software glitch

I took the chance this morning…..Last night I was having a minor problem with the fx (special effects) in my editing software. It was a problem I could have lived with by not using those fx’s that were not acting completely right.There were only a couple being affected,  but, I was using this effect called radial blur and it wasn’t right. I have experienced similar problems in the past and went to the available help sites and forums. That takes about half a day for solutions, if your lucky. So I did what I have done before, it’s always scary because sometimes your work gets corrupted, even backing up things a few times to a few different drives, it can cause a lot of extra work. Well, after sleeping on it, I uninstalled the program and reinstalled it. The disc accepted my download again, sometimes this action can receive the response that you are not allowed another download. It’s a move by manufactures to prevent excessive downloads and thus software piracy. ‘Cheers’ to the old days, when discs didn’t know how many downloads were being done. I don’t steal software nor do I respect ‘piracy’, but sometimes this feature is a big hassle for me. In this case it all worked out fine, my fx problem is solved and I’m back in action.

I got a lot done yesterday, I’m now five and a half minutes. More reviewing tapes this morning and possibly setting up some interviews. I’m waiting for a call, the contact info on two subjects

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The opening

So I’m calling it quits, it’s now 7:45, I’ve been at it for 12 hours. As I said I have almost 100 hours of footage to go through, It’s been 3 days and I have 3 minutes edited. The more I do, the stronger I feel emotionally for the project. It hasn’t yet, but I suspect this is going to become all consuming with me. My last documentary, I became so obsessed with it that I could hardly sleep. I was working many days from 3 or 4 in the morning, when I woke up thinking about it, until I fell asleep at 10 or 11 at night. At first when this started happening I tried to make myself sleep more, thinking that lack of sleep would harm me. It didn’t appear to, so I just gave into my active brain and existed for the last month of that project on an average of two hours sleep per day. When I finished I went back to a normal sleep pattern immediately.

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Diary of a documentary producer

On Focus Productions began in 1978, what a party it’s been for over 30 yrs. This will be my diary, my daily activities and my thoughts in this rapidly changing world.

Sunday, 4/15/12

Last night I set up a meeting with a Festival Producer for today to go over old footage that I have recorded in the past fifteen years. We will be searching for clips to make a short (5-10 min.) memorial tribute for a Jazz musician and close friend, Kahlil Shaheed. A wonderful human being, very spiritual and a giving person. He died this month and we will be making this video to show at a memorial tribute and gathering in Oakland this coming Sunday. Not much time, but I’ve done this before many times. The push is on….
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Began the “Kahlil” project. Gathered three shoeboxes full of tapes, most of them are the small mini DV tapes, but some went back to the days of shooting on Digital Hi-8, probably about about 100 hours of footage or more. I got some of George Wells still shots emailed over and began downloading last night into the Kahlil file.
I started the actual project by choosing some title options and script. This will probably change, I usually go through three or four opening changes on any project as it develops. I need to find the right music today. Of course it will be Kahlil. I feel that the opening of a doc is so important. Also found out that I will be able to conduct some interviews Sunday in Oakland.
On another note, I agreed to go with two other producers to Point Reyes National Seashore to shoot some Nature stuff. They have new DSLR cameras (G2) that they want to practice with. I haven’t taken that step yet to the DSLR move. I think they expect to learn something about nature shooting from me since I did so much nature shooting in Central America. Well my advice will be simple. Don’t be afraid to lay down on your belly, keep the camera rolling, and have patience. I know shooters that have been paid to sit in one spot for days on end waiting for one shot. I’ve sat up in a tree two nights in a row in Corcovado waiting for a a jaguar.

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plagiarism vs. research

Very interesting. If you steal from one person it is plagiarism, but if you steal from many it is research. Throw creative thinking in the mix and you now have a legal piece of writing, or do you?  Just how much of most of our writings can be considered original?  Where do our thoughts spring from? Are songwriters ever subliminally copying from other tunes they have heard? Many lawsuits and court decisions say yep, they sure do and sometimes not so subliminally. Do speech writers gather ideas from other famous speeches, of course they do. Remember John Kennedy’s famous quote in his inaugural speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” Well while Kennedy was graduating from Harvard the Dean’s speech included this remark, “Ask not what Harvard can do for you, but rather what you can do for Harvard.” Do science fiction writers steal ideas from other science fiction writers? Did Copernicus steal ideas from Ptolemny? I  suppose the question I’m getting at is,  ‘Does man ever have an original thought?’ Are we told that there is a God, therefore we believe. Are skeptics the only true critical thinkers?

I guess all I /we can do as wordpress bloggers is to keep the interesting things flowing from wherever they come. Hopefully my thoughts that I choose to put down are somewhat unique and entertaining, creative concepts.  We all must be doing something, so why not this…..

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What exactly does this word mean? In context you could be yelling HELP standing on a  window ledge of the thirtieth floor of a burning building  needing someone to save your life. Perhaps you only need help in the form of assistance to finish a task. Or maybe you just said, “I can’t help it”. Or maybe your part of the help at a restaurant. “So help me, I’d like to help out here, but I just can’t help myself to whatever help there is.

With that said I’ll now continue on with my newfound funthing, blogging. For blog#2 I again offer more help.  Remember ‘Making Movies?’ Let’s talk about my number one issue, the story……In retail sales the motto is ‘location, location, location’. In my mind in moviemaking the motto is ‘story, story, story’ , without a good story you shouldn’t even be here. Remember there are always ways to turn a bad story into a good story. Here’s an excerpt from my book on film production.

The Beginning

A tiny seed is floating through the air. This is the beginning of life. Such a small seed contains everything it needs to grow. This seed is sort of like an idea for a story, it has come from something bigger, from some body of knowledge or from some life experience. Somewhere along the line this tiny seed has been fertilized, made ready to open up into a new and much bigger form. Many films take root because someone has a compelling seed of an idea. Their idea is much like a small seed hitting a fertile piece of ground.

After a while with enough help from nature, the small seed shoots out its roots, asserts itself a position and begins to develop into its new life. This is how I look at a movie story. First an idea develops or a purpose calls us to make a film. If you have this manual in your hand, I can pretty much assume that you have either the idea or the purpose in mind. And now you need to nurture that idea. Acting as nature would, you need to pour some water onto your seed. The best thing you could have at hand that would be like nature’s rain is a big bucket of money. If you were doing a Hollywood feature film you would need more than a few big buckets, you’d need something like Lake Michigan to feed your hungry seed. Don’t fret, I’m here to show you how to do this with a small watering can.




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hello again world need a great camera?

Not certain that this is the correct place for me to begin this blog, but it seems to be the only place that I can get a response; here goes…..
I am a producer who began working in this field more than thirty years ago. Today I have more time on my hands than I did when I was younger and busier than a set of jumper cables at my senior prom. I want to help others make good movies. I’ve done it with shooters that came to me fresh out of film school and I’ve done it with families who had no idea where to start, I even did it with an ex-president of a country. It is so much fun to do, watching people organize, act, and succeed in their own ventures. I guess what I’ll do is begin by pointing out some useful info that the internet brings to light. No pun intended.
Check it out: For prosumers, an incredible new camera. If I had tried to get something like this in the past, it would have cost 20 times what this one does. This camera can do it all..
the new Panasonic AG-AF100. This is a 4/3″ (about 35mm) sensor video
camera that will accept interchangeable lenses. Quite an array of
cool features.

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Hello world!

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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