The NEW DIGITAL CINEMA blog is now a Twitter Blog

I am now doing daily postings on my NEW DIGITAL CINEMA Twitter blog, with longer postings on my NEW DIGITAL CINEMA Facebook group.

Please “friend” NEW DIGITAL CINEMA micro-blog” at

The Facebook Group is HERE 

Please check it out!



Recession to Hollywood: This Time You Share The Pain

There is a must-read LA Times story today by Dawn C. Chmielewski and Meg James called, “Hollywood May Not Be Recession-Proof This Time“.

“Blame the Internet. The endless stream of free content means strapped consumers can escape without spending at the multiplex or subscribing to premium cable.”

Just like the 1930’s Depression solidified the audience’s taste for frequent Hollywood films, this time a similar phenomenon could occur regarding new distribution outlets and theatrical venues for the New Digital Cinema.  Remember, in transformational times, there is great opportunity for those that see the daylight and are flexible enough to react and commit to the new model.

At the Screenwriting Retreat: CineStory in Idyllwild CA

I had a great two days in the San Jacentio mountains at the CineStory Retreat with a great group of screenwriters, producers, creative execs and one great literary agent. 

This was my first time at Cinestory and despite being a speaker, I learned a lot about story, writing and pitching and was really charged up about jumping into my next screenwriting project(s).  I had just finished a re-write the week before, so the timing was good.

There’s a great CineStory blog where you can follow the retreat almost as it happens… you should take a look. (no cell service up there in the mountains, but WiFi).

One highlight:

Barri Evins, Regina Lee  and Nana Greenwald  lead a “FLY ON THE WALL” pitching exercise. Barri said this was developed to help “demystify” the meeting process.  Crucial to the traditional Hollywood way of doing business, meetings are used as a way to “say hello” as Barri said. 

I’m personally not a big fan of pitch meetings, maybe because it is difficult for me, so this was helpful. I always feel that if a film ideas is worth pitching, it’s worth writing so people can see the film in a fully fleshed out form. The facts are that pitches are only good for 2 things, a New Idea by a very well established writer with great credits (who would like to be paid to write the first draft), or a writer with a very “high concept” idea.  I’m not the former exactly, and very seldom have the latter.  Independent film-type scripts need not apply to the pitching process.

This is how ”Fly on the Wall” works, which is a concept owned by CineStory. 

Three Producers/Production Executives act as if they are in a traditional pitch meeting with a writer, and one of the CineStory writers pitches them a project.  The execs can interrupt as if they were in a real meeting and say what they would normally say to the writer at the end of the pitch.  Then they toss him/her out and discuss the pitch and the writer among themselves.  Of course, that’s why it is called “Fly on the Wall” — the writer gets to hear how they would discuss the pitch in private, and if the execs feel like they could “sell it to their bosses”.  Actually this didn’t result in the kind of cruelty you might imagine… 🙂  it was enormously illustrative. Although every pitch was picked apart by the execs (except one micro-pitch designed to get them to agree to read a finished screenplay) it seemed that all the writers came away happy and were able to use the feedback in a positive way.

The end result was exactly what Barri had promised, the idea of taking a pitch meeting actually seemed fun, instead of dreadful.

Tomorrow – more Cinestory highlights.

Self Distribution 101

Self Distribution at its most basic! Starting a “MobMov”, aka Guerrilla Drive-In- VIDEO:

12,000 Yahoos on their way out…

Big Cuts at Yahoo… the downward roll of the giant string ball of media/marketing is just starting to gain speed.  12,000 smart people looking for jobs that don’t exist.


Yahoo Job Cuts

It’s going to be an Ugly, Ugly Christmas.

Unsolicited advice: sell everything, buy a backpack and start walking. Or just live in a hole in the ground and create that great novel, symphony or film you have always dreamed of. Let’s keep that tradition of Great Art coming from Bad Times. 

Cut overhead, pay off debt, live simply, love your family, nurture your friends.

My belief is that an artist, filmmaker or otherwise, that is truly producing authentic work of quality is richer “than any Rockefeller” as the old song goes.  That may mean we do something not-so-cool to pay the bills.  That’s fine.

We all have the chance to learn what is important out of this…


Wim Wenders talks about authentic filmmaking

Wim Wenders

Wim Wenders









A nice interview with Wim Wenders about winding his way as a filmmaker with an authentic voice.



What does Pure Cinema look like?

Remember the French New Wave? Remember Dogma95?  Do you remember that feeling you had when all the stale commercial rules about filmmaking you have been swallowing all you life were shredded in front of your eyes by a pure cinematic moment?  For me, it was watching a crappy 3/4 inch video tape of Bergman’s PERSONA in a windowless classroom as I was hiding out from a hot Texas afternoon in the 1970’s. That film wacked me out forever… there it was, the idea that cinema can be so much more than what we were being fed by the status quo.

Years later I had the pleasure of to having dinner with Liv Ullmann in Chicago when my film STILL BREATHING was honored with a special screening at The Chicago Film Festival.  As you probably know, Ms. Ullmann starred in PERSONA. It told her about my experience with PERSONA and she said “I had no idea what I was doing… I was just doing what I was told.  It was all Ingmar.”  Well, I don’t discount Ms. Ullmann’s considerable talent, but the film is a close to Pure Cinema as there was in the 1960’s (It was released in 1966).  I could go on… but maybe I’ll save that for a future post.

Fast forward to 2008.  Millions of aspiring filmmakers and film fans own digital “video” cameras that in many ways are superior to the cameras that shot GONE WITH THE WIND. So filmmaking is finally in the hands of the common “unconnected” artist.  We can create films in the same way as we can all write a novel.  All it takes is talent, craft, determination, vision and grit. The future Coppola talked about 20 years ago is here… there is no reason the next CITIZEN KANE can’t be made by a “civilian” with a DV camera and a laptop.

So, uh… where is this film?  Or where is a hint of it at least?  Instead, the next generation of filmmakers seem tragically obsessed with genre and parody. 

Before I go too far off on a rant… my point is that occasionally I see something that truly inspires me… and fits the new dynamics (global, social, viral and otherwise) of the New Digital Cinema. This brings me to the unique simplicity and power of Matthew Harding‘s “Where the hell is Matt?” videos.  You have seen them – a guy dancing the same dance all over the world, simply shot, authentic and poetic and down-to-earth all at the same time.  His newest version, the 2008 clip, is the rare kind of pure cinema that produces a palette of emotions inside of me (all good) that are pretty hard to describe.  

Hey, the New Digital Cinema doesn’t have to be a genre film or a parody.  It doesn’t have to wear superficiality like a badge of honor.  It can be about TRUTH… something every artist is trying to get at.