Actor’s Release Form

By Greg Pak
Here’s an actors/extras release form I’ve used in the past. It’s a bit more comprehensive than some others I’ve seen. Please note that presents these forms for reference only and takes no responsibility for their use. As always, consult a lawyer before using if you have doubts.
I hereby irrevocably grant to __________________ (herein “Producer”) and any parent, subsidiary and affiliated corporations and their respective successors, assigns, licensees, employees and agents, the right in perpetuity thoughout the universe, and in all now known and hereafter existing media, and in any language, to use my name (including any fictitious names heretofore or hereafter used by me), physical likeness and/or voice in and in connection with the production, exhibition, exploitation, merchandising, advertising and promotion of the motion picture tentatively entitled ___________ (the “Picture”).
I agree that the foregoing grant includes the right to use my physical likeness in any form, including, without limitation, a photograph, picture, artistic rendering, silhouette or other reproduction by photograph, film, tape, or otherwise.
I represent to the best of my knowledge that the consent of no other persons, firm corporation or labor organization is required to enable Producer to use my name, likeness and/or voice as described herein and that such use will not violate the rights of any third parties.
I acknowledge that nothing herein requires Producer to use my likeness and/or voice as described herein or in connection with the Picture.
The rights granted herein include the right to use the Picture or excerpts or stills form the Picture (include excerpts or stills containing my likeness and/or voice) in any other motion picture, publication, recording, or other medium and includes the right to edit, delete, and/or juxtapose (with any other part of the Picture), any part of the Picture in which I appear, and/or change the sequence of events in the Picture.
All rights, title and interest in and to the results and proceeds of the services and performances rendered by me in connection with the production of the Picture or any portion therefor shall, from its inception, be the sole property of Producer, free from any claim whatsoever by me or any other person.
This agreement contains the full and complete understanding between the parties and supersedes all prior agreements and understandings pertaining hereto and cannot be modified except by writing signed by each party.
I hereby certify and represent that I am of legal age and have every right to contract in my own name in connection with this Release, and that I have read the foregoing and fully understand the meaning and effect thereof, and intending to be legally bound I have signed this Authorization this ________ day of ____________________, 2002.
Print Name

OS X Upgrade (1.1.5)

By Greg Pak

Several months ago I bought the Final Cut Pro 3.0 upgrade and tried to use it on my G3 and G4 desktop Macintoshes, running OS 9.2.2. Much to my distress, the program worked horribly, dropping frames and refusing to digitize materials properly. I talked with a number of editors who loved FCP 3.0 and had none of my problems — but they were all running OS X instead of OS 9.2.2. So I finally bit the bullet and bought OS X to see if I could get things working properly. Here are my trials and tribulations.

Don’t buy OS X until August

My first mistake was buying OS X when I did — July 11, 2002. Within ten days, Apple announced it would ship a major upgrade to the program on August 24 — and it will charge the full price of $129 for OS X.2. This means that in order to benefit from the upgrade, I’ll have to spend $129 AGAIN. Ridiculous and deeply offensive. The company should give half price discounts on the software to anyone who unwittingly bought the now old OS X software off the shelves in the last three months.

Nonethless, here I am and here we go…

Following instructions

Doing the basic upgrade was pretty simple for anyone who’s installed software before — for the most part, I just followed directions. But I was sideswiped by a few surprises.

  • On my G3 B&W, I have an old PCI card — the Turbomax ATA 33 — which I use to run two internal drives. When I started the computer up in OS X, those drives weren’t recognized. After mulling over the possible source of the problem, I called Turbomax. The salesman confirmed that the ATA 33 isn’t compatible with OS X and sold me the Turbomax 133 at a 33 percent discount. I’ve installed it and it seems to be working fine.
  • On one of my beige G3s, I have a no-name Firewire card I bought from a vendor on eBay. The card works fine with OS 9; it doesn’t work at all with OS X. I ended up buying a new Firewire/USB combo card.
  • USB printer sharing doesn’t work in OS X.1.3 and X.1.5. This is deeply annoying — in OS 9.2, I could hook up a USB printer to one computer and print to it from other printers on the network. Can’t do that now, which has disrupted my office considerably. This is a feature which will be replaced in OS X.2 — which, as I’ve noted above, I’m going to have to pay another $129 to get my hands on. Ugh.
  • Most of my current programs, including FCP, Pagespinner, Final Draft, and Fetch, have updates which run natively in OS X. They seem to be good, clean, fast, and efficient. On the other hand, Outlook Express, my preferred email program, doesn’t run natively in OS X. This means that when I start it up for the first time, the computer first starts up an OS 9 emulator program which allows Outlook Express to work. It’s a bit clunky, but so far it’s working acceptably well.
  • My Toast Titanium 5.0 wouldn’t work with OS X — I went to the website and downloaded an upgrade to 5.1.4, and now it works fine.

Software hints

I’m liking OS X — after installing it, I almost felt as if I had a new computer, full of new capabilities. But there are also new quirks — here are just a few I’ve figured out:

  • When you install AOL for OS X, the program puts your filing cabinet in the Users > Shared > America Online folder. It used to go into the System Folder > Preferences > America Online > Data folder.
  • When you’re saving a file from another file (or trying to navigate through your computer to pick a place to save files from within a program), it may appear that the computer will only let you save into your Users folder. But if you slide the bar at the bottom of the dialogue box to the left, you’ll see icons representing your hard drives — you can still save to anywhere in the computer.

Tape to Film Transfers: “Robot Stories” Case Study

By Greg Pak
After years of pushing feature film projects which needed budgets of millions, I wised up and concentrated on writing a project which I could shoot on digital video with the smaller chunk of change I could raise from private investors. The result was “Robot Stories,” an anthology of four stories about love, death, and robots. We shot on digital video, with the intention of blowing up to 35mm film. Here’s the skinny on our tape-to-film strategies and experiences:

The theory

Low budget filmmakers shoot on video largely because it’s a tenth to a hundredth of the cost of shooting on film. But film has better latitude and depth and color – and for some ineffable combination of reasons, movies just feel like movies when they’re projected on film. So we can’t afford to shoot on film. But transferring our video to film can give it some of that filmic glory.

The format and equipment

We shot “Robot Stories” on PAL DVCAM with the Sony DSR-500 in 16×9.
What’s that mean?
PAL is the European video standard – we chose it over NTSC, the US standard, because PAL has about 20% more lines of horizontal resolution. The extra pixels in those lines improve picture quality noticeably – particularly in reducing typical elements of video ugliness, like jagged breakup along hard edges.
DVCAM ranks in the middle of digital video formats – better than MiniDV, not as sweet as HD. We couldn’t afford HD, or High Definition video – even if we got the camera for free, the editing costs would have killed us. On the other hand, I’d made a number of very successful short films over the years using MiniDV camcorders like the Sony VX-1000. The image quality was crisp and clear, but also clearly video. These were short comedies – two were actually porn spoofs – so the specific video look wasn’t a problem. But “Robot Stories” was no porn spoof. And in all the MiniDV features I’d seen blown up to 35mm, even when lighting had been carefully controlled to avoid blown-out white spots (for which video is notorious), tell-tale video-style jagged edges remained. DVCAM, specifically DVCAM shot with the Sony DSR-500, proved much better.
The Sony DSR 500 is a great professional video camcorder – larger and equipped with a much better lens than prosumer camcorders like the PD-150. We ran tests and were thrilled with the fineness of the images and the camera’s latitude – the camera can record a fairly wide range of darkness and lightness, meaning that with careful lighting, we could shoot dark scenes and still retain details in the shadows and we could have some bright areas in the frame which wouldn’t entirely blow out.
Finally, shooting 16×9 means we wanted our final image to be widescreen – on the DVD, you’ll see the film letterboxed, with black bands at the top and bottom of your screen. But many camcorders with 16×9 settings merely mask the top and bottom of the frame, meaning you lose pixels and image quality. Since we were transferring to film, we needed all the picture quality we could get. We needed a camera which could shoot true 16×9, meaning it would record images on the entire frame. On a non-16×9 monitor, the image would thus appear stretched – people look tall. But on a 16×9 monitor, the images are squashed to the proper ratio – but retain all the pixels of the stretched image.
Point of reference: Our choice of format and camera – 16×9 PAL, Sony DSR-500 – was the same used by Jennifer Jason Leigh & Co. to shoot their DV feature “The Anniversary Party.”

The Shooting Strategy

From years of making MiniDV short films and documentaries, my cinematographer Peter Olsen and I knew the pitfalls of video. Here are the dangers and how we countered them:

  • Bad latitude. Film does a beautiful job of rendering very dark areas and very bright areas without losing information. Video is less adept at this – one of the most common and ugly features of DV films are blown-out windows and skies. The brightness turns pure white – it’s a void which I think can subconsciously shut doors in a viewer’s mind. So Pete assiduously avoided overly bright spots – putting gels on windows to bring down the brightness, working with the costume designer and production designer to avoid white clothing and walls.
  • Murkiness and noise with underexposure. DV camcorders have an amazing ability to record images in extremely low light – when you use what’s called the “gain” range of the camera’s exposure settings, you can virtually shoot in the dark, recording things you sometimes can’t see with the naked eye. But shooting under those conditions come at a price – video images shot with high gain tend to moil a bit with video noise. We avoided the problem by not dipping into the gain settings on the camera – we shot dark scenes, but Pete lit them enough to be able to record in the normal, non-gain exposure settings.
  • Jaggies and moire. Since digital images are made up of thousands of tiny, square pixels, certain kinds of patterns record poorly with digital video. The jaggies, one of the ugliest features of bad DV, comes when individual pixels seem to pop out, usually when the image includes sharp diagonal lines at high contrast. Film would render those lines cleanly – in digital video, the fineness of the line gets interrupted with tiny squares. Moire is a weird, subtle color shifting in an image – in digital video, moire can appear in fine patterns with many narrow lines or squares close together. To avoid the jaggies, we controlled exposure and contrast – overexposure greatly exaggerates the phenomenon. To avoid moire, our costume designer and production designer tested complex patterns in front of the camera and tossed what didn’t work.
  • Ugliness in wide shots. When watching movies which had been shot on video and transferred to film, I noticed that close-ups usually looked fabulous but wideshots often didn’t. Wideshots tend to provide more opportunities for the pitfalls of video, including jaggies and latitude problems. So Pete and I made a conscious decision to avoid lingering on wideshots with “Robot Stories.” This was difficult – often the most cinematic and dramatically powerful choice may be to use a glorious wideshot. But “Robot Stories” is ultimately an intimate picture about personal relationships and struggles – I think our shooting strategy complements the film’s dramatic requirements.
  • Video sharpness and coolness. Crisp and clean seem to be positive attributes. But strangely, the hyperreal clarity of digital video can actually be distracting in a feature film. I’m not entirely sure why – maybe that supercrisp video feel is just a bit too real – too much like televised news and sports and reality shows. We used a Black Pro-Mist filter over the camera lens to put a subtle haze into our images. And we used a chocolate filter for three of our four stories to introduce some warmness.

All of our precautions paid off – when watching dailies during the shoot, I was thrilled. We had almost no blown-out areas – all of our windows and walls retained lovely detail. And the filters gave the picture a kind of subtle organic feel – hard to explain, but you feel it when ya see it.
But the true look of the film only came together with the tape-to-film transfer.

The Tape to Film Transfer

We edited the entire film on video using Final Cut Pro 1.2.5 on a 533 MHz Dual Processor G4 Macintosh. After locking picture, we exported to video. Since we’d imported and exported pure digital video in and out of the computer, our video master had the identical picture quality as our production footage.
We then took that video master to a lab for a tape-to-tape color correction. Now the footage looked great, since Pete had done such a beautiful job, but there were still corrections to make from shot to shot and scene to scene. And we had special plans for certain flashback and virtual reality sequences. And finally, we needed to prepare the video for transfer to film.
Swiss Effects, our tape-to-film lab, gave us a sheet of specs for preparing video for the transfer to film. When we reached the tape-to-tape color correction, what we needed to remember was to keep contrast and color saturation levels lower than we might normally prefer. As Joe, our colorist at Magno explained, the idea is to bring the intensity of the image about 75 or 80 percent there – the transfer to film adds the rest. Another way to think about it is that if you pump up the contrast all the way, you lose information in your dark areas, leaving you no latitude later on down the line. This was one of the toughest parts of the whole process – I understood the plan, but when I looked at the images on the screen, they just didn’t look punchy enough to me. I had to trust what the pros were telling me, that the transfer to film would bring that punch back.
Now several advantage of shooting digitally came home to me while we were doing our tape-to-tape. First, if you shoot on film and don’t have money for digital effects, what you have on your negative is largely what you’re stuck with – if you have a corner of a frame that’s a bit too bright, there’s nothing you can do about it except make the whole scene darker when you print. But when you shoot digitally and do a tape to tape, the colorist can use the magic Power Windows feature on his or her expensive machine to lighten or darken or change colors in specific parts of a given frame. Since we were paying by the hour, we chose our Power Windows moments strategically. But it was invaluable, for example, in darkening up the edge of one scene to obscure a boom shadow.
Another advantage of the tape-to-tape color correction was the mind-blowing array of tools and effects the colorist has at his or her disposal. Just one example: at the inspired advice of my editor Stephanie Sterner, we gave the “Machine Love” segment of “Robot Stories” a subtle electric sheen by bringing up the blue in the black elements of the image. In a film negative to film print color correction, we could increase the amount of blue in the picture. But in the video color correction session, we were able to specifically increase the blue in the black undertones of the images, which made a subtle but importance difference. The images, shot in a spare, modernist office, had always felt a bit drab, a touch disappointing. But the blue undersheen worked with the blue elements we’d consciously worked into the costume and production design – suddenly everything came together.
So at the end of our tape to tape color correction, we exported the movie to tape, again retaining the pure digital video quality, and reimported it into the computer. I cut forty of the more problematic images of the film into a two minute clip which we sent to Swiss Effects for them to transfer to 35mm as a test. After ten days of nail biting, the test came back, and it was brilliant. I’d purposefully sent them our trickiest moments – the dark scenes, the high contrast moments, an instance of moire on a couch pattern. And everything looked better than we’d dared to hope. The moire pattern had even disappeared, which we had no right to expect.
So we sent the whole package off to Swiss Effects. They transferred the video to 35mm film and sent the negative to Technicolor in New York. Technicolor made our first answer print, based on notes about the colors and look we were going for.
And it was gorgeous.
A dozen folks who have seen the film told me they had no idea it was shot on video. Filmmakers and industry types who know what to look for could tell it originated on video – there are a few giveaway wide shots here and there. But folks have uniformly been impressed with the lush, organic feel of the colors and look.
I’d seen the movie projected on video many times while we were editing. And I always felt good about the image quality. But I never felt as emotionally connected with the film as I did when I saw it projected on film. I can’t explain this entirely – Gene Siskel used to talk about alpha waves and beta waves in the brain when he tried to explain why film was more involving than video. But I have other theories. First, contrast. Transferring to film gave the black parts of the images true blackness. So I found that when watching close-ups of characters, I could lose myself in their eyes. I wasn’t looking at the image; I was looking into it. Second, frame rate. We shot the movie on PAL video at 25 frames per second. But each frame of video actually consists of two fields, so we had 50 images making up each second of screen time. The result is that video tends to render movement very smoothly and cleanly. Film, on the other hand, is recorded at 24 frames per second, with a frame consisting of a single image. Fewer images making up each second may sound bad – why give up more reality? Because I think there’s something magic about that 24 frames per second frame rate. I think it stylizes movement in a perfect way, makes it unreal enough to make it feel more real than real. I can’t explain it. But I know that when I saw our movie projected on film at 24 frames per second, the movement of the characters and camera felt right – it felt like a movie.
Finally, we needed our video master of the final film. We went back to Joe at Magno and did a film-to-tape color correction, this time going from our negative from Swiss Effects back to tape. We were able to do a bit more tweaking with color. And by going from the film negative, we were able to capitalize on those subtle organic differences the transfer to film had introduced into the movie.

Drawbacks to Digital

I’m thrilled with how good “Robot Stories” looks. But I don’t pretend that it wouldn’t look and feel even better if we’d been able to shoot on 35mm film. A brief list of what we sacrificed by shooting digitally:

  • The ability to exploit wide shots. As mentioned before, we avoided using too many wide shots because we knew they had a better chance of looking crappy in the end. But even though I can justify the look of the film based on the specific dramatic needs of its stories, here and there I miss the wide shots.
  • Subtle pacing issues. The lab transfers 25 fps PAL video to 24 fps film frame for frame, meaning a frame of video becomes one frame of film. The result is that the material you shot 25 fps gets projected 24 fps. So your movie becomes 4 percent longer. The labs do a pitch shift on your sound, so the music and people’s voices don’t get all low and distorted. And most viewers would never notice the difference. But I think the movie was a hair funnier at 25 fps. Everyone else thinks I’m hallucinating and the film works brilliantly at 25 fps. But if I were to do it again, I’d try pumping up the pace of our funnier stories just a touch to try to compensate for the slowdown.
  • Okay, I admit it: Film is prettier. It just looks better. Better than video. Better than video transferred to film. There’s a depth and glory to film which just feels better. Maybe it’s not a question of better – maybe it’s different. Video can look fantastic – certainly top of the line digital video has better color and sharpness than some crappy old films you can see. But film is organic, and maybe we just respond to it a touch more deeply because (at the moment I write this, anyway) we’re organic.

Advantages of Digital

To end on an up note, here’s the DV cheerleading section:

  • It made our project possible. We simply couldn’t afford to make the movie on 35mm with our budget. Without digital video, the movie wouldn’t exist.
  • I got a lot of takes. As a first time feature filmmaker shooting emotionally demanding material, I never wanted to be told we didn’t have enough film to shoot another take. The number of takes I could get of a given scene was limited by a million other factors, from traffic to rain to equipment failure to the destruction of the World Trade Center on day two of our shoot. But the fact that we shot on video meant that I was able to shoot as long as we had time.
    Playback. I could see exactly what we were recording while we were recording by looking at the video monitor. And when I was acting in “Machine Love,” I could look at playback to see if we’d captured what we needed. It’s nice to know.

  • Speed. I don’t make as much of this as some digital filmmakers – we paid great attention to lighting “Robot Stories” properly, which means we took as much time as we would have if it had been a 35mm shoot. But the camera and tripod were lighter than a 35mm rig would have been. And we didn’t have to mess with heavy 35mm film cans and reloading magazines every twelve minutes.
  • Special effects. We had a few digital effects in the picture, which were much easier to do when all the material was digital from the beginning. If we’d shot on film, we would have had to transfer the material to video to introduce the effects and then transfer it back to film and then transfer that film to video so we could cut it back into the picture and then –I’m getting a headache just thinking about it. Suffice it to say that after a (admittedly considerable) bit of trial and error, we were able to export clips from Final Cut Pro which our special effects guys could import into their AfterEffects program and then export back out for us to use in the project.
    ����Jerome Poynton
    ����Swiss Effects

A Filmmaker’s Memo to Film Festival Organizers

By Greg Pak
After taking my short films to festivals for nine years, I’ve developed strong opinions for how I think things oughta be done. From one cocky filmmaker’s perspective, here’s a brief list of requests for film festival organizers (and for the flip side, check out the Film Festival Organizer’s Memo to Filmmakers):

  1. Don’t schedule any program earlier than 1 p.m.
    Unless you’re an enormous festival like Sundance, hardly anyone will attend 11 a.m. screenings on Saturdays and Sundays, particularly if your big opening night party happened the night before. Just say no!

  2. Don’t make any shorts program longer than 2 hours.
    No matter how good the films are and how comfortable the chairs are, no one really wants to watch more than two hours of short films in one sitting. When programs are three hours long, you end up losing half of your audience before the end of the show — if the program’s less than two hours, people are much less likely to come see their friend’s short and then take off.

  3. Give enough time for the Q&As.
    Sometimes festivals will schedule programs exactly two hours apart. The screenings tend to run a bit late. And the ten minute slot allotted for Q&A disappears. This can be deeply annoying to filmmakers. We’ll often travel to a festival at great expense and our one big chance to be seen and get first-hand response from an audience is during that Q&A. If that Q&A gets casually bumped, we seethe with impotent hatred for days.

  4. Hold the Q&A in the same theater in which the films screened.
    Sometimes schedules will run tight and festival organizers will announce that Q&As will be held in an adjoining room or in the lobby. This is better than nothing, but it usually fails — unless there’s a bright, clear, charismatic moderator encouraging people to come, almost no one ends up making the move to the other room after the film is over.

  5. Have an experienced moderator on the ball at the end of the program to get the Q&A going.
    Many times I’ve been at screenings before which a festival organizer will announce that there will be a Q&A after the screening. But when the film ends, the organizer is nowhere in sight. People look around as the lights come up, then shrug and leave the theater. The organizer walks back into the room a couple of minutes later, but then it’s too late — you end up with five audience members rather than fifty. Depressing and entirely unavoidable — organizers just need to be on the ball and pleasantly aggressive in reminding people that a Q&A is happening the minute the program ends.

  6. Give filmmakers free festival passes and free tickets to all main parties and events.
    Almost all festivals are excellent about giving filmmakers access to films. Sometimes filmmakers have to fill out ticket request forms before the festival, which can be a pain, but is entirely understandable given the logistical pressures organizers face. But some festivals make filmmakers pay for everything. I was at a festival which once didn’t even give me a ticket for the opening night film and party. Did not make me feel particularly respected or valued as a filmmaker.

  7. Make the filmmakers’ names and the film names on badges big enough for people to read.
    This sounds silly, but it makes a difference. When you’re an unknown filmmaker attending a festival for the first time, you don’t know anyone. If the type on your filmmakers badge is so small and arty that no one can read it, no one will glance at your nametag and say, “Omigod I loved your film!” And we live for those moments. Badges should feature filmmaker names and film names in BIG BLOCK LETTERS which are readable in murky bars at a distance of six feet.

  8. Avoid ridiculously high entry fees.
    I don’t think any festival should charge an entry fee for shorts higher than about 35 dollars. We short filmmakers are POOR. That’s one of the reasons we’re making shorts. If you want 50 bucks to consider my three minute short for your festival, I probably won’t be able to enter.

  9. Notify filmmakers you don’t accept with promptness and grace.
    If you never tell a filmmaker if his or her film hasn’t been accepted into your festival, that filmmaker will probably never submit to your festival again. And besides, why spread bad karma around? Send an email if nothing else. The entry fee should have bought at least that amount of attention.

  10. Turn on the sound.
    I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of times I’ve been at programs during which the film began without the sound turned on. It’s been particularly annoying to me, since I’ve had a number of shorts which often get programmed first in a program. And they have important sound effects at their very beginning. So the impact of the film gets spoiled — and if it takes the projectionist a while to get things sorted out, a quarter of the film might roll by soundless. Which can drive a grown man to tears, under certain circumstances.

  11. Organize filmmaker get togethers during the festival.
    At the first San Diego Asian Film Festival, the organizers had a green room for festival guests. It was a great place for filmmakers and actors and producers to hang out, chat, hobnob, network. At the San Francisco Int’l Asian American Film Festival a few years back, the organizers had a bar a few doors down from the theater which held a Filmmakers Happy Hour every day from 5 to 7 p.m. They had a small spread of vegetables and appetizers — and a dozen or more filmmakers hung out with each other every day. Amazing.


  12. Finally, thank you, thank you, and thank you.
    Putting on a film festival is an exhausting job which no sane person would do if he or she didn’t deeply love movies. So thank you, all you festival organizers. Even when we filmmakers moan and groan about everything from the quality of the projection to the freshness of the crudite, we love you for loving us and our work enough to provide us a venue. Now if you could just hook my producer up with a festival pass…


Film Festival’s Memo to Filmmakers

By Greg Pak
Over the years, I’ve worked in various capacities for a number of film festivals. So as a companion piece to the Memo to Festival Organizers, here’s a Memo to Filmmakers, from a Festival Organizer. Just a few pointers (including some advice I should take more often myself):

  1. Provide all the information and materials requested on the entry forms.
    Design of websites and programs begins as soon as films are selected for the festival — so having complete synopses, biographies, contact info, and production stills is critical. Filmmakers who provide this material promptly also gain an added advantage — their stills are more likely to be used in key festival art and posters.

  2. Read all the emails and correspondence you receive from the festival!
    Filmmakers are usually notified weeks in advance about ticket policies, etcetera. But there’s always a last minute rush with angry filmmakers outraged about certain ticket policies. Reading all the notes the festival sends will help filmmakers avoid these kinds of scenes.

  3. Deliver your print on time.
    Festivals ask for prints to be sent early so that projectionists have adequate time to check everything out and prepare each screening. When a filmmaker brings a print to the screening at the very last minute, it increases the chances that the film will be projected improperly — with sound levels too high or too low or out of focus. Which no one likes.

  4. Respect the festival’s policies.
    If the festival tells you that you’ll get four comp tickets to your program, don’t send an email to a hundred of your friends telling them that they can get into the screening for free (I’ve actually seen a filmmaker do this). The chaos which ensues won’t endear you to the festival or to your friends.

  5. Communicate!
    Like filmmakers, festival organizers love getting feedback from an appreciative audience. If you like the way things have gone at the festival, tell the organizers! Or if you have had problems, give them constructive feedback (at the right time). They’ll appreciate the compliments and consider the recommendations more seriously than you might imagine.

  6. Don’t badmouth festivals for rejecting your film.
    Most festivals get ten to a hundred times more films than they can program. Many, many good films end up not playing at any given festival. It’s a subjective, aesthetic process, much like casting a film. Now you can badmouth a festival if it cashes your 50 dollar entry fee, rejects your film, and never bothers to send you a letter or email. But don’t badmouth it just for rejecting your film. Instead, send your film out to other festivals — it’ll eventually find its audience.


Just Ask

By Greg Pak
Just because you have no money doesn’t mean you can’t get good folks to help you make your movie, particularly if you’re just shooting over a single weekend.
When I was planning to shoot an extremely low budget digital short film this spring, I figured I’d do it all with a crew of three. But my astute and incredible producer saw that the script really required a few more key folks, including a wardrobe supervisor, a makeup person, a production designer, and an assistant director. She made some calls and a half dozen amazingly talented folks with whom we’d worked on other projects signed on to work for free that weekend. It turned out to be the smoothest shoot and perhaps the best crew I’ve had.

“Penny Marshall Project” screenings

Festivals & Screenings
2001 20,000 Leagues Under the Industry Film Festival, Cleveland, OH
2000 Louisville Film Festival, Louisville, KY
2000 Freaky Film Festival, Champaign, IL
2000 Chicago Underground Film Festival
2000 San Diego Asian Film Festival
2000 Opaline Screening Series, NYC
2000 Firewater Films Screening Series, NYC
2000 Arizona International Film Festival
2000 New York Underground Film Festival

Writer of over 500 comic books, including PLANET HULK, MECH CADET YU, FIREFLY, and DARTH VADER