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Alex Ellerman

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About Alex Ellerman

  • Birthday October 24

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    Writing, directing, filmmaking...

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  1. Hal- this "current phobia" about camera direction has been ongoing for years and years - it's not going anywhere. camera directions are for auteurs and shooting scripts and work for hire and people who don't know what they're doing... it's easy enough to say 'rising over the shower current to find her naked body.' we don't need to say Medium shot to crane over shower curtain. citing Alfred Hitchcock or Woody Allen as an example to follow doesn't work very well... the rules do not apply to them. the gatekeepers are looking for reasons to eliminate you to save them time from reading your 100 pages, and you do not want to give them any. if you sell your work to someone or get them interested without having a 3rd act written, more power to you... but where i'm from, we call that prematurely using up a good contact, and it's generally not a good idea.
  2. Hal- drafts of scripts change. but i took the draft i found on the Internet and posted it. People do not speak exactly like that in real life -- the script purposely omits "well... um... so... because... " connector words. that is the advice i gave. OR meryl streep, in her infinite actor wisdom, made the speech more 'actor friendly.' As for hal's excerpt, it's more akin to a shooting script than a spec script and stylewise it would not be received well by an agent or a director. find me a script that sold for $$$ that says "Magic hour shot of." Paul - your post is difficult to decipher. You say the characters are all his voice? well, that simply doesn't work. that's where you get movies with 2-dimensional, cardboard characters. Your post is way too far afield for me because the writing excerpt isn't very serious, so i can't give it the serious treatment you are, and besides, it has nothing to do with the original poster or teaching anything meaningful about screenwriting. there are rules and generally accepted practices of screenwriting as they are to cinematography. it's not filmic in a major motion picture to watch two guys say "sup," nothing, "chilling," cool, how bout you?" we skip over all that. they don't do boring scenes of "okay then, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye" everyone in the group of 10 people hugs everyone, " goodbye, miss you," etc., because the EDITOR would kill it all. so don't put it on the page either. in screenwriting, you enter the scene as late as possible, and leave as early as possible.
  3. This speech? as close to real life as possible? MIRANDA You see that droopy sweater you're wearing? That blue was on a dress Cameron Diaz wore on the cover of Runway -- shredded chiffon by James Holt. The same blue quickly appeared in eight other designers' collections and eventually made its way to the secondary designers, the department store labels, and then to some lovely Gap Outlet, where you no doubt found it. That color is worth millions of dollars and many jobs. Your superior attitude is not acceptable at this magazine. In this industry. Or in my presence.
  4. Before you go buying or reading books... read scripts. For free. on the Internet. if you're gonna write a comedy... read Groundhog Day. Action: read Die Hard. Thriller: Chinatown etc. etc. The script you have "written" is more like a transcription of real life, and not filmic. As a general thought, don't look to cinematographers for guidance on screenwriting, or sound, or tennis.
  5. "not to mention friday the 13th series was heading down hill after part 8..." hehehehe...
  6. Hey Rich - can you go over this please (again?) ? does the distrib pay for advertising in this region, is there no advertising, is it up to you, which is to say, adviseable if you have the money? in my business experience, distributors (not film) will say they will budget for something, but it's a foreign country / language, and very hard to track, and likely they keep the money rather than spend it on marketing. Are you trying to get these viewings to translate into DVD sales or are you concerned with selling the territory and leaving it at that. Thanks again.
  7. My advice to you is change your goal. Your goal should be something less financial and more along the lines of: I want to make the most kick-ass documentary I can. I want to illuminate the situation in Darfur. I want to reform the US prison system. I want to follow this crazy band for the next year. You are a first-time doc maker. Concentrate on making something kick-ass.
  8. BFI Modern Classics... movies like Heat, LA Confidential, Silence of the Lambs, etc. critical analysis from screenplay to cinematography. but every book has a different author, so your mileage will vary. In my unsolicited opinion, you need to iterate the difference between a horror film (horrifying) and a thriller (thrilling), but be wary of the subsets (psychological thriller, action thriller, comedic horror) etc., and really define what you are looking for. to me, Psycho was a horror movie when it was released, but by today's standards, it is a thriller. the bar for gore has just moved so far. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=se...amp;x=0&y=0
  9. Hey Guys - the one thing about Saskatchewan to note is that it is the credit is for labor only, i believe. I think other tax credits extend to all aspects of production. The bonus is Saskatchewan is that they will let you collect on out of town employees. But looking through Wisconsin (25% plus other incentives) and Detroit (42%), there are some serious incentives, plus there is a Federal incentive too: >>Here?s how extended and amended Section 181 works You can elect to deduct qualified production costs in the year (or years) production costs are paid by the Producer. Even if your project doesn?t get distributed, by applying the tax breaks of Section 181, your investors get benefits on their federal taxes. When you package it with a good state incentive, you can almost guarantee a taxpaying investor a recovery of their investment of 50-77%. The maximum deduction is $15 million but the maximum deduction is increased to $20 million if the costs are significantly incurred in economically depressed areas. >>>Best of all, the Act benefits can be combined with any state film or television incentive programs. The only thing you don't get in this instance, if you are an american, is the benefit of currency fluctuations. but that is probably difficult to time, as well.
  10. Wow Rich - i read through their site and some pdf's, definitely an interesting place... are there some filmmakers in good old Saskatchewan? thanks~
  11. Hey guys - just curious, given the economic meltdown, where would you be looking to produce your movie in the current climate? for me, there are a couple answers to get started. First off, the dollar has enjoyed a resurgence recently, so it makes sense to look outside the US. A place like Australia has a pretty diverse list of film locations, a good film history = good crew hopefully, and their currency has recently tanked, giving me the max for my money, and they are English speaking, so it's easy to get around/crew up/ and even get some actors. If I were to stay in the states, I would be looking for somewhere with incredible incentives currently, like Louisiana or Michigan. For me, Michigan would make the most sense. Any other hotspots you would be considering right now? it's kind of a fantasy for me b/c i'm not yet ready to film, but i'm curious.
  12. Couple things: 1. Library of Congress is where you want to register your materials. 2. agents take 10% and are regulated in CA. Managers aren't regulated the same way and they take anywhere from 10-20%. Really reputable agents don't even make you sign a contract. First timers often have better luck finding managers than agents. If the person offering to rep you isn't in NY or LA or wants $$$ from you, then be careful. 3. A script for a tv show episode isn't going to cut it. You need to familiarize yourself with terms like showrunner, bible, character breakdowns, etc., all the bits and pieces that go into a tv show pilot (I do not write for tv so I don't know them all). This is pretty rough advice, therefore. Not sure an agent would rep a 10 episode show b/c how many tv shows are 10 episodes? it's like anything, from being a writer to a cinematographer... if you have to ask how to get an agent, your work is probably not ready. I think it's better to focus on craft and writing something kick-ass than worrying about how to market it, but that's just me.
  13. The national debt cannot be divorced from the banking crisis. the machinations that we are using to solve this crisis are hamstrung by our debt, by the pending hyperinflation/stagflation, by the lack of money that we have out behest to address the problem. From some rather brilliant work (watch video of him calling crisis 2 years ago) by Peter Schiff: http://www.newmogul.com/item?id=1002 Rather then allowing market forces to rein in excess borrowing and replenish savings, it will encourage even more borrowing and drain what is left of our savings pool. Rather than allowing our economy to return to one based on legitimate production, it will continue to encourage reckless consumption. In the end, by refusing to allow market forces to work their cure, our economy will inevitably die from the disease. Our economy will now face death by hyperinflation, which will cause a complete loss of confidence in the dollar and result in prices and interest rates skyrocketing out of sight. The evaporation of our national wealth will lead to civil unrest, food and energy shortages, and the possible imposition of martial law. If such a scenario unfolds, what is left of our Constitution will surely be completely shredded.
  14. 2 points: 1. Bush went into office with a budget SURPLUS. we are now $10 trillion in debt. He had something to do with this crisis, 8 years in charge as an absentee father with a hooligan kid. 2. it's not only affecting rich people. You got a house and it's down 10-20% in value, you got a 401k and it's smoked, and maybe you have some personal holdings (smoked), plus unemployment is steep. The avg. american will be hit hard by this.
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