Archive for January, 2012

Stella Management has a great summary California child labour laws and work hours for film sets here:


Though your production may not be based in California, for early planning purposes anywhere, this page gives you an excellent overview of what hours you can expect are reasonable for child performers. Of course as you near production, ensure that you abide by the local laws.

Cheers & a good shoot to you,


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Does the new year have you needing inspiration from multiple sources (to help you with direction in the industry)? My publisher charged about 50 MWP authors to come up with 10 reasons it’s a great time to be a filmmaker and assembled them into an eBook.

Rather than pages and pages of lists, the eBook is like a living room full of about 50 diverse authors who all take the idea “10 reasons…” and speak from their POV on the subject. Some of the many interpretations are bound to reach you at whatever stage you are in your career. Check it out on the MWP website (where I believe it’s free when you sign up for the MWP newsletter). You can also find it on Kindle. A nice, inspiring new year’s gift to yourself.

Rather than a list myself, here are 3 of my most favourite nuggets from the eBook… Why it’s a great time to be a filmmaker:

1. “To transform our characters, our audience and ourselves” (from Stuart Voytilla, author of Myth and the Movies)

2. “You are a storyteller” (from Rona Edwards, co-author of The Complete Filmmakers’s Guide to Film Festivals)

3. And from MWP’s own VP, Ken Lee: “…push yourself in your areas of weakness rather than relying on your strengths and what you know you can do. You’ll learn more about yourself when you challenge yourself.”

What speaks to you in the eBook?

Cheers & an inspiring new year to you,


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How Many Parkas?

I have an industrial-strength parka that’s so big and thick that it stands up by itself. It’s perfect for standing around on set amid the depths of a Canadian winter. I’ve tried various combination of gloves and mitts over the years and found a combo of liner and mitt that actually warms my hands during those frigid outside days that never appear to end. On the feet… liners, sub-zero socks and heavy-duty Sorel winter boots, of course. I can be ready for the worst of outside winter weather.

Or so I thought…

After a trip to the Yukon in January and taking a dog sled ride I was rightfully humbled. The host – barely regarding me as he organized to prepare our trip – handed me a parka. I protested, saying that I had brought my own “real” parka, and started to explain its sub-zero features. He looked at me plainly and said: “You’ll need this one too.”

I was speechless.

I’ve filmed outside in minus 30, wearing but 1 parka. I’ve filmed dog sledding – albeit in Ontario – and wore only 1 parka. I’ve seen “Snowbuddies” and other films featuring dog sledding. No matter how bad the weather, I swear they were each only wearing 1 parka.

But sometimes film does not reflect life.

My host was so right. Layered parkas were essential. A human parka blimp, my body could take the cold and windchill as we sped across the frozen Yukon River. And what a ride it was!

Remember a time when your preconceived notions (from film life) surprised you in real life? Sure it’s great to watch it (on film) but it sure is awesome to live it, no?

Cheers & a warm shoot to you,

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