In 2015, I started production on my first feature film, ANONYMOUS KILLERS. Shooting on 35mm was very important to me because the quality of film makes for a more natural, grainy look than filters applied to digital. I found that this choice also made me a much more disciplined filmmaker. During each stage of filming, a filmmaker must make difficult decisions. Shooting on 35mm added to these challenges, but the end effect was worth it!
Located in Pleasantville, NY, the Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) developed its Creative Culture fellowship program to help champion underrepresented voices and diverse storytelling. Now in its fourth year, Creative Culture has helped 35 filmmakers create projects that have been selected by top tier film festivals, such as Sundance, Berlinale, and SXSW, and acquired by Fox Searchlight, POV, NY Times Op Docs, and Staff Pick’d at Vimeo. This includes recent projects such as Adam Meeks’ “Union County” which premiered at this year’s Berlinale, and Crystal Kayiza’s “See You Next Time” which was selected at Sundance 2020 and recently acquired by The New Yorker.
You take the plunge and the cool quiet mumbling of life below edges out the background hum of the world above. Everything beyond the surface takes a distant place in your ears, and if you’re lucky, in your mind, too.
The Coronavirus really snuck up on me, like it did for everyone. I was off to a busy start this year, running up and down California, shooting content for several different projects, when I began to hear murmurs of this looming threat. One day, my barber was showing me an N95 mask that he had stood in line to purchase that morning. But…this was coming from a guy who has told me at length his theories on Big-Foot, and UFOs. So the truth was, like many people, I didn’t know how seriously to take all of this in the beginning.
If I had to pick one constant among independent film festival submissions it would be unintelligible dialogue. The cause of desperation of every director; the bane of every mixing engineer’s existence; the source of suffering of your friends and family, forced to go through a whole movie they don’t understand because the actors’ words simply can’t be heard. This and many other nuances of your film’s sound are the victims of a few often overlooked details, which in turn result in the delivery of a subpar soundtrack, driving your audio post team insane and wasting production money. Good news is these mistakes can very easily be prevented. You can start by tackling a few key issues often associated with your role.