Countdown: One Week!

We’re in the final stretch, folks!  Less than a week till Round 1 ends!  Now Dockers gave the impression that they were going to post the vote leaders, but they never did.  So I decided to take matters into my own hands and find out where we stand in this contest.  I risked carpal tunnel syndrome and went through all 3,000 entries!  Whew!  And I have the sore neck, shoulder, arm, and wrist to prove it!  So what’s the verdict?

Well, it’s good news and bad news.  The good news is that we are definitely in the top 50!  Out of 3,000  or so entries that’s something to be very proud of!  And it’s because of all of you voting every day and trying to help spread the word, and, heck, even recruiting your family to vote!  So where are we?  Currently, we are number 32.  That’s the bad news, because as I went through each entry, I found more entries that had more votes than we have and it pushed us down the list.  But it’s not terrible news and I’m certainly not going to complain about where we are in this contest.  Do I wish we were in the top five?  Of course.  But considering all the problems we’ve had trying to get the word out to other fans (with the broken fan club mailing list and Facebook blocking me from friending other I-Man fans), I’d say we’re doing pretty good.

But this last week is especially dangerous for us.  The most motivated contestants and their supporters are in this top 50 and they are pushing very hard, so we need to keep pushing just as hard lest we keep dropping and fall out of the top 50.  I’m afraid to say it could happen.  Behind us there are contestants who have more voters than we have and could theoretically pass us by.  One contestant, another filmmaker no less, has been right on our tail for several days now.  Today he passed us up…not because he has a better project or a loyal established fan base, he doesn’t; but because he’s been vote trading with other contestants.  In fact, a lot of contestants have been vote trading. 

It’s not against the rules (I checked), but it is a flawed strategy because they are voting for the very people they are competing against.  Also, the way the app is designed, someone could vote once for someone just to get their picture on their page and then come back every day and leave a message on their page saying they voted again when they really didn’t.  The contestant would really have no way of knowing for sure.  I’d like to think that all the contestants are honorable, but I live in the real world and wouldn’t be surprised if some honorable contestants are being suckered by less honorable contestants.  So I’m not playing the vote trading game. 

Besides, when I contact the cast and tell them we made it into the top 50, I’ll be able to proudly say that it was the I-Man fans who got us there and not because I was trading votes with the competition.  And I do have to, also, give a shout out of thanks to all my family members, friends, and fellow filmmakers who have also been tirelessly voting every day.  All of you have been wonderful in your support!  Thank you so much!

Contest Submissions Progress

Friday, my director and I sat down and hammered out the cast list, which is basically a list of all the roles in the video and what type of actor we were looking to cast in each role.  The next day I posted the roles on SF Casting and, after being approved, they went live on Monday morning.  Within hours I literally had hundreds of submissions from actors!  So I’ve been combing through them trying to find actors who fit what we are looking for.  Tomorrow I’m going to finish that up and then contact the chosen actors and invite them to the audition, which is being held in Pleasanton, California, this Saturday.

Monday afternoon, my director and I visited the studio we are planning on using.  It’s also located in Pleasanton and run by some really nice people.  We’re shooting in a studio because I wanted a plain white backdrop for the video.  This will put the focus on the actors without the distraction of any background and give the video a clean uncluttered look.  To get that kind of background you need to use a studio with a cyclorama, which is basically a wall with rounded corners, so you don’t see any hard edges.  Another advantage of using a studio is that we won’t have to move from location to location.  We’ll be able to do all the scenes on one sound stage and just change a few props, actors, and lights. 

With a small low-budget production like this, I’m doing much more than just producing.  I’m also playing financier, accountant, casting director, costumer, and prop master; and I’m sure my roles will expand even more in the days to come.  Today I ran around to various businesses looking for the costumes and props that we will need.  I struck out at a few places, but managed to find a couple of places that can give me just what I am looking for.

It’s getting late and I need to sign off now but, remember, keep voting!

An Interview with

Recently I had the opportunity to talk via email with David White, CEO of – a new online film production management and promotion website. David was kind enough to answer my questions and give us more insight into this new tool for filmmakers.

How did get started and when? What was the inspiration behind it?

ReelClever kicked off as an idea after seeing the frustration that indie filmmakers had when trying to promote and manage their films. Filmmakers are a creative bunch and usually hate the marketing and management side of things, so our aim was to create something that made this side suck that little bit less. We were also seeing most filmmakers waiting until after the screening of their films at festivals before doing any marketing. So we saw the need for easy to use tools that helped leverage social media in order to allow filmmakers to attract and engage with fans right from concept/early pre-production. We came out of our beta stage in July so it is a hectic and exciting time at the moment.

Describe your company. How many employees do you have? What are their backgrounds and positions? Are all of you located in New Zealand?

We have a team of eight, based in Hamilton and Wellington, New Zealand, along with an office in India. Our team is very diverse and we have a great mix of filmmakers, marketers, designers and developers. This allows us to look at things from every perspective when we develop and plan out new features.

Being a start up business has not hindered us in anyway when it has come to attracting staff. It is an exciting space to work in and we are lucky enough to have ex Adobe and Yahoo developers working full time with us. We tried to look at all the areas of filmmaking and brought in experts in each area. Though not necessarily from a film background, we wanted people who were not influenced by the current or supposedly right way of doing things. We think this is starting to pay off for us.

The great thing about having a presence in New Zealand and India is our time zones work perfectly. When we start in the morning, the team in India is just heading home and, when we finish, their day is just beginning. So we are able to have a 24-hour non-stop development and support process in place. Basically, ReelClever never sleeps and we are developing around the clock.

We are also in the process of creating our advisory board and we have some very influential filmmakers in the U.S. that we are speaking with. All going to plan, we will have some exciting announcements soon.

What were some of the challenges faced in starting How did you overcome them?

Our biggest challenge was letting filmmakers know we exist. We were lucky that word of mouth has allowed us to grow so fast. We, also, like to think we are good at social media marketing and have been able to spread the word and attract over ten thousand filmmakers into our beta program.

Another issue we faced was how to identify if what we are creating is what filmmakers want or need. We had to make sure we listened to our users. Going hand in hand with that is often they did not know what they needed. So we had to assume the roles of both leader and follower, taking user ideas but also expanding on these and introducing new and easier ways to do things.

We thought that being in New Zealand may have been a geographical issue for us, but we have found it has actually helped. The amazing things that people like Peter Jackson and companies like Weta Workshop have been doing out of New Zealand has really put us on the map as a filmmaking country and destination. The fact that filmmaking itself really transcends culture and geographical boundaries has helped. Maybe if we were in another industry it would have proved a challenge for us. We are hoping that some of our users come and visit us “down under” sometime soon.

What do you feel are the advantages of managing a film’s production online?

Filmmaking is a very collaborative process it is not easy getting all your cast and crew in one room. So the beauty of an online system is that everyone has access at anytime regardless of the location. If all resources are on one laptop or amongst a bunch of emails then things get messy and, worst case, lost or stolen. Having all your files, images, documents, ideas, communication, schedules, locations, etc. in one central place makes sense.

What makes stand out from the competition (if there is any competition)?

It is quite a new space that we are in. We have noticed a few other sites popping up that are trying to do part of the process. I think in the long run it will be our focus on technology that really differentiates us. We have developed all our tools from scratch and we are working on some very exciting player tools that we think will change the way that studios create web video.

Describe the main features of

ReelClever is a suite of project management and promotional tools for filmmakers. From a promotional perspective, we provide filmmakers with the ability to create a very cool online portfolio, along with film promotion tools that help filmmakers promote their film right from concept. Our Facebook app is almost ready to launch and it will provide filmmakers with a new and unique way to promote their film and grow fans.

The project management area of the site features web-based workspaces that include, storyboarding, scheduling, cast & crew management, discussions, file storage, video draft room, and film promo tools.

We are just launching our marketplace. The aim of this is to help filmmakers find paid work—we all want to make films but we also have to eat.

What kinds of projects are being developed by users on

The use is really varied. We have everything from large feature films through to music videos and short films. We are also noticing that a large number of studios and freelancers are using our project tools to manage client ad projects. Currently, 68% of projects are films.

Can anyone around the world sign up for your services? How does one go about signing up?

Absolutely. ReelClever is well and truly a global site. Although the majority of our users are in America, we have filmmakers spanning over 110 different countries. Simply visit and click the Sign-Up button, you can be up and running in 60 seconds. We have various plans that filmmakers can sign up to, including a free plan so there are no barriers.

What are your plans/goals for, both the company and the website?

We want to be the first point of call when a film project is conceptualized. By default, you will jump on ReelClever, set up a project, and start planning and promoting as soon as you begin working on a new film concept.

We see distribution as a potential avenue we want to investigate—through on demand and digital platforms—allowing filmmakers to take control of a more hybrid distribution model so they can actually make money from filmmaking.

In terms of the site, we are in a constant state of evolution and iteration. We try not to plan too far ahead and try to be very agile. We have three exciting announcements planned between now and December, so stay tuned.

Anything else you would like to share with readers?

On a personal level, I would like to say – just keep creating. The entire industry is going through an amazing time of change and turmoil and I think it is exciting. Try and disrupt the old way of making a film, embrace new ideas and remember to put on your marketing hat from day one.

This interview can also be found on the United Filmmakers Association’s website.

“The Reel Deal” Workshop

This coming weekend I’m looking forward to spending both days in San Francisco at an IIFF workshop entitled “The Reel Deal – Getting Your Indie Film Financed, Produced & Distributed Without Getting Ripped Off.”  The workshop will be given by Jeffrey Brandstetter, an entertainment attorney, financier, producer, and distributor.  

I first met Jeffrey about a year ago.  We attended the same seminar given by a venture capitalist.  I blogged about it in a post I wrote last March entitled Film Financing From a VC’s Perspective.  For the afternoon group assignment, Jeffrey was on the same team as I was.  It was great to have someone with his experience on our team.  We ended up beating all the other teams with our project.

Jeffrey makes the best argument I’ve ever heard for why films are not necessarily the poor investment that they are commonly painted to be.  Yes, he admits that most films don’t recoup the investor’s initial investment.  However, when you compare films to the typical Silicon Valley startup, there are some noteworthy differences.  Many startups have nothing to show after 18 to 24 months and, if they fail, the most that an investor can often get is whatever the fixtures sell for at auction.  In other words, pretty much nothing.  However, when it comes to films, if you are able to raise the full production budget, which will enable you to complete the film and get it in the can, you now have a real asset…something that is worth far more than used furniture.  If the film is a big hit, there can be big rewards; but at the very least, an investor will receive back a significant portion of his or her investment.  There won’t be fire sale.  That can’t be said for most Silicon Valley startups.  Following that line of reasoning, this makes film an investment that is very worthy of consideration. 

If the business of filmmaking interests you, you might want to take the time to watch the following 41 minute preview video.  In it, Jeffrey gives us small taste of his upcoming workshop.

My First Test Screening Experience

Wednesday I attended my first film test screening.  What is a test screening?  A test screening is where a movie is shown to an audience before it is officially released in order to get feedback that the producers can use to improve the film.  Each attendee is given a questionnaire to fill out with questions asking about the cast’s performances, the scenes, general impressions of the film, the ending, etc.

Screenings like this happen all the time in LA, but they are much rarer in the Bay Area.  So when I found out about this screening, I jumped at the chance to attend.  This was research for me.  I wanted to see what a screening was like in anticipation of perhaps doing one for my film some day.  And it was a chance to see an independent movie for free.  Can’t beat that price!

The host was one of the executive producers who started the evening off introducing a couple of other producers and the editor.  He said that this film was a rough cut and that the final edit might be influenced by the feedback they received.  They passed out pens and a two-sided questionnaire that was printed on very heavy paper (thin cardboard), which was a good idea considering that are no tables in a movie theater.  Where they fell short was in considering the readability of the questionnaire.  The print was too small and, even with the lights turned up all the way, the theater was too dark.  This made the questionnaire virtually unreadable for me.  I and several others had to go out into the lobby after the movie so that we could get enough light to read and answer the questions.

The producer said he was going to do a Q&A after we filled out the forms, so I admit that I rushed through the questions because I wanted to go back into the theater and listen to the Q&A.  I really didn’t give the feedback that I should have.  As it was, when I walked back into the theater, the Q&A had already started.  I don’t know how much of it I missed, but there wasn’t much discussion going on when I got there.  That was disappointing. 

The few questions that were asked were story related.  I asked a non-story related question, namely, I wanted to know what the budget was.  The producer wasn’t willing to give out that info, but he did say it was under a million.   I wish I could have gotten a more exact figure from him, but my guess is that the film was maybe in the $400 to $600k range.  But if you add on the talent, that might have brought up the number to the quarter million mark.  Mind you, this is just a guesstimate.  I may be way off.

After the movie, I overheard two women talking in the ladies room.  They were quite critical of the movie and one admitted that she didn’t have the heart to write what she really thought about the movie on the questionnaire.  I had to smile at that because I had the same problem.  It’s really hard to come right out and tell someone that you don’t like their movie and would never recommend it to anyone else, so I found myself soft pedaling what I really thought about the film.

Okay, no soft pedaling here.  I’m going to tell you what I really thought of the movie.  However, the movie shall remain nameless because my intent is not to tear apart someone elses work for the sake of, well, tearing it apart.  No, I have the utmost respect for what the filmmakers accomplished.  Heck, getting any movie made is a major accomplishment in of itself.  But I want to use this forum to explore what I thought worked and didn’t work in this movie. 

It’s vital that producers understand the various elements that go into a film and to be able to differentiate between quality and drek.  Of course, everyone in the business will tell you that there is no magic formula for what makes a film successful.  It’s virtually impossible to predict ahead of time what the audience’s reaction will be.  Regardless, producers are constantly having to evaluate other people’s artistic expressions, starting with the script, and making decisions based on those evaluations.  It’s part of the job.  In fact, the ability to be able to discern quality over the mediocre, together with personal taste, plays a huge factor in whether a producer will have a successful career or not.  So this is good practice for me.  

Just to warn you, there are going to be a lot of spoilers in my evaluation.  Frankly, I doubt that any of you will ever see this movie.  But, to be fair, I’m giving the warning anyway.

Evaluation Time

The story was about a bumbling detective who is in a turf war with a cult leader over the building they occupy.  The cult leader wants the detective’s office space.  The detective won’t give it up.  His ditzy secretary ends up being “recruited” by the cult and the detective must save her and his office space while also trying to find out who is following his new client, a sultry brunette.

A big part of this movie was the storyline with the sultry brunette.  I kept trying to figure out where they were going with her.  She hired the detective to follow her because she thought someone was following her.  But that never went anywhere.  Nobody was following her.  She was never in any kind of peril.

Then she started to come on to the detective and I got the feeling that she had hired the detective because she was lonely.  Okay, possible love interest?  Well, no.  That never went anywhere either.

Then it was revealed that she was a member of the cult.  Aha!  She was there to lure the detective away from that valuable office space, right?  Wrong.  She wasn’t really an active member.  So that went nowhere too.

So what was the purpose of this character?  Beats me.  She seemed tacked on and had no involvement whatsoever in the central conflict of the story. 

Speaking of central conflicts, they fell short on this one too.  What starts out as an office turf war turns into a “save the secretary” storyline.  Why?  Because she makes great coffee.  But then it is revealed that the cult’s cookies are laced with some kind of mind control substance, revealing that the cult leader’s plans are to turn everyone into mindless zombies who turn over all their assets to the cult.  This bigger threat could have been expanded upon to become the main storyline, but they really didn’t delve into it much. 

If you haven’t already guessed it by the silliness of the plot, this was supposed to be a comedy, but I didn’t find it all that funny.  I laughed maybe two or three times tops throughout the entire movie.

I’ve really got to wonder who they think the audience is for this movie.  It’s got a bit of a retro feel with the film noir type detective, but it’s set in our day and has a bit of an Austin Powers type of humor.  Even though it would be rated PG or PG-13, it really wasn’t suitable for kids as it had some adult themes.

Its lack of production values pretty much guarantees that it will never get any kind of a wide release in theaters or even end up on TV.  At the most it might do a limited release in art house theaters and go to DVD. 

Unfortunately, it looked like a low-budget film.  Cheap.  Real cheap.  There are ways filmmakers can stretch their budgets and give their films a bigger look.  But this film didn’t bother to employ any of those methods.  In fact, my budget estimate above might have been way too generous.

As a comparison, I remember a short 20-minute indie film called Broken.  I wrote an online review about it a few years ago.  What blew me away was that for only $8,000 the filmmakers were able to create a film that visually rivals a studio film.  They set a very high bar for indie films. 

This comedy, however, really needed a lot of work.  I kept looking for something that would set it apart and make it special.  Instead, it wasn’t even average.  The lighting was bad.  The camera was poorly placed and there were no interesting shots to speak of.  The sets/locations were poorly designed/chosen. 

I would have loved to see this movie have more of a cartoon look to it—something along the lines of Pushing Daisies would have worked really well for this film and given it more visual charm.  

Another thing this movie suffered from was talkitis.  It felt like they were trying too hard to make the dialog clever and funny.  But it really didn’t work.  Parts of it dragged on and on and on.

So how in the world did this film ever get made?  Obviously, there were some investors out there that thought enough of it to fund it.

Well, it had a strong cast.  In fact, its only strength was its cast.  I’m not going to name them, but you would recognize them in an instant.  They had some really talented actors in the lead roles and cameos by some even more well-known actors.  They all did a great job acting.  Unfortunately, the characters they were given to play were just caricatures.  Such a waste.

With a cast such as they had, I had to find out who they got to write and direct this movie.  So I looked it up and found out that the director and writer is the same person—a soap opera actor who also was one of the producers.  Now it started to make sense.  This was someone already in the business who had some connections.  Still, I’ve got to wonder if anyone bothered to take a look at his previous work to see if it was any good.

At this point there isn’t much they can do to salvage this movie.  It needs a page one rewrite and then virtually every creative decision they made about it needs to be rethought.  With their budget that is not going to happen.  The most they can probably do is try to fix the pace in the editing room, but I don’t think that is going to be enough to save this movie.

So would I have wanted to be involved in this project?  Probably not.  There are just too many things wrong with it, starting with the script.  If I could get it rewritten and hire another director, I would consider it since it does have a great cast.  But considering that the writer and director are the same person, that isn’t very likely.  My guess is that he attached himself as the director to his own script.  In other words, if you want the script, you have to accept him as the director.  But in this case, the story just wasn’t strong enough.

Using Stock Footage for a Bigger Budget Effect

Here’s a great tip from William Martell’s blog on how to give a low-budget film a big-budget feel:  Use stock footage. 

In his blog, Martell writes about a writing gig, that ended up going bust, in which the producer was supposedly looking for a script to fit a facilities deal he had.  What’s a facilities deal?  According to Martell, “a facilities deal is a studio that will give you equipment, studio space, standing sets, and often crew in exchange for a cut of the film.  Most of these deals are outside the USA, many in ex-Soviet countries (including Russia) and places like the Philippines and Mexico.  Anywhere where the film biz was booming at one time and now it is not.”   

Martell goes on to explain how he tries to make the most of the sets and  props that the facility has.  He writes:  “One of the issues with any facility deal is that to best use what they have, you need to stretch it. Just like any other backlot, they may have some street sets and some buildings, and then all kinds of cool standing sets on the soundstages. But you need that bit of stock footage of New York to sell that New York Street Set. You need some Paris stock footage to sell the European Street Set. And if you do a little bit of re-dressing and use a piece of Rome stock footage, your story can do a little globe trotting without any real cost.”

So how does using stock footage make a low-budget film look bigger?  Martell explains how he incorporates stock footage into his scripts:  “When you are writing scripts on a budget, you start to look for things that can stretch that budget – so that you can write a script that looks like a big studio film that can still be made on the producer’s budget…You didn’t want the audience to think your $3 million film cost $3 million. You want them to think it cost $100 million. So you learn to keep your eye out for anything that adds production value. I see a film with ‘harvestable’ stock footage, and I remember it. In this case, I was looking for stock footage that had been used at least once before in an inexpensive film – that way I know it’s cheap.” 

Where do you find stock footage?  Martell says that “you want to find great footage from a film that completely flopped. George Lucas isn’t going to sell you footage from STAR WARS (starring Mark Hammill) but you might be able to buy some of that great sci-fi footage from SLIPSTREAM (starring Mark Hammill). The bigger the film flopped, the more likely the producers want to make a buck or two selling someone stock footage…The biggest mistake you can make when thinking of stock footage is to consider material from a film that made money. You need to *only* look at big flops.”

What a great tip for us independent filmmakers who are looking to stretch our budgets! 

Shoom Zone’s One Year Anniversary

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of this little project going online.  Can you believe it’s been a year already?  Wow, where did the time go?  This is a good time for me to catch everyone up on the latest happenings. 

Film Project Update

A week and a half ago was a nice little milestone.  The writer turned in the first draft of the treatment.  I looked it over and, overall, I have to say I like it.  Now, first drafts are never perfect and this one will probably have to go through several edits before it’s ready to show to the cast, but there were some really good scenes in it and it has a lot of promise.

Classes and More Classes

The last few weeks have been especially hectic for me.  Besides doing a lot of homework for my Story Analysis and Screenplay Development class, I have also taken a couple of film budgeting classes. 

One class was an overview of all the various film budgeting programs available on the market and their various applications.  The other class was an introductory budgeting class.  It’s funny, I would have never thought of budgeting as being a creative endeavour, but film budgeting is actually quite creative.  Did you know that a budget describes the fundamental look, feel and style of a film?  Yep, budgeters have to be able to take a scene in the script and have a point of view about it.  They have to imagine how they would shoot or direct the scene.  Now the director might have a totally different point of view on how a scene should be played, but if a director isn’t available yet, the budgeter has to make a best-guess estimate based on his or her own vision.  Every excruciating detail of each scene must be budgeted for:  every prop, every actor, every light, every vehicle, every piece of wardrobe, every camera.  And it’s just not what’s on the set that must be budgeted for.  A budget has to allow for how you’re going to feed the crew, how the actors are going to get to the set and how they are going to get home, how you’re going to get the equipment to the set, who’s going to build the set.  It can seem endless.  Needless to say, budgets are incredibly detailed documents.  Screenplays are often described as the blueprint of a film, but, interestingly, budgets are also blueprints of a film.  It’s really all very fascinating.

Saturday was a really busy and exciting day for me.  In the morning, I had my weekly Story Analysis and Script Development class.  In the afternoon, I met the writer of the treatment.  She had flown out from the east coast and we had a really enjoyable meeting over a seafood dinner at the wharf in San Francisco.  We hit it off and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with her on this project.  She’s just as excited about it as I am.  In the evening, we both headed up to Marin County, north of San Francisco, to attend a shortened writer’s workshop given by writer/producer James Hirsch.  I say shortened because, originally, the workshop was supposed to be all weekend, but the LA fires put a crimp in those plans.  Cheech Marin was supposed to be a special guest the first night, but because his home was in the middle of the fire area, he was busy hosing down his house and yard.  Thankfully, Cheech’s home is safe.  Because of all this, James Hirsch decided to give a “sneak preview” of the workshop instead.  It was a great mini class and James is a really nice guy.  I’m looking forward to attending the full workshop, which will be rescheduled in the future.    

Whoa…I just felt some tremors.  As I’m typing this I’m wondering if that is it or if they are just a precursor to a bigger jolt.  Well, so far, so good.  Let’s continue and wish for the best.

Website Updates

Between everything else in my insanely busy schedule, I’ve managed to get a few much-needed updates done to the website.

First off, the Blog Info page has been updated to more accurately reflect the various ways that readers can get news from this blog. 

There is still the mailing list, of course, and I’ve updated the mailing list subscription page with some info that subscribers might find useful.  For example, while the mailing list has a digest option, I don’t recommend it.  There’s a couple of reasons why:  For one, I rarely blog more than once per day.  Secondly, digests are usually sent the day after the blog has been posted, which often delays the receiving of time sensitive information.  Of course, the digest is still there if you want it and you are free to choose the options you prefer for this mailing list.  If you want to change your options, PLEASE DON’T EMAIL ME.  Simply go the mailing list subscription page, scroll down to the bottom and enter your email address.  You will be then be prompted for your password.  Enter your password to make the changes to your options.  Forget your password?  Scroll further down the page and you’ll see where you can have it emailed to you.

If you prefer the convenience of a blog feed, a feed for both posts and comments is available for your convenience.  Simply scroll down to the Meta section of the sidebar (available from any page of the blog) and click on “Entries RSS” and/or “Comments RSS”. 

For you Live Journal users, a syndicated feed is available for your convenience.  I want to give a big shout out of thanks to Sheera for setting this up.  To add the feed to your friends list, simply go to and click on the “add this journal to your friends list” link. 

Lastly, if you have a MySpace page, you can subscribe to the blog via the Shoom Zone Productions MySpace page.  Just click on “Subscribe to this Blog” and you’ll be notified whenever new items are posted to the blog.

Available on the front page of the blog, which you can get to from any blog page by simply clicking on the header, is a section for the online petitions.  Just because I’m not actively pursuing an I-Man project right now, doesn’t mean that they should be ignored.  I might be able to use those petitions to help sell my current project with the I-Man cast so, please, if you haven’t signed them yet, please do so.  We all benefit by getting to see the cast together again.

If you haven’t checked out Shoom Zone’s home page in a while, you’ll see that it looks quite different.  Well, I’m playing around with a new look when I can squeeze out the time and, as you can tell, it’s not done yet.  The logo there is simply a placeholder for now.  I’m going to be getting a new one designed in the near future.  Eventually, the whole website will have a new look. 

Fans Worldwide

Without you, fans from around the world, this project wouldn’t mean much.  Without an audience, films would be worthless.  So whenever I go and look at my website statistics, I am very encouraged by what I see.  It’s obvious that there are a lot of you who want to see the cast together again just as much as I do.  In the past year, the number of visitors to this site has more than quadrupled.  Fans from 55 countries around the world regularly visit this site.

I thought it would be fun to see what countries we hail from, so following is a list of all 55 countries in alphabetical order.

  • Algeria
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia-Herzogovina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Costa Rica
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America
  • Vietnam
  • Yugoslavia

Wow.  I want to thank each and every one of you and I know the cast appreciates your support too.  It’s this kind of increasing awareness that will help to make this film a success.  Thank you and I look forward to another productive year as the film project moves forward.  I can’t wait to see Vince, Paul, Eddie, Shannon and Mike together again on the screen!

Story Analysis and Script Development for Film and Television

That rather long title is the name of a course that I just started taking.  The class started Friday and for the next twelve weeks I’m going to be immersed in watching films; reading scripts, books, and articles; and writing coverage and development notes for the assigned reading material.  Fun! 

Coverage, for those of you not familiar with the term, is the process of reading and analyzing a story and then writing a summary and critique of it.  Story analysts or “readers” are employed by production companies to do this job, and some independent producers also hire readers.  They are usually the first person to read the scripts sent to production companies and their opinion counts.  If they don’t think a script is any good, it usually doesn’t get passed on to the producer for consideration. 

But for independent producers who don’t have the luxury of having a reader, having the ability to analyze a story and assess its potential both artistically and financially is an extremely important skill (and, really, all producers need this skill).  Contrary to what some people believe, producing isn’t just about business.  It also has a creative side.

The timing for this course couldn’t be better for me.  I’ve been giving notes and comments about the story in progress to the writer for a few months now, but I’m really looking forward to this class to sharpen up my skills and help the writer make the story the best it can possibly be before I submit it to the cast for consideration.

If I thought my life was busy before, it’s now going to be absolutely insane.  But this beats being bored any day.