Film Racing

Film Racing is the act of creating a film from inception to completion in a very limited time span. In essence, you have to write, cast, film, render, and deliver a finished film in about 24-48 hours. Expect no sleep.

However, these contests are a huge challenge that gives you valuable experience. Sometimes, you will have to make a video in a very short time span, and you want to know that you can do it. You will gain that confidence with one of these contests.

Below are some of the videos that I have completed during these film challenges within Unrendered Productions. Here, we completed the following videos:

First Dates

The Portal



And here are some links to the competitions:

The 48-Hour Film Project is an international project that tours around and gives filmmakers in different cities a chance to participate for a weekend.

The 24-Hour Film Race is a yearly race in several cities in the US. Additionally, they have a national race called the 100-Hour Film Racing Grand Prix, where you compete for 100 hours against several films within the nation.

The Mocksides 72-Hour Film Challenge is an event that is sponsored locally, where you compete for 72 hours. In 2012, they will be expanding to other cities within the US.


Mailing lists you should be on

Like with every industry, you have to stay current with what’s going on, lest you be swept behind by those who are more cutting edge than you. Somebody famous said that.

So, in this digital age, one good way is to sign up for email lists. But with so many lists floating around, how do you know which ones that are legitemate and won’t flood your inbox? I’m on two separate lists, and you should be too.

Cynopsys is a site that notifies you about all the happenings in the film industry. Want to know when Christopher Nolan was signed on to a movie? It’ll let you know. Need to know what series Discovery is optioning in 6 months? Got it. It’s great for giving you daily information about literally anything happening with movies, studios, and actors.

Withoutabox is a site that connects filmmakers to film festivals from around the world. You no longer have to go searching around the internet for a screening that’s nowhere near your target location. Even better is that the weekly email from Withoutabox notifies you about new festivals and festivals that are closing registration soon.

What are you waiting for? Go get educated!

First steps

I get asked a lot about how to get into filmmaking. Not everyone will see Steven Spielberg on the street and be cast in the next action thriller instantly because you have a good personality. It takes time and many introductions. Here’s a few things to get you started.

First, start educating yourself. Take some acting classes. Go to film screenings. Go to a community class on appreciating film noir. Look up online for  Get to know other people doing film in the community. This way, when you get to the second step, you will be a more valuable asset.

Second step, start volunteering for film sets. Plan to be fetching things at first. You’ll get the hang of it, and start to be trusted with more and more things. But, you’ll get some valuable experience. Alternatively, if you’re an actor, start by volunteering for student films, extras casting calls, and local theaters.

Third step: Continue doing this. If you’re good, you’ll be invited to more and more things. Always keep an ear out for shorts happening in the area. Subscribe to some groups. Work hard at whatever job you do.


More to be continued…

Why Does a Small Business Need Video?

Why Does a Small Business Need Video?

Most small businesses look for good ways to promote themselves on their website. Ask yourself, “Is having a video on my website worth it?” The answer is a resounding yes!

First, most of the internet’s users are currently watching video. 70% of people on the internet visit some website with a video embedded in it. Youtube is now the number two search engine, complete with people searching for content that is educational, informative, and helpful.

Secondly, having a video online can boost your page ranking on Google. When you search Google, it automatically populates videos that relate to your search. Why settle for a low page ranking when you can rank on the front page?

Thirdly, most customers will stay on a website longer if there is a video. Without a video, they will stay an average of 52 seconds. With a video their interest is piqued, and will stay an average of 6 minutes, browsing your site and learning about your services. Video is more visually pleasing, and easier on the eyes than a massive wall of text.

Lastly, online video marketing is not a new idea. Most business owners think that they should do traditional advertising in print media such as a newspaper. However, with today’s new media, people spend more of their time online instead of looking at print media. Not to mention the cost of placing an ad in a newspaper, magazine, or even on a billboard or on TV. Once you create a video, you can post your video on any site and with any social networking tools that your business uses.

Online video is the new way for businesses to advertise. This media levels the playing field; small businesses can advertise using a video, and keep it on their website for a fraction of the cost that SEO, TV ads, and print media campaigns cost. And at ten times the effectiveness, your video stays up as long as you wish. Businesses can track exactly how many people visit their videos, and see how they are linked to their webpage.

The question remains: Do you want to increase your business and draw customers, or do you want to be left in the dust?


Film term glossary

Are you new to the set and want to me taken seriously? Do you want to show up and be treated like you have some knowledge? Then go to this site and learn all the lingo that you could hear on set.

Some of the most used definitions: C-47: clothespin. Stinger: extension cord. Lamp: a general term for lights.

Note: Not a full dictionary of terms. Terms may vary depending on whose set you are on.

Worst Moviegoing Experience

My list about what not to do during a screening reminded me of one time when all the rules were broken, and resulted in an abysmal night.

The Movie: The Lord Of The Rings, The Fellowship Of The Ring.

The Setting: A summer evening, around 2003.

This all takes place in Red Rocks Ampitheatre, where once a month in the summer, the Denver Film Center shows a popular film. It’s quite an amazing venue; an ampitheater carved into the rock. The acoustics are perfect. I highly recommend going sometime. It’s a wondrous thing to be able to watch a classic movie under the stars surrounded by nature.

However, this was not one of those magical nights.

First off, this was a sold out show. Meaning that there was about ten-thousand people there crowding around the aisles. I’m not a crowd person. Especially not at 7 in the evening when there’s 100-degree heat radiating off of the rocks and cooking everyone in the ampitheatre. We arrived too early.

Because they know that people arrive ungodly early, the event coordinators brought out a band to entertain the crowd. It would have been good if we could hear them. Apparently, they didn’t hook up to the red rocks amps, and thusly, couldn’t be heard beyond the fourth row. The acoustics need something to work with…

Finally, when dusk hit, they changed the stage to accomodate a giant screen. It was almost movie time. So, let’s bring out a boring comedian to amuse the crowd for another half hour. I think he got three laughs. And then he decided to close by reading off a list that he was emailed. Please don’t insult my intelligence. I’ve been using a computer since I could crawl, and I’ve been forwarded your stupid list twenty-six times. And it wasn’t funny the first time!

Oh, there were some good parts during the night. I saw my first cosplayers. Mostly people wearing green coats with furry feet. And of course it was a good movie, despite seeing it for the fortieth time.

But by this time, I started to get uncomfortable, literally. I have a back injury that keeps me from sitting in bleachers withous some form of back support for long without hurting. And Red Rocks is all bleachers. It was hell.

The row behind me were hell too. Somehow, they brought in a suitcase of cheap beer, and had finished half before the movie started. So, the most rational solution to cure thier boredom and ADD was to create an impromptu mosh pit. Way to go douchebags. I think they got thrown out by the second act.

Of course by the second act, we were treated to the most ear-piercing shrill sounds that can only be emitted by fire alarms and teenage girls. Orlando Bloom had the audacity to show his face on the screen. Multiple times no less. And each scream was just as loud as the first. This completely ruined the movie for me by this point. I think I started to cheer for Sauron at this point.

I now have more things to add to my list: Don’t have crappy pre-movie entertainment, uncomfortable seats, drunken mosh pits, or screaming teenage girls at a movie. Or Orlando Bloom.

So, what’s your worst movie experience?

Video copilot

If you have a powerful enough computer and the right software, you can create some amazing works of art. The folks over at Video Copilot have been doing special effects for years in Premiere and After Effects, and want to show you how to do it on your own. Better yet, pick one or two tutorials a week and go through all of them. Practice often!

Thou Shalt NOT…

Okay, I’ve been to my fair share of film screenings. Some were small and just a group of friends in a room. Some were international film festivals. No matter how large the venue is, there’s some things that you should NEVER do, lest you be struck down by the movie gods.

Don’t talk amongst yourselves while the film is playing. It’s incredibly annoying, and insulting to the people around you. If you came to talk, you picked the wrong place. How can you be distracted from a thirty-foot screen? Remember, the person sitting next to you may be the director of the film that you’re ruining.

Don’t look at the time on your phone. If you’re stretched for time, I’m okay for people leaving, and long as they don’t disturb others. Just, don’t use your phone in the theater. It’s incredibly too bright, and literally the entire theater can see you. Use a glow in the dark watch.

Don’t text. Same two reasons as before. You might get shanked in one of the classier theaters.

Don’t leave and come back. Empty your orfices beforehand, but occasionaly you run into the six-hour screening with a bucket of soda. If you must, leave when it’s a lull, and when you come back, stand in the back of the theater until it’s another lull so you can return.

Don’t take screaming children to a screening. I know that there’s a few theaters than ban children under 3 because they can’t be controlled. They really have no reason to be there. Especially if you’re going to a horror festival with nudity, gore, and demons. Unless you like psychiatrists…

Don’t gush at the stars in attendance. You may not go to many festivals with big name stars, but every once in a while you see a local or B-list celebrity. Just be cool, say hi, and don’t be too obnoxious. Don’t run up to them, ask them to autograph your stuff, take pictures, and ask them about their favorite plot hole in their cancelled tv series. They’re here for the same reason: to go see a movie and relax for the evening. Or, they’re making an appearance (AKA working).

Don’t fall asleep. Okay, sometimes you run into a film that is poorly written and edited to an extremely slow pace scored with slow music. It’s like a lullaby. You feel yourself drifting and nodding off. DON’T. Just, don’t.

Don’t leave before the credits are done. Each film that you see is a huge collaboration between dozens or hundreds of people. Some of them are most likely in the audience. Please respect them and stay until all their names are listed.

And there we go, a list of things not to do at an independent film screening. Now go and see some!

New Screening

So, I have an old film that’s screening this Thursday. The film is from one of the timed film competitions. It’s about a fortune cookie writer who finds his muse. I suggest you go see it and the 37 other films that will be shown at the venue.

More information and $5 tickets are at: