Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Down to the Wire!



The clock ticks on and we are at just over $7,000 at the time of this writing. With three days to go and just under $2,000 to raise on Kickstarter for my thesis film budget, the suspense is getting pretty thick. While I love suspense (I'm a big Hitchcock fan, after all), this is the kind that is giving me more gray hairs than I wish to admit I have!

The good news is that the number of contributors (and the amount they are contributing) is rapidly increasing in number. As the drop-dead date of Saturday at midnight approaches, people are stepping up to make sure we succeed. Family, friends, cast and crew (and their family and freinds), as well as the many supporters of The Frugal Filmmaker, are all rallying to make this film happen. It's very inspiring.

We're not quite there yet, however. There are three days to go and we need $2,000 more dollars to win our all-or-nothing prize. Any help you can give us is appreciated. I know we will succeed. There are so many kind people out there who have contributed already, and continue to spread the word and support for this project.

It's what "crowdfunding" is all about.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Interviewed by Knoptop!



Last night was a cool experience for me.  I was interviewed by Dave Knop of Knoptop fame for his QuickFX channel on YouTube. I've always liked Dave's content (no one does zany DIY filmmaking better) and it was a real pleasure to be interviewed about my upcoming thesis film and associated Kickstarter campaign. It was also fun to respond to live questions fielded by Dave's viewers who tuned in.

This was my first "live" interview on the web and I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. Dave is a very easy guy to talk to, however, and I was quickly calmed and enjoyed answering his questions.  The interview can be seen above and I hope I did justice to what I am trying to accomplish, as well as validate all of the skilled volunteers I have working in front of and behind the lens.

If you are wondering why my video looks so shaky, it's because I had my computer setting on an unstable surface (my bed). Note to self: don't do that again.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tip: Smartphone Camera Stabilizer



Help Scott raise the budget for his thesis film "Collection Day"! The Kickstarter campaign runs until the end of August.

Today's video (okay, yesterday's video) comes to you about something I found in a thrift store that I have been eyeballing for sometime now. It's the Appdrive, a steering wheel shaped device that holds your smartphone and gives you easier two-handed control over your phone (and thus, your phone's camera). Sound like a FigRig or the Mini Camera Stabilizer? I thought so too.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Collection Day": Kickstarter Q&A



Tick...tick...tick. So goes the sound in my head as time marches closer and closer toward the end of August. It not only marks the end of the summer movie season, but also the amount of time I have to raise my budget for Collection Day. I'm in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign, you see, and while the glass of time is more than half full, the amount raised is less than half empty.

Several people have asked me questions about Kickstarter, which I address in the above video. What I don't really address is the creeping sense of panic one feels when an all-or-nothing deadline is approaching. I still feel that I have a solid enough following to pull off a $9k goal, but the low numbers worry me. The lack of remaining days worry me. The thought of a "Plan B" worries me.

I know this goal can be reached. If everyone within the sound of my voice in the above video, or the words on this blog, or the annals of the Facebook group (where I've pinned a Kickstarter post to the top), or the Twitterverse, or a combination of all the above were to contribute the minimum pledge--we'd have our budget.

Still, that sound stays with me.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Collection Day 9: Teaser Trailer / Lighting Quiz



In an effort to throw some more interest toward the Collection Day Kickstarter campaign, I've created a brief teaser (with actual footage this time). While what you see here won't be in the final film, it does give some insight insight into the setting and our lead character, Taylor (Kayla Esmond).

It may be of some interest that the wide shot featured below (minus TV effects) used a combination of moderately expensive to very cheap lighting.


The light sources used in this shot are:
Practical lamp
75w halogen spot light
Lowel Pro Light (250w)
200w incandescent bulb w/scoop reflector
Kino Flo 4 bank (1 bank active)

Can you guess where these light sources are coming from in the shot? Some are obvious, while others are completely hidden and two are in plain sight (one is easy, the other not so much). I'll update this post with some answers after you give the shot a gander for a few days.


ANSWERS:
Practical lamp - above telephone
75w halogen spot light - clamped to bed frame just above lamp, aimed at the back of Kayla's head
Lowel Pro Light - on light stand between mattress and box spring pointed at floor
200w scoop - bouncing off wall near chair
Kino Flo - large black monolith shape on right side of frame

Friday, August 9, 2013

Frugal Camera Fattener: Kickstarter Edition!



Help Scott raise the budget for his thesis film "Collection Day"! The Kickstarter campaign runs until the end of August.

When I bought the Sony NEX 5n interchangeable lens camera, I knew it was small. I didn't have a problem with that. After all, it was always going to be on a tripod or rig when I shot video. When I started poking around with shooting still images, the small size became more of an issue. After a while, my large hands were cramping from trying to hold the tiny thing.

I thought I had solved the problem previously, but then I began using large, long lenses and my wrist started screaming at me. I needed something that secured two sides of the camera, gave me something larger to wrap my gorilla hands around, and provides a better rest for my focusing hand.

The Frugal Fattener does just that, makes a small camera comfortably larger, even with a large, heavy lens. The parts are cheap on eBay, it's easy to assemble, and it's small enough to transport in a backpack or cargo pants pocket. Nifty!


PARTS LIST

Simple Flash Bracket
http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-532...

Foam-covered Camera Grip Handle
http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-532...

Camera Shoe Mount Adapter
http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-532...

Camera Shoe Mount (optional)
http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-532...

Metal Quick Release System
http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-532...

Rubber Fender Washers (x2)
Any hardware store

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Collection Day 8: Marketing Kickstarter



After being delayed due to my lack of understanding about Kickstarter basics, my submission was approved today and went live. I posted it on the Facebook Group and people started backing the film immediately, something I was very grateful to see. I'm not naive enough to think I'm going to get Freddie Wong sized numbers, but it is very cool to feel supported by viewers who like what I am doing and want me to do more. It is what Freddie and others are doing, just on a smaller scale.

If you are wondering what my plan is to alert people about my Kickstarter page, I will happily tell you. There might be a time when you are thinking about crowdsourcing your budget and sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are a couple of the most popular that have given people a shot at doing what they love. But how do you get people to go there?

Admitedly, I have tried to stack the deck in my favor. I do have a modest following on the web, and I have always intended to ask them (you) for help when the time came. I have tried to give away information in the form of links, tutorials, reviews and commentary with the hope that people would save money and gladly send some in my direction when the time came. The larger the following, the less everyone has to contribute to meet your goal. The trick is to set a realistic number that you think your network of fans can support.

Even if you don't have a web show, a blog, a large Facebook Group or lots of followers on Twitter, we all have networks that should be able to support us. Most people have Facebook pages and you can tag everyone involved in your project with the hope they will promote it to their networks (encourage them). This also includes "going analog" by calling friends or family directly and asking them to contribute. The reward system on Kickstarter (if used right) can avoid the charity label, as people will actually get something for their money. Price these rewards accordingly.

I've also gone with an "all digital" system of rewards that serves two purposes. They remove any kind of shipping burden and give everyone all over the world the same thing at the same time. This may come across as cold or impersonal (there are no real "tangible" rewards on my list), but it is very streamlined and prevents me from having to add money to the budget for deliverables. There are no added costs for creating t-shirts, DVDs or posters and no shipping costs. There is no wait for those not in the U.S. Everyone is equal.

I'm also planning a large push on YouTube throughout the Kickstarter run which ends on the last day of August. I plan on annotations and links on every video in my library (with the exception of Q&A vids) as well as updates on the Q&A show and tie-in videos every Thursday. Since builds are some of my most popular videos, August will be "Project Month", where I feature a new build every Thursday and mention Kickstarter every time. This should really help get the word out.

Along with the rest of the network (blog, Facebook, Twitter), another good marketing tool is an email list. People have emailed me with questions for quite awhile now (many of which have made it on the Recap Q&A show) and emailing them back with notice of my Kickstarter campaign is another way to alert people interested in your work. Emailing all my subscribers on YouTube is another avenue of direct marketing.

It should also be mentioned that however you do this, a huge side benefit of marketing your Kickstarter page, is that you are actually marketing your film! People will become more aware of what you are doing because you are putting so much effort into raising your budget. People who support you will spread the word, and anxiously await the day when the film they helped fund debuts. It's a win-win, if you can meet that Kickstarter goal.

Like Collection Day on Facebook
Follow Collection Day on Twitter

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kickstarter: Please Stand By

For those of you following this blog and are interested in my thesis film Collection Day, you may have noticed that the much-ballyhooed Kickstarter campaign failed to launch on August 1st.  I was late getting my pitch video together (not to mention the Kickstarter page) and then found out that you couldn't submit your project until an Amazon Business account was set up to receive funds.

That process took two business days (separated by the weekend, of course), but was complete this morning. I then submitted my page with video to Kickstarter and should hear back within a day or two if I am approved.

This delay was probably a good thing, as it allowed my to watch more Kickstarter videos to see what else was out there and make changes to my own page to improve it.  Despite the time setback, my deadline for the campaign is still the end of August. This will only give me about twenty-four days to raise the money (whatever the total ends up being, I'm still debating). I'm okay with this, as even Kickstarter states that thirty days or less is still the most successful time frame to raise funds.

All this work prevented me from releasing a video last week, but things should be back to normal this week. No Q&A video today, but I will make one as soon as the Kickstarter page is live to help promote it.  I will also feature my first tie-in video on Thursday and begin promoting the campaign from YouTube. This will include a special annotation and description link on every video except for Q&As, which are only watched by hardcore viewers when they are released.

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