
Yourself Making Your First Feature, 38 Things You Better Know About Production Before You Embarrass Everyone Making Your First Feature, and 40 Things You Better Know About Post-Production Before You Embarrass Your Family Making Your First Feature.

When you're making a feature too many things are going on at once and it is easy to forget the little things. These books are intended to make sure you don't forget those things while you are in the heat of filmmaking.

Check them out at

These are not to be confused with The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide which will be coming out in 6-8 weeks. These are just part of a series I am writing to help you make your films.

There's more going on, but I'll save that for tomorrow.

I want to thank Justin and Eva and everyone at Zoom for making all of this new stuff happen. If you need web stuff go to, these guys are the best.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

If you're going to be blowing money you might as well start with a little and then work up to blowing millions. - - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Plagiarism Follow-up/AF Tip of the Day

I want to thank everyone for the great response I received for my blogs and emails about plagiarism. From what I can tell, it's a real problem. I received a lot of notes from other people who have been plagiarized. What is up with that? Are people so hard up for creative content that when they see something they like they just steal it? Or is it that they're lazy?

I would feel like shit if I knowingly stole someone's words and tried to pass them off as my own. Am I the only one that feels this way? And I have been given examples of non-profit agencies doing this as well as individuals. That's crap!

We work hard coming up with creative ways to express ourselves and writing something that we think is not only going to accurately describe what we are doing, but is going to attract people to our events. If someone wants to use our stuff why don't they contact us and ask for permission? Probably because we are going to say "No!"

I think plagiarism really reflects badly on the people who do it. I know I wouldn't want to take a class or work shop from someone who isn't creative enough to write their own course descriptions. And I am going to wonder what else are they using that they didn't create?

I am grateful that someone saw this guys posting and recognized my words. I know I am going to be more vigilant when I read work shop and class descriptions, and if I think someone is stealing somebody else' s words I will alert them.

We all work too hard to have someone steal our stuff and take credit for it.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Nice people will loan you props. Not so nice people will make you pay for them.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming Spring 2008)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Raising Money/AF Tip of the Day

If you are trying to raise money for your movie you need to check out Morrie Warshawski at Who is Morrie Warshawski? He is a consultant who has been involved in the Independent Film world for over 30 years. Morrie has written a couple of books that all filmmakers should have in their library, if they are serious about making films.

SHAKING THE MONEY TREE: HOW TO GET GRANTS AND DONATIONS FOR FILM AND VIDEO, and THE FUNDRAISING HOUSEPARTY. Morrie's specialty is working with non-profits and documentary films, but the great thing about Morrie is that in his 30 years in the business he has seen it all. I've known him for years and I find the stuff he has to say right on the money (so to speak).

Raising money for movies is never easy! I don't care what anyone says. Those who think it's easy have never done it! Morrie's books do deal with documentaries and non-profit organizations, but there is a lot you can learn from what he tells you and then adapt some of his basic principals for raising money for other types of films. One of the things I have learned over the years is, I don't know everything! (Surprised?) Every time I re-read one of Morrie's books I pick up something new that I can adapt to my own fundraising.

You need to know the rules of the game before you can play, and Morrie gives you the rules. The other thing he stresses is focus. Not just on your movie, but on your career. Why are you making this particular film, and where do you want to go as a filmmaker when it's all said and done! He makes you take a look at the big picture for yourself. I like that.

He is available as a consultant, (no I don't get any kickbacks. Do I Morrie?), but the best part is he's a really nice guy.

So check out his site, (, and buy something! If you talk to him, tell him I sent you.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

If you're doing a documentary it can be easier to raise money if you have a good idea and non-profit status.

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

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Tour Name Winner/AF Tip of the Day

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Jim Dougherty for his winning Tour name, The Angry Filmmaker's AU-Tour. It was the major vote getter, (and the results were fairly close). Jim won 2 copies of my DVDs. He selected Kicking Bird and Birddog.

You can check out Jim's website, Jim is a Director and a Stunt Coordinator, and he's got a gray beard just like me. (And no, that's not why he won...but the beard is rather distinguished looking). I met Jim at one of my work shops put on by The Indy Film Co-op ( Check them out as well. A great group that I've written about before. It's a place where serious filmmakers have interesting discussions.

Anyway, for the rest of the year I will be going out on The Angry Filmmaker's AU-Tour, 2008. Now that's a tour name I can get behind. Thanks Jim. Your DVDs are in the mail... No, seriously.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Short personal films are a perfect way to practice our craft.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

SWAMP letter/AF Tip of the Day

I just received an email from my friend Michelle Mowrer who works at SWAMP in Houston. I need to say that SWAMP is one of my favorite venues to play, Michelle coordinates all of the classes and work shops, baby sits all of the guests, takes care of hotel arrangements, picks up the food for the events and always makes me feel at home. In addition, she is a filmmaker, has written a screenplay that I really like, and is married with 2 kids. There's a lot more to say about Michelle, but I'll stop now.

Anyway she sent me an email this morning and I wanted to use part of it for my blog. I hope that's okay? Oh well, here it is…

"I was reading an article written by Amber Benson about her experience making her feature film "Lovers, Liars and Lunatics" (which we are screening in May). She financed the film by selling dolls of herself online. Well, actually, it was a doll of her character "Tara" on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Here's a quote from her about indie filmmaking that reminded me of you...

"It [independent film] ceased to exist a number of years ago when every independent distributor was picked up by a major league studio, or they went out of
business. I mean, there really is no independent cinema any
longer. There are very few people that are working outside the
mainstream, and when they do, you don't see their films because
they play at one art house theater in LA or New York.

So, when you say Lindsay Lohan is going to do 'independent
films', Lindsay Lohan is going to do a million dollar movie. That's
called an 'independent film' now. Ang Lee's doing 'independent films'
now; BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is an 'independent film', do you
know what I mean?

They're nominated for Independent Spirit Awards, they play at
Sundance. Every film at Sundance pretty much has a distributor
already. Or, was made with big stars. Or, you know, Sigourney
Weaver is in the 'independent', and therefore it's picked up. Anything
that's independent...truly independent...does not happen any more."

We had an interesting discussion after the Academy Awards that many of the same films nominated for Oscars were also nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards. Anyway, thought you'd appreciate that. You're not the only "angry filmmaker" out there, just the only trademarked one. ;)"

Thanks Michelle. When you see Amber tell her there are a few of us die-hards still out there and we are not showing our work in New York or LA. We are taking our films straight to audiences all over the country.

The rest of you need to check out SWAMP, (

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

I don't recommend editing your own work unless you've done it on other people's movies. - - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Web Page Stuff/AF Tip of the Day

I am having problems with one of my blog pages right now and we are trying to figure out why it disappeared. If you are reading this you probably read one of my other blog pages, so I don't know why I am telling you this. It was a long weekend I guess. (Actually this is the page that's been the problem, and now it works. Go figure...)

We are going to be adding some new things to my web site,, so stay tuned. I am hoping to have some new things up in the next day or so.

I have some filmmaking work books that I have written; 50 Things You Need to Know about Pre-Production, 38 Things you need to Know About Production, and 40 Things You Need to Know About Post-Production. These contain helpful hints and things you need to think about during the various stages of making a movie. The books are $10 each, or buy all three for $25. There will be shipping and handling tacked on as well.

I'll be posting another 20 second short on my Odds & Ends page, go to Buy My Stuff and you'll see the link on the left side.

There is some other stuff I am adding, but we'll save that for another day.

Trust me, I will alert you when the new stuff is up.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

I know it's really cool to be on the set, but the more you plan, the more fun it will be on the set.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)