Movie Music v Wrap Party Music

Wrap party music is often a raucous spur of the moment thing, dependent on what instruments guests have brought, as Kellan, Kayo and Matt demonstrate above. Movie music, on the other hand, must be subtle and enhance the story (or lack thereof) rather than overpower it. At first I did not intend to have any music, thinking it would keep the audience awake. Then I remembered the power of lullabies to lull (of course!) the listener to sleep. Now if the audience wakes up in the middle, it will not be long before they are lulled (get the significance?) once again.

See how much you've learned already? Be sure to come back for more moviemaking tips you can only find here.

Does Your Independent Film Put the Audience to Sleep?

The above picture is an actual frame (minus the walls) from, the movie for the Internet generation. (See the computer with the webcam on top? That's the kind of thing the Internet generation goes for.)

This is a typical shot that puts the audience to sleep. You can't see it here, but, trust me, there is a gentle breeze blowing through the windows, resulting in a subtle movement that both gives the audience something to look at while they're still awake and helps them doze off. To put your audience to sleep quickly, line up several shots like this one all in a row at the top of the movie, and you won't have to worry about what you fill the rest of the film with because nobody will be watching.

If your opening scenes do not put the audience to sleep now, consider re-editing. You'll be glad you did.


Note to Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica

I just unearthed a big problem at, the encyclopedia written, discussed and rewritten by people who (like the citizens of live their lives on the Internet.

Two problems, actually, the second being that I found no reference at all to Film Sleepy. It’s the newest movie genre, admittedly, but, while one might forgive this omission by the deadline plagued Encyclopaedia Britannica, it is it’s harder to accept it from a volume under constant and immediate revision.

I did find Film Noir, as I knew I would, and that article and discussion led to the revelation of the main problem—what is the plural of Film Sleepy? For Film Noir, there were several votes: Films Noirs, Film Noirs and Films Noir. The non-French speaking commentators went back and forth on what they guessed is correct in French, how that affects (or differs from) what is correct in English…and even went on to argue whether Film Noir (singular) is a genre or merely a style.

All of which makes me nervous about leaving such issues to the whim of Wikipedia and other readers, writers and filmgoers. Film Sleepy is certainly a genre, since it puts the audience to sleep and other genres don’t. It doesn’t even have (or need) a style. But it will need a plural as soon as more than one Film Sleepy exists, and, considering that it will surely be as popular in France as Jerry Lewis, I briefly considered going with the (non-French speaking) majority at the Wikipedia who believed Films Noirs to be correct en français. However, that would make Films Sleepies the proper plural, and I simply can’t allow it. Film Sleepies isn’t much better, so I am stating for the record that Films Sleepy is the correct plural.

Wikipedia—and Encyclopaedia Britannica—take note.


Buster - Life of the Wrap Party

Enough of reality--we're back at the wrap party, where Buster would have been thrilled by the treats, no doubt.

Then again, reality has some importance in one aspect of blogging--search engine optimization. I had thought it was enough to sprinkle around a few words people look for, say, sex, George Bush, Hillary Clinton, iPod-- But it turns out that leaves too much to chance, because there are so many websites with those words in them that your page is likely to be too far down the list to get noticed. So you have to come up with not so common sides of these topics, like using iPods under your furniture to slide your desks and chairs easily and sex among the bonobos while hanging upside down from trees.

I'm sure getting people to come to a movie is simpler, especially if the movie isn't loud and the theater is a nice place to sleep.


5 Biggest Mistakes of First Time Filmmakers

1. Contrary to current belief, keeping the audience awake is the biggest mistake a first time filmmaker can make. If viewers are asleep, they will never notice your other mistakes.

2. Waiting to get famous till after your movie is made is another error common among those new to the medium. Why do people pay to see and hear Jessica Simpson (this goes double for Ashlee)? Because they’re already famous. While having people actually see your work is not advisable, you still want them to buy tickets or DVDs, and they are more likely to do that if they feel they already know you. Consider inviting hundreds to your wedding, then escape just before The Big Day and make up a story about being kidnapped.

3. Almost as devastating to your new career as the first two mistakes is not knowing when you’re done putting your film together. While having a feature to your credit can be a career maker, don’t spend the rest of your life perfecting it. Remember, the audience will not be awake and so will not be as critical as you are.

4. Most new filmmakers try to get their movie seen. Big mistake. Smart new filmmakers try to get their movie heard of. Hollywood big shots who hear of your movie may well sign you to a three picture deal. Hollywood big shots who actually see your movie are more likely pass in favor of an American Idol loser who says he had sex with Paula Abdul.

5. Expecting to make your money back on your first film is the least of the five biggest mistakes new filmmakers make because you’re not going to max out ten credit cards just because you read that Robert Townsend did it and his movie made millions…are you? I mean…are you?

For more on the subject, including possible products to buy, see my guide, So You'd Like to Avoid the Five Biggest Mistakes of First Time Filmmakers. [Not a mistake: The director posing for photos with pointed finger. Such photos are a must according to filmmaking guru Dov Simens, and, believe me, I took notes.]


My Day Job

When I tell people I make my living as an independent filmmaker, even though my first feature is still unfinished, they don't buy it. No wonder. Nobody wants to pay to see an unfinished film, even if it's guaranteed to put them to sleep.

On the other hand, roller derby pays well and leaves plenty of time for editing video and getting out a blog. OK, it's vicious, but would you rather hold down the job Robert Rodriguez made the $7000 for his movie with, being a guinea pig in medical experiments?


High Carbs at the Wrap Party

Patience did not consider herself much of a dancer, so taking on the role of tap dancing student in was quite a challenge, which she met so well that I'm afraid that she (and fellow dance student Patt) may keep the audience awake when the movie is finally finished. And, as you can see in this high carb wrap party moment with Robert (at his most suave), she came to enjoy dancing more than she'd thought possible.


Before They Were Stars

Everybody wants to know what those of us in movies did before we were stars.

Curiously, I have discovered that many celebrities, including members of the cast, were shepherds. In fact, Jen and Patt were shocked to meet each other on the set after having worked together in their previous occupation. We all had a good laugh when Jen pulled the above photo out of her wallet, breaking the tension of shooting a particularly difficult scene.


All Dressed Up

Wow, everybody had so much fun at this wrap party, I'd wish I'd been there. Doesn't Elwood look smashing in his tux? And Erica, in her hand-beaded gown? Both show what fine actors they are to have portrayed agitated webcam fans so convincingly, when in real life they are the dignified artistes you see in this behind-the-scenes blog.