Digital Production Buzz
December 5, 2013
[Transcripts provided by Take1.tv]
to listen to this show.]
Guisela Moro, Director/Actor, Newfoundland Films
Jessica Sitomer, President, The Greenlight Coach & GreatOnlineCoverLetters.com
Rodney Mitchell, President, DMVCPUG
Melissa Houghton, Executive Director, Women in Film and Video – DC Chapter
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Voiceover: Production, post production, distribution. What’s really happening now and in your digital future?
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Larry Jordan: Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the leading internet podcast covering digital video production, post production and distribution around the world. My name is Larry Jordan and joining us as always our affable co-host, the relaxed and composed Mr. Mike Horton.
Mike Horton: Hello, Larry.
Larry Jordan: You know, it’s good to see you. Welcome back, by the way. I can’t believe Thanksgiving was just last week.
Mike Horton: I can’t believe it was just last week either. Really, was it?
Larry Jordan: I could have sworn it was a month ago. I hope you had a good holiday.
Mike Horton: I did, and I hope you had a good holiday, too, ’cause you travelled.
Larry Jordan: I went out to see my granddaughter, who is about the size of, oh, I don’t know, a little small person.
Mike Horton: A little small person!
Larry Jordan: Yes, we’re working on getting her to roll over on her tummy and so far we’re not having any success!
Mike Horton: I want a little granddaughter, too.
Larry Jordan: You have… oh a granddaughter? You don’t have one of those yet.
Mike Horton: No, not one of those yet, but boy, I’m looking forward to it.
Larry Jordan: You’re lobbying?
Mike Horton: Yes. I’ve got to talk the kids into having babies!
Larry Jordan: Well, while we’re waiting for that even to occur, we’ve got some great guests tonight. We’re going to start with Guisela Moro. She’s an actor, producer and director who’s currently in post production on her first feature film as a director. It’s called “Hollow Creek”. It’s a combination thriller and love story and we want to learn more about what it’s like to direct your first features.
Larry Jordan: Then Jessica Sitomer joins us. She’s the president of The Greenlight Coach and a regular on The Buzz. This week she helps us remember that the holidays are a time for looking back and feeling grateful, or maybe relieved, for the past year that’s over. This week she shares her secrets on coping with both gratitude and stress.
Mike Horton: Ha!
Larry Jordan: Let me know when you’re done! Rodney Mitchell is the head of the DC Maryland and Virginia Creative Producer Program.
Mike Horton: I can’t wait to talk to him.
Larry Jordan: He is going to be on, and he’s got a report from GV EXPO 2013, going on this week in Washington DC, along with an update on a special event hosted by his user group last night. Rodney’s a good guy.
Mike Horton: Oh, he’s a great guy.
Larry Jordan: I enjoy working with him.
Mike Horton: He’s one of my favorite people.
Larry Jordan: By the way, we are offering text transcripts for each show, courtesy of Take1.tv, now you can quickly scan or print the contents of each show as well as listen to it. Have you looked at your pearls of wisdom in the transcripts, Michael?
Mike Horton: No, because I never show up, and it’s something to do with anytime Horton appears it just blanks it!
Larry Jordan: Oh darn, you figured that out!
Mike Horton: It’s like a Horton filter!
Larry Jordan: (laughing) Your text is there, we just make it white! It takes the same amount of space, there’s just no content.
Mike Horton: That’s why it’s selling so well. Take all the Horton stuff out!
Larry Jordan: The transcripts are located on every show page (except on Mike’s browser) and thanks, Take1.tv for making it possible. Michael, we have a special patch on your computer that tells us when you’re browsing The Buzz website,
Mike Horton: Maybe if I use Firefox instead of Safari it’ll work.
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Mike Horton: You can multitask!
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Larry Jordan: Guisela Moro was born in Argentina and attended Astral University in Buenos Aires. Shortly thereafter, though, she moved to the US to pursue acting, and now she’s an actor/producer/director who’s currently in post-production on her feature film as a director for “Hollow Creek”. This suspenseful thriller is some thing we want to learn more about. Welcome, Guisela!
Guisela Moro: Hi Larry! Thank you for having me.
Larry Jordan: It is our pleasure. You know, we were hearing wonderful words about you from your editor when we talked with Jon Shellenger.
Guisela Moro: He’s my DP, yes, he’s fantastic.
Larry Jordan: He spent the better part of his interview bragging about how wonderful you are, so Mike and I have been looking forward to this since October.
Guisela Moro: Well, thank you!
Larry Jordan: So tell us about Hollow Creek. What’s the movie about?
Guisela Moro: Hollow Creek is a suspenseful thriller about a New York writer who retreats to an old cabin in the mountains in West Virginal to write his latest horror novel, and he’s having an affair with a girl, who he brings along without anybody knowing. There have been boys missing in the area that have been abducted, and this girl actually witnesses one of the boys that went missing and she goes missing after following the lead and he becomes the prime suspect of her disappearance.
Larry Jordan: So, prior to this movie, you were an actor. What made you decide to step behind the camera and start directing?
Guisela Moro: Well, I think that I always wanted to write and direct. I think that as an actor you have to be in charge of producing your own material. To go into the casting route and moving to Hollywood, and expecting things to happen that way is a one in a million chance, and I always wanted to be in charge of the material. I did work for a couple of years for Telemundo doing soap opera for NBC, and I wasn’t really happy with that type of genre. I’m not a big soap opera/telenovela fan, so I decided one day to go to Palm Beach Film School and really learn everything that I could learn from behind the camera so I could start writing my own scripts.
Mike Horton: You know, you’re doing everything that an actor who has come to Hollywood should be doing, but a lot of people do not have the courage to do. In other words, instead of just auditioning and waiting around, go out and make your own destiny, and that’s exactly what you’re doing. So congratulations on having the courage to do that.
Guisela Moro: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: But, as the alternate point of view, isn’t it hard to direct yourself? Because you can’t really get out of your own head to see how you’re doing.
Guisela Moro: That’s a really good question. Yes, actually it is difficult. That was my biggest fear. I think that, in the pre-production phase of Hollow Creek I was so busy producing and getting ready for the actual shoot, location scouting and rewriting scenes that it wasn’t until the very first day on set with, I have to say, this amazing team – this was a team effort, it wasn’t just me being a genius, not at all! I had Jon Shellenger, who is an incredible DP. I had people like Steve Daron, who is an incredibly strong lead actor. I had Laura McKinney and the entire local support of West Virginia behind me and Tina Pfeiffer. You know, a lot of people were behind, but I remember that day saying, okay, I have everything that I could ever want, now I’d better step it up! Now I’d better really make them believe I can do this.
Guisela Moro: It was a test for myself. I think I also wrote a part for me, in a way, to be honest with you, that had a lot of challenges. In the movie I go through a lot of emotional moments. I get abducted and tortured. She’s pregnant, and they keep my character abducted for five months, and then I have to go through labor at the end of the movie. So I did a lot of things that I had never done as an actor before, just to say, you know, if I don’t make it with my first film, it means I need to do something else.
Guisela Moro: I think in the end I’m pretty happy. Of course, as an actor/director, you’re always learning. I have so much to learn, but I don’t think I could have done it if it wasn’t for the strong team that I have behind me, and I put a lot of thought and effort and energy pulling together the right team.
Larry Jordan: Well, I want to look at this team from two points of view. I want to talk about the team you put in front of the camera, and then I want to talk about the team you put behind the camera. When you’re wearing your director hat and you went to casting, talk to me about the casting process. What challenges did you have, or did the right actor just jump right out and say, ‘Hey, I’m here!’ What’s going through your mind as you’re putting these people together.
Guisela Moro: Oh, so many things are going through my mind. If I take something from this, my first experience, I have to say that the casting is crucial. It’s crucial because I knew since day one that I wanted to work with a lot of actors that I had worked with from the Burt Reynolds Master Acting class, which I’m part of. I’m one of his master actors. So I would say 70% of the actors that I ended up casting were actors that I have worked with, that I knew their caliber, I knew how good they were, and knew how committed they were.
Guisela Moro: The other 30% were actors that I casted locally, people that had never acted before that were incredible and there were some actors that I had never worked with, which can be a challenge, because when you don’t know someone, you know, it’s like getting married. You cannot lose an actor halfway into the production, an actor cannot be replaced if he fulfills a character, so that was the biggest challenge that I had, to be honest. I think with my next movie I’m going to be even more careful in who I cast and they’ve got to be so aware that it’s a committed relationship and you’ve got to work with actors that are very sensitive and vulnerable human beings all the way until the end. You know, behind the camera you can replace, not everybody, but almost everybody, but in front of the camera you can’t. So that was my biggest challenge, to be honest with you.
Mike Horton: Speaking of acting, since we’re on this subject and you being a first time director directing yourself, what often happens, especially with directors directing themselves is they don’t give themselves enough time. They don’t give themselves enough takes. They have to make their day, so they usually allow the other actors a little bit more time. Did you find that, the same as what a lot of first time directors do when they’re directing themselves?
Guisela Moro: Yes. Because at the end of the day, I was also a producer and you’ve got to have in the can whatever you have in the schedule, and whatever scenes you’ve got to work to make it to the end of the day with as much footage as you can.
Mike Horton: Next time, give yourself more time!
Guisela Moro: Yes, I think it’s person, from the actor’s point of view. It changes from actor to actor. Some actors need time to get there, meaning some actors are really good after the third, fourth, fifth take. Some actors are incredible after the second take; you just give them directions and they just nail it. No, it really is an organic thing that each actor has or not, which varies with every actor. With me, I didn’t have the luxury to have a lot of takes. I just went with the best take that we can get, pretty much, for each scene.
Larry Jordan: Well, you took another risk, and you were able to get Burt Reynolds to be a guest star, and most first time directors are very conservative. They work with their friends and don’t try to stretch. Firstly, how did you find the courage to ask him, and secondly, how did you book him for the movie?
Guisela Moro: It’s the biggest blessing, I think, and I’m so grateful to Mr. Reynolds. We shot the first half of the film in springtime, and he didn’t say yes right away. He asked to see the quality of the footage and he wanted to see the direction as well. So what we did, when we came back from shooting in West Virginia, we put together a couple of scenes, with Jon Schellenger and my editor, Greg Jocoy, who’s a great editor too. We put together a couple of scenes just to show him the footage so he could appreciate, or not, what we were doing. After he saw the footage that’s when he said, “Okay, kids, you can count on me. I’ll do it.” So I had written a part specifically for him that I was hoping, never expecting that he would say yes, so at that point we added his scenes and we went along with shooting his scenes on the second part of the footage, which was in wintertime, and we just got lucky.
Guisela Moro: He is an incredible coach, very, very generous as an actor and human being. His master actors are everything to him, and I think that because I was one of his master actors, and so is Steve Daron, the lead actor, he also was very proud that another 13 actors were cast from his master acting class. So that probably, you know, was an important factor for him to say yes.
Mike Horton: Was this shot in Los Angeles?
Guisela Moro: No, actually, I would say 90% shot in West Virginia in Harrisville and Mullens and Ritchie county and the scenes for Mr. Reynolds were shot in Palm Beach county. I cannot disclose where, but they were shot locally in Florida.
Larry Jordan: Eric on our live chat is asking how closely and effectively did you work with the local Film Commission, and did you get any state dollar incentives?
Guisela Moro: Very close. With the Palm Beach Film Commission, and with the West Virginia Film Commission we actually got accepted for the tax credit, and that’s why I had such a very positive experience shooting in West Virginia. They have a 31% credit, and that helps a lot because that money that we got back we were able to put it in post production and I was very grateful to the West Virginia Film Commission. The Palm Beach Film Commission also helped us with locations here. So both offices were really, really helpful.
Larry Jordan: You mentioned that Jon Schellenger was your DP. How did you decide to pick the people behind the camera? Were they all people you’d worked with before or did you hire new folks?
Guisela Moro: That’s another good question. I was lucky enough to meet Jon Schellenger through Steve Daron, the lead actor. I’d heard of him and once Steve got in touch with Jon he called me. Steve and I have a very close relationship, because we’ve written another script and we’ve worked together a lot as actors. He goes, ‘G, listen to me. I know you, I know you so well. You have to meet this guy. Jon is your guy, you’re going to love him, you guys are going to get along great.’ I was considering actually another Red Camera DP from out of state, but when Steve came back and spoke so highly of John, I said “Okay, let’s do it.” Jon is local; he’s in Port Saint Lucie about an hour away from where we live, and I’ve got to give him the credit because that changed absolutely everything because the quality of Jon as a DP, his cinematography, is just incredible. It’s something that I can’t really say in words, you just have to watch this footage, but the footage which he was able to come up with was absolutely stellar.
Guisela Moro: We used incredible locations, too. We didn’t come up with stage locations and sets, we truly used everything 100% authentic, so I think that for Jon it was also great … in the sense that he had fun with it and went along. After I hired Jon, which was so crucial, he
Guisela Moro: brought along part of his team. He made some recommendations. I hired some of the people that he recommended and then I hired the rest, local people from the West Virginia area.
Larry Jordan: So, if I heard you correctly, you shot this with a RED camera, correct?
Guisela Moro: Yes.
Larry Jordan: Why did you pick that?
Guisela Moro: I just think that the look of the RED camera is so close to 35mm, which I’m so passionate about. I know that it’s dying, but…
Mike Horton: Yes, it doesn’t exist anymore.
Guisela Moro: It’s so close and it has so many advantages because it’s digital and HD and even when we were doing the color correction, which Jon was part of, it was incredible, because I was watching it on the monitor in the editing room and sometimes you wouldn’t even be able to tell it’s the RED. It’s an affordable camera. The production quality that you get and the footage that you get with the RED, for the price you get it, it’s just priceless.
Larry Jordan: Okay, so we’ve got the script written, we’ve got a cast, you’ve been shooting with RED forever, you’ve got the whole movie in the can, where is it now? Is it released and we can see it?
Guisela Moro: Not yet. We just actually came back from the American Film Market in Santa Monica, California. We arrived in the last three days, because I was in post production until the very last minute, and we were able to show the movie to four companies, and all four companies are interested, so that’s a really good sign. Now my challenge is to change hats from director/actor/producer to getting a successful distribution deal, which is a totally different animal and I’m learning as I go along. This is a scary task, because you hear so many really scary stories, so I’m taking it very cautiously and I’m trying to learn as much as I can and I will probably have the best legal advice that I can get. But we’re in the middle of that negotiating.
Larry Jordan: I could be wrong, but I went to your website, and for a film that’s been shown in Santa Monica I don’t see a trailer.
Guisela Moro: We have not posted a trailer, though we do have one, because we haven’t got clearance for the music rights. We came to an agreement with the music company who owns the rights that we would not show it publicly. I mean we will show it on a private, one on one, basis to distributors and any kind of company who is interested in buying the film, but not open on Facebook or on our website at least not yet, not until we have paid all the music rights.
Larry Jordan: Speaking of paying and everything, the big question that everybody wants to know is how did you get the money?
Guisela Moro: (laughing) It was actually my money…
Larry Jordan: Oh my!
Guisela Moro: that I’d saved for ten years.
Mike Horton: All that telenovela money?
Guisela Moro: I know, yes, and now I’m broke! It was my money and also I had an Executive Producer at First Edge Films who also contribute with about 20% of the budget. But 80% of the budget it was my personal money. I saved since day one for this so, yes, I hope I can survive.
Mike Horton: I hope so, too.
Larry Jordan: You know, that’s incredibly scary. It’s your money, you’re the actor, you’re the producer, you’re the director. I mean you’re pretty exposed here.
Guisela Moro: Yes.
Larry Jordan: How do you cope with that?
Guisela Moro: I just sense that there is no other way. To be honest with you, the first time you do it, it wouldn’t be realistic if you don’t have any credits as a producer/director to ask somebody else for money, unless it’s your mom or dad who loves you, or rich Uncle Johnnie who’s willing to give you all the money. But nobody’s going to give you the money unless you have proven yourself, and I think for the second film I can already tell you that I already have people who, now that they’ve seen the trailer and they’ve seen the film are interested in potentially investing with us in my second film which, hopefully, I will get green light. It’s called The Last Time. For the first film I don’t even think my family believed in me. They all thought I was crazy, like, “Oh, you’re nuts! You’re like demented.” That’s truly what they thought, until they saw the film and now they’re like, you know what, you were right, we were wrong, and we’re proud of you. But until then, who’s going to believe in you? You’ve got to believe in yourself.
Mike Horton: Good on you.
Larry Jordan: Listen, if we were sane we would never get in this business in the first place, so crazy, I think, is part of the job description.
Guisela Moro: You’ve got to be real crazy and very passionate.
Larry Jordan: As you look back on this, what are the big lessons that you’ve learned? What would you do differently now that you’re coming up to a second film?
Guisela Moro: I think three things. The first thing that I would do differently, I would be more careful with casting, just like I said. For the next film, which is probably going to be a bigger budget and hopefully it’s going to involve A-list actors. I think casting is so crucial. It’s not about how good the actor is in front of the camera, it’s that you also need to deal with that actor, you know, 24/7, especially when you’re shooting in the middle of nowhere, in the mountains, on caverns, in the middle of the woods at 3 a.m. Not everybody has the personality to go with it, and next time I’m going to be ten times more selective and careful on who I’m going to cast. That’s the biggest lesson for me.
Mike Horton: You are the commander in chief fighting a war.
Guisela Moro: Yes, and not every soldier is going to fight the battle with you all the way through, so just like I knew that Jon Schellenger or Steve Daron or Tina Pfeiffer were my biggest supporters, I knew I could count on them until the end, my biggest lesson is that I cannot expect that from everybody else, I guess. So, like I said, actors you cannot replace, the crew, if it doesn’t work, okay, you can let them go. If they’re not happy you can let them go, but with actors, sometimes, it’s the independent film making. It’s not Hollywood.
Guisela Moro: I’m not paying for trailers, so sometimes people may have different expectations, let’s put it that way. I think that’s my biggest lesson and then to save money for even beyond post production, because I had saved money for post production, but now I’m on the phase of having to pay for deliverables, which include music rights and a whole bunch of different things, and there’s always the money issue until the very, very last minute. But those two are my biggest lessons, I think.
Larry Jordan: Where can people go on the web to learn more about the movie?
Guisela Moro: They can go to www.hollowcreekmovie.com. We’ll have a Facebook page and we have a big fan base, and we would love to hear from everybody who’s interested in the film.
Mike Horton: We wish you luck and hope you make a lot of money back.
Guisela Moro: Thank you so much. Thank you, Larry, for having me on the show. I think both of you have a phenomenal show, and I’m grateful that you took the time to interview me today.
Larry Jordan: You’ve done a wonderful job. The insight you provide, because you’re looking at it with fresh eyes and yet through the eyes of an actor, is a unique perspective and I’m very grateful you took the time to join us today.
Guisela Moro: Thank you, Larry. Thank you so much.
Larry Jordan: You take care.
Mike Horton: Bye-bye.
Larry Jordan: Bye-bye.
Guisela Moro: Bye-bye, thank you.
Larry Jordan: Jessica Sitomer is a job coach, which makes her Mike’s and my best friend, because she helps people find work. She’s also a regular on The Buzz, and she’s the President of the Green Light Coach, but what we really like best about Jessica is that she can pack a whole lot of advice into a very short period of time. Hello, Jessica. Welcome back!
Jessica Sitomer: Hello. Great to be here.
Mike Horton: Oh good, my favorite person, who always says yes.
Jessica Sitomer: Well!
Mike Horton: I didn’t mean it that way!
Larry Jordan: He was referring to the webinar that you did for him most recently and saying yes to Michael to do the webinar…
Mike Horton: Exactly!
Larry Jordan: …and we are changing the subject as Michael’s face is bright red!
Mike Horton: Jessica gives great webinars.
Larry Jordan: You know, Jessica, I was thinking as I was getting ready for our conversation today, I came up with this wonderful phrase. Are you sitting down?
Jessica Sitomer: I am, actually.
Larry Jordan: Okay, here it comes. Some of us are happy about the past year, and others of us are happy that the year has passed. Isn’t that clever?
Jessica Sitomer: That is very clever.
Larry Jordan: Thank you, I will take tips.
Jessica Sitomer: Tweet that, people, Tweet that! A Larry Jordan Tweetable.
Larry Jordan: How do we put this year behind us if it wasn’t, shall we say, a blazing success?
Jessica Sitomer: Well, you’re not the first person to have that thought. In fact, I do a whole seminar on it. I have my clients break it down to look at the good and the bad, because many times I find that when it feels overwhelmingly bad they forget about the good stuff that happened, their accomplishments and successes. But you’re talking about putting it behind you first, so let’s deal with the bad.
Jessica Sitomer: My advice is to make a list of the goals and expectations that were not achieved, the unfinished projects, the challenges you encountered, people you are out of communication with, incomplete personal business, you know, having to do with your car, your health, your investments and any regrets that you have. Then I want you to look through your different thought processes and habits that led to those results and decide what do you want to leave behind or not repeat in the next year. That’s how you begin to leave it behind.
Larry Jordan: Yes, but that phrase ‘leave it behind’ is a whole lot easier for somebody else to say than for someone who’s struggling to leave it behind to leave it behind, if you understand. How do you leave it behind when it’s obsessing you?
Jessica Sitomer: Okay, so what you do is you take that list and you break it down into three columns. So the first column would be complete, the second column would be in progress, and the third column would be scheduled. Because the reason why you’re having trouble leaving it behind is because you’re spinning in overwhelm. You’re letting the thoughts, like, stick with you and it just becomes so overwhelming that you don’t even know what you’re focusing on. So what you do is you look at the different things on your list until one time event, like going to a doctor, you schedule it. Then it leaves the brain, it’s just gone. There’s no more overwhelm. So all those things you can just schedule, you put those in a schedule pile and you do it.
Jessica Sitomer: Then if it’s a project, like your reel that you thought would be finished by now, you mark that ‘in progress’. So this way you can stop feeling badly about that you didn’t finish it. It’s in progress, you’re still working on it, and you put it into your business plan for 2014.
Jessica Sitomer: Then there’s the hardest one, and that is the complete column, and that’s for the projects and the people, the regrets, the things that we talked about, in other words, letting them go. It really is a process of just writing it down in a column and saying, you know what? I am complete with this. I am not going to talk to that person anymore, you know, she’s not calling me back, he’s not calling me back. I’m done. I have to be done. This project, I thought it was going to be huge and it didn’t take off, it’s not what I expected. Who knows, maybe sometime in the future it’ll be worth something, but it’s done. You just have to be complete.
Jessica Sitomer: I know it’s easier said than done, but I do this process every year with my clients, and it works when you start really analyzing it, putting them into these three columns, because so much of the in progress and scheduled things are adding to the overwhelm with the things that need to be let go of, and one you can just get that column straight and really see what you need to let go of and why you’re holding onto it, that’s why I said earlier look at the thought process and the habits that are keeping you holding onto those things. You have to make a decision. You have to choose. It can take a very long time to change, but once you make that decision to change, it happens instantly.
Larry Jordan: You know, I was just reflecting, what you’re really doing is you’re putting us back in control again.
Jessica Sitomer: Yes.
Larry Jordan: We’re the ones that are compiling the list. We’re the ones determining the categories and we’re not being controlled by external events.
Jessica Sitomer: Exactly!
Mike Horton: Yes, but when you start to form goals, right, that kind of takes you out of that ‘you’re in control’ kind of thing, because a lot of the times those goals are not met and that depresses you, because you just don’t meet those goals.
Jessica Sitomer: Look, you can’t not set goals because you might not accomplish them! You have to look back at the year’s past events, the habits that made you not reach those goals, the thought processes that stopped you from reaching those goals. You know, you have goals or you’re not going to move forward. So I’m not asking you to set goals, I’m asking you to look at the things that you wanted last year, like Larry was asking me about, and putting those into columns to put yourself in control, like he said, so that you can see, okay, this is something that I can schedule. It’s been running around in my head. I have to get that car bumper fixed, I have to make this doctor’s appointment, I have to buy presents for this person. Those things can be scheduled and you put them down on your calendar and then they’re out of your head. So that’s a little bit of relief.
Jessica Sitomer: Then there are the ongoing things that do become goals for 2014, because if you don’t set any goals how are you supposed to know what you’re accomplishing? If it depresses you because you don’t do it, then you’re not putting the work in to get closer.
Larry Jordan: Or you’re setting the wrong goals. If you’re setting goals which are not accomplishable, that also is an indication that you need to scale down your expectations.
Jessica Sitomer: Right. What’s the next step for you? Don’t set a goal to win an Academy Award next year if you haven’t even worked three months doing what you do! You know, it has to be doable.
Mike Horton: So let’s set a goal, if you’re an actor, I will get a job acting in the next year and then I don’t, I still waiting tables, then I get depressed ’cause I didn’t meet my goal.
Jessica Sitomer: But why didn’t you meet your goal? Were you spending too much time waiting on the tables and not enough time concentrating on the business? You remember that you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company if you want to be an A-lister. If you want to be working, you’ve got to do the amount of work that a CEO of a Fortune 500 company would be doing, and if you’re not doing that kind of work then you have no-one to blame but yourself, and you have to ask yourself do you really want this? Because if you do, then you do need to set those goals but you need to take the business action to accomplish it. You’re not going to be discovered sitting at home on your couch just because you have a reel online somewhere.
Jessica Sitomer: That’s not how the business works. You need to understand the nature of our industry and if you don’t that’s what I’m here for, to help you understand it.
Larry Jordan: Good answer!
Jessica Sitomer: Okay.
Larry Jordan: I would have responded quicker but I was too busy writing and taking notes. So what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to set goals, both in terms of what we want to learn from the past and what we want to accomplish in the future. We want to make those goals for the future realizable, not set them so far out of reach that we get discouraged and don’t even try. So what techniques should we use to really focus and avoid reliving the same mistake over and over again?
Jessica Sitomer: Okay, well as we talked about the bad, we have to talk about the good as well. So what you want to do is make a list of all your accomplishments and successes, and sometimes you forget all about those. You block them out because all you’re focusing on is what you’re depressed didn’t happen. So start writing accomplishments and successes, and if you find that to be a struggle, start looking at what you consider to be success or an accomplishment. But I would hope that you would all have some accomplishments and some successes.
Jessica Sitomer: Look at what you did to accomplish them, because if you focus on what you did wrong you’re just going to learn from it what you don’t want to continue, and how you must change but won’t. But what you want to do is you want to focus on what you do right. You want to focus on that a lot, because when you’re doing something right you want to keep doing that consistently. That’s why they say, you know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! You’re doing it right, so you want to keep focusing on it. So make a list of what you accomplished in the last year in your career and your personal life, what are you proud of, what was thrilling, what gave you peace of mind?
Jessica Sitomer: Something I do every year is I create a really exciting theme for myself. So, in 2011, I made a totally out of character choice, because I wanted to have something really exciting to share with my people in my newsletter. So I sold everything I owned, gave up the place I lived for 14 years and I made the theme for my year, ‘Speak, play, love’. I always base it on a movie, so instead of Eat, Play, Love, it was Speak, Play, Love.
Jessica Sitomer: In 2012, I turned the movie True Lies into True Highs, which was my year of adventure, and every month I did something new like went up in a hot air balloon, went on a NASCAR drive-along.
Jessica Sitomer: This year was Romancing the Go, instead of Romancing the Stone, and it’s when I launched my 50 first dates girl website, because I realized that I was not spending enough time on my dating life. So you want to give yourself something really fun and inspiring and motivating, so that you have something to look forward to. While you’re moving into this next year, you’re like okay, this is going to be different. This is going to be exciting, because I’ve never had a fun theme like this before. You know, you can come up with words that stimulate you, like this is going to be the year of the magical phenomenon, or this is the year of luck falling in my lap! You know what I mean? Whatever words speak to you and are going to make you feel like something special is going to happen, create a theme based on that. I think that’s very helpful.
Larry Jordan: Mike and I are looking at each other as two grumps trying to figure out, okay, how can we be half as cheerful about this as you are.
Mike Horton: Oh, it’s such good wisdom, as always.
Larry Jordan: But thinking of wisdom, I saw something on your website…
Mike Horton: And she’s so young, it drives me nuts!
Larry Jordan: I know, she’s 21 but we still like her.
Jessica Sitomer: I’m doing suspensing yoga I get younger ever year!
Larry Jordan: On your website, I saw something about a Cover Letter Webinar. What’s that about?
Mike Horton: Oh, I was doing that last night with my son, you know that? We were doing cover letters last night, going over every single word. It was just ridiculous, but by the time he got it done it was brilliant, and it’s probably the complete opposite of what Jessica’s going to say should be in it, but it was personable, it was like he talked rather than trying to make it so businesslike and boring and I thought it was genius at the end.
Larry Jordan: How many words did he write of the last version?
Mike Horton: You know, it started off about four pages and you know those people don’t read more than one paragraph, but it ended up being a half a page, but it was personable. It was interesting and it kept me going, it kept me reading. It’s not just because of my son, it was interesting.
Larry Jordan: Before Jessica runs out of time, Jessica tell us about this webinar.
Mike Horton: Is she running out of time already?
Jessica Sitomer: Well, this is the five things you should never put in a cover letter.
Mike Horton: He put all five of them in, but they were brilliant!
Jessica Sitomer: You can go to greatonlinecoverletters.com to register for free and basically what I did was I put up an ad on Craig’s List and got all these cover letters back and saw all the mistakes people were making. I talk about the five things you should never put in a cover letter.
Larry Jordan: Give me just one!
Mike Horton: Please!
Larry Jordan: She can’t remember.
Mike Horton: Oh, I bet you my son probably knew.
Jessica Sitomer: Oh, I remember! I’ll give you a really, really obvious one. Spelling and grammar…
Larry Jordan: Yes, yes! That’s cheating.
Jessica Sitomer: It was on 50% of the cover letters I got. So I really talk about the psychology of behind why.
Larry Jordan: Well, if you can’t spell you’ve got no brain attached is the problem.
Mike Horton: Well, Mark Twain couldn’t spell. That’s why he had good editors.
Jessica Sitomer: Well, there were actually 20 mistakes, but I’m just going over five tomorrow.
Larry Jordan: What’s one that you’re not going over?
Jessica Sitomer: Well, that is in the good stuff, that’s in my program.
Larry Jordan: Oh Jessica, where do we go to get more information about this webinar?
Jessica Sitomer: Greatonlinecoverletters.com.
Mike Horton: A whole new website for that.
Larry Jordan: The person putting it on is the world famous Jessica Sitomer. She is the President of the Green Light Coach and one of our favorite people here on The Buzz. Jessica, thanks for joining us today.
Larry Jordan: Since 2010 Rodney Mitchell heads the DC Maryland and Virginia Creative Pro User Group and I have been trying to make an acronym from that, Michael, for the better part of a day.
Mike Horton: It’s called (mumbles)
Larry Jordan: That’s the word! He’s an Apple user group ambassador for the Washington DC Metro area. Rodney has a deep interest in both media and technology which brings me to GV Expo 2013, and their event going on this week in Washington, plus a special event that Rodney hosted last night with Simeon Quarrie. Hello, Rodney!
Rodney Mitchell: Hey, you guys, how are you doing?
Mike Horton: Hey, Rodney!
Larry Jordan: We are talking to you, we’re already in a cheerful mood. What have you been doing during GV Expo?
Rodney Mitchell: Well, I’ve been really prepping for our major annual event that we have with the creative community in the DC Metro area and we had a really special guest this time, Simeon Quarrie from London, UK, and he really had a great talk and a lot folks really were a-buzz about on social media today after they got a chance to experience his special gift that he has for storytelling.
Larry Jordan: Well, Simeon just joined us on the live chat, so be careful!
Rodney Mitchell: Oh, did he?
Larry Jordan: Just be careful what you say about him, but what was the purpose? Why did you guys get together at GV Expo?
Rodney Mitchell: Well, I’m always looking for something new, something that really grabs the attention of this area, and we’re always talking about gear all the time and I think sometimes you have to go back to the roots and I think, you know, the source of that is creativity, and Simeon’s work really speaks of focusing on the storytelling element and creativity at the heart of things. So I saw his work online and I was just so taken by the way he can tell stories that I wanted to share that with the Washington DC area. So we started a conversation online through social media tools and we had a great relationship that way, and I was able to convince him, through the help of some of our sponsors to bring him to Washington, so here we are.
Larry Jordan: Very cool. I’ve had a chance to see some of his work, and it’s some very impressive pages.
Mike Horton: Yes, he’s up on Vimeo for anybody who wants to take a look at some of his stuff, and it is stunning.
Larry Jordan: Yes, I just sit there and sigh over the pictures. I say, why can’t I do stuff that good?
Rodney Mitchell: Well, he really shared some of his secrets to the audience and they were really appreciative of what he…
Mike Horton: Simeon’s in the chat. Especially the Indian Wedding, it’s got to cost a billion dollars to do some of these things. I mean the production values are extraordinary. He must spend hours in the color grading room. It’s just beautiful stuff.
Larry Jordan: For those of you wanting to know. This gentleman’s name is Simeon Quarrie, so you can check him out and take a look at some of his work.
Larry Jordan: Rodney, you’re in touch with media all across DC, not just at the event, what’s happening in the media industry around Washington? I mean with all the dysfunction going on politically is it having any impact on the industry and, if so, what’s shaking?
Rodney Mitchell: Well, the whole government shutdown really did put a damper on productivity, but I think now that we’re all back to work things are starting to rebound and you could see that at the Expo this week. It was really enlightening to see sponsors come out and they’re showing what they have. They had some new sponsors at the Expo the first time I’ve seen, folks like the Firefly folks, the movie, and DJI and their ‘copters. We had a special treat last night after the event. DJI was able to bring their ‘copters and we had a little interesting raffle exercise where we had a flying ‘copter taking pictures of folks coming up to receive their raffle prizes, so a lot of people went up.
Larry Jordan: Dan and I’s dream is to have the ‘copters deliver the raffle prizes at the next supermeet.
Rodney Mitchell: Exactly!
Larry Jordan: You’ve had a chance to take a little bit of time at least wandering the halls of GV Expo and we’ve got an interview coming up in the next segment from somebody that was at the show, but what caught your eye?
Rodney Mitchell: I see a lot of take up in the aerial footage area.
Mike Horton: Wow! Because of those little things.
Rodney Mitchell: A lot of folks out here are buying the ‘copters up left and right and, of course, they have a gray area where the FAA is with the rules and all, but staying conscious of that, there is some amazing work that is being done by folks that are buying these ‘copters that are pretty reasonably priced and the kind of shots that they can get with those kind of vehicles can really add an edge to your content and, with the tools you get these days with the Adobe Creative Cloud, they can make a lot of the corrections to the working effect that you get from the fish eye lens, and there’s some pretty spectacular things.
Mike Horton: Yes, even CrumplePop’s got a nice plugin to fix that fish eye problem, so it’s pretty cool.
Larry Jordan: So are you spending most of your time running the user group or you doing some shooting on your own?
Rodney Mitchell: I’m doing a bit of everything, as you probably know. You probably didn’t notice that, on your chat Tim Colceri is on. He’s an actor and director that lives out in Las Vegas, but I’ve been working with him on some of his scripts and we’re about to shoot some stuff, I think he said in another month for his roll out on some of these Kickstarter activities. So I’ve been busy.
Larry Jordan: Wonderful!
Rodney Mitchell: I’ve been busy writing scripts for him and also working on some camera gigs, and so I’m about to head out on a jam cruise next month to be on the seas for about a week.
Larry Jordan: Oh, that’ll be very cool. By the way, Simeon sent a note back on the live chat. He said Rodney is doing well to change the way people view supermeets and creative user groups.
Rodney Mitchell: Really?
Larry Jordan: So congratulations back to you that I’m happy to share.
Rodney Mitchell: Alright, thank you.
Larry Jordan: So what’s your goal for the user group? What do you want the user group to achieve? Just from watching Mike age over the many years he’s been running the LA group, running a user group is an exercise in knocking your head against the wall until the wall finally gives in.
Mike Horton: I just want to make money!
Larry Jordan: And you picked the wrong industry for that!
Rodney Mitchell: Yes, you did, yes you did!
Larry Jordan: What’s your goal for the user group, and why is it worth the effort?
Rodney Mitchell: I get satisfaction out of the collaborative aspects of working with the folks. I’m working with university folks in the area, George Mason University, Gallaudet University. Working with other activities where being together in group activities, showing how you can get work done better by using tools, processes and what not. I think those things help people see that there is help out there. You don’t have to struggle with the constant change that’s happening in the industry all the time. There are folks around you, and they may know how to answer or resolve the problem and that will help you proceed down the path to getting your project done.
Rodney Mitchell: So I get a kick out of just connecting the dots and allowing people to learn from folks in the area, as well as just reach out. We’re in the networking business. We’re supposed to be able to lean on the collective so that we can all learn from each other, versus just being in your own dark room and, you know, working on your masterpiece alone. It’s better if you can do it in numbers.
Larry Jordan: Very true, and the only way it’s going to happen is for people to come out and join the user group and join in the meetings. Where can people go to learn more about what you’re doing?
Rodney Mitchell: Go to www.dmvcpug.com
Larry Jordan: Rodney Mitchell is the president of the user group, and Rodney, thanks for joining us today.
Larry Jordan: For the last two days, our producer Cirina Catania and reporter Chad Moore have been prowling the halls of GV Expo 2013 in Washington DC, and I wanted to share one of the interviews they conducted, and you’ll find more interviews on The Buzz website. When you go to The Buzz website, which is DigitalProductionBuzz, click on the special reports button in the top right corner, then click on GV Expo 2013.
Melissa Houghton: My name is Melissa Houghton. I’m the Executive Director of Women in Film and Video for the DC Metro region. We are the premier professional organization for people who want a successful media career, so we’re here for men and women in the industry who really want a career in media, not just to make one-off films, but want to figure out how to do it in a sustained way. How do I draw on the resources and connections and advocates that are in the area to have a successful media career across disciplines.
Melissa Houghton: We love being at GV Expo. One, it’s a chance for us to meet a lot of our supporters who are other exhibitors on the floor. We’ve been very lucky to get broad industry support for our work, as well as to be here for our members. A lot of our members are government employees or independent producers, who are here looking at the equipment. So it’s great for us to be here as well to reinforce what they’re doing, to build connections for them, to say have you seen this, have you met that, and really we love being here because it’s a chance to meet people who are trying to figure out what their role is in media production and we’re here to help.
Melissa Houghton: We have slightly over a thousand members across the region. That’s a lot of people and I don’t get to meet them all every year, so GV Expo is a great place to see a lot of them in one place and then to hear this is the problem I’m having, or this is the success I just had, and so then I’m now in a better position to share that with the rest of the membership and either work to solve those problems or all get together to celebrate the successes. So it’s great to be here.
Melissa Houghton: All of our programs are open to the general public as well as members. We offer close to 70 programs a year, and they’re everything from a fabulous three-day event called Script EC, which is for writers, producers, directors in the area who are really trying to hone their storytelling skills, to tonight I’m on my way out the door to welcome Melissa Silverstein who does the Women and Hollywood blog, and she has a new book out called In Her Voice, which is interviews with women directors.
Melissa Houghton: But then what we really talk about is rather than complaining about it, because women are completely under-represented in the ranks of directors for major films and even under major films, really what have we got to do to change that? We’re lucky here in DC. A lot of women have more opportunities to create the media they want to. Documentary film has always been more open to women making it, rather than feature films, but we have a lot of members who want to make feature films, who want to work with the major studios, because that’s the scale of the project.
Melissa Houghton: How do we start opening up some of those avenues for them? So we’re constantly trying to come up with programming that is addressing the solutions that independent producers need in order to do their work better, and that’s from everyone from entry level beginners, who know they want to be in media but don’t know what that means, to people who have had 40 and 50 year careers who have offices with staff, who contribute to the tax base here, and who are also in transition. You know, media is changing dramatically, so we’re trying to both document what’s happened before and then really say this is what we think is happening next.
Melissa Houghton: I would say the trends that I’m really noticing is there is a real downward pressure in the industry, unfortunately, for more and more people working as consultants rather than employees, which is difficult. The federal government is doing that as well. I understand the reasons for much of it, but I’m not sure it leads necessarily to better media production, and that’s too bad because we have some of the most talented content creators in the world that are based here and you really want to see them getting to do their best work.
Melissa Houghton: On the other hand, it’s the most exciting time I’ve ever seen for independent film makers, given the technology that’s available and that the prices keep dropping. The downside of that is more and more people are working in isolation, and that’s really hard when you’re creating media for a broad public audience. You need people to sound your ideas off from, and you need a broader consensus of who that audience might be.
Melissa Houghton: So we’re really looking to provide that connection point for people and I think that’s why Women in Film is getting ready to celebrate 35 years as an organization next year, which is phenomenal and we’re really excited about it, and the fact that so many of our founding members are still involved with the organization and are still making film and media is just phenomenal, and it’s a really exciting time to be involved with Women in Film.
Melissa Houghton: Our website is www.wifv.org. We push a lot of information to our members, so if you really want to know everything that’s going on I would encourage membership. We’re easy to join. We’re open to men and women as members, students, new professionals as well as established professionals, and we really want to be advocates and available to people who have questions.
Larry Jordan: That was Melissa Houghton. She’s the Executive Director of Women in Film and Video for the DC Metro region, and she was interviewed by Chad Moore at Government Video Expo yesterday in Washington DC. Mike, it’s been a great group of people on the show today.
Mike Horton: I liked her. We need to have her back. She’s very articulate, which is unusual when you’re at a trade show!
Larry Jordan: Articulate and very focused on what her organization does. The website is www.wifv.org and that was a nice interview. We had some great guests on the show today.
Mike Horton: Yes, we also have a really packed live chat, too, so that gives people reason to go to the live chat. We’ve got Rodney in there and Tim Colceri a wonderful actor, and Simon, whose work is just extraordinary. I hate him!
Larry Jordan: Tim was in Full Metal Jacket, wasn’t he?
Mike Horton: Yes. I had a couple of buddies in that film. I think they lost their marriages, because everybody was there for like an entire year shooting that thing, which was completely nuts. Normally a 60-day schedule on a big, big budget film, with Stanley Kubrick it’s a year.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of other wonderful people, I want to thank Guisela Moro, the actor/producer and director of Hollow Creek, Jessica Sitomer the President of the Green light Coach, Rodney Mitchell the head of the DC, Maryland and Virginia Creative Pro User Group, with an acronym that I cannot pronounce, and Melissa Houghton the DC Chapter Executive Director of Women in Film and Video.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot happening at The Buzz between shows, so make a point to visit DigitalProductionBuzz.com. You can visit us on Twitter @DPBuzz and Facebook also at DigitalProductionBuzz.com. The Buzz is streamed by Wehostmacs.com. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Our producer is Cirina Catania, special reporting coverage for GV Expo provided by Chad Moore. On behalf of Mike Horton, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening.