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Michael LaVoie

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Everything posted by Michael LaVoie

  1. One of the many odd counter productive practices of the business is appearing unreachable and above "for hire" contact. The most often used tactic is to only include an agency's company contact email on your website or sm. This leaves anyone wanting to reach out to you no choice but to follow up with your agency. Not even the agent necessarily, just the agency. If you're worthy, you'll get the actual agent's contact info. It's a filter to keep away crazy people and "dreamers". But unfortunately, it also keeps away realistic collaborators with funded projects. Because even with a very legit casting director and a 2M budget, getting agents to forward your script is difficult.
  2. If I were you, I'd ask the key P.A. on the shoot. Or the 1st A.D. how they are filling in their time sheets or invoices. So yours looks like everyone else's and you're asking for the same penalties and breaks that everyone else got. Using the same, template, form and language as people who are indispensable on the film is a great place to start.
  3. Michael LaVoie

    Airpeak S1

    Finally now you can get a drone that has actual tech support in the U.S. This looks so sweet. A real controller. Non appbased. If something goes wrong call any number of Sony support services in the U.S. This has been long overdue.
  4. This seems simplistically cynical. Even to me. You can't give a total newbie tons of responsibility without setting them up to fail miserably and embarrass themselves and the person who recommended them. Climbing a ladder is different for each department and personal relationships may allow you to jump in at a rung above where you were on your last gig but there are typically mechanisms in place keeping everyone where they ought to be based on skillset and experience level. These include but are not limited to unions, guilds, bond companies, insurance companies etc. That's the Hollywood way. It's a byzantine hierarchy of legalese and economics.
  5. Inflating a budget is hardly unheard of. Happens all the time. The budget sales corollary demands it. Expanding on the crew is more of a perception factor. You want to appear like someone who plays well with others, enjoys collaborating etc. All good qualities. Assuming of course that you actually want to one day make a movie with a crew and a budget. I've definitely met people who, if they could make a film entirely on their own without any outside involvement at all, would. So this advice won't apply to everyone.
  6. If you directed the short, then you are the connection. You've proven you can make a film. Just don't make the mistake so many others do and try to take every crew credit on the short that you can. Or brag about how you did it all in a day for $10. That looks terrible. Make up names for the jobs you did but don't care that much about even if nobody was there. Inflate the budget to something realistic and make it look like you are someone that people can trust to work with and give money to.
  7. I wouldn't worry that much about runtime. Most festivals are still online only now due to covid. It costs a ton of money to run a film festival and I doubt they are going to be live in person anytime soon. If they are they will mostly likely be a sh*tshow with attendance due to covid. The key thing to remember about major film festivals is that they are overwhelmed with submissions and they won't watch most of them. They can't. I ran the math on Sundance and the amount of entries they get. They'd need a team of 20 screeners working every day fulltime in a nightmarish clockwork orange style screening capacity and that's only to get through 5 minutes of every feature film submitted. Then there are the countless shorts on top of that. It's just impossible. Not enough hours in the day. Most festivals are a total scam. Don't imagine anything else going on other than insider deals, marketing campaigns and vain accolades for passion projects from Hollywood players looking for artistic credibility and oscar consideration. If you have a good film, just use it to pitch your feature. Festivals are a waste of time and money.
  8. Isn't the shogun $1400 with accessories? I'd say the biggest drawback is bringing that onto any set where they aren't able to rent it. You're always going to be worried about it getting lost, stolen or damaged. Just something to consider. I picked up a Portkeys P6 recently which is super cheap. Image is great. Just a reference monitor but has a waveform, LUTs etc. $160. The kind of purchase where if it's lost, stolen or damaged I won't really sweat it. Not that bright in daylight but one battery lasts 6 hours. haha. The downside to 3000 nits on higher end monitors is you'll burn through a lot of batteries all day long.
  9. That would be surprising if that was permitted as the A-cam on a feature. Very cool though.
  10. What is the camera you're using for the normal 800 footage?
  11. The Matthews DC slider "floatcam" was an awesome piece of gear and could do everything a jib could and also act as a slider. I think the main problem with this product was the price. It just couldn't find a home anywhere in the market. No rental house had it and nobody bought them for personal use. Adorama has a used one if you are willing to go beyond your budget.
  12. Stephen already mentioned the issue of lining up the camera with the head. You could always buy a VCT snap plate and throw that on that Bcam. Then you can use any tripod you want and it won't matter if it has a touch and go plate or a sliding plate because you're never taking it off. You'll just use the VCT snap function to pull the camera on and off. In general sliding plates on tripods suck because if you have hand grips or anything below the rails in front a sliding plate will be a huge pain in the ass cause you'll have to take it all off to line up the front of the camera with the tripods. Something to keep in mind. The V'lock snap plate is an easy work around as it lets you drop the camera from the top down versus sliding from the back to the front. Plus it's cheaper than buying a tripod with a touch and go plate as most of those are on the higher end.
  13. I've used entertainmentcareers.net and indeed.com to find development executives. Those sites worked for those types of people. VP of Finance, Global sales etc. I got a lot of responses. I'm not sure if either works for crew. My educated guess is probably not. When it comes to crew jobs, I've only tried Staffmeup, Mandy and that was to look for gigs. Not for crew. Both used to be great and were free for job seekers but not for employers. Which is, as it should be. This is key. NEVER pay to look for work. That's a total scam. Cause the incentive then is for the platform to create bogus ads for jobs that don't exist. Just to keep you subscribed and seeking. You'll never know if what you're applying for is even a real posting. Believe me I've seen plenty that seemed totally fake. When I did see real looking jobs they were ads to shoot reality tv, commercial, event, and potentially documentary work though there was never any kind of work that was at all career elevating whatsoever. Could be different now as I haven't looked in years. Doubt much has changed though.
  14. Have to agree with Stuart. First pic looks realistic. You could try a different approach to continue with this experiment... Pick an ISO and Tstop that you want to film at and adjust the fixtures and lights to suit that. Place a lit candle and put it in the frame next to the light. If the candle flame looks like a tiki torch in your monitor, chances are your ISO is way too high. Adjust it so the candle looks normal, then adjust the lamp accordingly so both look right within the same shot. A candle flame should look like a candle flame. Nothing more or less. So you can use one as a general benchmark to see if your ISO or whitebalance is completely off. The reason why this works is that you should be able to light a scene where an actor, could pull out a zippo and light a cigarette and it wouldn't look completely ridiculous like he just sparked a flamethrower.
  15. Funny. I almost made this point yesterday but I thought it was too negative. haha. I agree and I think the last thing that any insecure producer/director/actor wants is to be surrounded by far more competent crew as it could make them look green. So they employ a top down approach of bottom rung candidates so that nobody on set knows more than them. This practice is industry agnostic although in film, you can see it everywhere. Take a wander through Linked in at some of the resumes of junior and even senior VP's. You'll find a ton of people with zero background and education in entertainment who landed jobs at top development companies. Truly a head scratcher.
  16. B&H dropped this in my inbox today. XPeria Pro available for pre-order. But the cost? Yikes! I guess it does multiple tasks, livestreaming in 5G (w 3rd party apps), HDMI-in for monitoring and USBC tethering when shooting with other cameras. Buying gear to do all this would be cheaper than the cost of this phone. On the other hand, a phone with Sony's Venice color science in the sensor? Along with Sony's pro menu in the U.I. when you open the camera? Hard to resist. For Android users, the biggest hurtle to smartphone production work is the godawful buggy, thoroughly confusing 3rd party apps like Filmic Pro that never work right on Androids and always crash repeatedly. I have to wonder if their U.I. really gives you actual control over the camera and if it operates with stable consistency. Anyone tried it on the Experia 1 II?
  17. Personally I can't watch the films of Wes Anderson or Miranda July and not get the general sense that these are artists making movies. Granted not every director would fall into that category but not everyone has the same approach to storytelling. For some, the craft is just a means to tell the story, for others "how" they tell the story is almost the whole point.
  18. True. He has stated in interviews that he doesn't remember how he did most of those films cause he was drinking too heavily. I don't know if that refers to his time on set or between films but he has admitted to having a problem with that. I think with any craft, there are techniques that are going to be abandoned with advancing technology but then there are general principles which will apply no matter the technology used. I'm for preserving and promoting the latter. If for no other reason than it would help newcomers to know that stuff so they can break the rules as they go forward.
  19. Where this really is a disaster is when you have the production positions filled with first timers. Like a 1st A.D. who's learning on the job. That's truly ridiculous. You need to be a 2nd, 2nd A.D. for a while and work up to being a 1st. Ideally doing it for someone who is experienced and good, otherwise you'll have no idea what that job actually is. The same holds true for most positions in film and tv.
  20. In the past I'd attempt to make that point to producers that if they're looking for a "lighting designer" for their crew then they need to fire their DP. That never worked unfortunately. Inexperienced producers often mistake the role of gaffer for a lighting designer and assume that the DP only has to know about the camera and lenses. Attempting to school a producer in this area is a war of attrition. Don't bother. There are some producers who hire cinematographers based on their ability to properly evaluate lighting levels across the set and set the lights according to the camera settings rather than the other way around. That's the difference between a DP and a videographer. A videographer adjusts the camera to the environment. The DP adjusts the environment to the camera. But again, we're talking about DP's who probably don't know how to use a light meter. There isn't much to gain in pointing it out to them. Producers hire based on reputation and resume. Stating the obvious or calling someone out on their bullshit rarely ever makes you look correct. Especially when you are.
  21. I wonder if this processor will make it's way into their line of SXRD projectors.
  22. To tweak in postproduction and apply that common teal orange look of blockbuster movies you're referring to, this software package offers finishing LUT's. The M31 is the one that gives the look you're after. Just keep in mind that less is more. You can apply this to an adjustment layer and only use it at 60% or so. Usually that's more than enough.
  23. I remember that issue of American Cinematographer. Lynch and Deming discussed that scene a lot and it was super important to them how dark it was. Unfortunately when that scene occurred there was also a reel change. I remember cause I was a projectionist back then. Funny to hear how all that careful deliberation was literally chopped out of the film because of the accident that the scene occurred during a reel change and most of us didn't know why there was so much black leader in the head of the reel. We literally chopped it all out. Well, most of us. I knew better. Cause I was reading A.C.
  24. Another trick I used was when I've need crew on smaller corporate or documentary gigs where I need an ultra quiet set. I've hired sound recordists and explained prior to arrival on set that I actually want them to work as grips or as an A.C. This was primarily because the job was too small to bother working with career A.C.'s or grips who in many cases, would not be a good fit in a corporate office environment. I needed people that would work and remain quiet most of the time. A sound recordist working as an A.C. is also not interested in taking your job and handing out their own DP business cards on your set. Which has happened to me in the past. So, there's also that security. This always worked well because most sound recordists know how to use a C-stand and many can even pull focus on basic shoots where there isn't complicated wireless camera gear to learn and setup. It saved me valuable time. It's like hiring a general P.A. but one who can actually use and setup camera / lighting gear. The breaking point for me was hiring a Gaffer who would only delegate. Never actually do anything. That's great on a large set where there's a pre-light crew and a large team. You gotta have someone on set to call out to people and keep track of who's on what. But not when it's 2 and 2. In that situation, chilling with a coffee while 2 guys work their ass off is just ridiculous. That's why I started going with all swing.
  25. I stopped hiring gaffers a while back because I was doing smaller shorts and features where there was mostly house power and no need for electrical distribution. I was asking production to only hire "Swing" as our G&E crew. There were no gaffers, grips, no electrics. No best. Nada. Just swing. This meant no hierarchy on set. Zero middle management, zero discussion. Just hands. Which is exactly what I wanted. Just hands moving units where I wanted and needed them. Obviously this would never fly on an IATSE shoot but for non-union simple 1 ton jobs, it was a real breeze. I'd never attempt this on a regular set or something where there are lots of trucks and huge areas to light.
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