Category Archives: film education

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with Craig Knitt & WildWood Film Festival 2/17

Criag Knitt WildWood Festival Co-Founder

Join Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat guest Craig Knitt Wednesday morning 2/17 at 10:30am ET, 9:30am CT 7:30am PT. Craig will discuss movies, movie making and the upcoming WildWood Film Festival held in Appleton, this Friday 2/19 and Sat. 2/20. Be sure to attend!
Be sure to listen to Craig. We may even get his to talk about graphic novels and his art.

Join Us As We Broadcast Live Wednesday Feb 17, 2016 10:30 am EST, 9:30 am CST, 7:30 am PST: To Listen Live OR To Listen to the recorded archived show click the bolded link below:

Craig A. Knitt is an award winning artist, filmmaker, teacher, performer, writer and creator who is currently employed with a national Arts-based pilot between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Green Bay and the Wallace Foundation.

Craig is a founder of the Wildwood Film Festival, a festival dedicated to Wisconsin film talent. The past three years Craig has also been a volunteer for the Sundance Institute and the Sundance Film Festival.

When Craig is not busy teaching visual art, he is busy creating film projects or performing Improvisational Comedy with ComedyCity – DePere and DinnerTime Comedy.

He has many short and feature length concepts in the works and he hopes to develop a TV series that will be completely created using the resources of our fine state. 

Craig was the male lead in last year’s “Secrets of the Dead” which was premiered at the Gerold Theater in Weyauwega.

Wildwood Information:

The Wildwood Film Festival’s purpose is to promote Wisconsin film talent (actors, directors, writers, composers, editors, etc.). The festival strives to educate high school students and adults in film basics – script writing, story boarding, filming, lighting, sound, editing and marketing.

History

From its humble beginnings, the Wildwood Film Festival has been consistently dedicated to Wisconsin film talent. With its fifteenth event it will have showcased over 500 films that all have connections to the state.

The very first Wildwood Film Festival was held at the Historic West Theatre in Green Bay in 2001. The three-day event showcased ten films (including “The Hunt”, a full-length dark comedy created by the festival’s founders).

The weekend was a great success and sparked a second event that played for a sold-out crowd at the Crescent Theatre in downtown Shawano. 

Aspirations grew from there, and the festival found its roots in Appleton. Events have been held at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) and the Big Picture Theatre.

The Wildwood Film Festival continues to grow each year and the commitment to Wisconsin filmmakers and film talent is just as strong.

2016 The WildWood Film Festival is held in Appleton, Wisconsin. Coming up this Friday 2/19 and Sat. 2/20. Be sure to attend! For more information use the link below:

For More Information WildWood Film Festival

Remember to visit the official Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat at

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat

Hope to see you all at the festival! Help Spread the word!

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Weyauwega International Film Fest Aftermath: Movies, Director And Class

casting call clap board

It was a great festival. Nov 11-14. Ian Teal and Kathy Fehl, Holly Martin and staff and volunteers put on another great film festival. Number 5. If you missed it you missed another one you should have attended.

Great films and great people. Good hanging out, good conversations, good food and drink. All in all – a time well worth it.

We left, after the closing night party. I drove Jacob, Marie and Louis back to the Green Fountain Inn B & B in Waupaca. We were all pretty beat. Said good night and went to our rooms.

Sunday 11-15. I wrote my, daily inspiration and gratitude blog, as always starting about 3 am. Finishing up I went down for breakfast and to work on computer at table around 6:30. At this time I also loaded my car. I discover my tire looks a bit flat. Hmmmm

I had to leave by by 7:30 to make it back for a morning event. Later, I would film my role in, ‘Two Sides Of The Street’, a SAG short subject I was asked to appear in. Barb delivers breakfast around 7 for Jacob, Marie and I. After finishing a delicious meal Marie and I say goodbye to Barb, one of the owners of the B & B, and to Jacob. Louis slept in.

I drove Marie to Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Airport where she caught a plane back to Los Angeles. It was an enjoyable time talking all the way. I did stop and buy an emergency tire inflation canister and put that into the tire. We made it.

I left her at airport went to my morning meeting. From there my friend Jill accompanied me to the location for filming. My darling daughter dropped by, briefly, too. We finished filming some hours later. When I got to my car I discover a lovely note, my daughter left, on my windshield. Awesome girl!

Filming was fun, lighthearted, fast and easy. It was a very nice time. Special thanks to director Scott Covelli, Brian and Mike Hendricks and Matt Hudson. They were a lot of fun and made things easy. When completed Jill and I dined on delicious Mexican food. I felt as if I had consumed a small child when finished. It was tasty.

Recently, the Pro Cinema Society and I sponsored a SAG/Aftra workshop presented by Kathy Byrne of Chicago SAG/Aftra. During our time together she addressed how easy it is to utilize professional SAG/Aftra talent in student films, shorts and Ultra Low Budget contracts. It was a good session.

I asked the film crew on ‘Two Sides Of The Street’ the SAG short I appear in how easy it was to make it union so I could be in it. They stated they were amazed and delighted how easy and pain free it was. Paperwork was nothing and they were glad they did. I am glad they did too.

POINT- investigate, find out and you too can go SAG/Aftra. It isn’t worth it. Even some filmmaker friends of mine have been skittish because of contracts or paperwork. Don’t be. Read it and make your movie or short.

I arrived home early evening but it seemed late, after midnight. I relaxed, said hello to those I had left behind and enjoyed the company.

7:25am (present) Monday 11-16: I got some sleep. Woke at 3am and began writing blog again.  I will leave shortly for the university.

I have a guest coming to class. Director Michael O. Sajbel. Michael worked Visual Effects in movies, ‘Hot Shots’, ‘Lawnmower Man’, ‘Broken Arrow’ and others.

He writes and has directed, ‘The Ride’, ‘One Night With The Kind’, and ‘The Ultimate Gift’ and others. I am looking forward to his talk with my students.

Class was great. Michael come accompanied by his daughter Anastasia, and his assistant Sean. He spoke about how he got his start writing in Hollywood. He encouraged students to follow their passion.

He reminded them to remember basic survival skils while pursuing a career. Discover where you want to live, rent don’t buy a house, the need for a car, where to meet people and emphasized networking.

He told stories of working with actors and the importance of good communication skills. This is a must. Then, he shared some stories of working with difficult stars. He was candid and fun and added value to the class. This continued later.

When finished, he offered to stay and continue to speak with students who could stay. A group of students and the four of us went to the Student Union and chatted for hour or more. More tales and more sound advice.

From there the four of us went to Soup Bros for lunch. Enjoyed more conversation and good food. After another hour or so we parted ways. I returned to the computer to publish this post.

So that wraps up Weyauwega time and a short while after. Life returns to normal for a time being. I am so glad I had the opportunity to again make this festival. It was my forth year and it gets better each time. Next year, perhaps, I’ll meet you there.

Meanwhile, make your movies and complete your projects. Join me on my Inet radio show and podcast Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat – Visit INTERVIEW at the official website: Rex Sikes Movie Beat . There are over 400n hundred hours of pro filmmakers sharing their expertise. Listen and learn.

Also join me at ‘Inside The Film Business’ at  my Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat channel on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. I am video recording, via skype, my professional filmmakers who address my class. Watch, listen and learn and in both shows, RSMB & Inside The Film Business.

Enjoy!

Weyauwega International Film Festival – Day 3 Nov 13

film reels weyauwega window

The 3rd official day, as I report, begins with breakfast conversation with Marie, Jacob, director Nathan Deming and myself. Food and coffee is marvelous at our wonderful B&B. I posted an awkward angle photo of a portion of my room on Facebook, just because.

Conversation was great. We learned a lot about Nathan’s project, screened yesterday and a feature he is currently in production on. Plus, lots about the Zimbabwe culture, and our filmmaker’s  stay there. Fascinating morning talk.

It is now after 1pm and the afternoon, Friday the 13th horror shorts and features began. Since Wednesday I haven’t seen a film I haven’t enjoyed. I don’t review movies, as a filmmaker, I prefer to enjoy other’s work because I know the effort that goes into projects.

I will point out one I did just enjoy. From Switzerland, the short film ‘Alekto’, was impressive in scope and effects for a 20 minute short. The afternoon horror shorts definitely creepy so far. Good stuff all around.

Nelson Oliveras, director of ‘A Dubious Night’, and his writer producer Mark Koch just arrived. Nice to say hello.  I happen to be in the short film so it is fun to be at the festival have some work shown too, this year. Nelson, Mark and I were called up for Q & A.

Question and Answers with documentary director Michael Brown followed his film, ‘Haunted State: Whispers From History Past’. Both shared haunting experiences while filming and investigating haunted historic buildings in Wisconsin.

Producer David Williams shared tales as well. They have a twelve person team of filmmaker investigators. Some of the locations included, The Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee,

The Stone Cellar in Appleton, as well as locations in Wisconsin Rapids and Merrill, Wisconsin.  The used a number of high tech investigator tools.

They point out that the film comprises the greatest hits, so to speak. They may sit in a room for over eight hours and end up with 20 minutes of material they then edit into a film. Lot of waiting and wondering during that time. Film fan s benefit from the editing.

Both filmmakers seem quite adamant about their experiences and not screwing around with these things. Both explained that they have been genuinely frightened while looking into these matters.

Spoke briefly with the director Brown and turned to see long time friend R. Michael Gull and son sitting at table. Michael appears in the Wisconsin made narrative feature ‘The Scarapist’ written and directed by Jeanne Marie Spicuzza who also stars. Based on a true story.

Michael received deserved audience accolades and answered questions at the film’s end. A disturbing movie to say the least! I got to chat again with Michael on the way to grab some food between flicks.

Then, I met, said hello to New York film director, M. Louis Gordon, just prior to the start of his short ‘Girl In The Chair’ shot on 16mm.

HIs film opens,  oddly reminiscent of Speilberg, Harryhausen, and ‘The Sound of Music’ if you can imagine such a blend. Clever, and fascinating mix of live action and animation.

Based on a true story, Louis stated he did not want to make a standard biopic. His blend, I described above, he said was inspired by and an homage to the Quay Brothers. I’ll say no more it is up to you to see it.

The narrative feature, ‘In The Dark’ directed by David Spaltro followed. Well acted possession horror. Wisconsin’s  Slasher Studio, ‘Dimembering Christmas’ directed by Austin Bosley was next in line.

I very much enjoyed the camera work in this feature. NIcely entertaining. Three of the filmmakers answered questions afterwards. Kevin Sommerfield, Marla Van Lanen and Zachary Allen.

They addressed shooting in winter, surviving the cold, the steadicam and actors on ice and more. One steadicam shot/scene was 5 plus minutes, timed and rehearsed; took 4 takes to get right. Fun film and good Q & A. I enjoyed chatting with Kevin and Zachary afterwards.

Closing the evening films is a Canadian feature ‘Luciferous’. Profoundly disturbing. It is after midnight and the festival resumes 10am tomorrow with panels and more!

Keep checking back – use this link – I will post updates throughout the day. Enjoy!

Weyauwega International Film Festival Day 2 – Nov 12

compulsion

Year five, day two of the Weyauwega International Film Festival is underway.

The day began with breakfast at the B &B with English Documentary filmmakers Jacob Hesmondhalgh and Marie Josephine Hobson. Their film ‘The Family and The Animals’ was filmed in Zimbabwe.

The we went super market shopping so they could by snacks and enjoy local flare, Wisconsin cheese and more.

It is now 1pm and the Gerold Opera Hostel is bustling. This afternoon starts off with a presentation from film historian Dr. Jack Rhodes. He presents the 1959 movie ‘Compulsion’ starring Orson Welles, Diana Varsi, Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman.

Directed by Richard Fleischer, Compulsion is set in 1924 Chicago and is based on the historic Leopold and Loeb murder trial. I saw it as a child and many times since. I am looking forward to the presentation.

Lot’s of food, snacks, drinks, popcorn and candy sold as film fans and filmmakers make their way into the theater.

Dr Rhodes stated he wanted to include this movie showing because his area of expertise in film is from the 20-60s. Edgy, different, studio releases from the classics period. Plus, it is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kenosha, Wisconsin native Orson Welles.

Cannes Film Festival divided best actor among the three, Welles, Stockwell and Dillman. Welles appears at about 67 minutes into the film and has one of the longest uninterrupted courtroom speeches in film history.

Similar to television series, Law and Order the first half of the film is about the crime, ‘the crime of the century’; the second half ‘the trial of the century’ the trial. Film also includes recently passed Martin Milner as a featured character in the movie. Other notables include E.G Marshall and Richard Anderson and Gavin McLeod.

Made during the era of the production code filmmakers had to find alternative ways to let audience know that the criminal partners were life partners.

Watch for the oval cupids in background during the staircase scene, or the dutch angels meaning tilted, and in one scene one literally exists the closet, meaning coming out of the closet. Dialogue, ‘are you ditching me for some girl?’ ‘Well, I couldn’t find you for three days.’

Daryl F. Zanuck producer chose black and white purposefully and recreated old world Chicago. Checkout the Art Direction and Production Design.

The Art Director, Lyle Wheeler,  won 5 Academy Awards out of 24 nominations. These were, ‘Gone with the Wind’, Anna And the Kind of Siam’, ‘The Robe’, ‘The King and I’, and ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’.

Willian C Mellor, Academy Winner, for Place in the Sun and Anne Frank. Check the credits for all the notable filmmakers who made this film. Among his notable credits is George Steven’s ‘Giant’.

Knock yourself out looking everyone up on IMDB.com Then, make sure you check out the film. A wonderful introduction by Dr Jack Rhodes.

Dr Rhodes conducted a fun post movie Q & A with other great tirvia coming forth. Welles, admits at his age he could not remember all the dialogue so he used a teleprompter. The difficulty keeping the prompter off camera. Proudly, Welles, asserts, ‘I did it in one take!’

That plus much more made it a fun afternoon of vintage movie watching. Short program begins in a bit!

Just met Milwaukee area author, director Ron Faiola and his producer John Prudlow prior to the screening of their short ‘Tilt-A-Whirls, Cowbells and Beer’ an exploration of Milwaukee area church festivals.

Slogan seems to be ‘Drinking for Jesus!’ This is Wisconsin and no one needs a reason to drink OR any reason will do. But ‘drinking for Jesus’ will now remain close to my heart.

Faiola is also known for ‘Wisconsin Supper Clubs’ film and the book and ‘Fish Fry Night Milwaukee’. Ron has become known as the filmmaker chronicling Wisconsin and unique Wisconsin happenings and rituals.

Ron and Jack fielded questions after the shorts segment. They discussed topics in the film; cost of festivals, weather, safety, dwindling numbers of festivals as a result, drinking, feeding, gaming. and more.

Wisconsin has it’s own way of entertaining itself. 10 years ago there were over 200 festivals. Today, that number is down around 120. What is next?

The USA/Australian Documentary feature ‘Polyfaces’ features one of the world’s best farms in action.  Workers from the farm answered questions during the Q & A. Great discussion on nutrition and sustainable farming practices.

These people now have relocated to a new farm in Princeton, Wisconsin. They have a much smaller farm and follow the tenants of Polyfaces. They cater special events and weddings with healthy food.

Today represented the 2nd US showing of Polyfaces. It is the first showing since it’s premiere and they chose Weyauwega. It is  a fascinating film and following discussion about how we could be eating healthier more often if more farms had conscientious healthy practices.

Shorts followed. Director Nathan Deming was in attendance answering questions about his short ‘Dog Days’. The film was his thesis project for the London Film School, in England. Crew working on Dog Days  came from Wisconsin, California, Norway, Spain and Lebanon.

Deming, graduated the film school and is now working on his first narrative feature about a young man caught up inn a religious organization.

Closing the evening will be the documentary feature ‘Peace Officer’ about the increasingly militarized state of American police, as told by former sheriff Dub Lawrence.

Lawrence established and trained his rural state’s first SWAT team who later shot and killed his son-in-law 30 years later. A sad, disturbing film on the use or misuse of deadly force.

The film ends. Conversation ensues as people make their way out of the Gerold which ends day 2. My English companions Jacob and Marie and I make our way back to the B & B. Turns out Nathan is staying there as well. Perhaps, all four of us will have breakfast tomorrow. I’ll report day 3 tomorrow, similarly as I have today.

Tomorrow, Friday the 13th brings out the Spooky movies at Weyauwega International Film Festival and begins the weekend.

Come and join the rest of us filmmakers and fans if you can!

I’LL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY SO CHECK BACK IF YOU’D LIKE TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH SOME OF THE HAPPENINGS HERE.

 

Weyauwega International Film Festival November 11-14, 2015

WIFF LOGO 2015 WEB

The Weyauwega International Film Festival will be returning November 11-14 to the Gerold Opera House in Weyauwega for it’s fifth year of films from around the globe.

This year the festival presented by Wega Arts will be screening forty-three films representing seventeen different countries. Many of the films were either made in Wisconsin or have Wisconsin connections.

This year Friday at the festival happens to fall on the 13th of the month which of course invites an opportunity to screen horror films.

Use Bolded Link Below To Listen

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with festival co-director Ian Teal

The Weyauwega International Film Festival (WIFF) has seized this opportunity to satisfy the horror hounds in Central Wisconsin and will be screening horror films and thrillers all day on Friday the 13th in what they are calling a “Friday the 13th Fright Fest”.

Most notable in this line up is the world theatrical premiere of the new feature film DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS by local filmmakers Steve Golz and Kevin Sommerfield of Slasher Studios. They will be on hand to present their twisted Christmas tale at 9pm.

Another Wisconsin film screening on Friday is HAUNTED STATE, a blood chilling documentary which explores the hauntings of several locations in Wisconsin including the Stone Cellar Brew Pub in Appleton, the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee and locations in Wisconsin Rapids and Merrill. The filmmakers including director Michael Brown of Appleton will be in attendance for the screening of HAUNTED STATE at 3:30pm on Friday.

The other Wisconsin film is the psychological thriller THE SCARAPIST which tells the tale of a distraught women who is let astray by a very demented therapist. The writer, director and star of the film, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza is expected to be in attendance for this entertaining thriller which screens at 5:15pm on Friday.

For those looking for a good possession tale there are two offerings. IN THE DARK by New York filmmaker David Spaltro offers a very spooky and original demonic possession tale featuring a mostly female cast which screens at 7pm.

At 10:30pm LUCIFEROUS promises to raise the chill factor with it’s story about a family that is being tormented by a very nasty entity. This unique tale features a real couple and their daughter as the onscreen family. This especially creepy film has lately been honored with several awards on the festival circuit.

Of course WIFF is not all about horror films. Some great feature films and documentaries as well as a wide variety of short films will be screened this year.

Wednesday’s lineup includes the documentary THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO CHARLIE at 5pm about outsider artist Charlie van Ness who started out making a wide variety of art objects featuring phalluses. The filmmaker follows Charlie for several years and his persistence pays off as there are some very unexpected and harrowing developments in Charlie’s life.

At 7:30pm on Wednesday the Sci-Fi film EMBERS screens. EMBERS is set in a post apocalyptic world where a global virus has wiped out the memory of everyone it infects. This is no zombie or Mad Max marauder flick, it is a very thought provoking and touching existential tale of identity and what it is to be human.

The films follows several characters as each morning they awake with no recollection of the day before or who they are. This film is a real conversation starter and is also beautifully filmed. EMBERS has an encore screening on Saturday, November 14th at 2:15pm.

Thursday features the classic 1959 court room thriller COMPULSION about the Leopold-Loeb murder case starring Orson Welles screening at 1:30pm.

The film will be introduced by noted Film Historian Dr. Jack Rhodes and it is also a free screening. The documentary POLYFACES screens at 5:15pm and examines the unique and highly sustainable farming practices at the Polyfaces Farm in Virginia.

This film is a real eye opener about the potential of sustainable farming and should be a must see for anyone environmentally or agriculturally minded.

At 8pm the extremely timely documentary PEACE OFFICER examines the results of the recent surge in the militarization of our police forces.

In Utah, a crime scene investigator offers clear and insightful examinations of several extremely violent cases involving SWAT teams. In a sad note of irony, this examiner’s family also becomes the victim of an SWAT raid gone wrong.

This film is one of those ‘Must See’ films for anyone who is a citizen of this world.

Saturday starts with a filmmaker seminar with local filmmakers Dan Davies, Craig Knitt and Rex Sikes at 10am.

An encore screening of the previously mentioned EMBERS screens at 2:15pm. The very entertaining romantic comedy DIRTY BEAUTIFUL screens at 4pm.

The documentary about Wisconsin Supper Clubs, OLD FASHIONED screens at 6pm with the filmmakers Holly L. De Ruyter & Brian Risselada will be in attendance and of course Old Fashioneds will be featured at the Gerold Opera House’s full bar.

The closing night film is a documentary about the state of photojournalism in Afghanistan. During the Taliban regime all photography was banned and women were severely oppressed. FRAME BY FRAME follows several young Afghani photojournalists who are again facing the threat of another uprising by the Taliban.

This film shows a truly beautiful side of Afghanistan that is rarely seen while simultaneously illuminating the dark reality and horror of oppression in a society that seems to be forever doomed.

This is an outstanding film and festival director Ian Teal states that this is a ‘must see’ of the fest. FRAME BY FRAME screens at 7:30pm and will be followed by an awards ceremony and reception with complimentary appetizers and of course, conversations about film.

The historic Gerold Opera House is celebrating it’s one hundredth year in 2015 and is only about a 25 minute drive West of the valley in Weyauwega and is conveniently located off of HWY 10. There will be soup and sandwiches available for purchase as well as fresh popcorn and a full bar so plan to make a day of it.

Tickets are $12 for a day pass which are good for any one film or a whole day of films. Festival passes are $30 and are good for the whole festival and also include a free large popcorn!

The full schedule can be found at wegaarts.org. Festival passes can also be found online and at the Book Cellar in Waupaca & at Rural Relics Antiques in Weyauwega. The box office can be reached at 920-867-4888. See you at the Gerold!

Flyway Film Festival #8 – Workshops – Days 1 And 2

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SPECIAL POST FLYWAY NOTE: PLEASE READ!!!

Those who attended the festival this year – PLEASE share your experience. What is/was your favorite memory, film, conversation, moment, etc. Let us all share with each other. I really want to hear from attendees. When I post I can only post what I experience, but if we each take a moment we can create a fuller living memory of the event.

Plus,those from past years who couldn’t make it this year can share what they liked from the time/s they did attend. In this fashion we can all enjoy and support flyway even after the festival. SO please start sharing everyone!!!

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Summary of Workshops Flyway # 8

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THE ART OF THE PITCH – UPDATE – 10:30 am.  Workshop with Erica Anderson. Main points, whether pitching for attaching director or cast, TV or film project, or financing:

  1. Stand for something. Care about it. People respond to your passion.
  2. What is your end game? Where is it going? Where will it end up?
  3. Who is your audience? Pitch differs according to who you are pitching. Tailor it to whom you are pitching.

Erica covered many excellent points. What are you offering the people you are pitching? Research the people you pitch. What have they done? Know who they are and their interests are so that your offer is meaningful. Practice your pitch and hone it.

Four NeedsWhy are you qualified? Why should you be doing this project?  Why is this project important? Why should it happen right now? Why should they get involved.

She covered the basics of a ‘money’ or ‘project’ pitch. She discussed elements of body language and how to conduct yourself  as a professional during the pitch.

Workshop attendees then had the opportunity to construct and practice pitches with Erica so that by the conclusion of the workshop they each had at least 1, 1-2 minute pitches they could use in the real world. All in all an excellent workshop. Well worth the time.

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MAKE A SERIES DAMN IT! – UPDATE – 1:30pm workshop with Julie Keck and Jessica King. Julie & Jessica have produced approximately 20 niche web series. Covered during the workshop:

  1. How to develop a series concept for the web.
  2. How and why to target an audience.
  3. Options for funding and distribution.

The workshop started off with a discussion of successful comedic web series. First Rule is to put your audience first. Know your target audience. Understand your audience so you know how to market to them.

They suggested you consider whose stories are being told in mainstream film and television. People gather online to discuss topics and these are ripe for story development. What haven’t you seen? What can you blend or mix that would be new and unique? Is there a place online for these?

Second Rule is think small. You aren’t a studio production. Keep it small. Use Only a few characters and a few locations. Keep it simple. Consider too the different platforms the consumers watch on, phones, computers, notebooks, tablets.

Rule Three how easy is it to share? Spreading it through social media. You want it to be cool enough that people share it.

Discussion followed on funding options: Independently funded.; Sponsored and product placement. Hand in hand with knowing your audience is knowing companies who are interested or cater to your audience. Crowdfunding.

Jessica and Julia spoke to distribution methods. Direct Distribution means you release your product through established channels. Do It Yourself (DIY) release to your own audience in a variety of ways.

The afternoon workshop ended. It proved to be an informative workshop for filmmakers on creating, financing and distributing web series. Great questions and answers followed.

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LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION – Panel 10:30 am Oct 23 What does a location manager do? To give everyone on crew a drama  free production. No surprises. Primary liaizon between location owner and production company. Always mind reading because they may received descriptions of room size and footage for dolly runs and type of equipment planned to be used.

The Location Scout receives story board, mood photos or description from producers and tries to match up with real world locales. Finding the location is part of the process. Gaining permission is the job of the location manager.

Charolette and Steve showed slides of samples of their work. Also must make sure location is returned not damaged and returned to its prior state when shoot is concluded. The L.M. notifies police and neighbors that film crew is shooting so everyone is aware.

From director Kristjan the location is not merely a place where things happens but also a character in the movie. Always visit location prior to shoot, between scout and shoot, to see what it is like in real life. How does it speak to you? It isn’t just for knowing benefits and issues of location but to get a feel for it.

Emily discussed permits and paperwork options in different cities and countries and addressed location schedule based on budget. Her recent film shot in Hong Kong which required government permissions and permission from the Triad. Her inspiration was to present Hong Kong through loving eyes as opposed to who it traditionally portrayed in film.

Nora spoke to shooting with low budget and keeping the story riveting. Here recent documentary was shot in India. She spoke about shooting in India without insurance or permits and how after these agreements were made, the producer tried to shake her down for money not agreed on. Filming always carries with it risks and caveats especially in other countries.

All in all a robust discussion from all panelists on making your location choices work for you. A fun and informative discussion with enjoyable visual samples.

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Crowdfunding To Build An Audience – UPDATE 1:30 pm Oct 23 with Erica Anderson

Focuses on crowdfunding but provides you the skills to build a sustainable career. Materials available for free on the Seed & Spark website.

Seed & Spark is a Crowdfunding and Integrated Distribution Site.

Seed & Spark wants better stories on the screen. In order to have better stories make it to screen you need to be a better business person. The workshop is to help you become a more successful independent business person filmmaker with an engaged crowdfunding audience.

Some points from the workshop follow. Time to think about:

 1. What things cost. You must consider cost in advance or needing the funds.

2. Who is your audience? Where are they? How do you get their email address?

3. Your audience must know and understand what your end goal is. Your end goal is the film project. They need to know that is why you engage them.

4. You can survey your followers and social media friends and followers. Crowdfunding begins long before your campaign begins.

5. You set the tone and must be consistent. Persist. You must create momentum and keep going for it. Need to ask realistic budget questions – how much will project cost? how much will incentives cost?

6. It is important that you succeed in your goal so you can deliver the film you promised you are going to make.

7. Think hard about incentives that matter to your audience. Have first day only incentives to start your campaign off with a bang. First week incentives, 2nd week etc.  Incentives can be delivered from the start of campaign until after the campaign.

8. People want to see the movie. How will you get it to them? When, where and how. Figure it out early on because people want to see your movie

9. Pitch video: The first 15 seconds are for your movie’s audience. Tease your audience with 15 seconds of what you movie is like. Comedy, horror, thriller, action. You have 90 seconds to say everything. Personal appeal is important.

10. Schedule your campaign in advance of it. Stick to your schedule.

Remember, this is a business. Learn the business approach and treat everything with that in mind.

There were many more important points that Erica made. Questions were answer. A valuable approach that filmmakers can utilize.

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Listen To festival director Rick Vaicius and me discuss this years program:

Rick Vaicius On Rex Sikes Movie Beat Live

Visit Flyway Film Festival Official Website:

Visit Rex SIkes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Enjoy! I will!!! AND I did, very much!

I INVITE Festival Attendees to post comments in the comment section about what their favorite parts of Flyway Film Fest are. Who they saw, films they saw, panels they attended, what they did, where they ate, how drunk they got… you know all the good stuff! Leave some comments here and enjoy!

Flyway Film Festival – Day One – Thoughts Along The Mississippi

rickvaicius-by photologic

SPECIAL POST FLYWAY NOTE: PLEASE READ!!! – AND COMMENT

Those who attended the festival this year – PLEASE share your experience. What is/was your favorite memory, film, conversation, moment, etc. Let us all share with each other. I really want to hear from attendees. When I post I can only post what I experience, but if we each take a moment we can create a fuller living memory of the event. Leave comments in the comment box!

Plus, those from past years who couldn’t make it this year can share what they liked from the time/s they did attend. In this fashion we can all enjoy and support flyway even after the festival. SO please start sharing everyone!!!

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Oct 22. Early morning: I’m watching the sun come up over the Mississippi in Maiden Rock, WI. A beautiful morning it is. I am sitting in my car for the past hour working on my blogs. The restaurant, I thought opened at 6 am, opens at 8. Silly me.  That is fine it is a gorgeous sunrise in a gorgeous location. I can use the two hours next to the river for work.

Flyway Film Festival, one of the most delightful festivals I attend, and one coming up in the world of important film festivals, takes place this year in Pepin and Stockholm, Wisconsin as always. Last year Maiden Rock was added. This year includes the incredibly quaint riverside city of Alma and Red Wing, Minnesota. Flyway has spread its wings.

Three world premiere movies take place here this festival. These are Pictures of Lily, by British director Mark Banks; Remittance, by Patrick Daly and Joel Fendelman, and Second Honeymoonby Dutch filmmaker Kristjan Knigge.

It is great to see Kristjan again. He and his cast and crew joined Jake Stetler, his lovely wife Colette and me at our table, last evening. David Potter joined us as well. Later, Jeremy Wilker did too. Non stop people visited and chatted too. Kristjan will be shooting a new feature in the Flyway area after the festival.

Great to see Vince Columbo and his wife, Frederick Thornton and Sean Hackett. Terry Reed showed up.  Kevin Pontuti and University of Stout friends, Alison Lisk (dare I mention, who gave me a nice kiss on the cheek while getting our photo taken), Diana Vaicius, Sarah Moua, Lu Lipold and many others.

Villa Bellezza Winery, again, hosted last night’s kickoff gala.  A  staple of Flyway, the Gala features one of the most impressive feasts of food and flowing drink anywhere. More impressive than some of the larger name famous festivals elsewhere.

Each year Flyway food specialists seem to out do themselves. I always out eat myself.  It is a fun time as people catch up from around the states and the world. I saw many wonderful friends last night and made some new ones.

The evening began with the feasting, then a stimulating keynote talk by Full Frame Documentary Festival’s Deirdre Haj, followed by awards and live music. Festival founder Rich Vaicius presented awards and made the opening greeting.

horizon flyway 8

Whether indoors or sitting outdoors in the courtyard after the ceremonies the place rocked with filmmakers happy to once again be together.

Late night sees us all down at the river front for continued festivities. Next to the Flyway Film Office is the breakout room or party palace The Minema. Open until 2am there is plenty for partying filmmakers to do and partake of. Many may have had to drag their butts out of there at 2pm. People party well here.

The morning workshop is in Maiden Rock at 10:30 am. ‘The Art Of The Pitch’ led by Erica Anderson of Seed and Spark. This workshop will cover building the tools you need for a successful pitch meeting: identifying your end game, crafting the story, and conveying confidence.

The class covers the basics of pitching for anything: film, tech, non-profit, to brands, Filmmakers can come prepared to pitch your current or next project!

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THE ART OF THE PITCH – UPDATE – 10:30 am.  Workshop with Erica Anderson. Main points, whether pitching for attaching director or cast, TV or film project, or financing:

  1. Stand for something. Care about it. People respond to your passion.
  2. What is your end game? Where is it going? Where will it end up?
  3. Who is your audience? Pitch differs according to who you are pitching. Tailor it to whom you are pitching.

Erica covered many excellent points. What are you offering the people you are pitching? Research the people you pitch. What have they done? Know who they are and their interests so that your offer is meaningful. Practice your pitch and hone it.

Four Needs. Why are you qualified? Why should you be doing this project?  Why is this project important? Why should it happen right now? Bottom line – Why should they get involved.

She covered the basics of a ‘money’ or ‘project’ pitch. She discussed elements of body language and how to conduct yourself  as a professional during the pitch.

Workshop attendees then had the opportunity to construct and practice pitches with Erica so that by the conclusion of the workshop they each had at least 1, 1-2 minute pitch, they could use in the real world. All in all an excellent workshop. Well worth the time.

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Lunch Oct 22 noonish: We gathered back at 6 Street String. Food there is tasty.

For many years I have maintained that one of the most productive things storytellers can do is make a television or web series. It keeps you working much longer as opposed to a one off. It can bring money into your community and be good for economic development.

There are many additional reasons and advantages to telling your stories in a series format. So, I am eager to attend the following program.

The Afternoon  Workshop 1:30 pm is called “Make a Series, Damn It!” Julie Keck and Jessica King, of Chicago’s King is a Fink Productions, have had great success in making series and will share their advice on today at 1:30. I am excited to notice that more filmmakers are thinking along these lines and I am looking forward to attending.

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MAKE A SERIES DAMN IT! – UPDATE – 1:30 pm workshop with Julie Keck and Jessica King. Julie & Jessica have produced approximately 20 niche web series. Covered during the workshop:

  1. How to develop a series concept for the web.
  2. How and why to target an audience.
  3. Options for funding and distribution.

The workshop started off with a discussion of successful comedic web series. First Rule is to put your audience first. Know your target audience. Understand your audience so you know how to market to them.

They suggested you consider whose stories are being told in mainstream film and television. People gather online to discuss topics and these are ripe for story development. What haven’t you seen? What can you blend or mix that would be new and unique? Is there a place online for these?

Second Rule is think small. You aren’t a studio production. Keep it small. Use Only a few characters and a few locations. Keep it simple. Consider, too, the different platforms the consumers watch on; phones, computers, notebooks, tablets.  Rule Three how easy is it to share? Spread it through social media. You want it to be cool enough that people share it.

Discussion followed on funding options: Independently funded; Sponsored and product placement. Hand in hand with knowing your audience is knowing companies who are interested in or cater to your audience. Then Crowdfunding was discussed.

Jessica and Julie spoke to distribution methods. Direct Distribution means you release your product through established channels. Do It Yourself (DIY) release to your own audience in a variety of ways.

It proved to be an informative workshop for filmmakers on creating, financing and distributing web series. Great questions and answers followed.

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There is much camaraderie at Flyway and I’m looking forward to all the good times ahead.

Soon, my breakfast spot will open and friends will appear.  I will report back during the festival highlights and tidbits. I may broadcast a live show here as well.

This area of Western Wisconsin is called the “Driftless Area,” where the river bluffs were left untouched by glaciers.  The opening night film tonight, Thursday, (7pm) stars John Hawkes and Zooey Deschanel star in a neo-noir romance titled ‘The Driftless Area’.

For now the sun is up but behind the hillsides. The steam rises from the Mississippi. The birds are chirping  and people are beginning to go to work. My dark spot behind the restaurant next to the water is coming to life. It is absolutely wonderful. AS is the Flyway Film Festival.

8 am: The restaurant 6 Street Sting is open. I step in for coffee and breakfast as friends begin arriving. I will add to this post and share in social media for you to vicariously enjoy Flyway. Hopefully, you will join us all someday soon!

BTW I have a new love in my life. The city of Alma, Wisconsin on the eastern side of the Mississippi. What a beautiful riverside’ village. The drive up the eastern side of the river from LaCrosse is outstanding. Going to be a staple drive for me in the future, I can tell.

In the not too distant future too, as it looks like I may be coming back to help out on Kristjan’s feature. That is an exciting new possibility.

If you have not yet attended, keep it mind for the ninth year next year. You will keep coming back each year after that. I promise you.

Check Back because I will update this page during the day.

UPDATE – post workshops.

The drive back from Maiden Rock along the bluffs and hillside decorating the Mississippi is glorious. I drove to Mineva and joined director and producer Sean Hackett and Fred Thornton, from L A and writer directors Andrew and John from NYC on the roof top overlooking the river. A wonderful time for an hour or more.

Then downstairs into the Mineva for complimentary ‘Happy Hour’ cocktails and hor ‘dourves  and great conversation with Alison Lisk and others. Alison and I adjourned around 5 pm to sit outside, eat and drink and talk look at the river. People come and go.

I leave in a couple minutes to go see the opening film. Will report back later and at the end of the evening.

EVENING UPDATE – Opening Movie & Shorts

The Flyway Film  Fest opening feature was the well made and well acted ‘The Driftless Area’. Sadly, according to the director Zachary Sluser, most of this fine feature was shot in British Columbia, instead of Wisconsin because Wisconsin has no incentive program.  B roll snippets are all of the actual area contained in the movie. He made the argument that Wisconsin needs film incentives, a point I and others heartily agree.

I asked him if there were any cons working with the unions SAG/Aftra and IATSE. He said none. Although, one did have to be smart about how they budgeted their days and they could not just go extra hours because they wanted or needed to. I asked the question because many filmmakers here and elsewhere are concerned about unions and in some cases afraid to sign contracts.

According to the answer I received, and the numerous shorts that carried the Sag/Aftra bug, I believe their fears to be unfounded. So yes, work with the unions on your pictures and lobby for incentives is my take away along with some great entertainment. I have always been proud to be SAG and AFTRA, now under one banner, and the union has been quite accommodating to make it possible for me to work with newer filmmakers.

The Shorts Program was well programmed. Fine filmmaking abounded. The films were “Daddy’s Little Girl’ directed by Chad McClarnon; ‘Little Cabbage’ directed by Jen West; ‘From The Sky’ directed by Ian Ebright; ‘Monkeys’ directed by Christopher Soren Kelly; ‘Hunter’s Fall, directed by Peter McCarthy; ‘Long Distance Calling’ directed by Andrew Gitomer. West, Kelly, McCarthy and Gitomer, in attendance, answered questions afterwards.

From there we adjourned to The Minema for food, drink, conversation, music and dancing. A great first day of Flyway. Well done founders, programmers, staff and volunteers. Kudos to you all for making our stay a marvelous one. You deserve a big round of applause!!!

I left at 1am to write theses concluding updates and begin my other blog for tomorrow. I will begin tomorrow with Day 2. Stay tuned, stay posted. If you have comments or questions feel free to leave them in the box below.

Plus, I will post separate daily pages.

Listen To festival director Rick Vaicius and me discuss this years program:

Rick Vaicius On Rex Sikes Movie Beat Live

Visit Flyway Film Festival Official Website:

Visit Rex SIkes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Enjoy! I will!!! AND I did, very much!

I INVITE Festival Attendees to post comments in the comment section about what their favorite parts of Flyway Film Fest are. Who they saw, films they saw, panels they attended, what they did, where they ate, how drunk they got… you know all the good stuff! Leave some comments here and enjoy!