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Jake Vander Ark

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About Jake Vander Ark

  • Birthday 12/22/1983

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    Los Angeles, CA / Grand Haven, MI

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  1. Hey, thanks so much man. Really good stuff... you make it easier to understand than other websites. We might actually have a producer attached as of today, so maybe she will be able to help with this stuff as well. Keep in touch with your progress, and I'll do the same! Jake
  2. My DP and I are actually in the exact same position as the 2 of you. We've been working on a project for 6 months now, and we've been seriously looking for a producer for the last 4 or so. It's very difficult to find someone willing to step on board this early in the game. We have commitments from at least 8 people who love the project and will help once we have the funds secured. None of them seem to know that, if they help us secure the funds, they WILL be the producer on our project. Once we have money, we'll have the pick of the litter. If you can't tell, I'm getting a little anxious :unsure: So the plan is to continue to move forward as much as possible with what we know how to do... we've shot listed, budgeted, and worked on the design... and it's all going into a website to help promote the project to producers and investors. Check it out! www.lighthousenights.com Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Finally, a question: How do I set up an LLC? Specifically, how do I set up the amount of "members"? I don't have any significant money to invest in my own project, and obviously I don't have any idea how many investors there may be total... so what number do I put there? I'm using legalzoom.com... is that cool? What kind of paperwork does it involve? As you can tell, I am completely lost when it comes to the business end of these things... that's why I need a producer! Any advice would be great! Thanks for the great post! Jake
  3. "What have you ever done?" = Big ego. Please stop before you embarrass yourself further.
  4. I guess the answer to all of our problems is to be as cool as this guy! Congrats on your success. I look forward to seeing your film in the theater.
  5. I'm usually pretty calm when I'm on set... it's the night before that I go crazy. I always spend the first 3 hours in bed tossing, turning and thinking about the next day. Even when I'm "asleep", I have very realistic dreams that I'm at the location surrounded by problems. When I wake up in the morning, I have the feeling that I only got an hour of sleep. Pretty crazy, but that's part of the fun : )
  6. ? Are you kidding? That's a summary of the scene... not the screenplay. We know what he knows, because we just saw him shoot two teenagers in the chest. Now we're to the scene where he begins to regret his decision, and we get to watch him decide if he should go back to help them. It has been "committed to paper" for a year and a half now my friend. My question was regarding how to direct an actor making these choices without another actor to play off of. If you have a suggestion for me, wonderful. If not, quit posting. Square one: show some respect.
  7. Whoa, whoa, the guy asked a simple question... "which is closer to reality", not, "which format has more integrity". To answer your question, aside from resolution which is closer to our eye (as Paul pointed out), I think video will get you what you want. You can use more practical light to expose an image, which will feel more realistic. Also, video usually has that documentary feel. Jake
  8. Hey everyone. I just finished the website for the feature I'm trying to get off the ground. Any advice on how to make this more attractive to investors or producers would be greatly appreciated! Or any other advice in general would be very helpful. www.lighthousenights.com Thanks! Jake
  9. Ok, you're right... I did enjoy the film. I laughed at George Clooney and Brad Pitt. So for that, I give it credit... it made me smile for 2 hours. However, you state the cardinal rule for bad acting... "the actors know they're stupid". Actors are supposed to identify with their characters fully... and that means that evil characters don't see themselves as evil, stupid characters don't see themselves as stupid, annoying characters... you get the idea. I didn't invent the "rules", but I can tell when they're working for me, and that's one I've always stuck with. An interviewer talking to Lee Marvin commented that it must be awful always playing bad people. Marvin responded "Me? I don't play bad people. I play people struggling to get through the day, doing the best they can with what life's given them. Others may think they're bad, but no. I never play bad people." My point isn't that Burn After Reading is not a decent movie to laugh at while you're watching, but because of this awareness on the part of the actors, it will never be considered a classic like Fargo... or any of Lee Marvin's films for that matter. Good discussion though... thanks.
  10. That is a great way to put it, and some people consider that sloppy or easy filmmaking. It's easy to make somebody to laugh at... we get it all the time in recent Will Ferrell comedies... or on YouTube. It makes for better comedy, and a better film in general, when the viewer believes that the actor believes they're normal. Stupid people don't know they're stupid. Just seems a little low for the Coen's usual standards.
  11. Unfortunately, I think that the actors failed to bring them to life in an honest way. With the exception of Richard Jenkins, Tilda Swinton, and J.K. Simmons, the rest of the cast are outside their characters, commenting on how stupid and ridiculous they are... even Frances McDormand, who brought so much honesty to the quirky Marge Gunderson in Fargo, is over-the-top and constantly commenting on her character.
  12. Robert, Great post, seriously. You are exactly where I was about 2 and a half years ago. Unfortunately, I'm not a "rock star director" yet... not even close. But the feeling that you described does go away. It started to go away slowly after my first year in LA. I'm not sure where you're living, but things seem simultaneously easier and more difficult when you're completely outside of Hollywood. If you're not here, I would really recommend the move, or give up the idea of directing for a living. Obviously I can't tell you how to make it in the business, as I'm in the same boat as you are in that respect. But I can tell you how things became easier for me. I was lucky enough to be married to a girl who got accepted to the American Film Institute, and I worked as a 2nd AD and still photographer for free on 15 of their films. If you do a good job, and work for free, you should be able to go into any film school and get work. Because you're interested in visual mediums, I would recommend buying a decent digital SLR if you don't already have one, and get on set that way. Once you're on set and you see how others work, you will start to feel better and more confident. First of all, you'll discover that most people aren't that talented out here. You mentioned that it seems like everybody wants to direct. Well, it's true, but literally 9 out of 10 people will never come out to LA to seriously pursue a career, and the other 1 isn't any good. I know it sounds terrible to say, but this town is filled with losers. If you have a decent head on your shoulders, and work your ass off, you'll do fine. Second, by working on these smaller films, you WILL get friends in the areas that you are currently doing yourself. Please please check out my website (www.jakevanderark.com) and you will see that all of my films from the last 5 years were done in the same fashion you described. But after working on a few films as a 2nd AD, I met a great DP, a couple great editors, and some screenwriters. Already, I'm not working by myself anymore, and that helps the feeling a ton. Check out the black and white anamorphic stuff on my reel... that's the stuff I've been doing recently. Much much better than anything I did by myself at home. Also (wow this post is long, sorry), I just watched "After Death". I have reviewed a ton of short films before (mainly on triggerstreet.com) and I never lie... I think your visuals are very, very strong. The image of the soldiers coming into a nice dining room, the way the faces were cut down the middle before the shootings, and the end shot... seriously stunning. I would strongly recommend better actors, a better sound crew, and a screenwriter, but those will come after the move to LA I talked about : ) Anyway, I wouldn't tell you it was good if it wasn't. Keep posting and reading on this site, read a bunch of books about every area of filmmaking, move to LA, and you'll get there. Again, I'm probably not in a place to give advice, but I promise, keep pushing through, and it will get easier. Good luck, Jake (another quick note, don't credit yourself for everything on your films! people will know you did all the work without telling them.)
  13. I would say if there is any way around it, cut the scenes out. Any method people will suggest will still look cheesy, even the one I'm offering. If you have to do it, you will absolutely need 2 of those red spinning lights that you could stick to your camera car that will be either in front of you or behind you. Have the camera attached to the car, and run in front of it... the lights will illuminate your face and it will look (a little bit) like you're chasing a fire truck. Make it all 1 shot without editing so that it looks more like an intentional, artistic choice rather than a lack of funds. Make sure you have 2 lights, far apart on the car... 1 light will NOT look believable! And obviously, the sound effect of a siren will help a lot as well. Good luck! Jake
  14. As you can tell from my recent posts, I'm trying to get my career up and running. My wife finally graduated from the American Film Institute, and she already got a job at WB. I'm feeling a bit of a slacker sitting at home while she brings in the dough. I finished my website about a week ago, and I'm looking for any comments or suggestions on how to improve it... or better yet,... do I sell myself well? Would you hire me? What about the reel? I'm trying to be personable without sounding unprofessional, and it's a hard line to walk... does it work? Any other tips in general for others looking to cut a reel or build a website? Thanks in advance for all posts : ) It is www.jakevanderark.com Jake
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