Wednesday, June 24, 2009

CineVegas is over and I had a great time.

CineVegas is over and I had a great time.

It was a bit shortened this year, and this made it more difficult to both volunteer and participate in the festival. I did work the box-office for the third time in my ten years of working the festival. It seemed the lines were longer at the box-office, but the loading of the theaters went smoother.

I made a point to see the picture that Trevor Groth was hot on at his presentation at the Coffee Bean a few weeks ago. I have to say that it was the best hamster mover I had ever seen. The basic plot was after a young finds out that his best and only friend, a dwarf hamster named Etienne, has terminal cancer, he decides to take his pocket pet on a bicycle road trip to show him the world before he has to put him to sleep. It was a terrific student film, but hardly a major motion picture as the credits suggest.

I spoke to the director, Jeff Mizushima, in the CineVegas headquarters. He ended up winning the Filmmaker to Watch Award for his film. I complemented him on getting the film made – this is a tough thing for young filmmakers – and asked him about his plans. Chris Gore joined us. He is a writer, filmmaker, speaker, television host and commentator who has built a solid reputation as an outspoken voice in the independent film world. His original site is Check his (outdated) personal website I have heard him speak at the a couple years ago.

We discussed why young filmmakers are at a loss as to using their project to make money. It is a challenge to just get the film made. Actually using it to make money is a very difficult concept. Since he did not have distribution for his film, I suggested building a marketing program. He might start with a video. He should build videos as DVD extras. He had an original song in the film performed by a local band. They were performers at a party at the festival. I suggested that he reedit the footage into a music video and use it to get a lot of hits. He could also reedit the scene of bike crash into the car with the unused footage about the bike into a tree that he discussed in Q&A after the film. This would be a kind of outtakes reel. He nodded. I later checked that indeed he had posted a video to almost a year ago. It was dull. At the time it had about 1000 hits. Check it out if you want, He needs to work harder to get some buzz to pre-sell his film. The student videos (of varying quality) on THIS blog have gotten over two million hits. Getting noticed is possible. Making money is OK. You can use it to do more of the things you like to do… like make movies.

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