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Al Graham

Author & Blogger

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Filmmaking

There’s no such thing as #Writersblock

Firstly, this is merely an opinion of mine, not a statement.  Let me explain the reasoning behind my thoughts.

1. Unless your hands have recently been bitten off by a rabid, wild bear, then you’re still able to put pen on paper, fingers on keys or finger tips on touch screen. My point? Even if you’re struggling for ideas, you still have a physical capability to write something. Anything. It doesn’t matter, just write a word, description, a place or a characters name. You will find that you use all of it or some of it later.

2. You’re a writer, blogger or a creative person. You are one of these, probably because your head is always full of words, daydreams, sentences, descriptions, makeshift people or places. I don’t believe that anybody who is the least bit creative can ever be out of, or stuck for ideas. If you think hard enough or flip through old note pads or open up old Word doc files, there’s bound to be something that you wrote previously to jump start your ‘block’.

3. The world around you is a plethora of ideas just waiting to be taken and created into something only your imagination can concoct. Having a dry spell? Take the dog for a walk in the local wooded park. Take the kids to the cinema, take your mum into town for lunch in a restraunt or take your wife to a play or show. You don’t even need to do anything as egstravagant as that or even spend any money. My point is, your ideas and future creations are all around you.

4. It doesn’t matter what you write down. Be it a name, place or a descriptive word. It’s your word, from your mind, hence the beginning of your creative journey.

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Top 5 mistakes NOT to make while #microbudget #Filmmaking

 
https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/micro-budget-filmmaking-are-you-making-these-5-mistakes/

One Line Horror: The Loner

It started as a happy birthday party for Zara; friends, drinks and a ghost tour, but now that her friends were dead and she was running and screaming for her life, the knife wielding pursuer was intent that Zara did not see her next birthday. 

See more One Line Horror

An adventure, 22 years since the making

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I wonder if when the late Michael Crichton finished writing his novel, Jurassic Park, back in the late eighties, he would have ever believed what a world wide phenomenon it would become. Could any author, aside from the Kings and Pattersons of this world, ever contemplate nine million printed copies of their book being sold?

Crichton’s novel was a modern take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, it focused on the dangers of playing god and genetic engineering. Jurassic Park was extremely entertaining, but also very, very believable.

It was a very well written, exciting and detailed look at the ‘what if’s’ of modern day science. It was also in touch with man kinds obsession with what roamed the planet millions of years before us. Dinosaurs.

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The book was a hit. However, it was not until Hollywood big wig, Steven Spielberg, got his hands on it, that more people took notice. Starring Sam Neil, Jeff Goldblum and the late, Sir Richard Attenborough, Jurassic Park opened on Friday, June 11, 1993. After an astounding weekend, it had grossed more than $47 million, breaking box office records. The film went on to make almost a billion dollars world wide. Not only that, the book and film had created so much interest in dinosaurs, palaeontology had a record increase in students around the world. In actual fact, general interest in dinosaurs around the globe has been at an all time high, since the film smashed the box office.

A sequel was inevitable, but, luckily, Crichton had already written it, The Lost World. No surprise, but the response to this film was just as favourable as the last and held the record for the biggest opening weekend ever for four and a half years, running from May 1997 to November 2001.

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Jurassic Park had become a multi billion dollar franchise. Steven Spielberg proved to us once more that he was a world class film maker. Jurassic Park writer, Michael Crichton, who was already a well known and successfully published author, cemented himself further as a leading, worldwide fiction writer.

Almost 22 years on, Jurassic Park has never faded from our memories. We all own a copy and as we flick through the channels after killing ourselves with turkey and trifle every single Christmas day, we can’t help but leave it on. The years gone by have given time for other film makers to jump on the Dino bandwaggon and produce their own versions of dinosaur themed movies. Nothing however, has ever come close to even kicking the heels of either Jurassic Park or the Lost World. Not even 2012’s Jurassic Shark.

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In 2001, director Joe Johnston, known for ‘Honey, I shrunk the kids’ and ‘Jumanji’, brought us Jurassic Park 3. Mr. Speilberg was still attached to the project, but, only as executive producer. The film which starred Sam Neil, returning as Dr. Alan Grant, William H. Macy and an excrusiatingly irritating Tea Leoni, failed to match the success of its predecessors. It was also noticeable, that Michael Crichton had not written this particular Jurassic Park Story. And, with Jurassic Park 4 (or Jurassic World) due to hit our screens in 2015, it will be very interesting to see, 22 years on, how filmmaking techniques and technology can beat what Steven Speilberg brought us in 1993.

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Sadly, within those years, writer Michael Crichton (above, left) died of lung cancer in 2008, aged 66. Most recently, actor and director, Sir Richard Attenborough (above, right), who played Jurassic Park founder, John Hammond, passed away at the great age of 90, after battling a long illness. Never forgotten, both will always be remembered. Crichton for his imagination and creation, that was the original novel, and Attenborough (amongst many other notable acting and directing projects) as the Jurassic Park founder, and loveable grand father, John Hammond.

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I hope that in 22 years time, we still remember and religiously watch Jurassic Park and think of how it made us all feel when we first saw dinosaurs appear in front of us, in what is one of the most memorable moments in cinema, period.

Images, facts & figures curtesey of IMDb.com

How did I achieve 17,869 views on YouTube?

Youtube

I’m not saying it was easy.

But, I was determined that I was going to get my work out there.

So what did I do to get my current total video view of almost 18k?  I’ll tell you more below.

Now, some of you may be sitting there saying, “Thats easy, I could easily get 100,000 hits if i posted the right video”.

I dont disagree.  I could have done that too, if I had re posted Gangnam Style, or rehashed a trailer of Die Hard or created a response video to Charlie bit my finger.  Instead, I chose to create my own content based on what stories or facts I wanted to tell or share.  That is when it becomes difficult to get your videos viewed and get yourself known.

So whats the big secret? No secret, just some simple steps…

1. Create quality content that is interesting and between 30 seconds and 2 minutes long.  Review an app, review a movie or film a fast, intense action scene.  Get straight to the point and make it visually exciting.  Learn more about this, here.

2. Similar to your blog, upload videos often, but don’t overload your viewers.  If your audience enjoys your videos, they will want to see steady, continuous content from you.  If possible, pick a day that will be your upload day and stick to it.  Your audience will soon get to know your upload day and be ready to view your new video.

3. Return the favour and take time out to watch other YouTubers videos.  Watch, share, like and comment.  This is the real saving grace of your YouTube channel and videos.  By taking the time out and showing an interest in other peoples work, means they will soon do the same.  Don’t underestimate how important this part is.

4. Create a Facebook fan page in relation to your YouTube channel.  If you have Twitter, link it to your Facebook page.  Then, share your videos.  In time, when looking at your video stats, you will notice traffic coming from your social media sites.

5. Don’t give up.  You will only get better and your video content can only improve.

“Thats it??” I hear some of you say.

“Pretty much” I say.

The above 5 points may seem obvious or vague.  However, you will be amazed at the amount of people that think making a half baked video and posting it onto YouTube means 10 million views.  Like anything else in life, you have to work and work hard for it.

I have religiously lived by the above five points for many years.  I have Experimented with them, tweaked them and tried other methods.  But, just like your Blog, if you write interesting content, interact with your readers and post often, you gradually build a loyal following.

IWKY

I’ve been watching you.

I know where you go.  I know when you go.

I know you, but, you don’t know me.

You will never know me, but, I will remember you.

5 Easy ways to make your Film for free!

Filmmaking2  Filmmaking

As a dedicated and aspiring film maker, the need to find ways to create projects on small or zero budgets is always present.  In todays world, people like you and I can create quality films for the world to see from our own home.  No longer do we need to personally know Stephen Spielberg, nor does our cousins, uncles friend need to be Michael Bay (though it would certainly help!)  If you have an interest in filmmaking or you are serious about getting your work out there, there are many things you can do for free from pre-production to post, using what you probably already own or have access to.  Below is a small set of tips that I have personally used to much success.

1. Screenplay & Props

Write a screenplay yourself or collaborate with a friend.  This is the most fun way to make a film.  The chances are, you already have an idea for a film or have screenplay written and ready.  When writing your screenplay, utilise props, property, vehicles and people that you have, can borrow or know.  This means that you don’t need to out source, buy or rent anything when it comes to filming.  Below is a very short film that I created with my brother, where we did exactly this.  We came up with an idea for a film using what we had in our possession.

2. Actors

Always ask friends or family to star in your film.  This is an obvious one, and there have been many a blog or article written with the same message.  But, don’t underestimate how easy or useful it is to you, to ask people you know.  They will be happy to help and most people are up for a bit of fun and a laugh.  Furthermore, there are many websites and groups that have aspiring actors as members.  Get in touch with them, tell them what you’re doing and what you’re looking for, but you must let them know that it would be volunteer work.  I have done this several times and it has been very successful.  By doing this, you have also made a contact (and possibly a friend) for your next project.

3. Camera & Editing

Use your iPhone, iPad or similar smart device to record your footage.  These days, smart phones and tablets have massive processing and graphics power, coupled with HD cameras that are capable of beautiful photography and cinematography.  Not only that, but, there are literally hundreds of filming apps that you can download for free to assist you in your film.  Some apps now allow you to easily create Holly Wood style effects on your smart phone.  You can even edit the footage very professionally on your device, if you do not have a PC or MAC computer to edit on.  Watch the review of a fantastic special effects app that I have personally used many times.

4. Marketing

Market your film before you have made it.  Why? to create a buzz and interest.  By the time the film is complete, there should be loads of eager film buffs desperate to see it.  Use social media and blog sites to share posters or production photos of the film and the film making process.  Use Youtube to share trailers of the film.  The film doesn’t have to be complete to make a trailer.  Tease your audience with snippets of exciting action or intense drama.  Below is an example of footage that was shot and then put together to tease a certain story.

5. Realeasing & Distributing

Create and share a release date for your film.  Make sure your audience knows when it will be available to view and where they can see it.  Many aspiring filmmakers have been successful doing this by using youtube, meaning that their audience is sitting by the computer or by their smart device on the date and time when the film is released.  Embed the link on your Facebook page and on your blog.  Make sure everybody can see it.  Below are two of many posters that I created for the film, Loner, that I wrote, directed & edited on my own.

Loner2 Loner

 

You’ve had your idea forever, your desperate to turn it into a film, you have your smart phone and apps, your friends are ready.  What are you waiting for?

 

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