Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Work Book Quotes/AF Tip of the Day

The last day of April. Oy! We still don't have anything resembling nice weather up here in Oregon. Maybe this is why animation thrives here? Who needs to go outside…

I told you all yesterday that I have just released my 4th work book on sound. I just thought I'd like to share what a few people who have purchased the other work books have said. And I didn't pay them anything, honest!

"The Angry Filmmaker's workbooks offer advice that can only come from someone who has been in the trenches of independent filmmaking. A newly initiated filmmaker can save him/herself a ton of aggravation by heeding these words of wisdom." - - Jennifer Hardacker Assistant Professor, Pacific University

"I read Kelley's books while I was in preproduction for my fourth film and I certainly wish I'd read it before my first. He speaks about solutions to problems that just inevitably come up. It's good nuts and bolts advice." - -David Wagstaff, Independent Filmmaker

"Thanks a lot for the books. I've found them all very useful already and I AM beating the shit out of them in my carry-bag..." - - Jeff Boerst, Independent Filmmaker

Isn't it time you ordered a few for yourself? Okay, enough of the shameless self-promotion. (for today anyway)

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Just because you've made other films doesn't mean any of this is going to be easier, I find that it gets harder every time.

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

And don't forget my Masters Class in Filmmaking this summer through the Franklin Film Institute. Go to for more details.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's the Dialog Stupid!/AF Tip of the Day

It's finally here!

The fourth work book, 58 Things You Had Better Know About Sound Before Making Your First Feature. It's The Dialog Stupid!

This is a companion to my other work books on independent filmmaking. I have just finished it and it is available on my website,

What good is it you ask? Well, it tells you about the 3 different types of microphones, (ribbon, dynamic, and condenser) and the 3 basic microphone pick up patterns, (omnidirectional, cardioid, and hypercardioid). It gives you helpful hints about sound design, and tells you that I will threaten you with physical violence if I ever hear you utter the word "sweetening" when you really mean MIX! (Sweeten is what you do to ice tea, not audio tracks!) But you probably already know all this…

You can pick it up for a mere $10 plus $3 S&H. You had better act soon because the post office is raising their postage rates which means I am going to have to sooner or later.

Be the first one on your block to own it. 58 Things You Had Better Know About Sound Before Making Your First Feature. It's The Dialog Stupid!

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

No matter what camera system you use, you need to figure out sound. You should always hire an experienced Location Sound Recordist.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

And don't forget my Masters Class in Filmmaking this summer through the Franklin Film Institute. Go to for more details.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fall Tour Thoughts/AF Tip of the Day

Is it Monday already? Where did the weekend go? I feel like I am back in school again and the weekends are too short. But I know I'm not, because I worked most of the weekend.

It was actually a pretty good weekend. I got more work done on my new script and I have been roughing out my Fall Tour schedule. I am excited about the Tour because I will be promoting my new book, The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide: Making the Extreme Low Budget Film. I also have the workbooks and I am trying to have a new short film ready to show as well.

I am worried about the Fall Tour. With gas prices already headed towards $4 a gallon I need to figure out ways to pay expenses on this one. I am going to be looking for Tour Sponsors, companies, or individuals that will help me with expenses on my Fall Tour. If any of you out there have any ideas or suggestions about companies or individuals that you think might be interested in sponsoring my Fall Tour I would love to hear them.

I will be writing more about this soon, but I have a meeting I need to run to. Talk soon.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Location Sound - Never hire a guy with hearing aids...
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

And don't forget my Masters Class in Filmmaking this summer through the Franklin Film Institute. Go to for more details.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Workshops on the Internet/AF Tip of the Day

Just letting you know, I shot two of my work shops a couple of weeks ago. I did Making The Extreme Low Budget Film and Sound Design for Independent Films. I am currently editing them and hope to have them ready for internet streaming in a couple weeks.

Keep your eye on this space and I'll let you know when and where you will be able to see these.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

If you're borrowing a camera, do you have a back up?
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

And don't forget my Masters Class in Filmmaking this summer through the Franklin Film Institute. Go to for more details.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just something I heard/AF Tip of the Day

I had an interesting experience recently. I was judging a student film festival and was talking to one of the other judges. I had met this judge before; they used to work at one of the local art schools (where film is taught). They no longer work there and I have no idea why, I tend to stay out of those things.

I had done one of my work shops at this art school about a year and a half ago, the self-distribution & marketing one. One of the things I found interesting, is that there were faculty sitting in on the work shop and they were taking notes like crazy covering just about everything I said. They also asked a couple interesting questions during the Q&A. This is stuff that happens all the time, especially with that work shop.

A lot of the faculty at film programs all over the country are also filmmakers and we are all looking for ways to get our films out and by passing distributors. I never think twice about anyone taking notes during my work shops, because that's what I would do. I am being paid to give information so you better take notes.

Apparently that wasn't the case here. These faculty were taking notes so they could teach self distribution & marketing at the art school. That's what I was told by this judge anyway. Can you believe that?

I wondered why I haven't been asked back to that program. But you know what, it's not that big of a deal to me. When I had that guy plagiarizing me a couple months ago he was actually stealing my words. These people are taking content and you really can't protect that. And I may be angry, but I am not an asshole. So why bother? What am I going to say?

But here's the deal. The self distribution and marketing stuff is constantly changing. Stuff I was talking about a year or two ago is not applicable today. Things change that quickly. So my guess is IF these people really are teaching stuff I was talking about a year or two ago, then they're behind. I feel sorry for the students who are paying these people a lot of money thinking they're getting all this knowledge. They're actually learning history, in the guise of "this is what's happening now."

If any one out there attends this school in Portland, drop me a note and let me know if they really are teaching this stuff. I also don't know if I can trust the person who told me. Maybe they're making it up too. I'm just wondering.

And if I am wrong and the information is incorrect, I'll let you know.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

There is a clear chain of command on a set and it should be followed.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Angry Filmmaker is in...

Hey Everybody,

There is nothing worse than watching a film and seeing mistakes that I know are avoidable. The story is lame, I can't hear the dialog, the shots are beautiful but don't carry the story forward, the actors are all the same age and the acting is stiff.

Sometimes it is just a matter of having an experienced set of eyes look at your work. More importantly, it's someone who will be honest about it. I know your Mom and Dad and all your friends think your stuff is terrific, but they don't want to hurt your feelings.

I don't have those problems.

I am available to consult on your films. (

What do you get out of the deal? You get the best value and advice in making your film. No matter what stage you're in. I get to improve independent filmmaking.

I've been in the business for 25 years, working on everything from animation to live action, Independent features, Real Independent features, Hollywood studio stuff, and documentaries. If you check out my bio and filmography ( you'll see I've worked on award winning films, and films that never got distribution.

I will look at your work honestly and objectively. If there are problems, I'll point them out, in a constructive way. No one wants to hear, "This sucks!" My goal is to guide you through the process, so that you can see what the problems are, and we'll come up with ways to fix them.

I can come in at any stage of a film, from writing, to post-production. You will get my best advice, not cookie cutter crap. My estimates depend on what you need and what your budget is. Serious inquires will be considered.

Some of you have been to my work shops (and learned a lot), and you've seen how much I care about filmmaking. The important thing is to make the best film you can, and to that end I can help you. Put my filmmaking passion to work for you.

So what are you waiting for? Email me,, and ask me about my rates.

Making a film is a big deal, treat it like one.

And just a heads up, I'll be teaching a "Masters" Class through the Franklin Film Institute this summer in Franklin, IN. It'll be a 3 week intensive production sequence and at the end of it we will have made a 20 minute short. It promises to be a wild adventure for all of us. Space in the class is limited, for more details check out

Don't worry I'll be writing more about this soon.

Talk later.


The AF Tip will return tomorrow.

Monday, April 21, 2008

On the Set with the AF

My friend Margie just sent me this…

On set with the Angry Filmmaker

I am a long time friend of Kelley Baker. I know nothing about making films. I went to college with Kelley at University of Oregon, and back then he was kind of cool. At 18 most of us had no idea what we wanted to do with our lives, but even then Kelley knew he wanted to be a filmmaker. We all were jealous that he had a direction and drive to make his dreams come true (not to mention his beautiful long hair). We gave him a big send off before he went to USC and Hollywood and I didn't meet up with him until nearly 30 years later, and by golly not only was he a filmmaker, he was a pretty famous filmmaker.

Last week he invited me to come out to where he was shooting a music video for Paula Sinclair ( I felt like such a groupie telling the proprietor of the shop, "I'm here for the video shoot."

I walked into the back room and it was set up for the video. It was quiet and relaxed. Somehow, I imagined that it took about a dozen people to shoot a video and everything would be rather chaotic, but here were 4 people plus Kelley. Everyone was busy and there wasn't much talking. In fact throughout the whole shoot there wasn't much talking. Obviously, these people knew what they were doing and were just doing it. They were efficient and serious. When there was talking between Kelley and the crew, they talked in a kind of shorthand that comes with working together for a long time. They finished each other's sentences, offered suggestions and cracked jokes. But they were there to work seriously. Problem solving and getting it done were a priority.

The first video was shot before lunch. Did I mention that there was food? Yes, snacks, coffee, soft drinks and really good pizza for lunch, and plenty of it. After lunch, they set up for the second video. The set was the same, but through the magic of movie making, and the expertise of the crew it looked completely different. A few props, lighting, camera techniques – I don't know, they made it fit the mood of the music. It was shot in one long take and they only did it a couple of times.

I have never seen Kelley at a shoot before. He obviously had in mind exactly what he wanted to accomplish, yet it felt like a collaborative effort with the crew. He was focused, yet respectful and caring. And I have never seen him more alive and passionate than when we there. He never shouted, cursed or got upset. He's the Angry Filmmaker, but certainly not on the set or with the cast or crew.

As they finished up well before 4:00, one of the crew said to me, "It's been a while since I worked with Kelley, but this is what we live for."

Do me a favor, check out Margie's website, (, and don't forget to check out Paula's as well, ( And it wouldn't hurt any of you to buy something at either site.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

A short film is from 2 to 10 minutes in length. I hate 25 minute short films. They are usually ponderous, and always need a good editor. If you are going to make shorts, make them short.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Interesting Blog Piece/AF Tip

You have to check out this blog piece.

You need to cut and paste it, if you click on it it doesn't work!

I have been saying this for years! (Except the Rodriquez part, I am still not a fan…) It is up to new filmmakers both young and old to make new and original films. So what are you waiting for? Get going! NOW!

Oh yeah, I forgot…

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Personally, I don't care the make, model or age of the gear, as long as it does what I need it to do.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Now go!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Film Festivals = $$$/AF Tip of the Day

I have gotten a few emails from filmmakers lately about film festivals. Some filmmakers seem to think that if a film festival cashes your check that usually means you've been accepted. Let me address film festivals for a moment.

The deal with most Film Festivals is that they will always cash your check, and that doesn't mean they have to show your movie. It is assumed with all film festivals that your movie may or may not get programmed. I know of very few festivals that show everything that they receive. I am not a big fan of most film fests and here's why. We raise the money to make our films, we sweat and work our asses off to make them and then we have to pay money to have them screened or worse yet, rejected because someone somewhere didn't like them.

Film Festivals can be big business. I wonder how many entries film festivals get at say $40 a submission. If you figure that Sundance gets anywhere from 12,000 - 14,000 entries a year and they only show maybe 120 – 150 films, I can't remember how much they charge, but they are raking in a fortune. And then they get sponsorships and big companies giving them money so they can flash their logo everywhere. Sundance is the extreme.

Many film festivals will tell you that the money they get from filmmakers barely covers their over head, which may be true at smaller festivals. But think about how many large festivals there are and look at what they show. They like to show big "independent" movies with stars so they can attract sponsors and crowds which mean money.

This is not the case with all film festivals. Some of them are run by people who truly care and want to discover new and interesting films and filmmakers. I even know a few festival programmers that will give feedback on your movies, if you want it. (These are truly far and few, but they are out there.) I love smaller film festivals because they truly are about supporting and encouraging new voices.

Just remember that whenever you submit to a festival, they don't have to show your movie, but they will always cash your check.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

An old editing rule: If you can't solve it, dissolve it!

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 Tutorial/AF Tip of the Day

As many of you know, I am learning Final Cut Pro after being an Avid guy for years. It is challenging mostly because they use different terms to do the same things and I will admit I get a bit frustrated at times especially since I am working against a deadline. That's why I have been using the FCP tutorial through It is a great site and I have learned a lot about different programs there. It's a modest monthly fee and in my mind, well worth it.

Except … I have a bone to pick with Larry Jordan, the FCP tutor. Larry, I am sure you are a fine editor, and I can appreciate your attempts at humor because making these tutorials must be pretty boring. But would you please just tell me ONE WAY to do things! You give me three different examples on how to do something simple like moving a shot in the timeline, and then you tell me that all of these ways are INFERIOR! Then you proceed to show me the right, efficient way that you use. I appreciate the fact that FCP can do the same thing a multitude of different ways…

BUT WOULD YOU JUST SHOW ME THE QUICKEST MOST EFFICIENT WAY TO DO THINGS! I AM SOOOO PISSED OFF! You are wasting my fuckin time with all of this other shit! I have work to do and I am trying to learn this program! I know you want to draw out these tutorials so you can make more money but would you just CUT TO THE CHASE! Why do I want to learn an inferior way to do things? That's just dumb! How long have you been an editor? Time is money pal! I don't mind paying you for the lessons; just give me things I can use in a reasonable amount of time. Am I supposed to remember the bad ways to do things?

Larry, you could cut some of these sections in half or less if you just give us the good stuff. Isn't that what an editor is supposed to do?

Trust me man, if we ever meet, there will be blood!

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

You need to keep good notes when you're beginning the editing process.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cool Software & Other Thoughts...

It's Tax day. More money to politicians who don't earn it. Good luck with that…

Yesterday was pretty cool. I had some great students at Pacific University and some really good questions. But what was cool for me was I took a 30 minute break and did a Q&A with students at Bowling Green State University.

I used a program called SightSpeed and it worked pretty well. At least from my side, I couldn't see what they had to look at. I almost felt like I was a guest on Larry King or something. I could hear them, and I could hear my voice coming through on the speaker back there. I couldn't see anything as they didn't have a camera hooked up. My lap top camera seemed to work well, I could see myself in the corner of the frame and I was told that they could see me.

I gotta tell you, it was cool! To be able to talk to students a couple thousand miles away in real time, I was impressed. And the software was free. Check out SightSpeed it was pretty cool. Now I can talk to some classes from home, and with gas prices being the way they are, that's good.

By the way, how come people aren't all pissed off by the gas thing? Our so-called leaders aren't doing anything about it, and people aren't protesting either. I have cut way back on my driving, and I am only going to the cash only stations where I get a discount (ARCO). I hate the oil companies and the politicians who are giving them a free pass as we plunge farther down in to this recession. And we are in a RECESSION! Screw those guys!

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

To have real credibility you need to have made something before and it had better be good.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Birddog/AF Tip of the Day

I want to thank Jim over at 3 O'clock Productions http://www. 3oclockproductions. com for saying nice things about my first feature, Birddog.

Check out his My Space page where he has posted me on his blog. Cut and paste this, it's not working as a link...

I am happy you liked the movie Jim. This is the one that got me in to financial trouble with the IRS, but I am still glad I made it. Every time I screen it people can't believe it didn't get a distributor, (no big stars, just good acting and an interesting story). It was also the film that really got me started on the self-distribution path.

If the so-called "Indie Distributors" don't want a good movie just because there is no one famous in it, Fuck em!

If you want to check out Birddog or any of my other films go to

Thanks Jim.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

I always wait a beat before saying "Action" and "Cut". I am doing that for sound.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Avid Issues/AF Tip of the Day

I am having some Avid issues. Is anyone out there good with Avid? I am running Express DV. Suddenly I can't input in to my system from tape. My system is saying it is NOT recognizing my deck? It keeps telling me there is NO deck hooked up to the Fire wire port. I can input from CD, but not from tape.

If anyone knows much about Avid I would appreciate it if you would drop me a note and help me figure this out. It's frustrating.

I am learning Final Cut right now, and that's driving me crazy as well. It's that "old dog – new tricks" thing. But I will prevail!

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

If you are going to read screenplays, you should read screenplays of classic movies. You'll learn more.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

AF on e-bay?/ AF Tip of the Day

You need to check this out! I got an email from a guy who told me that one of my Angry Filmmaker shirts was on e-bay. The shirt wasn't for sale, (at least I don't think it was), a guy was wearing it under a shirt that was for sale. Now that is style!

You need to check this out. Just cut and paste the link.

I emailed Joe and he seems like a good dude. Check out his web site, He is making a doc that looks pretty interesting, I checked out the trailer. I am going to see if I can get him do a special guest blog.

And if you don't want to buy one of his shirts (or a hat), check out how good the AF T-shirt looks. Now imagine it on you!

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Always remember, yes means yes, but maybe means NO!
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Student Films/AF Tip of the Day

I had the opportunity to judge a college student film festival over the weekend, and I have to say I was disappointed. I really expected more. There were a couple of award categories that I felt shouldn't have been given as the films that we considered finalists, weren't very good. They were just better than the others.

Students are still not grasping that good filmmaking is about story telling. The stories that were being told weren't all that interesting, and didn't always make sense. Filmmakers need to learn about story telling first and technical things second. So many of the films I see are great technically, but have either no story or a story that isn't told well. Teachers, please tell your students to stop watching movies, and start reading books. Read books and learn the elements of story telling.

So many movies that come out now don't have decent stories either, so I can't really blame some of the student filmmakers.

I remember when I was a student, some of my films were too long, which is something you learn over time. All of these films were at least a third too long. The other disturbing thing for me was that the sound was awful. Not just bad dialog recording, but most of these movies had wall to wall music. Too much music lessons its impact, and I'll say it over and over again, MUSIC IS NOT SOUND DESIGN!

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

I Think I Was An Alcoholic appeared at Sundance and at Annecy, a huge animation Film Festival in France. I went to Annecy and found out that cartoon puking in any language is funny.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Monday, April 07, 2008

AF Tip of the Day

I am out on location today shooting a music video for Paula Sinclair. So all you get today is …

… your AF Tip of the Day.

A script should read like the movie would play. Each page is roughly one minute of screen time.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

See you tomorrow.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Bad Shoulder/AF Tip of the Day

It’s Friday and I am beat! My shoulder is still killing me from my shoot on Wednesday. I have a torn rotator cuff that should have been operated on years ago, (joys of no health insurance). It’s one of those things that hurts every day, but gets worse when I am lifting gear and moving things around. A buddy of mine used to play professional baseball and we have often talked about living in pain. He wakes up every morning and parts of his body just hurt, all these years later. I’ve never thought this was macho, it’s just what you do, and you live with it.

I think a lot of people live with physical pain because of our messed up health care system. I am not telling you anything you don’t know, with health insurance so expensive and the fact that they don’t cover most ailments; many working people can’t afford it. If you have health insurance, good for you, use it. I make my payments so that my daughter has coverage, (I may be angry but I’m not stupid). One day I am hoping we’ll all have affordable health coverage. I know, I’m dreaming.

I am just hoping that my shoulder feels better before Monday, when I am shooting a music video. I plan on hurting it all over again then.

The music video is for a singer/song writer named Paula Sinclair, (, check her out. I think she’s really talented.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

If making your movie is the most important thing. Then keep moving forward.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Workshops/AF Tip of the Day

I spent all day yesterday shooting 2 of my work shops, and I gotta tell you it is a bitch to do them without an audience! I never realized how much I rely on questions and interaction from people while I am teaching. My buddy Gary did a great job lighting and shooting, now if I can just cut around the talent we'll be okay. It's always a shock seeing yourself on film or tape and realizing that you're not 25 anymore. Or 35. Or … I think I'll stop right now.

I hope to have them edited and available for purchase by the end of the month.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

Everything is scripted! You have to plan and organize. I want (my short films) to feel off the cuff, but you need to know as a filmmaker what the hell is going to happen.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Angry Filmmaker Workbooks Available Now...

Hey Everybody,

Did you know that there are three different types of microphones? The easiest way to tell an amateur or student film is to look at the cast. Why should you light an entire scene before you start shooting? What's the best way to organize your bins when you start editing?

Making a feature is like standing in front of a freight train moving at 90 miles an hour. Everything moves fast and you have to make 27 decisions a minute. What if you forget something? Or worse yet what if a cast or crew person forgets something? Now what?

Well, have no fear! I have just completed 3 Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide Work Books to guide you through the whole filmmaking process:

50 Things You Better Know About Pre-Production,

38 Things You Better Know About Production, and

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

Are these things any good you ask?

"These workbooks are filled with useful, practical tips that anyone making a film should know. I found myself circling things and marking pages so I could remember them when production starts on my next feature."
Chris Hansen, writer and director of "The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah." And "Clean Freak"

Finally, a practical reference guide to help you through the different stages of making a film. I have been there many times and I sure wish I had something like this when I was forgetting things.

And these books are reasonably priced at just $10 each with $3 shipping and handling. Or you can get all 3 for $25 and that very same $3 S&H. They are available at

Coming soon: It's the Dialog Stupid! 47 Things You Better Know About Sound Before Attempting Your First Feature.

Check it out! I am now consulting on both feature and documentary films. Go to for more information.

Remember, making a movie is a big deal, treat it like one!

Talk later.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

3:10 To Yuma/AF Tip of the Day

I watched 3:10 To Yuma last night. What a good movie. The acting was great, and it was very intense. The music was a bit tacky, but what do you expect? Did I mention I was watching the original with Glenn Ford and Van Heflin? I had forgotten what good actors those two were. And the supporting characters, that was when there were great character actors in the movies. Check it out!

I don't know why they re-made this, but I am sure it was about money.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

I edit my features myself. I don’t recommend this to others; it depends on your experience level.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)