Digital Production Buzz
May 22, 2014
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
to listen to this show.]
Marty Murray, Producer, Kill Game
Michele Yamazaki, VP Marketing, Toolfarm
Josh Apter, Founder & President, Manhattan Edit Workshop
Voiceover: The 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; and by TOLIS Group, the BRU guys, pioneering the development and support of ultra-reliable data backup, archival and restore solutions for nearly 30 years.
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 for creative content producers covering media production, post production, marketing and distribution around the world. My name is Larry Jordan and joining us, our affable and tanned co-host, Mr. Mike Horton.
Mike Horton: And red faced.
Larry Jordan: Yes, but you may…
Mike Horton: I just got down here. Did you know there was, like, an inch of rain out in Palm Dale/Lancaster area and here it’s, like, 80 degrees?
Larry Jordan: I know.
Mike Horton: It’s just like 40 miles away. Isn’t that amazing?
Larry Jordan: Weather continues used to surprise me on a daily basis.
Mike Horton: And it snowed in Big Bear, which is, like, 40 minutes away. It’s incredible, and here it’s, like…
Larry Jordan: 80 degrees and clear skies.
Mike Horton: Well, it’s actually cloudy, but…
Larry Jordan: Can I go on now?
Mike Horton: Yes. Oh yes, we’re doing a show. Yes, tell us what’s on, Larry, will you?
Larry Jordan: We’ve got some great guests. We’re going to start with Marty Murray. He began his career as a stuntman, now he’s a producer and his third film, ‘Kill Game’, is now screening at Con. We talk about the process of producing a killer film with Marty later tonight.
Larry Jordan: Michele Yamazaki is the official plug-in-ologist for Toolfarm. She joins us this week to talk about plug-ins, social media and life in general.
Larry Jordan: And Josh Apter, the inventor of the Padcaster, actually has a day job. He’s the Founder and President of the Manhattan Edit Workshop and next month he’s hosting an event called ‘Sight, Sound and Story’, designed to help editors become better at their craft, and he stops by tonight to explain more about it.
Larry Jordan: Just as a reminder that we’re offering text transcripts for each 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. Learn more at take1.tv and thanks, Take 1, for making it possible.
Larry Jordan: Mr. Michael…
Mike Horton: By the way, I think it’s Michele Terpstra now, because she just got married.
Larry Jordan: Really?
Mike Horton: Yes.
Larry Jordan: She did? Well, we’re celebrating the wedding, but we want to…
Mike Horton: That’s right. She got to go to Italy.
Larry Jordan: I was going to ask where she went on her honeymoon.
Mike Horton: Well, if you were on Facebook, like the rest of us in the world, you would have seen all those beautiful pictures of the gelato and all those other foods that they were eating.
Larry Jordan: It is actually because of Facebook that we have Michele coming on the show, because we’re interested in thinking about how social media can help film makers tell the world about their film, or is it just for weddings, Michael?
Mike Horton: Well, I can tell you, it’s really good for vacations.
Larry Jordan: Did you appreciate where she was eating?
Mike Horton: Absolutely.
Larry Jordan: There’s some good looking food.
Mike Horton: Thank you, Michele, for all those food pictures.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of Facebook, the Digital Production Buzz is on Facebook. You can get more information about the show at digitalproductionbuzz.com. I am really impressed with the number of people that are joining in the conversation about the show. Patrick Saxon runs the social media for The Buzz and does an outstanding job. If you haven’t had a chance to become a friend, you need to check out what’s happening on Facebook.
Larry Jordan: You can also visit with us on Twitter, @dpbuzz, and Mr. Mike, do you have a Facebook page that you…
Mike Horton: I do. I have the LAFCPUG Facebook page and it actually works. I mean, I don’t do a lot with it other than to spam what I’ve got coming up, which by the way next week, the LAFCPUG meets.
Larry Jordan: What’s the content?
Mike Horton: We’ve got a lot of really good stuff. We’ve got Doug Blush, who’s probably one of the best editors in documentaries, he’s coming; and also we have the kids from USC who shot this short film on Google Glass, entirely on Google Glass.
Larry Jordan: Wow.
Mike Horton: Also fitness in post, because, Larry, you and I sit for 15 hours a day, we might as well stand up and do something to keep our…
Larry Jordan: I exercise once a week, whether I need to or not.
Mike Horton: Well, this is going to tell you how to exercise and edit at the same time. It’s with Zach Arnold; and then ProMax will be there and…
Larry Jordan: It’s going to be a great show.
Mike Horton: Yes, hopefully you will be there as one of the gurus.
Larry Jordan: And we’ll have more on that in a minute.
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Larry Jordan: Marty Murray is the Producer at Full Throttle Pictures. He’s also the CEO and the President and he’s the producer of ‘Kill Game’, which is currently screening at the Cannes Film Festival. Marty began his work in movie production in 1997; he’s developed, written and produced a number of films, as well as being a stuntman for more than 100 feature films and television shows. Welcome, Marty, good to have you with us.
Marty Murray: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking that the roles of stuntman and producer have a lot of similar traits – both require calculating risks and careful planning. What got you into stunt work?
Marty Murray: Well, I didn’t have the chops for acting, it was too much pressure.
Larry Jordan: What kind of stunts did you specialize in?
Marty Murray: Fighting, driving, wire work. I’ve been a back-up double and I’ve double people like Tobey Maguire, Steph Khan and a few others, but mainly I get beat up and killed a lot.
Larry Jordan: Wire work is a term I don’t know. What does that mean?
Marty Murray: It’s pretty much the newest way of, when you see someone get shot and they fly backwards or they get hit by a car and you see the bodies flying through the air, it’s all with wires nowadays. There’s no more air rams or explosions that are propelling them, so it’s all on wires.
Larry Jordan: Still looks very realistic.
Marty Murray: Oh yes. You’re being yanked and ratcheted with a lot of force and usually you’re landing somewhere quite hard and on camera, so it’s just another way to hit the ground.
Larry Jordan: You must walk away from films saying, “Why did I ever get into this?”
Marty Murray: Yes, of course. There was one film called ‘Seabiscuit’ and I was doubling Tobey Maguire and I was getting dragged by a horse in a scene for the movie and that was a perfect example of a Chicago kid who does not like horses, no offence and now I do like horses actually. But yes, doing that was a little bit more of a walkaway going, “Why am I doing this? What am I doing?” Yes.
Larry Jordan: It was a fabulous film and I never knew it was you doubling for Tobey Maguire, so you managed to deceive all of us.
Marty Murray: Good.
Larry Jordan: What made you get into producing, then?
Marty Murray: I graduated college and I had more of a business mind. I had my own landscaping business for a couple of years, which helped pay for college, and then I went right into the private sector with an internet company, Visual Properties, for a couple of years and ultimately I was just doing the standard thing – keep the job, get a job, work for the money – and then finally it just caught up with me because I was playing baseball, 12 inch softball, 16 inch softball, flag football, hockey. And I was also doing gymnastics, weight training and boxing and I just realized, one day I saw an article, stunt man for hire auditions, and literally went out to an amusement park and tried out. There were probably a couple of hundred people trying out for four or five spots and I was lucky enough to get one. That was in Six Flags back in ’98. I did that for two or three months, decided this is for me, never went back to my job and moved right out to California.
Larry Jordan: All right, so we’ve now gotten tired of stunt work and your body says it would like to stay in one piece for the long term. How do you shift into producing?
Marty Murray: Well, after a few years of building credentials and learning the stunts, there’s a lot of downtime on the sets and between jobs and healing up and training. So I took a couple of courses at UCLA Extensions, a few online courses about finance and I just wanted to find out how the whole system worked. I didn’t really have a grasp on it, so I started fitting in meetings where the investors would sit, I put myself in a position to find out what they were looking for and I did that. I actually had sold real estate for a year and a half prior to all of this and so I knew that there was a market and I had heard about other investors investing in film.
Marty Murray: So I would just simply get on set, sit behind the camera and talk with the directors, the producers, the ADs – the ADs really are, for me, the brains that are behind the scenes – and I would have to say it was at least 200 different movie sets, just standing around. People recognized that I wanted to do more than just stunts and when I saw what a producer did, with all the headaches, ultimately I found out that I enjoyed the concept of being a producer because you could put people to work and everybody was struggling to make a dollar and I felt that I had a good angle on some good projects and some great, great people and who just wanted to work and make a good penny and get their insurance, and so that’s what propelled me to become a producer, was getting so many people work.
Larry Jordan: Not only did you become a producer, but you’ve got a film screening at Cannes, which most people would kill for. Tell us about ‘Kill Game’.
Marty Murray: Well, ‘Kill Game’ was a story written by Robert Mearns, a first time director. Robert’s from Jersey and very passionate in his vision and he had done shorts in the past and when I read the script, it had a very familiar vibe but quite a different take on it, so what I liked was that it was nothing outside of the box, it doesn’t go somewhere that’s not realistic. It really kept you into a moment of truth and reading the script and talking with Robert, I reached out to an investor that I had worked with before although we weren’t planning on doing anything for another six months, and I said, “I’m sorry, we have to act on this,” and we waived a bunch of our fees and things just to get this thing rolling and he saw my excitement for the project and he went for it, luckily, and ‘Kill Game’ is really an intense thriller. There’s blood and guts and gore and it’s going to make you squirm in your seat, like, “Oh my goodness, that’s not for me,” but it’s a great movie.
Larry Jordan: There’s nothing wrong with the thriller/horror genre, especially for independents. It tends to be a very successful way to make a film. How much time after Robert wrote the story did you spend in development putting the script together and getting ready to shoot?
Marty Murray: Robert and I worked directly together for a month non-stop, every day. Again, he’s very passionate. I’m not going to say he’s long winded, he’s just got a lot of ideas and, like most great directors and writers, you just need to wrangle him in a little, find out the important points of what really is going to make it push forward and then focus on that and build from it. He was great with taking not only criticism but compliments and transitions and how about doing this and that, and if it didn’t work he would stand by it and I appreciate that as well. It was great in that regard.
Larry Jordan: A month of development is an incredibly short period of time. It raises the question of how did you get the funding fast enough?
Marty Murray: Like I said, it’s a relationship I had with my investor. I wouldn’t say anything that I didn’t feel 110 percent confident about and timing was of the essence due to the weather where I wanted to film it, and we were prepping for some other films, actually other projects of mine that we were getting ready to do, so what I did is I just took those locations, changed them within the story and reached out to the area around where we live and went directly to all the locations. There were 36 different locations, for a small movie, and it was quite expensive.
Larry Jordan: 36 locations?
Marty Murray: Yes, 36, from beaches, the water, pools, restaurants, homes, parking lots. Yes, it’s definitely big production value.
Larry Jordan: How much time did you spend shooting?
Marty Murray: It was four weeks and then we had a few days of voiceover afterwards, but yes, a four week shoot, six day week.
Larry Jordan: That means that you were doing multiple locations on the same day.
Marty Murray: We were. There was never a day when we were in one location. There was always a move and, frankly, we had to fix up the locations we lost a day or two before due to permitting and miscommunication. Nothing bad, it was just someone had a block party and we were supposed to be filming at a home, or there was an event that the park district had and, due to the noise we couldn’t film at the baseball diamond, or the school. We went to a high school and the next thing you know, they made a state qualifying meet and they weren’t ready for us, so it’s a part of the producer to be ready with a Plan B and it’s great, it makes it very exciting.
Larry Jordan: One of the reasons that we reached out to you is we got a press release from Blackmagic Design highlighting the fact that you chose to use the Blackmagic Cinema camera for production. Why did you pick that camera?
Marty Murray: Well, I’m working directly with a company called Atomic Imaging. Ari Golan and I work together, he’s a director of photography, he’s worked in live events and television shows for over 25 years. There’s no-one I know that knows more about cameras. I asked him for a test – let me check out your camera – and he put it up against the Alexa, the RED and that one. I could not see the difference. I watched him do the shoot in the same location. Once we sat and he showed me what he was looking at, the Alexa did have a little more vibrancy, it pulled out more textures. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the RED and the Blackmagic personally; and then when Ari owned a couple of them, he was willing to give it a shot, give it a try.
Marty Murray: We spoke to the director of photography, Andy Strahorn, who I had worked with a couple of times in Michigan on movies and Justin Nesbitt, who was the other producer on this reached out. So collaboratively we were going with Jonathan Hall or Andy Strahorn and the two of them were unfamiliar with the Blackmagic camera and until Andy came in and gave it a test the same way we did, the next day Andy called me up, he goes, “I’m on board. I love it. I’m up for the test if you are, Marty.” It was a roll of the dice and one that I am extremely happy with.
Larry Jordan: You said you did a lot of tests. What did you do to test the camera and compare it? What were your criteria and what did you shoot?
Marty Murray: With Ari’s testing, one was on the stage. We did it with controlled lighting and showing details. Basically, he had pictures and paintings on the stage and then he had people zooming in and just locking it off and recording and just trying to get the best clarity he could from each camera; and then he also went outside of this stage and we shot there by the trees and the river, dealing with sunlight, direct light, and then ultimately when we saw how the Blackmagic was transcoded, I don’t want to speak outside of my pay grade, but we went to DaVinci Resolve for the color correction and what it did there, by pulling the sunlight from a scene which is outside, to me it was a bright, bright day. But when he pulled it out and was able to bring down the blacks, the next thing we could see the sky was blue and we could see the clouds and we could see the reflections off the leaves and we could see the water. It was no longer just shiny bright. Then the enhancement of the greens and the tones, that was floored. We did it just as fast as I’m talking about. He did it in front of me, so that’s what sold me.
Larry Jordan: So you shot raw images, then, so you could get the dynamic range?
Marty Murray: We did, absolutely, yes.
Larry Jordan: And then once you got the raw shot, how did you edit it?
Marty Murray: Well, once we brought it in, we went to Final Cut.
Larry Jordan: Which version?
Marty Murray: I think it was 10. No, I’m sorry, I think it was 7. I think the favorite 7, yes, and then the editor was Stephen Murray, who did it in California. As much as I didn’t want to do that because I didn’t know Stephen – I wanted to control it – but I needed to allow Robert Mearns his directing, to sit down with Stephen who he had a relationship with and they edited there in California and every few days they would get back to me with, “We have a question here. Here’s a cut, what do you think?” and I just let them do their thing, let them do the final cut. We’ll take it from there. If there’s anything that jumps out or doesn’t work, we’ll discuss it, but they just sent the hard drive back to us at Ari’s studio and then he downloaded into DaVinci Resolve for the color correction and grading.
Larry Jordan: Was the director involved in the final color grade, or was that your decision?
Marty Murray: Oh no, no, no, he definitely was. Yes, it keeps in with his vision. We would take still after still of the scenes and send them back to Robert. He was extremely passionate about the feeling of each scene, but tying them all together, whether it’s the killer in the moment where he’s actually killing, the tone before, the discussions, and once he laid that out for us – which he did from beginning to end – we were prepared for what he was looking for and Ari would go back and forth with Robert five or six times about one shot and so they all understood the why and the how. Frankly, it gave a nice feel to the picture. The value that we got from the color correction really brings something special that I wasn’t expecting, and it was great.
Larry Jordan: Now, you mentioned that you had 36 locations. What were the shooting conditions like? Was the camera inside the whole time or was it outside? In other words, how much abuse did the camera take?
Marty Murray: I think it was four days of the shoot, we were over 105 degrees. I think we shot in July and August. The humidity was nearly 100 percent in Chicago, but it was extreme and there were 14 days of exteriors, half of which were night. I recall we were glad that there was a lot of night shooting due to the heat, but the cameras held up. In most of the interior locations, the AC was off because of sound, there were no fans, the windows and doors were closed so you wouldn’t hear birds chirping or cars driving by, so even with the interior shot shooting locations, we were in 90 degrees humid, hot, hot, hot.
Larry Jordan: Not only were the characters in the film getting killed, but your actors must have been dying too.
Marty Murray: One of the pieces of advice I was given by one of the grips was, “Our guys are overheating. Are you familiar with Seabreeze?” I’m like, “I am, that’s a great idea.” Well, Seabreeze is a thing where you get an ice chest, you fill it half with ice and water, you drop a bunch of bandanas in there and you pour in a couple Seabreeze and what that does is the guys and girls put them on their heads and around their necks and it helps keep them cool, cools them off, so we were known as the Seabreeze cast because we all smelled like Seabreeze. We smelled good.
Larry Jordan: As you look back on it, every production has lessons that you can take forward to the future, what would you do differently and what did you learn?
Marty Murray: I like the development stage. I would have loved another three weeks. With some of the locations, locking them in with contracts, putting up a deposit and locking them in would have been nicer. Logistically, we would have lost about ten locations. I would have taken some of the driving scenes out. There were a lot of driving scenes, but we were fortunate enough to utilize the green screen at Ari’s studio and we had the cars in there for most of the driving sequences. Actually nearly all of the driving sequences were on stage with green screen because in the evening here, the rain comes out of nowhere, so I would have fixed that.
Marty Murray I would hesitate to shoot on the beach again in summer. We did have a funnel cloud come down with lightning strikes, which took away one of our shooting days completely; and then taking everyone from that hotel and finding them a new hotel in the middle of the day and evening because there was a wedding going on. Yes, I could go on for probably a good half hour about what I would change, but lessons were learned, of course. It was our third picture, so…
Larry Jordan: It sounds like the lessons boiled down into you not only need a Plan B but a Plan C and spending a little bit more time in development is probably a good thing.
Marty Murray: Absolutely correct. But, as they say, when the money’s ready to go, I’m willing to take.
Larry Jordan: Spoken like a true producer. Marty, for people who want to learn more about this film, where can they go on the web?
Marty Murray: They should reach out to our distributor, which is vmiworldwide.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s vmiworldwide.com. How about your own website?
Marty Murray: We’re at fullthrottlepictures.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s fullthrottlepictures.com. Marty, what are your plans for the film?
Marty Murray: We’re hoping to have a premiere here in Chicago for both of them later in June, but I’m not sleeping until I hear from Andre and Stanley on how it went out there. I heard it went very, very, very well but I’ll leave that to the professionals.
Larry Jordan: Marty Murray is the Producer, the CEO, the President of Full Throttle Pictures and one of the producers of ‘Kill Game’, which is currently screening at the Cannes Film Festival. Marty, it’s been a pleasure chatting. Thank you very much.
Marty Murray: Thank you Larry. Have a good day.
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Larry Jordan: Michele Yamazaki is the VP of Marketing at Toolfarm. She has written or co-written two books on plug-ins, as well as becoming the go to person on plug-ins for all of our editing systems. She’s a regular here on The Buzz as our official plug-in-ologist and she’s currently speaking Italian. Welcome, Michele.
Michele Yamazaki: Hey there, how are you?
Larry Jordan: We are talking to you. Mike has been looking forward to this interview all day.
Mike Horton: Yes, and congratulations on the wedding and congratulations on your beautiful honeymoon in Italy.
Michele Yamazaki: Well, thank you.
Larry Jordan: Where did you go?
Michele Yamazaki: Oh, gosh, where didn’t we go? We started in Rome and went up to Florence or actually Tuscany first for four days, then Florence, Verona, Venice and then down to Naples. We climbed Mount Vesuvius.
Mike Horton: Oh wow.
Michele Yamazaki: It was a busy two weeks. We needed a vacation to recover from our honeymoon.
Mike Horton: That’s what they all say.
Larry Jordan: You are not the first to have mentioned that. So you were out of the office for two weeks?
Michele Yamazaki: Yes I was.
Larry Jordan: How did you stay in touch with work and friends and family?
Michele Yamazaki: Well, I didn’t stay in touch with work too much, just to check my email once in a while, but everything was pretty much taken care of, so that was nice. I was on Facebook quite a bit – we posted tons and tons of photos on Facebook, so people were living vicariously through us.
Larry Jordan: Well, from what Michael was saying just before the show started, eating vicariously…
Mike Horton: There were lots of wonderful food pictures.
Michele Yamazaki: Oh yes. I gained seven pounds, no joke.
Larry Jordan: Unbelievable. Well, one of the things I want to focus on for our conversation, beside the fact that next time you should invite Mike and me to carry your suitcases, be like groupies to go with you through Italy. I want to talk about this social media aspect because it’s something that a lot of people do personally, but I want to look at it from a business point of view as well. When you were shooting pictures, what were you using? A special camera? Just your phone, or what?
Michele Yamazaki: Well, I was using just my phone. I didn’t want to haul anything. I have an iPhone 5S, is that the newest one? I think it is.
Larry Jordan: That’s the current one, yes.
Michele Yamazaki: The current one, yes, and so I used that mainly and what’s nice about that is that I could just upload straight from my phone. My husband, he is a photographer, so he used this fancy camera, his Nikon, and he just transferred the cards over to his laptop, so he was hauling around lenses, a laptop and a hard drive and all different cards and chargers and adapters for the different power outlets, so he had a bunch of gear. I just had a phone.
Larry Jordan: And who was the smart one on that trip, I wonder?
Michele Yamazaki: Well, we have lots of great photos.
Mike Horton: What’s interesting, you posted a lot of iPhone photos instead of all of those beautiful camera shots with those gorgeous lenses that he has.
Michele Yamazaki: Well, he did actually post those on his own account.
Mike Horton: Oh, ok, well I didn’t see those.
Michele Yamazaki: Yes. I bet between the two of us, we probably uploaded about maybe… I probably uploaded about 400 or 500 photos on my own and I bet he had three times that many.
Mike Horton: Wow.
Larry Jordan: Which brings, I think, another question – why has social media become so important to us? And this is going to lead into how businesses can sort of take advantage of it, but what makes social media so useful?
Michele Yamazaki: Well, it connects people right away. We were talking about this. Right now, we don’t have to have a slideshow with all our friends over and explain everything because we’ve done that, it was right at the moment when it happened, and that’s the same for businesses. You can get the word out fast to a huge audience with images and with video and it’s the immediacy of it all, and then people can share it on top of that.
Larry Jordan: When you’re sharing, do you treat a business account the same as a personal account? Clearly, you’re talking about different things, but should you view a business account differently?
Michele Yamazaki: I think you should. With my personal account, I wouldn’t put sales information up. None of my friends would care. Well, a lot of them in the industry might, but my grandmother, she doesn’t care. You have to target things to your audience, so with a business account you would target things like sales and new products and that kind of thing and not just fun stuff all the time.
Larry Jordan: Well, then, let’s shift for such a second. Say you’re a film maker trying to get people to pay attention to your film. How does a film maker use social media effectively?
Michele Yamazaki: First of all, for fundraising. It’s a great tool. It’s a great tool, your Kickstarter or whatever, Indiegogo or whatever you’re using, to get some buzz built up as well. If you’re a film maker and you have film festivals you’re entering, I have a few friends who are doing that circuit and they always post, “Hey, I got into this film festival,” or “Here’s some photos of me at this film festival,” and that kind of thing, so it really allows one to connect personally even though it’s their business, but it’s a personal connection at the same time.
Larry Jordan: If it’s a personal connection, how do you measure success? Clearly, when you’re talking to your friends on your honeymoon, just to get comments back and the oohs and the aahs is wonderful, but a business needs to be a bit more empirical, doesn’t it?
Michele Yamazaki: I think so. There are all sorts of different tools that you can use to view your statistics and rankings and how many people are clicking and that kind of thing. But your stats, basically – how many people are seeing that and how many people are interested in what you’re doing – and so you can kind of tailor your posting to what’s getting the most clicks and what’s getting the most attention and a lot of times, it’s just wording.
Larry Jordan: Does Toolfarm use social media?
Michele Yamazaki: We do, quite a bit.
Larry Jordan: Who runs it? Is it you or your department?
Michele Yamazaki: Yes, Alicia who works with me, who I believe you met at NAB, she does most of the social media. She handles doing the targeted ads and that sort of thing for Facebook and Twitter and I’ll post things quite often, though, news items and new tutorial links and that kind of thing, so it’s kind of a team effort, but she handles the marketing aspect of it.
Larry Jordan: I guess what I’m trying to figure out is how do you measure success? Is it just pure numbers? Or is it the type of audience you’re reaching? What criteria should we use to say, “Hey, this effort is working,” or “Maybe we need to change what we’re doing”?
Michele Yamazaki: I think it’s kind of a combination of things. She does reports every couple of months and you can see where traffic is coming in and if the ads are working, if you’re getting traffic in sales through those links. So it’s a lot of work, actually, to really go through and compile that information and break it down, because there’s just so much information. You can hire people to do that as well, but Alicia handles it all on her own. I don’t know if that answered the question or not.
Larry Jordan: I think really using the analytics, but what I’m not hearing…
Michele Yamazaki: Analytics! That’s the word I was looking for.
Larry Jordan: What I’m not hearing is you should judge your results simply on the numbers, you should judge your results on something else.
Michele Yamazaki: No, I don’t believe you should because quite often, we went through a phase for a while, for some reason we were getting tons and tons of likes and traffic from South Korea. It was so strange. Our customer base, we do have plenty of customers in South Korea, but the average was probably 90 percent South Koreans who were liking our content, which was really weird. It was a complete imbalance. I think that, you know, it was great that we were getting likes and all that, but I don’t think that they were real. I think that they may have been spammers and that kind of thing. I don’t know what they would have gained from that.
Mike Horton: Yes, that’s always the difficult thing, as to who is real and who are robots?
Michele Yamazaki: Yes, exactly.
Mike Horton: And I’m sure there’s a tool out there to do that, but reading the analytics is such a boring thing anyway.
Michele Yamazaki: Really, it is.
Larry Jordan: It’s not as boring as codecs though.
Mike Horton: But I think you can tell that things are working if you actually post something and you get a result from that post, even if it’s something like my meeting that’s coming up next week. I post it. Two minutes later, a registration comes in. There you know, right there.
Michele Yamazaki: Absolutely.
Mike Horton: Immediately. It’s all immediate. I love the internet.
Larry Jordan: In the little bit of time we’ve got left, I know you’ve been out of the office and really not caring about work at all for weeks now, probably months, but is there anything new on Toolfarm, anything popular, anything we should pay attention to?
Michele Yamazaki: There are a few new things. Video Co-Pilot released a bunch of sound effects – it’s called Motion Pole – and it is 2,000 sound effects and they’re made specifically for special effects and movie trailers and motion design, that sort of thing. It’s not going to be screams and footsteps and that kind of thing, it’s whooshes and hits and that kind of thing that can be really used for motion graphics.
Larry Jordan: Oh yes, whooshes are incredible. You can’t do motion graphics without whooshes.
Michele Yamazaki: Yes, you can’t.
Larry Jordan: I know.
Mike Horton: Video Co-Pilot stuff is brilliant, though. It is absolutely brilliant.
Michele Yamazaki: It is. Everything they put out is gold. There are five different packs and they’re at 49.99 each or you can buy the bundle for 150.
Larry Jordan: And, Michele, where can people go on the web to figure out where all this stuff is?
Michele Yamazaki: www.toolfarm.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s toolfarm.com. Michele Yamazaki is the plug-in-ologist and VP of Marketing…
Mike Horton: Michele Terpstra.
Larry Jordan: …who does not care about work at all at the moment.
Michele Yamazaki: I do, I do care.
Mike Horton: We’ll get that last name right here next time we have you on.
Larry Jordan: Thanks, Michele.
Michele Yamazaki: Well, actually, I’m keeping Yamazaki professionally.
Mike Horton: Oh, you are? Ok, good.
Larry Jordan: See? That’s because we can pronounce it.
Mike Horton: Oh, that’s true. I can’t pronounce the other one.
Larry Jordan: Michele, we’ll talk to you soon.
Michele Yamazaki: All right, thank you.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Josh Apter is the Founder and President of Manhattan Edit Workshop, a training company in New York City called MEW. Well, at least some of us call it that. Anyway, MEW is hosting an event for editors next month called ‘Sight, Sound and Story’, which we want to learn more about because otherwise we’d have to talk about Padcaster. Hello, Josh, good to have you with us.
Josh Apter: Hey, how you doing? I was just looking at Michele’s website. Pretty impressive stuff, guys, really. We should talk about me, I guess, but I was sort of struck by how impressive she was.
Mike Horton: Yes, she’s really good.
Larry Jordan: Yes she is.
Mike Horton: And she also gives good demo. If you ever want to have her in New York, she gives really good demo and good plug-ins and stuff. Oh, by the way, Josh, I saw you last night on television, like, three times.
Josh Apter: As my co-worker said, “Get out of my house.”
Mike Horton: Exactly.
Larry Jordan: What were you doing on television?
Mike Horton: He was on ‘American Idol’, I think it was. They played that commercial three times. I think it was ‘American Idol’.
Josh Apter: Oh my God.
Mike Horton: Yes.
Josh Apter: Yes? That’s funny. Well… and then I think it was on one of these other shows, I don’t know. I wish I had time to watch television.
Mike Horton: Yes, but what’s important is that they were nationally broadcast, so you get the big bucks residuals for those ones. We’re not talking the cable stuff, you know, that’s the stuff you get every 13 weeks.
Larry Jordan: Residuals?
Josh Apter: Yes.
Mike Horton: Yes, the residuals.
Josh Apter: Exactly.
Larry Jordan: Wow.
Josh Apter: Somehow, I actually owe those guys money. I don’t know how it worked out that way but I’m in the hole.
Larry Jordan: Ah, well, that’s the Hollywood business model.
Mike Horton: I think you ought to call SAG because it doesn’t work that way.
Josh Apter: I wish I understood how it worked, I’d be a wealthy guy. How are you guys doing?
Mike Horton: Good.
Larry Jordan: We’re going good. You know, I was just reflecting, look back at our database, the last three times that we’ve talked, we were looking at the Padcaster, but I realized you actually have a day job, which is the Manhattan Edit Workshop, so tell us what MEW does.
Josh Apter: Oh, we do all sorts of things.
Larry Jordan: Oh yes, yes, you don’t brew coffee and fix soup.
Josh Apter: You know what? Funnily enough, we brew the best coffee in New York state. I’m very, very proud. We have a giant percolator. We probably make 40 cups a day. By the end of the day, it’s sort of this thick murky reduction and it definitely will put hair on your elbows.
Mike Horton: Now, I can’t tell you how important that is to the morale of all your employees, really good coffee.
Larry Jordan: What, hair on your elbows? I don’t think so.
Josh Apter: Well, we have places where we can get waxing and laser treatments for that anyway.
Mike Horton: Happy hour at five, like, Autodesk in Los Angeles, they have happy hour at five. That’s a great place to work.
Larry Jordan: That’s when Mike would show up to work. Before we get completely off track on caffeine, what does the Manhattan Edit Workshop do?
Josh Apter: Well, we are an Apple, Avid, Adobe, Autodesk, Assimilate and Blackmagic authorized training center in New York. We train more stuff than I understand how to use any more – I used to know everything we train and now I’m sort of trying to slowly catch up with some of the programs we teach. We got started as a place where you could learn the art and technique of film editing just as an Apple authorized training center and it’s sort of blossomed into Avid, Adobe and all of the other programs and now we’re in production training.
Josh Apter: So we do digital cinema boot camps and teach people about changeable lens camera systems and we’re going to go into lighting and sound. It never ends, but it means that we have to stay on top of things and we have to be learning ourselves and it keeps us sharp.
Mike Horton: Do you ever have time to take your own classes?
Josh Apter: I wish. Here’s the most basic thing, is I can’t sit in on an After Effects class. That’s one of the saddest things about my job, is that I’ve been wanting to learn how to do that for probably 15 years. Now I can sit in on any class and I just, you know, I probably could now, actually, I complain, but I don’t think anybody would miss me if I took off for a couple of days. The place would run better.
Larry Jordan: We won’t go there. We’re just going to let that comment lie and move on. What are the hot topics in training right now? Because I’m seeing a shift, at least over here, in what people want to learn. What’s hot over in New York?
Josh Apter: Well, we just did an assistant editor class. You never know how successful a class is going to be until you’ve put it out there and start seeing the numbers come in, but we did a workshop in just specific disciplines for assistant editors and found that to be a very popular class. We also recently switched our signature six week course with Final Cut 7, 10, Avid and After Effects and we pulled 7 and put Adobe Premiere in as the first thing, it’s the first week of the course now is Adobe Premiere for that one.
Josh Apter: I think the writing is really on the wall and you’ve got to know these things now. I don’t think you can get by saying, “Well, I’m an Avid only editor here. I don’t really understand the other programs,” and that’s been a pretty major change to us, saying goodbye to our old friend Final Cut 7 and ushering in really a new era of how people do this work. It was pretty amazing.
Mike Horton: Just curious, is there any demand for Final Cut Pro 10 classes?
Josh Apter: Sure. Oh, there’s definitely a demand for that and the thing is the students love 10. It used to be when someone would come into a class with some Final Cut 7 background or they’re working it in school or what have you, they would come in and really not like Final Cut 10 at all, they just didn’t appreciate the interface and felt like it was too much like iMovie. The students coming in now that don’t really know, they really get it. It’s very intuitive and easy to use, so that problem has disappeared and we get plenty of standalone classes.
Mike Horton: It’s interesting, I just don’t see a lot of demand here in Los Angeles and so it’s surprising. That’s really cool though.
Josh Apter: Yes, you know, Radical Media just put up, like, 50 network seats of Final Cut 10 in their New York shop and they’re cutting some giant documentary in it and I think more people have sort of proven that it can perform at that professional level and do it fast. It will take time. Final Cut 1, you know, that took time too, but I think it’ll just be another tool in the toolbox for people. But yes, like Avid, it’s been there, it will continue to be there. A lot of work in New York is Avid based so…
Mike Horton: Yes, I’m seeing a lot of demand for Avid classes here, which is interesting.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that you also do in addition to the formal training is you’ve got events going on and the reason I mention that is you’ve got the upcoming ‘Sight, Sound and Story’. What’s that about?
Mike Horton: Yes, what a killer event. What a killer line-up.
Josh Apter: Yes, that was like, you know, we sort of said, “Let’s go for broke here and really see what we can get,” and we were lucky enough to have Michael Kahn as our headlining panelist.
Mike Horton: How the hell did you get him? I mean, he doesn’t do these kinds of things hardly ever.
Josh Apter: Yes, exactly, he doesn’t do speaking engagements that often. I think also Bobbie O’Steen is a very well liked, respected film historian and author and she can put in the time and do the research and I think if you look at her track record, and I’m sure Michael said, “Oh, who’s Bobbie O’Steen,” and the first thing you see is that she’s talked to many, many editors and they keep coming back, so she’s obviously doing something right, and I think that having the two of them together is a great fit, but I don’t know. Maybe he also wanted to come to New York for the weekend and catch a show.
Mike Horton: Yes, that’s awesome. That’s a huge coup.
Larry Jordan: Wait a minute, you’ve got more than one Oscar winner on the panel. I mean, who all do you have coming?
Josh Apter: Right, well, the sound design team from ‘Wolf of Wall Street’. I think there are a bunch of Academy Awards peppered in that group also, so those guys came last year to talk about ‘Life of Pi’, so I know what the audience is in for and I know the scenes they’re going to talk about from ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ and if you’ve seen the movie, there are a couple of doozies in there that should be really nice. It’s a great, hard working, well respected group. I think one of the things we decided to see if we could do something interesting, we had gone to an FEG panel, HBO and we heard these guys from 24/7 speak about the work they do and we all looked at each other and said, “We’ve got to have these people.” The quality of work they produce in the time that they’re given is astonishing.
Josh Apter: So then they pop up; and then, because TV is really coming into its own with this… everyone’s talking about it, it’s like the new independent film and it’s really where people are going to see this high quality content now, that big movies are under so much pressure to make their budgets and they see a lot of, I don’t know, comic book content and sequals and things, like, this is really where people can tell interesting stories that are maybe on the human interest side and so we happened to get ‘True Detective’ and ‘30 Rock’ and ‘Mad Men’ and ‘House of Cards’ represented on this panel. I think people are going to go bonkers when they start hearing what goes into making these shows.
Mike Horton: I’ve got to tell you what’s got me more excited, well, not more than Michael Kahn, you can’t get more excited than that, but it’s the cutting sports television, which is filled with drama. It’s just filled with wonderful stories and nobody does that and you guys have come up with that wonderful panel of these brilliant creative people and, oh my gosh, I wish I could be there.
Josh Apter: Yes, so it’s a terrific group. We’ve seen some of them speak. We thought maybe we would break out and try to do a 30 for 30 and 24/7 panel, but there were just too many numbers. It was one or the other.
Mike Horton: Good title, yes.
Josh Apter: Yes. We’ll get them soon enough. Actually, the guys that we wanted weren’t available, so we will get them but, yes, it’s a nice thing. Not that many people necessarily know about it. We know we’re going to do a documentary panel because we love non-fiction so much, it’s kind of a New York thing, we feel, so that’s always represented but, you know, we did TransMedia last year and we said, “What can we throw into the mix that people might not get the chance to see every day?”
Mike Horton: Well, this is one of them. This is an amazing day that you have set up here. I hope you can sit in on it, Josh.
Josh Apter: Well, what I do is I get to MC and then hopefully I get to sit on the stairs in the front and watch this myself.
Mike Horton: Good.
Larry Jordan: Is it sold out or can people still get tickets?
Josh Apter: People can still get tickets. When we opened the doors for tickets, it was early on and what we found from previous years is that it starts to go like gangbusters right after Memorial Day, so we’ve definitely sold a chunk of them but we’re looking to fill the house.
Mike Horton: Yes, and it’s only $89 for the entire day and night and it’s ridiculously cheap.
Josh Apter: Well, actually, for you guys it’s actually cheaper because we created a couple of promo codes that I emailed to Cirina…
Larry Jordan: Ah, you wouldn’t happen to share those, would you?
Josh Apter: Yes, well, they’re direct links that you can probably post so that you can just apply the code, but if you put in SFSJORDAN, you get 30 bucks off and if you put in SFS_CPUGNETWORK, I think is what it, or CPUGNET is what I want to say, I don’t know. We did this with BERUBI. Maybe you know, Mike, what the heck we called it.
Mike Horton: I don’t know.
Josh Apter: You can look them up. It’s CPUGNET, is the one for user group people, but SFSJORDAN’s the same discount, so you could just pretend that that’s your discount code.
Mike Horton: Well, it’s insanely cheap for what you’re going to get out of this.
Larry Jordan: What we will do is we will include that in tomorrow’s Buzz newsletter that goes out, so if you haven’t subscribed to the newsletter, do that and you’ll get the codes. Josh, we’ll also post that to our social media, so we’ll get the word out for you as well.
Josh Apter: I should add the only caveat is if you’ve already bought your ticket full price, don’t ask for a discount.
Mike Horton: Yes, exactly. It’s silly, you’re getting such a good deal anyway.
Josh Apter: Right. Well, the party itself is worth the price of admission, because you’re hanging out with all the editors who are going to be on the panels and you can talk to them. We’re doing a live stream with Art of the Guillotine, so we’ll have a table set up there where we’re going to do interviews at a little station in the party and then go live to Padcasters via wifi on the floor of the show, so…
Marty Murray: Oh, cool.
Josh Apter: Yes, we’re going to do a couple of backflips with this one. Like I said, we’re going to go crazy and it’s either going to be the most insane show we’ve ever done or people are going to say, “Wow, I can’t believe they tried to do that.”
Mike Horton: I wish you best of luck with the bandwidth.
Larry Jordan: Succeed or die on your sword.
Mike Horton: I don’t know if you’ve ever done those live stream things. They’re just a bitch.
Josh Apter: They are very hard. We’re doing one, actually, at Cine Gear. We’re actually going to take an HDMI out of an iPad and Padcaster set-up to sort of like a, I don’t know what the thing is, like a Terrablock, is that what those are called?
Larry Jordan: Yes.
Josh Apter: So we’re going to send a more robust signal than we might at the ‘Sight, Sound, Story’ show or we might replicate what we’re doing at Cine Gear at the show.
Mike Horton: Are you coming out to Cine Gear?
Josh Apter: I am on a mercenary mission to Cine Gear. I’m showing up Friday at noon and I’m leaving on a red eye Saturday night.
Mike Horton: Ok, well, then I’ll see you there on Saturday.
Josh Apter: Cool, yes. I’m going to be there right around, maybe if you want to talk I can do an interview with you…
Mike Horton: Oh hell, no. Oh no, no, no. No, no, no.
Larry Jordan: No, no, no. Mike doesn’t do interviews.
Mike Horton: If it’s live stream, I don’t do interviews because it’ll break up, it’ll be pixilated, it won’t work.
Josh Apter: Your NAB interview was phenomenal.
Larry Jordan: I don’t know how we managed to make it so good, but we didn’t do it on site, we did it off site, so we schlepped the tapes around.
Mike Horton: Oh, live streaming is, you know, I still think it’s five years down the line. It’s just do hard.
Josh Apter: Yes. Yes, it is. Once Skype comes out with a professional version, I think it’ll be an easier thing to do on an iPad, but right now it’s very primitive.
Mike Horton: Yes, it’s very primitive.
Larry Jordan: What would you want people to get out of this ‘Sight, Sound and Story?’ What’s your goal in getting all these people together?
Josh Apter: Well, I think the first idea is to celebrate part of the storytelling process that people don’t have too much insight into, just because people feel like these shows and these movies drop out of the sky perfectly edited.
Larry Jordan: Oh, they’re shot that way, Josh, you know? They’re shot.
Josh Apter: Yes, it’s shot in camera.
Mike Horton: It’s all in camera. It’s all green screen.
Josh Apter: No, you know, that’s one of the, and a lot of the people who come are experienced editors themselves, so they really know, but it’s also a way to hang out with your friends and talk about the business and network with people and you always learn something about how something went together or a story about what backflips they needed to do to make this piece work. It’s all those inside stories and really looking at the effort and the love and the passion that goes into telling stories from the people who don’t often get the recognition that I think they deserve. That’s really what hopefully the takeaway is from…
Mike Horton: Yes, that’s the cool thing. Looking at your past events, you do bring on a lot of people who do this mysterious craft that nobody really understands and then people look at their credits and go, “How the hell did you get them?” “Well, I asked them,” because they never do get asked to do these sorts of things and it’s good that you give them a chance to be in the limelight there for just a few minutes.
Josh Apter: Yes, exactly, and as we sort of go and broaden the show into different disciplines, we’re going to be talking to cinematographers and producers and this whole thing is going to be evolving to bring everybody into the show.
Mike Horton: Yes, bring art directors. Art directors are the coolest people ever.
Josh Apter: Production design, art directors, I know, and you would never know and then production design gets a credit before the editor and people have no concept of what they do.
Mike Horton: I wish I lived in New York, but then I can’t afford it.
Larry Jordan: You could fly out, Michael. You could make a guest appearance.
Mike Horton: Los Angeles is expensive enough. New York is insane. It’s insane.
Josh Apter: Well, if you get yourself out here, Mike, I’ll find you a place to stay, a free place on the bowery…
Mike Horton: On the bowery.
Larry Jordan: I’ve seen places like that, Josh. We would never get Mike back again. Where can people go on the web to learn more about this event and to register?
Josh Apter: The site is www.sightsoundandstory.com. You don’t even need a www, that’s how serious…
Mike Horton: That’s right, yes, exactly.
Larry Jordan: So it’s sightsoundandstory.com and is it totally produced by Manhattan Edit Workshop, or are you co-producing it with somebody else?
Josh Apter: No, it’s totally produced by us. This is sort of an evolution of the event that we co-produced with… series when they were in New York and we loved doing it so much that we kept on building on it and Ace does their show in LA every summer and they actually take the show and they’re doing a show in London and, I believe, in Toronto, maybe in the fall. So this is our own thing. If everyone’s going to be looking at me if it doesn’t come off.
Larry Jordan: It’ll be great.
Mike Horton: If you live in New York City, you’re insane if you don’t go to this. It’s June 14th.
Larry Jordan: And Josh, where can people go to learn about training from the Workshop?
Josh Apter: They can go to www.mewshop.com.
Larry Jordan: And Mike is absolutely correct, you can’t afford to miss this event. What’s the date, quickly?
Josh Apter: June 14th 2014, from 10.30am until question mark. It’s going to be a big day.
Larry Jordan: Josh Apter is the Founder and President of Manhattan Edit Workshop and the Producer of ‘Sight, Sound and Story’. Josh, thanks for joining us today.
Josh Apter: Thanks as always.
Mike Horton: Thanks, Josh. I’ll see you at Cine Gear.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Josh Apter: All right, see you.
Larry Jordan: You know, Michael, that’s such a cool idea, the ‘Sight, Sound and Story’, to be able to get those kind of people together.
Mike Horton: I know, we should do something like that in Los Angeles, although AC does that in August. Not like this. I mean, this is a whole different, well, it is kind of like this, but it’s different.
Larry Jordan: Well, you know, you could do a Supermeet of editors, rather than focusing on…
Mike Horton: No, I mean, there are too many events in Los Angeles. That’s why we never do a Supermeet in Los Angeles, because there are always too many events. But something like this, which is just a panel of really unique types of editors and disciplines, like sports television, like documentaries, like a Michael Kahn, and it’s 12 hours of these brilliant people and what you can learn and what you can get, my goodness. It’s a great thing, all in one day. For $89 or $69 with the code. Come on.
Larry Jordan: No, $59.
Mike Horton: 59?
Larry Jordan: Yes, 59.
Mike Horton: Well, there goes my hearing. That’s 30 bucks, that’s ridiculous. It’s insane.
Larry Jordan: You could buy a plane ticket and go, Michael.
Mike Horton: Actually, I’m going to be in New York, but I’m going to be there on the 15th.
Larry Jordan: Oh! Wrong.
Mike Horton: I know, it’s terrible.
Larry Jordan: You know, it was also interesting talking with Marty Murray at the beginning, the guy that did ‘Kill Game’, and listening to what he would like to do differently. It was his third film and he said what he’d like was just a couple more weeks of development and a couple more fallback plans when things fall apart.
Mike Horton: If I were to ask you that same question when you were doing live television, for instance, back in the east, wouldn’t you have that same kind of answer?
Larry Jordan: Yes.
Mike Horton: “I would love to have done things differently,” because you’ve got to learn. You learn from all your mistakes and all the hassles and all the problems.
Larry Jordan: And you make it better.
Mike Horton: And you make it better.
Larry Jordan: And hopefully you survive the first time to improve it.
Mike Horton: Yes, that’s the big thing.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests today: Marty Murray, the Founder of Full Throttle Films; Michele Yamazaki, who is going with Michele Yamazaki, Michael, just so you know.
Mike Horton: Yes, I screwed up, I’m sorry. Michele Yamazaki, you are forever Michele Yamazaki.
Larry Jordan: She’s the official plug-in-ologist and VP of Marketing for Toolfarm; Josh Apter, the inventor of the Padcaster and Founder and President of Manhattan Edit Workshop and ‘Sight, Sound and Story’.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot happening at The Buzz between shows and it’s all posted to our website, digitalproductionbuzz.com. Visit with us on Twitter, @dpbuzz, and Facebook, at digitalproductionbuzz.com.
Larry Jordan: Music provided by SmartSound, streaming by wehostmacs.com, transcripts by Take 1 Transcription. Our producer is Cirina Catania, our ever affable co-host, Mr. Mike Horton, engineer Adrian Price. My name’s Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Buzz.
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