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Posts Tagged ‘film’

New 48 Hour Film

October 31, 2019 Leave a comment

My son and I participated in a 48 hour film festival laster year, as you can see here. This year, we did it again, but it was quite different. I wrote last year’s script which was a bit more serious. My son, Nathan, who is a junior in high school, wrote this year’s script entirely, and it’s just fun and crazy. See for yourself and try not to laugh!

But first, a few details. Each entry share 5 common “required” elements which were chose at random at the kickoff event. These were a them of transformation, a location being a dining room, a painter character, a prop being a tube of lipstick, and a line of dialogue being “This might be the __________ day of my life.” Nathan wrote these into his script on Friday night, but due to busy lives, we would not shoot until Saturday. He saw it was supposed to rain all day the next day, so he wrote that into the script and kept things at one, mostly indoor location. To our surprise, it NEVER RAINED! We had to use a hose and special effects to try and pull off the script as written.

Being that our Sunday is fully booked with church duties from 7:30am until noon, we needed to be done by then, and not the 3pm deadline. We filmed Saturday until close to 5pm and immediately began editing. I started exporting the video at 1:30am and set my alarm for 4am to get up and see if any changes were needed. Fortunately, there weren’t any pressing issues to fix, so we went with the first render.

At the awards show, it was a clear crowd favorite, but with the judging, we got second place again. It was a mostly fun experience, and I’m finally getting to feel somewhat rested!

Now, enjoy “Vanderkalt the Magnificent”!

 

 

48 hours filming with my son and his buddies…

October 30, 2018 1 comment

What did you do last weekend? I made a film with my son and his buddies from high school. I’ve never done a 48 hour film before, and it was a lot of fun but a whole lot of work! I’m still recovering from sleep deprivation. We created something we’re proud of. The rules said to include a location or something about Joplin, the phrase “only human”, and some religious icon of some sort. The cool thing is out of the 4 judges, one was a longtime producer from Hollywood, and he gave us very high marks. Out of 480 possible points, we were only 5 away from winning best picture.

The main rule, as is common with these events, is that no creative work or even logistics can be done before the clock starts ticking. How could you even, since you don’t know the them until the clock starts. It didn’t help matters that there was a playoff football game the first night after the 48 hours began. Then, for me, Sunday morning from 6:30 to noon is pretty much gone with church stuff. So in all reality is was basically Saturday that we had to do everything.

Here’s the result!

Inspiring Documentary For Free

January 19, 2017 Leave a comment

For a few more weeks, I’m giving away my documentary, “Steadfast” as seen on PBS for free with coupon code: “newyear”. Get it now right here!

screen-shot-2017-01-18-at-4-21-27-pm

Blue Like Jazz (the movie)

July 30, 2011 1 comment

UPDATE: New Poster art and official trailer: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/bluelikejazz/

Donald Miller, author of the New York Times Bestseller Blue Like Jazz, has now written the screenplay for Steve Taylor’s movie Blue Like Jazz: the Movie.  A while back the movie was almost dead because of lack of funds. Nonetheless, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign the movie was saved and is in its final stages of post-production. During Echo Conference this week, a theater-full of creatives were allowed to screen the movie in its present condition. Lucky for me, I was there.

Steve Taylor came out at the very beginning with his disclaimers. He told us about some special effects not yet done, some color grading and sound leveling that is still needed, etc. (But with a room full of creatives, we could all envision the final product and appreciate what we were seeing. We even all cheered when the storyboard pictures came up instead of the finished version!) He told us of some necessary changes that he and Don decided on to be able to start on the screenplay.  He told us about the PG-13 rating. He told us of the challenge of portraying what is in the book (as faithfully as possible) without making it, well, more than PG-13. If you’ve read the book, then you understand that it’s not a children’s story. There is some adult content and language in an attempt to make it as real as possible.

I don’t want to give anything away in case you haven’t read the book, so you can and then watch the finished product.  However, I will say that it was very well done, and extremely impressive. The crowd, which frankly, could be very critical, loved it. I think that this film, like the book, will make many people think (and that’s a good thing).

We caught up with Steve Taylor after the screening (my friend Sid interviews him, while I  stuck behind the camera!):

So there you have it! An exclusive interview with Steve Taylor right after previewing his newest movie, the long awaited Blue Like Jazz: the Movie. Sorry you can’t see it yet, but let not your heart be troubled– here’s the official teaser trailer to hold you over:

Rode Lavalier Product Demo

After waiting months to get mine, here’s my first experience with the Rode Lavalier.

School’s in Session!

December 21, 2010 1 comment

The following review is copied and pasted from my Greg’s Toolkit December 2010 article in www.christianvideomag.com:

I’ve written a column in this magazine since its inception. In many instances (including the little blurb bio at the end) I made mention to the fact that I had no formal training. All that I’ve learned has been through trial and error and/or tutorials, books, and blogs, etc. This month I’ve had to amend the blurb, because school is in session. That’s right. I’m going to school. And I’d love to tell you where I landed.

For some time, and funny as it may be, I prided myself in having no formal training. At the same time, I earnestly yearned to enroll somewhere to study filmmaking. This is because I believe that we should always strive to make better and more quality films that have a lasting impact. Formal education can make a real difference; but, where to enroll? There are many good places to learn, but they were simply out of the question for me, and I suppose for some of you, too. I can’t simply uproot and move my family to some campus and go through college again. It’s not feasible for me. I thought about taking some classes at a local college, but again, the cost factor was intimidating. To pay such prices per class, and possibly not learn much until having to ante up for a later class? No thanks. If there was only something online that I could work on from home (at my own pace), that would certainly be an answer.  That’s what I needed. I looked into a few options – only to find the same thing – too expensive for a narrow scope approach. Then I came across my answer – Lights Film School (http://lightsfilmschool.com).

Lights offered all of the features that I was looking for. Number one, on my mind and yours too probably, is the pricing. Lights is extremely affordable, and I say affordable because the product is anything but cheap. As I write, their website states the course is “now being offered for 50% off our regular enrollment fee of $600 and is now being offered for only $299 (USD) (a full $300 discount).” The value in what you get for their unbelievable low price goes way beyond anything I thought was possible as I shopped around for a place of learning.  It’s a bargain! A real steal! 

The scope was a big selling point for me as well. I wanted something broad that would give me an understanding of the many different skills needed. Lights has designed a comprehensive 8 module film course that allows students to systematically work through the different areas of the filmmaking process. The 8 modules of their course are: 1. INTRODUCTION TO FILMMAKING & ONLINE LEARNING, 2. SCREENWRITING, 3. DIRECTING, 4. CINEMATOGRAPHY, 5. SOUND DESIGN, 6. EDITING, 7. DOCUMENTARY, 8. FILM DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING. This all-encompassing syllabus is tailor-made for people like me, and if you’re reading this magazine, probably you as well.

I also love that Lights is not simply a theory based school. They provide a hands-on, practical learning environment. When you enroll, you’ll learn about their philosophy of “outcomes based” learning, which differs from the traditional approach of objective based institutions. Simply put, “objective based learning focuses on providing opportunity for learning while outcomes based learning focuses on how learning is used.” With a limited time scale and an online structure, their model is much better than traditional models.

I am still a student and have much of the course ahead of me yet to be completed. However, I can already say that I genuinely appreciate the hard work and resources that have gone into making Lights possible. So far, I’ve learned a wealth of information and ideas on storytelling, which is invaluable to me. I have been challenged through the assignments, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The personal attention given each student is also such a positive aspect of their educational system.  The Student Grading Center “acts as a collective learning experience for all of the students in our school. It’s a great way to learn from other beginners´ mistakes.”  It’s a true community of like-minded folks, with an international flair.  At a live online Lab chat conducted recently, there were students from Italy, Kenya, Canada, and the USA. We, as students, are able to see what others have done and learn from them and the instructor’s reviews of each assignment. Constructive feedback is a necessity in any work of quality substance. This is provided when you enroll in the course.

The course is a tremendous resource. A buddy of mine, who has a college degree in the same field, mentioned to me that he had the same assignment in his college course that I just completed at Lights. Lights will point you in the right direction and expose you to great films and interviews that compliment the subjects being taught, as well as software and other online tools that will aid in the process. Upon completion you will receive a certificate, but even more importantly you will literally embark on a journey of a life-long learning and refining the craft and powerful art form that is filmmaking.

I’m so glad that I enrolled. I look forward to working hard through this course and gaining so much at the same time.  For me, it’s just what the doctor ordered.  How about for you? Give yourself a Christmas present you’ve been wanting (or needing). Or make your New Year’s resolution be the completion of this course. It will be such a benefit to you in your filmmaking aspirations.


http://lightsfilmschool.com

New Lens and DOF test

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Here a new test of that famous switch the focus effect (focus pull) with the Canon 50 mm f/1.4 lens. You can hear my son wanting to play with the neighbor, but we were leaving to try out the camera (Canon 7D) and the new lens. See previous post for a Slow-mo test.

Categories: filmmaking, fun, personal Tags: , , , , ,
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