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Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – Mar. 20, 2014

Digital Production Buzz

March 20, 2014

[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]


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Larry Jordan

Michael Horton


Sean Safreed, Co-Founder, Red Giant

Ela Thier, Writer / Director / Producer, Ela Thier

Misha Tenenbaum, Founder, EditStock

Jeff Pickard, CEO, President, Lucion Technologies


Voiceover: This Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Blackmagic Design, creators of the world’s highest quality solutions for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.

Voiceover: Live from Ralph’s Maytag Museum and Podcast Studio in beautiful downtown Burbank, it’s the Digital Production Buzz.

Voiceover: Production, post production, distribution.

Voiceover: What’s really happening now and in your digital future?

Voiceover: The Buzz is live now.

Larry Jordan: And welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast covering creative content, producers and tech news from media production, post production, marketing and distribution around the world. My name is Larry Jordan and our ever affable co-host – you know, it doesn’t even apply…

Mike Horton: It doesn’t.

Larry Jordan: …Mr. Mike Horton.

Mike Horton: You’re making that up, aren’t you?

Larry Jordan: I can’t even read it. How can I make it up?

Mike Horton: I am grumpy.

Larry Jordan: You are grumpy. Why are you grumpy?

Mike Horton: Because I was in traffic. But I still made it, Larry, just for you. I was in traffic forever.

Larry Jordan: The sacrifice you made. Like, were you going quickly?

Mike Horton: No, Larry. In fact, I was reading a book while I was in traffic, it was that bad. And I finished the book.

Larry Jordan: That’s the scary part. You left yesterday afternoon and three miles later you got here. Thinking of people who are making the sacrifice to be on the show, we’re going to start with Sean Safreed. He’s the Co-founder of Red Giant, which has announced an online community called Universe. They announced it last week and Sean joins us to explain why this is such a big announcement.

Larry Jordan: Then writer/director/producer Ela Thier has successfully financed a feature that’s available on Netflix, Hulu and most other digital platforms. She joins us this week to explain how she did it.

Larry Jordan: Misha Tenenbaum is an Assistant Editor on such shows as ‘Jobs’ and ‘American Horror Story’. He’s also the Founder of EditStock, an online service that allows editors to download professionally shot film footage so that they can practice editing. I want to chat with him about how editors can learn the craft of storytelling.

Larry Jordan: Finally, Jeff Pickard is the CEO and President of Lucion Technologies, a go-to source for document management and Paperless Office software. Paperless Office has such a nice sound that…

Mike Horton: Doesn’t it?

Larry Jordan: …we wanted to talk with him about it this week.

Larry Jordan: By the way, just a reminder to check out the text transcripts for each show, courtesy of Take 1 Transcription. Now you can quickly scan or print the contents of every show as well as listen to it. Transcripts are located on each show page and learn more at and thanks, Take 1, for making this possible.

Larry Jordan: Michael…

Mike Horton: Hmm?

Larry Jordan: …The Buzz is covering the 2014 NAB show like a blanket.

Mike Horton: I know, there’s a giant, giant window in the top of the website that says so.

Larry Jordan: And we’re doing seven live NAB updates during the day, eight…

Mike Horton: Seven?

Larry Jordan: …NAB special reports every night. I mean, we are taking the biggest production team ever with all the details available at, so are you doing anything at NAB this year?

Mike Horton: I am.

Larry Jordan: Oh, tell me more.

Mike Horton: You won’t have any time to go there because you’re doing 15 episodes a day. The Supermeet, which is on Tuesday, if you can actually stop by, at least for a little bit, on Tuesday night. Doors open at 4.30, Larry, and they’re all going to be looking for you. That’s

Larry Jordan: Yes, but it’s expensive to get in the door, isn’t it?

Mike Horton: Yes, right. It’s $15, that’s it. Well, it’s $20 if you don’t buy a ticket online. You’d better buy a ticket on line because it’s just the last day. We have sold over 150 tickets since yesterday. Just in one, yes, just in one day. I have no idea why. All of a sudden, everybody’s started buying them.

Larry Jordan: Your family.

Mike Horton: Yes, I guess.

Larry Jordan: Whatever.

Mike Horton: They all say Jordan.

Larry Jordan: Have you got anything on the agenda?

Mike Horton: We do, but it’s all super secret. It is.

Larry Jordan: So you can’t tell people what they’re going to see? It’s just going to be great.

Mike Horton: Yes, it’s going to be good stuff. It’s going to be brand new stuff.

Larry Jordan: We’re going to be back with more from Sean Safreed, right after this.

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Larry Jordan: The Blackmagic production camera 4K also features an incredibly tempting price of $2995. Learn more about the Blackmagic production camera 4K that is definitely priced to move. Visit today. That’s

Larry Jordan: Red Giant Co-founder Sean Safreed has a very strong tech background. He was on the QuickTime team at Apple and also worked with SGI and Pinnacle. Now he spends his time developing plug-ins and apparently websites for all our favorite editing software, plus something brand new called Universe. Welcome, Sean.

Sean Safreed: Thanks, Larry.

Larry Jordan: You know, I read the announcement last week, I read the press release and what is Universe?

Sean Safreed: Well, to start off with, it’s a set of 50 plug-ins for your favorite video editors – Final Cut Pro X, Motion Premier Pro and After Effects and there will be more in the future but we’re starting with those – and it’s a variety of tools, some transitions, glows, blurs, distortions and some of the tools that we’ve built over the years in Effects Suite that we’ve used into Universe as well, like Toonit, Knoll Light Factory and Holomatrix.

Larry Jordan: All right, but why? I mean, you guys have been selling high quality plug-ins quite successfully via your website forever and all of a sudden now you’ve got this new thing. What’s the new thing?

Sean Safreed: Well, let me back up and give you a little of the back story. About a year and half ago…

Larry Jordan: You’ve got plenty of time. Give us all the back story.

Sean Safreed: Ok. We were looking at the maintenance problem we have with all the tools we have on the website and they’re all built off of different code bases by different engineers over the years, and it had become a real mess to try and update and advance any one single product. So we decided to try to make a new architecture that would allow us to really accelerate the time to delivery for the tools, instead of us taking four to six months to deliver a single tool, and we wanted to cut that down to days.

Sean Safreed: So we decided to build this new architecture. We realize that everybody has a decent GPU even in their laptop these days and we decided to move everything that we’ve been doing in our looks tools and the Effects Suite into this new architecture and, to make it easier for us to generate these new tools, we decided to build both the interface description part of the plug-in and the functions that you use to actually do the image processing all in JavaScript, and that made it possible for someone like me or an artist or someone who’s not an engineer, basically, to sit down and create plug-ins.

Larry Jordan: Maybe somebody like you, but looking at Mike and me, if we looked at Javascript, it would be a hopeless situation.

Mike Horton: Isn’t going to happen.

Sean Safreed: Well, you say that, but six months ago I wasn’t doing any scripting. I know quite a bit about the underlying technology of 3D graphics and image processing and all that, but I definitely wasn’t doing programming and I probably wrote, I would say, at least 15 to 20 of the scripts that are in the current Universe software.

Larry Jordan: Wow.

Sean Safreed: It’s that easy. We’ve tried to make it really simple to do basic stuff that motion graphics artists do all the time and to put that into a language, the web language JavaScript, so that most of the scripts, if I sat down and showed them to you, they’re 30 or 40 lines.

Mike Horton: Really?

Sean Safreed: And I could sit there and describe all the things in it to you and you’d be, like, “Oh, ok, I get it. That’s a slider. That’s the thing that does a blur. That’s the thing that does a composite. I get it.”

Larry Jordan: Wait, wait, wait, I’m confused now. Are we uploading our files to Universe and having it process them? How does this interface…

Sean Safreed: No. Well, I’m talking about all of the behind the scenes here. What we’re offering to customers is traditional plug-ins. The stuff that I’m talking about is purely the back end design tools that we created to make it easier for us to manage all of the different tools that we want to build, and I should also add that we moved our looks engine into this new architecture as well, and the color processing that’s being done in Bulletproof is also using the same framework.

Larry Jordan: Ok, so we’ve got this incredible magic JavaScript going in the back end, and I’m totally convinced that you guys are wizards to be able to put it together, but for us poor mere mortals that have to get effects work done, what does the front end look like?

Sean Safreed: It looks like any traditional plug-in that you run inside of Final Cut X or After Effects or Premier. You just go to your effects browser, bring it up and there’s a category for your glows or stylizations like color matrix or distortions, and you just apply them on your footage, just like any other filter would.

Mike Horton: Well, I downloaded the free beta last week, like everybody in the world did, and your servers must have crashed or something. You get no Light Factory EZ. You get Holomatrix and you get Retrograde, and I haven’t been able to actually fool with this, but this is the free beta so you get to use all this stuff for free.

Sean Safreed: Yes, that’s right.

Mike Horton: Which is really cool and I haven’t used it yet because I’m doing the Supermeet and stuff, but that’s what’s pretty cool about this. But looking down the line, this is going to be some sort of subscription service.

Sean Safreed: Yes, it will be. We are trying to make it acceptable to everyone. We’ve definitely heard over the years that people can’t afford to buy a $200 or $300 plug-in set and they want to be able to get it on a low monthly payment, so for ten bucks a month you can get the set of Premium tools that we’re offering for Universe, which includes things like Light Factory and Holomatrix and these sort of advanced tools that we’ve built, and I should be clear that 31 of the 50 tools that we put out there, including a bunch of cool Keno style transitions and Glow-Fi, which is a great tool for creating glows on text, and some distortion tools, those are all free and if you just download them, they’re free and they’re free forever. There’s not any cost to it, you just go to our little link utility, sign in and it downloads then you get free tools.

Larry Jordan: Ok. Allow me to be confused. Is this an interface similar to what FX Factory does, where I’ve got a menu to choose from inside an application and I click which ones to energize and which ones not? Or is this just simply going up to the Universe website and downloading the specific plug-in that I need?

Sean Safreed: Well, right now it comes as a group of plug-ins. There aren’t any selectors for saying, “You know what? I only want the glow tools, can I just have those?”

Larry Jordan: Oh, so I get all of them or I get none of them.

Sean Safreed: Exactly, so you get everything installed inside of Final Cut or Motion or whatever, inside of the little Universe sub-menus for each of the categories. We will add the ability to let you pick and choose if you decide that you only want specific tools installed, but for this particular launch we’re going out of the door with a big group of 50 tools that you can use that group. You don’t choose, you just say, “Give it to me” and in one click you’re done.

Larry Jordan: So for right now in the beta, we’re getting the entire suite and we get access to everything.

Sean Safreed: Exactly.

Larry Jordan: As the beta ends, this then switches to subscription pricing and I’m struck with Adobe’s pricing last May, when they went to subscription pricing with the creative cloud. Was the idea for subscription pricing born at that same time?

Sean Safreed: Well, at the same time people were asking us to do subscriptions across all of our products and we really didn’t have the delivery technology to be able to do that, so that’s something we’ve built in Link, to be able to deliver it, and Universe is definitely the guinea pig for us to start trying that.

Sean Safreed: Now, one thing we are doing, we know that some people hate subscription and they don’t want to pay monthly, they’d rather just own it outright.

Larry Jordan: I do remember the screaming about that, yes.

Sean Safreed: Yes, exactly, so we do have a lifetime option for 399, which basically gives you all the tools we’re doing today, and any tools we deliver in the future all at the same price.

Larry Jordan: Which is $399?

Sean Safreed: Yes.

Mike Horton: That’s lifetime.

Sean Safreed: Forever, yes. Lifetime means lifetime, not anything else.

Larry Jordan: Now, Sean, as an end user I think both of these prices are phenomenal. As a business offering something with free upgrades in perpetuity, it’s really hard to pay the rent five years on. How are you guys going to make money at this?

Sean Safreed: Well, we are playing a little bit of the freemium game. We’re trying to create a lot of tools that we know entice users to check us out and so we’re basically hoping that we’re going to get a much bigger crowd of folks to come and try these out, and we’ll make the money for the things that we need to support Red Giant on the premium tools that we build in the system.

Sean Safreed: We’re going to continue to add to the free tools. We have a number of them on the drawing plate already to go into the next offering, so it will get richer and richer and that’s just part of our plan.

Larry Jordan: We’re in mid crapshoot, in other words.

Sean Safreed: That’s part of it. It is a crapshoot for us.

Mike Horton: With this new change in the subscription model and all that, are fixes coming much faster than before? And with the new architecture, with the new engines and things like that, is that going to make little bug fixes much faster, new updates much faster?

Sean Safreed: Absolutely.

Mike Horton: You won’t have to say every six months, “Ok, we’ve got Magic Bullet 14.”

Sean Safreed: Right. We’re planning to actually do six releases this year for Universe. We already have a plate of about 35 plug-ins that we have planned. Some of those are actually already done, and we’ve just held them back because we didn’t have the time to test them and make sure that they were all up to snuff, but we have a bunch that we’re already planning to do and these aren’t just presets. We have more glow tools, more transitions that we’re going to build off of some of the distortion stuff that we’ve done with things like Holomatrix, some extensions of Light Factory into transitions, so there’s a bunch of tools, along with the guys at…Pop that are building some of their Final Cut X specific tools now in Universe so that they can get into Premier and After Effects.

Larry Jordan: Sean, we’re getting a question from Don on the live chat. He wants to know if the tools are modified or support the new Mac Pro and what specific editing platforms you support.

Sean Safreed: So right now we’re just doing Final Cut Pro X and Premier Pro, ES6 and CC. We will support other editors later this year, but we don’t have a specific schedule at this point for that. We’ve definitely already got a ton of requests for Avid and for Vegas and we have supported those tools in the past, but as we build out more and more host support, that definitely puts a big drag on QA to make sure that everything works.

Larry Jordan: And how about the Mac Pro?

Sean Safreed: Windows 7, then Windows 8 and all that.

Larry Jordan: And how about the Mac Pro?

Sean Safreed: Definitely supported already for Mac Pro. We have only gotten a Mac Pro in the last two weeks ourselves because we had to wait a while for the backlog, but it definitely works and at NAB we’ll be showing multi-GPU support, at least in a beta form, and we’ll have that rolled out some time in Q2 as well.

Mike Horton: Red Giant’s going to be at the Supermeet too with a table. We took all their money and bought extra cheeseballs.

Larry Jordan: Sean, pay him more money. I’ve had the cheeseballs.

Mike Horton: Hotel food.

Larry Jordan: When does the beta end and when does this thing go live and released?

Sean Safreed: We’re planning on the second half of April, right after NAB. We should be done at that point with little fixes we have for some performance things. You’ll actually see some performance improvements before we get this thing shipped, and then our next release is slated for either the end of May or the beginning of June, so not too longer after that either.

Larry Jordan: And for people who want more information, where can they go on the web to learn more?

Mike Horton: I think he left or you pushed a wrong button.

Larry Jordan: I have not pushed the wrong button.

Sean Safreed: Hello?

Mike Horton: Yes, you’re back, ok.

Larry Jordan: Ok. For people who want to know, where can they go on the web to learn more?

Mike Horton: He’s not back.

Larry Jordan: We’ve lost him again.

Mike Horton: At It’s right there.

Larry Jordan:

Mike Horton: Download the free beta. There’s some really good stuff in there.

Larry Jordan: We had Sean for just a moment. That was Sean Safreed, he’s the Co-founder…

Mike Horton: It’s our engineer Adrian’s fault.

Larry Jordan: …Co-founder of Red Giant and, Sean, in spite of the fact you can’t talk to us, thanks for stopping by and we wish you great success with Universe.

Larry Jordan: Well, that was unnecessarily quick.

Mike Horton: Yes, I don’t know what happened.

Larry Jordan: I wonder where that music was coming from. There we go. Hello?

Mike Horton: Oh, buttons are all screwed up there.

Larry Jordan: It’s not the buttons. I think it’s the operator.

Mike Horton: It’s the sliders.

Larry Jordan: But for some reason we could not get them to work. Ela Thier’s award winning feature film, Foreign Letters, was released by Film Movement and available on Netflix, Hulu and most other digital platforms. She wrote ‘The Wedding Cow’, and I don’t even want to think about that, which won 18 international awards, and was a co-writer on ‘Puncture’ starring Chris Evans. She’s also the Founder and head instructor at the Independent Film School in New York City. Hello Ela.

Ela Thier: Hi.

Mike Horton: Hi Ela.

Ela Thier: Hope you don’t push the wrong button with me.

Mike Horton: Oh, I’ll do it. I’ll do it just to make you feel good.

Larry Jordan: You know, I didn’t intend to push the wrong button and I have no idea where that was coming from.

Mike Horton: The problem is, there are just too many buttons.

Larry Jordan: Yes, well, we are surrounded by a couple more buttons than usual tonight. Ela, you’ve produced a number of feature films. I want to talk about money. How did you get them financed?

Ela Thier: Well, I produced one, the other two I wrote. ‘Foreign Letters’ is the one I produced. That one was entirely crowd funding and I can talk about that. The film I’m in development on now, I put an investment package together and I’m part of the way there and have a way to go.

Larry Jordan: The first film, you say, was crowd funded? Or all of your films?

Ela Thier: ‘Foreign Letters’, yes. I have three features and one of them I produced and that was crowd funding. I’ve also produced a whole bunch of shorts, all of which are crowd funded. The crowd funding I can talk about with some confidence in terms of raising financing, like going to people who can actually finance films more substantially. That I’m learning as I go, I’m learning on the job, a lot of trial and error. Mostly I’m learning from mistakes and every once in a while I figure something out that works.

Larry Jordan: Well, let’s talk both. I would much rather learn from your mistakes than my mistakes, so talk crowd funding. How did you get the money in crowd funding? What was it that got people to shell out the money you need for your film?

Ela Thier: Well, with that too, a lot of mistakes before anything worked. The first time I put the word out about raising money, I had a newsletter at the time, I think I had 2,000 and some people on it and that’s where I put the word out, in the newsletter. I got one donation for $100 and that donation came from my sister.

Larry Jordan: I’ll take money from wherever it comes, I don’t care who it is.

Ela Thier: So that was the first attempt. Really, it was an exercise in persistence and in learning how to endure humiliation and keep trying things anyway.

Mike Horton: That’s everybody, because I’ve done a crowd funding thing too and you find out that it’s almost a 24 hour a day job. It’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears and a lot of tears. It’s really difficult.

Ela Thier: Yes, and what I’m learning now with an investment package and I’m going to financiers, it’s really not that different a job. They all come down to relationships, and they all come down to people wanting to invest in you and support you. I don’t know if there’s anybody out there who’s investing in a film because they think they’re going to get rich. Maybe there is. If you’re out there, call me.

Mike Horton: They’re on Wall Street.

Ela Thier: Yes. Yes, they’re not financing films, so it’s about relationships, and it’s about persistence, and being willing to make mistakes, and feel like an ass and try again.

Larry Jordan: Well, now, you’re moving to a different form of funding. I know you’ve got one film in development. Help me understand how you’re funding it now.

Ela Thier: Ok, let’s see. I’m in development on two features. On one, I have someone attached who’s a popular TV actor and so I’m able to go to financiers with some kind of a package in place. I don’t think I would do that unless there was some kind of a name attached, because it’s just near impossible to get any kind of substantial distribution. Even with a name actor, at this point in time as far as how the market goes, the odds are against you.

Ela Thier: So it was a matter of getting an attachment and then seeing who knows who, and who do they know, and who do they know, because I don’t have a fat Rolodex as far as financiers go.

Larry Jordan: Let me just interrupt. So right now, the only reason that you’re going to a finance person is because you’ve got somebody famous attached to it? And there’s no one resource, it’s really networking – who do you know as opposed to here’s a website that gives me a list of everybody I need to contact?

Ela Thier: There are websites. I’m using, which I would recommend, but you have to try everything, so using Slated the website is just one of many things I’m trying. The idea is to just keep trying everything and if one out of 50 things works, then you’re good.

Mike Horton: I’ve never heard of this Slated thing. This is nice.

Larry Jordan: What was the website before that you just tried?

Ela Thier: Oh, it’s an important website –

Larry Jordan:

Mike Horton: Yes, I’m on it right now and, wow, holy cow. Where have I been?

Ela Thier: Yes, it’s a great website.

Mike Horton: How long has this been around? This is good.

Larry Jordan: Ok, so we’ve got Slated. Is there something else that you could recommend for somebody that’s maybe past their first feature and trying to figure out how to get something that’s got a higher budget?

Ela Thier: I’ll know more when I get there. My go to resource is Stacey Parks and her website is I should be getting commission. I did learn a lot from her about development and building a new business plan etcetera.

Larry Jordan: We are big fans of Stacey, yes.

Ela Thier: Yes, yes, everyone is. Yes, sure. She is excellent. She helped me with ‘Foreign Letters’ too, when I was looking at the distribution. She consulted me and helped a lot. But there is really no getting around it being a daily grind. It’s not a glamour job. You have to decide that every day for at least ten minutes you’re going to do something, reach out to somebody, a bunch of Hail Marys, you know, who knows? And you can’t take it personally when people don’t respond but you’re allowed to curse them out when you’re talking to your husband. So if you’re out there and you have not responded to my email, that has happened.

Larry Jordan: You know, I just realized that we’re pretty much out of time and we haven’t even begun to talk about the other thing you’re working with, which is the Independent Film School. We will bring you back, with your permission, and we’ll spend time talking about how people can learn more about the industry, but give us a website that folks can visit to learn more and decide to become your patron.

Mike Horton: Put up some money. Right.

Ela Thier: Sure, just don’t press any buttons. It’s

Larry Jordan: That’s and Ela Thier is the Founder and head instructor at the school. Ela, thanks for joining us today.

Mike Horton: Yes, best of luck to you.

Ela Thier: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Take care. Our pleasure. Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Misha Tenenbaum is an Assistant Editor living in Los Angeles. His recent work includes ‘Jobs’, ‘The American Horror Story’ and Chris Carter’s ‘The After’. However, what’s even cooler is that he is the Founder of, a place for people to download professionally shot footage that you can use to practice editing. Hello, Misha.

Misha Tenenbaum: Hi Larry, how’s it going?

Larry Jordan: You know, it’s wonderful to hear your voice. It’s been several months since last we spoke and you’ve been causing trouble since then. It’s good to have you on the show.

Misha Tenenbaum: Thank you very much. It’s good to talk to you too.

Larry Jordan: Put your assistant editor hat on for a minute. We’re going to move to EditStock a little later but, as an assistant editor, tell us what you’ve been up to recently.

Misha Tenenbaum: Well, I’m working on a show right now, a mini series for Fox created by M. Night Shyamalan called ‘Wayward Times’. It’s a great show, I’m telling you, it’s really cool. I don’t want to give away what happens, but I’ve been really enjoying it.

Larry Jordan: And what are you doing on it besides having a great time?

Misha Tenenbaum: A lot of sound effects. I’m one of the assistant editors, there are three of us. I came on with one of the editors from ‘Glee’, who is actually on the show performing, who I met when I was on ‘American Horror Story’.

Larry Jordan: Tell us what you’re doing on this show that you can’t talk about but is a really cool show.

Misha Tenenbaum: It’s a really cool show. I spend a lot of my day dealing with visual effects, sound effects, cutting a lot of temp music. I cut the recap for one of the episodes yesterday, so I guess the occasional editing. Our days are always busy and always action packed.

Larry Jordan: Ok, for people who don’t understand what an assistant editor does compared to an editor, how would you describe the details of what you do or the relationship between you and the editor?

Mike Horton: You know, his answer would be different today than if you asked him five years ago or even three years ago, right, Misha?

Misha Tenenbaum: Absolutely. I actually started out as an editor. I was working on shows for Speed Channel and Food Network and several other places, maybe Spike, I think. But it was a really big change to go from editor to assistant editor and to learn just a whole new dimension of what we do.

Larry Jordan: How so?

Misha Tenenbaum: There’s a very tight relationship between an editor and assistant.

Mike Horton: Assistant editors today don’t even sync dailies, which is weird but that’s the way it is. Like Misha says, he’s doing sound effects, he’s doing visual effects, he’s doing music and he’s taking care of all that metadata that comes in.

Misha Tenenbaum: You know what’s funny is a few years ago we had this problem where the union was giving out surveys saying the assistant editor’s job is the dailies. Now they’re stuck doing all this other stuff like visual effects and whatever, but nowadays actually all the other stuff is automated. The dailies are automated, so I’m doing all the other stuff.

Larry Jordan: So if you’re doing all the other stuff, what’s the editor doing?

Misha Tenenbaum: The editors just come in and edit. I mean, that’s the ideal situation. They literally just sit down and start working. There should be no impediment. Everything goes through me, a lot of the phone calls and most of the emails, unless it’s something like the director or producer. They’re sort of the only people who get direct access. Everything else goes through me and, yes, I mean, ideally the room is quiet for the editor.

Larry Jordan: So you’re basically setting up and configuring everything and they’re just telling the story?

Misha Tenenbaum: Ideally, yes.

Mike Horton: On a perfect day.

Misha Tenenbaum: Sometimes they give me projects they want me to work on within the cut, like for example picking music can take days and sometimes they’ll just tell the assistant, “Can you just pick me out five tracks for this section of the show?” and I’ll pick from there. It depends on how much trust and, you know, your ideal too is the editor, they all have different strengths and weaknesses and ideally you’re helping them out in their weak areas. Some people don’t like to pick music, some people don’t like to cut montages or whatever and sometimes they just want help, like, “Can you make me a sequence of all the best reaction shots or all the best footage from these series?” and then they’ll cut the montage from that, especially when we have five hours of footage a day.

Mike Horton: Does today’s assistant editor need to know more than just the non-linear editor? Does he need to know After Effects and these other audio programs and possibly Pro Tools and everything else?

Misha Tenenbaum: Yes, and to add to your list, they need to know Filemaker Pro and Excel and you spend a lot of time in those programs. Compressor, of course, but on a big movie the lead assistant, they’re kind of at their Avid, but a lot of times they’re just doing scheduling and delegating. On a TV show like the one I’m on now, we don’t really have a lead assistant. All the assistants kind of help each other out, even though we do have our own episodes and our own editors that we work with.

Mike Horton: So if you want to edit, you don’t really want to do assistant editing. Is that fair to say, Misha?

Misha Tenenbaum: You have to find an editor who is willing to give you stuff to cut and that varies a lot. Some people don’t give you anything, some people give you one scene, some people give you entire acts which, you know, I won’t say who but there’s a big difference and when you’re considering assisting, it’s not just some straight road that you’re guaranteed to become an editor some day. It really, really, really matters who your editor is, who your post supervisor is, what the environment is of the place that you work at – do they promote a lot? – because you could absolutely be a career assistant, which is a good job and a fine job, but if your goal is to edit, you need to be aware of this.

Mike Horton: Yes, but even if they give you scenes, you’re working so hard and such long hours, when do you even have time to cut the scene?

Misha Tenenbaum: Well, exactly, so some editors will give you the scenes at ten o’clock at night, and you don’t want to cut them, and it’s sort of strange that you pine for this opportunity and then at ten o’clock at night you don’t actually get to do it or you don’t want to do it then.

Misha Tenenbaum: But a good editor will know that. A good editor who’s come up through that system will give you the opportunity to cut stuff during the day and not bog you down.

Larry Jordan: On the other hand, it’s like a good boss. They’re hard to find.

Misha Tenenbaum: Exactly, yes, they’re very hard to find, yes.

Larry Jordan: We have a question on the live chat. Don’s asking, when the show is over, after it’s out of production, what do they store and where do they store it? In other words, what technology is used for archiving of production and how much stuff gets saved?

Misha Tenenbaum: Well, the short answer is everything.

Larry Jordan: Really?

Misha Tenenbaum: We save all the line scripts, all the paper scripts, all the camera reports and sound reports and for archival, you know, of course, the assistants will back up just onto regular hard drives dailies and things like that, you know, the transcoded dailies, but beyond that our show is archived, I’m sure, on LTO tapes and SR tapes and all those things are boxed up and sent back to the studio, which actually has a checklist requirement of the things that you need to provide and towards the end of the show I’ll get that checklist from either head of post or post supervisor and we literally call it, like, boxing out the show – put that stuff in a box.

Larry Jordan: Well, I want to get back to a question that Mike asked, because Mike actually asked a really good question.

Mike Horton: Hey, thanks, Larry.

Larry Jordan: And that is if you’re an assistant, you’re spending all your time buried in technology in various forms and scheduling and databases, and that’s important and I make my living teaching people technology, so I’m not minimizing that, but there’s also the craft of visual storytelling. How does someone learn how to tell stories with pictures?

Misha Tenenbaum: There is only one way and that is practice. Oh, actually, two ways but one coincides with the other – practice and then getting feedback on your work. That’s it. It’s like learning a foreign language, you know, no-one just watches enough movies and then is a great editor. You have to do it and you have to do it a lot and on an average day, if we’re getting two or three hours of footage, you have to think of how much footage an editor is cutting every year, every month, you know, hundreds of hours, so that’s why they’re good at it.

Larry Jordan: It’s practice and feedback.

Misha Tenenbaum: Practice and feedback. It’s like learning an instrument.

Larry Jordan: Where can people go to download footage they can practice with?

Mike Horton: Good segue.

Misha Tenenbaum: Well, I’m glad you asked.

Larry Jordan: I was trying to be subtle.

Misha Tenenbaum: Yes. I found when I was a teacher, when I used to teach Final Cut 7, that I was bringing in a lot of my own projects because the book projects either didn’t provide enough footage, or you couldn’t take them home, or you couldn’t post them on YouTube, or it was pretty obvious you didn’t cut leverage. So I made a website – – which people can download scenes to practice editing with. They get the script, they get everything from slate to cut, and you can use it on your demo reel, and you can even upload it to the site for feedback.

Mike Horton: It’s cool. Film schools still today are still using ‘Gunsmoke’.

Larry Jordan: There’s nothing wrong with ‘Gunsmoke’.

Misha Tenenbaum: I know.

Mike Horton: My son goes to Santa Monica City College, took an editing class and they gave him ‘Gunsmoke’.

Misha Tenenbaum: I know. I know. By the way, it’s the only footage around. A little bit, of course, the schools are always looking for footage, but also that’s just all that exists in the world. I’ve called around, I’ve done lots of surveys with various schools to find out what kind of footage they’re looking for and basically the answer is anything else.

Larry Jordan: Well, what footage do you have?

Misha Tenenbaum: I get short films. I find that features, it’s a lot harder to get the rights to and people are sort of loath to hand them out. But short films have this great ring to them where they’re passion projects for a director but they almost never make money, so my directors actually earn a share of the sales, so they’re happy to contribute.

Misha Tenenbaum: A lot of my films were award winning short film festival or full film festival films. They’re great. One of them, my most popular, is ‘Bully’, which comes with a storyboard, it’s directed by a director, Ryan Spindell, who just had a film in Tribeca Film Festival. I mean, these are really great projects.

Mike Horton: Yes, not only is this really good footage, it’s good performances, it’s good stuff to practice on. It’s not just footage. I mean, you can get footage at a stock footage company, but this is fully fleshed out scenes that you can dabble with. It’s a great idea. I just think it’s wonderful.

Larry Jordan: Well, the thing I’m impressed with is that it’s got audio with it, because you can get pictures easy but getting audio is impossible.

Misha Tenenbaum: Yes. When I approached how to make the product, I decided that, instead of giving people the raw elements to put together, I sort of did most of the assistant work for you, so even if you’ve got iMovie, you literally just drag the clips in and start cutting. It takes less than a minute to get going and that’s true on any NLE. All the audio’s already synced up for you. Everything’s already sort of made in the correct format and you’re just ready to go.

Mike Horton: Speaking of NLEs, which NLEs does it support? Does it support all of them? Or does it depend on the codec?

Misha Tenenbaum: It’s better with some than others. We have two formats. One is H264 which, if this were five years ago, I’d have just slapped myself in the face for even saying that. But pretty much every modern NLE and every modern NLE that I’ve tested this with can just play it back and it works fine with it. That includes iMovie, of course, and Final Cut Pro X. It’s totally fine with Final Cut Pro X. Even Media Composer 7, which, I mean, Avid would have never been able to do this, but you can just add a link and start cutting them in a second if you want to in the background.

Larry Jordan: You said you had two formats, H.264 and…?

Misha Tenenbaum: And ProRes Proxy and I made ProRes Proxy only if you’re cutting in Final Cut 7. The reason that I kept ProRes around, one, you have to be a little careful because it’s Mac only but there are a lot of people out there, millions of people out there, still cutting with Final Cut 7 and I still have it and use it occasionally as well, so I wanted to make that choice available.

Misha Tenenbaum: But for some of these scenes, if you have four gigs of footage to download at H264 and ProRes, that’ll be eight gigs at least, or at least significantly larger, so I can’t make everything available in a download that’s ProRes Proxy, but I think people will be happy with the performance they get out of H264.

Larry Jordan: And Misha, oh, oh, oh, quickly, because I’ve got no time left, what webinar are you doing and how did you get Horton involved? What’s happening?

Mike Horton: He called me and I said yes.

Misha Tenenbaum: This is just going to be the best idea ever. I’m so excited about this.

Mike Horton: It is.

Misha Tenenbaum: We are going to have a webinar where we give away a scene of footage to cut to hundreds of people. Everyone who wants to can cut the scene, submit it and then Norm Hollyn from USC will pick five scenes randomly and review them on the air.

Mike Horton: And he’s not going to rip people apart, Larry.

Larry Jordan: Norman doesn’t know how to rip people apart. When is this? This is really cool.

Mike Horton: Well, right now it’s slated for May 13th, but I think Misha’s going to be announcing this thing with all the rules and the instructions on what to do, but I think it’s just a brilliant idea and I’m really looking forward to it.

Larry Jordan: And how did you get involved?

Mike Horton: Hey, Misha came to me with the idea and I said absolutely. I mean, how could you say no to an idea like that? It’s great.

Larry Jordan: Sounds wonderful. Misha, where can people go on the web to learn more about the stuff you’ve got available?

Misha Tenenbaum: They should visit my site at

Larry Jordan: That’s Misha Tenenbaum is an assistant editor and the Founder of EditStock. Misha, thanks for joining us today.

Misha Tenenbaum: Thank you, Larry. Thank you, Mike.

Mike Horton: Thanks Misha, talk soon.

Larry Jordan: Take care, good luck.

Misha Tenenbaum: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Jeff Pickard used to be a lawyer. Then, in 2005, he founded Lucion Technologies, which focuses on document management and paperless office software. Hello, Jeff, welcome.

Jeff Pickard: Hello, how you doing? Good to be here.

Larry Jordan: We are talking to you. We are doing great. What is Lucion Technologies?

Jeff Pickard: Well, Lucion Technologies is a company we founded a while back that focuses on paperless office solutions, which pretty much includes scanning, file management, editing the file, searching files, the whole umbrella.

Larry Jordan: So what products do you guys make?

Jeff Pickard: Well, our main product is called FileCenter and, again, FileCenter allows small offices and home users to better organize their files from paper to digital in a very easy fashion.

Larry Jordan: Now, Jeff, I hate to bring this up because I know it’s probably a sore subject, but you used to be a lawyer and lawyers live for paper. I mean, why did you decide to develop software for a paperless office?

Jeff Pickard: Yes, well, I guess working in the law and seeing all the paper that they go through helped me realize there’s got to be a better way to manage files and to convert paper to digital and to do the whole paperless thing. Beside that, I got tired of billing hours for a living.

Larry Jordan: Ah, so tell us more about what FileCenter does.

Jeff Pickard: Well, FileCenter’s a great solution if you’re really interested in going paperless. That’s kind of a buzz word these days, and whether you’re going to be successful or not, I think, depends on what your expectations are. But the main thing with paperless, at the heart of it is basically managing files. We’re inundated with files on a daily basis, we get them from many different sources. There are paper files that we need to convert to digital files to better organize; we open up our email every day, we get attachments; we go to the web, we download files.

Jeff Pickard: FileCenter is really designed to make your life easier by allowing you to manage this inundation of files which we receive on a daily basis, and it does soon a very clean interface. We kind of take an electronic filing cabinet view of things, so you’re presented with our software with kind of an electronic filing cabinet. Most people understand the paper concept of a cabinet – you’ve got drawers, folders and files. We take that same view with our software and it really resonates with many of our users.

Larry Jordan: What operating systems does this run on?

Jeff Pickard: FileCenter runs on Windows operating systems only.

Larry Jordan: So as a Mac user, is there a chance you guys are going to port this over to the Mac?

Jeff Pickard: Well, it’s always on our radar, but currently we don’t have anything for the Mac. It’s just for Windows users.

Larry Jordan: Ok. Here’s the question I’ve got – creative people are frequently accused of being messy and disorganized and, if you saw my office, you’d understand what I’m talking about. How does this software motivate us to actually do something about all the paper that’s flooding across our desk?

Jeff Pickard: Well, files are kind of the currency of business. They contain a lot of important information that helps you with your business, so I guess you first have to be motivated to get yourself a little bit organized and we can help that along by giving you a piece of software that will help you organize things in a little bit easier fashion.

Jeff Pickard: The big problem with organization of files is, again, we get them from so many sources, so even if you came up with a good organization structure, you are forced to go grab and create files from various sources. Let me just give you an example. You might have a great organizational structure on your file system that you know where your files are, but when you open up a Word document to open a file or to save a file, you’re presented with an interface for a file structure and it may or may not come up in that particular position where all your files are.

Jeff Pickard: FileCenter tries to alleviate that and gives you kind of a centralized place to open and save files as well as to scan files and to get files into the system.

Larry Jordan: One of the thing that I was reading on your website is there’s a difference in point of view between searching for files, and keywording and all that sort of stuff and the technique that you use. How does your software help us find the document that we need when we need it?

Jeff Pickard: Yes, I should make clear that our FileCenter program runs on your Windows file system, so anything you do with the files inside of FileCenter will always be there, even if you remove FileCenter from your computer.

Jeff Pickard: What we try to do is, we try to make the organization and management of the files so easy that you’re going to be able to know where these files are so you can quickly access them in your applications, which cuts down on the need of searching for a lost file. But in the event that you do need to search for files, our paperless office solution offers the ability to index and search files, so that you can search the content of the files in case something does get misplaced.

Larry Jordan: So we get documents into the system how?

Jeff Pickard: Well, various sources. For example, if you go into an email attachment, someone sends you a file, you will click on the attachment and you’ll get an opportunity to save that to a location. The great thing that FileCenter does, and I would encourage anyone to look at this if they really want to be organized, is it kind of intercepts your normal Windows Explorer save dialog box that would pop up and replace it with one that looks like our interface.

Jeff Pickard: By doing that, any time you open and save a file, you’re always using the same interface and this cuts down on misplacing files quite a bit, because you’re always presented with the same interface and the same structure.

Mike Horton: I’m always misplacing files, quite honestly because I can’t remember the name of them, so how do I search if I can’t remember the name of the file that I’ve saved?

Jeff Pickard: Well, that’s where some of your indexing and searching of files can come into play. If you can recall some of the content that is in that file, you’re able to do a search for that file. But if you’re careful about your organizational structure, typically, let me give you an example like a doctor’s office, they will probably have a cabinet, in our methodology, for their patients, and then they would have a drawer which would have a name on it for each of their patients.

Jeff Pickard: They probably know that this file relates to a particular patient, so they could quickly go to that patient drawer in our software and at least narrow down many of the files that they would have to search for.

Mike Horton: Boy!

Jeff Pickard: If they still can’t find it, they can use the comprehensive search that’s in our software.

Mike Horton: Do you realize how many doctors are still working with paper and folders? I’m serious. I am serious. There are just a ton of them out there. Oh, I wish they would just take your system. It would make life so much easier for us.

Jeff Pickard: Yes, doctors’ offices are a prime target for our software and we find many of them that are trying to go paperless, so it’s a good sign.

Mike Horton: Yes, you can change the world. No, seriously. I mean, it’s awful.

Larry Jordan: Jeff, where can people go on the web to learn more about this software?

Jeff Pickard: Well, you can go to our company website, which is or just do a Google search and type in ‘FileCenter’.

Larry Jordan: That’s and the product is called FileCenter. Jeff Pickard is the Founder and President of Lucion and, Jeff, thanks for joining us today.

Jeff Pickard: Thanks for having me.

Mike Horton: Thanks a lot, Jeff.

Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: You know, Mike, it’s interesting. Trying to keep track of all the documents we need for production, anything that helps us find stuff is a good idea.

Mike Horton: The biggest problem I have almost every single day is searching for something and I can’t remember what I’m searching for, because I don’t remember the name. I mean, the search – what do you call that on the Mac?

Larry Jordan: Yes, Spotlight.

Mike Horton: Spotlight, which is excellent, and if you can remember some content it’ll find it, but half the time I can’t even remember the content. “I think it has something to do with Supermeet” and it comes up with 7,000 things.

Larry Jordan: Probably more than we need, but I think I need to turn you back into the vaults and have you find us a Pick Our Brains question.

Mike Horton: I do have one. It’s a very weird one.

Larry Jordan: We’ll be right back. Hang on, we’ll give you a chance to take a breath. We’ll be right back.

Larry Jordan: Mike is back in the stacks, shuffling through thousands of sheets of paper because he hasn’t got it organized in his own mind.

Mike Horton: I’m searching for the question. I can’t remember the question. I’ve found it.

Larry Jordan: You’ve found it?

Mike Horton: Yes.

Larry Jordan: Are you ready?

Mike Horton: Had something to do with Premier.

Larry Jordan: Ok. Here we go. Mike now steps up to the microphone, takes a deep breath and says that it’s time for…

Mike Horton: Pick Our Brain.

Larry Jordan: The only person that enjoys that is me, but I thought that was especially meaningful.

Mike Horton: Well, yes, that was actually a real long kind of delay. Pick and then came off five seconds later.

Larry Jordan: I’ve called it the pregnant pause delay.

Mike Horton: Which has something to do with this, because this person is having problems with the lag.

Larry Jordan: Oh now, that was smooth. That was very smooth.

Mike Horton: He says, ‘I have run into a really weird problem in Premier Pro CC. If I’m zoomed way in on the timeline, the performance in GPU responsiveness is great. But the further out I zoom, the worse it becomes. If I zoom all the way out of a ten minute timeline, Premier Pro beachball goes for five, ten seconds every time I give it a command, it play five to ten second lag before footage plays. Click on the viewer, five to ten second lag before the viewer becomes active etcetera, etcetera. So just doing nothing while zoomed all the way out of a timeline, and my CPU load is 100 percent, if not higher. But if I zoom all the way in, the CPU load drops to two percent.’ Hmm. Is this a bug, Larry?

Larry Jordan: Give me a more dramatic reading on the last line.

Mike Horton: I could. I could try to lower my octave of my voice, make it really dramatic. Larry Jordan would have read this very, very well. He’s using EX3 on a multi-cam, EX3s or FS700s synced with three or four tracks etcetera, etcetera.

Larry Jordan: Well, there are a couple of things that could be causing it. The first is, if it was not a problem and then it became a problem, then it’s probably due to corrupted preference files and Premier makes it really, really easy to trash and reset your preference files. You quit out of Premier, you hold the shift and the option keys down at the same time, and then from the dock or wherever you launch Premier, launch Premier. You hold shift and option keys down until Premier finishes launching and, as part of that launch process, it will trash your preference files and rebuild them.

Larry Jordan: Now, what this means is your preference files are going to reset back to factory defaults, but one of the things that I’ve learned is that Premier, although its preference files are more stable than Final Cut, still responds to problems in a preference file and holding shift and option when you start the application resets them.

Larry Jordan: If, on the other hand, this has always been a problem with Premier, now we have two other issues. It could be a corrupted project. There’s a point where your project could be too big – too many clips or too long a clip – so one thing you could do is to cut your project in half. Make a copy of it…

Mike Horton: Well, he has a ten minute timeline. That’s not…

Larry Jordan: No, ten minute would be fine; which gets to the third point, and that is there could be a RAM problem. Something is sucking up the RAM and the behavior is such that when you’re zoomed in, Premier is only looking at the clips that are available at that instant in the timeline, which is like one or two. When you zoom out, it’s got to pay attention to all the clips in a timeline and it may be that something else is running in the background and sucking up all your RAM, because the delay that you describe is a delay caused by not enough RAM to be able to handle the process that you’re running.

Mike Horton: I’d like to see if anybody else has this problem.

Larry Jordan: My first guess is it’s going to be preferences. That’s the first thing I would do. Second is lack of RAM and, because it’s a ten minute project, that rules out the project being too big, because you’d have to have something much longer to have a corrupted project.

Mike Horton: Minimum RAM is four gigs for Premier Pro, correct?

Larry Jordan: Well, no, you can actually get away with less. Depends upon which version of Premier you run.

Mike Horton: But he’s got ten minute timelines, he’s doing a multi-cam sequence. I don’t think he’s got any other sequences open.

Larry Jordan: Unless he’s got an old system and he’s running H.264 and he doesn’t have a fast enough GPU.

Mike Horton: Well, he’s running, he said, EXs and F700s but he didn’t say that. That’s XDCAM- EX, so that’s XDCAM.

Larry Jordan: That’s the one. I could not remember XDCAM to save my life. XDCAM-EX is an mpeg two compression, so it’s an old style compression, it shouldn’t be too hard. I blame you.

Mike Horton: Yes, so do I. Yes, because he even thought that maybe it’s a memory leak, but he says my RAM stays pretty constant at about three to four gigs and I have still plenty free, so it’s interesting. Wouldn’t it be just fascinating, maybe he’ll show up at NAB at your booth and you can interview him.

Larry Jordan: And we will interview him and then we’ll have him go to you to solve the problem, because it’s got to be…

Mike Horton: Right, because I know codecs.

Larry Jordan: …it’s a codec issue. I can see that already.

Mike Horton: So come to me, my friend. I will solve everything.

Larry Jordan: You know, there’s another thing it could be.

Mike Horton: And if I can’t, you can buy me a drink.

Larry Jordan: If he’s running Premier on a Mac and it’s not a Macbook Pro, earlier versions of Premier don’t support iMacs for the Mercury playback engine, so if he’s working with a really compressed piece of software, and multi-cam, and slow hard disk on an iMac, that could also cause a problem with preferences. Oh no, sorry, could cause a problem with performance.

Mike Horton: That part I don’t know. That wasn’t included in this…

Larry Jordan: Oh, and Grant wants to know, on our live chat, what his page outs are. I would get him to check how many page outs his RAM is doing. What page out means is how many times…

Mike Horton: Yes, what the heck does that mean?

Larry Jordan: You go to activity monitor and you open up activity monitor and you go on the memory section. What page out means is, it’s taking memory from RAM and storing it to the hard disk, and as soon as you get the hard disk involved in buffering back and forth, everything slows down because the virtual memory on the hard disk is a fraction of the speed of the memory that’s on your RAM.

Larry Jordan: That’s a great idea, Grant. Thank you.

Mike Horton: Ok, all right, thank you Grant. Only people who know that are people who live in Australia.

Larry Jordan: No, people who actually pay attention to things like performance and RAM and hard disks…

Mike Horton: Page outs. Have you ever done a seminar where you actually said, “Check your activity monitor page outs”?

Larry Jordan: The answer is yes.

Mike Horton: Oh, really?

Larry Jordan: Yes. And that is the cue, Michael, to have you tell us when is Supermeet?

Mike Horton: Supermeet is April 8th and, truly, buy your tickets very soon; and by the way, do you know how much we have in raffle prizes right now?

Larry Jordan: How much?

Mike Horton: $96,000 worth.

Larry Jordan: Are you serious?

Mike Horton: It’s, like, insane.

Larry Jordan: You’re going to try those in your car and you’re going to just get lost.

Mike Horton: It’s just nuts. $96,000 worth.

Larry Jordan: And you’re going to have a Final Cut X mouse pad from me.

Mike Horton: That’s right. Now it’s $97,000 worth. It’s just non-stop. It’s going to be awesome.

Larry Jordan: And where do people go to sign up?

Mike Horton:

Larry Jordan: And for people who want to keep track of what The Buzz is doing, you want to listen to I want to thank Sean Safreed and Ela Thier, Misha Tenenbaum and Jeff Pickard.

Larry Jordan: We’ve got a ton of stuff happening, it’s all on Our producer is Cirina Catania, our engineer, Adrian Price. The avuncular, cheerful but still grumpy voice on the other side of the studio table is Mike Horton. My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.

Voiceover: This Digital Production Buzz was brought to you by Blackmagic Design, creators of the world’s highest quality solutions for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.

Sachtler Launches New 75mm Aluminum Tripod

Sachtler, part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec group company, has released the next upgrade to its renowned FSB product line with its brand new ENG 75/2 D HD tripod.

This high-quality tripod for ENG professionals is the latest design from Sachtler, who has been the partner of choice for camera operators for more than 50 years. Supporting a very wide payload range up to 35kg/77.2lbs, the ENG 75/2 D HD guarantees precise camera operation. The 75 mm bowl tripod offers operators the most robust and durable option providing the ease of use and quick set up vital for all ENG applications.

The new aluminum tripod weighs just 3.1 kg/6.8 lbs, optional as ground and mid spreader versions, and incorporates premium Sachtler features such as easy and accessible controls and the high torsional stiffness required to deliver the ultimate professional performance for broadcasters.

The tripod is the ideal companion for Sachtler’s renowned range of FSB fluid heads, notably the FSB 6 and FSB 8, designed for all users of DSLR and HDV camcorders.

Features of the FSB product family include Sideload or the Touch & Go mechanism that allows for super-fast connection of the camera to the head. When used in conjunction with the FSB 8 head, it is ideal choice for shooting in fast moving news set-ups – with a wide payload range of 1 to 10 kg (2.2 – 22lbs), and tried and tested Sachtler features such as the unique Speedbalance mechanism that enables even faster and finer counterbalance of the camera system. In addition, the robust tripod has been built to operate in an extreme temperature range of -40/+60 degrees centigrade (-40/+140 Fahrenheit).

Even faced with extreme conditions in ENG applications, Sachtler’s tripods are extremely resilient and break-proof. Each tripod has been designed for ease of use, so camera operators can go from using the tripod to shooting from the shoulder in a matter of seconds.

Sachtler will showcase the new tripod at their booth (#C6025) at NAB 2014.

Click for more information about Sachtler’s new ENG 75/2 D HD tripod and their complete line of products.

Sachtler Adds Slider Compatibility to Ace L

Sachtler, part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec group company, has redeveloped its Ace L fluid head to make it compatible with all types of sliders. The Ace L 75mm tripod head can now be conveniently converted to a flat base, through the removal of a bottom screw, and mounted on a range of sliders.

The Ace L is extremely versatile with a payload range of up to 6 kilograms and can be used with three different carbon fibre tripods – the floor spreader, mid-level spreader or telescopic tripod system.

The slider functionality was incorporated into the Ace L fluid head based on customer feedback.

By now being compatible with sliders, the Ace L allows camera operators to pan easily and accurately during filming without having to switch between fluid heads for different settings.

The premium quality Ace L features the seven-step counter balance, patented SAdrag, and illuminated level indicator, and ensures precise and smooth camera operation.

All Ace L headers from 2014 onwards will feature this slider compatibility.

The Ace L’s new capability will be showcased at this year’s NAB show in Las Vegas in April at booth #C6025.

Click for more information about the Sachtler Ace L 75mm Tripod Head and all of Sachtler’s product line.


Litepanels Launches New Hilio Series at 2014 NAB

Litepanels, a Vitec Group brand and premier provider of LED lighting for the broadcast and production industries, will premiere its new Hilio D12 (daylight balanced) and Hilio T12 (tungsten balanced) high light output panels at NAB 2014. The innovative panels provide the light quality, versatility and intensity of an open source fixture, while offering all of the benefits of Litepanels’ proprietary LED fixture design.

The Hilio D12/T12 fixtures were designed by Litepanels to augment the lighting requirements of broadcast studios, as well as motion picture, episodic television, and commercial location shoots. The versatile panels emit a raw, narrow beam that provides high intensity for long throws. This intensity can also be harnessed and shaped with an array of available accessories to light an exterior, wash a set with soft light, or illuminate a cyc wall or green screen.

Eliminating the need for external dimmers, the fixtures feature Litepanels’ smooth dimming, from 100 percent to zero with no noticeable color shift, and are flicker-free at any frame rate or shutter angle. The panels also offer an integrated DMX module, with readily available and affordable RJ45 Ethernet connections for remote dimming control via any standard DMX512 protocol device.

With no need for a heavy ballast or cabling, the incredibly energy efficient Hilio D12/T12 fixtures draw only 350 watts of electricity, comparable to a 2K Tungsten Par in terms of output. The consistently color accurate, long life LEDs provide years of service without the need for traditional lamp replacement, and they emit no UV or infrared wavelengths.

Each panel contains a microprocessor operated, active cooling system, which increases manageability and lowers temperature control costs. The Hilio D12/T12 fixtures feature a removable, external power supply with convenient mounting bracket and optional accessories that include a stand mounted plate and an extension power cable.

The Hilio D12/T12 panels come complete with integrated slots to hold color and diffusion gel filters and Litepanels’ new Nanoptic lenses. The Nanoptic lenses spread and shape the light in circular, horizontal or vertical patterns and essentially convert the powerful open source into a soft light or broad directional fill. The rear of the unit features an LCD display and a multi-functional control with a menu-based button interface. An SD card slot is also built-in to easily facilitate future software upgrades. The user-friendly fixtures include a Standard Yoke with Junior Pin to enable easy mounting and positioning.

The complete optional accessories set for the Hilio D12/T12 includes the 5-piece CTB or CTO Gel Set with Gel Bag, the 4-piece Nanoptic lens set, an eight foot power supply extension cable, and a power supply stand/mounting bracket.

Click for more information about Litepanels at NAB Show 2014.


Digital Production Buzz — March 20, 2014

  • Red Giant Announces Universe – What Does It Mean?
  • Financing Your Next Feature Film
  • Learning the Craft of Telling Stories Visually
  • The Paperless Office – Reality or Wistful Pipe-dream?

GUESTS: Sean Safreed, Ela Thier, Misha Tenenbaum, and Jeff Pickard

Click to listen to the current show.
(Mobile users click the MP3 player underneath image.)

*Right click on Download and “Save Link As…”

Join Larry Jordan and co-host Michael Horton as they talk with:

Sean Safreed, Co-Founder, Red Giant

Sean Safreed, Co-Founder at Red Giant announced Universe last week. An online community providing visual effects and training; both free and via subscription. We learn more about why this is so important in this week’s show.

Ela Thier, Writer / Director / Producer

Writer/Director/Producer, Ela Thier has successfully financed a feature using crowd-funding that is available on Netflix, Hulu and most other digital platforms. She’s now working on financing a bigger budget film. She joins us this week to explain how she goes about getting money for her films.

Misha Tenenbaum, Founder, EditStock

Misha Tenenbaum, is an Assistant Editor on such shows as “Jobs,” “American Horror Story” and Chris Carter’s “The After.” He is also the Founder of EditStock, an online service that allows editors to download professionally shot film footage so they can practice editing. We’re interested in talking with him about how editors can learn the craft of editing.

Jeff Pickard, CEO, President, Lucion Technologies

Former practicing attorney, Jeff Pickard, is the CEO and President of Lucion Technologies, a go-to source for document management and paperless office software. Its one thing to clear off a messy desk, Jeff explains how we can find everything again.

The Buzz is all the information you need now to know what’s coming next!

The Digital Production BuZZ airs LIVE Thursday from 6-7 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Ask questions during the show on our Live Chat, listen live, download an episode from the archives, or subscribe to the podcast either through iTunes or our website. Whatever you do, DON’T miss this week’s show!

SmartSound Launches Soundtrack Creation Plug-in for Final Cut Pro X

SmartSound Software Inc., the leader in customizable royalty-free music and soundtrack creation technology, announced a new plug-in for Final Cut Pro X. This plug-in is designed to take advantage of Final Cut Pro X’s new Generator technology. The Generator technology, initially designed to create an efficient workflow for third party visual-effects products, gives SmartSound’s Sonicfire Pro direct access to the Final Cut timeline creating one of the most efficient music workflows in the video industry. SmartSound’s plug-in is the only music creation software plug-in to utilize the Generator technology. The plug-in utilizes four easy steps to achieve a superior music workflow for visual media creators:

1. Drag a SmartSound Music Placeholder from the Generators section onto the FCPX timeline where you want to add music, and extend it to the desired length.

2. In the Inspector, click the “Generate Music” button to launch Sonicfire Pro as a plug-in.

3. Select or Purchase the music you need inside Sonicfire Pro; the length is preset from the placeholder and Sonicfire Pro allows you to easily customize other aspects of the soundtrack such as the variation and the mood or mix of the track.When ready, click the “Send” button to import your customized soundtrack into FCPX.

4. In Final Cut Pro X, drag the newly imported SmartSound Music Clip onto the
existing SmartSound Music Placeholder. There you have several options to
manage your new soundtrack with your video.

SmartSound’s plug-in also offers an XML import capability for more detailed work using
Sonicfire Pro’s powerful timeline features.

SmartSound’s new Final Cut Pro X plug-in is available from SmartSound for $49.95 US.
It requires Sonicfire Pro version 5.8.3 (not included) and Apple Final Cut Pro version
10.1. Sonicfire Pro v. 5.8.3 is available from SmartSound for $99.95 US.

Click for more information on SmartSound’s Sonicfire Pro plugin for Final Cut Pro X.

Vaddio’s EasyUSB Audio Bridge – Professional Audio USB Interface

Vaddio launches EasyUSB Audio Bridge for integrating professional audio equipment into USB-based PC applications – Unified Communications, lecture capture, recording or any other application that requires professional audio. Existing meeting room audio equipment can now be used with any UC soft client – Microsoft Lync, Cisco Jabber, Google+, etc.

Equipped with both balanced and unbalanced audio inputs/outputs for maximum flexibility, the Audio Bridge easily integrates with external audio mixers, wireless microphones, amplifiers, powered loudspeakers – any audio I/O devices that require USB integration.

Professional audio equipment connects to the AV Bridge with balanced line level inputs/outputs on a 3-pin Euro Terminal block. Unbalanced audio inputs/outputs are supported with RCA connectors.

Additional functionality includes, System Gain Lock for controlling AGC audio gain on the PC to eliminate interference with the external audio mixer’s AGC. Two conferencing mixing modes configurations are available: one is used when connecting to professional audio conferencing mixers with echo cancellation, while the second is used when connecting to audio equipment without internal echo cancellation. This feature improves performance with Microsoft Lync, Cisco Jabber and other soft clients.

Autodesk Announces 2015 3D Animation Software

Autodesk Inc. unveiled the 2015 versions of its popular 3D animations tools: Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya, MotionBuilder, Mudbox, Softimage, and the newest addition to the lineup, Maya LT, a 3D animation and modeling tool for professional indie game makers. Autodesk also announced the availability of the 2015 Entertainment Creation Suite for 3D animation and visual effects.

Creating animation today is increasingly complex as consumer demand for bigger, better, more sophisticated computer graphics (CG) continues to rise. Autodesk 2015 animation software aims to provide the right tools for a 3D animation project. Every animation product has updates to enable artists to better manage complex projects and large data sets, while helping stay on schedule and on budget. Artists now have access to a variety of features ranging from high fidelity interactive viewports, “a what you see is what you get” work environment and single-click, cross-product workflows and ability to use low-cost consumer devices to capture body movements.

Ushering in the new era in 3D animation production Highlights of the 2015 releases are:

Autodesk Maya 2015 software adds new capabilities to the toolset such as the new Bifrost procedural effects platform which provides an extensible, artist-friendly workflow for complex simulation and rendering tasks, initially applied to near photorealistic liquids; XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator for the easy creation of richly detailed geometry such as hair, fur, and foliage; Geodesic Voxel Binding method for skinning characters; ShaderFX, a new node-based visual interface for shader programing; support for Pixar’s OpenSubdiv libraries; enhanced polygon modeling tools; and expanded UV options;

Autodesk 3ds Max 2015 software has been extended and redesigned to help improve performance, ease-of-use and management of complex scenes. New in 2015 is ShaderFX, a new node-based visual interface that allows game artists and programmers to more easily create advanced HLSL viewport shaders; point cloud dataset support for reality capture workflows; new viewport performance optimizations; a redesigned scene explorer to make it easier for artists to manage large scenes; ActiveShade support for the NVIDIA mental ray renderer; and new Python scripting support – a highly requested user feature for pipeline integration;

Autodesk MotionBuilder 2015 provides several features that advance motion capture workflow accessibility such as: a new plug-in for Microsoft Kinect to help capture body movements for use in MotionBuilder, Animatable Depth of Field and Follow Focus camera options to recreate elements of real-world cinematography, a robust content library with 100 commonly required character animations in the Autodesk FBX format and flexible marker assignment to adjust character positions;

Autodesk Mudbox 2015 software boasts streamlined mesh refinement for retopologizing and new Sculpt Layer and Paint Layer groups for organizing and identifying particular layers in complex scenes. The release also has advanced interoperability with Maya 2015, an enhanced texture export and updating workflow, new caliper tool and support for Intel HD graphics 4000 on compatible Windows 8 operating system hybrid tablet/PCs;

Autodesk Softimage 2015* software helps streamline 3D asset creation and management with Alembic caching, enhancements to the ICE platform and animatable weight maps in Syflex cloth.

Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite 2015 Extend Creative Capabilities
Each edition of the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite scales to match the diverse project and budget needs of teams around the world.

Many of the Suites’ features are built upon existing data exchange workflows that help improve product interoperability and foster greater team collaboration across projects. New capabilities are:
— The ability to exchange Ptex and multi-tile UV textures between Maya and Mudbox helps facilitate an iterative round-trip workflow between Mudbox and Maya.
— Enhanced image plane matching between Maya and Mudbox allows artists to use the same reference image without having to readjust the image to match.
— Export Blend Shapes with multiple targets or Blend Shapes from Maya into Mudbox for sculpting, and then merge them back into the original Maya scene.
— Import MotionBuilder character animations created in Softimage in a single step and export CrowdFX simulations from Softimage to Maya for inclusion with scene elements in one click.

Autodesk Maya LT 2015 Software Streamlines Indie Game Development
Maya LT 2015, the latest iteration of Autodesk’s cost-effective 3D animation and modeling software for professional indie game makers, introduces a series of rich new features and integrations that help advance the 3D content creation process for indie game development.

The updated application has:
— Cloud integration allows artists to browse, open, modify and save Dropbox or Autodesk 360 files to the cloud directly through the Maya LT interface. Leverage 123D Catch or 123D Creature files saved in Autodesk’s 123D cloud storage as a reference for creating game assets in Maya LT;
— Unfold 3D helps facilitate the seamless creation of UV maps from 3D models;
— Substance Material Integration allows users to apply materials created in the Allegorithmic Substance Designer procedural texture creation tool to 3D models;

In addition to the new features, Maya LT 2015 also has the extension releases of Maya LT 2014, such as: support for MEL scripting, a send-to-Unity workflow, uncapped polygon export to Unity, the ability to export models or scenes up to 65,000 polygons in the FBX or OBJ formats, Human IK and IK Handle Animation, and Boolean operations on polygon geometry.

Product release dates vary by country. Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, Entertainment Creation Suites, and Maya LT are also available in two configurations: as a perpetual license or desktop subscription.

* Editor’s Note: Softimage 2015 will be the final new release of this product.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station. Now with added functionality.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station – Now with added functionality.

CalDigit is announcing that the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station now has extra functionality. The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station can now fully charge iOS devices such as iPads and iPhones. Many Thunderbolt expansion docks do not feature the ability to charge iOS devices. This is something that CalDigit customers have requested, and a feature that adds to the already large feature set of the Thunderbolt Station.

The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station is now fully capable of powering the Apple SuperDrive CD drive. The majority of other Thunderbolt expansion docks are not capable of powering this device. The new update to the Thunderbolt Station adds support for powering the SuperDrive. As well as this, the Thunderbolt Station is also fully compatible with the official Apple keyboard.

Customers who have already purchased the Thunderbolt Station can add this functionality by installing the driver update for OS X 10.9.2 from the CalDigit website.

Price and Availability
The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station is available to purchase now from the CalDigit Online Store, and CalDigit Resellers worldwide. Pricing for the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station is $199 MSRP in the US, £149 RRP in the UK, and €179 RRP in Europe.

Click for more information on the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – Mar. 13, 2014

Digital Production Buzz

March 13, 2014

[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]


      Click here
to listen to this show.]


Larry Jordan

Michael Horton


John Swanbeck, Writer/Director/Producer, BlueSwan Films

LaToya Morgan, Writer/Producer

Johnny Brower, Writer/Producer, The POP 69 Movie


Voiceover: This Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Blackmagic Design, creators of the world’s highest quality solutions for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.

Voiceover: Live from Ralph’s Maytag Museum and Podcast Studio in beautiful downtown Burbank, it’s the Digital Production Buzz.

Voiceover: Production, post production, distribution.

Voiceover: What’s really happening now and in your digital future?

Voiceover: The Buzz is live now.

Larry Jordan: And welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast covering creative content producers and tech news from media production, post production, marketing and distribution around the world. My name is Larry Jordan and joining us as ever and once again the ever handsome Mr. Mike Horton.

Mike Horton: Hello Larry, it is great to be back. It has been forever…

Larry Jordan: It is wonderful.

Mike Horton: …because you have been traveling forever. I know you got back last week and I couldn’t make it, but you’ve been to the far corners of the Earth.

Larry Jordan: I tell you, we went to Alaska and then we went to London and then we were outside London…

Mike Horton: I know, you went to Bahrain and taught the monks over in some temple over there and they couldn’t talk that week but it was…

Larry Jordan: I had a great time. We had so much fun meeting people at the Alaska Society for Technical Education and…

Mike Horton: And you actually saw icebergs.

Larry Jordan: I saw icebergs. I’ve never seen icebergs.

Mike Horton: I’ve never seen icebergs.

Larry Jordan: And I saw frozen ocean, which I’ve never seen before.

Mike Horton: I’ve never seen a frozen ocean.

Larry Jordan: It’s a drink, by the way. You go in the bar, it’s got little blue things hanging, it’s really very…

Mike Horton: But that was on your bucket list, right? I want to see a frozen ocean.

Larry Jordan: I’m going to put it on my bucket list. By the way, thinking of people that you need to talk to before it’s too late. We’re going to start tonight with John Swanbeck, a writer/producer/director who’s considered an actor’s director and we have an actor with us tonight who can verify whether that’s actually the case. He’s going to talk about the craft of acting and directing comedy, which I’m really looking forward to.

Mike Horton: Ooh, so am I.

Larry Jordan: LaToya Morgan is an award winning screenwriter and 2013 Producers’ Guild of America Diversity Workshop Fellow. She joins us to talk about becoming a successful Hollywood writer. Then Johnny Brower is a world famous concert producer who was also the writer and producer of the ‘Pop 69 movie’. This was a documentary on the birth of the Plastic Ono Band in the late 1960s and he’s got stories of the rock industry from basically when rock began. He joins us for a discussion of musical trends, and concert production, and concert movies and just listening to him talk is amazing.

Larry Jordan: By the way, we’re still offering and continue to offer text transcripts for every show, courtesy of Take 1 Transcription. Now you can quickly scan or print the contents of each show as well as listen to it. Transcripts are located on each show page. You can learn more at and thanks, Take 1, for making it possible.

Larry Jordan: By the way, The Buzz is heading to the NAB show in April. Michael, did you know that NAB is coming?

Mike Horton: Yes.

Larry Jordan: Just thought I’d wake you up with that.

Mike Horton: That’s all I’ve been doing, Larry, for the last couple of weeks, or couple of months, it seems like, is working on the Supermeet.

Larry Jordan: I thought you were taking a nap.

Mike Horton: Not me.

Larry Jordan: Oh, we’re going to talk about Supermeet later in the show, but have you announced your agenda yet?

Mike Horton: We have not announced it because it’s all super secret stuff. Honestly. We don’t know what’s going to be shown on each day. We know who’s going to be showing…

Larry Jordan: You know what’s going on.

Mike Horton: No, honest to good…

Larry Jordan: You know. You know.

Mike Horton: I asked you. You know probably more about talking to the people when you went to Britain.

Larry Jordan: So are there tickets available?

Mike Horton: Yes, there are still tickets available on

Larry Jordan: Where?

Mike Horton: At

Larry Jordan: Ok, good, and by the way The Buzz is heading to NAB. We’re going to have full coverage of the latest in trends, and technology, and interviews and this year we’ve partnered with Moviola to provide video coverage as well. For all the details, visit We’re constantly adding to this page as it becomes the hub for all of our live audio and video coverage at NAB.

Larry Jordan: We’ve got a killer show coming up. We’re going to be started by talking about acting and comedy right after this.

Larry Jordan: Blackmagic Design is now shipping its production camera 4K, a super high resolution 4K digital production camera for Ultra HD television production. Featuring a large Super 35 sensor with a professional global shutter, yet also offers EF and ZE compatible lens mounts and records to a super fast SSD drive. Capturing high quality ProRes files, the Blackmagic production camera 4K gives customers a complete solution to shoot amazing high resolution music videos, episodic television productions, television commercials, sports, documentaries and much more.

Larry Jordan: The Blackmagic production camera 4K also features an incredibly tempting price of $2995. Learn more about the Blackmagic production camera 4K – this is definitely priced to move – at That’s

Larry Jordan: John Swanbeck directed the existential comedy ‘The Big Kahuna’ with Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito. He’s currently scripting a new comedy with the original writer of Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’. His comic stage productions have appeared in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. He’s producing the live comedy show, ‘The Blue Swan Films Traveling Comedy Show’ and the original animated series ‘The Daily Life of Pants’. That’s what it says right here, ‘The Daily Life of Pants’. His ebook for actors and directors is available now on Amazon and we have to learn more because I don’t really worry about the daily life of pants. John, welcome.

Mike Horton: You should.

John Swanbeck: Thank you. Thank you. How are you?

Larry Jordan: Well, we’re recovering from your intro, actually, and other than that we’re doing great. How about yourself?

John Swanbeck: I’m doing very well, thank you.

Larry Jordan: We’ve got a whole lot of stuff we want to talk with you about, but let’s start with tell us about the films you’ve directed.

John Swanbeck: Well, I directed ‘The Big Kahuna’ with Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito.

Mike Horton: It was a great movie. Great movie.

John Swanbeck: Thank you. Thank you so much; and I was asked to direct that movie because I have a reputation for working with actors and that’s what led me to really write the ebook that we’re going to talk about. But also I had a reputation for directing comedy.

Larry Jordan: Well, I want to talk about both of those – directing actors and directing comedy – but I want to start with comedy. What makes directing comedy so challenging?

John Swanbeck: Well, what makes directing comedy challenging is, I think, very much the actors’ process. A lot of actors are either very seriously trained actors who move into comedy, or they are comedians who need someone to guide them into the more poignant and substantial aspects of the portrayal of a character. I think it’s very difficult to find actors who can straddle both of those, so you have to be very adept at taking actors who are trained dramatically and showing them how to take their process and use it comedically, and also to take very comedic actors and show them how to transition into the more substantial aspects of the character’s journey.

Larry Jordan: Well, the thing that makes comedy work, at least as far as I understand, is that comedy is the unexpected and as soon as you rehearse it, the unexpected becomes expected. How do you keep comedy funny after you’ve gone through a rehearsal?

John Swanbeck: Well, you absolutely need rehearsal to get the jokes and the timing and the rhythm, absolutely you need that. But you can’t lock in, intention so much. The intention needs to be flexible always when you’re working in any kind of a genre, otherwise that’s what leads to stale performances. It’s when actors rehearse line readings and they rehearse intention, then that’s what leads to something being stale. So you need to rehearse timing and you need to rehearse rhythm and you need to rehearse the physical comedy, absolutely, over and over again, but the intention behind the line, that should actually always be fluid and I think a lot of actors make that mistake.

John Swanbeck: A lot of actors create with a very classic actor’s process that teaches them to find the right intention behind every line and that there’s only one way to say every line and they sort of latch onto that one line intention and they get locked into it, and they’re very difficult to direct, actually. The smart actor is the one that will rehearse business, timing, rhythms, physicality but allow themselves to be flexible in terms of what’s behind the line and the intention.

Mike Horton: Now, speaking of flexibility, the best directors I’ve ever worked with in my life create that atmosphere before, during and after production that allows you to feel safe in just pretty much doing what you kind of feel like doing. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that and the atmosphere that you create to allow them to feel safe.

John Swanbeck: Yes, so I actually think what makes actors feel safe is not the ability to do what they want. I think structure makes them feel safe, but then you allow them to play emotionally within that structure, and very much that’s what the camera looks for when actors are acting on film and television, which is very different from stage. The camera doesn’t like naturalism. It’s an aesthetic medium, it’s an art form and there are very specific principles and techniques to being cinematic.

John Swanbeck: But actors need to feel like they have a very clear structure and clear guidance. They need to know that the director knows where they’re taking them; but within that, they want to be able to play. They just need to feel like they’re playing in a very safe place and that’s the structure that the director brings to it.

Larry Jordan: You know, John, you’re using a word that I’m not really sure I understand the meaning of. Can you define what you mean by intention? Because I’m not exactly sure of the context in which to interpret the word.

John Swanbeck: Yes. For instance, if you take the line, “I hate you.” It’s a classic line in theatre in a number of different stories. Well, an actor will look at that and go, “Oh well, the person’s obviously angry with the other person and so my intention is I’m going to be very angry when I read the line, “I hate you.”” The very smart actor will leave themselves emotionally flexible, enough so that they could read the line, “I hate you,” as if they’re trying to say, “I love you so much. Look how much pain you’ve got me in. You’ve led me to the point where I feel like I hate you, but I love you so much,” and that’s a much more powerful intention behind a line than, say, just simply playing the anger of, “I hate you.”

John Swanbeck: Two completely different intentions for the same line that can make all the difference in the world.

Larry Jordan: So you’re using intention to mean the meaning behind the words.

John Swanbeck: Yes, exactly.

Larry Jordan: Well, I spent some time on your website, which is why I was trying to pin you down on this, because I had sneaking feeling you could explain it, because you spend a lot of your time coaching. Are you spending more time writing or directing or coaching these days?

John Swanbeck: I’m spending most of my time writing and coaching.

Larry Jordan: What got you into coaching?

John Swanbeck: Well, I’ve just always seemed to have a natural affinity for working with actors and for getting the best out of actors and I love working with actors and once I got behind the camera for ‘The Big Kahuna’ and looked through a lens, I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, I completely get this,” and so no matter what I’m doing or where I’m doing it, I will always be coaching actors, just because I love it so much.

John Swanbeck: The other thing that happened after ‘The Big Kahuna’ was, as I said, the other part of my job there was to bring the humor to it because it’s an actor piece, it’s three actors and so the performances need to be very good, but also you need the entertainment of the comedy to keep the audience engaged until you have a big dramatic payoff at the end. I was always a comedic stage director, very good at working with actors in any genre, but my stage productions were always comedic in nature, whether they were political satires or dark comedies, romantic comedies, what have you.

John Swanbeck: So then after ‘The Big Kahuna’, everyone kept coming to me because they were so moved by the dramatic turns that the actors took in the movie, they kept coming to me with dramatic pieces that they wanted to do, many of which were three people in a room talking, two people in a room talking, because that was the nature of ‘The Big Kahuna’, but they wanted me to do very dramatic pieces and, as an artist and as an entertainer, comedy always has been what my work has been about because I think the ability to make an audience laugh is the most powerful weapon you could possibly possess. I think if anything’s going to save humanity, it’s the ability to laugh and I think being able to make people laugh is a very powerful artistic tool.

John Swanbeck: So I would be called in for these meetings and people kept wanting me to direct dramas, and I kept pitching the comedic take or the humorous take and it’s just the nature of Hollywood and the way it works, that’s just the way it goes, I have no problem with that. But I wasn’t writing at the time and so I was joking about it at the time with an artistic advisor of mine and he said, “Well, if no-one’s going to let you do a comedy and you direct comedy and that’s what you want to do, then you need to learn how to write comedy,” and I said, “Well, I really don’t know how to write,” and at the time I didn’t know how to write, I had never written at all, and he said, “Well, you’re going to have to go out and learn.”

John Swanbeck: So I continued to direct stage, both in Chicago and in Los Angeles and I was coaching actors constantly and I had been offered a number of different movie projects. None of them were comedies and that’s what I wanted to do; and in the meantime I was teaching myself how to write. I taught myself first how to write and then I taught myself how to write comedy and find a way to put my comedic voice together with my newly found writing talent, and a couple of years ago a very interesting thing happened. After that process for a few years, I said, “Ok, I think I’ve got this and I’m going to do two things, and only two things, and those are I’m going to write every day and I’m going to only write to make myself laugh.”

Larry Jordan: Which is what you’ve done, because one of the things that you’ve written is a book called ‘How To Steal The Scene And End Up Playing The Lead’. What’s this about?

John Swanbeck: Well, it’s a book for actors and it’s 25, one page chapters. Each chapter does start with an original joke that I wrote about actors, and then there’s a one paragraph highlighting of the situation, the problem, the issue and then a very simple one, two, three step solution for solving the issue at hand, and it’s for actors acting on camera.

Larry Jordan: Wait a minute – you don’t want actors to steal the scene. I mean, don’t you want to have the focus controlled by the leads, whoever is the lead for that scene?

John Swanbeck: Yes, well, the title absolutely is…

Mike Horton: Ironic?

John Swanbeck: It is ironic, exactly, and intended to get people’s attention and, as much as actors like to collaborate and share, they are human beings as well and I’m sure they wouldn’t mind stealing a scene or two along the way.

Mike Horton: Yes, I want to get this question in, because we don’t have very much time left, but you direct a lot of theater and you direct a lot of film, with film being a little bit different than theater. However, I still think that theater directors are the best film directors. I don’t know why, but they are. I think you guys know how to block. I know you know where to put the camera. But do you allow your actors more freedom in going away from the script in film than you do from the stage?

John Swanbeck: Oh yes, absolutely. Stage is well known to be a writer’s medium and the writer is king or queen. In film, the script in a way is there to serve the movie, and a script is certainly adapted all the way along through the process to fit the storytelling needs and the needs of the characters’ performance, the actors’ performance.

Larry Jordan: We have a live chat going and Syria is asking, ‘How do you actually write comedy? Do you think of a joke and do a bunch of set pieces? Or how does that process work?’ And I need a fairly short answer.

John Swanbeck: Yes, you absolutely have to start with what you laugh at. I tell this to actors, directors and writers all the time. You cannot sit down to write something that you think is going to make other people laugh or to try to write something that you think is going to make other people laugh. You absolutely have to start with what you think is funny and it’s the same with acting, it’s the same with directing. You start with what you think is funny and under very specific comedic rules that you need to follow along the way.

John Swanbeck: Some people are better at physical comedy, some people are better at telling jokes. Ideally, you’re going to be able to handle both.

Mike Horton: Well, obviously you have good taste.

Larry Jordan: John, where can people go to get the book ‘How To Steal The Scene And End Up Playing The Lead?’

John Swanbeck: It’s on Amazon now and it should be on iTunes next month.

Larry Jordan: And it’s an ebook, or is it a physical book?

John Swanbeck: It’s an ebook. It’s 25, one page chapters, so I didn’t really think it was going to make for a good hard cover book. But it makes a good ebook, and I also designed it because I wanted actors to be able to be on their Smartphones or tablets and be on set and say, “Oh, what did John say about how to pop in a close-up?” and they can pull it right up there on their Smartphone or tablet, quickly find the one, two, three step creative solution and apply it right there on the spot.

Larry Jordan: Very cool.

Mike Horton: I have 150 more questions. We’ve got to have John back.

Larry Jordan: We’ve got to have John back.

Mike Horton: John, if you’ve got the time, we want you back.

Larry Jordan: He’s running out of time and I’ve got to get this in. What’s your website for people who need to follow you?

John Swanbeck:

Larry Jordan: That’s John Swanbeck is the swan of Blue Swan Films. John, thanks for joining us today.

Mike Horton: Thank you John.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

John Swanbeck: Thank you Larry and Michael.

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Larry Jordan: Born and raised in Los Angeles, LaToya Morgan is an alumna of the American Film Institute Conservatory, where she received an MFA in screenwriting. She’s a 2011 alumna of the prestigious Warner Bros. Writers Workshop, as well as a host of other awards and honors that are almost too numerous and depressing for Mike and I to mention, including the Producers’ Guild of America’s Power of Diversity Workshop. Hello, LaToya.

LaToya Morgan: Hello. Thank you for having me.

Larry Jordan: We are delighted to have you on, even though you’ve won more awards than Mike and I put together.

Mike Horton: Yes.

Larry Jordan: And we’re not talking about you at all. We were just listening to John Swanbeck talk about writing comedy, and you are a screenwriter as well. What got you into writing?

LaToya Morgan: Well, I was one of those nerdy little kids who was always reading a lot of books, and writing short stories, and plays, and luckily I had a mother who was very encouraging, so she always wanted to make sure that I was following my dream, so I wrote a lot, wrote a lot of plays, wrote a lot of short stories and I ended up actually deciding to veer away from a career in law, in order to pursue my dream of writing.

Mike Horton: Good choice.

Larry Jordan: Well, you wanted the security that writing provides.

Mike Horton: Good choice. Your mom must be proud.

LaToya Morgan: She is very proud, definitely.

Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, how does a writer polish their craft? How do you get to be a better writer?

LaToya Morgan: Well, a lot of practice first of all. You go through a lot of drafts of stories. You kind of start with an idea of something or a character, and then from there you sort of hone the story around it, and if you’re lucky you have some friends who can read your stuff and give you notes on how to improve it, tell you what things aren’t quite landing, or aren’t clear and you just go from there. But a lot of practice.

Larry Jordan: Now, do you tend to write dramas? Do you tend to write comedy? What genres do you specialize in?

LaToya Morgan: I write both. I’ve written comedies, but I definitely lean towards drama.

Larry Jordan: How come?

LaToya Morgan: Drama’s really fun because you can sometimes include comedy in your dramas and do a little dramedy, so that’s always fun.

Larry Jordan: There are so many questions and Mike thinks he wants to ask acting questions. I want to ask writing questions.

Mike Horton: No, I want to ask writing questions.

Larry Jordan: How do you start? Do you have the ending in mind? Do you discover the ending as you write? Do you outline before you write? How does the process work?

LaToya Morgan: Well, for me, I like to start with the characters, so usually I’ll think of a character and then I’ll try to build the world around the character. From there, I start to build a story. I like to outline. I know some people think that’s sort of cumbersome, but for me it’s like if you say you’re going to Disneyland, you know you’ve got to take the 5 freeway, it’s a road map and it’ll help you get to the ending if you know what road you’re actually going to take. So outlining is very helpful for me.

Mike Horton: Where do you find your characters? Life experiences? Or do you just make them up on the spur of the moment? All of a sudden, this inspiration comes to you and boom?

LaToya Morgan: Well, a lot of them come from people I know. I happen to know a lot of colorful people and I try to use them as much as possible; and that’s very helpful too, especially when you’re coming up with dialog. You can sort of tap into your memory of what they sound like and that helps the dialog come off the page. A lot of times I read articles, and newspapers, and just read interesting stories, and factoids that sort of spear into your brain and you don’t forget, and come up with stories that way.

Mike Horton: Are you one of those writers who has just tons of ideas stored in that drawer, and then you bring it out and start working on it, and then it doesn’t work, you put it back in the drawer, start working on something else and…

LaToya Morgan: I do.

Mike Horton: Yes.

LaToya Morgan: Yes, yes. I try to keep a file and I recommend to people starting out that they keep a file as well. I’ll do just like a junk file, where I’ll think of an idea or a character and I’ll try to quickly write it down and sort of store it on the computer; or I’ll find an article that I am really compelled by, I’ll cut that out and put it in a drawer somewhere. And then, when you’re searching for ideas and you’re working on something, you’re trying to jar something out of you, you go back to that file and you sort of scroll up and then you say, “Hey, that wasn’t such a bad idea after all,” and you use that stuff.

Larry Jordan: Well, you mentioned something I wanted to follow up on, which is the idea of writing dialog. How do you write dialog? Are you speaking it as you’re typing it, or is it all in your head? And how do you make it sound conversational as opposed to staged?

LaToya Morgan: A lot of eavesdropping. I spend a lot of time in coffee shops just listening to how people talk to each other. Sometimes, with my mom’s permission, I’ll record a conversation that we have, just to hear how natural it is when we talk to each other, you know, the interruptions, the interjections. People don’t wait for someone to complete a thought sometimes, so that’s the way to make it sound as natural as possible.

Larry Jordan: You’re a young person, which is why you’re winning all these getting started type awards. Has any of your work been published, released, printed or whatever one does with a writer’s work?

LaToya Morgan: Well, I’ve had online publishings of short stories that I’ve done, which is great, and I work in television on TV shows, so some of my work…

Larry Jordan: Which ones are you working on?

LaToya Morgan: I’ve worked on a show called ‘Shameless’, which is a Showtime…

Mike Horton: Oh, I love it.

LaToya Morgan: That was actually my first TV writing job, which was fantastic. Right now, I’m working on a new AMC show called ‘Time’, which is about spies in a revolutionary war, so I wrote an episode of that and that’ll be coming up pretty soon.

Mike Horton: Sweet. Historical dramas, love them.

LaToya Morgan: Yes, they’re very, very fun.

Larry Jordan: Michael looks so good in historical costume. That would qualify as your weird and unusual people.

Mike Horton: I can play a good Brit.

Larry Jordan: LaToya, I just realized we’re running out of time and we still haven’t even gotten to the really cool stuff, which is the PGA Diversity Workshop. Can I bring you back a little later in a show today and we’ll talk about that? Because there’s so much that you’ve been doing at the diversity level that I’d like to have folks learn about it.

Mike Horton: Oh yes, cool.

Larry Jordan: Can we bring you back?

LaToya Morgan: Absolutely, I’d love to.

Larry Jordan: You are amazing. We’re going to come back to you in about 20 minutes, so you take care and we’ll talk to you soon.

LaToya Morgan: Thanks. Sounds good.

Larry Jordan: Take care. You know, I love talking to writers and hearing what they have to say because it’s their creativity that makes the rest of us have something to watch.

Mike Horton: I’m an admirer of their discipline, that you can actually sit down every day and write. But that’s what you do, Larry.

Larry Jordan: And have it make sense. Writing is easy.

Mike Horton: You write about codecs.

Larry Jordan: Somebody’s got to and that’s my job. We’re going to be right back with some interesting stories about rock music right after this.

Larry Jordan: Did a rock festival break up The Beatles? Well, Johnny Brower is an iconic rock promoter. He’s an art collector, a writer and a movie producer and he shares his personal account of the rock and roll Revival Festival of 1969 in Toronto. Now, you may think that that’s too long ago for us to pay attention to, but this was really a seminal event.

Larry Jordan: His movie, the ‘Pop 69 movie’ story, is based upon the historical events that prompted John Lennon and Yoko Ono to travel across the world to perform for the first time as The Plastic Ono Band. There’s some really cool stories here and, listen, I’ve been listening, Johnny tells them great. Hello, Johnny. Welcome back.

Johnny Brower: Thank you Larry, and great to be with you and a shout out to all people following us and you as well.

Larry Jordan: Well, I’ve been listening to your raconteurship on your website and I have been looking forward to our conversation today for a long time, so let me start at the very beginning. What got you started in music? This is not what one would consider a normal career.

LaToya Morgan: Well, I started out as a musician, as a piano player as a young child. I became a choirboy and a Sunday school teacher, and then everything went to hell in a hand basket when I got my first rock and roll record and started playing bass in a band. That was the end.

Mike Horton: You know, that’s exactly how my childhood was.

Larry Jordan: Playing bass in a band?

Mike Horton: I was a choirboy, I was the whole bit and then got into rock and roll about the age of 12, 13. Everything went to hell in a hand basket, as he says.

Johnny Brower: Yes.

Mike Horton: But I’m a better person for it.

Johnny Brower: As am I, thank you so much.

Larry Jordan: But it took you a long time to get there, Michael. Johnny, when did you start promoting concerts?

Johnny Brower: Well, I started promoting my own band, The High School, in the mid-‘60s.

Larry Jordan: Now, where are we now? Are we in Canada or in the US?

Johnny Brower: You know, I would go to the churches and get them to give us their basement etcetera. I kind of had a natural flair for promoting, I don’t know where that came from, but I was the actual guy that got our band gigs; and then other bands started saying, “Well, hey, could you get us some gigs?” and so I became kind of a little local band hustler here in Toronto in the early ‘60s, ’63, ’64, ’65.

Larry Jordan: I had a chance to watch the time capsule on your website, which was the late ‘60s, when you were talking about the Toronto Pop ’69 Festival. Tell me about, first the festival and then I want to talk about the time capsule itself.

Johnny Brower: Ok, well the festival itself was actually a rock and roll revival on September 13th of 1969 and that came about as a result of the pop festival we had in June. We had Chuck Berry on the show and he literally stole the show. I mean, we had The Band, we had Steppenwolf, we had Sly and the Family Stone, but in the final analysis, Chuck Berry absolutely stole the show, and he was the only act that had 25,000 kids up on their feet dancing, following his routines, trying to duck walk. I mean, he owned the place.

Johnny Brower: So the concept was to bring him and as many of the old legendary rock and rollers – old in those days, they were 40 – back on one show and that’s how that show actually came about, was as a result of Chuck Berry’s influence.

Larry Jordan: Well, I saw you in the time capsule. You looked like you were about 12 in that movie.

Johnny Brower: Yes, well, I still look like I’m about 55, so believe me, it’s still working for me, Larry.

Larry Jordan: Was this the first big event that you produced?

Johnny Brower: No. The biggest event prior to that was the pop festival in June, which was two days, and so it had twice as many people because it was a two day show. This was a one day show in September that we ended up getting John and Yoko to come to.

Larry Jordan: Ok, so here’s the question – how did John Lennon and Yoko Ono get involved with you?

Johnny Brower: Well, because I was convinced by Kim Fowley that the only way to save the show, which was an unmitigated disaster and the investors were about to pull out, was to get John Lennon to come over and be the MC, and I guess in those days you could actually call people and if they were there they answered the phone. I mean, there are so many layers between everybody now, it’s hard to believe. But I actually got up very early the next morning and called Apple and simply said, “This is very important, please write these names down – Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent and Bo Diddley. This is John Brower in Toronto. Please tell John Lennon all these bands are playing Saturday. I’m calling to invite him to be the MC.”

Johnny Brower: 30 seconds later, who comes on the phone but John saying, “When is this happening? What is this all about?” and I tell him and he goes, “Well, we wouldn’t want to come unless we could play,” and I said, “Well, what, do you mean, The Beatles?” He goes, “No, me and Yoko and we’ll put a little band together,” and I go, “Ok.” That was it.

Larry Jordan: Well, obviously he then showed up with no problem, right?

Johnny Brower: No, there were some definite problems in the meantime. First of all, he had trouble getting anybody to agree to play with him. George Harrison turned him down flat. It wasn’t easy to just muster a band in three or four days, but he did get Clapton on board and Klaus Voormann and they located Alan White, who was a jazz drummer in town, and they heard of him by reputation and just basically invited him to come to the airport, show up and come and play with us in Toronto.

Mike Horton: Did they call it The Plastic Ono Band there?

Johnny Brower: They did call it The Plastic Ono Band and it was a name that Yoko basically inspired as a result of making little plastic figures in their office one day – she tells the story much better than I do – and John basically said, “Well, then, you know, we should be The Plastic Ono Band,” and that’s where that name came from.

Mike Horton: Wow. I love this. This is a wonderful piece of history.

Larry Jordan: But wait, wait, wait, wait. Now, I understand that the actual reality was a little bit different, because we’re at the airport and where’s John?

Johnny Brower: Well, yes. I did get a call at four o’clock in the morning, which was nine o’clock in the morning in London, from Anthony Fawcett, Yoko’s assistant, telling me that he was there with Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann and Alan White, Mal Evans, The Beatles’ tour manager, and himself and he had just spoken to John at Tittenhurst Park who told him, “Yoko and I can’t make it. Send flowers. Love John and Yoko.”

Mike Horton: Oh jeez.

Larry Jordan: Ok, so you gave up?

Johnny Brower: Well, no, because my life was on the line. I had basically guaranteed the Vagabonds Motorcycle Club that John Lennon was coming. They had gotten 80 bikes together from all over the province to come in for this ride-in from the airport, and had advised me earlier that evening that if John Lennon does not show up, you had better be gone because it’s not going to be good.

Larry Jordan: So what did you do?

Johnny Brower: So I came out of bed like I was hit with a cattle prod, and the only leverage I had was to get Eric Clapton on the phone and remind him that it was a great show but I did lose $20,000 on Blind Faith in July, and I needed him to help me and that if John didn’t come, I had to leave my city, my country and, in fact, in a desperate thought that maybe the only place I could hide from the bikers would be John Lennon’s house, I told him, “You need to tell John Lennon I’m coming over there to move in with him, with my wife and kid.”

Larry Jordan: What happened?

Johnny Brower: At which point, Eric Clapton exploded that he didn’t come out to the airport for anybody at nine o’clock in the morning and he was furious with John and I said, “Well then, you’ve gotta get him on the phone and tell him,” and they got him on another phone, because there was a bank of payphones, and he starts chewing John out and we found out later that John was mortified that Eric Clapton was mad at him because Eric was, of course, one of the major stars on the planet, and so he and Yoko managed to muster up the courage – or he did, Yoko was enthusiastic about it the whole time – but John was afraid that nobody would like him, that he’d forget the lyrics, that it would be terrible, they wouldn’t play right and, of course, the rest is history. They were great, everybody loved them, they rehearsed on the plane and they recorded an album that was John’s first gold album, so the fears were overcome and the show went on.

Larry Jordan: Well, then you and John teamed up and created the Toronto Peace Festival.

Johnny Brower: We attempted to do a Peace Festival in the middle of the Vietnam War. What were we thinking? Hindsight is always wonderful. Back then, we were a couple of naïve, in my opinion, political neophytes and we were buried by the Nixon political machine, by the Canadian version of the Nixon political machine and it was a disastrous experience, unfortunately.

Larry Jordan: Well, how would you describe the difference in producing concerts back then in the ‘70s versus producing concerts now? And are you still involved in the music industry?

Johnny Brower: I’m not involved in producing concerts, I haven’t been since 1980 when I did the seminal punk festival Heatwave. But back in the day, it was an uphill battle. I mean, it was going against the establishment, going against the music industry, which was still clinging to Frank Sinatra and Perry Como, desperately hoping that maybe all of this other stuff would either go away or not realize how exploited they were being for too long, and this was not a normal course of affairs.

Johnny Brower: Today, of course, it’s been taken to a whole deeper level and it just happens to be this big gigantic corporate machine that rolls along and has permeated every level of the entertainment industry from clubs down the street to the Electric Daisy Festival.

Johnny Brower: But back in the day, we were kids struggling against pretty much everything and raising money for these shows was another problem, because people were not used to investing in that area and it was very uncomfortable thinking about that you weren’t going to know if anybody was coming until the day of the show, because back then advance sales were very minimal. It wasn’t like now, where a show sells out in 20 minutes online. Back then, you were standing at the gates in the morning praying for people.

Mike Horton: Yes, well we have to remind the people who are listening right now, especially the kids, that Woodstock lost money. That just made a fricking fortune but it didn’t make money until after the movie was released several years…

Johnny Brower: Exactly, and a lot of these bigger events, including the Strawberry Fields Festival I did in 1970, did not make money because kids not only did not buy tickets in advance, because they thought these shows were always going to be cancelled, but when they did show up, they would be facing snow fencing and farmers’ fields, and the concept of security was nothing like it is now.

Larry Jordan: Well, thinking of Woodstock making money on its movie, you’ve turned to movie making yourself, with the ‘Pop 69 movie’. What’s this about?

Johnny Brower: Well, I can only compare it to some of those military guys or government people that get near the end of their life and they think it’s really important, they need to tell the truth about the aliens. So I think what I’ve decided is that I really want to tell some of these stories in a humorous but honest way, because there were some great moments back then and there was a lot of funny stuff that went on. While kids were out there running around trying to do things that hadn’t been done before, there was a lot of silliness that went on. It was a lot of fun.

Johnny Brower: There was a lot of sex, drugs and rock and roll in that order, quite frankly, and it was the ‘60s after all, so I just thought that this would be an exciting thing to do and I was asked by a production company here several years ago to do some interview for a Bravo series called ‘Young Street Toronto Rock and Roll Stories’ and in the third hour, which featured me predominantly, they got the most response from viewers. They got calls and letters saying, “You know that guy John Brower? We want to hear more stories like that. That was the best story I heard ever,” etcetera and that’s some of the footage you probably saw in some of the stuff we had online.

Johnny Brower: I guess that gave me the confidence to say, “Well, ok, let’s sit down and put pen to paper and tell this tale.”

Mike Horton: I’m so glad you did because you, sir, are a big piece of rock and roll history and I can’t wait to see this.

Johnny Brower: Oh thank you, I appreciate it and I really appreciate you taking the time to let me share some of this.

Larry Jordan: Is the movie in production? Or where are you right now?

Johnny Brower: Temporary production. We have a script that, of course, like every script, is being worked on constantly. We have two really, really powerful executive producers. We’re right now basically analyzing whether this would be shot in Canada or the US. There are a lot of advantages tax-wise here, but depending on the time of year this thing was ready to go, it may have to be shot in a sound stage with some exteriors done in the US, in Tucson or Phoenix or something. That’s up in the air. Our main interest right now is getting a director that believes in the film and has a vision for it the same way we do, and so that’s the stage we’re at.

Mike Horton: I have the perfect director for you – Morgan Neville. He just did ‘20 Feet From Stardom’. He’s the perfect director for you.

Johnny Brower: Give him my number. Give him my number. I’d love that. He won an award for it, come on.

Mike Horton: I know.

Johnny Brower: That was the Academy Award winning doc.

Mike Horton: You’re right.

Johnny Brower: That was it exactly.

Larry Jordan: Where can people go on the web to learn more about the movie?

Johnny Brower: Absolutely, you can go onto the web, of course, where you’ve been already but I’ll give you a couple of our links. is a great place to start. Twitter, @pop69movie.

Larry Jordan: And the website itself is

Johnny Brower:

Mike Horton: Well, if you’re ever in LA, I want to do vodka shooters with you for one night and I’m going to hear all the stories.

Johnny Brower: Well, I’ll be back in two weeks. I have a home in Van Nuys [p], I just came up here three days ago in order to get in on a winter storm so I could be one of the boys.

Larry Jordan: We’ll bring you back.

Johnny Brower: I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. We’ll keep in touch.

Mike Horton: Please.

Johnny Brower: Thank you so much. Best to you, Mike, as well and everybody out there, just keep popping, Pop 69.

Larry Jordan: Thank you, and the website is Johnny Brower, thanks, Johnny, we’ll talk to you soon.

Johnny Brower: Thank you so much. Goodnight.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: LaToya Morgan is back. Hello, LaToya, how are you?

LaToya Morgan: I’m great. How are you?

Larry Jordan: We have been having a great show. We’ve been talking about writers, about comedy, we’ve been talking about writers, about creating music videos and we’ve talked to you about writing drama. It’s a writers’ show today.

Mike Horton: No, this is a great show. No codecs, no…

Larry Jordan: I can work codecs in if you want.

Mike Horton: You can do that at the end of the show.

Larry Jordan: But before we talk codecs, which is my favorite subject, something you’ve been involved with, LaToya, for a while is the PGA Power of Diversity Workshop. What is it?

LaToya Morgan: Yes. It’s a workshop that tries to get together filmmakers, television writers who are interested in getting their projects off the ground, getting them together and giving them mentor opportunities with people who’ve done it.

Larry Jordan: Well, you participated in the workshop last year. What’s it like?

LaToya Morgan: Oh, it was an amazing experience. People who apply for the program can apply with television projects or feature film projects. I applied with a television project and it was fantastic. You have all these wonderful mentors who have been producers in their own rights from documentaries, to web series, to films, and they actually give you notes on your project. They also help you learn how to pitch your project to a network so that you can sell your project if possible, and they bring in these wonderful guest speakers who come and talk to you about their experiences as well, so it’s a really nurturing environment.

Mike Horton: LaToya, it’s kind of an iffy question, but all the writers I know have big egos.

LaToya Morgan: No!

Mike Horton: I know. All the writers I know have big egos and when they’re given notes, they don’t necessarily listen. Do you listen?

LaToya Morgan: Oh yes. You know what? I love getting notes, and I know that sounds weird, but I like to get other people’s perspective on projects and it’s always good to have a fresh set of eyes, so with notes, especially if you think something is taking your project in a different direction, I try to think about what the note is behind the note, what they’re actually trying to say. Usually, it’s about something not quite landing, or you not being clear in the way you’ve written something, so there’s always a way to smooth that over.

Mike Horton: So the trick is not to take it personally.

LaToya Morgan: Exactly, do not take it personally and try to think of it in a broader perspective.

Mike Horton: How about discipline? Writers’ discipline, that always amazes me. Do you get up every single morning and give yourself a block of time to write? Even if you’re not on assignment, if you haven’t got a gig, you write for four hours, eight hours, one hour or do you skip days?

LaToya Morgan: I do. I try to write every day only because it just helps you to be able to tap into what you need faster if you’re very disciplined about it. But, wow, eight hours – no.

Mike Horton: No, well, I don’t…

LaToya Morgan: Yes, that’s a long block. I usually try to do like a four hour block and most of that time I turn off the email, I literally sit down at a table, I have a nice cup of coffee and I have a pad and a pen and I like to handwrite my writing first.

Mike Horton: Are you a night time person or early morning person?

LaToya Morgan: I’m a morning person.

Mike Horton: Oh, ok.

LaToya Morgan: I love to get up early, I love to hear the birds, I love all that stuff and, of course, I love coffee.

Larry Jordan: If I had to handwrite everything that I wrote, no-one would read anything.

Mike Horton: Yes, but Larry writes it at, like, 140 words a minute kind of thing on the…

LaToya Morgan: Oh wow!

Mike Horton: No, he’s amazing. His fingers are flying, without any misspellings.

Larry Jordan: But my dialog is pretty weak, actually.

LaToya Morgan: Yes, eavesdrop on more conversations.

Larry Jordan: I’ve got to do more eavesdropping. I just don’t have your skill at it, that’s the problem.

Mike Horton: I know some guys at the NSA. They can get you going.

Larry Jordan: As you look on this mentoring concept at the workshop, what makes for a good mentor or, differently phrased, what makes a mentor that’s not a good mentor?

LaToya Morgan: I think for me the recipe for a great mentor starts with a presence and sometimes there are people who say they want to be a mentor, but if they’re doing a million different things and your emails aren’t getting returned, if you’re the mentee and you’re wondering what you’re doing wrong. I think someone who’s a mentor has to want to be a mentor, and they have to make the time to do it, and luckily at the PGA everyone was so available, they were amazing about taking time out of their schedules, because they are busy people, but they were really present and I felt that.

Mike Horton: Well, now that you’re a famous TV writer, are you a mentor?

LaToya Morgan: I am, I do. I mentor a lot of people. I mean, of course, there’s my family that I mentor but there are also writers that I work with. The Warner Bros. workshop was very influential in helping me get my first writing job, so I have a mentee who has just gone through the Warner Bros. writers’ workshop and so I try to keep in communication with him as much as possible.

Mike Horton: Any desire to direct?

LaToya Morgan: Down the line, I think I would like to. At first, I thought I didn’t because it’s a pain being on set, but I do want to…

Mike Horton: I know, it’s boring to be on set, unless you’re directing. At least you’re doing something.

LaToya Morgan: That’s true. When you’re directing, everyone’s always asking you questions so it’s not as boring, so I think I might try that.

Larry Jordan: When you participated in the Warner Bros. writers’ workshop or the PGA workshop, how does someone who wants to be a writer? How do they qualify to be able to attend? What do they have to do?

LaToya Morgan: Well, they have to write a really great script, and that sometimes takes a little bit of time, and sometimes people will apply for different fellowships like these programs and they get a rejection letter, and they don’t get in and then they give up and I just want to encourage people to apply, and if you don’t get in, to apply again because I try to use rejection as motivation. You have to believe in your talent, you have to believe…

Mike Horton: Good for you.

LaToya Morgan: …that you can do it and luckily I had my mom and friends who are very supportive, but you also have to believe it yourself and so definitely use rejection as motivation and not as a deterrent.

Mike Horton: Yes, but that’s really hard.

LaToya Morgan: It is. It is. I have shed my share of tears but you wipe them off, you dust yourself off and get back to your computer and start writing.

Larry Jordan: But I think that’s a really important point. You don’t go to these workshops to learn how to write. You go to these workshops to take what you’ve written and make it better, so you’ve got to make the initial investment in time and energy to put a script together before they’ll even look at you.

LaToya Morgan: Absolutely. You have to have it in a place where it’s ready to be read and I think that’s one of the things that people do, is they just do a first draft and they think, “Oh, it’s done and I can send it.” No, you have to have eyes on it and you have to revise, you have to do other drafts and then when it’s ready send it in.

Mike Horton: Yes, as the adage goes, that scripts aren’t written, they’re re-written.

LaToya Morgan: Oh yes.

Larry Jordan: Do you ever workshop a script? You’ve got an idea for something and you’re not sure if you want to do it or not, do you have friends over to read what you’ve written?

LaToya Morgan: I do. I have a core group of friends who are my go to people.

Mike Horton: Yes, that’s so important.

LaToya Morgan: These are people who I can call any time, I can say, “I have a day to write this. Can you please just look at the first half and tell me if I’m crazy?” so you really need that core group of people that you trust their opinion, you like their taste, you know they like your style of writing and to be able to call on them when you need them.

Mike Horton: No, just get them drunk, bring them over to the house.

LaToya Morgan: Wine helps.

Mike Horton: Read the script and hear it. You don’t read scripts, you hear scripts. You listen to them.

LaToya Morgan: Yes.

Larry Jordan: It’s being able to hear the dialog that’s so important. LaToya, where can people go to learn more about the Producers’ Guild workshop and the Producers’ Guild in general?

LaToya Morgan: They can go to the Producers’ Guild website. It’s, and there is a tab for the Power of Diversity workshop.

Larry Jordan: I would ask where your website is, but you’re so busy writing you haven’t put one together yet.

Mike Horton: She hasn’t put one together.

LaToya Morgan: I know I don’t have a website, but I do have a Twitter account.

Mike Horton: Oh cool, I’ll follow you.

Larry Jordan: Oh, ok, so where’s the Twitter account?

LaToya Morgan: My Twitter is @morganicink and that’s me.

Mike Horton: I am real proud of you. Keep helping people.

LaToya Morgan: Thank you so much. I will.

Larry Jordan: And that ‘me’ is LaToya Morgan. LaToya, it’s been wonderful chatting with you and thanks for joining us today.

LaToya Morgan: It’s been such a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

LaToya Morgan: Bye.

Larry Jordan: Well, this is the moment. I want to see if Michael’s been paying attention.

Mike Horton: No, I haven’t.

Larry Jordan: He’s just standing in front of the…

Mike Horton: This has been the best show ever. I loved the guests. Cirina, awesome job. Ok, go ahead, Larry.

Larry Jordan: I will let her know.

Mike Horton: All right.

Larry Jordan: Oh, and Grant on our live chat is expecting to see training videos made from tonight’s show.

Mike Horton: I know, he wants to do that cable rolling.

Larry Jordan: I know, cable rolling.

Mike Horton: You know, that could be the most brilliant comedy ever.

Larry Jordan: Just hush.

Mike Horton: Three cameras on Larry teaching cable rolling.

Larry Jordan: I saw a YouTube video on cable rolling and…

Mike Horton: The possibilities are just extraordinary.

Larry Jordan: …it was fascinating.

Mike Horton: I mean, you’re a pretty funny guy. You don’t think you’re funny but you are really a funny guy.

Larry Jordan: There are those who have accused me of being funny for a long time.

Mike Horton: I mean, you’ve got that kind of Wisconsin funny.

Larry Jordan: Are you done?

Mike Horton: Yes.

Larry Jordan: Ok. The lights are going up and Michael’s facing the wrong way, so we’re just going to get him to turn around and look at the microphone and say it’s time for…

Mike Horton: Pick Our Brains.

Larry Jordan: You know, once…

Mike Horton: You know, we can start the cable rolling thing with kind of an echoey deal like that. I mean, I can start writing the script tonight, I’ll send it to you in the morning, you can sort of revise it and we can get production started on Saturday.

Larry Jordan: And have it posted on YouTube with 25 million views by Sunday afternoon.

Mike Horton: Yes, that’s the wonderful thing about all this affordable equipment and the internet and all this.

Larry Jordan: I talked to Randy Altman, she interviewed me yesterday…

Mike Horton: Really? Time to do this course.

Larry Jordan: …good stuff. Anyway, we’ll talk about that more later. Have you got something for us?

Mike Horton: I do.

Larry Jordan: Well, hurry up, I’m waiting on you.

Mike Horton: Multi-cam sync issue.

Larry Jordan: Oh, ok.

Mike Horton: This is in Final Cut Pro 10 and this fellow says: ‘Dear Larry, I’m having a lot of trouble doing something very simple – creating a synched multi-cam clip based on markers. I’ve been able to do it in the past and it seemed very simple, yet I seem to have hit a wall, probably due to all the drugs I have been using since I live in Colorado…

Larry Jordan: Michael, pick it up. Pick it up.

Mike Horton: Ok. ‘I have three clips. They all have matching timecodes, but I want to sync with markers just to be safe. I add markers in the event browser, I select all three, choose the multi-clip and end up with a timeline where apparently there’s only data in camera three, even though in the event browser there’s non-stop video in all three. The only place I have one frame of video is where the markers are. What am I doing wrong here?’

Larry Jordan: Actually, as I was reflecting on this, because we chatted about this before the show, I came up with two more things that could be causing the problem. First, you could have markers in wrong position. Final Cut 10 syncs based upon the position of the first marker. If you have a marker that’s ahead of your sync point, it’s going to sync to the wrong marker.

Larry Jordan: The second is it’s really, really easy to set an in and out, what’s called the range, in a clip.

Mike Horton: Yes, that’s the big thing, because that’s changed. Apple made it really simple in the first versions. Now they’ve changed it to make it a little bit more complicated.

Larry Jordan: And the reason is, is that now, unlike the first version, now you can have multiple ranges selected in the same clip and you can edit all the selected ranges down at the same time. The third thing is, if you don’t change the default settings of multi-cam inside Final Cut 10, it will automatically sync based upon audio wave forms, which may or may not be right depending upon how far the cameras are from the stage, because sound travels slower than light and for every 35 feet that you’re back from the stage, the camera is one frame out of sync.

Mike Horton: Are you kidding?

Larry Jordan: No, true. That’s why if you put a camera at the back of a stadium, you’ve got to hardwire the audio to it or you’ve got to adjust the offset because it’s…

Mike Horton: Is that in the preferences? That’s not in the preferences.

Larry Jordan: It’s in my training. Anyway…

Mike Horton: No, seriously, if…

Larry Jordan: If your camera’s too far away from the stage, the video and audio are out of sync because of the speed sound travels.

Mike Horton: Ok.

Larry Jordan: You just think I make this stuff up, but it’s true.

Mike Horton: Well, no, I know you’re not making it up. So what you want to do when you open up Final Cut Pro 10 for the first time is to go into your preferences and start really looking at it seriously before you start doing anything?

Larry Jordan: No, no. There’s no preference set in that controls multi-cam.

Mike Horton: Oh, ok.

Larry Jordan: That’s just when you build the multi-cam. What had happened, I suspect, is that he had ins and outs set on his clips, he selected them but he only selected the ins and the out, he didn’t select the entire clip, so when it built multi-cam clip, it was out of sync because it edited the ranges together, not the entire clip. But you can also screw up by having markers in the wrong spot and you can also screw up by having it sync on something that you’re not expecting to sync because you weren’t paying attention to the preferences inside Final Cut.

Mike Horton: Ok. If you didn’t understand anything that Larry said…

Larry Jordan: But wait, wait, we’ve got a question coming in.

Mike Horton: We do?

Larry Jordan: Yes. Syria in the live chat – this is the first time we’ve had a live chat question in forever. Yay, Syria. Another Final Cut 10 question. ‘I have an image sequence spatial setting to fill but when I try to move it to resolve the XML, images are default to fit, not fill any settings.’ Michael, you know the answer to that?

Mike Horton: No.

Larry Jordan: One of the really neat features inside Final Cut 10 is that you can change the framing of still images by using special conform. Fit; has them automatically fit inside the frame and Fill; zooms them to fill. And so what’s happening is the XML export from Final Cut to Resolve via XML, they’re set to the wrong setting.

Mike Horton: Ok, just let me make life a little bit more interesting. What is the keyboard shortcut for that, Larry? Do you know?

Larry Jordan: Keyboard shortcut for XML export?

Mike Horton: Yes.

Larry Jordan: There’s no keyboard shortcut for XML export, you fool. Anyway, now you’ve got me so flustered, I…

Mike Horton: Yes, that’s what I meant.

Larry Jordan: Syria, I’ve got to think about the answer to that one because I have to look up…

Mike Horton: I’m really not right for this job, Larry.

Larry Jordan: No, you are perfect for this job. Nobody talks codecs like you do. Anyway, Syria, I’ve got to look up the answer. Just send an email to any of our Pick Our Brains questions at We’ll take a look at the answer and answer it on the show and, if not, we’ll look it up for you.

Larry Jordan: Grant, you’re absolutely right, cable rolling is my life.

Mike Horton: It would be brilliant, we’ve got to get John to direct it. It would be awesome.

Larry Jordan: I think it’s a classic, actually.

Mike Horton: It is. I mean, John might be going to NAB.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests today, while Mike is off on a tangent: John Swanbeck, producer, director, writer; LaToya Morgan, award winning screenwriter; and concert promoter, writer, producer Johnny Brower.

Larry Jordan: There’s a lot happening at The Buzz between shows. Visit Take a look at all the stuff we’re doing. Especially check out our special page,

Larry Jordan: Music on The Buzz provided by SmartSound. We’re streamed and hosted by Our producer is Cirina Catania, engineer, Adrian Price. The warm avuncular voice on the other side of the table is Mike Horton. My name’s Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Buzz.

Mike Horton: Goodbye everybody.

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