Thursday, March 4, 2010

Today's Blog: Movie Trailers

Now folks, you may notice that I don't have a specific time set aside for writing blogs, I just write when I write. Just sayin'.

Have you heard about that new movie coming out? It has "so and so" in it, it's a new film, it looks really cool! Have you seen the trailer?

Yes, and it's too damn long.

Well now, have I ever struck a nerve. The almighty movie trailer/teaser/preview. Action packed, dashing and full of information...too much information. When we watch a movie trailer, we are excited to see what the film is all about. That's fine and dandy but I've noticed that sometimes it's a bit much.

A movie trailer in my opinion should be about a minute to a minute and a half long max. That's plenty of time to share what the film is basically about. If it's any more than that, say 2 - 5 minutes, hell, I've seen the movie! (and yes I've seen 5 minute trailers. *snooze*)

You can imagine where I'm going from here; yep, they always show the "good parts". A car jump, a hot babe, gun play, the bloody kill scene, the sexual gobbledygook, some karate or at least some type of fighting action, and...that's it. You've seen the good stuff. So, when you get to the film, there isn't much left.

Everything else is dialogue, smaller pieces of action, more nudity and/or sex scenes and fillers. Hmmm...kind of spoiled the meat there professor. You have basically turned your feature length fantasy into a short film fumble by exposing the best parts of the movie in hopes of gaining everyone's interest.

How about we take half of the action out of it, half the time length, and make the audience want to spread the word that your trailer is on YouTube and should be seen.

You have to leave the audience wanting more. If the teaser is too long, it's a spoiler. As a filmmaker myself, I have to study what draws a crowd in. I have to find out what entertains them, and that is not easy, but at least I know not to go over the minute and a half mark. I at least have that one down.

As a viewer, hell, I want to be entertained!

With the change of cinema over the years, the editing of the teaser has become lengthy. I actually went to a site once just to watch some previews to see what was out there. Anything over 2 minutes bored me. Get to the point already.

Ok, a hot babe wearing a bra is involved in some drama, a tough guy who saves the day makes a move, a car races down the road, a killer scares someone and some clever dialogue is exchanged between the lead characters. The End. Thank you, now 60 seconds later I actually want to see the movie to find out what happens.

Somehow, we seem to forget about movies that have those 2 -5 minute wonders. Your friend mentions it to you and you say, "Oh yeah, I saw that one", or you at least feel that way.

A movie preview should leave you wanting more. It's a marketing tool, a way of drawing interest to your feature presentation. Tell the audience what they need to know, nothing more. If you have more "good parts" to show them when they watch the entire film, you have entertained them. If you have entertained them, you have done your job.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Have No Idea........

......what to write about today. So I'll start with this: (get comfortable, this may take a while)

Here lately I have been in a whirlwind of writing scripts, chatting on forums, and trying to think of what the hell to do as far as making another movie...or should I even bother since there is already a plethora of films out there. (Do you know what a plethora is, Hefe'?) Well, yes, I should, and will.

After all, I love what I do.

Let's get back to the subject at hand, whatever that may be. Let's just say I'm trying to figure this whole thing out. After reading other blogs, I notice that some have the same thoughts as my own. So how do you write something new? It may not matter since everyone's opinions are of the same or similar subject, but worded a different way.

Sound familiar? It should. It's called the movies. What in the hell can any filmmaker do to be different? Probably not a whole lot of anything. It's all been done.

Many topics such as this have been covered many times, not to mention that the entire infrastructure of entertainment is changing. The world of the internet has made it's mark.

Let's start off with piracy. No need to explain what's going on there. After a 3 day binge of research on the subject, I realized that the general public now has the option of viewing a film before they buy it. I can't blame them. I want to drive a car before I park it in my driveway every day. The main response to this is that most people will go ahead and buy a copy if they watch it and decide they like it. Not too bad eh? Well my fellow filmmaker, what if they don't like it. No show...No dough.
So, you have made a movie. Good for you. What do you do with it? You have to market your product, but how? Simply put, you either should have a budget for marketing, or you must settle for the ol' social networking world. Let me tell you from experience, it only goes so far. That Facebook, MySpace, discussion forum and website is only going to take you so far. If you're lucky, less than half of everyone you know will buy a copy after your friends and family pitch in with their own purchase.

Then you give nearly a hundred copies away to cast/crew, film reviewers (and that's another subject I'm after) and other promotional attempts, the reality sets in. Sure you might get a few stores here and there to sell copies along with the dozens of other selections.
Since I'm so close to this, let's go ahead and slip the reviewers in here. Oh baby, watch out. This is mostly what makes or breaks your bold attempt. The man the myth, the almighty reviewer. These fine folks are not afraid to speak their mind. They're the film alarm; *whoop* *whoop* danger danger, bad movie alert! You might get away with one or two bad reviews, but if the ratio of bad to good doesn't weigh out, it's trouble in paradise.

Now granted, some people just have to find out for themselves. Maybe they'll disregard all the reviews because they want to form their own opinion. But wait, remember that little subject I mentioned earlier that starts with the letter "P"? That's right folks, good news travels, bad news travels fast. But in the defense of filmmakers, I'd like to see any reviewer go out and make an independent film, and actually finish it.
So what's next? Hmmm. How about....uh....horror. Yes, the genre that requires boobs, blood, and well...boobs and blood. Yeah, I tried the ol' psychological horror with no nudity and no massive gore.

oops. Take 2

So anyway, I read this blog recently about where horror is headed and will it ever die. Are you kidding me? Horror will never die, but the majority of people have become numb to it. Once again, it's all been done. You can slice and dice, re-hash, redo, remake and reheat it for leftovers, but you just can't make it what it used to be. Maybe a select few come through as champions, but with so much of it out there, it's difficult to take the cake. With this remake jamboree that's going on in Hollywood (don't shoot Hollywood, it's only a blog) many viewers are torn between their original classics and the re-heated version of what made them shit their pants 20 years ago. Maybe it is just the fact that the new generation is being catered to. Okay, I'll buy that.

It seems nearly every major film has been remade. Will it dive even further into the B-movie territory? It's anyone's guess, and it may not be so bad. Maybe the indie world can keep the consumer going. It's a tough world with low budgets and lesser resources out there. Maybe a better price on your product would help you out there a little bit professor. Fifteen bucks for a no-budget indie doesn't seem to be the going rate. (unless you have a good one on your hands, then more power to ya)

As far as that goes, your first film is more of a learning experience than anything. There's always room for improvement.
Speaking of improvement, how about our writers out there. I won't get too far into this one since it is a very difficult task. Writing a script is no easy job. I wrote my first feature script a few years ago. It took me 4 months to write it. I set it aside and wrote Gun Town just last year. That one took me 3 months. It was a much more simple story and script to write. It gave me the opportunity to make my first feature, and I did.

Fast forward nearly a year later and wow, what an eye opener. Forget GT, that was my learning experience. I pulled my first script back out and gave a peek for about 30 seconds and realized one belonged in the trash, and that's where I put it. Without boring you, let's just say that this story was boring, had little development, and away to file 13 it went.
So what is one to do? I say let's just keep the ball rolling. Like it or not, adjustments take place, markets change, people don't spend like they used to. Can you blame them?

I love movies. I watch them whenever I can. I think I'll keep writing another, hopefully better screenplay this time around.

After all, I love what I do.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's with all this horror?

Greetings horror lovers. Welcome to Hell.

So what is today's blog about? I recently wrote one for about the nostalgic VHS tape vs. the crisp clear DVD. You can read that one HERE.

Onward to our next subject. What's with all this horror? Well, it seems as if everyone with a handycam and home computer wants to make one if they like the genre. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it seems as if anything goes. (now before you get mad at me, I made a horror film too and it isn't perfect, so I can talk about this)

I see forum upon forum filled with q&a about how to make special effects, how to make that home made dolly, lighting, this, that, oh my brain is starting to hurt...

There is a slew of horror out there. Some which you can tell had at least some type of effort put into it; and some that looks like someone gathered up what they could and simply slapped it together.

I'm all for making a movie, but come on people, at least try to put some quality into it. Sometimes it seems like this was one of the causes of piracy. People are tired of being lured in by fancy cover art and cool teaser trailers.

So let's break this down and take a closer look.

Cover art: You grab a movie and look at the awesome picture of a hot babe tied up, or that cool car racing down the road chasing someone, or that creepy looking house...that isn't even in the film. It's deception plain and simple. A picture should have a thousand words, and be an actual part of the movie itself.

That Badass movie trailer...that's 5 minutes long.

Alright folks, hold on a minute, that's about 4 minutes too much. If I want to see the movie, I'll buy a copy. No one should have to sit through a 5 minute montage of the best parts of the show. Hell, in 5 minutes, you've basically seen the movie. A minute-minute and a half is all you need there professor, and save some of the good parts for later.

How about those crappy special effects? Okay Okay, I'm guilty of this one. In one scene it is a bit obvious...oops, don't want to spoil it. Special effects are tough I admit. But let's see if we try and find someone with a little experience in the field instead of letting a PA squirt a 70/30 mix of ketchup and water out of a squeeze bottle; or using those cheap plastic knives with the chrome plated retractable blade.

Alright, moving on to sound. Oh brother, sound is important. Please, whatever you do, get a good boom mic. (and keep it out of the damn shot) Shop around, borrow one if you have to. Sound is half the film babe. Get it right, and that goes for sound effects. Experiment if you have to. Grab that wonderful boom mic and record some stuff.

Actors. Well, this is a touchy subject, but here goes. Take your freekin' time and cast the right people for crying out loud. Unless your buddies are actors with some type of experience, quit giving them lead roles! And don't forget to pay them. What did I just say? Pay? What's that? Trust me folks, no matter who a person is, they lose their enthusiasm when they're doing a freebie. Extras who are excited about just being in a film, fine. Lead and supporting roles, a little pay goes a long way.

I'm sure there are other subjects to discuss like editing, original score, etc. But I think you get the point.

Horror filmmakers, there's a ton of us out there. Let's put an effort to supply our viewers with something worth watching. Don't rush it. As a viewer I want to sit down and watch a film that looks like it had some effort put into it.

As a fellow filmmaker, I want to improve where I can, and rightfully so. I realize that budgets and resources can be limited, but do the best with what you have. Do some research. If you shoot a low budget film, try to be creative as possible. Sometimes low/no budget sticks out like a sore thumb.

We can't have millions like Hollywood, (though I still hear complaints about some of their material too)
but we can apply ourselves a little better to give the audience what it deserves. I sure want to.