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The trailer for a new documentary from Liz Garbus. I’m looking forward to seeing it.


Excellent post.

Originally posted on LOS ANGELES: 2019:

I am an aspect ratio enthusiast.  Actually, I’m probably the only aspect ratio enthusiast. Some of you reading this post have been subjected to my two-hour+ aspect ratio lecture, or maybe the slim one-hour abridged version. In that presentation are a few slides that show examples of films that change aspect ratio during their presentation. The recent release of the trailer for Oz the Great and Powerful sent me back to Keynote to update my slides.

As with all my lectures, my Aspect Ratio deck includes dozens of slides that I don’t show, and rather than just adding more clips that I’d omit for the sake of my live audiences, I thought I’d share all of them here.

First some quick background.

One Ratio to Rule Them All…

Between the turn of the century and the mid-1950s, all movies released in the United States were the same aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (sometimes known as Academy Ratio or Full…

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This article is from Forbes Magazine. What are your thoughts on this?

Netflix Will Rip the Heart Out of Pre-Sale Film Financing

Netflix is working mightily to expand its reach worldwide, so far including Latin America, Canada, and the U.K., with Europe next up at bat. When Netflix is done, people in every part of the world will be its customers, and those customers will be able to toggle what language they want to watch a film in. This trend corresponds to the shrinking of the piracy window (the time between the theatrical window and the home video window), so by the time Netflix has a worldwide reach, it will also probably be available day and date with the theatrical release.

This trend will have a huge effect on how independent films are financed. Right now, independent filmmakers raise funds by selling their films through “pre-sales” on a country-by-country basis to local distributors, but a worldwide VOD reach will rip the heart out of these sales, because it will destroy the value of DVD and pay TV rights to the local distributors. The net result will be that independent films will be financed by pre-sales to Netflix, not the local distributors. Instead of going to the Cannes Film Festival, filmmakers could be going to Las Vegas for a digital convention in order to pre-sell VOD rights to Netflix. Indeed, Netflix will likely expand from creating original series to creating its own large budget films, with the initial premiere on-line. Netflix may be a vibrant, important source of new financing that disrupts the studio system and bypasses standard distribution channels.

This trend will also change how films are watched and how theaters compete. In order to compete against collapsing windows and high-def, surround-sound, home entertainment centers, theaters are going to have to offer a better experience, and a big part of this is going to be 4D seats, which move to match the film (where you feel like you are flying when a jet is onscreen), and 3D sound, which seems to come from different angles at different times around you, like raindrops falling near you. I have experienced both of these, and the results are astounding. Theaters are going to have to get on this bandwagon or be relegated to bowling alley locations.

Originally posted on the loquacionist:

the divide

If you enjoy rage, read it as soon as possible.

If you enjoy absurdity, read it as soon as possible.

If you enjoy vivid storytelling, read it as soon as possible.

If you feel unease about Wall Street but can’t quite articulate why, read it as soon as possible.

If you are curious about learning some of the ways that make American society and government and, most specifically, its justice system unfair, read it as soon as possible.

An excerpt that illustrates Taibi’s command as a writer and writing style:

What happened with this Canadian company goes far beyond the merely cynical mechanisms of insider trading and market manipulation and takes us down into an even darker place in the national psyche, into the netherworld of pure violence and aggression that rules modern Wall Street.  This is where the drive for money and conquest is so intense that it crosses…

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Today I decided to spend time going through the 326 emails sitting in my inbox staring at me. I won’t mention the four open windows in Firefox and one in Chrome.

After a long day and being no where near an empty in-box, here are links to a few interesting sites.


Simple Machine is an online platform that connects filmmakers directly with venues to screen their films.

VOD or not?

Distribute it yourself.


You may know (or not) that I’m developing a series that profiles non profits. Check these out.

First, there was Tom’s shows, then Tom’s glasses. Now there’s Tom’s coffee and they’re giving away water.


Hacking the Homeless


If you haven’t seen The Hunt, I urge you to see it. It’s on Amazon Prime.

One last link:

Off to garden.


Here’s a couple of links that I think someone might find interesting. I did.

Spritz is the 21st Century version of Evelyn Wood speed reading. The simple explanation is that you read each word individually as it comes up on the little reader. That way, your eyes don’t have to move while reading, thus making it possible for you to read faster. I tried it at 300wpm and did fine except i read every word in my mind. It’s kind of like typing all day, and then when you’re asleep, all of conversations are typed as you speak.

A while back there was a video of a little boy who called himself the Kid President that went viral. He was a cute kid and the series of videos were great. They came out of a company called SoulPanCake created by Rainn Wilson. Here’s where I found out about it. Follow the links on the site to find out more. It’s a great concept. Thanks Rainn.

Here’s another link worth checking out.

The past week or so has been all about making the dreadful calls to pitch our projects. The calls aren’t dreadful–it’s picking up the phone and dialing and waiting and hoping I don’t fumble and stumble as soon as I say hello, praying they can’t hear the blood pounding in my ears, trying not to hyperventilate. I powered through it and spoke to a few good people like the really nice guy at Sundance Channel. You should take a look at their news series The Red Road.

I rewarded myself with a glass of wine.

A few good things…


Today, a few links to share.

If you’re not subscribing to this newsletter, you should. In my humble opinion. Maria Popova does an incredible job curating a vast array of interesting and provocative literature.

If you’re a Breaking Bad fan, the Writers Guild Foundation released Inside the Writers Room with Breaking Bad. A great YouTube video and scripts.

Are you a writer? Flavorwire provides a list of 20 writers and they’re thoughts on the art of revision.

And finally, what is happiness for you?

Thank you Dora. Finding Nemo is one of my favorite movies. She has a short term memory and is always optimistic.  Perhaps something we should aspire to.

One of the promises I made to myself this year is to rearrange my schedule so that it is more manageable and thereby, doable. Now I schedule a four hour block to complete one project. I work on one thing at a time. If I finish within that time, I go to something else–one project or task–and complete it. So far it’s working like a charm.

For instance, I completed a review and changes to one sheets for our projects: The Accidental Candidate, Cho-Cho, the Monkey Detective, Prey, GOOD Travels. The next step is to complete a database of companies and individuals we want to pitch to.  The goal is to be ready to pitch all by the end of the month.

I’m curious about how other folks manage their schedule. Any thoughts/suggestions?

I heard from the fab Ben Schwartz of House of Lies fame that the special House of Lies LIVE we did, got great numbers and that Showtime was very pleased. Perhaps more in the future?

Here’s an interesting link I found. Enjoy.

Just keep swimming…

Here is the link for the Showtime special I directed and Deb Spidell produced and and the best crew in LA made happen.

It’s the TV14 version so “dirty” words are bleeped. As soon as I get the pay tv version, I’ll post.

Thanks for watching!!

House of Lies-LIVE!

I hope everyone’s year is starting out with an explosion of creativity and happiness. Mine is. And this I’m instituting what I tell everyone who starts a blog–be consistent. Write what you want and must and be consistent.

2013 ended with a surprise wrapped up in pretty paper. Someone we knwo at Showtime called asking if we’d produce a promo that needed to be done by Dec 26 in order to air Dec 30 and 31.  It turned out to be more than a promo. It was promotional material for House of Lies in a 30:00 comedy special. The cast from House of Lies performed  long form improvisation at Upright Citizens Brigade for one night only.  Three supporting characters from the upcoming season joined them. The idea grew out of cast member Ben Schartz’s monthly improv show at the venue.  The show premiered Dec. 30 on the Internet and Dec. 31 on Showtime. It’s still up on or do a search on youtube.

We prepped in about two weeks, shot one night, and then plowed straight in to post. And Christmas was right smack in the middle of post which made it even more challenging. But we delivered on time and on budget.

Producing was Deb Spidell and I directed.

In preparation for taking the job, [chaosfilms] llc became an official California company. [chaosfilms,inc] is incorporated in Georgia. Since we were producing, we  had to set up an entity here. Now we’re [chaosfilms]llc. You can see the new logo on the home page.

A bazillion thank you’s to everyone who worked with us to make this show wonderful.

A sizzling way to greet 2014.  A suitcase full of projects and ideas ready to travel. More on those next time.

Question: What’s the one movie you watch over and over? Your comfort movie? Mine is Rudy.

And here’s something I watched this morning that I hope you enjoy as much as I did.


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