Mad Max: Not just a big dumb action movie

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Mad Max Fury Road poster

Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult

Director: George Miller

I had the privilege of being invited to a pre-screening of this film, and after seeing the trailer online, I jumped at the chance to watch it. I’ll admit, I had not seen the previous films in the iconic franchise, but I still had high hopes for this post-apocalyptic action movie.

Mad Max: Fury Road is a fun adrenaline-filled thrill ride that possesses great cinematic quality. This movie takes its name and protagonist from the original Mad Max movies in the 80’s, but the best thing that it borrowed from those films is the director and his cinematic vision.

We’re introduced to this post-apocalyptic setting when we meet our protagonist Max (Hardy) as a captive in the warlord’s lair. When one of the warlord’s lieutenants (Theron) steals a decked-out tanker truck, Max unwillingly gets dragged into the pursuit, and eventually joins her on her drive to a better life. On their way, they are met with several obstacles, including the warlord’s entire army of pale-skinned kamikaze freaks, the elements of the desert environment, and characters that turn into allies. Also featured are gratuitous explosions, violence, and vehicle destruction.

What makes this movie good, and not just another action flick is the amount of care taken when producing all the imagery. Every shot has a cinematic quality. From the creativeness of the modified vehicles in pursuit, to the color palate used to enhance every shot, to the tiny details in the costumes. Everything pieces together to create a visually stunning work of art.

Mad max 4 Fury Road Screenshot

Given the film’s setting, tone, and character actions, I did expect more out of the story. We do see glimpses from Max’s haunted past, but not much is explained. Same with the other characters that are trying to escape the warlord’s grasp: we see that he’s a villain, and they want to leave, but nothing much more beyond that. Given the apocalyptic setting, I expected a subtle environmental message, but that is glossed over.

Overall, this film is quite exciting, but can definitely leave you with more than you expected. Clearly George Miller’s vision created spectacular imagery in a fun environment. Mad Max: Fury Road certainly one of the most beautiful looking action movies that I’ve had the privilege of seeing.

Trevor Munson is a graduate of University of Colorado – Denver’s film program, and owner of JawDrop Films.

Printable Storyboards

This is a resource that you definitely need. Storyboards are an amazing tool to visualize how a scene will turn out before adding dialogue and music. It allows you to be able to find potential problems before a scene is filmed. I can’t really draw much, but I still use them for planning out shots.

This resource is a site that has printable storyboards in a variety of formats. You can choose 3:4 or 16:9 aspect ratios, and have anywhere from 1 to 9 frames per sheet. And best of all, it is completely free.

Go to http://www.printablepaper.net/category/storyboard to get this great resource.

Business Video Ideas: Event Video

You’re in business, and chances are, you and your employees participate in some fun activities as a group. So, why not document those activities?

An event video is a piece of marketing that shows what you and your company does when you are away from your desk. This can be for a networking event, for a business after hours or a conference, or even for a volunteering event that is done on the weekend. Either way, you are showing off that your business is made of real people that care about others.

When you create a video for an event, you’re mostly showing off the highlights of the fun things, and why you participated. Make sure that you properly document all of these things, from the person holding the event, to the massive amount of people that attended. You can be as artistic as you want with it, as long as the message is shown properly. Feel free to mix both moving video and still images together to showcase more.

As a matter of timing, do not wait to long to put out the video. You want to have it finished while the event is still on people’s minds. You should release it within 3-5 days after the event. And don’t forget to share it on social media; your customers are your biggest fans and like seeing your participation.

Here’s a great example of an event video I participated in. This time in front of the camera, not behind.

This video showed many of the things I discussed. There was photo and video mixed together. The story about the event was told well. And the video was released the same day as the event, before most people went home.

So, have you gathered some good ideas for your next event? Good! Now go make something awesome, and have fun doing it.

Staying Current

Do you already have a video on your website? Good. Awesome. Thank you for listening to what I blog here.

So, how old is your video? A year? Two years? Five?

Chances are, your video may be outdated. If your video is over a year old, go watch it. See if there’s been any changes. Have you changed your logo, your services, or even the CEO? You probably want to update it to reflect those changes.

A video on your website should reflect the current state of your business. Most likely, it has grown, and there are more and better services that you want to exhibit to customers. Also, there may have been things in the world that have changed since your video was created. If your video is outdated, please consider updating it to be more current. Your customers will be more interested in something current, than something outdated.

Need to update your video? I can help.

Business Video Ideas: Parody Video

This is one of the most fun videos that you will create. A parody video is a video that takes something from pop culture, and recreates it popularizing your company and brand. Your source could be a movie, tv show, or even another YouTube video. Take a look at the shameless promotion video I worked on:

This was definitely a fun video to shoot. We twisted the words of Gangnam Style to fit our Condom PSA. It received plenty of views, and had a good reception.

There is a catch about making a parody video. Some things in pop culture last longer than others. Quote Pulp Fiction, and people will get it and understand where it is from. Mention a fleeting fad like twerking, and it will sound dated before your video is even posted.

Want to have fun and create a parody video? Contact me and I’ll make it with you.

Always Create Content

This is something that is for the other Business filmmakers in the crowd.

Sometimes, you may be recording content that is…less than interesting. Maybe a deposition isn’t something that grabs attention. Or you may create a training video that has to be kept private, and you won’t be putting it on your reel. No matter what: ALWAYS CREATE CONTENT.

As filmmakers, it is our job to create art and make interesting images. If you are at an event, take an artistic photo of the craft services table. Use your artistic eye, and look around at your environment and find something that grabs you. Look at the architecture. Play with depth of field. Take a close-up. Find the image in reality that is visually striking. For example, the image of the flower I used is something I captured during an event I was filming.

In Neil Gaiman’s words, Make Good Art”.

Business video ideas: Book Trailer

Here’s something that not enough people are creating, but it is something that is taking off.

When a movie is coming out soon, the studio will show off why it’s interesting to generate buzz. So, why wouldn’t you do this for a book? Just because your book doesn’t have any pictures in it is not an excuse! Take a look at this great example:

This trailer showed off what some of the reviews were and what some of the main themes that it captures. It did this while showing off some of the reviews that the book received, and also by hyping up the author. And it did all this in a very short timeframe.

This type of video is relatively easy to create. And the thing is, readers are watching these type of videos before purchasing books. So, go out there and create your book trailer today!

Need someone to help you make your book trailer? I can help.

How to Effectively Post a Video on YouTube

I’ve been on YouTube since it started 9 years ago. It has gone through quite a few changes that benefit viewers, producers, and businesses like you. The most important feature is that videos are now included in a Google search, easily making you at the top of the list when someone does a search. So, what can you do to ensure your video gets found by people and Google’s search algorithms? Well, there’s a few things you can do to increase your video SEO:

The first thing you should do after uploading your video is adding tags. These are the primary keywords that will be used to search for your video. Be broad with these. If your video is explaining something like coffee, make sure you include many keywords that relate like caffeine, latte, Starbucks, coffeeshop, etc. Be descriptive, and use a thesaurus. This way, if a customer is searching for something vaguely similar, they have a good chance of finding your video.

Another thing you must do is title your video correctly. Don’t leave a vague title that your camera gave it, like MVI_4639. And be more specific than just using your business name. Aim for something that someone might search for, like “All about networking at a coffee shop for business professionals.” This way if someone looks for business networking, they have a better chance of finding you.

Another very important thing is filling out the description area. Here, you have 5,000 characters to fill. That’s as many as this whole blog post. You should definitely describe the video in great detail, including all the relevant keywords that I already talked about. Consider actually transcribing the video and posting that in the description. Google hasn’t become powerful enough to be able to search the actual content in your video, so it is relying on you to provide that data. Fill that space up, and don’t forget to add credits for yourself and your company. Ensure that you add links to anything you reference so viewers can find it easier. Reference any people, quotes, or websites that you mention. Just make sure that the most important information is right at the beginning. YouTube only shows the first 180 characters by default.

Although YouTube is a living website that continues to be updated to this day, these tips should help you to get started getting found by your customers when they search for your content.

Want to see what videos I create and post on YouTube? Go here to watch.

What does an Assistant Director do?

If you sit through the credits of a movie, you’ll find hundreds of types of jobs that people do to create a film. The one I’m highlighting today is The Assistant Director.

The assistant director (AD) is one of those jobs that has many tasks, and is invaluable to the production. The assistant director is mostly charged with keeping people safe and ensuring that the production stays on schedule. They do this my wrangling actors, ensuring that crew are accounted for at all times, making sure the sets and stunts are safe, and keeping a close eye on the clock.

An assistant director is essentially the mom of the crew. It is a task that requires some hearty project management skills.  They are in charge of knowing where every person and inanimate object should be. They know what has happened, and what still needs to happen on set. crew members, directors, producers, and actors are all asking them for information, or being given information from them.

Unfortunately, this sometimes makes them the least favorite person on set. However, in an industry where time is literally money, they’re an invaluable part of the production crew. Whenever I have one on my crew, I always treat them with plenty of respect, and give them plenty of tools and authority to work with.

Lights Camera Action?

I have a small pet peeve about this phrase. It’s old, outdated, and nobody says it anymore. It’s a holdover from the silent film era where a studio was making several movies at once, some even right next to each other. Plus, it doesn’t account for some of the other important jobs on set.

So, what should happen before a take?

  1. Once everyone is in their respective places and ready to do their jobs, the Assistant Director (usually) calls for everyone to settle, and get ready to work.
  2. Director: “Sound”
  3. Sound Engineer: “Sound Speed” (The audio has begun to record)
  4. Director: “Camera”
  5. Cameraman: “Camera Speed” (The camera is now recording)
  6. Director calls “Marker”.
  7. Slate: Calls the Scene, Take, etc. like “Inglorious Basterds, Scene 137, Take 4”
  8. Clap!
  9. Slate guy scurries away.
  10. Director: “Action!”
  11. Actors act.

After the scene, the Director will say Cut, meaning everyone stops recording.

Obviously I have left out some important jobs that are pretty vital to the filmmaking process, mostly because they occur many hours or days before and after the shot. I’ll be covering what each person’t role on and off set is later in this blog series.