What film festivals have you been in and where is the film going to be playing?
We won “Best Texas Feature” at the 2002 Deep Ellum Film Festival, played the 2003 Director’s Series at the Kansas City Jubilee, played the 2003 Dances With Films Festival in Los Angeles. We will also be showing at the upcoming 2004 Magnolia Film Festival in Mississippi. We have foreign distribution through H3O Filmed Entertainment (www.h3ofilm.com) who has sold the movie to a couple of territories. They’ve been really great. And I’m still looking for a domestic deal. So if anyone reading this knows of anyone…
How long did editing, scoring, etc. take you?
I spent nine months editing the film. Partly because I didn’t know how to edit before I started so there was a pretty big learning curve. We were in post audio for at least nine months on the score and sound design, ADR, foley and mix. All in all, we finished shooting in April 2000 and we premiered the film in July 2002. So Post-Production took two years.
In my review, I pegged this as the film the Coen Brothers would do if they shot a horror film. How close was I, and whose film work do you admire?
I don’t know how close you came, but I sure as hell will take it. I think that’s the best compliment I’ve had yet. Peter Weir, The Coen Brothers, Steven Spielberg, Darren Aronofsky, Mel Gibson (for “Braveheart” alone), Francis Ford Coppola, Spike Jonze, Stanley Kubrick, Terry Gilliam, Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Darabont, PT Anderson.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do the same? Differently?
I wouldn’t have cut my negative or struck prints. Unless you get into a major festival, it’s not worth the money. I’m glad we shot on 35mm but we should have gone straight to video, most festivals will project video to screen your film and most independents end up on a video shelf if anywhere. If an indie does pick up theatrical distribution, the distributor will pay the money to cut the negative and strike prints. Also, I would have hired a good on-set audio mixer. I ended up spending more on ADR than it would have cost to hire one. Looping can also hurt the performance of an actor and make the film look, “Italian” at times. Besides that, I wouldn’t have changed much. I wish I could have written a better script, but at the time the script I wrote was probably the best script I could write. Now I’m a much better writer but I wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t have made “Pale Blue Moon” and learned through the experience and mistakes.
Any words of advice for other indie filmmakers?
Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. Write a good script. It all starts with a good script. Take the time to write it. When you’re an independent filmmaker making your first feature will take years to make, thousands of your friend’s, family’s and personal dollars. If the script sucks, the movie can only go so far. Write a good script. Give it your “voice” as a filmmaker, something that will make you stand out from the crowd. Your feature will become your calling card as a filmmaker. Watch the new wave of good, truly independent films – “George Washington” and Master of the Game. These guys made their films on shoestring budgets outside of studios and without any name actors. Truly Independent. They have great scripts, great acting, an independent voice and are marketable. Be smart in casting because after you shoot and you’re in post for a year or two, you’re stuck with what you’ve got. Learn how to edit. That was the most important skill in the process for me, it taught me what I need and don’t need, how to shape a scene and give it impact which all made me a much better writer and director. Know what market you’re trying to sell to before you make the film. Your film’s either going to be an Indie you’ll use as a calling card and hopefully play film festivals and get distribution or else it will be a straight to video film with a lot of blood, breasts and explosions. Both have a market. It just depends on what type of film you want to make.
Admit it – there’s some question you were hoping I would ask that I didn ‘t. What was it, and what’s the answer?What’s the most important aspect of filmmaking?
Being able to collaborate with people. The only way a film is made is through collaboration. I worked with many people, too many to count, but the principals were: Ray Hosack, who produced the film with me, Brad Walker – cinematographer extraordinaire, Johnny Marshall – Audio guru who did ALL of the post audio by himself, Damon Criswell – The man with the score, and Steve Franko- Colorist who really made the film look professional, of course all of the actors and crew and investors and post houses….
Any plans for your next project?
I’ve been writing for the past couple of years and I have a couple of projects I’d like to make. I’m developing an action film with producer, Brett Tabin, for a script I wrote called “Give ‘em Hell, Malone.” It’s a big bloody mess of a popcorn movie that follows the exploits of Malone, a hit-man hired to keep a secret of earth shattering proportions from a diabolical crime lord. We should have that going this year. The big budget movie, more of a studio film, I want to direct is called “The Lion of Lake Muskogee.” It’s about a man at the end of his days recounting a two hundred year old West Virginia Hillybilly Feud. It’s what I like to call, a tall-tale drama. And then I’m working on a script with another writer/director friend, Oren Goldman, which we intend to sell to a studio. We’re pulling out our hair and drinking our fair share of alcohol in an effort to think up a great premise, so I can’t tell you about it – give us a couple of more drinks.
Wanna give a shout out to anyone? Shout outs are popular these days.
My brother, Ray who produced the film with me. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Brad Walker our cinematographer really gave the film a great look and came up with a lot of great shots, you can check out his work at: www.lighthousefilmcompany.com. Johnny Marshall was our audio guru who did all of the sound design, ADR, Foley and Mix by himself. You can check out his work at: www.marshallsounddesign.com. Damon Criswell, the man on the score: email@example.com. Steve Franko colored the film and made it look very professional, top notch. He works at Video Post and Transfer: www.videopost.com. My Script Supervisor, Allyson Turner, who has a great eye and told me when my ideas were bad: www.scriptsuper.com. And everybody else that worked on and acted in the film.
Check out Pale Blue Moon at the film’s official website.
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