Thursday, May 8, 2014

Set Safety, Attitudes, and Disagreement

Richard Crudo, the President of American Society of Cinematographers, has recently put out a letter using the tragic death of second camera assistant Sarah Jones in Georgia as a launch pad for some... page filler about the changes in attitudes within the indie filmmaking community from ASC legend W.A.Fraker's good old days in the 70's when "filmmaking collaborators showed a genuine caring for one another that extended well beyond the workplace" to the current sad state affairs according to the presiding ASC President's POV.

"Have we lost our humanity? Just open a newspaper. For a view closer to home, consider the disdain with which so many people deal with each other on the road, in the supermarket, at the ballpark — and, dare I say, on set. It’s almost as if narcissism and a sense of entitlement have drained some people of the ability to see anyone as being like themselves. Those who make motion pictures for a living work long and hard at jobs we love, sometimes making significant sacrifices along the way. But we’re not curing cancer. We’re not even curing a hangnail. Twisted individuals for whom money, power, ego and prestige are the ultimate goals, however, treat the obsessive pursuit of these superficial rewards as being tantamount to conquering a fatal disease. As sad as this reality is, it becomes frightening when you realize how pervasive the attitude has become."
Maybe, likely, I travel in quite different circles than the President of American Society of Cinematographers. 

I've just returned from dropping off my kids at school, going to the grocery store, and a sell-it-yourself car lot with my elderly father looking to sell his pickup truck and travel trailer. My children and I all work together to get out the door for school as my elderly father waits for us, all the driving parents dropping off their children at school work together in an orderly fashion so that we all can get on with our days, the students are overwhelmingly civil to one another, on the way to the grocery store MOST everyone uses turn indicators and allows some grace to others, shoppers allow one another to enter and exit aisles with pleasant morning greetings and a plethora of "Pardon me"s and "Excuse me"s, employees help my hearing impaired father find what's on his shopping list, the checkout lady is dumb as a stump but transactionally pleasant as the day is long, and people have faith to park their FSBO shiny cars, beaters, and RVs in an unattended lot where they've been selling them for a couple decades just fine.

Professional children.
Professional parents.
Professional customers.
Professional employees.
Professional business people.

All within four hours of waking up.

"Have we lost our humanity?" Uh... No.

"It’s almost as if narcissism and a sense of entitlement have drained some people of the ability to see anyone as being like themselves." Yeah... I'm not getting any of that from where I come from.

"As sad as this reality is, it becomes frightening when you realize how pervasive the attitude has become." Um... Maybe in your world, Mr. Crudo. Not in the world I just saw this and most any other morning or day.
  1. Be safe on your sets. Filmmaking is for entertainment, not lifesaving.
  2. Keep up the good attitudes. Your life is good, and people are good:
  3. Be strong enough to disagree and wise enough to call BS when you see it.
I am not frightened.
Let's make a good Global Movie XP 2014 film.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"My greatest regret, during my time on IndieTalk, has been my failure to get a community project off the ground." ~ Nick Hilton

And so begins a worldwide independent filmmaker driven short film project which started as the "IT Community Project" and has since evolved into Global Movie XP 2014.

Just posing such an idea sparked a great deal of interest among fellow members, especially when given some thoughtful low hurdles to consider:
"I will ensure that no member has more than a maximum of two days shooting (though generally will try and keep it to what can be done in a single day). If you cannot record decent quality sound, I will give you no dialogue to shoot. Everything will be kept as simple as possible (within the constraints of a very tricky project!) so that we have the maximum chance of success."
With over four-hundred posts and seven-thousand views within a month there are now a half-dozen unit directors and another half-dozen pre&post production crew members from around the world volunteering to contribute to the Global Movie XP 2014 short film.

The as yet unnamed short film has a target release date of October first, 2014.

Additionally, every cast and crew participant will be:

  1. Eligible for on-screen credit
  2. IMDB listed
  3. Encouraged to submit the final film to their local and regional film festivals

Independent filmmaking is a challenging industry as multiple professionals and enthusiasts alike coordinate limited cast and crew talent, location, equipment, and budget resources during lengthy production processes until finally a film is completed.

While the first group is busy the second and third groups wait.
The first group passes work to the second group, they get busy while the first and third groups wait.
Then the fantastically patient third group rushes to assemble the work from the first two groups who now wait.
Finally, the entire cast & crew gets involved to find homes for the short film at our local and regional film festivals, at which point EVERYONE IS BUSY!

It's a fun biz.
Please, come and watch us build this little beast.