Why We Don’t Need Hollywood Production Values

Why We Don’t Need Hollywood Production Values

Hollywood isn’t just a collection of far-left freaks and mutants.

It’s also a colony of inbred dinosaurs. I call them, The Club. They have been hiring each other’s kids for four generations, and the original bloodlines have clearly and obviously run thin. Hiring an incompetent armorer just because she was someone’s daughter is typical. They all have to look after each other’s interests because they can’t make it in the real world.

They are illusionists who need to convince everyone that only their unique skill sets can deliver high-quality production values.

This is a lie.

I’m sure the Corridor Crew isn’t on our side but that is irrelevant to this post.

This is what can be produced for a micro-budget that is more innovative than what a major studio like Disney can deliver.

This next one is a better example. I recommend skipping to 15:55 and then going back to watch the process of creating this dual.

We.

Don’t.

Need.

Them.

So don’t be intimidated by the size of your wallet if you want to make your own John Wick.

Okay, I’m done here.

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Comments (12)

  • Michael Maier Reply

    This has been obvious for years. I’ve been extremely disappointed in the lack of great independent films.

    20 years ago, I bought my kid brother a digital 8 camera and worked with his “company” and made a few films. It was slow and difficult. And they even lost footage on a few projects when tapes went missing (sabotage from a vindictive ex-wife was suspected). Today we can backup easy and never lose anything. Heck, you can probably do it in real time during filming.

    Now, everyone’s has a phone that is a more capable camera and the home PCs and editing software are more powerful and yet, where are the breakout films?

    I don’t go looking, but I only ever see lightsaber duels or fanfilm previews. No stories worth paying attention to. It’s all about flash to get attention instead of just telling a story.

    We should be seeing a lot of great stuff. I just don’t get it. Maybe kids’ attention spans prevent anyone from working hard enough to make even a short film?

    October 26, 2021 at 6:28 pm
    • Talos Valcoran Reply

      Distribution is probably one of the key chokepoints – getting movies into theaters or onto streaming sites where it can generate a profit (or the pitfalls involved in selling rights to a streaming service to carry it…) all undercut chances an independent movie even gets made outside of enthusiasm for the craft.

      October 26, 2021 at 7:45 pm
      • The Dark Herald Reply

        Getting into theaters is much easier than you think. The theater owners were treated like shit by Hollywood during the lockdown. At this point they want products that will keep them out from under the yoke. The first week’s release from a Hollywood movie makes them no money except for popcorn. Almost everything goes to the studio. They will be happy to give a listen to a better deal than that.
        .
        Finding a friendly streaming platform is pretty easy at the moment but that won’t last. Although you are going to have to go with one of the lesser-known specialty services. But you won’t be locked into an exclusive venue if you take that route.

        October 26, 2021 at 8:34 pm
    • ElRojo Reply

      A very big reason why we are not seeing more “independent stuff” is that access to wide distribution is still completely controlled by the pedowood club.

      These “flash to get attention” spots are a side hustle for exactly that – to bring in more mainstream gigs that keep the lights on.

      How are you gong to reach a wider audience when all avenues are currently being rigorously gatekept?

      You not only need to have the cash to independently make your Film or tv series, but then find someone with enough connections to get you good distribution.

      Maybe thigs have changed enough between the film companies and theatres that you could work directly with the theatre companies. But how do you get them to pay attention to a film made by people they don’t know?

      Big uphill obstacles for anyone without pedowood connections.

      October 26, 2021 at 9:22 pm
    • The Dark Herald Reply

      Dig through Amazon video and you can find quite a few small-time productions that aren’t fan films and aren’t too bad either.

      October 26, 2021 at 9:24 pm
  • Christopher Lopes Reply

    The technology is certainly there and has been for a while. My first glimpse of that came from the fan film Star Wars Revelations. The chase scene through the space yard was as good as anything from ILM. So the potential to supplant Hollywood is certainly there.

    October 26, 2021 at 8:52 pm
  • Uncompliant Reply

    Along these lines, I recommend everyone check out some of the great fan films that are uploaded to Youtube. There are some really good Star Wars fan flicks. Good stories even for the short flicks. Many have excellent “production values.” “Darth Maul,” “Rebel Scum,”
    “Vader: Shards of the Past” and “Dark Legacy” are some of the best. Also check out “Star Wars Origins.” It’s excellent. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a paean to George Lucas’ two best film franchises. There are some interesting LOTR fan films too. And others

    DH: You occasionally run pieces on “good-and-free” content to watch on Youtube. Might be a fun topic idea.

    October 26, 2021 at 8:57 pm
  • Christopher Lopes Reply

    Vader:Shards of the Past is absolutely amazing. Like other such films, it was made by people who actually love the franchise.

    October 26, 2021 at 9:22 pm
  • Uncompliant Reply

    Adding some others: “Dark Resurrection” — good story and excellent “production values” (particularly once they get on the ship)
    An excellent example of do-it-at-home editing (but quirky story — I liked it) — “The Weight of Forgiveness”

    October 26, 2021 at 9:31 pm
  • WOPR Reply

    One idea is to use some good, but lesser known, public domain sci-fi. That gives you the basis for a script. If you pick an author that has a shared universe, you can get some reuse of sets and effects.

    The Dust channel has a bunch of sci-fi shorts. They range from horrible to quite good.

    October 27, 2021 at 12:30 am
  • Michael Maier Reply

    YouTube and other domains host videos. You don’t need to get anything into a theater. Give away DVDs or CDROMs at conventions just to get attention and beg for donations. Get your story out there.

    Focusing on movie theaters (even though renting one isn’t that expensive, my brothers have managed theaters for decades) and fanfic only confines independent filmmakers to ghettos.

    We have other distribution streams. Do what Larry Correia does for Monster Hunter books. GIVE AWAY the first book / movie / episode. You can’t bypass the gatekeepers by playing by their rules.

    October 27, 2021 at 1:30 am
  • Scott A.H. Ruggels Reply

    I see a lots of discussion on the subject of making fan films. I would suggest strongly, that this is not the way to go, because one does not own the IP that is used and the studios official indifference, or tolerance of fan films, is directly related to its inability to be monetized. One cannot make a fan film for any sort of profit, as the demise of project Axanar has shown us. So rather than put effort into a fan film, tell your own story with an IP you own and can monetize to your heart’s content. Besides, most of the top current IP had been so poisoned by wokeness, the paying fans have become apathetic and have walked away. Make your own universes to explore and play in.

    Film making has been massively democratized, but interfacing with the real world, such as stage rental, set construction, vehicle and equipment rentals, and location permits and insurance is not cheap. Having worked on several small independent films and fan films, while you can do a lot with less, there is still a ground floor in terms of expenses.

    If you want to attract a paying audience, first of all, be entertaining, and be professional about it. Don’t hire Patreon backers, or crowdfunding whales screen time, especially if they are fat and unattractive. Keep the on screen talent to decent actors. Pay your talent, then, because people will show up on time, and put up with more difficulties when there is a steady paycheck, or a contracted pay out at the end. Don’t skimp on sound equipment. Poorly recorded dialogue, and bad sound tend to be hallmarks of indies and amateur films. Even supposed blockbusters have had their earnings crippled by bad sound. Tenet is the poster child of bad high budget sound. Sound is often more important than the visuals in conveying the story, and establishing the mood or tone of a scene.

    In terms of the visuals, keep things well lit. It can even be done with few actual lights if placed well. There is a cinematography book out there, entitled “Painting with Light” by Robert Alton which goes into that hst in detail, as he was one of the main cinematographers of the Film Noir movement of the 40s and 50s. Good cinematography really is painting with light. When photographing you subjects, using short lenses and being close to the figures has become the trope of bad indie cinema. To get that Hollywood look, put the camera a lot farther back, and use a long lens or a zoom lens to tighten up the composition. Longer lenses also allow you to emphasize or blur the background behind your actors. Clarity of composition is most important so as to allow the audience to understand the movement within the frame. Study how films you like are shot, and emulate your favorites.

    Good films are “show” not “tell”. Make sure the script can reflect this within your budget and capabilities. With the script, that is the spine of your film, and should be in its own right a compelling read. Imagine the dialogue spoken by specific actors, and write it accordingly. Woke films share the same flaws as Christian films, and Chinese war films. The flaw is the characters become unrelatable archetypes, either flawless in their nobility and skill, or irredeemably evil and implacable in their conduct against the protagonist. Their competence reflects to how much a threat they are to them. We are all sinners. We all have flaws. It how the characters address those flaws that make them interesting. It’s why Marvel Comics outsold DC in the 1970s, because Peter Parker was more interesting than Clark Kent. Over coming their sins or making an honest attempt at it is part of what makes a protagonist compelling. A film has a very limited time to tell its story to the audience, one should be efficient in what is described, and what is implied in your script. A rule of thumb to follow is that one page of script equals one minute of film. They tell you this in screen writing books but be wary of those ( especially “Save The Cat”), so as not to entirely fall into the current formulaic structure of post 2005 Hollywood.

    After the script, now it’s time to plan everything. Shot lists, locations, shooting dates, call sheets for those dates, including necessary cast and crew. The more planning you do, the smaller the budget becomes. It is the unplanned, or spontaneous changes that really cost. Small, independent projects rarely have the the budget to “fix it in post”. J. Michael Stracynski shot Babylon 5 in a former hot tub factory in Newhall, California on a tiny budget, but he was able to tell his story so well on that small stage, because he planned out everything. He even made contingency plans in case of cast availability issues. He was so successful at this, that the show was on time and under budget. The studio hated that because they could not skim off his budget with rush fees, and reshoots. Alfred Hitchcock and animated film directors both storyboard the entire film before the cameras start to roll, most directors will storyboard the expensive action set pieces, as well as any effects heavy sequences. I know a few people chafe at the restrictions that storyboards can place on a Director who values spontaneity , but it saves money in the long run. But above all when the planning is done, clearly communicate those plans to the cast and crew, so everyone understands the directors vision.

    If everything goes right and you still have money in the bank, now comes editing and post production. Editiing is where the story becomes concrete. Editing can make or break a project. Just research how Marsha Lucas saved the original Star Wars from some of George’s excesses Marsha made it a very tight, and compelling adventure from Georges somewhat rambling script. Look at the difference between Justice League and The Snyder Cut. Studios often edit for time, so they can book more showings a day at the theater, but as independents, you needs not worry as much about that. Edit your project to be as long as it needs to be, but no longer. Don’t bore the audience. Being entertaining is the overarching goal. Other post production items such as effects, musical score, sound mix and design, and color grading have too be decided on, but are subject to taste, and decisions must be made by the director on how to proceed. Most of the post tasks will be the frosting that fine tunes the emotional tone of the film. But without those, the film, once edited should still be a compelling story on the screen, even without that final glossy pass.

    Having worked in film I thought I would offer some advice for those thinking about making a film outside of Hollywood. There are other channels that can offer DIY methods for Gil making such as Film Riot, thst can help one achieve a professional look without breaking the bank. I really look forward to seeing some good , non-converged visual storytelling, and some good genre escapism without a guilt trip. Good luck and I hope this helps.

    Scott

    November 26, 2021 at 5:31 pm

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