November 2007

How to Get a Short on Logo

Marc Leonard, an executive at the cable network, talks about "The Click List," a weekly program devoted to short film


Pool boy: A scene from "Dare," a short film currently airing on Logo's "Click List."

Sixty short films a year are aired by the Logo Network on its Wednesday night program "The Click List: The Best in Short Film." Marc Leonard, an executive at Logo, talks about the evolution of the program, its online reach, how films are selected, and why he thinks Talladega Nights was a bit of a watershed moment in the depiction of LGBT characters on film. (The photo above is from Dare, a current Click List short by filmmakers Adam Salky and David Brind.)

Grassroots filmmakers are always looking for mainstream distribution, and short films often have a particularly tough time gaining exposure. Which is why the success of the Logo Network’s short-film programming is welcome news. Two years ago, Logo, which is basically MTV’s gay cousin, launched The Click List: The Best in Short Film, a weekly show featuring an eclectic mix of stories.

"1971": A Writer's Strike Screenplay

Two young screenwriters get an unexpected lesson in guild history


Stand Off: The guild and the studios are set to resume negotiations on November 26. Photo credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos

Dane Young's 1971 is the third in our series of original screenplays inspired by the Writer's Guild of America strike, which began on November 5. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the studios and the guild have agreed to return to the negotiating table on the Monday after Thanksgiving. In the meantime, you can enjoy our other strike screeplays, written by Rufus Chaffee and Dorothy Blyskal. (Photo source.)

EXT. SILVERCUP STUDIOS - AFTERNOON

We pan down the sidewalk to see a bunch of PICKET SIGNS leaning up against the wall. The signs all read UNION SLOGANS signifying that they are part of the WRITER'S STRIKE.

We pan further to see people standing on line. Further still, we see them standing on line for an UPSCALE CATERING TRUCK.

The Writer's Strike: A Screenplay, Part II

Screenwriter Rufus Chaffee takes a crack at writing about the writer's strike


Deadline: The Writer's Guild of America went on strike on Monday, November 5.

In the second of a series (which may last for months!), screenwriter Rufus Chaffee offers his take on the Writers Guild of America strike. Chaffee's bawdy directoral debut, Divine Intervention, came out in February. To read the first screenplay in our totally fictional strike coverage, click here.

RUPERT GOLD AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR WGA STRIKE
an original scene by Rufus Chaffee

FADE IN:

INTERIOR GOLD PRODUCTIONS EXECUTIVE OFFICE -- DAY

The Writer's Strike: A Screenplay

Given that the strike is on everyone's mind, we asked some screenwriters we know to conjure up a treatment related to the week's events


Deadline: The Writer's Guild of America went on strike on Monday, November 5.

Given that the strike is on everyone's mind, we asked some screenwriters we know to conjure up a treatment related to the week's events. The first installment comes from Dorothy Blyskal, a freelance scriptwriter who has recently been working with Shortbus Productions on Stereotyped, a social-satire mockumentary, as well as a project set in Africa that is currently in production.

Fade in.

An actor sits at his desk, coloring in a coloring book with a Crayola. He is coloring so emphatically that he breaks his only blue crayon. The actor reaches for his intercom and presses the button.

ACTOR
Lonny, can you bring me a blue crayon? I’d like it only to be dark blue, not like a smurf blue, more like a…navy blue, but less navy more…army. But not green, blue.

Will Success Spoil the 48 Hour Film Project?

The 48 Hour Film Project has a legion of devoted fans and a worldwide presence. Now, if the founders could just figure out a way to pay the bills without selling out.


Weekend Warriors: The cast and crew of "Maestro Percival"

Mark Ruppert and Liz Langston, the founders of the 48 Hour Film Project, have developed a legion of devoted fans who churn out shockingly clever short films in shockingly short periods of time. Having expanded from Tulsa to Tel Aviv, the question is this: Can the partners find a way to pay the bills without selling out? The clock is ticking.... Nadine Heintz reports. (The photograph at left is of the crew of Maestro Percival, a prize-winning short that came out of the 48 Hour Film Project in Baltimore.)

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in January, director David Butler and his motley film crew set up shop in a cavernous yellow brick building on Eastern Avenue in Baltimore’s Little Italy. The team, known collectively as Bargain Basement Films, started straggling in at about 7 a.m.

The Doc Doctor's Anatomy of a Film: "Kiran over Mongolia"

How Joseph Spaid's documentary became the toast of 25 film festivals and counting


Nomad Girl with Dombora: Passing through valley en route to winter pasture.

In a new monthly feature, the Doc Doctor Fernanda Rossi presents a case study of a successful documentary film. Her first patient is Joseph Spaid, the producer and director of Kiran over Mongolia, a film about eagle hunting that has been screened at more than 25 film festivals from Estonia to Dubai. The Doc Doctor notes that Spaid filmed Kiran in less than four months spread over a four-year period. The filmmaker also discovered that a fire-proof safe was a wise investment.

About this new column: Many filmmakers ponder in anguish, How do other people—celebrated people—do it? Am I taking too long to make this documentary? Does everybody spend as much money as I am spending, or am I spending too little? And when filmmakers share their lessons learned in interviews in the glossy trade magazines, their tales seem to follow the arc of otherworldy heroes rather than real documentary makers, i.e. human beings like you and me. So starting this month, the Doc Doctor decided to go out into the world (this real world) of filmmakers who are successful and find out how they made it. Each month, her "anatomy" will be a chance to learn from their hits and misses in real life examples. —Fernanda Rossi, story consultant a.k.a. the Documentary Doctor

"Begging Naked": Nine Years in the Making

Director Karen Gehres talks about her documentary "Begging Naked" and the complicated life of its subject, her friend Elise Hall


Evicted: Karen Gehres thought Elise Hall had a film-worthy past. When Elise lost her apartment, the story changed dramatically.

When Karen Gehres started filming her friend Elise Hall, her only plan was to try out some new equipment. But when Hall—a one-time drug addict and stripper who was also an accomplished artist—was evicted from her apartment and became homeless, Gehres realized she had the makings of a remarkable film. Today, Begging Naked is a hit on the festival circuit. Gehres recently spoke with The Independent's Leah Hochbaum Rosner.

When artist and newbie filmmaker Karen Gehres turned her camera on her friend and fellow painter Elise Hill, she thought she’d capture a few cool stories about Hill’s past as a runaway, a heroin addict, a stripper, and a prostitute—all while learning how to use her shiny new film equipment.

Exploring Her Formative Years

British filmmaker Hope Dickson Leach reflects on schooling—in fiction and real life—and the shift from making shorts to her first feature


Hope Dickson Leach

Todd Solondz protegée Hope Dickson Leach has set several of her films at British boarding schools. Having attended one herself, she says a boarding school is an interesting venue for a film because it is a "strange and terrible place." As Leach works on her first feature English Rose (set where else?), The Independent's Mariel Lynn DiSibio talks with her about why her educational experience has followed her from project to project as a focal point.

As a young girl, Hope Dickson Leach dreamed of becoming a painter. She attended boarding school in England from the ages of 9 to 17 and earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Edinburgh. But after interning for the likes of Mario Kassar and Todd Solondz, she convinced Columbia University's film department to give her a chance.

Funny Women

So Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, and a filmmaker walk into a bar...the story behind "Making Trouble," a film about Jewish comedians


Joan Rivers in an early nightclub appearance. Credit: Photofest, Inc.

Bring together a group of women for an evening to appreciate the rich legacy of Jewish humor by female comedians, and what happens? They think what they’ve seen and heard is too good not to be shared. So they decide to make a film. Then one of them volunteers to foot the bill and, before the laughter fades, the Jewish Women’s Archive and it’s director, Gail Reimer, are producing Making Trouble, and introducing audiences anew to the incredible talents of Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, and Wendy Wasserstein.

Sarah Silverman is the controversial comedian du jour. Her capacity to shock today's audiences may be distinctly Silverman, yet her career stands on the shoulders of several comedic foremothers. Her routines echo the boldness of Fanny Brice, the sexuality of Sophie Tucker, and the brashness of Joan Rivers to name just a few.

The Trailer for "Please Vote For Me"

One of 15 films on the short list for the Oscar for best feature-length documentary

Subtitle:

One of 15 films on the short list for the Oscar for best feature-length documentary

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