Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Story on Independent filmmaker Mabel Valdiviezo

San Francisco based writer/director Mabel Valdiviezo, took her narrative script, “Soledad Is Gone Forever", to the prestigious Squaw Valley screenwriting workshop this past week. The most sought after workshop for emerging and established screenwriters in the US, Squaw Valley is a unique incubator where only 24 screenwriters in the country get selected every year based on their ability to write powerful stories that translate to the screen.

Mabel’s feature length script, is an intimate psychological portrait of a Chilean exile photographer in San Francisco, who goes back to Chile to bury her father’s bones and reconcile with her country's violent past. The script created great interest among the industry experts that came to Squaw Valley from Hollywood and the independent world to discover and nurture fresh voices.

“It was the most validating experience I have had so far as a writer and filmmaker,” says the Peruvian born filmmaker. During one of the sessions Mabel gathered with actors and together they stage-read a scene that she had been rewriting at the workshop. The results were dramatic. “It was the most truthful scene I have seen at Squaw,” declared Diane Fuller, program director of the Screenwriting Workshop.
Some mentors and guests at the program included: Tom Rickman (Squaw program co-founder/Coal Miner’s Daughter), Gene Corr (Waldo Salt), Pamela Gray (Walk on the Moon), Michael Lehmann (Heathers), Tom Schlesinger (Nowhere in Africa), Camille Thomasson (Ave Maria), Tamsin Orion (Tamzina Films), and esteemed guests Greg Beal, Sarah Ryan Beck, Gail Silva, Owen Prell, Peggy Rajski and Deborah Wettstein.

The dynamic filmmaker has launched her production company "Haiku Films", a diversity media company which is developing the narrative film "Soledad Is Gone Forever" (collaborating with the Film Arts Foundation). Also "Novo Latino", a unique TV show that features the culture, lifestyle and trends of the 3rd generation of Latinos living in the Bay Area and their impact on a multicultural US.

The project is currently seeking assistance from sponsors and donors, as well as an experienced bilingual lead actress. For more information about "Soledad", its progress and funding, please visit:

Need a line of credit up to $100,000? Click here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Update on Actress/Filmmaker Stephanie Beaton

First off, the fourth film for Steph's company, SILVER MOON PRODUCTIONS, is now FINISHED!!!! Stephanie hosted a wonderful premiere for the film, Tales from the Grave, Volume 2: Happy Holidays on July 18th. The crowd loved every minute of the comedy/horror flick. Now the film is seeking distribution.

Actress Filmmaker Stephanie Beaton (Red Dress) is all smiles at the Premiere of her latest film.

For additional photos of the Premiere, click here Appearance Photos

Now Stephanie can officially go into pre-production of "It Crawls"! The sci-fi/horror film. Stephanie has begun to cast and is locking in locations now to shoot this full length feature film. If you would like to submit your headshot and resume to Steph, please go to the URL below and see if any of the cast breakdown fits YOU! Click here: CASTING FOR IT CRAWLS

Then send a headshot and resume thru REAL mail, NOT email, as soon as possible.

If you are a crew member and would like to work on this next project, please also do the same and send your demo reel and resume to Stephanie.

Here is the address for both actors and crew members:

Silver Moon Productions
8205 Santa Monica Blvd. #1-453
West Hollywood, CA 90046

Stephanie estimates the shoot will began late October/November for a 8 day shoot.

In addition, Stephanie is also been asked to do a full layout photo spread and interview for DRACULINA MAGAZINE. Keep checking the newstands for the brand new photos and an interview with her in the next few months when it comes out.

For our original interview with Stephanie please click here, Stephanie Beaton Interview and scroll down.

Rhino Records

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Interview with Storyboard Artist/Animator Craig Gilmore

FS: It's rare to find someone making a living from their passion. Take us back to the beginning, when did you know you wanted to be a storyboard artist/animator/comic book artist?

CG: Wow, the beginning is a long and winding road. Well, honestly, I didn’t know what I wanted to be as a kid. I just knew I wanted to be something cool! My mom always reminds me that I drew on my report cards and library books, and everything else I could draw on when I was in school, so I guess I always had a tendency towards illustration subconsciously, even way back then. It wasn’t until my later college years that things really started to happen for me artistically.

FS: How did you make that happen for yourself?

CG: As I got older, I had a number of loves and hobbies that I wanted to pursue as a career. One of the biggest was that I wanted to move to California and play in heavy metal bands haha! I play guitar, so that’s what I wanted to do for a number of years. Then I came to a point where I needed to make a choice because music and art are both physically and mentally demanding jobs. I knew I had to choose a path. I also knew when I made that focused decision to go ahead with art 100% instead of music, that it was going to be hard and full of rejection, but also successes. It has been everything I thought and more. There have been very lean times but fortunately now, more not so lean times. My career story is a crazy one and full of turns and twists that have led me to do different things/disciplines throughout it’s course. Some have definitely been more successful than others, but all were invaluable to molding me and helping me “see” what it is I’m supposed to be doing with my time here on earth. It happens naturally, like a funnel, you start big a broad in your scope, and you end up way down at the little bitty tip which is your home and where you are supposed to be. I went to college at a 2 year Commercial Art College in NC, and learned some of the more ‘advanced basics’ of art. This was back in 1987 (I’m dating myself now). It was a pretty diverse course, but I always leaned towards the traditional illustration courses the most. I learned about figure drawing and perspective, and composition. The very primal basics of illustration in all it’s forms. The first thing that I wanted to do was find an outlet that would give my love for storytelling, a place to be heard. Naturally, one of the best illustrative mediums for that was comic books. I loved them ever since I had the ability to read, so I decided I would pursue that. I spent a few years just drawing what I thought comics were supposed to be, and going to comic book conventions. There I would show my work to editors, and artists already working in the business. They were all super in giving me a critique or word of advice on improving my drawing and storytelling. So I would go home and apply that, and go back out with new samples, over and over again. So that helped me build up a tough skin for rejection, and made me appreciate good constructive criticism which is essential. One day I met an artist named Richard Case. He was a local working comic book artist, and was drawing a comic for DC Comics at the time. I called him out of the blue and asked him if I could help him somehow with his comic. He was really cool, and we met for lunch. He told me that he could use and assistant for odd stuff like filing magazine reference, and odd things like that, and that he would help go over the basics of comics with me. And he did. And I worked for him for a couple of years on and off, until he and some other North Carolina comic book artists started talking about forming and art studio. It was to be a “co-op” studio, where a bunch of artists work under one studio name, but are each self employed in their own right. So they asked me to join what was to become “Artamus Studios” as a general gopher guy for all the artists. It was cool, because I could quit my day job and be around and do comics all day and get paid a little hahaha!

To make a long part of that story short, I ended up getting my own work drawing and inking for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and other publishers full time. I was doing all kinds of work freelance. Well the comic book market crashed, and lots of creatives were out trying to find work, so I decided that I needed to morph into some other similar yet different type of work. I needed something that used the same skills. I met a friend, through my mom of all people, named Andy Wilson, that helped get me a internship in 2d cel animation in Atlanta, so I moved down there. I went through the internship and did very well. I started freelancing for animation houses before I was even done with the internship. So I ended up freelancing for all the different 2d animation houses in Atlanta, Cartoon Network, Turner Broadcasting, Funny Farm, Primal Screen. Some of which are gone now, and I made it as a successful animator. At this time I was still doing odd jobs in comics as they came around. Well the same guy that got me into 2d animation got a job at Sony Computer Entertainment America in San Diego animating for video games. I went to San Diego one summer for the big annual comic book convention that is held there every year to look for new comic work. I stayed with Andy. One morning Andy said his boss wanted to meet me, and he might have something for me if I was interested in going on staff. I was hesitant, but long story short, I end up in San Diego working in the video game industry doing concept work, storyboards, and 3d character animation. At this point I find myself doing 3d video games, and not 2d animation, and doing well for myself. The serious technology learning curve was very hard for me as a traditional artist. It still is sometimes. I learned it, but I was never completely happy at Sony. So I started on the side to pursue movies and try storyboards and get back to basics with my work. After a while I got some small jobs doing storyboards for basically nothing. It was all for portfolio work. So I started getting my feet wet in boards. SO, then I met a long time friend from back in NC at the big E3 show in LA, and he happens to be the creative director of Redstorm Entertainment of all places. He asked me if I was interested in moving back to the east coast, to which I of course was happy to do by this time. California was way too ‘California’ for my tastes. I’m a simple guy, and want simple things. I now do 3d character animation, concept, and storyboards at Redstorm who lets me do more drawing than Sony ever did during the day, and freelance in the movie and TV industry at night. Now I even have an agent that handles my storyboards and concept work from Hollywood, so things are looking very bright! Whew! Long story, and that’s the abridged version!

FS: How much rejection, how much competition did you have to fight through early on?

CG: Any artist will go through a ton of rejection early on. I got a ton rejections in every phase of my career. Job rejection, critical rejection, emotional rejection. It’s all part of it, and makes you tough skinned, and you unfortunately have to be that way. I always tell parents whose kids want to do what I do…Make sure that they REALLY want to do this. If your heart is not 200% in this as a career and they aren’t prepared (and expecting) to starve (especially early on when they are cutting their teeth), they will never make it! It’s a harsh reality but its just part of the business. It will eat you up and spit you out if you go in with a cavalier attitude. They have to do it because they love it, not for the money all the time.

FS: What motivates you, has it changed at all over the years?

CG: Well, it's taken my whole career to finally break down my art, and what motivates me. I love the “storytelling” aspect of art, and the “problem solving” that is inherently involved. In every form of art there is storytelling, and how it moves people. How painting evokes mood though color, and light, how drawing evokes emotion though a simple well drawn line, how animation evokes emotion through a well drawn or acted pose. It’s all about telling a story to someone and if you are good at it, and successful, the viewer will ‘get it’. It’s about solving visual problems that will convey the visual information even more clearly to the viewer. I love storyboards, because they give me the chance to tell a story through quick illustrations directing the people and camera, and set, and composition. If I am successful, then my boards will tell a good story to the cast and crew, helping the director in his vision. They will also be fun to look at, which is something I love to hear too!

FS: You have recently completed work for the upcoming NBC show "Surface."
Tell us about your work for that show. Is there anything else you can tell
us about that show?

CG: Not without two guys dressed in black showing up at my door ;-) Suffice to say, I did some illustration work for them. I hope to do much more. I had a blast, helped them in their production schedule, and hopefully they enjoyed it as much as I did drawing it! It’s going to be a fantastic show, so watch it!!

NBC's "SURFACE" debuts this Fall.

FS: You've also dived into the video game market, lead storyboard artist and lead cinematic character animator on a new game entitled " Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike." What are the differences from working within Film & Television as compared to Video Games?

CG: That’s a toughie. The biggest difference is simply budget, and time. Creatively, video games are much more confined and constrictive. It makes it harder because you have half of the manpower, and half of the development time, and you have to think much harder to make creative decisions within the limitations offered you. You have to think about what the limitations of the computer or console you are developing for are, and work around them. In movies you have some of that, but it’s not so limiting. It’s like 'we only have 3000 polys to make this character but go do it!' Where as in movies it's not as limited. Also in video games, the development is more aimed at “gameplay” and less about “storytelling”. Of course there are exceptions like Oddworld Inhabitants who build the games around the world they create, and less building the world around the game. They are much more cinematic in their approach. Their newest game "Stranger's Wrath" is so visually appealing, and so immersive. That is a good example of doing a game right!!

FS: Which medium do you prefer? Why?

CG: Movies definitely, and wholeheartedly. The limitless stories that you can tell, and the magic that only happens in the movies.

FS: How many projects do you usually work on at one time?

CG: I prefer 1-2, but I have been known to do more, especially in comics. I like sticking to 1 because my focuses can all be on that one project. I’m not fond of the 36 hour day.

FS: What are some of your upcoming projects?

CG: Well, I’m working on another as-yet unannounced game doing storyboards, concepts, and most likely character animation. I’m going to be doing a personal comic book project for the first time in a long while which I am going to shop around with comic publishers, and whatever else comes down the pike movie and TV wise. You never know day to day what you will be doing in this business haha!

FS: On a final note, if given the chance to work with anyone on an upcoming
project, who would that be and why?

CG: Tim Burton and Steven Speilberg. These two guys have genuine love for their craft. They are both master storytellers, and have their own unique visions. I admire them both, for their great contributions to film, animation, and culture. It would be so fun to work with them on something!

For more on Craig, you can visit his blog here, Craig Gilmore's Blog


Friday, August 12, 2005

Update on the HollyShorts Film Festival

We've received this press release from Theo Dumont, Co-Founder of the HollyShorts Film Festival. The event kicks off this weekend. Here's the release:

The organizers of the inaugural HollyShorts, Short Film Festival have announced the schedule of short films that will be showcased August 13 and 14 at The Space Theatre in Hollywood. The event, which will showcase 22 short films 30-minutes or less including, shorts from the U.S., UK, Poland, Canada and Thailand. The festival will kickoff with Y Nada Mas, a 19 minute short film from writer/director Justin Liberman, which debuted at the Tribeca film festival earlier this year and will close with Husk, a 27 minute short film from Brett Simmons, which was featured at Sundance. The opening night party for the event will take place at The Bungalow Club on Melrose.

"We are thrilled to present the brightest work from up and coming directors and writers," said festival co-founder Dan Sol. "Art is coming back to Hollywood, and we are looking forward to making HollyShorts an annual gathering, where the filmmakers can have their masterpieces showcased in front of their industry peers."

For our full interview with Theo Dumont please click here, Theo Dumont Interview and scroll down.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Interview with Filmmaker Frank Robak

This interview with Filmmaker Frank Robak is required reading for all of those with great movie ideas and no movie to show for them. What keeps you from making your movie? Here, you will find a man that wasn’t going to allow life to happen to him any longer, he made the decision to go out and make his life happen and with that, his movie.

FS: How long have you been a filmmaker and how many projects have you been involved with?

FR: Well let’s see… I’ve been interested in filmmaking for as long as I can remember. I’ve always had a fascination with movies. I spent a lot of time as a kid sitting at home watching movies. When I was 13, I managed to talk my mom into letting me get my own video camera. This was before Hi-8 or digital. I had one of those big VHS camcorders that you have to prop up on your shoulder. I grew up with Scott Rudolph, who plays the character Jack in Statistics, and we used to spend all our afternoons and weekends shooting fun little movies. To answer your other question… I made three short films and wrote five screenplays during my ten year effort to make Statistics. Scott and I would go to these meetings with various producers and production companies, we’d hear a lot of exciting things, but then like a lot of the small projects out there… nothing would happen. So I would get frustrated and call Scott and say we need to forget about these meetings and bullsh*t and just go make a movie. So we did. That’s finally what we did with Statistics. We decided to just do it ourselves guerilla style with no money.

FS: What is your feature film "Statistics" all about?

FR: It’s about life. It’s about how we view the world around us and how we choose to live our lives while we are here. It’s also about change. Before I wrote the script I would sometimes watch the news and think about the people in those news stories. I would wonder what they did that day and how they spent their last moments. News stories never focus on that. It’s all about age, location, and how they died. Statistics follows the lives of a few individuals on their last day.

FS: From original idea to final cut, how long did it take you to complete Statistics?

FR: This film has been ten years in the making. I’m still working on the final cut which will be done in the next few weeks. I originally woke up with the idea when I was 19 years old. I completed the first draft in two weeks. I tweaked the script as I got older. For nearly ten years I played the Hollywood game of trying to raise money. I eventually realized you can play that game forever and never get anywhere. In March 2005, Scott and I secured $17,000 and with the help of two other producers, David Michaels and Kent Harper, we started shooting. Kent Harper plays the DJ in Statistics. Both are great friends and incredibly resourceful producers. We knew $17K wasn’t enough to complete the film so the plan was for Scott and I to come up with another $10,000 before shooting finished in late May. We all worked closely together to figure out ways to cut corners and know when not to cut corners. In a lot of ways Scott and I paid for this movie out of pocket as we filmed.

FS: We understand you had a $25,000 budget for this film. That is miniscule compared to the $60 million dollars that goes into the average Hollywood feature. Did you actually come under or over your original budget?

FR: $25,000 was the round number we worked with, but every time Scott and I really crunched the numbers we saw the actual figure being somewhere between 25 and 30,000…. it all depended on how much we spent on lunches for everyone, how many people were needed for each day. The guerilla nature of the production required us to have a more open budget which was heavily reliant on favors. We really tried to keep the crew minimal, but we also tried to keep it comfortable for everyone. We had a SAG Limited Exhibition Agreement which means we had to pay our SAG actors $100 a day. We shot on digital with the Panasonic DVX100A which we purchased specifically for this movie. I think our average shoot day cost us around $500, but then we had a few extra expensive days like shooting the airplane scene, hospital scenes, DJ booth, and a fight scene in a restaurant. In the end we came in just slightly over $25K.

FS: In order to shoot your movie for the budget you had, you had to attack it guerilla style. What was your shooting schedule like? And what was the size of your crew and cast?

FR: For the first month and half of production I was working a day job that kept me busy Monday thru Friday. So we shot weekends and every now and then I took a day off so we could shoot on a week day. Six weeks later the greatest thing happened. My dedication to my movie became all too apparent and I lost my job. So we immediately started shooting everyday or as close to it as possible allowing for other peoples’ schedules. We shot scenes on Hollywood Blvd, LAX, the 405… all over LA completely guerilla style. I don’t want to give anything away from the story but we managed to get away with staging some pretty horrific things right out in the open. Each shoot day became the test of all tests. We were confronted by police on two occasions, but never shut down. My crew was essentially two people: Sound and DP- with many hats. The cast was usually no more than four actors per day. I’m not sure about the total cast list but there are probably around 10 major characters.

FS: What was it that made you make this feature right now? Why not five years ago or five years from now?

FR: I honestly can’t imagine making this movie at any other time in my life. I’ve grown a lot as a person since that first draft when I was 19. A lot has happened… not only in my life but throughout the world. We’ve all seen some pretty horrific things. Sometimes it feels like it’s never going to end. There are questions raised in the movie. How can we remain positive individuals when we are slammed with so many bad things happening everyday? Will we ever learn to live together peacefully? One side of me says probably not, but the other side has a glimmer of hope that one day we will. Statistics is about the value of life and preciousness of time. It’s about love vs. hate. It’s also about hanging on to hope no matter what happens. I think in this day especially, there are people all around the world who can relate to that.

FS: What have you learned the most from making this film?

FR: I’ve learned a lot in working closely with actors, giving them the freedom to develop their own character. Late night brainstorming sessions help me figure out the easiest and most effective way of getting a point across. I’ve also learned a lot of technical aspects of filmmaking such as lighting and sound and working closely with a DP to develop a style or feel for the movie. I continue to learn a lot as I edit the film and see it come together. I think the greatest thing I’ve learned is how to balance the pursuit of my own creative vision with the talents of everyone around me. Filmmaking is a collaborative process and it doesn’t matter if you are working with a bunch of friends, some unknown talent, or highly established professionals… you want to surround yourself with people who truly understand the project and have great ideas. I’m blown away and humbled by people who work out of pure passion for a project. I’m amazed by all the creative elements that come together to create a single moment. As a filmmaker, you have to be in love with the movie you’re working on.

FS: What's up next for you, what do you plan to do about press, marketing, and distribution?

FR: I recently put a trailer for the film online: STATISTICS MOVIE TRAILER
A lot of people all over the world are seeing it. It’s pretty cool to get an email from someone on a different continent who’s excited to see the movie. We have a few plans, a few specific individuals we’d like to show the movie to first. I’d like to see it go to some festivals. I’m currently going over some concepts for the movie poster and more website ideas. I’d also like to setup something like a forum or blog where people around the world can share their own ‘statistics’ moments or views on life; share experiences that opened their eyes for a moment, that made them wake up from the mundane, to appreciate what they have. Statistics is inspired by those human stories. What else can I say… Hopefully there will be a great distribution deal in the future and everyone will get a chance to experience the film. Whatever happens, my plan is to keep expanding myself as a filmmaker and human being and to continue making the movies I love.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Update on Filmmaker Roger Stoneburner

We're proud to provide an update on Filmmaker Roger Stoneburner. He's just completed a short doc film. Here's the breakdown, The Overhang (5:00 -- 30 Meg Quicktime File) A man climbs an overhang to perform a stunt that's never been done before.

See this history making movie here, The Overhang

To read our previous interview with Roger, please click here and scroll down to Tuesday, May 24th, Roger Stoneburner Interview

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Interview with Filmmaker Robert Sexton

FS: Did you grow up in Los Angeles?

Robert Sexton: Grew up on the east coast, in New Jersey, and New York. Played in numerous bands in New York and Philadelphia before going to film school in NY. I moved to Hollywood ten years or so ago.

FS: Why the move to LA?

RS: Moved to Los Angeles to play music. Changed careers in mid-stream. Needed a better paying gig and an occupation that wasn't so self destructive. I wanted a career that was more loving, caring, nurturing and considerate of the creative process like the film industry.

FS: Do you plan to live the rest of your life in LA?

RS: I’d like to stay here in Los Angeles. Vegas used to be a destination, but it's not as fun as it used to be.

FS: Why are you pursuing the film business?

RS: It's something more than a creative outlet. It's something that I need to do. I've always had demiurgic urges and all paths have led me here, to this place.

FS: You have a lot of experience directing and producing music videos, ultimately what would you like to be doing?

RS: Making movies, music videos, commercials.

FS: We have seen your recent short film, "LEGION: The Word Made Flesh" appearing in discussions on numerous message boards, it's on Cable TV, and it has screened in Movie Theaters. For those who have yet to see it, what is this movie about?

RS: From the press release: "A man of the cloth who has lost his faith tries to help an anguished mother free her daughter from an ancient, demonic curse...but they are a lost in an occult underground where nothing is as it seems... Where no one can be trusted."

In "LEGION", I dealt with movie archetypes. I took pre-conceived notions of characters that you already know and tried to twist them into something new...Without you realizing it until it's too late.

It seems to have worked. Horror fans are digging it. Slasher fans like it even though it has no real gore in it. It's just scary, spooky. It's a good, old fashioned, horror story.

Every scene in the movie is important. Even the bare breast scene is important. It's just not a tit. It alludes to the real power of the Brujo over his concubine and everyone else.

If you don't understand what transpires at the end then you weren't paying attention.

FS: What makes this story so profound is what you had to go through during the filmmaking process. Most would have shut it down. Can you share with us some of the setbacks you had to overcome to get "LEGION" made?

RS: There were so many strange things that occurred while shooting the movie. Before, during and after. People died, were maimed, had strokes, were arrested. Our caterer's kitchen burnt down. It was crazy. Everyone was afraid to answer their cell phones for fear of more bad news.

There is a famous occult store in Hollywood that I know of. I had a consultation there and I had an actual Witch come on set to do a banishing spell because events had become so terribly bad. People were frightened to come back to work.

The weird things eased up a bit after that but I guess that's what can happen when you make a movie about the devil and his ilk.

That being said, it's a horror movie, if we had made a comedy we would be talking of all the funny ways that people had died or mysteriously disappeared.

FS: Is there anywhere that we may view the film?

RS: Here is a link to the trailer:


FS: Knowing that you have a winning film on your hands, what are you doing now to promote it and get it seen?

RS: I've been submitting to film festivals. It's getting a good buzz and I'm being invited now to speak at some of them. I'd love to go to Europe and talk about my movie but I'm unable to go at this time. We're trying to figure out some webcast scenario now.

I'm doing the same old Hollywood shuffle. Taking meetings. Dog and pony. Trying to separate the meat from the shaft.

FS: What is the hardest part of the filmmaking process?

RS: There are so many obstacles that happen in the course of a project like this... The first thing that comes to mind would be money. Second would be time, thirdly... money.

There are egos... many personalities that need to be nurtured, coddled, exploited... All for the good of the show. Sometimes feelings have to be hurt, egos deflated, backs broken... By the way, we're talking about my feelings, my ego, my back, my personalities!!!

FS: With the success of "LEGION," what is up next for you?

RS: Accolades for "LEGION" so that I can find money to make another movie.

"LEGION" is such a great franchise that I'm hoping to expand the first one and make parts two and three.

I have a great vampire story with a twist and another script that I'm almost finished with about a devil that awakens after a thousand years of sleep. He's pretty angry about the way things have turned out.

FS: Leave us with an answer to this question, If you could go back 10 years and lay out a different career path for yourself would you do it?

RS: I would have moved to Los Angeles sooner and I wouldn't have taken that extra hit of lysergic acid diethylamide while watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre in my Spiderman underoos.


Keep watching the skies.