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Archive for October, 2009

Halloween is filled with witches, wizards, zombies and pirates. And, yes, you can spin any of those costumes into becoming film-related too. But this is the industry filled with imagination; we must be able to come up with something more unique…

One memorable year I attended an industry Halloween party as something indeed film-related: a blonde. A blonde, you ask? Yes. Me as a 2K studio light…including grip stand and complete with barn doors. If I ever find the picture again, I’ll have to share it with you.

What memorable Halloween costumes have you made or seen?

Happy industry hauntings to you!

Cheers,
Deb

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Gosh you gotta love free document templates!

First of all, I have to say that I’m in the process of writing an updated edition of my book “Film Production Management 101“, and therefore also updating the free downloadable forms (http://shop.mwp.com/pages/film-making-resources), making them available in a more interactive format. The new edition – and links – won’t be on the market until sometime in 2010, so I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I found this great site with template documents like call sheets, release forms, location agreement, DPR, and so on. So surf by and enjoy: http://www.vancouverfilmproduction.com/contracts.html

Remember, of course, that template contracts, releases and agreements do not replace the need for a lawyer, but they can help you to draft an excellent first draft for your lawyer’s final pass – thereby minimizing legal fees.

Cheers,
Deb

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Inspiration helps our minds to change track, and therefore our actions and outcomes. Negativity breeds on itself. Think negatively, and you’ll act negatively. Changing the mind’s track to a more optimistic way of thinking is tough… especially when it’s a whole crew – especially the key crew – trading negative thoughts.

You need a symbol of change.

The calendar itself has a numerous “new years” if you consider all religions, school starts, season starts and so on, but these dates may not be convenient to your situation. If they are, all the better. You can make a “new year” any day of the year… by using a symbol of change, like a candle, for example. What better way to “light the way”?

Gather the key crew for a meeting, discuss the power of thought, and design an informal type of ceremony around changing people’s thought patterns – basically choose a time and date that will be your “new year” and choose a symbol of change that will work for your crew. You could start with a black candle (of “negativity”), and from it, light a white candle (of “optimism”), and then together blow out the black candle. Then charge the key crew to spread the new optimism to the rest of the crew. You’ll be amazed how well it works.

Light the way!

Cheers,
Deb

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With pumpkin season upon us, I remember a year I hosted a pumpkin carving contest on set. The parent company wanted to have multiple carved pumpkins for their (amazing and one-of-a-kind) halloween party, so we supplied the production with a collection of pumpkins, and we held a contest.

As host, I knew I wouldn’t have time to carve one myself, so I nabbed some black camera tape and decorated my oh-so-orange sweater with the face of a jack-o-lantern. I figured it would be good advertising, a obvious in-your-face reminder for the crew to find and carve a real pumpkin on set.

So, a  pumpkin carving zone was set up in craft service, and during the hurry-up-and-wait of set, all kinds of folk lent their hand and creativity to carving a slew of fantastic pumpkins: scary ones, comic ones, traditional ones. They were great!

The producer reluctantly accepted the job of judging the winner of the contest. A tough job, because in this creative industry you can imagine how imaginative and diverse the pumpkins were. How could he choose one winner?

So, he surprised us all… he judged me to be the winner with my homemade jack-o-lantern sweater! Nothing quite like being the “pumpkin of the set”…

Happy pumpkin carving!

Cheers
Deb

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With festival season still upon us, I can’t help but think about all those industry parties and about meeting both old friends and making new contacts… and handling the inevitable business cards that come along.

1. Use Two Pockets – A blazer works well. Keep your cards in one pocket – the “out tray”, and cards you receive in the other – the “in tray”. Your cards will always be instantly accessible, and you’ll never pull out a stack of other people’s cards when searching for the last few copies of your own.

2. Set Yourself a Quota – Nearly everyone I know finds it hard to meet new people, especially at industry parties. Set yourself a quota for the party, like: “I’m going to hand out 5 of my business cards tonight“, or “I’m going to collect at least 3 business cards at this party“. Yes, this type of quota requires you meet people, but is focussed on the goal, not the people, so may be easier for you to strike up conversations with new folk. You may then find yourself on a roll and exceed your quota… and have a great time doing so.

3. Carry Spares of Your Card & a Pen – People do forget to bring business cards, run out of copies, or not have one. Bring extras of yours, and a pen. The back of your business card will do to write contact information of these folk. The pen is also useful to customize notes onto their card (that you receive) immediately to remind yourself later of the conversation or the topic you two want to follow up on together.

4. Research Who’s Attending – In advance, you should have at least a sense of the people who will be attending the party by who is hosting. Is there anyone in particular you really want to meet? Plan what starting conversation you may use to break the ice with that person, and target to exchange business cards. You don’t have to become fast friends at the party itself – you might even meet at a later party and can follow up on the conversation from the first one.

5. Use the Cards Soon Afterward – Finally, as soon as you can after the party (though not necessarily that night!), use the contact information on the cards to follow up with at least a “nice to meet you“.

So, dust off your business cards and start trading. Happy industry partying!

Cheers,
Deb

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