Gotta Get Good Sound

We’ve all heard it a million times. Nothing cues amateur filmmaking faster than bad sound. And a good dialogue recording mostly comes down to the proximity of the mic to the actor.

On Down and Dangerous, we didn’t have the money to hire a sound department like we’ve had in the past. And we didn’t have wireless mics at our disposal. This created a dilemma in shots composed with a lot of headroom.

On our other movies, we had settled for “good enough” when framing didn’t allow the mic to get as close as it should. But here, I was committed to finding solutions that would enable us to capture the best location sound we could.

Faced with a location like you see below, you have traffic outside. So getting the mic in good and close is paramount, especially in a single camera production. You editors and sound mixers know what I mean.

So what did we do? We let the mics and even the boom operators into the frame.

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And by shooting a “plate” (an empty version of the shot sans actors and mics), we could use the top part of that frame to matte out the mics.

There are probably a dozen or so shots like this in the movie. And no one would ever know if it weren’t for this article.


A Movie Worth Stealing

This article was originally published at Film School Rejects.

The other day I saw a discussion on Facebook about whether or not filmmakers should watermark the screeners they send to film festivals. Filmmakers generally seemed to be for it. Festival personnel seemed generally opposed, some citing it as a red flag for the filmmaker’s naiveté – like the people who ask you to sign an NDA before reading their screenplay. In the past, I never felt that obscuring the picture with some text was going to stop the sort of person who was set on pirating my movie, so I didn’t bother with it. Besides, I might argue I had yet to make a movie someone would want to pirate.

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sabi stage

How to Conduct Your Q&A When the Festival Doesn’t Provide a Moderator

It can be a long, anxious walk up to the front of the theater after screening your movie to a roomful of people you don’t know. The anxiety doubles for me when conducting the Q&A myself. But I’ve come up with a little game plan and some rules to follow that make it flow a little easier. Perhaps in the comments you can share some ideas of your own.

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The Marinated Meat
of Koreatown

This has nothing to do with filmmaking, but I have a tip for my carnivorous friends in Los Angeles. A little change of pace for your BBQ grill.

This is something I was turned on to a couple years ago. And anytime we’re invited to a BBQ, my wife and I try to pick some of this stuff up. It’s always a hit. Last time, we brought two pounds of marinated rib-eye and it was gone in a few minutes.


There is a supermarket in Koreatown called Assi Super at 3525 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005 that has a case of amazing marinated chicken, beef, short ribs, and pork in the back of the store. Sells for $3 to $5 per pound.

Do yourself a favor this summer, pick up a variety (the marinated rib-eye is my favorite) and throw it on the grill next weekend. You won’t know what hit you.

How about you? Got any gems around town you care to share?


Three Questions for:
Paul Osborne

Three Questions is an ongoing series to get filmmaking-related advice and insight from the people actually getting their hands dirty. Not from the chickenshit naysayers and posers on the sidelines… but from the people who can speak from hard-won experience, with the scars to prove it.


Paul Osborne is the writer and director of the award-winning thriller FAVOR, which is now available on iTunes, VOD and DVD everywhere. He previously directed OFFICIAL REJECTION, the acclaimed documentary about film festivals, wrote the indie feature TEN TIL NOON and is an occasional contributor to Moviemaker Magazine and Film Threat. Follow him on Twitter: @PaulMakesMovies

You can catch Favor on iTunes and DVD today. And now, Paul answers three questions I had about the release of his movie and how his “day job” helps and hinders his filmmaking.

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Make Your Own DCP,
Part I: Specs, Tools &
Prepping Your Source


DCP stands for Digital Cinema Package. It functions like a digital film print and is my first choice to exhibit my movies theatrically. At first, this format was out of reach for filmmakers on microbudgets. Even today, the places that will make them for you are, in my opinion, overcharging for it. About a year ago, I had a crime drama playing at festivals. Most were asking for a DCP or blu-ray to screen from. I made a blu-ray that looked perfect on my broadcast monitor, but at the festival, colors were washed out, blacks were elevated, and the projectionist could not figure out how to keep their player from folding my 5.1 mix down into stereo. If you haven’t experienced this sort of thing, and I’m sure you have, it’s a terrific thing to face — after two years of post-production getting the whole damn movie to sing just right, some goofball who couldn’t give a shit about doing their job right mis-projects your movie and is seemingly okay with not doing anything about it.

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