Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CROWD FUNDING: Is it EVIL?

Crowd Funding is stirring much controversy these days. Everyday on Facebook, I get a dozen requests for money. With the help of companies like Kickstarter, and Indiegogo, upcoming filmmakers are pan handling on the information super highway... and it's pissing off a lot of people.

The technique has proved enormously successful for some... for others - not so much. Many campaigns do reach their funding goals, and as some have pointed out, how do you know your contribution is going to be spent the way it should? Your donation could just be funding the next outing at a strip club for the director.

Most of the complaints I hear stem from the fact the filmmakers are largely asking other filmmakers to contribute. I know when I get funding requests, my first thought is "sorry, but I'm trying to fund my own project."

To be successful at crowd funding (or any kind of financing for your project), you must have certain elements in place.

1. Your story's concept has to be AMAZING. Unique, but yet familiar, and compelling. You should be able to pitch your project in one or two sentences, and other screenwriters should turn green with envy when they hear it because they didn't think of it first.

2. The concept MUST be MARKETABLE. "But, I'm an artist... I make art..." Bullshit - you are making a product. Treat it like one. Know your audience, what they want to see, and how you are going to reach them cost effectively.

3. Your script has to be great. Seriously. Just because your friends and family like it doesn't mean its great.  If you can find someone who hates you, but likes your script - you might be on to something. Send your script to a consultant, reader, agent, experienced director or some unrelated person who can give you an objective opinion. When they give you notes, seriously evaluate their validity, and make changes. As they say, scripts aren't written, they are re-written.

4. Your budget must be commensurate with your market, your skill level, and level of cast. Most people have an unrealistic idea of the value and market share of their content. The key to monetization is simple: make a film for less than what your total sales will be after expenses. Do your research.

5. Make a detailed business plan that takes you all the way from production through to retail store shelves. Have you factored in distribution costs, DVDs, advertising, legal? It's likely to meet or exceed your production budget.

6. If you want to try crowd funding, go for it... but you will have more success begging for donations from people who are not filmmakers, but want their name attached to a movie for the experience. People like experiences, so make it a good one. Cater to their desires. Give them value besides ROI... because the cold hard truth is that most projects don't recoup their investments.

Whether filmmaking is a hobby for you, or a profession... treat it like business. Take care of your cast, crew and investors, and your odds of continuing to make films will increase.

Leave your comments below!




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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BEST PAGEANT HEADSHOTS IN HOUSTON

Need the best pageant headshots in Houston? Want to be a top Pagent Contestant? Want to win Miss Photogenic? My clients have won Miss Texas, Miss Teen Texas, Mrs. Texas International and more...

A great headshot, along with flawless makeup and pageant coaching are the keys to success. Don't skimp in any of these areas if you are serious about your career.

This shot of Peyton Saverance is one of my all time favorites! Sheila Ybarra's makeup is second to none.

Another key to a successful pageant is an eye catching pageant ad, with consistent branding across your entire pageant campaign.


Miss Texas International, Angelique Hoover chose the studio's photography and design services for her winning graphic design campaign. 

A successful pageant is the result of proper planning and building a great team to support you. An extremely important part of that team is a pageant coach. Want to dramatically improve your pageant interview scores?  Valerie Hayes is one of the most sought after coaches in pageantry!

When you are ready to achieve your pageantry goals, contact the studio and start building a winning team!








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BRUCE CAMPBELL'S Official PHOTOGRAPHER at SplatterFest!

Bruce Campbell, star of the hit show BURN NOTICE, and the iconic horror trilogy Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, was recently in Houston as a special guest of SplatterFest. I had the pleasure of shooting an exclusive photo op with Bruce and the attendees.

Photos were shot on location, and prints were delivered within a few hours to the festival's attendees.

When you need location photos and quick print turn arounds, contact the studio for the best location, portrait, headshot, or fashion photography.


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Monday, October 24, 2011

BABE OF THE MONTH


Alternative fetish model Sabrin Sin dropped by for a smoking hot photo shoot and this sexy vid for the SplatterFest Babe of the Month!

All of the still were shot on green screen, and the video was shot in and around my studio. The goal was to bring the look of still fashion photography to motion pictures. The HD footage was treated in post to look like old 8mm film in some segments, complete with old school gate weave and frame slippage.



Be sure to like and comment on the video!
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WANT TO BE A MOVIE STAR?

...then act like one. No... I'm not talking about Lindsey Lohan, and her recent run in with the judge that revoked her probation.

I'm talking about the things movies stars do on screen that makes them movie stars.... or rather, what they don't do. Know what that is?

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Monday, October 17, 2011

100 Year Old Man Runs Marathon!


Is immortality possible? Not exactly photography related, but inspiring none the less. Born in 1911, Fauja Singh completed the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, finishing in 8 hours.

Astonishingly this is his 8th marathon, and he didn't even begin running marathons until he was 89!!!

Want to know his secret?

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

WHERE TO GET HEADSHOTS in HOUSTON

Looking for the best headshots in Houston? A great headshot can mean the difference between success and failure. Don't settle for just any photographer. You need someone who knows the entertainment industry.

I have been in the "biz" for over 20 years, both in front of, and behind the camera. I started modeling for Foley's (now Macy's), JC Penny, Palis Royal, modeling clothes by Nike, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and more and transitioned into acting starring on ABC, CBS, VH1, The WB, and in countless commercials.

My photography has been published in Vogue, Lucky, Allure, the NY Times, Vintage Guitar, Tone Quest, the Fretboard Journal... you name it.

All of this experience allows insight into what casting directors, producers, directors, and advertising executives want.

Take your career to the next level by getting a great headshot to market yourself with. My studio also provides audition taping and coaching, and my clients have booked roles on national TV and in Feature Film.

Contact the studio today!
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AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Want to launch your modeling career? Nothing beats a great portfolio to open doors. Check out these HAWT photos from an early photo shoot with my client, and America's Next Top Model contestant Brenda Arens.

Want to see more?...
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SCREAMWORLD: HAUNTED HOUSE HOUSTON

So, I have to admit, I was a little scared... yes, me, the horror film director. I really didn't want to go through a haunted house. Even though I had been through it in the daytime, (it was creepy even with the lights on).

I was thinking; crowds of people, flashing lights, scary people lunging after me... sounded like a migraine waiting to happen.

BUT I LOVED IT!

The set design, props, actors... AMAZING. I'm not just blowing smoke. It's really cool. Like walking into the Texas Chainsaw Massacre... but knowing you'll walk out alive.

I wanna go back, plain and simple.

Many thanks to Robert Renfro for giving me the guided tour. ScreamWorld is an absolute, must see attraction this Halloween season. You won't find anything else like it.

The folks at ScreamWorld love what they do, and it shows.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The stars of Spirit Camp wish you happy halloween! A spooky shoot we did here at the studio! Book a seasonal session today!
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HOW TO GET PRESS and PROMOTE Yourself


Having trouble getting press? Tried getting magazines, newspapers and blogs to run your story without success? Here's a little secret that will open the doors to more press exposure.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

FILM FESTIVAL SUCCESS TIPS

Been accepted to a film festival? This could be your big break - but do you know how to make the most of it? Can you imagine coming back from Sundance and having to explain to all your friends that you DID'NT get a distribution deal? Watch this video, it may help!
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FILM IS DEAD

The last of the film cameras from the major manufacturers have rolled off the production line. Panavision, Arri, and Aaton are digital only from here on out. I'm sure there are some pretty upset purists out there.

In 2001, I was shooting all film... I said I'd never give it up. Then I was a purist. There was something special about the film stocks, like Ilford XP2, Kodak's Ti-X pan... Back then photography was like a sacred art, full of closely guarded secrets about how to achieve a certain look.

Photographers would never share trade secrets.

Then digital came along. In 2002, I borrowed a friends Nikon D1x while in Paris shooting models for the then powerhouse agency IMG. I had brought about a $1000 worth of film over... lets just say I still have those rolls in my freezer.

I've been all digital ever since, both for stills and movie making. Today's cameras have and equal or greater resolution and exposure latitude. And the manipulation that can be done in post can mimic almost any film stock - if you know what you are doing.

Back in the day, I had to lobby magazines heavily to take digital submission - they were skeptical. Now, it's all they want.

It is always sad to see the passing of such a once great technology, but this life is about embracing change,   and making the most of new opportunities. So many things are possible now that weren't before. I would never have been able to make my feature film Spirit Camp the old fashioned way. And certainly would not be able to attempt a sci-fi epic like Code of Evil, or even my short Castle of the Damned.

Read more here http://www.salon.com/2011/10/13/r_i_p_the_movie_camera_1888_2011/

Thanks to Alan Cerny of Aintitcoolnews.com - I got the idea for this post from his facebook status.

Leave your comments below.  Will you miss film?



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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NEED THE BEST HEADSHOTS IN HOUSTON?

Want to book more acting jobs? The single most important marketing tool you have as an actor is your headshot. It's the first thing a casting director sees, and you have about a second to catch their attention.

Everyone has a camera these days and can take good pictures, but a great headshot that will get you work is probably not something your friend or your neighbor can shoot. Especially in their backyard, or in a field next to a tree.

A great headshot captures your personality, is expressive, intriguing, and ultimately makes a casting director want to meet you.

It takes someone who knows the business, and knows what casting directors, directors and producers want.

Having been both in front of and behind the camera for over 20 years, I have a great deal of experience in what works and what doesn't in the entertainment industry.

I've starred on ABC, CBS, VH1, The WB, and in countless commercials - produced and directed several independent films - and I shoot commercials, music videos, and informercials for corporate clients on a regular basis.

When you are ready to take your career to the next level, contact my studio for photography, audition taping and coaching, or promotional video.

Break a leg!
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

HOUSTON PRESS FEATURES KERRY BEYER

Thanks to the Houston Press for spotlighting Kerry as part of their 100 CREATIVES series. Kerry talks about his photography, filmmaking and his film festival SplatterFest (which hosted a special appearance by BRUCE CAMPBELL (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Burn Notice) and MICHAEL BIEHN (Terminator, Aliens).

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2011/05/100_creatives_kerry_beyer.php
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HOW TO GET DISCOVERED

Want to launch your acting career? Want to get your big break and become an overnight sensation with millions of fans? Then keep reading...

The quickest way to get work as an actor is, well, to get work as an actor. Sounds like a catch 22, but... once you start working, and if you do a great job, you will most likely be recommended for other work.

Directors talk to other directors.

Really.

They do.

So, when you come on set with that diva attitude... everyone one else in town is going to hear about it. But when you come to set prepared, rock out your scene, and bring something unique to the role - directors will praise you. And you may just start to see offers come in.

You will have to be very pro-active about your career. Honestly, your agent isn't going to do anything to jumpstart your career. Don't sit back and wait for it to happen. Get out there, mix, mingle, and submit yourself for roles... and NEVER, EVER do what this one actress did...

What did she do that was so heinous?

She turned down an audition. Not just a cattle call, mind you... but a personal request from the director to audition. Her reasoning, you ask?

She doesn't do indie film work.

Meryl Streep doesn't do indie work, she doesn't have to... but just because you booked a local commercial once doesn't put you in the same league.

Never pass up a chance to let a director see your work.

Sure, there are a lot of idiots with a camera out there claiming to be filmmakers. So, do your research. That's what IMDB is for. But when a director with established credits asks you to read... probably a good idea to do it.

Steven Spielberg is probably not going to be knocking down your door when you are just starting out, and indie films have launched many a career. Plus, you may just burn a bridge with the next Spielberg by turning him down.

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HOUSTON CASTING: HAUNTED TRAILER

Director Chuck Norfolk, who recently won 2nd Runner Up at SplatterFest, is casting for his feature length horror/comedy HAUNTED TRAILER.

The story follows a hillbilly family that hires a sleazy TV evangelist to exercise their mobile home.

For more information visit the Facebook page http://www.splatterfest.com/2011/10/now-casting-haunted-trailer.html

or contact Chuck Norfolk
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Million Dollar Visual FX on a Indie Budget

Visual FX extravaganzas dominate the box office, but independent filmmakers can play in the same arena, at a fraction of the cost. A recent debate of Facebook stirred controversy over whether or not indie filmmakers should attempt to compete with Hollywood in genres like action and sci fi - The gist of the debate was that indie filmmakers shouldn't attempt it...

Proper visual FX takes time and planning to integrate and composite correctly, but it's not out of reach for the indie filmmaker. Almost anything is possible with After FX... but subtly is the key. FX should be transparent... and by that I mean, the audience should never go "oh, cool effect." They should be completely immersed in the story, and not notice that it was an effect.

I recently shot and edited a short film over the course of one weekend. As co-founder of SplatterFest, I wanted to make a film to screen at the event, even though I couldn't compete. The result is CASTLE OF THE DAMNED - a dark fairy tale where a lone Knight must battle and army of the damned to save the Princess from an Evil Queen.

The entire 4 minute short was shot on green screen, and composited over the weekend. The backgrounds were generated in a 3D modeling program, and exported as still frames.

One of the most important things to make your composites look real is to match lighting between your live action elements and your computer generated backgrounds. For this reason, I try to light and generate my backgrounds before I shoot live action elements, so I know where to place the lights.

Castle of the Damned is currently in consideration at Slamdance. Check out the IMDB page, and look for it on the festival circuit and online afterwards.


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