Man's hand holding money and a cell phone

The Crowdfunding Conundrum

Watch any filmmaking group for a bit and a pattern becomes clear: these people are passionate, many are very talented, but they've got no money to fund their projects with. It's a tough spot and…

Half the Battle is Showing Up

A few weeks back I went to the gym with a friend of mine. We're both getting up there in years and we're both carrying around more weight than we should. I've been hitting the…

Finding the Right Team

It's the new year, ending my holiday hiatus as I get back into writing new posts. I'm going to revisit something I touched on a while back in Finding People. You Can't Do It Alone…

Silhouettes of a film crew at dawn.

Building Your Team

Something I see come up often in several groups I follow is how you find people to help you - especially when you're just starting out and you can't pay much, if anything. This point…

Support Shriekfest!

Back in 2003 I was coming back to creative pursuits after a long absence. I had a run on screenplay contests that year, beginning with being a finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival. If you're…

Photo of a camera.

Being a Good Crew Member

Last weekend I was scouting a location with a couple of other local filmmakers. I'm giving these guys a hand helping to line up the location - most of what I did was show them…

Swiss Army Knife with blades extended

Avoiding the Slog

It was a post by a fellow filmmaker in a group I watch with a cautionary tale: his film took a long time to shoot. When he finally finished, his editor partially finished the project…

Checkin: The Trip Animated Movie, July 2017

This marks year two since I started my journey to produce an animated movie based on THE TRIP. Animation isn't something you enter into lightly. I estimated at the start of the project it would…

The Leap

This marks year two of my multi-year project to bring my novel THE TRIP to life as an animated movie. It's been a long, tough project but I'm feeling like things are coming together nicely.…

Silhouette of a person's head with gears turning inside

That Which Is Not Explained

Watch enough movies and read enough books, and you're bound to run into some ambiguous themes - where something is important to the story, quickly touched upon, and then that's it. Audiences will go along…

The Secret Adaptation Formula

Every so often I meet other writers who hear I write novels, comics and screenplays. They're interested in taking their work from one format and adapting it to another. This is a great exercise and…

The Open Minds

It's almost Oscar time as I'm working on this post, and a recent episode of The Creative Penn got me thinking about my journey into animation. I think the lessons would benefit some of you…

The Energy Bucket

This post started as yet another rant about how you need to work to achieve artistic success. I thought about the other version of this post most of the day and decided I'm going to…

How Much Description?

I don't see people talk often about how much you need to describe your characters, to this time around let's talk about it. The rules are different across screenplays and prose - if you don't…

Silent Characters

Back in Talking the Talk I started a discussion about dialog. This time around I'd like to give you some food for thought - there are some memorable characters that don't talk. Done right these…

Chappie: Robot Scifi Done Well

I was a huge fan of DISTRICT 9, and when I saw Neill Blomkamp was directing another scifi feature I hoped it would deliver on the high quality of his previous film. I was not…

No Easy Answers

Another topic I see come up often for new indie writers or filmmakers is marketing. We put lots of work into creating our content: months, sometimes years or longer. Then we release it to the…

You’ve Got Nothing to Lose

Back at the beginning of 2013 when I published THE TRIP, I got in touch with Jose, a really cool guy who runs Final Boss Studio. Jose and a small and talented team are producing…

Group Dynamics in Fiction

Most stories will revolve around more than one character. Sure, you'll have one character who's central to the story and who basically owns it - but you need more people for this character to interact…

How Long Will This Take?

I was conversing with another indie lamenting about his sales figures (which aren't much different from mine - depressingly low). It got me thinking... Back when I was in high school there was a show…

Man in front of sign that reads "Sorry"

Story Anti-Patterns – And How to Fix Them

In programming we have a concept called an anti-pattern. This is a flawed approach at fixing a problem that causes more problems than the original issue it attempted to fix. Because of their ubiquitous nature,…

Room on the Boat

When I first started making movies, I felt like I wanted to work with everyone who answered a casting call. Over time I've gotten better about this. Don't get me wrong, telling someone no is…

Embrace the Absurdity

2015 saw me work on my first animated film, In the Dark (Full video at end of post). It was my first animation and (as of the time I'm writing this) it's been the most…