Archive for October, 2007

JAMAN Gives Independent Films a New Outlet for Digital Distribution

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Independent filmmakers from around the world are embracing a new website called JAMAN – as a new means for showcasing their work. At this time, Jaman houses over 2,000 independent films and they expect to double that in the up coming months. The company is embracing the social aspects of the Web 2.0 world by creating an interactive community and delivering “better-than-DVD quality” films from indie filmmakers. Filmmakers can upload their films directly to the website and Jaman members can then rent, download and/or buy it.

Jaman upgraded their site this month by improving their search capabilities into a new Movie Finder. This search tool allows you to find the kind of movies you want to watch by adjusting the 4 category “sliders” that match your search criteria. You can adjust from – (1) Serious to Funny, (2) Mellow to Charged, (3) Deep to Shallow, (4) Tears to Bullets [see picture below].




The Dialogue Series: Screenwriter Interviews

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

I recently discovered a new (to me) screenwriter interview series called The Dialogue: Learning From the Masters (also available on Amazon and Netflix. Each 90 minute DVD has an exclusive interview with established screenwriters like Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) [IMDB Info], Jim Uhls (Fight Club) [IMDB Info], Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Color of Night) [IMDB Info] and several others. Each episode explores the craft of screenwriting via a one-on-one interview conducted by film industry veteran, Mike De Luca [IMDB Info].It’s interesting to see the different processes utilized by each screenwriter. For instance, Paul Haggis relies on outlines as a way to structure his thoughts and ideas when constructing his screenplays. He used this approach while developing the script for “Crash” – which began years after he was carjacked in real life. From there, he outlined a series of questions that led him to all the intersecting story lines that earned him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Jim Uhls in the other hand despises outlines. Uhls feels that they restrict the creative process by making you “serve the outline” – which shuts down your intuitive side. His process involves taking copious notes for character development. This even includes writing fictional interview sessions with the characters. Uhls plays the part of the aggressive interviewer, who tries to push his characters buttons – revealing their true selves.

The Dialogue Series was released last year, but YouTube has a channel promoting it with 12 of the interviews in condensed 10 minute clips. Here are some of the notable ones – including the Haggis and Uhls samples that I’ve mentioned:


Get “Creative” With Your Film Score

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Music can be an essential part of film’s emotional connection to its audience. As an independent filmmaker, you may not be thinking about that aspect of your film until you are in post-production. Although you will have this budgeted in pre-production, you may not have accounted for all the costs involved in licensing music. There’s a great article at that explains some of these details:

Properly securing the rights to popular songs is expensive. To use any song, you need to obtain two different licenses: The Master License and the Synchronization (Sync) License. The Sync license grants permission to use a song’s composition (all the lyrics and the composed music)–this is often owned by the performer/composer. The Master license is giving permission to use a particular recording of that song in your movie–often the recording label/company owns this.” [excerpt from MicroFilmmaker Magazine – “Tips & Tricks – Music & Score”]

This even includes the “Happy Birthday” song. If you have a scene in your film that has the characters singing “Happy Birthday” at a party, you’ll need to pay the copyright owners for that license.

Independent artists – be it filmmakers or musicians – have similar goals and obstacles that can form a symbiotic relationship of sorts. There are many resources out there that can help you get quality music for your film from indie artists as yourself.

MySpace is a great place to find, sample and contact indie musicians that want exposure for their music. The Foureyedmonsters directors (who I’ve blogged about before – 1, 2) have utilized MySpace for their film and podcasts.

Some established composers want to “give back” to the indie community from which they came from. Moby – the techno composer/DJ/activist, is now allowing independent and non-profit filmmakers to use his music in non-commercial projects. He’s made about 60 songs available. “If you want to use it in a commercial film or short,” Moby declares on his website Moby Gratis. “Then you can apply for an easy license, with any money that’s generated being given to the humane society.”

Creative Commons licenses have also emerged as a godsend to indie musicians who want to expose their music to the public without the restrictive copyright laws enforced by the RIAA. Filmmakers can now take advantage of the flexibility of these licenses which invite multiple uses of a musician’s work. Here are some sites with available CC licensed music: