Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Rough Cuts & other stuff...

July 7, 2009

I was talking to a friend who had just gotten some negative feedback on his current film which is still in rough cut. He was feeling a bit depressed, I know, I have been there before. So I thought I would re-print something from my book, my feelings on showing people something that isn’t finished…

Thoughts on showing stuff that you're working on to your friends: A lot of people don't understand what a movie looks like when it's "in process," i.e. not completed. I have seen people show friends sequences from their movies out of context and not even close to finished. This never helps a filmmaker. I know you're excited about your movie and you want to show stuff as soon as you can. If people don't start jumping up and down and say what they've just watched is the greatest thing ever, then you get bummed. What are you thinking, jackass?

Of course they're not jumping up and down. It's not finished, it's out of context and they don't have the vision you have. I don't care how much you think you or your friends know about movies. What many of you learned came through watching the special features and director's commentaries on some DVDs. That doesn't tell you anything. I have watched major movies in rough cut that looked like crap and went on to do great business at the box office. But I knew what work needed to be done to get them ready. Most people don't.

I will NOT look at individual completed scenes from a movie.

They tell me nothing! I would rather look at a really long rough cut of the entire movie, than a couple of scenes that have been cut. To judge a movie, you have to feel its pace, see the whole story. A particular scene could be brilliant! But the scenes around it aren't. I need to see something from start to finish so I can get a feel for the movie and give quality feedback.

I made the mistake, once, of showing a local film critic the first 15 minutes of one of my features while it was still in rough cut. Boy was that stupid! A year later, when I was set to premiere it, he told one of the local art house theater owners that he wasn't going to be reviewing it. He had seen it already and it wasn't very good! He assigned someone else to do it. All he had seen was a 15-minute piece! And there he was telling a theater owner no less it wasn't very good. I wonder who else he told?

I will never, ever make that mistake again. I learned my lesson.

From The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide Part One. Which is available on my site for a mere $16.95 + $3 S&H. Quite a deal…

“This is a killer book. It tells you what your teachers can’t, because they haven’t done it. It tells you what your friends can’t, for the same reason. Jammed with tons of useful advice, Baker’s book is an invaluable “think before you shoot” guide for beginning filmmakers, as well as people who’ve been around the block, but need a refresher course.”

William M. Akers
Author of Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 Ways To Make It Great
teaches screenwriting and filmmaking at Vanderbilt University
Lifetime Member of the Writers Guild

Also check out the review of my Sound Design Workshop DVD at http://www.microfilmmaker.com/reviews/Issue43/Sound1.html. It’s a good one!

On to other stuff.

If you want Moses and I to come to your college, university, media art center, high school, theater or even to your house for dinner this Fall send me a note, angryfilminfo@aol.com.

Don’t forget to check out my tour sponsors, Show Biz Software, (www.showbizsoftware.com), Film Baby (www.filmbaby.com), Pollard Design (www.pollarddesign.com), and Zoom Studio (www.zoomstudio.com). If you haven’t checked out their sites and their services, you better.

As always, feel free to link to my site and you can subscribe to my blog. So what are you waiting for?

Talk later.



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