Friday, 25 April 2008


Thanks to all the folks who left me questions. There were more than a few pate-puzzlers, but, as promised, I will answer them, or fake my way out of it.

Here we go...

Anonymous Kevin asked...
What is the best HD Camcorder for a Drama TV shows?
Hmmm. Okay, I'm not going to fake my way out of this one, and I'll freely admit that I'm not all that techno-skilled, but I can offer suggestions on how to find out. First, find an internet forum for cinematographers, they are out there. Join it, and read what they say about new digital technology. Also look up the trade journals for cinematographers. Or, find out what they're using on Doctor Who and Torchwood. They look pretty good for video.
I am thinking starting my own film studio on a tight budget. Do you have any good Ideas digital equipment at reasonable price?
Don Coscarelli's Bubba-Ho-Tep was allegedly edited on a Macintosh desktop with store bought editing software. So the means of professional looking production are becoming more and more affordable. Do what I suggested with digging up info on the HD cameras, except with post-production and editing gear.
How to do Producing and Directing for A Drama TV shows?
First: Hire an intelligent and experienced Production Manager (AKA Line Producer). The production manager is trained to study a script and figure out everything you need to get, who you need to hire, and where and when you can shoot your show. While this is going on the Producer works alongside the production manager to obtain money for the needed staff and equipment, while the Director works with the Production Manager to figure out how to best tell the story while filming it in the most efficient manner.
Have any body here work on a TV shows before?
I did a lot of ultra-low budget and student film work while studying in Toronto. Ironically I once played a Holocaust survivor for a TV documentary's re-enactment. I include the term "ironically" because I'm the last person you'd cast as a Holocaust survivor, so all you ever saw of me was my shadow.
What is a showrunner? What usually do their jobs entail?
The show-runner is the executive producer of a TV show. But all executive producers are not created equal. Some executive producers are the people who put up the money to develop the show, some are representatives from the network or studio, and some are just credited as executive producers because they won a piece of the show in a poker game.

The show-runner is the executive producer who handles the actual running of the show. He/she hires and fires the staff, cast, and crew, has final say on the scripts and story-lines, and usually acts as the show's head writer. He's assisted by other writer-producers, as well as the production manager to keep things running smoothly.
How to do Screenwriting for for Drama TV shows?
Now there are whole courses to teach you that. I suggest looking up some good screenwriting books, like Screenwriting by Richard Walter, Screenwriting 434 by Lew Hunter, and non-screenwriting books like The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri, The Art of Fiction by John Gardner, and On Writing by Stephen King. I would also suggest trying to get your hands on actual screenplays and teleplays. Avoid the books that screw around with the format, try to find books marked as the "shooting scripts" to show you what they look like.

Also check with the WGA to see if they still sell that booklet on screenplay/teleplay format. It's a real help to figure out format, and help you make better use of your computer's screenwriting program, which is pretty much an essential these days.

Some folks swear by Syd Field, but I could never afford one of his talks, but if he floats your boat, go for it.
What do you think of distributing company called Rocky Mountain Pictures?
I wish them luck. Film distribution is a nasty business that's been dominated to much by the big players, and needs some real competition for the good of the business.

Dark Eden asked...
Why hasn't a conservative (or libertarian in my case) alternative to Hollywood developed? Conservatives have lots of cash and lots of ideas, why can't the people with the cash get together with the people with the ideas and make some movies? I'm tired of whining about what Hollywood is doing, how do we put these people out of business by releasing a superior product?
Multiple reasons.

1. The movie business is a fiscal nightmare for all but the most courageous/litigious investors.

2. Any film made with an openly conservative/libertarian bent will be savaged by the press no matter how good or bad it really is.

3. The big boys who dominate the business makes it their business to crush any and all competition no matter how healthy competition helps the business as a whole.

Alex asked...
What sort of balance of movies would you like to see? As in: 10% high concept blockbusters, 5% character drama, 5% B-movies...
I try not to enforce any sort of formula on what movies are made. I just want good, entertaining movies made, whether or not they are high concept blockbusters or small character dramas.

Fletch asked...
If you have a milkshake, and I have a milk shake, how long does my straw have to be to drink yours up?
I heard your milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. But I don't share, because I'm a bastard.
Whatever happened to John Hughes, really?
He's in my attic. I've tried to send him home, but he won't leave. He just sits there watching reruns of old sitcoms and popping bubble wrap. It's kinda sad, really.
Can you give me a proper explanation of Eraserhead?
The butler did it.
Beverly Hills : United States :: ?? : Canada?
Beverly Hills : United States :: Rosedale area of Toronto : Canada?
Why don't theaters sell DVDs? Or movie posters? (This one really baffles me, to the point where I want to buy a theater and do it myself.)
That could work, but the big-box stores would probably have a conniption fit.
If I want to make a low budget film, what's the best camera to purchase on a budget (that obviously still gives perfect hi-def results?
Look up my answers to Anonymous Kevin.

Thanks for your questions.

I hope my smug know-it-allness has illuminated and inspired you.

1 comment: