Sparknote: MFA Producing Course

On Producing:

Your first ten minutes must be really good!

50/50 rule: spend 50% for production, and 50% for marketing and distribution.

Hire a producer of marketing and distribution, and do not allow this person to get involved with production. Make him/her responsible for still photography and all kinds of publication.

Triangle: fast, cheap, good.

Sundance 3 standards: critical appraisal, audience reaction or buzz, and jury reaction.

For festival submission, hit the big ones (A-level) first before you go small.

Hollywood producers strive to work with the A list – Spielberg or Scorsese, or to work with the indie A list – the next Spielberg or Scorsese.

Learn to deal with rejection. People reject you for all kinds of reasons that you don’t know (physical appearance, jealousy, bad mood, busy…), it’s just part of our lives. Send a film to 30 festivals, if it still hasn’t gotten in any, then forget about it.

Never give up! Alway, think about Jeremy Lin at the mere though of giving up. It usually takes a super long time for the caucasian world to acknowledge an Asian person. It’s mostly because of their stupidity. However, by the time they do, this Asian person is already way beyond the game.

On Job Application:

For every job application, you must follow up! Don’t be lazy.

For short term purpose: make a good impression that you are a strong candidate is more important than becoming a strong candidate.

For long term purpose: make a strong candidate out of youself.

Use a strong 5 minutes clip as your sample reel than a cinematography reel.

People might be reading your resume on a bus. You better make sure that it’s interesting.


Sparknote: On Documentary Filmmaking

This is what I felt during editing that I could have done better during shooting my thesis documentary project:

1. Inhibit the desire to respond to people’s comment right away!

2. Don’t force someone to speak English if his/her first language is not English. U will get boring and terrible quotes.

3. Get the quote, the sound bite!

Sparknote: Directing Film Techniques and Aesthetics

Today anyone with something to say and access to modest production equipment can direct a movie of some kind – that is no longer the barrier. To be successful means having inventiveness and tenacity, an ability to get the best out of a team, a strong sense of vision, and an abiding love for the process of making films.

In a multi-disciplinary medium requiring strong social skills, as well as intellect and character, it is seldom possible to predict who will emerge as truly capable.

It’s more important to find out something to say, and you will figure out better and better ways to say it.

You will need a competent crew, a well-chosen cast, and the skills and strength of character to get the best out of everybody. You will need to understand actor’s frames of reference and the various states of consciousness they pass through. For directing means bringing together people of very different skills and mentality. It will be a struggle to keep everyone going while you hold onto your initial vision.

A good director knows ow to keep demanding more from the cast and crew while making each person feel special and valuable to the whole.

You need the self-knowledge, humility,m and toughness that commands respect in any leader.

You have to supply faith and perseverance! (I believe and I persist)

The ability to make much out of little is a vital one and shows up throughout cinema history.

A preparation in film, depending on what you absorb, is an education in photography, light, electricity, drama, writing, narrative construction, design, sound, composition, acting, and organization. Your time won’t be wasted, no matter what you end up doing.

Sustaining a commitment to filmmaking may be impractical if your primary loyalties are to family, community, and material well-being because the industry is informally structured, unpredictable, and assumes initiative and a total commitment in the individual.

At the local end are Web site development, wedding videos, advertising, corporate and educational films, and up in the stratosphere are the national or international high-budget feature films. Indie shorts and features are somewhere in the impoverished middle.

A truism: people only become good at what they are passionate about.

It is unsuitable for those who are undisciplined, unreliable, and non-perfectionist. Equally unsuitable are those whose egos, hostilities, and insecurities prevent them from working with (or especially under) other people.

1. The meticulous, committed craftsperson (usually crafts other than directing).

2. The craftsperson with an author inside struggling to get out.

3. The craftsperson who is a fully realized visionary.