Category Archives: FilmHelp

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PakBuzz Q&A: Producer Karin Chien on “The Motel”

Motel poster
“The Motel” poster

Karin Chien produced Greg Pak’s films “Robot Stories” (with Kim Ima) and “Super Power Blues.” Her latest two films, Michael Kang’s “The Motel” and Chris Chan Lee’s “Undoing,” hit theaters this week. Read on for Pak’s interview with Chien about “The Motel” theatrical release, what a producer does, and just why the heck she’s worked with so many Korean American directors.
Greg Pak: Congrats on all the recent success! Tell us a little about what you’re doing to prepare for “The Motel” opening this coming Wednesday in New York. What can people do to help?
Karin Chien:
Bring as many people as possible to see the film when it opens on June 28 at the Film Forum, and then tell everyone you know how much you love THE MOTEL!!
But, seriously, we are working with Palm Pictures on the marketing campaign, and are also doing a grassroots campaign, which involves spreading the word, via events, posters, parties, merchandise and the internet, throughout the indie film and Asian American communities. If you’re part of an organization or school or a very large family, you can invite us to speak to your group, or screen a trailer, or put up posters, or write us up in your blog. Every little bit of extra exposure helps.

Continue reading PakBuzz Q&A: Producer Karin Chien on “The Motel”

PakBuzz Q&A: Michael Kang on “The Motel”

Motel poster
“The Motel” poster

Michael Kang (whom viewers of Greg Pak’s short films may recognize as one of the stars of “Asian Pride Porn”) directed the award-winning feature film “The Motel,” which opens theatrically at the Film Forum in Manhattan on June 28. Read on for an in depth interview with Greg Pak in which Kang reveals how he worked with his child actors, what challenges he faced in making the film, and where to find his favorite motels.
Greg Pak: Give us the quick rundown on what “The Motel” is about and what kinds of audience members will particularly love it.
Michael Kang:
“The Motel” is about a kid who is growing up in a seedy hourly rate motel owned by his family. It’s basically a story about the worst possible place to go through puberty. I think it will act as a healing force for anyone that had a terrible time going through those formative years (which is most likely all of us). It’s a dark comedy in the vein of “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” It also stars Sung Kang so I think teenage girls will really like it.
GP: Any special events around the opening that people should know about?
MK:
In addition to our big premiere party being hosted by ImaginAsian, we are in the planning stages of working with groups like MK on throwing after parties every night. Basically, we think that after people see the movie, they will want to get drunk. The best way to find out about the venues and locations for these are if people sign up on our MySpace account at http://www.myspace.com/themotelfilm. There is also a podcast series of phone conversations I am having with key members of the film being hosted on the Film Forum website. We have a lot of fun stuff planned for the two weeks. Really, the best way to keep up is to sign up on MySpace or on our email list at The Motel website at http://www.themotel-film.com.

Continue reading PakBuzz Q&A: Michael Kang on “The Motel”

Steve Mallorca talks “Slow Jam King” — screening now in NYC!

Ron Domingo in Slow Jam King
Ron Domingo in “Slow Jam King”

A FilmHelp interview by Greg Pak
Steven E. Mallorca’s award winning feature film “Slow Jam King” is now screening at the Imaginasian Theater in New York City. Click here for screening times. And read on for an interview in which Mallorca talks about everything from his set getting raided by police to his favorite slow jams.
Greg Pak: Tell us a bit about the film and who should go see it.
Steven E. Mallorca:
“Slow Jam King” is an offbeat road comedy about JoJo Enriquez, a Filipino-American wannabe gangsta-pimp who, in his attempts to answer his call to the streets, carjacks Vance, a traveling perfume salesman with an affinity to country music. Stuck along for the ride is JoJo’s friend, Devaun, an ex-funkateer and reluctant family man, who tries to talk sense into JoJo and diffuse the situation. The motley trio embark on an escapist roadtrip to Nashville, where they discover truth, love, and the dirty underbelly of the Nashville country music scene. Anyone that’s looking for a good time, enjoys genre-bending films, and likes their humor on the irreverent side with a healthy dose of multi-cultural absurdity should come out to check out “Slow Jam King.” I sort of equate this film to early ’90s Native Tongues hip hop – it’s fun and a little absurd, but with a conscious voice to it – like if De La Soul, or Tribe Called Quest were a hip hop movie…. or better yet Prince Paul. So if you’re a fan of that kind of hip hop, you’ll definitely get into “Slow Jam King.” Also, I think that anyone who’s a do-it-yourself filmmaker or musician can enjoy the film, too.

Continue reading Steve Mallorca talks “Slow Jam King” — screening now in NYC!

RGB rather than CMYK solves oversaturation problem in Final Cut Pro

A quick FilmHelp tip from Greg Pak
While cutting images from “Incredible Hulk” comics into the “Planet Hulk Trailer,” I noticed that some of the art, which looked fine in Photoshop, appeared strangely oversaturated in Final Cut Pro. The problem? The images were CMYK rather than RGB. To change the color mode, I used Photoshop, navigating to Image > Mode > RGB Color. Imported into Final Cut Pro, the new RGB versions of the images looked just fine — no more oversaturation.
View the final product at Pakbuzz.com or YouTube.com

David Libby talks score — an interview with the composer for the “Planet Hulk Trailer”

Pakbuzz Q&A is proud to present an exclusive, in-depth interview with David Libby, the composer of the scores for the Greg Pak films “Happy Hamptons Holiday Camp for Troubled Couples,” “Super Power Blues,” and “Planet Hulk Trailer.”
[UPDATE: Libby has launched BroadwayDemo.com, a demo and website production service for musical theater actors — click here to visit the site.]
Greg Pak: We’ve worked together on three different short film projects now, but I’m realizing I have no idea how you work your magic — I email you video and tell you some of my ideas for the score and you email me back links to gorgeous music. Walk us through the process a bit. First, the technicalities — what kind of equipment and computer system do you use? Is all the music generated through synthesizers and computers or do you do any live performances? And how do you keep the neighbors from calling the cops with noise complaints?
David Libby:
I have very cool neighbors, no doubt! I’m always playing piano and my wife is a singer, and we’ve never had a complaint. Actually, we’ve even gotten requests to play louder because they like it! The only down side to this is that I can never move.
Once I get the video file you email me, I import it into music production software called Sonar. I have a Kurzweil PC88 keyboard which is connected to my computer, but I don’t use the keyboard for sounds. I only use it to trigger sounds that are generated on my computer by a software sampler called Gigastudio, which produces the most realistic sounds currently on the market. So, when I play my keyboard it triggers sounds that are generated on my computer by Gigastudio, and those sounds are recorded on my computer by Sonar. I also use Reason and Acid type loops for sound generation, and Sibelius for music notation when I want to write something out.

Continue reading David Libby talks score — an interview with the composer for the “Planet Hulk Trailer”

Interview with AAFilmLab president Matte Chi

Greg Pak was one of the founding members of the Workshop, an Asian American filmmaking group that was recently renamed the AAFilmLab. Yesterday the AAFilmLab announced that the general deadline for signing up for its 72 Hour Film Shootout has been extended until June 8 (receive by date). For more information about the Shootout, read on for Pak’s interview with AAFilmLab President Matte Chi. And don’t forget the 72 Hour Shootout Launch Party in NYC on June 9, where the AAFilmLab will give away film supplies as well as “Robot Stories” posters and DVDs donated by Pak.
GP: Tell us who should enter the 72 Hour Film Shootout and why.
MC:
This contest is open especially to any and all filmmakers on the brink – for anyone who’s looking for a reason or excuse (if need be) to make a short film. As a novice myself, I needed something to push me into making a film and the Asian American Film Lab did exactly that. The AAFilmLab gave me a goal to work towards and the support I needed to take the first step. The experience of shooting my first short film was so incredibly fullfilling that I changed my career and decided to devote my time entirely towards creating more work.

Continue reading Interview with AAFilmLab president Matte Chi

In FCP, “Color Corrector” better than “Brightness and Contrast” for adjusting brightness and contrast

While working in Final Cut Pro on a new short film, I discovered that, strangely enough, the “Color Corrector” tool works far better than the “Brightness and Contrast” filter for adjusting the brightness and contrast of an image.
The Brightness and Contrast filter can be found at Effects > Video Filters > Image Control > Brightness and Contrast (Bezier). I could use the Brightness setting to lighten an image, but the image would appear washed out. And when I used the Contrast setting to fill in the blacks, the colors would begin to blow and the image would begin to look almost solarized.
The Color Corrector tool can be found at Effects > Video Filters > Color Correction > Color Corrector. Tweaking with the “Whites,” “Mids” and “Blacks” settings gave me the kind of control I needed to brighten the image and adjust the contrast without degrading the image.
System: Macintosh G4 533 MHz Dual Processor running FCP HD 4.5

In FCP, “Color Corrector” better than “Brightness and Contrast” for adjusting brightness and contrast

By Greg Pak
While working in Final Cut Pro on a new short film, I discovered that, strangely enough, the “Color Corrector” tool works far better than the “Brightness and Contrast” filter for adjusting the brightness and contrast of an image.
The Brightness and Contrast filter can be found at Effects > Video Filters > Image Control > Brightness and Contrast (Bezier). I could use the Brightness setting to lighten an image, but the image would appear washed out. And when I used the Contrast setting to fill in the blacks, the colors would begin to blow and the image would begin to look almost solarized.
The Color Corrector tool can be found at Effects > Video Filters > Color Correction > Color Corrector. Tweaking with the “Whites,” “Mids” and “Blacks” settings gave me the kind of control I needed to brighten the image and adjust the contrast without degrading the image.
System: Macintosh G4 533 MHz Dual Processor running FCP HD 4.5