Netflix for Theaters: MoviePass

In this Gizmodo article we learn about a subscription program for movie theaters.

Part of me is excited; part of me is nervous. Having worked in professional theater, I know what a boon subscription offers can be for stabilizing earned income. And in general, it’s been proven over and over again in my experience that what’s good for one theater is good for other theaters.

So can this effect transfer into the film industry? I’m sure that someone somewhere in Burbank or Culver City has run the numbers: the number of movie-going public in America, the amount who own netflix already, and a projection of who would use and recommend the use of both… It’s either going to be a life-saver of the film industry or a catalyst for major change.

As an indie filmmaker, I’ve been watching the whole digital distribution revolution with interest and while I don’t think I’m in a place where I can yet effect change, I am wholeheartedly invested in the changes that do occur. Some would argue that I should be working to effect change if I have preferences about how the dice roll; but do I want to put the time and effort into changing distribution channels yet?

I lean towards waiting.

What do you think?

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Cars 2: Under The Hood, It’s Kind Of A Clunker

I’m not one to write reviews because I love films and filmmakers and while I enjoy dissecting a film for my own edification and education, I don’t like tearing down fellow artists; but I felt so disappointed by Disney-Pixar’s most recent offering that I felt compelled to share my thoughts.

The story should have been about Mater being too afraid to be himself in the big wide world; instead it was about Mater behaving badly and getting off easy. It wasn’t about friendship. It wasn’t about anything meaningful.

It should have started with a “big promise” spy-action-type scene with Mater as the hero somewhere near or in Radiator Springs. Instead it was a car we don’t know and don’t yet care for…  In a place we don’t recognize.

Then after showing Mater with hero-potential, we could have introduced the spys and that plot.

In most stories, it’s supposed to be the protagonist that needs changing. In this film Mater is the protagonist, but he’s not the one who changes. Lightning is the one who changes. Sorta. But we haven’t really followed his story.

Sure it’s a fun ride; but the story is not meaningful.

Disappointing, Pixar. 😦

Working Background

So my husband and I just moved to New York City and to help pay the bills while I work on writing screenplays and directing short films, we decided that I needed to get a part-time job.

I needed to figure out what kind of job I could do that would be flexible enough but that would also provide a decent hourly rate.  I have an MBA, and experience producing films, bookkeeping, being a local coffee-shop girl, and even small business management; but I wanted something that wouldn’t drain me physically or emotionally.  As much as I like to play the tough, macho feminist who’s going to take over the world, I’m really just a sensitive artist who takes everything about my self way too seriously.  So I knew that bookkeeping and coffee-slinging would be too taxing for my fragile artistic soul (at this juncture).  What could I do?

Then one day it hit me!  Background work!

At first I was somewhat resistant to the idea, and to be honest, it’s because I’m kinda prideful. I’d love for people to think that I’m rollin’ in the dough, having made a ton of moolah on the feature we produced and don’t need any help getting my short film made. Well, the cut and dry of it is: the feature film hasn’t been released yet (and who’s to say how well it’ll fair at the box office once it does?), so I really do need the earn the money that we’re going to spend to finish my short film.

So in November, I signed up for Central Casting here in NYC. The very next day I was on a set silently improvising a conversation with two seasoned actors. The production was the pilot that Judd Apatow helped Lena Dunham produce. I questioned those seasoned actors and learned about other casting agencies – including Casting Networks. Shortly after, I signed up with Casting Networks.

The plan was to do the background acting for a few months to be sure I’d like it and could handle it; and if I did, I’d join SAG and earn the higher union wage (I became SAG eligible back in 2008 with a small role on an independent feature). I joined SAG back in April and haven’t looked back. It’s been really wonderful to have such a flexible job and for my job to be relatively low-stress! The early morning calls are tedious; but, boy! is it fun to be on set for a living!

Blue-Bloods-Background.png

Can you find me here on the set of Blue Bloods (S1 E14 “My Funny Valentine”)?

Also, with my producing experience, I can watch what’s going on around me with an educated eye – and I learn. I’m learning how different First AD’s function; learning how different sets are run (big ones versus little ones); learning who the best caterers in NYC are; learning what keeps background and crew happy; learning how to organize a shooting day; learning all the extra space you need when you shoot on location; and learning SAG rules. Learning all this and so much more will hopefully help make me a smarter, more efficient and patient director. I know it’s already made me a better First AD (more on that in another post).