Harvey the Great - Trailer

Films Royale Interviews Ad Men Actor Gio Castellano

Tell us a little about yourself.
My parents were born and raised in Puerto Rico. They moved to Brooklyn, NY, in the mid 1960’s, where I was born. We moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts when I was only four years old and that’s where I was raised.

I am fluent in Spanish; we spoke mostly Spanish at home. I was a part of the ESL program in school and learned English along the way. I began taking English-only classes after fourth grade and excelled in class throughout high school.

I have three older brothers and two younger sisters, and I now have four daughters; Kailey, Shanni, Gianna and Dianaliz.

How did you get into acting?
About nine years ago I was a bit depressed about where I was at that point in my professional life. I hated my job - I had a decent job and was making a decent wage, but something big was missing and it was really eating away at me.

I asked myself the simplest question: what would you love to do for the rest of your life that would make you completely happy? The first and only honest answer I could blurt out was “ACTING.”

I had always dreamed of being an actor, but I immediately began to look for excuses as to why I couldn’t and shouldn’t pursue that dream. But I caught myself just in time, forced myself to be honest and realized I had always been too afraid. I had always thought there was no way I could ever begin and was full of dumb excuses, which stopped me before I could even try. So I decided at that moment I would change that.

I immediately bought a book called Breaking into Acting for Dummies. I read it cover to cover and began applying everything I learned. Two days later I bought another book called Act Now and did the same. Interestingly enough, a few months later, I was in my English Composition class in college and we watched the first half of The Pursuit of Happyness. The movie had such an enormous impact on me that when class ended I knew I would never return to school again.

I knew I needed to completely dedicate myself to becoming a professional actor. That was the REAL moment where I not only knew I would pursue acting, but when I understood that acting was my calling. There was no going back. The next day I began submitting for student films and two weeks later I auditioned for two short films at Tufts University. I was cast in both. And so it all began.

Are there any actors that inspire you?
Al Pacino, Will Smith, Jimmy Smits, Daniel Day Lewis and Jake Gyllenhaal to name a few. Each one is tremendously talented and extremely hard working. They seem so dedicated to their craft, yet they are very different from one another and I find that fascinating.

Do you have any other fun hobbies?
I work out, I enjoy watching the UFC, playing basketball and playing video games from time to time. More than anything I enjoy spending time with friends and family.

Tell us about your character in Ad Men.
Senor Lopez is the very successful CEO of the finest Tequila and Mezcal in all of Mexico. He is a true professional who likes the finest things in life. He is a bit arrogant, only trusts himself and most of all, he doesn’t take any shit… well, that is until he meets the Ad Men. It was so much fun to play him.

What is your favorite film genre?
I really enjoy Dramas; Mystery Dramas, Crime Dramas and Suspense/Thriller. I love stories with a good solid plot where the strong acting pulls me in effortlessly. I tend to study the actors’ choices and learn a great deal from them.

I am not a huge fan of action-packed movies, but I do enjoy comedies from time to time. And I absolutely LOVE all kinds of documentaries too.

Your favorite film characters?
Tony Montana in Scarface, John Bender in The Breakfast Club, Ajax in The Warriors, Rocky Balboa in Rocky and Detective Alonzo Harris in Training Day.

Your favorite scene in Ad Men?
The tequila worm scene, of course!

How would you explain the film to someone who hasn't seen it?
Funny, wacky, wild and fun… just watch it!

Thanks for the interview, where can our fans see more of your work?
Head over to my website: www.giocastellano.com, or visit IMDB.

Films Royale Interviews Ad Men Actor Douglas Rubin

Tell us a little about yourself.
I recently received my PhD in Physics, focusing on cosmology - the study of the early universe. I currently work as a data scientist in New York City.

How did you get into acting?
I got into acting during grad school while I was studying for my PhD. My research was in theory, which meant I spent most of my day locked in my office, writing out equations and staring at computer code, which honestly got lonely at times. I craved more interaction and opportunities to physically express myself.

I had always been interested in film, so I thought it might be a good idea to take an introductory acting class. I instantly loved it and have been acting for years now - I haven't looked back.

Are there any actors that inspire you?
Some actors who inspire me, in no particular order, include: Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Hardy, Ryan Gosling, Bill Murray, Dustin Hoffman, Christian Bale and John Cazale. Also - and I know this is probably an unconventional choice - I'm inspired by Larry David. He is a comedic genius and a great improvisational actor.

Do you have any other fun hobbies?
Besides acting, I am somewhat of a cinephile. I’m also a fitness fanatic and dabble a bit in body building and power lifting.

Tell us about your character in Ad Men.
My character in Ad Men is Francois, a French businessman who is in need of a commercial for his clothing line.  His penchant for the Ad Men's brand of humor leads to some very poor business decisions.

What is your favorite film genre?
I love all types of film. What matters most to me is that there is a compelling story with interesting characters, and that the directing and acting are on point. That said, on a Saturday night, I'd typically pick a heavy drama over anything else. Incidentally, my favorite scenes in which to act are also heavy-ish dramas.

Your favorite film characters?
My favorite film characters tend to be somewhat masculine and completely deranged, like Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood, and Robert De Niro in Raging Bull.

Your favorite scene in Ad Men?
My favorite scene in Ad Men is definitely the dancing scene in the company van, and Sala's attempt at rationalizing what goes on in there. Nick Dayal nailed that character; he is absolutely hilarious.

How would you explain the film to someone who hasn't seen it?
The film is a short comedy about three buddies trying to make it in the advertising business. They have trouble retaining clients though, because of their odd sense of humor and the fact that they can't seem to have a single meeting without being hungover.

Thanks for the interview, where can our fans see more of your work?
You can find my work at http://neactor.com/profile/DouglasRubin and www.flickpredict.net

Films Royale Interviews Ad Men Actress Ally Matteodo

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Ally Matteodo and I grew up in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Our claim to fame is that we're exactly 26 miles outside of Boston and the start of the Boston marathon! I lived in Los Angeles after I graduated from Boston University, and moved back to the East Coast around 4 years ago. I love to perform, and enjoy entertainment and story-telling across all mediums.

I work as a Standardized Patient, which means I help medical students, residents, nurses and doctors hone their interviewing and diagnostic skills in simulated clinical exam settings. Usually I'm given a scenario with a basic complaint (i.e. stomach ache for three days) and a profile of the patient I'll be playing, including family history, past medical history, allergies, etc. Then, I'll use that information to effectively play the character opposite the medical student. It's a terrific job for actors!

How did you get into acting?
I was first bitten by the acting bug in fifth grade, when I played Rose in the musical Oliver Twist. I strayed from acting over the years as I pursued behind-the-scenes work at times, but over the years I've realized performing is my first and greatest love. I began pursuing acting in earnest when I returned to Boston; one of my first gigs was in an improv troupe that performed at Umbria Prime's nightclub!

Are there any actors that inspire you?
There are so many, but some of the first ones that come to mind are Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth Taylor, Brie Larson, Richard Burton, Michael Fassbender, Matt Damon, Gary Oldman and Chris Cooper.

Do you have any other fun hobbies?
One of my favorite things to do is read; my interests span genres and fiction/non-fiction.  I'm currently reading John Grisham's Sycamore Row, a sequel to A Time to Kill. This reading is interspersed with routine consumption of newspapers, as well as Time, Glamour and Allure magazines.

I'm a huge animal lover and have an English bulldog named Henry that I love to romp and play with.  I watch anything that appears on PBS WGBH's show Nature, and I go to the zoos in New England routinely in the spring, summer and fall.  I’ve also been taking karate for a few years; a couple of months ago, I finally graduated from a white belt to an orange belt!

Tell us about your character in Ad Men.
My character, Crystal, is picked up by Sala on the street. Sala likes to drive around all day in a huge van, and he invites girls to dance in the van with him. Crystal shares the same enthusiasm for dancing and music as he does, so she readily agrees to dance in the van. During an important presentation to a potential client, Sala mistakenly shows footage of him dancing with Crystal, instead of the demo television ad.

What is your favorite film genre?
Film noir. I love femme fatales and hard-boiled detectives, and some of my favorite movies are film noirs/neo-noirs (Body Heat, The Maltese Falcon, Sunset Boulevard, Chinatown).

Your favorite film characters?
What first comes to mind is Steve McQueen as the titular character in Bullitt, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind and Angelina Jolie in Maleficent.

Your favorite scene in Ad Men?
I really enjoy the scene where Logan needs help moving out of his girlfriend’s place, and his friends Hal and Sala drop his filing cabinet out the window. It's a great piece of physical comedy – it’s just so absurd.

How would you explain the film to someone who hasn't seen it?
I would say it's kind of like Mad Men meets The Office. These three friends, Logan, Hal, and Sala, run an advertising agency. Despite the fact that they are fairly hapless, they manage to attract a big client and score a large payday.

Thanks for the interview, where can our fans see more of your work?
You can check out my reel at https://youtu.be/nGbMCPuW0hU and my IMDB page at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4358213. Feel free to say hi on Stage 32 too, a networking site for creatives everywhere!

Ad Men

Ad Men Review on The Final Cut

Films Royale Interviews Dominick Gray

Tell us about your involvement in Polypore.
After working on a few short films with Films Royale, I was commissioned to do a large portion of the Polypore score. I worked on the main theme, as well as several pieces that fit directly into scenes within the film.

What is your favorite film genre?
Probably the ones that mix a bit of humor with drama - think Coen Brothers or Wes Anderson.

Your favorite film character?
It's a toss-up between HAL-9000, Travis Bickle and Steve Zissou.

Your favorite scene in Polypore?
Lloyd Kaufman's cameo! And the animation sequence…

Thanks for the interview, where can our fans see more of your work?
To discover my work, please check out:


Films Royale Interviews Patrick Watson

Tell us a little about yourself.
My dad was a pianist and conductor; my mum was a ballet dancer. I was born and raised in England before moving to Germany and finally settling in the United States. In high school, I was really into music and theater, then in college I gained a lot of experience composing and arranging for voices.

Since graduating, I've fallen into various lines of musical work - as a music director, teacher, accompanist, freelance arranger - and in film scoring. I have a sexy wife and two amazing kids, and we have a cat named Mozart.

How did you get into filmmaking?
We had a huge VHS collection when I was a kid. I loved movies and telling stories - I even drew my own comics. In middle school I learned a little Flash and made some small political shorts. Later, I got into acting and directed a play for a high school competition - my production of "The Fifteen Minute Hamlet" took the top prize.

After arranging extensively for a cappella groups in college and getting familiar with Sonar, I wanted to see if I could do film scores, so I started connecting with filmmakers at UMass Amherst. I joined the film club, where I did the music for a documentary on loopholes in gun laws, and a short film about a man with the inability to recognize faces. One of the leaders of the club connected me with Jesse Barack, and I've been composing on and off with Films Royale and other filmmakers ever since, working on several shorts, ads and feature films.

Are there any filmmakers that inspire you?
I can usually find something to appreciate about all filmmakers. The wonder of Spielberg, the perfectionism of Kubrick, the genius of Hitchcock, the beauty and occasional terror of Guillermo del Toro, the banter of Tarantino, the grandeur of James Cameron, the bravery of Julie Taymor… heck, even the bombast of Michael Bay! There's something to learn from everyone, even if it's what not to do.

As far as music goes, I think the Spielberg/John Williams collaborations may never be matched. However, I love what I'm hearing from the collaborations between J.J. Abrams and Michael Giacchino.

Do you have any other fun hobbies?
It's weird, but I'm pretty into astrology. It's not just sun signs in your newspaper horoscope, it's an ancient system of interpreting celestial movements as signs for what happens here on Earth in society and individual lives. It's very precise, dependent on your exact birth date, time and location.

I wrote for a blog called politicalastrologyblog.com and our (accurate) prediction of the 2012 presidential election outcome was covered by ABC and Fox. I told you it was weird!

Tell us about your involvement in Polypore.
I was asked by Jesse to provide some music for Polypore back in 2011. Although it was in conjunction with several other musicians, eventually my contributions expanded to include a good majority of the film's music.

It took nearly two years, because the film was still being made and produced; Jesse would send me his thoughts about what the music should be like, or he would leave it open. I'd send him a draft, he'd send it back with some comments, I'd change it up a bit, rinse and repeat until we got what we needed. Sometimes I'd nail it first time, others took longer to resolve, especially as edits to scenes of the film were made, but we got there in the end.

What was amazing about the process, was that we got it done entirely over email! It might have been easier in person, but it was nice to have his thoughts in writing. That way, I could always come back to them when I was at a loss or when I'd forgotten where I'd started from.

What is your favorite film genre?
My favorite movie genre is sci-fi/fantasy. I love movies that explore profound questions and make you reflect on yourself, and allow you to immerse yourself in another world. I also love comedies and action movies.

Your favorite film character?
One of my favorite film characters is George McFly, played by Crispin Glover in Back to the Future. I have a bunch of others, but I'll leave it at that.

Your favorite scene in Polypore?
My favorite scene in Polypore is probably the anime sequence. It's not an overdone thing in movies yet, so it was a cool addition to the movie. I also love Lloyd Kaufman's scene - such a cool cameo and he had some great lines.

Where do you see Films Royale going in the future?
I see Films Royale doing really well if it keeps up its output, especially in the emerging media markets of web series and streaming service exclusives like Netflix, Amazon… even Yahoo is getting in on the act!

Thanks for the interview, where can our fans see more of your work?
Unfortunately, I haven't put out much new stuff recently (just for now!), because I'm busy with my new job as a music teacher and with babies at home. However, you can find some more of my work on https://www.youtube.com/user/PatrickWatson. Thanks for the interview!

Films Royale Interviews Polypore Actress Sarah Nicklin

Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I'm an actor :) I currently live in Los Angeles, however previously I worked on the East Coast in New England for a while. I've done lots of work in indie films, which I really love; I have a background in stage and a BA in acting from Emerson College.

How did you get into acting?
I started acting for a boy! I had a huge crush on the child star Jonathan Taylor Thomas as a kid, and I thought that the best way to meet him was to become a famous actress. Then we would do a movie together and surely fall in love and get married. If I was going to be this big famous actress, I needed to get started as soon as possible. So when an opportunity arose to do a school play in the 6th grade, I signed up immediately and haven't looked back since.

Are there any actors that inspire you?
All of them. Of course I have my favorites like Gary Oldman, Daniel Day Lewis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and a bunch more, but seriously every actor inspires me. If you're an actor and you're hustling and putting yourself out there to get work, that is a major accomplishment and a big inspiration to me - especially at the lower levels. Seeing actors do great work makes me want to work that much harder and keep pushing forward.

Do you have any other fun hobbies?
It feels like all I do is work, ha! Between my day job, acting gigs, running casting director workshops, auditions, working out and trying to make it to events to support friends’ work, I have so little free time these days. But if I had more time, I like pretty much anything to do with the outdoors. I love camping - getting away from cities, cell phones and computers. I also like making my own clothes and writing.

Tell us about your character in Polypore.
I play the chiropractor. A young man in need of medical attention suddenly appears in my office thinking I'm a doctor. Shortly after, some guys in suits show up chasing him. I'm completely confused by the whole encounter and totally useless in helping the kid that showed up in my office.

What is your favorite film genre?
I like dark dramas and thrillers… bonus points if there is a romantic element involved too!

Your favorite film character?
Based on my favorite genre, the first one that comes to mind is Eric Draven from The Crow, but I'm not sure if he's really my all-time favorite. There are too many good ones to really choose!

Your favorite scene in Polypore?
Same answer as above! That's like asking a parent to choose their favorite child.

Where do you see Films Royale going in the future?
Hopefully you guys are gonna continue to make awesome indie films. It's a really tough market right now, but we need more indie films to supplement the CGI-centric dreck that Hollywood is pumping out.

Thanks for the interview, where can our fans see more of your work?
You can find a list of my films and where you can see them on the Projects page of my website: www.sarahnicklin.com

Films Royale Interviews Polypore actor Vania Bezerra

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where I worked as an actress and model before enrolling in law school. I thought my acting background would be an asset in the courtroom, but it really just reminded me of what my heart wanted, so I moved to New York City to expand my opportunities in the entertainment industry.

How did you get into acting?
It was something I really wanted to do, I knew it when I was really young, and I wasn’t going to let anything stand in my way. You know those things you want so much you’d do anything? I knew my parents maybe weren’t going to be supportive, so I decided to enroll in acting classes without their permission. They’re absolutely supportive now, of course, but at the time I wasn’t so sure. It was something I just felt compelled to do.

Are there any actors that inspire you?
I love Kate Winslet, Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore specifically, because each of them take on challenging, dark roles that allow them to go places they probably don’t in their non-acting lives. I love the courage of a metamorphosis like that, how easily they slip into characters so different from themselves. I love how freeing that feels as an actress, and those are the kind of roles I like for myself as well. I also really loved the innocence of Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias. That was one of the first movies that moved me, and her part was one I could see myself playing.

Do you have any other fun hobbies?
I love to travel. Seeing new places never loses its excitement. I really like to take cooking classes when I do visit new places, so that I can share the experience with my friends when I get home. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in a culture than through its foods, and sharing those flavors with my friends is one of the ways I show them how much I love them.

Tell us about your character in Polypore.
I play a film blogger who sits down to interview Mr. Kaufman, a film director who is working on a zombie movie. The interview is fast-paced and packed with elements of farce – especially when our sit-down is infiltrated by a key chase scene, so it was a really fun role. I was the sane one surrounded by lunacy.

What is your favorite film genre?
I wouldn’t say I have a favorite genre, per se. I just really like interesting stories. If the story is compelling, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a comedy or a drama or an action flick. A great story can cross genres.

Your favorite film character?
I just watched Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, and am so drawn to characters like that, so vulnerable and complex and well crafted. Kate Winslet’s role in Little Children was so dark and intense, really packed with emotions. I also loved the substance of Michelle Williams’ role of an angst-filled wife in Blue Valentine.

Your favorite scene in Polypore?
I love the first scene, when the main character realizes he has telepathy he never asked for.

Where do you see Films Royale going in the future?
Jesse Barack is so young to have accomplished so much. He’s really a great writer and director, and also a very cool guy. The company has several films under its belt. I predict nothing but good things given the talent and drive behind the scenes.

Thanks for the interview, where can our fans see more of your work?
Thanks so much to you, as well! You can visit my website, vaniabezerra.com, to learn more about me and my work.

Polypore - Trailer

Polypore Review on The Final Cut

Films Royale Interviews Polypore actor Rob Slocum

Tell us a little about yourself.
Rob Slocum, an actor stuck in a working mans body lol. I love my life, where I’ve been and where I am right now. The best part of my life is what is yet to come. I hope to continue entertaining people for as long they will have me.

How did you get into acting?
I started acting in grammar school and always loved being on stage. As I got older I did extra work an searched all over to join and be part of the local acting community. As I auditioned I won many roles in film and on stage and TV. This told me I was in the right place now I just need one of my many projects to take me to the proverbial next level.

Are there any actors that inspire you?
I am inspired by so many actors and actresses. Many you have never heard of and may not ever know. Christian Bale comes to mind along with Matthew McConaughey, two actors who morph into the roles they portray.

Do you have any other fun hobbies?
I love to ride quads in the woods or just hike thorough nature. I also scuba dive and target shooting is a favorite. Golf is something that I enjoy but I never want any my rounds of golf to be on film, yes I’m that bad.

Tell us about your character in Polypore.
My character is the quintessential Brian Williams type of news reporter that is going for the story no matter what. I thought of him as either needing one more big story to make head anchor or maybe he is there already and feels he needs to be the best to stay there. Either way he believes it is his duty to get the story to the people.

What is your favorite film genre?
My favorite genre is science fiction but comedy might edge out Sci-Fi a bit. I love the roles that make the audience think they have it all figured out only to find that my character pulled one over on them.

Your favorite film character?
I cannot choose one character as my favorite because of my varied love of film, stage and TV. Way too many to choose just one.

Where do you see Films Royale going in the future?
I would hope to see Films Royale go the distance. I hope to get a call from my friend and creative genius Jesse Barack, telling me “my office is ready now get to work and let’s make some movies.” You see, as many other actors are, I am an aspiring writer and director. Many production houses start this very way. One small short then a full feature or two and the next thing you know there is a set of offices with many creative people working together. They all met along the way and were brought together to make history and some of the best films.

Thanks for the interview, where can our fans see more of your work?
I am on hiatus right now but much of my work is out there, and there is much more to come. Go to NEACTOR.COM or use this link to see some of my work: neactor.com/profile/robslocum

Films Royale Interviews Polypore actor Hugh Reiss

Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Longmeadow MA, playing music at an early age. I then majored in music at UMass Amherst for one year. After college I have been transporting patients in a hospital in Springfield MA up to the present.

How did you get into acting?
I got into acting by a friend who told me of an online television show he was in. I then got a role in that online show.

Are there any actors that inspire you?
The actors that inspired me are Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicholson.

Do you have any other fun hobbies?
My hobbies consist of playing the clarinet, playing tennis and skiing.

Tell us about your character in Polypore.
I believe my character in Polypore is a quiet but strong character.

What is your favorite film genre?
I enjoy comedy the most because I believe it shows how much talent an actor has.

Your favorite scene in Polypore?
I believe the whole film has a great story line.

Where do you see Films Royale going in the future?
Films Royale is very creative and I believe it can be marketed everywhere.

Thanks for the interview, where can our fans see more of your work?
IMDb: imdb.com/name/nm3412540

Films Royale Interviews Polypore actor Jack Tracksler

Tell us a little about yourself.
I do a lot of voice over work these days. Kids books, commercials, e-learning, you name it. Finally I’m doing what I started out to do and still no agent! I act in some films and play Santa a lot in December. The rest of the time, I’m just a voice. Hopefully acting and voice over work will keep me busy if I retire from my day job.

How did you get into acting?
I got into acting by accident. I was looking for a “retirement job” and thought I would do voice over work as I was a radio announcer back in the 70’s. Looked for an agent, but couldn’t find one, registered at Boston Casting and got a couple of acting jobs as a featured extra in 3 films. I frankly don’t remember how I met Films Royale.

Are there any actors that inspire you?
I didn’t start out to be an actor and really, no one inspired me. So my approach is try to work hard and deliver the character. If you’re lucky, every now and then, a little magic happens. My magic happened during a student film I did several years ago. I got a standing ovation from the crew after the Director said “cut.” I have no idea if the film was ever finished. I’d love to have a copy of that scene.

Do you have any other fun hobbies?
As for Hobbies, I make wine and have built a couple of acoustic guitars. I have a passion for sailing. I love cooking and would love to have my own show called “Cooking – It’s no big deal.” Showing that great meals are simple to prepare and simple is truly good and elegant.

Tell us about your character in Polypore.
Dr. Tomten is a scientist who at one point in time worked for the Rein Corporation. Now they are hunting him down to try to eliminate him for what he knows about that biopharmaceutical company and clones. He is a Scot and Dr. Jegado’s excesses frustrate him.

What is your favorite film genre?
I am one of the few actors I know who does not go to movies. The last 3 movies I have seen were ones that I was in. My favorite movies are Silverado and Wind – go figure.

Your favorite film character?
I tend to like actors who are in British Television mystery programs. David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Homes. Suchet is very talented and broad in character development from Poirot to villains and everything in-between.

Your favorite scene in Polypore?
My favorite scene in Polypore was when Dr. Jegado and I were with the “Escort” and he was negotiating price. All during rehearsal and table reads I thought the “Escort” was a tour guide. It wasn’t until she came on set in full wardrobe that her real job sunk in. I guess I’m just not as worldly as I thought!

Where do you see Films Royale going in the future?
Films Royale runs a great set. They start on time and finish on time. A rarity in the 20 or so films I’ve been in. Polypore was quite an epic and friendships made during the filming of it remain to this day. I thank them for the opportunity and the introduction to some really great professionals.

Thanks for the interview, where can our fans see more of your work?
I have a listing on NE Actor. I believe there is a scene from Polypore there: neactor.com/profile/jacktracksler

Polypore Reviewed by Mike Haberfelner

As weird stories go, this one starts with a puked on plant – thing is that the person who puked on the plant was on experimental (yet legally obtainable) drugs. The plant owner tosses it out of course, but Paul (Jeffrey Bielat), a jobless youngster, takes it in, gets to breath its spores … and weirdly enough develops the ability to read minds. He tries to find out the cause for this, and everything seems to lead back to the Rein Corporation, an international pharma company that experiments in fields far beyond the purely therapeutical (let alone the safe). His research eventually leads him to Paris and a certain Dr. Jégado (Marshall Berenson) … who gives Paul a drug that has him revert to his former self (Chen Tang), which is almost too much for him to take. What’s even worse is of course that corporate assassins from the Rein Corporation are all of a sudden after him and his best friend Trent (Jesse Barack) … and then Trent’s abducted by Dr. Apollo (Jonathan Thomson) and turned into a warmachine with telekinetic powers – and all hell breaks loose.

Paul, who wants to save his friend and get his old self back suddenly finds himself in the thick of it, not only because he has suddenly become a crime target for corporation assassins, but also because he is forced by a group of anti-Rein activists to work with/for them – and suddenly “all hell breaks loose”, as mentioned above, sounds like an understatement.

Polypore is an in recent times increasingly rare specimen of thought-provoking and intelligent science fiction that nevertheless never gets dull. And while I have to admit the very complex story is at times hard to follow (in its complexity rather than its basic narrative), it is incredibly well-paced, finds the right balance between delivering a serious message and outright satire, and has an air of mystery to it throughout to keep the audience guessing. Add to that some great action and locations, a rich visual language, and a solid cast, and you’ve got yourself a pretty good movie.


Source: searchmytrash.com/movies/polypore(2013).shtml

VFX Guide - Getting Hit by a Car

By Anthony Redendo

The VFX of making it look like someone got hit by a car is a lot easier than it sounds. As long as you film on a tripod a shot of someone in the street and in a separate shot a car driving by. With those two clips it can be easily manipulated together.


Line the clips on top of each other and make the top one transparent so you can see both the car and the person. Then make a mask around the person.


Once the car is next to the person you must duplicate the person layer and make a more defined mask. You want to make the mask extremely close to the edges of the persons body.

After that comes the fun part.


With After Effects you can use the puppet tool to make joints on your person layer to basically manipulate this person to do whatever you’d like. As you move through time it will automatically set key frames for you.


You can now bend the persons body around the car and with some motion blur it will seamlessly blend in.

Basic Twitter Advice For The Indie Filmmaker

By Kendrick Wong

Used correctly, Twitter can be a valuable tool in your filmmaking career. Keep in mind, the platform shouldn’t be viewed solely as a self-promotional shouting contest. If anything, you’re here to connect with a spectrum of people including knowledgeable industry players, fans, and journalists. In many instances, fellow users become your supporters emotionally, financially, and physically (on set). Focus on publishing meaningful content that’s relatable, educational, and thought-provoking! Here’s a primer with some guidance on getting started:

First Steps
If you’re registering your own account for personal use, find an eye-catching profile picture. No one really trusts or follows users with the default egg avatar. While these profile pictures can always change, make sure your chosen thumbnail at the time reflects a mood or feeling you want the viewer to experience. If you’re creating an account specifically for a movie, select a provocative still, an official logo, or a re-sized poster image.

The Bio Section / About Me
Remember to fill out the “Bio” section (160 characters or less) with compelling reasons why complete strangers should follow you. Famous names among the cast and crew of your movie? An ingenious concept? What makes you or your film stand apart?


Give Them An Interactive Touchpoint… Your Website
Also remember to place a link to your official website, blog, or trailer. Ideally, you will have created a juicy landing page (e.g. yourmovie.com/behind-the-scenes) that provides wonderful, stimulating, and snackable content to your visitors. By snackable, I mean pieces of content that don’t require huge time commitments (e.g. trailers, sneak peeks, photos, synopses) and are enticing. In addition, these pieces should be shareable for people to distribute amongst their own social circles. As a viewer immerses himself in the world of your movie (that’s been extended to social media and your website), you can make him into a supporter without sacrificing all of your major plot points.

Growing Your Network
Everybody loves talking about themselves, pitching their own awesomeness. You’re competing with a lot of noise and clutter in grabbing the attention of Twitter users. Endless self-promotion at the expense of useful or worthwhile information will turn others off to you and your cause. At best, people will just ignore your tweets. At worst, they’ll publicly admonish you and propagate reasons why you’re awful/annoying to their networks. You’re always building your reputation.

To combat this, I recommend starting small. Don’t try to grab every set of eyeballs, especially if you feel intimidated that you don’t have any “essential” tweets to offer (e.g. breaking news, inside scoops). Instead, try to begin conversations and relationships on a person-to-person basis. Maximize the time you spend by listening to others and responding genuinely.

Maximizing Your Time and Continuing Your Education
Twitter (along with other social media tools) affords you a wonderful opportunity to learn. Be friendly and respectful of other filmmakers and industry professionals; many of them might be in the same boat as you. One of the most rewarding things you can do involves asking questions and absorbing the responses. Many people will give you honest advice and guidance on a wide variety of topics such as directing, writing, lighting, editing, etc.

On top of that, you can find expert opinions and reviews of gear and equipment as well as recommendations that fit your budget. With a lengthy conversation, I recommend carrying it over to other places if possible (Google +, Skype, email, Facebook, phone, in-person) so that you don’t spam your Twitter feed.

Key Takeaways
▪ Eye-catching Profile Picture.
▪ Detailed Bio With Compelling Reasons to Follow You.
▪ Link To Your Website / Blog / Production Materials.
▪ Start Relationships.
▪ Ask Questions.

Why You Need a Script Supervisor

By Kendrick Wong

You act as the eyes and ears of production. You scrutinize every motion, every action, every spoken word. For a smaller indie movie, you probably keep track of the scene’s physical construction (e.g. set pieces, wardrobe choices on the actors), physical movement (“Did she finish the scene raising her left arm or her right?”) and speech (“Did the actor/actress follow the script completely or was the delivery altered by a few words?”). More importantly, you monitor the time being spent on each scene in relation to the schedule for the day.

I recommend timing each take to give you an incremental reference point in comparison to the total daily plan. Here, you can make changes according to being ahead/behind pace. You’ll be working with supreme familiarity of the shooting script and the day’s shotlist for those scenes. On top of that, you’ll make a running log of camera setups, angles, scene numbers, and corresponding script pages.

Why Are Script Supervisors Important?
Script supervisors can be seen as the glue that holds the production pieces together. Directors, assistant directors, and production managers may be busy running around with other tasks. Your time management directly effects the rhythm of filming and huge consequences could loom with mistakes!

Your job as supervisor is to make sure things can pick up exactly where they left off seamlessly. Your clear notation and structured formatting makes life much easier for whoever edits the footage. You provide clear markings and lead-ins in terms of distinguishing different scenes and takes. Here, the editor(s) won’t have to guess which pieces are golden and which ones are trash. In essence, your work (and its final edited format) allows the classic “movie magic” storytelling to occur; the audience can logically assume a cause-and-effect relationship from shot-to-shot and scene-to-scene based on consistent and established audiovisual markers.

Some Key Traits You Need:
▪ Obsessive Attention to Detail/Organization
▪ Excellent Sense of Timing
▪ Excellent Communication Skills (verbal, physical cues, interpersonal / “one-on-one” / group level)
▪ Incredible Patience/Tolerance/Thick Skin
▪ Impeccable Memory
▪ Unwavering Optimism

Some Key Things To Have Nearby:
▪ Wristwatch
▪ Tape (Duct, measuring, all different kinds!)
▪ Batteries
▪ Camera / Smartphone
▪ Walkie-Talkie

The script supervisor is one of the best friends a director and editor will make. However, on small indie productions, roles often blur and one person can end up wearing many different hats. With that said, I recommend having a distinct script supervisor for your production as the responsibilities can be exhausting for that position alone. A dynamite script supervisor preserves the quality of your project by preventing careless blemishes that ruin your film’s flow.

Press Coverage - SearchMyTrash.com

An Interview with Jesse Barack, Director of Polypore

By Mike Haberfelner
January 2012

Your upcoming film, Polypore – in a few words, what is it about?

There are really two plot-lines, the first of which follows the protagonist who, to his great surprise, awakens one morning with the ability to read minds. The second plot-line follows the Rein Corporation, a pharmaceutical company that is trying to get people sick in order to sell them medication. When the protagonist tries to find out why he has telepathy, the plot-lines intersect.

Polypore seems to be highly critical of the pharma-industry. Where did the inspiration for that come from?

To be honest the pharmaceutical industry just seemed like an easy target. The Umbrella Corporation was also an early inspiration.


The plot of Polypore also seems to be deeply rooted in science fiction – a genre especially dear to you, and your genre favorites?

I don’t like action films that happen to be Sci-Fi or television shows with a Sci-Fi theme, but I’m a huge fan of Sci-Fi films that make you think, and those containing social commentary, like Moon, District 9, Akira, 12 Monkeys, Pi, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Matrix and They Live. The Fifth Element is a guilty pleasure.

Other sources of inspiration when writing Polypore?

Akira was a huge influence in the original story but the plot has since transformed and doesn’t contain nearly as many references.

I’ve heard that Polypore grew out of a rather small idea into a comparatively vast project. What can you tell us about the evolution of Polypore at the writing stage?

The original story was written in a pretty informal fashion on napkins at the Tunnel Bar in Northampton during my senior year of college. I knew that the students who were filling crew positions would be departing after graduation, so I decided to start production immediately and wrote the script while simultaneously shooting the first half of the film. While slightly chaotic, this fluidity allowed me to add various forms of production value as they materialized (new locations, characters, etc.) and the writing process became very organic.

With Polypore having become a very ambitious project, how hard/easy was it to get production off the ground, and were there any major stumbling blocks bringing your vision to the screen?

I pretty much just jumped right into it head on. One stumbling block that occurred in particular was that the actor playing the protagonist went to Europe for a semester before we finished shooting. A pretty absurd re-write took place to solve the issue and the actor ended up shooting some footage on location while he was abroad. When he returned I shot additional scenes involving his character. At the same time I was doing videography work to fund the film so I was well aware that production would take longer than usual.

According to my knowledge, Polypore was shot all over the world. What can you tell us about the trials and tribulations, but also the appeal of shooting a small independent production on pretty much an international stage? And will you ever again go global to shoot a film?

Shooting internationally was mostly achieved through networking with other filmmakers and also through the help of actors who happened to be visiting other countries (i.e. Japan). One of my goals was to squeeze as much production value as possible out of a very low budget. This went a little too far at times and I’ve already identified scenes that will be removed from the final cut, but for the most part this strategy worked to my favor, and the film looks much more expensive than it actually is. It’s pretty cool when you jump from the suburbs of New York to the streets of Tokyo. As for shooting globally, I would love to do so again in a much more professional fashion.

What can you tell us about your principal cast?

Jeffrey Bielat is an actor and musician with several years of experience in live performance and sketch comedy. While acting in Polypore he simultaneously worked at Animal Planet in New York City, then moved to Grenada as part of a study abroad program. Chen Tang is a professional actor based in New York City working in film, television, theatre, commercials, print, and industrials. He trained as an actor at the University of Miami and Emerson College and is originally from Memphis, TN.

Your film features Troma legend Lloyd Kaufman in a cameo. How easy is he to work with, is he willing to be directed or is he more likely to take control into his own hands? And what influence do Kaufman and Troma have on you as a filmmaker?

Lloyd was great to work with, I actually based his scene on an interview from “The Long Road to Gary,” a short mockumentary that I co-directed about the making of a zombie film. He was more than willing to take direction but also offered some improvisation, which worked well for the interview-style scene that he was acting in. I wasn’t inspired by Lloyd’s actual films so much as his do-it-yourself attitude. There is a lot of wisdom in his views surrounding the democratization of media as well as self-reliance when it comes to filmmaking and distribution. Self-distribution in particular is something that I’m quite interested in exploring.

On Polypore, you seem to have your hands in everything, from directing, writing and producing of course to filming, editing, even acting, and the like. What do you enjoy the most, what could you do without?

I enjoy directing the most but I also enjoy writing, as well as producing. I’ve actually had to spend most of my time producing on this project as opposed to directing. For my next film I’d love to have a producer and be able to focus entirely on directing. Acting was supposed to be out of convenience at first, when the film was very small, but as the plot evolved this actually became quite an inconvenience. I wouldn’t recommend wearing too many hats, it can get pretty crazy.

The $64-question of course: When and where will Polypore be released?

I’ll be releasing Polypore at a film festival in 2013 (I’ve fundraised $1,500 online which will be used to enter around 30 film festivals).

Let’s go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

When I was younger I spent a lot of time drawing cartoons, which sort of drew me towards exploring animation, which in turn drew me towards filmmaking. My mother signed me up for a membership at the Pittsfield Community TV Station where I learned the basics of editing on an ancient version of Adobe Premiere. After a few months of volunteer work they let me create my own television show so I picked up a copy of Final Cut Pro and messed around with it endlessly until I was fluent. In college I took a few film courses but I personally learn best from experience, so the time I spent making films for class was always more educational than anything that could have been taught in a lecture.

As far as I know, Polypore is your debut feature, but you have made quite a few shorts. Why don’t you talk about those for a bit?

In 2005, I co-directed “The Long Road to Gary,” a short mockumentary based on the making of a zombie film. Numerous problems arise on the set and everything seems to go wrong for the enthusiastic filmmakers. The project won “Best Student Film” at the 2005 Northampton Independent Film Festival and “Best Overall” at the 2009 UVC-TV 19 Film Festival. My other shorts were created for experimental film courses and served as stepping stones to Polypore. They were a blast to make and seemed wonderful at the time, I look at them now and think, “dear god, these are absolutely horrendous in comparison” – but you learn the best from making mistakes and these shorts led the way to working on a feature where I was able to call upon those earlier experiences for insight. Of course I made new mistakes while working on Polypore, which is also a stepping stone to another film, which will be a stepping stone to the film after that, and so on, but in the process I learned how to make a feature-length film. Polypore is my film school.

In what way does making a feature film differ from directing shorts (if at all)?

It is much more time-consuming and I personally pour much more energy into a feature because it is a “real film” that can actually go somewhere. I enjoy shorts and some stories only work as shorts, but I’m much more interested in creating feature-length films.

Any future projects you’d like to talk about?

For my next project I’d like to create a much more minimalist film on a somewhat larger budget. I’d also like to work as an assistant director on a larger film at some point, I think that would be a great learning experience.

Directors who inspire you?

Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Park Chan-wook, Darren Aronofsky, Guy Ritchie, Vincent Gallo, Chris Cunningham, Michel Gondry, Terry Gilliam.

Your favorite movies?

I would say that my favorite films are what I at least consider to be of the “dramedy” category – films like The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, Magnolia, Breathless, Pulp Fiction, Eternal Sunshine, Buffalo ’66 and Lost in Translation. I also like some edgier films like Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Layer Cake, Fight Club, Kill Bill and Requiem for a Dream.

… and of course, films you really deplore?

Hollywood’s mindless, formulaic and lifeless yet profitable franchises. You know what I mean.

Source: searchmytrash.com/articles/jessebarack(1-12).shtml

How Pinterest Can Help Your Filmmaking

By Kendrick Wong

Social media has made it easier than ever before for filmmakers to create, incubate, and extend the life cycle of their movies. Every indie moviemaker is already on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, and a host of other hubs. Do you really have time to manage another puzzle piece?


Why Pinterest? Sheri Candler and E.M. Taboada both highlighted incredible ways to leverage this platform. Pinterest gives you an instant impression of a person’s mindset in pictures and videos, a self-constructed web/map/collage/mosaic of identity. Here, you can explore:

▪ Thoughts
▪ Beliefs
▪ Aspirations
▪ Inspirations
▪ Dreams
▪ Projections

It also serves as a wonderful complement to your work-in-progress screenplay on Celtx.

The Challenge: Create a Visual Backstory for Your Characters
Create a profile for yourself and separate boards for each character you’d like to shape. Make sure to explicitly state your purpose of creating these boards (as part of an artistic work) in the description. Formulating a completely fabricated profile for somebody who doesn’t exist probably isn’t kosher.

The description of each pin can act as a micro journal/diary for your character’s motivations in highlighting something to share with the world. Keep in mind how other characters would judge these postings in the universe of your project. Is there a separation from reality in the way your character sees himself/herself (and subsequently what he/she pins) and how other characters (and most importantly, the audience) view him/her? This “blindspot,” as Ricky Gervais described, can be the foundation for something truly memorable. If possible, have your actors/actresses slated for these roles try the same exercise (you can alter the settings of each board to allow contributions from multiple people). What content overlaps? What differs?

More Tests
Pinterest also challenges the filmmaker’s definition of montage. As an exercise, how do you tell someone’s story in 100 pictures or less? 50? 25? Try to depict/translate a famous relationship or arc to a single board. Imagine interpreting Carl and Ellie’s romance from UP or Leonard Shelby’s memory from Memento.

The Sharing Function
You’ll be able to publicize your pins and receive feedback (comments, mentions, re-pins, re-tweets, shares, etc) based on whether you’ve linked your account to Twitter, Facebook, or both. This allows you to maintain the “narrative tone” of your movie if you choose to translate it to social media.

Remember that Pinterest has yet to adopt certain privacy features that allow users to selectively curate different pins for different audiences (think Google Plus’ Circles or Facebook’s restrictions).

Another thing to remember…

Warning of Usage
The site rejects content that is “hateful, violent, harmful, abusive, racially or ethnically offensive, defamatory, infringing, invasive of personal privacy or publicity rights, harassing, humiliating to other people (publicly or otherwise), libelous, threatening, profane, or otherwise objectionable.” If it fits your character to dwell entirely in those realms, you’re out of luck.

Is This Right for Me?
If you’re skeptical on Pinterest’s potential, focus on the quality of your social media interactions (concentrated efforts on maybe 3-5 networks that make sense for your time/budget) rather than spreading yourself thin across 10,000 places. However, this hub can become a useful tool in your filmmaking arsenal with practical applications in character development, storyboarding, location scouting, and production design among others.

Press Coverage - NewEnglandFilm.com

Follow Your Bliss, Not Your Budget: An Interview with Jesse Barack

On most independent features, a small budget is a source of constant worry. It can stifle a director’s creativity and lead to concession after concession. But director Jesse Barack isn’t letting money worries stop him from pushing his upcoming film, Polypore, to the limit.

By John DeCarli
June 30, 2011

Jesse Barack’s film Polypore began as an homage to Akira written on bar napkins, but it has since mushroomed into an epic, globetrotting sci-fi thriller, featuring a cast of more than 80, a potent mystery and even a celebrity cameo. Throughout the process — from casting to filming to marketing — Barack has found creative ways of turning limitations into assets. And, like the nefarious corporate conspiracy at the film’s heart, it seems nothing can stop Polypore, not even a small budget.


John DeCarli: How did you manage to raise the money for this project, which is always a tough proposition for independent filmmakers?

Jesse Barack: The money for Polypore was raised primarily through my videography business. The UMass Arts Council also awarded us a grant. We started promoting the film online during pre-production and made some additional money through early donations. We are currently raising money on Kickstarter.com for film festival fees, and have already made over $500. Fortunately, the Internet has made it much easier for independent filmmakers to find money for their projects.

JD: Most of the film was shot near your hometown in the Berkshires. What was it like to see the area you grew up in through the eyes of a filmmaker? What sort of look did the area give to the film?

Barack: I had grown a little bored of the area in my youth, but once I began to visit other parts of the country, I realized how truly rare the Berkshires are. It’s a gem, really. In this film, we’ve been focusing on locations like Richmond, where the vegetation is rampant and overgrown. We’re going for a post-apocalyptic, Pan’s Labyrinth, "Narnia" feel in a particular sequence where the protagonist travels to the secret location of the Rein Corporation, which is very isolated. In a future motion picture, probably a drama, I would love to focus on the other aspects of the Berkshires: the old inns, small towns and unique inhabitants.

JD: Despite its roots in the Berkshires, Polypore also features scenes shot in Tokyo, Paris, New York, L.A. and Vienna. What does the international setting give to Polypore? What was the process of filming around the world like?

Barack: The international settings add a global feel to the film, which really works perfectly because the plot involves a multi-national corporation and a horrendous conspiracy. The characters in the film travel the world to discover the truth behind a number of mysteries throughout the film. The international shoots were achieved via guerrilla networking. I would find an actor who was already visiting one of these locations, send them a camera, find an international film crew and write the location into the script for their character, without changing the core plot structure.

JD: That’s an interesting way to give the movie a wide expanse, but what was it like working with actors remotely? Was it tough for you to be absent during the actual shooting?

Barack: Many of the actors in the film are fellow international adventurers, and thus I put it upon them to shoot scenes involving their respective characters on location in various cities. It was typical for the actors to arrange for small film crews through their connections and networks. I try to speak with every actor about their character as much as possible prior to shooting, and for this particular project I’ve been very open to the actors bringing their own ideas and interpretations to the table. Prior to their escapades, I had to have faith that [the international actors’] work would be of high quality both visually and aesthetically. Luckily, it was.

JD: Aside from the cast, the core structure and idea of Polypore has mushroomed since its original conception. Did it grow all at once or gradually?

Barack: Polypore was originally an homage to Akira, the 1988 masterpiece by Katsuhiro Otomo. In the original story, I even used the names Kaneda and Tetsuo for the main characters. Just like Tetsuo in Akira, the story mutated and grew into something we never anticipated. Originally there were seven characters; there are now eighty-seven. The growth has been very organic. The story has almost written itself from within, as if it is alive and sentient.

JD: Was it a conscious decision to start getting bigger?

Barack: Yes and no. I knew that I wanted to expand some things, but as I was writing I kept generating wild ideas, and I couldn’t ignore them. I adopted the policy of “let’s see how much production value we can get without increasing our budget.” Polypore is defined as an enormous film on virtually no budget. I had the minimum amount necessary when we started, and as we received additional funding, the production value increased. When we hit our funding ceiling, we decided to just go ahead and keep increasing the production value even though we weren’t receiving any additional funds.

JD: Since filmmaking can be a very rigid process, what has been the biggest challenge of growing the project while it was already underway? What has been the greatest advantage or discovery?

Barack: The biggest challenge has been wearing multiple hats. While I am directing, I have been forced to spend most of my time producing. On my next project, I would like to hire a line producer, as well as an assistant producer. The greatest advantage that we have is our passion, our ingenuity and our ability to create enormous production value out of very little capital. You can make a large film with a small crew and a limited budget.

JD: Did you ever think it wouldn’t get done?

Barack: I’m ridiculously ambitious and never even considered this a possibility.

JD: I was psyched to see that Lloyd Kaufman of Troma films has a cameo in the movie. How did you get connected with him? Is his work something you had in mind preparing for Polypore?

Barack: I’m a huge fan of Lloyd Kaufman’s literature regarding independent filmmaking, such as Direct Your Own Damn Movie. I just picked up a copy of Sell Your Own Damn Movie, which I hope to use upon Polypore‘s completion. In regards to Polypore, I wrote a scene for Lloyd and sent it to him. We spoke and agreed to shoot the scene at Troma Entertainment in New York, which was awesome. We shot in the basement surrounded by hundreds of Troma film reels, which appear in the scene. Working with Lloyd was a lot of fun.

JD: The viral marketing strategy seems to be essential to the film. What sort of strategies did you develop and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

Barack: We started promoting the film immediately upon its inception via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube teasers and our official site. It’s great to let people follow the project from the beginning, because they’ll enjoy it that much more when it’s finally released. Another reason we’ve been involving so many people in the film (crew members, extras, etc.) is because every single person involved will likely tell everyone they know about the project. Right now we’re in the process of generating constant content for our social networks: production stills, screenshots, related stories and videos and our own “mini teasers” (random, unexplainably absurd clips from the film with a duration of less than 10 seconds). In doing so we hope to build a loyal following of fans for this project, as well as our future projects.

JD: What’s the biggest thing you’ve taken away from filming Polypore?

Barack: Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan have both said this, and I agree: “Make a film that you would want to see yourself.” Also, just be passionate at all times. If you do that, you’re going to invest yourself in the project fully, and it will show. Some people will enjoy the film because they share the same taste as you. Others will enjoy it because the film will simply express the amount of passion invested during the creative process. If you really invest yourself passionately, it will show.

Source: newenglandfilm.com/magazine/2011/07/barack

How to Manage Time as a Filmmaker

By Kendrick Wong

Your inner perfectionist is screaming that you need a couple more takes and angles. Your brain feels that you haven’t captured that magical moment yet, the perfect one. But time keeps on rolling. You suddenly find yourself 2, 3, 4 hours behind schedule for the day. Your ambitious plans for today are gone. You look around at the faces of your cast and crew and see hints of anxiousness, agitation, confusion, perhaps even boredom. People have folded their arms.

Keeping track of time can make or break your movie with consequences ranging from the seemingly mundane to the cataclysmic. Falling dramatically behind will give you fewer and fewer choices to make for fulfilling the potential of your project. Corners will be inevitably be cut. A disastrous domino effect can occur when one small mistake snowballs. But this doesn’t have to be the norm! Alfred Hitchcock polished his pre-production process so perfectly, he felt shooting his films to be a bore. Every detail examined and understood. The indie weekend warrior may be too busy during the week to adequately tackle 1,000,000 issues.

How do you stay on-point and in control?


Things to Do During Pre-Production:
•    Storyboard as much material as you can. These don’t need to be paintings but provide a brief scene description and directions for action.
•    Create a thorough shotlist for every scene. Divide the shots into necessities and luxuries.
•    Take photos of locations while you scout and share them with your production team. Familiarized with the script, they can provide instant feedback and ideas on blocking, plausibility, and logistics for each setting.
•    Rehearse. Create the chemistry for successful working relationships by getting to know the other person. Get them comfortable, relaxed, and confident in your abilities! Practice during any available free time… at a café, on Skype, a Google+ hangout…
•    Maintain a flexible schedule. Budget in time for moving equipment, setting up lighting, coaching actors, changing locations. Always be ready to shift priorities based on the limited availability of others.

Things to Do During Filming:
•    Emphasize timeliness immediately on the first day of pre-production and every day after including filming. You need to create an entire production-wide culture dedicated to this.
•    Know yourself. If you feel that you’ll be taking many detours, have other cohorts act as safeguards to keep you on track. Get the absolutely vital shots and hope you have extra time for some experiments.
•    Work together. As others step forward in leadership positions, don’t take advantage of their initiative by creating a good cop / bad cop situation that paints you as the fun-loving, cool person and an AD as a soulless disciplinarian.
•    Listen to your crew. Shotlists often change on the fly on smaller indie productions and a golden idea is always around the corner. Have a risky setup in mind? Solicit their advice and then make your decision. You might strike gold in a way that really enhances your scene and overall narrative.
•    Delegate smaller, necessary jobs to others. Find trustworthy, dependable assistant directors, associate producers, and crewmembers to accomplish tasks. You can’t shoulder the weight of every little detail.

You will develop your own style as you shoot more and more. Your perspective may embrace improvisation and extended tangents (Terrence Malick, Wong Kar Wai) or efficient and economical execution (Clint Eastwood). Maybe you’re a meticulous coverage-fiend, requiring numerous takes and angles (David Fincher). Regardless of your philosophy, filmmaking is a highly collaborative activity that requires leadership as you manage time and expectations. You can lead, take charge, and improve situations regardless of your job title during the production. After all, you are being held accountable by each other during this wonderful voyage.

Press Coverage - The Berkshire Eagle

Off Camera With Jesse Barack: And for his next film.

By Sean McHugh, Special to The Eagle
Tuesday June 28, 2011

Next time it’s going to be smaller: A handful of actors instead of 80, one filming location instead of dozens across three continents, predominantly English instead of six world languages, one genre instead of 10.

But that’s next time. Right now Pittsfield resident Jesse Barack is putting the finishing touches on Polypore, a 90-minute feature film that spans the globe on a budget lower than most high school plays.

“I think I would like to get a little more specific with my next project,” says Barack. “I kind of picked “Adventure” on IMDb because it encompasses all the other genres.”


And Polypore certainly encompasses a lot, following a young man who develops telepathy and travels the world looking for answers, eventually uncovering a corporate scheme at its source.

Barack, 23, began filmmaking in middle school, volunteering at Pittsfield Community Television, teaching himself to edit and making a show with his friends.

In 2005 his short film, “The Long Road to Gary,” a mockumentary about the creation of a zombie film, won best student film at the Northampton Independent Film Festival.

After “Gary,” Barack’s filmmaking languished for a while, but resurged while he pursued a communications degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. With several short films behind him, he is ready to make his feature debut with Polypore.

“I didn’t go to film school,” he says, “but this is kind of my film school in a sense. It’s a great opportunity to learn from experience all the stuff that film school probably can’t teach you.”

At its inception, Polypore was a short homage to 1988 anime classic Akira. During rewriting, the script began to take on a life of its own.

“When I started writing the script I kept coming up with new ideas and new characters and it just branched outwards,” Barack said. “I tried to have as many characters as possible. It’s just that type of film.”

Barack and a few friends began pre-production on Polypore during his senior year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“For the first couple of months, it was just sort of preparing and figuring out locations, figuring out who was going to do what in regards to the crew.”

The crew, small for a film of this size, runs the cameras, the boom micas, the makeup department, and translates the six languages featured in Polypore. But the lion’s share of the producing has stayed with Barack. Besides being writer, director, and actor he is also editor, a cameraman, co-cinematographer, costumer, and his own production assistant.

“It’s a lot of work behind the scenes calling people and setting up schedules,” he explains. “I’m producing right now because I have to, but in the future I would prefer to be the big idea producer but hire somebody else to handle all the numbers.”

Barack plays one of the film’s antagonists, but prefers to work behind the camera.

“I really only act out of necessity,” he explains, “because I’m more available than other people so if there’s a role that I need somebody to fill, not a big role, but a small role that’s going to be inconvenient for somebody to play, or if there’s a role that’s just really weird that I’m not comfortable making somebody else play, I would play that.”

When filming started Polypore took the crew around Massachusetts and then the world.

“We shot all over Massachusetts, the Berkshires, Boston, the Amherst area, New York City, L.A., Paris, Tokyo, and Vienna.”

He sidestepped prohibitive travel costs by writing scenes for actors going on trips anyway and having them film those scenes while on location.

“Some of the locations were necessary, some were just added in because it was possible to add them in without changing the plot too much,” he said.

The project draws its funding from a grant from UMass, a few donations, and Barack’s videography company, “The engine that fuels the art stuff.”

Together it amounts to a budget of roughly $3,000.

Currently, he is raising money through Kickstarter, the online peer-to peer-fundraising site, to submit Polypore to as many national and international film festivals as possible. So far enough money has been raised to send it for consideration in Sundance, Cannes, Venice, Tribeca, Berlin, SXSW, Toronto, Chicago, The LA Film Festival and The NY Film Festival, though Barack hopes to enter more as well, including several local festivals.

In the meantime he said, “I’ve been supporting myself through investing, as well as through videography.”

Networking has been key to the film’s creation, ranging from online casting via Skype, fundraising via Kickstarter, marketing through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and even finding film crews for shoots in faraway locales.

The Polypore page on the Internet Movie Database is already stocked with trailers and multiple behind-the-scenes clips.

“I think an IMDb page is absolutely necessary because the first place that anybody goes to find out about a film is IMDb,” says Barack.

Source: berkshireeagle.com/ci_18366228