Archive for August, 2009

So where do you gather your news about the film industry? There are so many sources, you could spend all day reading and tracking down information in the trades, blogs, newspapers, magazines, journals and so on. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, through enewsletters, print subscriptions, the list goes on. Sticking with free enewsletters, these are my favourites:

Variety (variety.com) – Not only do they have an excellent enewsletter that covers USA and international news, but they also have an super “Slanguage Dictionary” so you can understand phrases like: Prexy inks a skein in Gotham.

Hollywood Reporter (hollywoodreporter.com) – Another great enewsletter for USA and international industry news.

ShowbizData (showbizdata.com) – Super for to-the-point news, and lots of stats.

Playback (playbackonline.ca) – This is the trade to follow for Canadian industry news, and they highlight career postings on each enewsletter, as well as the front page. Nice touch.

Screen International (screendaily.com) – This enewsletter is from another premiere magazine, and rounds out perspectives perfectly for me, with the UK point of view.

After a healthy dose of the trades, I also include Mediapost Publications (mediapost.com). You need to be a bit selective with your choice of news and blogs or you will overload on information and emails in your intray.  With the convergence of technologies and medias, the information these fellows provide is a much needed, wider, different perspective, and often a glimpse (or guess?) at trends as they are evolving.

So… where do you read your industry news?



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Having worked with the one of the first IMAX 3D cameras ever made, I have to say that prototype equipment has a unique way of transporting us into the past.

The IMAX 3D camera being the size of a small desk requires four strapping folk to lift it. The size of the crane allowing camera movement demands fly-away walls on the set, and therefore preventing you from much location shooting. And then there is the sound – most obviously so, because depsite all baffling attempts, the camera whirs loud enough that one would consider building a small sound-proof room around it so the Recordist would actually be able to capture location sound instead of guide track.

In some ways, one is transported back in time to the birth of sound movies, seeing film crews trying to solve similar challenges with prototype equipment then as now. With such a glimpse bringing the past into the present, you know that somehow you too taking part in movie history. Cool.


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Life can teach you about filmmaking even when you’re not making films… here are 3 things I learned from my Grandmother… a unique fireball of a woman who knew nothing about the film industry:

1. If you can’t do it, keep trying
My grandmother didn’t have much education – nor access to education. She was a single mother when social norms looked down on such a situation, and though she was far from being a good cook, she spend most of her life making a living from cooking. She learned by doing, and never gave up. No education? No excuses. That’s a work ethic worth importing into a film career.

2. Make and eat dessert
Though she couldn’t really cook, my grandmother sure could bake. She collected a veritable ton of dessert recipes and her desserts were fabulous. Cooking was survival to her, but baking was colour of life. May we remember to taste the dessert of life as we slog through the survival of a film career.

3. Always wear clean underwear
She never lived to see blogs and Facebook, but her insistance of always wearing clean underwear is a good reminder for today’s e-world. Whatever we post on the web, or say to each other on the set is remembered for a long time, often searchable, and sometimes poorly interpretted. Make it clean. Don’t air any dirty laundry that could embarrass you later in your career.

Tasty desserts and a good shoot to you!


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“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and… snap!… the job’s a game!”
  – Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins – 1964)

I find that if you look at each task (separately) of any job on a film production – be it above- or below-the-line, it is easy to trivialize the work. A director has to remind the actors which scene preceded and follows this scene; the actors have to walk in or out of a building… the list goes on and on.

Each small task, however, is critical to a larger whole, though we can easy become bogged down in the details and forget to see the bigger picture. When sometimes I cannot see the whole purpose for all those busy little details, I reach out to Mary Poppins to remind me to make a game out of any task that I do, and so start enjoying each step of the way again. I recommend you follow her lead and enjoy the fun!


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