All posts tagged: Filmmaking

WATCH: “Wearing the Big Heart”

When I started Catch-all one of my intentions was to share short films by artists who I felt had something unique and important to say. I haven’t posted any such work in a long time, and I think Wearing the Big Heart by Tony Carter-Hill is a great place to start again. Carter-Hill’s film captures the Los Angeles Women’s March, showcasing the march’s complex mood while revealing remarkably intimate moments within an intense and massive public event. That day meant something very special to me, and I appreciate how Wearing the Big Heart paints the historic Women’s March with such vibrant images and sounds. Carter-Hill’s work is abstract, dynamic, rhythmic, and truly compelling. I was able to ask Tony about what that day meant to him. Here’s a bit of what he had to say: “As people began to walk with their banners held erect and in these colorful costumes, I became more inspired about filming. I thought about reproducing a feeling rather than a narrative, while keeping in mind consciousness and place, national identity, humanistic tendencies, …

Recommended Film & TV Books | Part 1

I’ve been studying film and television in school for some years now, so as a result I’ve amassed quite a collection of film and TV-related books. Here’s part 1 of my recommended media texts list – and you can expect a number of these posts in the future since there are so many books that I’ve found to be truly invaluable. Although I’ve linked each book to Amazon, buy locally if you can find them at your community’s bookstore! Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder: Save the Cat! is, indeed, the last book on screenwriting you’ll ever need. The book includes information on high concept ideas, genre-play, beat sheets, and even a bit of pitching advice. It contains basically everything you need to know about coming up with an idea, writing your script, re-writing your script, and getting it sold. Designs on Film: A Century of of Hollywood Art Direction by Cathy Whitlock: There was a point during college when I thought that I wanted to be a production designer, so my boyfriend got …

Hollywood’s Global Domination

My experience of foreign cinema – or the value that it has provided for me personally – is deeply rooted in my national identity and Hollywood’s history of global dominance. Scholar B. Ruby Rich writes in Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film, “My guess is that foreign films function as a rebuke for some viewers, offering up evidence that the world is not made in ‘our’ image, and that neither our society nor our language is universal.”[1] While I agree with Rich’s evaluation, I’d like to complicate it just slightly. My argument, instead, is that foreign films function as a rebuke for most American viewers specifically, though not all. In his chapter titled Hollywood’s International Market, from The American Film Industry (ed. Tino Balio), Thomas H. Guback describes how Hollywood began to permeate the global film market after World War I, acting in a moment when numerous countries were economically devastated by the war and left financially indebted to the U.S. As a result, due to the surmounting strength of the American film market, international film …

LUNAFEST: Supporting Women in Film

On Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend LUNAFEST in Los Angeles, an evening celebrating films made by, for, and about women. The traveling short film festival, which was started by LUNA in 2000, has been championing women filmmakers for 16 years while also raising money for the Breast Cancer Fund. Last night’s screening, which included four short films by Lara Everly, Dr. Patricia Beckmann-Wells, Joey Ally, and Eva Vives, was exciting, invigorating, and super fun. Not only was each short exceptionally well made, but more impressively, they were all bursting with distinct and captivating authorial voices. Following the screening was a Q&A with the filmmakers, moderated by Janelle Riley of Variety. The center of attention for most of the Q&A was the status of women in film, focusing in particular on how each filmmaker has dealt with issues of inequality and what hopes they have for the future. While it was an honest night that could have ended on a bleak note, the commitment that these women have to telling stories that matter and building strong communities of women in the …

Revisiting My Undergraduate Thesis Film

As I enter my last year of graduate school, I’ve found myself reflecting on my undergraduate years, almost longing for that simpler time. I’m only 25, yet I’ve been feeling far older, like my age is a scary number that keeps getting larger and larger and more overwhelming. But that’s a different story – one that I may return to in a separate post. This sentimental reflection on my past has led me to revisit some of my older work, such as my senior thesis film, Fruition. So much has changed since I started making Fruition in 2012, and although I haven’t made a notable short film since, I know that my perspective as a creator has evolved significantly. On the one hand, I’m not as naive and am instead somewhat disillusioned and overwhelmed by how little I understand about life itself. On the other hand, I feel more empowered and able to embrace who I am and my unique perspective. I know that I’m somewhat smarter and more equipped to understand others and the world around me. That being …

What Film School Taught Me as a BFA

Though it’s been a little over three years since I completed my undergraduate program at The University of Arizona, I’ve decided to revisit those years in a post about what film school taught me as a production student. Now that I’m in graduate school at USC, I’ve decided to shift my academic focus to film studies for a variety of reasons, but production is still at the heart of what I hope to accomplish in the future. A few notes about this list: while I didn’t go to a prestigious undergraduate production program at NYU, USC, UCLA, or UT Austin, I think many of the lessons I learned are somewhat universal at all institutions. Also, this is a slightly snarky, but thoroughly honest list. Long story short, take what you will from it… You can’t be unreliable. No one will want to work with you if they can’t rely on you to show up when you’re needed and put in the work. Hearing “we’ll fix it in post” is common for a reason. Yeah, you might be able …

Tips on Marketing Your Short Film or Web Series

How To Market Your Short Film or Web Series [ and spread the word about your fundraising campaign ] 1. First things first – consider your audience. Is your short film or web series a comedy? Horror? A horror comedy? Know who would genuinely enjoy your project and who wouldn’t. Make your intended audience as defined as possible. The tendency will be to say that anyone of any age will be interested in your project, but that’s simply not the case. Be honest with yourself. 2. After you’ve pinpointed your audience, create a marketing timeline that coincides with production. For example, during pre-production you will want to start developing a fan base through social media, and by the end of your film you may be looking for distributors and sharing your press kit. Have a marketing strategy for every point of production and beyond. 3. If you are fundraising for your film or web series, be sure to build hype before you launch your campaign. Know that you will essentially be marketing for two entirely …

8 Social Media Tips for Indie Filmmakers

I think I have a fairly strong grasp on marketing, specifically social media marketing, and how to expand the reach of a creative work or business. Why? In college I took courses on film and television promotion, worked as a student brand manager for Red Bull (one of the most well-known and promoted brands in the world; read more here), and during my senior year I marketed an Indiegogo campaign that funded my entire thesis project. Now, I use social media to expand the reach of this blog and am developing a formidable readership. Here are a few of my social media tips for indie filmmakers, but these suggestions can also be used toward any creative or business endeavor: 1. Keep your personal social media accounts professional and always include links to your creative work. 2. Know your audience. 3. Utilize platforms that align with your audience. If you are doing an experimental coming-of-age film, consider using Tumblr and Vimeo for your social media marketing campaign. On the other hand, if you’re working on a social justice documentary, maybe Twitter and YouTube …

Watch “The Wolfpack” – A Mesmerizing Documentary That’s Available on Netflix

Directed by Crystal Moselle, The Wolfpack journey’s into the secluded lives of six brothers who had non-traditional upbringings, characterized by a severe lack of connection to the outside world. In order to escape the confines of their Lower East Side Manhattan apartment (which some years, they didn’t leave at all), the brothers watched and recreated their favorite movies. The Wolfpack is an exceptional documentary about extraordinary young filmmakers who harnessed their oppression as a means of creative power. They maybe grew up sheltered, but their intelligence and appetite for creation seems to outshine the effects of their seclusion. To see the world through their eyes – at times lost, sometimes disillusioned, but above all, hopeful – is a gift unto itself. The Wolfpack, which is available on Netflix, is an absolute must-see film. It embodies so much of what I love about documentaries; not only are the viewers allowed a glimpse into the peculiar lives of “The Wolfpack” and their family, but we are given, if briefly, a chance to rediscover the outside world and bask in its infinite possibilities. After you watch The Wolfpack, be sure to check out their short …

DIVERSITY in the Words of Ava DuVernay

In this short video produced by TIFF, Ava DuVernay discusses the importance of featuring diverse voices in front of and behind the camera. Not only is film forever, but film also informs so much of what we understand about the world. By restricting who gets to make movies, and who and what those films are about, we drastically limit the possibilities of the medium. When we see films about women, people of color, young people, old people, gay people, transgender people, disabled people, Muslims, Jews, indigenous people, immigrants – it’s essentially a reminder that those stories matter. You matter. Demand that Hollywood represent our richly diverse nation. Watch movies made by women and people of color. Seek out films from other countries. Share your love of these films. Do your part.