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.

JawDrop Films on the radio!

Wednesday 4/4/12 at 11am I will be on MileHi Radio. I’ll be talking mostly about how I started my business, what I’m doing with it, how I’m trying to help people, and how video can help your business.

Listen online at Milehiradio.com. I’ll post the link to the audio once we’re done.

Link to listen online: HERE.

Website Introduction Video Event March 31!

Okay, I have already mentioned the benefits of having video on your website. I have also mentioned how necessary it is to have a website introduction video. Do you have one yet? No? Well, now is the time to take action.

I am hosting a video event on March 31st, 2012, and I will be filming people’s website introduction videos. Why should you come?

  • You don’t have to try to mesh your busy schedule with another very busy individual (most people in my profession). I have rented the studio for the entire day, and I’m guaranteeing your time slot.
  • Additionally, you have 30 minutes to say your 1-2 minute pitch. This way, you don’t have to worry about scheduling a massive block of time. This also allows for plenty of do-overs and practice. Speaking of practice…
  • I will have a speaking consultant on-hand to go over your pitch before the date. We’ll be able to make you sound to the point and professional.
  • At $99, the cost is easy to budget. For most shooting days like this, you would end up paying three times that amount just to be able to cover the costs of the studio, equipment, cinematographer, editor, and staff. Fortunately, I am able to bring many people in to one place, and this will keep the costs down considerably. For $99 you get the professionally-edited HD video, 30 minutes of camera-time, complete editing, and pitch consultation. Try finding a better deal!

All the filming will take place at Peak Media at 1393 S Inca St in Denver. Please register by emailing here as time slots are limited. You will receive follow-up information within 24 hours.

The 6 reasons you need an introduction video on your website

Once you have decided that a video on your website is right for you, next you should decide what type of video you need. Different video types can be useful in different situations, but there is one type that is always useful on any website. I am talking about a website introduction video. And here is why you need one:

  1. You instantly brand your name into the viewer’s mind. When you have a short website introduction on your site, your customer is instantly greeted, as if they were entering a shop. Their experience is personal. You also are able to imprint your name in their mind using more senses: both visually and audibly. This gives a different level of interaction than they might receive on other websites, and can make you feel like the better choice just because of this extra interaction.
  2. You portray your company in a positive light.  You are the face of the company. So, why not put the face of the company in front of your web traffic? This gives your brand someone to identify with. This is especially important when your business is built on trust, such as insurance agents, lawyers, and realtors.
  3. An introduction video is a call to action! Your introduction video should be geared to do three things: Brand your name in the customer’s mind, explain what you do, and get the customer to take further action. This last point is sometimes the most difficult, especially when dealing with a short attention span of the average internet user. With your introduction video, you can tell your customer what to do next on your website: where to browse, how to contact you, or what has been recently added. It adds another layer of personalization to your site.
  4. An introduction video is a better way to explain what you do. Like most websites, yours should have a synopsis of what you do on the front page. However, research has been done that states that most customers will avoid reading a large wall of text. Go to your website and look at your front page. Explain what you do in 30 seconds. This is your elevator pitch. This is exactly what people are going to your website to see. Fortunately, this can also be easily explained in your short introduction video.
  5. Customers are extremely likely to view a short video. I mentioned that the average internet user has a short attention span, especially when they are looking for basic information. So, how likely are they to view a short introduction video? The answer is extremely likely Source. When given a short video that explains what you do, over 80% will watch it. Especially if the video is under 3 minutes.
  6. Everyone else will have a video soon. 2012 has been proclaimed by many trends researchers as the year of the video. They have noticed that customers respond better to video than any other medium. Businesses everywhere have been watching these trends and are following suit. Your competition may already be putting out their video. Don’t you want to have your own video to greet your customers? Don’t be left behind, and get started with your own website introduction video.

If you are in the Denver Area, I am holding a workshop for creating your web introduction video. Click here for details.  

How To Make A Viral Video

Viral videos are a huge buzzword in several industries, particularly when you start to overlap video and business. Everybody wants their video to be the next huge viral video. But nobody seems to exactly know how.

First, let’s examine what a viral video really is. Most will say that it is a video that has tens of millions of views. That’s perfectly fine, but as a definition, it falls flat. Is a video of two kittens talking viral? While popular (and proving my theory that the internet is made of cats) it is not exceptionally useful. There is no message. It doesn’t have any substance. It is not anything that advertisers can use.

I propose that a better definition is this: A Viral Video is a video that obtains significantly more views than expected in a given timeframe. What does this mean? It means that if you expect to get a thousand views in a month, and suddenly you get ten million, your video is viral. There is no defined number of exactly how many views constitute a viral status. It is like Sorites Paradox: exactly how many grains of sand are in a heap? How many views make your video viral? While there’s no answer for this question, a better way to describe a viral video is:

When a video is shared by many people, then re-shared by those contacts, and repeated ad infinitum, then the views exponentially multiply, akin to a virus.

However, there are other things to consider when making a video to go viral. Sheer popularity is not the only measurable thing. There are thousands of videos on YouTube that have been viewed millions of times, but only a few of those are worthwhile. There are tons of cat videos that have achieved viral status, but there are also many useful or informative videos. If you’re getting across a message or an advertisement, you have to incorporate good techniques to make it worth your time and energy.

What exactly do you have to do? The video should look good. Everything should be in focus. Subjects should be well lit. Sound quality should be excellent. The video should not drag on and on. In short, it should look professional. But these are just the makings of a good video. What’s different about a viral video?

Viral videos are three things, above all else: creative, entertaining, and unique. The visual aesthetics have to look better than the other videos that populate YouTube. The video should be entertaining enough to catch the viewers attention to make them want to watch and share it with others. And, it has to be unique enough to not copy other videos that seasoned YouTube watchers may have already seen. Above all, you have to make sure the video tells a good short story. Like I have explained before in several other blogs, story is key; without it, you just have some fluff. Write a short script and get responses from everyone you can. Preferably, get feedback from the right demographic. Generally, humor will make a good short even better. One thing that several viral videos have in common is that they are incredibly short. Most are under 45 seconds. Cut it down to size without sacrificing quality.

Do Not Forget: You’re trying to make a video with a message. If you’re halfway through shooting and you realize that the message has somehow been lost, go back to square one and try again. One other thing that you should do is make sure that your video tells the message you intended. Although they say that bad advertising is better than no advertising at all, good advertising multiplied across many viewers will be astounding.

Okay, your video is complete; it looks good, it’s funny, and applicable to your audience. Now what? Now comes the hard part. You now have to get as many people to watch your video as possible.

How can you make as many people watch this awesome video as possible? Well, if you’ve done the previous part right, you should have a good amount of content that will help you reach your target market. If you’re aiming for a certain demographic, make sure that this video interests them. When you’re still in the scripting phase, ask people in your target demographic for feedback.

Once you’ve ensured that this video will reach them, now you just have to spread it around. Everywhere. Post it on YouTube, Dailymotion and other video hosting sites. Then share it through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon, and as many other social media sharing sites that you can. Ask all your friends, family, coworkers, and any social media contacts to do the same, and then have those people re-post it everywhere. Hopefully if you’ve done well, and you know enough people, and you’re a bit lucky, you’ll be able to get a video with heaps of views.

I’m going to make it a personal goal of mine to make a video intentionally go viral. I will post updates as it happens.

Special thanks to Candies Liu for letting me pick her brain. Check her out.

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: http://38filmsdenver.com/