Monday, 17 May 2010

The Production Line

As a creative sort, I like to have several plates spinning at one time. Often this means I am running around like a blue arsed fly, attempting to make sure all are spinning nicely and quickly, and more importantly people are looking at my plates spinning going "ooh isn't it impressive he's spinning all those plates! I want to see those plates when they've stopped spinning and tell all my friends about these plates!"

... ok that analogy ran away from me somewhat.

My point is, I like having something to do filmic wise. Not having something on my mind to film makes me edgy and crushed with a feeling of laziness and general slackery.

(In truth, that's every day, because despite all my good intentions, I usually end up spending my days munching on junk food, thinking about ideas, and going to the pub.)

So therefore, I have what I call "the list". This is basically a list of stuff I can theoretically have planned in various stages of production, that I can fall back on and look at and go "right, lets do this then!"

Of course, this leads to much stress and panic when I realize that there is no way in Gods name I can do all of them. At once.

And thats when the plates start to fall, or rather I grab them, throw them across the room, realize what I've done, run after them and catch them again. All the while spinning the plates.

What is my obsession with plate spinning at the moment...?

Anyway, here in lies the issues. To have this plethora of ideas and production plans means a lot of cross-sorting. You look at one and make sure people are cast, you look at another one and make sure you've got a decent script, and you look at another one and wonder how the Hell you'll film it.

But when, WHEN, it comes together, it is very rewarding. There is a great feeling of accomplishment, especially being a zero-budget film maker. You've made a film, you've created something and you have done what many simply talk about. You feel proud, happy and fulfilled...

Until the cold hard hand of reality slaps you, you see a video of someone lighting their farts has far more hits than you, and no-one cares about your creative endeavor.

So what do you do? You go back to the production line, and start planning the next 4 opus' to film...

Because one day, you're sure, you HOPE, you'll catch fire.

That's another metaphor. As a film-maker you don't literally want to catch fire. Despite all the hits you'll get.


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Topical Thunder

So you're an amateur film-maker eh? You're making your videos, which aren't too bad, but nobody is watching apart from your mum, and even she doesn't understand all the themes behind your Zombie 5 Minute Epic. The verisimilitude is wasted on her...

It's the problem with the path of recognition. You make your film, put it online and... wait. Wait for the views, the word of mouth, the minor celebrity and finally the love! God the love! People see me! Watch me! LOVE ME!


As I was saying, the more views, the more your video is likely to "catch fire" and the rest of your Filmic endeavors shalt be seen and you will finally make that bigger budget film you wish to make (Zombie Epic, one day you shall be mine...)

Now there are many ways you can do that. Pimp it via social network sites, other video sites, mutual interest sites with a dedicated community and handsome users who are absolutely lovely in every way (yeah I mean you sweet cheeks...) but sometimes the exposure will either dry up once it leaves your more immediate circle and you will float around a number. So what to do?

You get totally topical baby...

My latest vid, Tory Blue, was something I came up with when I did what I usually do when listening to music, change the lyrics to something a bit funnier. Luckily, Only You by Yazoo seemed to go with David Cameron, and there was an election on it's way over here in the jolly ol' United Kingdom.

So far, so good. The ingredients were there and I worked away at making another Zero Budget Music Skit. However, the usual hurdles (time, money, location, people) were there to over-come.

First: Time. With the election approaching this video would be void in a few weeks (potentially anyway) so the pressure was on to make something before then, which in turn affected the Second thing: Money. As a dirt poor individual (with but £2 to my name currently!) I had to work with what I had (something I will blog about at a later date). Therefore, I turned to my housemate and her skills (aka, printer), and we got the cut out masks. It looked cheap, it looked Zero Budget, it looked like a Filmic Type thing!

Location was summed up easily by some creative thinking. My house, which I now dub Queen Street Studios, was pranced about so not all shots took place in my living room (and if they did, from different angles to suggest other rooms!) With some musing around, I came up with enough scenes to take place using the space I had.

Finally, and this was the hard part, was people. As I said I already had me and my housemate (and even I was an umming participant, for fear of being seen as a One Man Show) and needed people for a crowd shot. Despite trying all and sundry before the weekend and then desperately texting around the day, few were keen. However, two friends lured two friends with them and from there, we had a small crowd. Again very cheap looking, but keeping the spirit of a Zero Budget Film-Maker...

So what then? The piece was edited together, the song was (painfully) created and it went up onto the Filmic Type Place. Then... then we needed the pitch.

Like I said, you can go so far with some vids, but with topical stuff you open up a little bit. Tagging the video with current topics and words, posting the videos on a few similarly themed websites and emailing them to a few similarly minded people would hopefully boost the returns. By tapping into the mind of the public, there was a chance of a more noticeable position.

And? Well... the vid is slowly climbing views wise, but already beats my most recent Mini Oli videos. The problem is that the views haven't translated across the rest of the vids or the website, but... they are still views. And that can't be sniffed at completely.

So the message in todays Blog? Try tapping into the nations vein, and become their heroin.

Wait... that's a terrible message! Ah bugger it, just read the paper and come up with something funny about goings on and piggyback it. Bleed pop culture for all its worth!


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Less is More? More or less...

One of the things I have noticed about my desperate attempts to make myself a relevant presence on the world of the internet and more specifically, Youtube, is the constant pitching I have developed over a period of time. Almost daily, without fail, I will vomit upon the likes of Facebook, Twitter and various other websites my latest videos, why you should watch my latest videos, questions about what people want from my videos, and more links to things related to my videos.

And, after a near nuclear breakdown the other day... my girlfriend (yes I have one, and she's real... stop sniggering) suggested that why don't I just stop promoting the Filmic Type Place?

"Stop promoting?" I cried, mouth frothing with rage from this bizarre suggestion (and the 4 hours uploading time of my latest vid) "Then how would people know? How would word spread? Are you completely mad!?"

After assurances that she was not mad, and that possibly I should cut down on the caffeine, she explained that the constant pitching, promoting and linking would appear, to some, to be desperate, clingy pleas that instead of getting people to watch would actually turn them off...

Of course after that I ate my phone and smeared BBQ sauce over myself while raging to the Gods (the Volcano thing in Iceland btw was totally not me...), but on reflection, she may be right. Now of course this is actually limited to Facebook in Filmic Type overkill, but the constant stream of pressurized viewing may not actually lead to views.

The ironic thing is, it doesn't work. It's actually a vicious cycle of: Promote-few views-promote more, repeat ad nausem. And trust me it is nauseating.

So what's the solution in this scenario? I want my videos to get seen but don't want to keep blowing my own trumpet (I'd never leave the house if I could, fnar fnar). Well, maybe try a bit if restraint and see how it goes. Maybe carry on and hope that the twigs catch fire. Or maybe just go completely mad...

The yoghurt talking to me says the third way is the one, therefore.


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Curse of the over-heated fan

I think I should subtitle this blog "Diary of a Zero Budget Film-Maker"... has a certain ring to it.

The latest adventure in ULTRA low budget film-making is this: tackling Windows Movie Maker. Unlike most aspiring film-makers and wannabe semi-pro types, I have stuck by the generic, bog-standard, Microsoft friendly editing software despite it's limitations and multiple crashes. This is in spite of being trained in Avid and Final Cut Pro (which, both of them, were also prone to random crashes and stupid tech problems).

So why, WHY? You may ask... why do I bother still using Windows Movie Maker? Apart from the fact it's free...

Well, I've kinda got used to it.

Yes, it is TERRIBLY limited in what it can do, and can barely piece together a half-decent flick, but for the moment half-decent is about where I am. I know where I am based in the hierachy of film-making. Hell, even in the world of Youtube superstars and people just talking to camera, I'm pretty much the lowest of the low. Do I care though? Hell no! I love making my films and despite the odd maudlin period where I realize a video of a man nodding his head to Abba gets more hits than me, I still continue onward!

For me, Windows Movie Maker represents where I am at now. Simple, no-frills and dirt... DIRT cheap. Like cross the road dirt cheap. Like last hooker on the corner dirt cheap. This has ran away from me somewhat...

Anyway, so while I wait till WMM cools down, I write here, and hope you enjoy reading. Never know, one day I might progress to Magix Movie Editor!


Friday, 9 April 2010

Views, blues and the true meaning of creativity

Success, they say, can be measured in many different ways. Capitalist say it is measured in money, some people say it is in the number of friends you have, some agree but mean this in a Facebook way which really doesn't count...

For me, success is measured in one thing: Views.

The way I look at it, if there are a lot of views, people are watching. And if those views go up, that means those people who first watched are telling others and word of mouth is spreading. On the internet, this could mean that the video is being shared across websites and webbing from there. In other words, views = success.

But what do you do when you get no views? After all, there are thousands of people on the interweb, all with a voice screaming for attention. And when thousands of people scream at once, you get white noise... So, if like me, you descend into this mindset that you have failed, that your videos aren't that good and that you will never make it as a film-maker!

But then... you have, because you're making films. Good, average or bad, you're putting the effort in to producing a work. And that's what I finally realized today.

My efforts, unless I REALLY need to/want to, are ultra-ultra low budget affairs, with it barely hitting double figures. I have an idea, think of a cheap way of putting it together, and do it. All because I like creating something.

Take T to the Who? The TubbZ Story for example. I came up with the idea of doing a mockumentary simply because I knew all it involved was setting up a camera and interviewing people. Obviously since the use of inserts and such have meant a tiny bit of spending, add to this travel expenses, but in the end it isn't a lifes work type deal. It's a fun, enjoyable flick I am making that hopefully will add to an ever growing portfolio of stuff!

So... while it does sting that I don't get as many views as I'd like, I'm still doing it. I'm still putting it out there and most of all, I'm still enjoying it. And hopefully one day, you will to.

Just gonna end on a cheap plug to go to Oli J's Filmic Type Place and also the Youtube page to keep abreast of all videos and news! Now lets see if that gets the views up ;)


Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Ultra Low Budget Film-Making 101

One of the fun things about being a wannabe film-maker in this crazy world of Youtube (aka The Land of We're All Film-makers!) is figuring out how you're going to make your illustrious epic... with the contents of your pocket. Let me tell you, you can't but an HD cam on lint.

So, you improvise. A lot. Hence why I am making a mockumentary. Basically my work is:

Ask permission to use character (a blog for the future...)
Look over old footage from previous uni films and figure out how to fit them in
Ask everyone who can vaguely act if I can interview them using my digital camera

Then it's a case of making excuses for the quality. Not much footage to use? Why, an elaborate story of disaster fills the gaps! Light, sound quality below par? Well it's a documentary! We don't need Avatar style looks, just visible people talking (even then, optional)! Crap editing software (damn you Windows Movie Maker!) well hey! Just make something easy to cut together!

In the end, in my opinion of course, it's the quality of the material which should elevate even the dodgiest looking stuff. But even then, if you're looking to descend Room-style technical tat, play it off. Make out that it's supposed to look bad silly! It's all a satirical commentary on the indie film scene!

And then after you say that, find a dark room and cry for your failures. You suck.

Seriously though, everyone starts somewhere and even with the bare, bare, BARE bones budget and such, you can make something to show your raw talent. Be it very raw. And painful to watch.


NB: In continuance of showcasing my goods, here is the trailer for Greatman, a film starring the star of T to the Who?: TubbZ

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Hello Blog Readers of the world!

So yes, Oli J's Filmic Type Place has decided to get a blog! Madness...

Here, we will be mostly speaking about our current productions, thoughts, ideas and other such filmic type things for your amusement. For now though... who the Heck ARE we?

Well, in reality "we" is really me, Oli Jacobs, and whatever friends, colleagues and other arty types I can get involved. I've been fiddling with making short bits and skits now for a few years, since college, through uni, and beyond (once entering the dreaded real world)! I mostly make comedy stuff, but have also interests in horror, drama and general weirdness. All whatever stretches the old mental stuff!

The best way for me to tell you about the stuff I do though is, well, to show you! I have a website which can be found... right here! On the site are various links to my vids, as well as friends of mine who have their own creative adventures as well as information about my current projects...

And what, pray tell, are those? Well, currently it is a Mockumentary called T to the Who? The TubbZ Story. It tells the tale of Welsh Rapper T to the U TubbZ (Y'all) who, after the breakout success of his first hit single Pussy Train, explodes into the world of fame before going crazy and disappearing into oblivion. You can read more and watch some clips over at Oli J's Filmic Type Place, but for now here is the trailer for your enjoyment!

So yes, I will be using this blog to do more in-depth updates on my general film-making madness. At the moment I just put small stuff on the Facebook fan page (CHEAP PLUG ALERT!) which can be found here!

So yes, hopefully the filth, fury, fun and frolics will all be documented here for your amusement, intrigue, disgust and general dumbfoundery! And most of all, I hope you enjoy the stuff, because the main reason I want to make films is to entertain people. Otherwise it's just ego-posturing, and if I wanted to do that I'd be some sort of cat. Maybe Persian.