Independent (Film, Video) Articles

Filmmakers: What to Expect from Your First Film Festival

Photo by Cvitko BelasYou’ve finally done it. You’ve made a film — most likely a short — and you’ve been accepted to your first film festival. So, what should you expect? Well, first thing’s first. I don’t want to burst your bubble (after all, getting screened at a film festival is a big deal — it really is) but it’s important not to have any illusions about what this means for you as a filmmaker.

Getting into a festival is like any other career achievement. It’s something to enjoy; it’s something to put on your resume; it’s an opportunity to gain some exposure and make some connections. It’s very rarely, however, a giant breakthrough that results in funding for a major production. After all, there are hundreds of film festivals in the United States alone, with thousands of filmmakers screening their work every year, yet when you see commercials for upcoming Hollywood releases, almost none of them were directed by filmmakers who just got discovered at a festival.

Tags: directing, Film, film festivals, film screenings, filmmaker, indie film, producing
Posted in Directing (Film, Video, TV), Film, Video, Television, Independent (Film, Video), Producing (Film, Video, TV) | 1 Comment »

What’s an Ethnic Actor To Do About Typecasting?

Photo Copyright Albert Chan PhotographyOne of the big complaints I hear from ethnic actors is the problem of typecasting. A Latina actress friend of mine once told me about the problems she was having with a director. “He didn’t have to explicitly say it, but I knew that he wanted me to be that sassy, finger-snapping Latina with attitude,” she complained. “And I didn’t want to do it.”

As an actor of East Asian heritage, I have been well aware that East Asian men have historically been typecast as martial artists and gangsters, and are typically not romantically involved with anyone. East Asian women, on the other hand, are usually typecast as prostitutes or as the “hot” girlfriend of a Caucasian character. In the past few years though, roles for East Asian actors have become more varied to include professional characters such as doctors, lawyers, and scientists, but there is still a ways to go for the roles to truly reflect the full range of the East Asian experience.

Tags: acting, casting, ethnic, Film, minority, race, stereotype, Television, typecasting
Posted in Acting (Film, Video, TV), Directing (Film, Video, TV), Film, Video, Television, Independent (Film, Video) | 2 Comments »

5 Tips to Get the Best out of an Onscreen Interview

Photo by WFIU Public RadioDespite the fact that camcorders and digital cameras are commonplace these days, most people grow quickly uncomfortable when faced with the reality of being interviewed on camera. Perhaps it’s the fact that interviews seem more important than casual snapshots of them with their friends or videos of them singing karaoke at a party. Perhaps it’s the fact that interviews comes with bright lights, microphones, and entire film crews staring at them while they’re answering questions about their lives. Either way, your job as a director and/or interviewer is to make your subjects as calm as possible in front of the camera. Below are five tips to help you do just that:

Tags: directing, Documentary, Film, interview, producing, Television, video
Posted in Directing (Film, Video, TV), Documentary (Film, Video), Independent (Film, Video), Journalism (TV), Producing (Film, Video, TV) | No Comments »

How Not to Be Another YouTube Idiot

Photo by Killer CarsWhat’s Your Goal?

Have you ever picked up an instrument and assumed you knew how to play without any instruction or practice? Have you ever thought to yourself, “Well, I don’t have any real experience, but I could probably be in an opera.” I certainly hope the answer is no. Why, then, do so many people think that they can just pick up a digital video camera and make a movie that’s worth watching?

Filmmaking is like any other art or craft. It requires study, practice, and a dedication to excellence. “Yeah, but I know someone who’s a really good guitarist, and he never took any lessons,” I often hear. “I believe you,” I say. “But do you really think he picked up that guitar and recorded an album that first day?” Of course not. Whether an accomplished artist has studied formally or not, he or she has most likely spent months—probably years—squirreled away in a bedroom, studio, or home office. Successful artists push themselves to perfect their crafts and to expand their skill sets.

Tags: directing, Editing, Film, film school, Television, video, youtube
Posted in Education (Film, Video, TV), Independent (Film, Video) | No Comments »

How to Be a TV Series Regular or Major Supporting Film Actor

Photo by Sean NgAs screen actors, I think it’s fairly safe to say that many of us want to land those major, meaty roles on film and TV. Some of us have had some success with under-5 and dayplayer roles, but ultimately what we really hope for is that “big break” that will thrust us into that league of being a “name” in the business.  And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were so recognizable that we didn’t have to audition anymore?

The good news is that such a desirable fate is possible for anyone, not just actors who are young and beautiful.  Furthermore, it’s not something that’s left largely to chance. Sometimes it’s difficult to feel like anyone has any control over their own acting career, but contrary to popular belief, there are many ways to concretely increase your chances of being the next big name, regardless of what your “type” may be.

Tags: acting, Agent, casting, Film, Hollywood, indie film, Manager, Television, video
Posted in Acting (Film, Video, TV), Independent (Film, Video) | No Comments »