The Departed

I finally saw "The Departed" this weekend. I've heard nothing but rave reviews about the new Scorsese film, and I will say it was very well done and entertaining.

But, I must also say that most folks who have been raving (critics and film fans alike) probably have not seen the original movie. That's right, if you didn't know, "The Departed" is a remake. It's a remake of a very, very good Hong Kong film called "Infernal Affairs" (it's English title).

"Infernal Affairs" was much more of an emotional film for me. "The Departed" was a tad too glossy and commercial in it's approach and I didn't feel for the characters as much as I did in the original (mainly the DiCaprio and Damon characters). Their Asian counterparts brought a much deeper emotional feel to the roles.

I'm sure part of the reason I didn't "love it" was that I was so familiar with the original. I knew what was coming in the twists and turns. The Scorsese film sticks to the original pretty closely. Although the ending is slightly different (and not as good).

The best thing about "The Departed" for me was Leo DiCaprio's performance and to a lesser extent Mark Wahlberg's. Mark wasn't in the film that much, but when he was it was good. Also, Alec Baldwin did a nice turn as a police commander. This could (finally) be the movie that Leo gets an Oscar. We'll see.

Scorsese is among my favorite filmmakers ("Goodfellas" is my all time favorite film). He's doing very innovative stuff here too - especially for being 65 years old. So, don't take my review here the wrong way. I would definitely recommend the movie. I just wasn't blown away by it like a lot of people.

Go check it out though if you haven't. And if you don't mind subtitles (or an English dubbed version) check out "Infernal Affairs" first - then compare the two and see if you agree with me.


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Sunny and 70 Degrees

Actually sunny and 89 degrees today... where? I'm in LA on business talking to the new distributors about "Killing Down", and also meeting with some producers about a New Project - and meeting with the writer working on the Other New Project.

We're slowly but surely getting all the "Killing Down" deliverables prepared for our December 1st deadline, although it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine if we'll have everything ready. There's a lot to do, and with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it's slowing things down.

Did I mention it was almost 90 degrees here today? I mean, it's November 20th. Thanksgiving is this week. Happy Holidays from LA. Is the weather ever bad Out Here?


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Digital Do-It-Yourself

Good article by Scott Kirshner at the Hollywood Reporter...

The pros and cons from different filmmakers about digital production through distribution.


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Tough Enough?

Everything about the film business is tough. Everything.

Writing a script is tough. Finding money to make a movie is tough. Making the movie is tough. Selling the movie (if it actually got made) is tough. And even once you do sell it... yep you guessed it, it's still tough.

Why is it tough even when you sell the film? One word: DELIVERABLES

You may not be familiar with this term if you haven't sold a film or been involved with the sale of a film. It's not an everyday word, but if you're a filmmaker and have a hope to sell your film please take note of this frustrating word.

Basically it means what it says... "You deliver the movie". But, what the actually "deliverables" are is where it gets tough and VERY expensive.

Here are the items I'm dealing with right now since we sold the foreign rights to "Killing Down"...

Final D5-HD master, only requires “access to”
Audio stems, only requires “access to”
Production Audio, only requires “access to”
DAT of film score and songs
HD footage of deletions, etc., only requires “access to”
HD title materials of all credits, only requires “access to”
NTSC DigiBeta 4x3 full frame with M&E
NTSC DigiBeta 16x9 letterbox with M&E
PAL DigiBeta 4x3 full frame with M&E
PAL DigiBeta 16x9 letterbox with M&E
NTSC DA88 of feature with M&E
PAL DA88 of feature with M&E
NTSC DA88 of 5.1 mix
PAL DA88 of 5.1 mix
“TV Version” of stereo mix
NTSC DigiBeta of TV Version
PAL DigiBeta of TV Version
TEXTLESS MATERIAL – attach to NTSC and PAL version of film, both theatrical and TV, one-minute after finish
QC report of NTSC DigiBeta Master
QC report of D5-HD Master
NTSC DigiBeta of original trailer
NTSC DA88 of trailer
(1) Dialogue/Action Continuity & Spotting List
All Production Notes/Papers from SAG, Camera Reports, etc.
100 Color Production Stills
Key Artwork
Cast/Crew Interview footage and behind-the-scenes footage
(2) Copies of the Music Cue Sheet
(2) Copies of Composer Agreement
(10) Copies of Certificate of Origin
(10) Copies of Certificate of Authorship from each credited writer
(1) Copyright Certificate
Credit Obligations
Thomson Title Research Report
Thomson Copyright Search Report
(1) Copy of Screenplay
E&O Insurance Certificate
Characteristics of Picture
Chain of Title

As you can see this is A LOT of stuff, and as I said... A LOT OF EXPENDITURES to actually deliver the movie. I figure a rough estimate here is around $15K to get all this done. Maybe more. Not sure yet. And, we have to have all this delivered by December 1st. That's just over three weeks from now. Did I mention this is going to be tough?

For non-filmmakers reading this I'm sure many of the terms in the delivery list above do not ring a bell. A lot of it is film jargon and/or technical stuff. But, suffice it to say it is all very important and required to sell the movie and to GET PAID. That's right. We do not get paid untill we delivery all this. The next three weeks will be very, very busy for me.

So, filmmakers selling your movie... just be prepared for these costs when or if you get to this point. Like me, I'm sure most of you will be completely out of money and having to beg, borrow and steal to get the deliverables delivered.

I do find it quite ironic when you actually sell your film you still have to go into more debt. But nothing in life is easy... as a matter of fact it's all really pretty tough.


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Who Am I?

I'm a filmmaker who's produced & directed five feature films including the comedy SPILT MILK (available on iTunes), the new horror/thriller PHOBIA (on iTunes) and the action/thiller KILLING DOWN (which you can buy or rent at pretty much all the usual places).

I also created the Streamy and Webby award-winning web series PINK, which to date has been viewed online around 10 MILLION times at places like YouTube, Hulu, Koldcast and And speaking of, I also produced and directed an online thriller for them called EXPOSED. It was released summer 2010. And most recently I created a new online sci-fi series called CONTINUUM, which is part of the online indie TV network - Just The Story and NOW available via VOD through indie platform Distrify.

Oh, and I don't shoot weddings. Thanks for asking though.

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