Saturday, August 18, 2012

Review: The Top 10 Reasons Why It's a Great Time to be a Filmmaker

By Tanya Klein

We’ve come across a little e-book, The Top 10 Reasons Why It’s a Great Time to Be a Filmmaker (2012, 124 pp., Michael Wiese Productions It’s a compilation of essays by industry professionals and, best of all, it’s free.

If you’re looking for a how-to book, this certainly is NOT it. If, however, you’re suffering from the dog days of summer syndrome, then it’s well-worth checking out because it might just lift you out of your funk. How can you tell if you’re afflicted with the aforementioned symptom? Nobody’s bothered to read one of your scripts in ages; therefore, you haven’t bothered to write one. The person you proudly called “my manager” hasn’t returned your emails in a year. Facebook just clued you into the fact that the dude who cheated off of you all the way through high school recently bought his second mansion while you’re subsisting off of Ramen. In other words, if you’re reading this right now while taking a break from contemplating suicide (or a career in Law) then this book is for you. What you need is a good talking to and, most of all, a reminder that these can be great times to make your own movie. (Editor's Note: we, too, have covered this topic in several articles for both Script and Creative Screenwriting magazines. Click here for one of them.)

The overarching theme of The Top 10 Reasons Why It’s a Great Time to be a Filmmaker is the dissolution of entry barriers. Most of the essayists agree that in the olden days, you’d write your script and wait and hope and wait and quit hoping you’d ever see it made. Enter the advent of new technology and DIY. The Internet has created a paradigm shift. Firstly, you have access to a wide and diverse knowledge base, as well as collaborators next door and two continents over. Secondly, the digital revolution has made moviemaking affordable. The ubiquity and affordability of DSLR’s and home editing software make it possible for everyone with the right drive to get his or her movie made without winning the lottery. Thirdly, fundraising has taken on a whole new dimension with sites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and Crowdrise. As a storyteller you have new and exciting ways to find and communicate with your potential audience through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Once your movie is finished, you can elect to self-distribute via global online distribution platforms like YouTube or iTunes and with any luck – and a lot of Internet savvy – go viral. This technological revolution has also created the fringe benefits of whole new avenues of employment opening up: Webisodes, mobisodes, games – they all need content, they all need storytellers. In other words, they all need you.

So if you’re feeling sluggish, wondering if you’ve made the right choices in life while you’re sharing your last can of dog food with Fido, then this book is for you. And hey, it’s free with sign-up for MWP’s mailing list. 


Tanya Klein is a Los Angeles-based writer/director and story analyst for Coverage Ink. 


Friday, August 10, 2012

Coverage Ink's "Liberator" Premiere

Coverage Ink Films' second short, LIBERATOR, premieres Saturday 8/11 at Grauman Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, at the Holly Shorts Film Festival. LIBERATOR stars Lou Ferrigno as a disgraced, washed-up ex-superhero whose secret black ops past comes back to haunt him as he tries to put his life back together. Like the LIBERATOR character, the heat is also on Ferrigno, as he was recently on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” he also helped voice “The Hulk” in this summer’s box office smash “The Avengers,” and continues to pack them in at fan conventions around the world.

LIBERATOR features an all-star genre cast including: the stunning Peta Wilson (“La Femme Nikita”) as CIA spook Marla Criswell, Michael Dorn (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) as General Augustus Pollard, Jessica Jade Andres as Liberator’s estranged daughter Sonya, martial arts star Don “The Dragon” Wilson as Sidewinder, Tara Cardinal as Gaia, Darwin Harris as Duke, and the legendary Edward Asner (“Up”) as President Whitlock.

“After months of anticipation the fans will get what they’ve been waiting for, the world premiere of LIBERATOR,” said Jim Cirile, the film’s co-writer and Executive Producer. “LIBERATOR is a superhero geek’s dream come true, grounded in a reality we’ll all recognize -- our own. This is a very real world and a very real, and all-too-human, man. It’s the performance of Ferrigno’s lifetime. I think everyone will be impressed by the performance.”

Added Director Aaron Pope: "Launching a new superhero franchise without a comic label behind us and without money is a nearly impossible task, but from the amazing cast to the dedicated crew, no one blinked, no one wavered.  They put everything they had out there, especially our incredible cast. It's extremely satisfying to finally be able to show everyone the fruits of our labor."

Jim Cirile is the film’s co-writer and Executive Producer. Aaron Pope is co-writer and Director. Former Marvel Comics Art Director Darren Auck created the film’s comic art prologue and graphic novel artist Gerry Kissell ("Code Word: Geronimo") illustrated the film's closing sequence. SyFy Channel’s “Hollywood Treasure” co-host Jesse D’Angelo designed the Liberator suit. The film features an original orchestral score by Tim Wynn, perhaps best known for scoring the hit video game “Red Faction: Guerrilla.”

Follow the latest news on LIBERATOR by visiting:

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

CI Consultant Sells A Pitch to Disney

Meet CI story analyst Alex Cramer, better known to some of you as AC. Alex has been on a roll lately, and has just set up one of his projects at Disney Channel -- "Pants on Fire." That makes two CI consultants (joining Kevin O'Hare, who sold two pilots to Universal) to sell TV projects in the last year. We had a quick chat with Alex about the project and how he pulled it off.  

Jim Cirile (JC): Tell us a little about you, Alex.  

You can't tell here, but Cramer's pants are indeed on fire.
Alex Cramer (AC): I’m from Los Angeles. I started writing my senior year of high school because I was bored in class. I went to film school at LMU (Loyola Marymount University) and got my Masters in screenwriting. I’ve been writing for about 10 or 12 years now.  

JC: So while the rest of us were doodling in high school, you were already writing scripts?  

AC: Yeah, on a legal pad!

 JC: What genres do you like to write?  

AC: I do a lot of comedy, but I’m interested in everything. I have a drama script that’s done pretty well for me, and I enjoy action as well. I would say in general I enjoy genre filmmaking. Something that’s big and exciting, whether that’s comedy or action or whatever.

 JC: When you say the drama script did well for you, what does that mean? Did you get representation off it?  

AC: The drama script got me my first job, which was a small thing rewriting a religious film. It got me meetings and people enjoyed it. In fact, it’s in the quarterfinals of the Page contest right now. It’s gotten me some decent exposure.  

JC: Tell us about your project at Disney Channel.

AC: It was a pitch. I was working with an executive over there for about six months on different ideas, and we kind of developed this together. It was originally my concept, but he took a liking to it and he helped me shape it for what Disney Channel would like.  

JC: That's the best way to do it -- have a champion on the inside. How did you hook up with this person?  

AC: There an executive at Disney. I won’t mention their name. I’m represented by (management company) Circle of Confusion. I had a high school comedy script that they sent over. Disney Channel is trying to do more movies now, so they’ve been looking for a lot of writers, not just one. So (my managers) sent over that comedy script and Disney really liked it. They brought me in for a meeting. I (pitched them) a bunch of ideas, but none of them were that good. I was sort of out of sync with what they wanted. But the good thing was that the executive who was in charge of the project was willing to talk to me and work with me. So I was able to come back to him and think of some concepts and customize them more to specifically what they were looking for.  

JC: What's the name of the project?  

AC: Pants on Fire. I can’t give out the logline yet, but it's a high-concept kid’s comedy. 

 JC: Excellent. I assume you are developing the script with your exec?  

AC:Yeah, I’m working on it right now. We just settled up the contracts. I’m doing an outline first. So I imagine I’ll be going in there for a meeting to develop the outline a little bit and then we start in on the script.  

JC: Very exciting! Thanks so much for telling us a little bit about this, and please keep us updated!  

AC: Will do, thanks!