Meet the Mayfarers

Top 12 Tips for Making Films & Web Shows

1. Be honest and open: If actors have to take their clothes off – do it on the first day!

2. Just like in a restaurant, atmosphere trumps all:  If you’re not able to pay top dollar, then pay in set atmosphere – good food, good people, lots of fun. Its like hosting a party. If you make sure everyone is happy and having fun – good results will happen. (however, unlike a party, imbibing a great deal of alcohol does not help)

3. Don’t sweat it. You can’t control if someone likes your work, just if you enjoy it.  Everyone has an opinion. Form your own. One man’s “Best Picture” is another man’s “Pretentious Picture.” Likewise, one man’s “Quotable comedy” is an other’s “Snooze Fest.” Make the project you want to make. You can only please yourself.

4. Get rest. If you have to choose between an extra hour planning shots late at night or extra sleep – choose the sleep – the more sleep you can get the better you can make those decisions, even if they are at the last minute.

5. Focus on what matters. If people are paying attention to the color of the wall in the background, or that the background light doesn’t match, they’re not paying attention to the story or characters, and you’re screwed anyway.

6. Be in the Moment. If you’re thinking about Stanislavsky, Method, or Motivation while you’re acting, then you’re not “being” the character.  The same with writing – if you’re thinking of structure while writing dialogue it won’t feel real. Just get the characters to talk.  When you’re rehearsing, or outlining the story, then use all your learning, but when you’re actually doing it – go with your gut.

7. Embrace failure. The more tripping, stumbling, and outright fall off the cliff crashes you have, the more you’ll learn, and the better you’ll be.

8.Be open.  Editing the film is actually the final draft of your script. Be open to changing everything.

9. Be prolific. The more you write and film, the more times you have to fail, to learn – the more you don’t fall in love with anything, the easier it will be to ruthlessly look at and edit your work.

10. Be a kid. Remember the moment you wanted to be a filmmaker? An actor? A writer? The first time you picked up the camera? Got up on stage? Whatever it is, remember that moment, and always think of it. It’ll get you through the hard parts.

11. Don’t be an asshole. There is no such thing as competition with other filmmakers. Help everyone.  The only person you can be in competition with is yourself. As long as you win that competitive battle, you’ll always get better.

12. Be yourself. If you don’t know who that is – find out. Without knowing that, you’ll never be able to make anything.

Lasts updated on January 18th, 2010. Tags: , , , , , ,
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New Announcement

kc_horiz_whiteSo I’ve got some great news. I’m excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Koldcast.tv in a deal to distribute “Meet the Mayfarers.” Koldcast.tv is an innovative company that is dedicated to releasing and supporting online episodic content on the web. They realize that the future of entertainment is online. After many discussions with David Samuels, who owns and runs the company, I am convinced that they have the passion to push our show onto the next level. In the next few months “Meet the Mayfarers” will be available on Tivo, and the Microsoft Zune player, as well as other outlets. That’s right – Mayfarers can be watched right on your TV screen.

Koldcast.tv is re-launching the show today with the first three episodes. Next Wednesday, they will release episodes 4 & 5, and will continue the pattern of releasing one episode every Wednesday for a year.

The show can be found on http://www.koldcast.tv/

Thank you everyone for your help and support over the years. And even if you’ve watched the episodes already, I invite you over to Koldcast.tv to check them out again. They’ve got some great things in store.


Lasts updated on August 7th, 2009. Tags: ,
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New Web Shows

world-mapTime Travel and World Domination.

These are the subjects of the two new web shows we shot this last weekend. We had a great two day shoot, mostly in an office complex with a heavy use of greenscreen. It was a blast to try out a style totally different than “Mayfarers.” The shows are both comedies, one about time travel, one about Super-villains. One will be in a somewhat traditional sitcom format, one will be interactive. However, both have a pretty bizarre tone of humor.

My intention was to try smaller story arcs, not the year long arc of the current show. However, shooting these sparked many new story ideas, which we may shoot in the coming months…so that plan may go by the wayside. As for a release schedule, I’m hoping to release one of the new shows later this year, but we’ll see how that goes, as editing always does take forever, especially with green screen.

In any case, thanks for making our launch so successful last week. Please subscribe here for new episodes of “Meet the Mayfarers!”

Lasts updated on July 28th, 2009. Tags:
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The art of trailers

I uploaded the official trailer for “Meet the Mayfarers” today.

I think that cutting trailers is one of the most difficult things a filmmaker can do. (well, other that actually selling a film that is)

How does one convey everything needed and necessary for the story, without giving too much away? How to show off some of the jokes without killing them when they watch it? How to keep it concise and interesting. And most of all, since trailers have been done to death, how do you make it unique and not a self-parody?

If you look at film trailers most of them are pretty bad. They either give too much away (the cardinal sin in my book) or are so disjointed you can’t understand it. I think the correct one should be “less is more.”

I remember I was interning at a production company once, and I had the opportunity of watching a film trailer being cut for a big budget film. I was amazed that every single moment and frame was fawned over, analysed, and debated.  – it was an incredible learning experience. They went through new cut by new cut. However, no matter how many times the trailer changed and the scenes were rearranged, the producer always wanted the trailer to end with one image. One golden comic image:  a screaming half-naked fat man in a shower.

True story.

And when I finally saw the trailer in a darkened theater it was completely different than in the editing room. Every shot was different. But that screaming half-naked fat man? Yeah, he was still there.

In any case, I hope you enjoy the new trailer. I hope it gave you a taste of everything, without giving too much away. And I hope you appreciate that I resisted resorting to slipping in any scenes of screaming overweight nudity.

Lasts updated on July 9th, 2009. Tags:
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Oh, I get it now!

lightbulbI’ve never been interested in documentary film-making. I enjoy watching them, certainly. And there are many docs out there that are better than narrative features. But it never interested me as a creative endeavor.

I would listen to doc filmmaker friends tell their experiences and I thought I would never want to do anything like that. I couldn’t imagine walking to the set, with no clue if you’re going to get any good material that day. Let alone the editing process where there is no clear direction.

A few weeks ago I saw something that made me “get it.” We were shooting a corporate gig, interviewing “testimonials” and in the interview process found so many random, fun quotes. Each person we interviewed was in essence, a “character.” It was fun seeing these magic moments come to life. I turned to my friend, who is a doc filmmaker and said, “I get it.”

In that moment I get the allure. I get the thrill of going out and discovering new people, new stories, new worlds, of using reality to paint a a picture on film, rather than trying to create reality out of nothing. He even said it was easier, because it’s “already real.”

It doesn’t change my love for narrative, for the “ah-ha” moment of getting story ideas, having actors become characters, or the thrill of turning fiction into film. I don’t want to make a documentary anytime soon.

But now, finally, I get the appeal.

Lasts updated on June 8th, 2009. Tags:
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Location as Character

rockport-photo-shoot-101One of my favorite aspects of film making is using location as a character. This stuck me when I recently visited Bruges, Belgium. I had just seen “In Bruges” and, as the title suggests, the town is an integral part of the film. When walking the tiny, ancient streets, I already felt as if I had known the town. The location was necessary for the story, and was a fine combination.

Of course this is done frequently, but not as much as one would think. Woody Allen does this, most notably with “Manhattan” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” It’s something that I tried to do myself in “The Wayfarers” in the shots of a seaside fishing community – using the ocean, fishing boats, and small harbors to support the story of a family of lobster fishermen.

With new inexpensive and small equipment, I think it could be a tremendous opportunity for filmmakers to travel the globe and make stories about cities most people have never heard of, with visuals few have seen. However,  I also wonder if the increasing use of green screen and studio shooting is going to take away some of these location based films.

To me, the wide shot establishing the local flavor is as important as the close up of one of the faces of the leads…

Lasts updated on May 26th, 2009. Tags:
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Mayfarers Trailer

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