Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Dead Laptop and other things...

October 8, 2008

My apologies for taking so long to post. My laptop went down, apparently it is the motherboard and so I am looking at a new lap top. I wish to thank HP for making a laptop that dies shortly after warranty; you couldn’t have planned it better…

I want to thank Danny Boyd (otherwise known as Professor Danger) of WVSU for loaning me a laptop so I can keep going. Danny is a true friend, and one hell of a filmmaker. Thanks man.

Two weeks ago I was at the B Movie Celebration in Franklin, IN and it was fantastic! Bill Devers and The Indy Co-op did a great job putting this in and my hat is off to all of the volunteers who made it seem effortless. They also host Troma Dance and I had the pleasure to sit on 2 panels with Lloyd Kaufman. Lloyd is a great and very smart guy who never failed to crack me up with his sense of humor, and amaze me with his insight in to the business. I got to hang out with so many terrific people that you can bet I’ll be back next year if they want me.

These guys take B movies seriously, and also have a great sense of humor. I could only stay Friday through Sunday morning but I feel like I packed a lot of things in while I was there. One of my personal highlights was catching an outdoor screening of The Blob (with Steve McQueen) in a parking lot across from one of the main theaters. It was a warm evening and a perfect venue for that film. There were a bunch of very diverse venues in addition to a wonderful old theater and its parking lot. They included the Juke Box (a bar), the Johnson County History Museum, and even a smaller screening room over at Bill’s office. A very intimate celebration and God only knows how many films were screened. There were also workshops and vendors tables. There is no way you could have seen every film and workshop that you wanted to. That’s why I want to comeback next year.

Once again, Great Job Bill Devers and The Indy Film Co-op. I wish I could list all of the people that were involved, just know that you all have my thanks!

I have been at quite a few universities and talked to a lot of students these last two weeks. I have gone from 80+ degrees and high humidity to rain and in the 50’s. I am in St Paul right now where I am doing 2 guest lectures and a workshop at the UM and a guest lecture at MCTC. Thanks Jay Horan for putting this altogether.

I am talking to another publisher about my book, so we’ll see what happens with that.

Sound Thoughts from the road…

If a movie has good sound, you shouldn't notice it.

If you heard lots of sound, that's not necessarily good sound.

As the sound designer on the films Good Will Hunting, To Die For, Far From Heaven, and My Own Private Idaho, I think these films had the right sound. The sound reinforced the story. It didn't stand out. There are a lot of great moments in these films, and sound helps them, but sound doesn't take over. There's a big difference.

Ever watch the Academy Awards? I mean the technical awards. You know, the ones most people talk over. Costume Design? Editing? Sound Editing? Do you know what films had the best sound in any particular year? You won't find that information at the Academy Awards. What you'll find is the films with the MOST sound.

You think I'm kidding, check it out. All the nominated films are these huge blockbuster movies that are too loud. They overwhelm you with lots of explosions, fights, and sheer noise. That's not tough to do. Anyone can throw lots of sound at you and try to overwhelm you so you miss bad dialog and weak plots. For more information on bad dialog and weak plots, please see anything by Michael Bay, James "King of the World" Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Jerry Bruckheimer, and the list goes on and on. But I'll stop now.

Loud movies are easy to do; the tough ones are the quiet ones. Think about My Dinner With Andre. Two guys talking in a restaurant. How do you make that interesting? Or at least not monotonous.

What about a movie like Sideways? Its two guys talking about wine and relationships. You have no big sounds to hide behind. The small realistic films are tough. Mostly, because nothing happens, but it still has to sound real. I can't tell you anything about the sound in Sideways, but I can tell you about the story.

Now, there are exceptions. A film like Das Boot. The sound designer made the submarine a character in the movie. Remember all the creaking? The rivets popping? Waiting for the depth charges to explode? In this instance, waiting for the explosions was worse than the explosions themselves. It was brilliant.

The sound helped create suspense. When they were stuck on the bottom, it seemed like days. You felt like you were on the sub with them. There wasn't much music, it was pretty sparse. And by being sparse they made the whole voyage unforgettable. Go see that movie! That's great sound. Pearl Harbor? Titanic? Private Ryan? Give me a fucking break! (Sorry Gary, just my opinion.)

Other stuff…

Just a reminder, I am flying home for the weekend for the Father/Daughter Dance with my daughter. I am also going to be doing my Guerilla Marketing & Self Distribution Workshop at the Northwest Film Center on Sunday Oct 12 from 11- 4 PM. For more information check out And could somebody please tell these folks to spell my name right! Jeez!

Film Baby ( is a sponsor on this tour. If you haven’t checked out their site and their services, you need to do it. They are a great group of people dedicated to helping you get your films out. Also check out my other sponsors, Pollard Design (, Zoom Studio (, The Indy Film Co-op ( and Cheezy Flicks ( All great people and great companies.

The first two Workshop DVDs are up on my site,, (and Film Baby’s) and they are ready to fly off the shelves. They are selling pretty well out here on the road. Also check my site for my Internet Specials.

It’s time to hit the road again.

Talk later.



Blogger Cryptision said...

Great post! Please don't throw that dead laptop out. I would love to recycle it for you. I'll pay the shipping. I juest need something to practice on as Im learning how to repair them. email me at

2:41 PM  

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