Thursday, January 28, 2010

The end of an era

For those of you not keeping up with the industry blogs, here is some sad news. Miramax, famed independent film distributor is closing it's doors after 31 years. Truly the end of an era. Please click HERE for the full article on First

Now, a question for you to ponder.

Up until very recently, there were only two ways for an independent film to reach an audience: film festivals and risky distributors. Is this a sign that internet marketing and distribution is killing off the distribution industry? Thoughts? - Director Eve.

Mark your calenders!

Double click the image if you are having trouble reading the print. See you week 5! Cheers! - Eve.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

HDV Camera Package for SALE!

One of your peers has a camera package for sale. Please check the posting below.
Pro Sony HDV Camcorder for Sale
Shoot in 1080i native 16:9 No more DVX Squeeze!
Sony Professional HVR-A1U 1/3" CMOS Digh Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens Shoots HDV/DV/DVCAM Sony Shotgun Mic Sony battery = 1 extra high capacity battery soft Case Dual XLR extension module AV calbes Shoots (3mp) stills to memory stick 16mb Memory stick duo included UV and Polarizing lens filter kit (sunpak consumer tripod available for no charge if desired)
$1950 (list $2699 for base camera pkg)
Contact to inquire.

If any of you are looking to pick up or unload equipment, let me know. I'll post it!
Cheers, Super Director Eve.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two opportunites

1. Career services has sent me an e-mail regarding the following: A local filmmaker will be shooting a short documentary on a provocative subject. He needs a competent video student to shoot the documentary on HD. Travel and food expenses will be compensated. The filmmaker plans to market the piece to the festival and cable broadcast circuits. The subject matter was unidentified and will be discussed to interested students during interview. Please contact the filmmaker Shawn White at to set up an appointment.
2. A family requesting that a video student mentor their 17 year old girl in videography and editing. The girl owns a Cannon Vixia HFS10 and a PC. Basic operations of both camera and software would be needed. This opportunity may lead to a long term mentorship. This could be a good opportunity for anyone looking to earn extra cash in their spare time. Jan Reddy has posted this ad and can be reached at 212 206 8167.
If you know of any opportunities, crew calls, etc. please e-mail me. Thanks! - Eve.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

IRS and the Freelance Dilemma

. . . is the title of a very interesting article posted on the AWN (Animation World Network) site. Click HERE for the article.
Most of you have had part time or full time positions with a company. Taxes, social security, 401Ks, workman's compensation and health care are responsibilities you seldom consider because their burden is handled by your employer. You'll notice on your pay stub that a percentage is taken out of your base pay (by the company) to cover various taxes and benefit payments. Therefore, you don't have to worry about paying those benefits.
But what if you are your own employer? As a freelancer, you dictate who you work for, your rate, and when you work. Sounds great! Right? Well, most of the time it's great. The headaches are enormous when April comes. Freelancers have to be meticulous at their budgeting. A large percentage of their income has to be set aside for taxes and benefits every year. A freelance artist cannot look at a job and think, "Wow! I'm getting paid $50 an hour!" After taxes, the artist must look at the reality of that hourly wage; $35.45. Due to the financial crisis, the federal government is cracking down on hiring practices. This effort is weighing heavy in the NY and LA area entertainment industries; where the workforce maintains a population of freelance artists.
Here is a basic scenario to illustrate the relationship between the employer and the freelance artist: Company A hires you (freelance artist) to work on project 1 for three months. Company A gets a contract for project 2 after project 1 is completed. Company A asks you to continue your work with the company until project 2 is finished. Then comes project 3. And so on, and so on. Technically, Company A should have hired you as a full time employee after project 1. Company A did not hire you as a full time employee so they do not have to pay for your benefits. The term "Permalance" has been created for artists who find themselves in this situation: contiuious employment without the benefits of a full time position.
This practice has been going on for years in both LA and NY entertainment markets. The situation can be looked at both sides as positive and negative.
Artist: up side - you can dictate your own rate, you can work wherever you choose for however long you want to work. down side - you never have as much money as you think you do, you never know where and when you next job will be coming from.
Company: up side - the company can claim it has a work force of 20 people when they market projects that took 50 - 100 people to complete, the company can advertise a variety of styles and talent per project, the company only has to pay taxes, facilities, and overhead on 20 people, not 100. down side - there is no guarantee the artist they advertised is available for the project they need, several other companies can advertise the work of the same artist which makes competition fierce for talent
- I know people involved in all aspects of this scenario. Some people are happy the government is finally taking interest in their situation. Some people are furious the government is dictating their affairs.
The AWN article, I posted above, feels like a long propaganda piece for the company MBO, in my opinion. However, that shouldn't take away from the ideas they are discussing and the mission statement of the firm. Please look for yourself and form your own opinion. When you do, let me know your thoughts. Cheers, Director Eve.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

This is not the video you are looking for . . .

. . . or maybe it is.
Originally, I wasn't going to post this video because not one element photographed is actually shot in reality as we know it. "The Third and The Seventh" is a short animated film created by architectural visualization artist Alex Roman. The concept was to take architecture that existed around the world and recreate it in 3D CG (computer generated) space. This way the artist could photograph a space the way he wanted without the constraints of budget, weather, lighting, crew, or technology. I am posting two videos here for your viewing pleasure: the film and the breakdowns. The invitation is for all video students to review both films. It is important for you, as a filmmaker, to understand how all components of production work. Understanding post production will make your life easier when you are shooting.
If you have any questions about the compositing reel, please ask me. I'll be happy to answer them! Cheers, Eve. - Thanks to Jen Hahn for bringing this to my attention.

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

Compositing Breakdown (T&S) from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another look at the importance of STORY. . .

I wanted to bring two things to your attention today.
1. Posted above is the 1943 Disney organization chart. (Thanks to! If you have trouble reading it, just click on the image.) I wanted you guys to notice that even though this is an animation company, everything begins with story. This company wouldn't exist without memorable characters (to sell toys and costumes, of course!) and heart wrenching plot (yes, I too cried when I saw the beginning of Bambi and Up). Walt Disney was a master filmmaker because he understood that a good story sells films.
2. I also wanted to post an interview with game developers Jordan Mechner, original creator of the 1990's game Prince of Persia, and Eric Chahi, creator of the game Another World. While they are best known in the gaming industry, they've been known to write and conceptulize screenplays and graphic novels. Both of these developers were asked to discuss a director's roll in modern game design. However, the conversation steered off topic to include the core reason why people collect and cherish comic books, films and games: STORY! Click HERE to read the article on Gamasutra. Pay attention to their comments on influence. . .
As always, let me know what you think in the comments section. Super Director, Eve.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Career Services Week!

Welcome Back for Winter 2010!

Welcome new students of the Digital Filmmaking Program!
Welcome back to the returning students of the Video Production Program!
Some reminders:
Returning students - remember to get cleared in the gallery and pick up your official schedule. The department is being strict with the security policy so please review it and be aware of your responsibilities when scheduling your rehearsals and shoots. A copy of the policy can be found on this blog under the AiNYC links.
New students - remember to bring your kits to the first week of classes.
All students - * Check your syllabi the first week. Go over the assignments week by week to make sure you are prepared for the class. Dave and I will be available this week and next Tuesday to make changes to your schedule. * Remember the school is closed next Monday January 18th for MLK. The building is shut down and there are no classes. * Consistantly remind yourself that you have chosen a career with value and personal satisfaction. The time you spend in school is precisous. Don't take it for granted!
Thanks for checking into the blog! Keep coming back regurlary for updates! I am updating every day!
Cheers, Super Director Eve.

Friday, January 8, 2010

TV Studio Changes

Thanks to our cage managers and cage workers for cleaning and organizing the TV studio!
Now that the studio is organized, I am requiring that you guys keep it that way :) Please replace all props, flats and equipment when you are finished with your shoot. We only have one shooting space so please help out in keeping it clear.
The "ON AIR" sign outside of the TV studio has been repaired. Admissions are constantly giving tours of the space. Please make sure the sign is turned on if you are shooting in the studio and do not want to be disturbed.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Think Outside the Quadrilateral Parallelogram

Seems like a majority of Video Production majors in this school want to be music video directors. After visiting VP classes and portfolio review, I noticed a taste for music videos has popped into the agendas of almost every aspiring filmmaker at AI. And why not? Play music you like, go and film a bunch of random nonsense, then edit to a pre-determined beat. It's a fast and easy way to work.
Unfortunately, we live in a society where every music video we can think of is at our fingertips. Therefore, audiences are bombarded with alot of the same. As an experiment, try finding a genre of music you enjoy (rap, r&b, jazz, pop, classical, etc). Find the artists that perform within that genre. Compare/Contrast their music videos. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that the videos tend to blend together. Rap videos are characterized by women in bikinis, men with 40's and baseball caps, expensive cars, someone running down some neighborhood street, etc. Pop videos have overused the model shots of the lead singer mouthing, longingly into the camera about heart ache over a lost lover, leaving a lover, or getting back to a lost lover only to have them leave. (Oh, irony!)
The point is that music video genres are like film genres. They tend towards following some formula to lure a familiar audience. Example: An audience of horror movie fans expect to see someone get killed in the first ten minutes of any horror film. Fans are likely to be disappointed when they are not getting their formula fix. However, the exception to these formula rules are passed around and showcased between fans when they introduce something different that surprises and excites. An example of this is the Japanese horror film "Audition", which has been hailed as a cult classic. There is no violence in the film until the last half hour of the movie.
This Jay-Z video did just that to me. In the video posted below "On to the next one", he is introducing the world of "high-art" to an audience that would normally never go to an art gallery or have knowledge in art history. The director, Sam Brown, is using imagery that mimics the photography of Man Ray and art sculpture from Damion Hurst. I appreciate Jay-Z's choice to bring something new to the tastebuds of hungry fans. While the imagery is not original, at least it stood out among the sea overused themes.

Something to think about while you are brainstorming for short projects or thesis projects: Introduce something that surprises you, as an artist and person, into your work. I encourage all of you to look at your GenEd classes in this way. Ex: When your teacher is lecturing about the Modernist period in Art History, take a serious look at the paintings. How can you mimic those compositions in your film frame? Do the colors evoke some kind of emotion? Can you mimic a similar color scheme to create an emotional pallet in your film? Start asking yourself these questions. Constantly do research in areas that are unfamiliar. Explore!

So, what do you think? Agree, disagree? Let me know by commenting on this post. Get a conversation started.
Cheers, Director Eve.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Winter Quarter!

Hello Students!
Welcome Back! I hope you all had a relaxing vacation!
Early clearance begins tomorrow. If you can make it to campus, come to pick up your schedule, clear any holds, and get your books. David Nash and I will be available to clear your account or address any issues you may encounter. If you have situation that needs attention, please e-mail me or Dave to schedule an appointment. Our e-mail addresses and hours are posted to the right. Both Dave and I have tight schedules this and next week. We will be able to accommodate you with a scheduled appointment.
For new students, welcome to the awe and wonder that is the Digital Filmmaking/Video Production department! You know you are excited. Don't lie.
There have been some changes over break so keep coming back for updates on the Cage, TV Studio, security, equipment, and other great news. Information will be revealed over the next week.
Super Director Eve.