Tag Archives: advice

Freelancing and self-respect by Zoe.D

“I quit the production.”

It was the first time I had ever left a film and the sentence/thought/action/idea felt all so alien to me. It was even more alien once I said it aloud, to my friend. It spilled out like marbles clanking out of a glass jar.

I’ve “toughed it out” on a number of rough sets, ultimately feeling the kind of victory a Spartan feels after winning a war. But I had quit this one and it didn’t feel good.

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New “series” on Freelancing in the video world (via Zoe.D)

Hey IU fans! We’re starting a new “series” on freelancing in the video production world! Check it out and let us know if it’s something you’d like to see more of. And be sure to comment!

Zoe.D here. New to blogging for IU so I’m pretty excited! I’ve been asked to write on what it’s like being a freelance videographer in the California area. Keep in mind, I’m still pretty new to the business – I graduated not long ago having studied video production – and am still learning the ropes. This series documents some of the things I’ve learned along the way – and am certainly STILL learning. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with freelancing! Let’s dive in:
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More than a diversity hire: WGAW’s Female Asian Comedy Writers Panel notes


(Photo from wga.org)

Have you checked out the Writers Guild of America, West Youtube channel lately? I stumbled upon a great panel called “Bring The Funny: Celebrating Asian Women Writers”. Although I’m all about shouting out Brown Women filmmakers, I can’t say that I’m too familiar with today’s female scribes working on the small screen (aside from Shonda Rhimes and Mindy Kaling). So I grabbed a pen and took a few notes that I wanted to share. I think most of the advice from these successful women could apply to both aspiring TV and film professionals.

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So What’s The Deal With…Applying for Film Grants?

It suddenly dawned on me that although I’m always excited to post deadlines for film grant opportunities, it might be helpful for folks to hear from someone who’s actually won something. That someone is Darius Clark Monroe, a talented NYC filmmaker with Texas roots. He is currently in post-production on an autobiographical feature documentary titled “Evolution of a Criminal”. The project has received support from multiple organizations including Austin Film Society, Cinereach, Tribeca and IFP. A big thank you again to Darius for sharing his insight on navigating the world of film grants. — Christina B.


Official synopsis: “Deep in the heart of Texas, what begins as an innocent tale of family, sacrifice, and financial hardship quickly escalates into a true-crime thriller. Fusing together compelling interviews, striking re-enactments, and home video, we are forced to ask ourselves how a 16 year-old honor roll student evolved into a bank robber.”

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Being Rejected By A Film Festival Sucks


As a film kid at heart, the bittersweet part for me about attending any film festival is knowing there are countless films that didn’t make the cut.

Obvious fact: Rejection sucks.

I’ve been there. With my short film in college, I said a silent prayer every time I hit submit on Withoutabox.com or dropped a DVD in the mailbox. It’s perfectly human to want to know why some mysterious gatekeeper didn’t like your work. The feedback I received ranged from your standard form email to a hardcopy notice mailed to my apartment. Thanks, I guess.

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Do You Budget For Life Expenses During Pre-Production?

Remember back in the day when indie filmmakers was mortgaging their homes, maxing out credit cards and borrowing money from every person they’d met in life just to get films made? Yeah, that’s not cool anymore, especially to producers. So what’s a director to do?

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Let’s Call It A Weekend! (Hot Topics Round-Up)

SAG Nominees: Duh’s, Snubs and WTF’s

The Screen Actors Guild announced their 2012 nominees this week. There were definitely some surprises, according to Sean. Where you happy with the actors/films recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press?

Vote For FOCUS FORWARD Semifinalists In Socially Conscious Film Competit

The US Presidential election may have come, but everyday indies are running their own campaigns for personal projects. Three of my film friends are Audience Favorites semifinalists in the same short documentary contest. Check out their films and many others HERE.. Voting ends December 20th.

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Sundance Alum Offers Advice For Filmmakers Making Festival Debuts


As a former volunteer, I was completely overwhelmed by the grand scope of the festival, but I can’t even fathom what it must be like as a participating newbie filmmaker. Luckily, filmmaker Michael Mohan (SAVE THE DATE), offers up 6 tips for your first big trip up to Park City. He’s had three film play there, so I think his advice is pretty sound. Most of it could actually apply to any festival experience.

One point that seemed very poignant:

2C. Maybe you’ll need to re-edit your film

The producers out there will hate me for mentioning this. But after seeing my film six times with different crowds, I learned full well that a better version of my film existed if I could take out two minutes. There’s no shame in tinkering with your film post-Sundance. You’re a better filmmaker if you know your film can be better and subsequently make your film better.

Check out Michael’s full checklist HERE.

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Notes from the Gatekeepers: Tribeca All Access Grant

There is truly a reason I keep everything. Everything. I hold in my hands notes from a webinar hosted by Tamir Muhammad, Director of Feature Programming at Tribeca All Access last October. Now, I know, you’re thinking that was quite a while ago, but I know this information is as relevant as ever. Not just for those applying for TAA (2012 information is below), but for anyone in the process of applying for nonprofit grants. It can seem very intimidating at first since you really want the project funds and so does every other Joe and Jane out there. Organizations like Tribeca allot thousands of dollars specifically for independent filmmakers through programs like TAA and I hope this advice helps you get one step closer to completing your latest project.

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Unchained Resources: InternQueen.com

One of the things on my never-ending to-do list is polishing the ol’ resume. Whether you prefer to show off your skills in a paper version or LinkedIn profile, I think this gem from…you guessed it…Twitter is very helpful. Now you might be thinking “But hey I’m not/don’t want to be an intern…”. Trust me, I was too. However, in just a few weeks, I’ve learned so much from the Intern Queen aka Lauren Berger through video segments like this and her daily tips tweets via @InternQueen.

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Indie on a budget? Try Film Independent online resources!

I’ve noticed that although there are so many great support networks for new filmmakers of all backgrounds, many are nonprofits and therefore require a steep membership fee. Luckily for those of us on a budget, some film organizations make the same resources for paying members available online to the public. My current favorite freebie goldmine is Film Independent. Their annual membership costs $95, but the “Resources and Advice” page is a mighty fine substitute if you’re not able to commit with your wallet. The homepage covers a vast range of topics to fit all of your indie filmmaker needs. Many posts are recaps from their monthly members-only events. Helpful categories include:


Sound Advice 

Post Production

Film Budgeting

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Unchained Resources: Screenwriting


If you want to be a successful writer, or a director, or an editor, you have to DO. And you have to do a lot.

To write any script is a big deal. Taking on the challenge without a class requirement or financial stake is just near climbing Mt. Everest. It’s just you and the blank page for however long it takes to tell the best story. I’m tackling a rewrite of a feature script and I wouldn’t have made it this far without surrounding myself with the smartest, sharpest writers on the web. You don’t necessarily have to be an island anymore. Yes, there are shelves full of technical screenwriting books and plenty of courses you can take, but you’ve also got to be open to exploring what successful writing is today. You can’t ask a book a question and classes are expensive.

The web is a great place for new screenwriters because working professionals are having conversations and posting advice completely free of charge. So to assist in that “doing” road ahead, here are some resources I’d like to share as a fellow emerging screenwriter.

For those on Twitter, I highly recommend 3 handles:

  • @RexPickett – writer of the novel SIDEWAYS (it was a book first, who knew?). In 140 characters or less, Pickett shots straight for our insecurities and says screw them. WRITE anyway.
  • @GoIntoTheStory – Scott Myers is a professional screenwriter/consultant. I call him the Script Guru. His tweets not only feature technical/creative advice, but he also updates on what scripts sell in Hollywood.
  • @AdviceToWriters – Sage micro-wisdoms from all sorts of writers that will kickstart your next draft.
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