Tag Archives: filmproduction

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!

How To Work with Professional Performers on your ULTRA LOW BUDGET Feature Film and Short Films

sag logo

Have you ever wanted to Work with Professional Performers on your  ULTRA LOW BUDGET Feature Film and Short Films?

Come down University of Wisconsin Milwaukee – Mitchell Hall Room B91 on Sunday November 8th to find out how you, can have SAG actors in you’re projects! All filmmakers and filmmaking students welcome!

This Workshop presented by SAG-AFTRA Chicago and Kathy Byrne, (Director, SAG-AFTRA Chicago) will show how you, yes, you, can afford to use professional actors in your low budget feature film!

“There is a contract for every budget level. Feature films made for under $250,000 are covered under the SAG-AFTRA Ultra Low Budget Agreement – come find out how easy it is to work with this contract. We also have simple agreements that you can sign to use professional actors in your short films and webisodes as well! If You’ve ever wanted to work with SAG-AFTRA and Equity actors this is a can’t miss event!” Kathy Byrne.

UWM campus in Mitchell B91 on Sunday, November 8th at 2 PM. Mitchell Hall is the large building on the NW corner of Downer & Kenwood. Free Street parking or pay parking at UWM Union Parking Structure on Campus.

This FREE workshop will provide you a service to highlight the benefits and ease of casting professional actors.

SPACE IS LIMITED! Please RSVP by Wednesday, November 4, 2015 to Kathy Byrne at kathy.byrne@sagaftra.org.

QUESTIONS? (312) 867-5508

SAG/AFTRA 1 E. Erie, #650 Chicago, IL 60611

Join Us! RSVP Today!!!

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!!!

************

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.

****

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.

****

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.

****

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.

****

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 Two – A Maiden Rock Voyage

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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!!!

*********

DAY TWO began, for me, at 3:30 am. I write my other blog Daily Inspiration and Gratitude. I wrote and worked until 7:30 am this morning knowing I would then make the gorgeous drive to Maiden Rock during breaking morning light on the Mississippi.

I’d arrive in time for 6 Street Sling to open and I’d meet Jake and Colette, Kristjan and gang, David Potter and others for breakfast. I arrived earlier than I thought I would by about 15 minutes. Though a grayer day, not the golden dawn of yesterday, the drive to the restaurant was still spectacular.

From there workshops today will be on Location Scouting and Management and Crowdfunding. Flyway is firmly underway and a wonderful fest it proves to be again this 8th year.

AGAIN I WILL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY SO CHECK BACK OFTEN AND ENJOY:

It sprinkles and it is lovely. Jake and Colette arrive. Don and Jerry from Minneapolis join us. David Potter just strolled in. Breakfast is being served. More peeps are coming. We discuss living on houseboats in the Great Loop, nearly 30,000 miles of waterway. Not everything we discuss is film.

Breakfast delightful. Conversation centered around saving the world, but we didn’t. Now at venue for workshops. Delightful getting to know the panelist contributors prior to the start of the program.

First Workshop: Location Location Location: What does a location manager do? What does a location manager do? How do you become a location scout? How does a location become a character in a film? What should you know when filming on location in a foreign country? Moderated by L A producer Kelly Nathe.

Click Here For Panelists & Workshop Leaders

Twin Cities-based location manager Charlotte Ariss and Pepin-based location scout Steve Anderson; Danish/English Filmmaker Kristjan Knigge who will shoot a feature in FLyway area at the conclusion of the festival; Emily Ting , who shot her recent narrative in Hong Kong; and Norah Shapiro, who shot her documentary in India; will discuss the roles location played in their films and what they learned from shooting abroad.

These experts and location-conscious filmmakers will take you through the ins and outs of finding and getting the most out of your location. They will show examples of shoots they’ve managed in rural Wisconsin and will discuss the roles location played in their films and what they learned from shooting abroad.

****

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.

****

Lunch at noon. We are back at 6 String. Tasty. After lunch is the afternoon workshop.

Crowdfunding To Build An Audience with Erica Anderson

Whether or not you have had crowdfunding success; or you haven’t tried it yet; the ability to crowdfund has become a fundamental piece of many independent film financing plans. Funding campaigns built upon audience-built connections can last an entire career. This seminar can help you create the action plan most likely to create a lasting, flourishing, direct relationship with your audience.

****

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.

Great steak and mead dinner in Red Wing. At St James Hotel as festival evening continues. ‘Pictures of Lilly’ premiered to an enthusiastic audience at 7pm.  Afterwards, it was to the Minema for food, drink and hanging out. More people have arrived since the weekend is here. I have adjourned to finish this blog post.

I have been here for two and a half days and it seems like six or more. The experience has been filled constantly by activity. Day 2 concluded successfully. I am eager for tomorrow.

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!!!

*********

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!

****

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.

****

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.

****

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.

****

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!

Flyway Film Festival # 8 Unveils Lineup For October

horizon flyway 8

Now in its eighth year, the western Wisconsin film event soars higher than ever! Listen To The Discussion Using Link Below!

Here is The Flyway Film Festival official program selections for the October 21-25 festival. Flyway showcases top-notch emerging filmmakers from across the globe. Since its inception eight years ago, the Flyway has won accolades from industry professionals, filmmakers, and audiences for the excellence of its film program and for the festival’s intimate, welcoming atmosphere.

Full Festival Schedule Link At Conclusion Of Article

The festival kicks off with a party on October 21st, and the opening night film on October 22nd will be The Driftless Area, starring John Hawkes, Zooey Deschanel, and Anton Yelchin.

“We’re pleased to open the festival with The Driftless Area, since our festival is actually located in the geographical region of Wisconsin called ‘the driftless,'” says festival director Rick Vaicius. “And we have a particularly exciting mix of world premieres, international films, and regional filmmakers this year.”

Rick Vaicius Flyway Festival Director On Rex Sikes Movie Beat Thursday Oct 8 , 2015 (7:30am PST 9:30am CST 10:30amEST)

Use This Bolded Link Listen:

Rick Vaicius On Rex Sikes Movie Beat Live

Vaicius programs the festival with a special appreciation for talented first-time filmmakers, he says. “We like to highlight emerging talents like Britni West, with her beautiful Montana-based film Tired Moonlight, Trey Edward Schults’ amazing autobiography Krisha, Vanessa Hope with her insightful documentary about US-China diplomacy, All Eyes and Ears, and Jerome Thelia’s fascinating Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play.’

“And on the other end of the scale, we’re showing films by two of the world’s oldest filmmakers: Al Milgrom’s Dinkytown Uprising, and Albert Mayles’ last film, In Transit,” adds Vaicius. Legendary documentary director Maysles died earlier this year at 88; the 93-year-old Milgrom is planning to attend the Flyway.

World premieres at the festival are Pictures of Lily, by British director Mark Banks;Remittance, by Patrick Daly and Joel Fendelman, and Second Honeymoon, by Dutch filmmaker Kristjan Knigge. This is Knigge’s second visit to the Flyway: he fell in love with the area last year, and is planning shoot his next film in Pepin shortly after the festival ends.

Visitors to the Flyway Film Festival can meander up and down the Mississippi River to the movie and event venues in the river towns of Maiden Rock, Pepin, Stockholm and Alma, Wisconsin, and across the river in Red Wing, Minnesota. A year-round tourist destination, the area is particularly scenic during the the Flyway, as the fall colors peak and the Mississippi River ‘flyway’ — a route taken by migrating birds — attracts birdwatchers from around the world.

In addition to showing films, the Flyway will offer a series of workshops and mentor sessions with industry experts such as Seed&Spark’s Erica Anderson, King is a Fink’s Julie Keck and Jessica King, location manager Charlotte Ariss, and filmmakers Emily Ting (It’s AlreadyTomorrow in Hong Kong) and Norah Shapiro (Miss Tibet: Beauty in Exile). Other industry heavyweights, such as Ted Hope and Brian Newman, will be around to chat with attendees.

New at the Flyway this year is a series of music performances preceding the films. City Pages‘ 2015 “Best Acoustic Performer” LOTT (Leah Ottman) will perform before select films, as well as singer/songwriter JE Sunde.

The festival kicks off with a party at the Villa Bellezza, a spectacular winery and event center in Pepin, at 6:00 on Wednesday, October 21st. Twin Cities band Fort Wilson Riot will perform, and Deirdre Haj, director of the Full Frame Documentary Festival, will give the keynote address following the kind of banquet for which the Flyway has become famous: a potluck.

“The Flyway is different from larger film fests in the region in that people really have time to talk to each other, to learn about each other, and to create community,” says Vaicius. “People leave the festival with the feeling that they’ve had a truly creative, communal experience. And that’s a rare feeling.”

For the full festival schedule, click here

The festival rundown:

  • Saturday, October 10, 4:00 PM: A program of short films will screen at the St. James Hotel in Red Wing as part of the Red Wing Fall Festival of the Arts.
  • Wednesday, October 21, 6:00 PM: Kickoff Gala with keynote by Deirdre Haj, music by Fort Wilson Riot, and festival awards ceremony.
  • Thursday, October 22: Workshops during the day; opening night film (The Driftless Area) at 7:00.
  • Friday, October 23: Workshops during the day; films begin at 7:00 PM.
  • Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25: Films begin at 11:00 AM; closing film (Frame by Frame) at 5:00 PM on Sunday.

Click This Link To Visit Rex SIkes’ Movie Beat Official Site