Streamy Award Nomination

The Streamy Awards announced their nominations today and I received one nom for Best Editing on Continuum. Very excited about this and the show's 7 IAWTV Award nominations too.

What a great way to start off 2013... The IAWTV Awards are on January 8th in Las Vegas and the Streamy Awards are in Hollywood on February 17th.

One really cool trend at the Streamy Award was there are LOTS of sci-fi shows being recognized.... Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Drone, H+, Cybergeddon and of course Continuum. :) Great company to be in, especially because we're an ultra low budget show. These other series are multi-million dollar productions. The rumor is Halo was $10 million to produce!!


Be sure to check out the complete list of nominees here.

-Blake

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Can the Dallas Film Scene (Finally) Get Some Love?

Most of you who follow indie film probably know that Sundance announced its 2013 slate this week. What you might not know is that two of the films in the dramatic competition, yes TWO, were produced in Dallas.

The films are David Lowry's AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS and Shane Carruth's UPSTREAM COLOR.

Only a handful of films get accepted into Sundance, and from those only a handful get picked to be in the competition, so this is a pretty big deal for David and Shane, and for Dallas. (Btw, Shane's film PRIMER won Sundance in 2004).

But what's even more interesting to me is that BOTH of these films shared a studio space for portions of their pre-pro, production and post.  That studio is IDEAMAN STUDIOS in Dallas, where I office out of along with owner David Maddox and several other producer/director/editors. And this was largely due to Toby Halbrooks who produced David's movie and also co-produced (among other duties) Shane's movie (Casey Gooden produced it). Oh, and did I mention that David edited Shane's film?  And that Tom Walker worked on both in art direction. A lot going on around Ideaman this past year.

So this post is not to brag about this per se, but to congratulate the filmmakers on these very cool accomplishments and to recognize the flourishing indie film scene in the great state of Texas - and specifically Dallas - who I feel is often left off the "best" indie film scene lists compiled by the "experts" each year.

See you in Park City...

-Blake

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Continuum Now Available To Own (in HD)

Season 1 of my sci-fi series Continuum has been available to rent for several months now via our VOD partner Distrify, and now it's available as a download-to-own in HD. 

The HD download-to-own is only $9.99 and the streaming rental is $3.99.

This is a great way to support our efforts in creating this 100% independent show. All proceeds go to financing Season 2 and paying down our debt from Season 1. :) 



And speaking of Season 2.... we'll announce a premiere date soon!  (Hint: It will be in early 2013)

Thanks!
Blake

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7 IAWTV Award Nominations!

My series Continuum received 7 nominations at the IAWTV Awards

They are:

Best Lead Actress, Mel Merkosky
Best Lead Actor, Brad Hawkins
Best Writing in a Drama, Blake Calhoun
Best Set Design, Eric Whitney
Best VFX, Chad Briggs and Element X Creative
Best Editing, Blake Calhoun
Best Score, Damon Criswell


The award's ceremony is at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas on January 8, 2013 during CES.

The entire cast & crew are very honored and humbled to be in such great company with all the other nominees.

If you haven't seen the show please check it out and help spread the word! :)

-Blake

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Disney's Star Wars?

I didn't see this coming... Disney buys Lucasfilm for $4 billion from George Lucas.

That's everything from the film franchise to future films and including Skywalker Sound, ILM, etc. I HOPE they don't stop supporting indie film at Skywalker... Skywalker Sound especially has helped many indie filmmakers finish their projects at indie rates.









Walt Disney this afternoon announced a deal to buy Lucasfilm from Star Wars director and film pioneer George Lucas for $4.05 billion in cash and stock.

Under terms of the deal, Lucas will be paid half in cash and half in the form of about 40 million Disney shares.

“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” Disney CEO Robert Iger said in a statement. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”

Lucas said in a statement that it is “now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers.”

The article states that Star Wars Episode 7 will be released in 2015... that's something I didn't see coming either. Let's hope the new films are better than the last three!

-Blake

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Vimeo's New Tip Jar

Vimeo now allows people to "tip" (ie. give money) to video creators via their new Tip Jar... kind of like a mini Kickstarter way of raising money and/or supporting independent work.

I've enabled the feature on a few a my Vimeo videos as a test and might try using it in the future as another fundraising tool. Vimeo is also going to do full on PPV (pay-per-view) in the future too. Lots of interesting things happening now in online distribution...



Continuum Season 1 Trailer from Blake Calhoun on Vimeo.

Btw, it appears the only way to use the Tip Jar feature is actually ON Vimeo's site. Would be nice if it carried over into the embeds. I have to believe for this to be successful that will happen on a future update, similar to what you can currently do with Distrify (although there you either rent or buy the show).

Check it out and let me know what you think of this new option. Oh, and if you want to leave a tip as a test that would be fine by me. :)

-Blake

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Camerapalooza 2012

Seems almost every week or so a new camera is released these days... Just this week there are new offerings from Sony, Canon, Panasonic, and Blackmagic.



I'm exaggerating a tad bit of course on the weekly release, but it's not far from the truth.  And this is a good thing... no, GREAT thing for filmmakers everywhere.

Since the release of the Canon 5D three or four odd years ago filmmakers have had the ability to create very cinematic images at previously unheard of low prices.

But it wasn't always like this...

When I started making films in the mid to late 1990s we used 16mm film.... and it was very expensive to shoot. Not necessarily because of the camera rentals (very few folks owned their own rigs then) but because of the purchase of the film, the processing and then the transfer to video (DigiBeta or Beta SP back then, no HD!).

Before the rush of affordable video cameras began (in the late 90s and early 2000s), we were all in awe of an affordable Russian made 16mm camera called the K-3 (Krasnogorsk-3).  At the time it was revolutionary for it's functionality and price (around $700) - I bought one and used it a lot. It of course wasn't a sync sound camera - way too noisy and wasn't blimped.  So we'd shoot a scene and then have the actors do the scene again - right after we shot - to record the audio (with no camera running). Yes, seriously, that's what we did.  But again, never before had we been able to afford such a "professional" camera (we had used 30 year old Bolex cameras prior to that).



In 1997-ish (as I recall) the Sony VX1000 was released and it took the indie film world (along with the corporate video world) by storm.  It was a sub $5000 camera that shot to Mini DV tape but only in the NTSC interlaced format.  It was revolutionary at the time.  And I put my K-3 on the shelf (for the most part).



The big rage then was finding software that would make your interlaced video "look like film". Of course it never really did, although we thought at the time it looked pretty good and compared to the footage directly out of the camera, it did.  Wow, were these the dark ages, huh?

The Next Big Thing didn't happen for several years.

It was around 2003-ish when the Panasonic DVX100 was released that shot 24p... now this really looked like film!  This was the go to camera for indie filmmakers for several years - and to think that it was originally only a 4x3 aspect ratio camera. I don't think it was every truly a wide screen camera, but a later version did have a 16x9 "mode". I say this because it's unfathomable to shoot anything but widescreen today.



And speaking of today... we're now all so very spoiled.

I mean seriously, you can get 1080 HD video out of an iPhone that rivals or is even better than full on video cameras from just a few years ago. It's really amazing if you think about it.

During my 16mm film time in the 90s the main kind of video camera was a Sony Beta SP camera. Those could easily cost $50,000 or more. And DigiBeta were $100k!  To that point, when I hear folks today complain about a $15,000 camera (like the Canon C300) I seriously have to roll my eyes. As I mentioned, we are all so very spoiled now.



But I guess in reality, that too is a good thing.

Filmmakers today really have NO excuses for not making great looking films. None.

The hard part of course is making good films. And that's really what it's all about these days (or should be).  The camera is no longer an obstacle.

In the past you were often commended for making a good looking film, even if it wasn't very good. It was very, very hard as an indie to make a "real" looking movie just a few years ago. I used to take it as a huge compliment when my friends or family would comment on my work and say, "wow, that looks like a real movie" (usually meaning it was shot on film).

But today, pretty much anyone can make a "real" looking movie with the help of all these great cameras at our (affordable) disposal.

To name just a few of these incredible devices:

1. RED Scarlet (4k/5k camera)
2. Canon C300 (and soon to be released C100)
3. Canon 5D MkIII
4. Panasonic GH3 (just announced)
5. Black Magic Cinema Camera (rolling out as we speak)
6. Sony FS100 or FS700 (amazing bang for the buck)



And there are a dozen more that are all within reach. These are all affordable cameras (purchase or rental) to every filmmaker out there. Like I said, no excuses for making good looking movies today.

Now if we could all just concentrate on making good movies (myself included).

Maybe that'll be the Next Big Thing.

-Blake

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More Nice "Continuum" Press

Continuum is an entirely indie effort. We have no publicist. No agency repping this project. And so getting press is not very easy in this crowded media landscape we find ourselves in today. 

But... recently we've had some good fortune, primarily on just the strength of the show (I'm told) garnering good word-of-mouth "press" (which is great of course) that has lead to some more traditional (digital) press from blogs and such.

The first new piece is from PlacevineStudios and writer Lance Trachtenberg. From the article... 

Contiuum’s effectiveness stems from its thoughtful usage of the emotional pitfalls of distrust, suspicion, and paranoia all blending together to create a palpable atmosphere of psychological intrigue in every episode. 

Read the entire write-up here.

And the second recent coverage is from a blog interview from a company called Jump Ship Productions. They were kind enough to contact us through our Facebook page and interview me about the production and release of the series.  From the interview...

Continuum is a fast paced, suspenseful science fiction series about a young woman who awakens on a space shuttle with no idea why she is there or even who she is. She relies on the ship’s computer to help her piece together her mission, but quickly becomes suspicious of the motives behind the mechanical voice. 

Read the entire interview here.

I really appreciate the coverage!  And if you missed my previous post, I also did a fun blog radio interview for Genre-tainment a few weeks back.

Who needs a publicist? :)

-Blake

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New Interview on Genre-Tainment (radio)

I did an interview for Marx Pyle and his blog radio show Genre-tainment last week and the show aired this week. The show is live, but they prerecord the interviews and do some editing for time.

The interview was primarily about Continuum, but we touched a lot on Pink, Exposed and my other feature film work.  It's a fairly in-depth look at my work over the past 5 years... I actually (almost) sound like I know what I'm doing. :)

There are some technical glitches at the beginning of the show (aren't there always?), but once you get past that it goes pretty smoothly.  I've been pitching this on Facebook as me talking about "web series, assassins and sci-fi".... and that pretty much sums it up!

Check it out for yourself here.

And more news coming soon about Continuum Season 2, and some other interesting stuff too. As usual, please stay tuned...

-Blake

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New "Continuum" Review

Just got a really great review for Continuum that I thought I'd share...

http://www.dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2012/07/continuum-web-series-review.html?m=1

Site is called "Dan's Movie Report" and it evidently focuses on strong female sci-fi and action characters along with stunt women, etc. So our show fits right in!

I think myself and Melanie (the lead actress) will be doing an interview for the blog soon too.

Fun stuff...

-Blake

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New Phobia Poster

Just a quick post to show off the new key artwork for my latest feature film project PHOBIA...

The film is in the final stages of post-production and we'll be taking it out to sales agents, etc. soon - along with most  likely attending AFM in November in Santa, Monica.

You can check out more on the film by visiting its Facebook page.

-Blake

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Giant Freakin Robot

The sci-fi blog Giant Freakin Robot posted a solid review of my indie sci-fi series Continuum.

Overall the author liked the show, although he was picky about a few things as most critics usually are. :)

One minor thing he noted was that our "Bridge" set was only two chairs and a desk and he thought that was lame... well, that's fine, but what he doesn't realize is it was designed that way purposely as all the controls are floating monitors and virtual touch screens, etc. - the monitors have appeared in Season 1, but the other controls don't appear until Season 2 (spoiler alert!). Lol.

Anyway, I appreciate them taking the time to review the show and hope other sci-fi bloggers will do the same.

Right now you can watch the series episodically (commercial-free) on indie subscription TV network JTS.tv or as one "long episode" played back-to-back via our VOD partner Distrify, and starting July 10th we'll be releasing it weekly on our YouTube Channel (ad-supported).

Note though, the YouTube release will most likely be a limited one, meaning the show (minus a few preview episodes) will be removed in the future. The plan is to use the "free" YouTube run as a promotion to build up awareness for the show and for Season 2, which will premiere this fall (date TBA). It'll also be a preview for folks to hopefully buy the full season via Distrify and/or DVD that will be released later too (with lots of extras). I'm still figuring all this out however.

The main idea though is to make the show easily available in a variety of ways for fans to enjoy, and at the same time allow us (the creators) to monetize it and continue to do more work!

-Blake

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Continuum Video-On-Demand

Season 1 of my sci-fi series Continuum is now available to watch instantly via indie VOD platform Distrify.  The nine episodes have been edited together to play seamlessly and continuously as one "long episode" of more than 40 mins. in total length!

You can watch the trailer below as a free preview, then simply rent the show from the same player for only $3.99.



Make sure to expand the player to full screen to see it in all its HD glory. Hope you enjoy and thanks for the support!

Blake

P.S. The new website and blog are now online too for the show, so please check that out sometime when you have a chance.

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Movies, music and more!

Been a while since I posted here!

Very busy recently working on a wider Continuum release (coming soon on YouTube, etc. along with our current JTS.tv run), also finishing up post on the new feature film Phobia (a fun period thriller with a vampire twist) and also dabbling with some new stuff for Pink.... yep, you heard that right. Working on some cool stuff there that I hope to share in the near future. :)

And speaking of movies... my recent film SPILT MILK is available on iTunes and Google Play if you didn't know, and now the movie's score is also available on iTunes.

The score is really good too.

If you haven't heard it or paid attention (if you've seen the film), it has a very quirky, cool vibe going - kind of a Wes Anderson movie feel from Bottle Rocket (Mark Mothersbaugh's score). 

The composer for Spilt Milk's score is Douglas Edward. Anyway, I really dig it and think you will too so please check it out on iTunes here.

Blake

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New SciFi Series "Drifter"

I've been brought on to direct the pilot episode of a new indie TV series called "Drifter".

Jeff Koenig is the creator of the show and is producing through his outfit OMFGeek. But, before we can actually shoot this project Jeff and team are doing a crowd-funding effort.

The series will feature many well-known web series folks both behind and in front of the camera, like Julie Emory, Al Thompson, Rob Gokee, etc. To check out the really great group involved and to possibly throw some coin at the project please visit the Mobcaster page...

http://mobcaster.com/project/drifter

It's a 60 day campaign to raise $25k. The shoot will be in NYC this summer.

Thanks for checking it out!

UPDATE: Check out this good article on the series from Gigaom, "Can Drifter turn a crowd-funded pilot into a television deal?"

-Blake

PS. To see my current sci-fi series "Continuum" go to www.watchcontinuum.com. It's now on JTS.tv with season one about to wrap up.

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JTS.TV Free Trials and More...

As previously mentioned my new sci-fi series Continuum is now playing at JTS.TV. This is a new online indie TV network... think Netflix meets HBO for independent web series. It's a subscription-based site that is only $3.99/mo. or $39.99/year. And the content creators get 50% of the revenues, so it's very filmmaker friendly.


Currently there are 4 episodes of Continuum on the site, with new episodes rolling out each Tuesday. And, there are also a dozen or so other series on there that you'll have full access to - on your computer, phone, tablet and coming soon Roku box for your TV.


You can do a Free Trial here of the full site: 

Or if you'd prefer to just watch a free Continuum episode and then (hopefully) sign up please go here: 

I know money is tight these days and there are tons of entertainment choices out there, but I think you'll find this to be an affordable fun alternative (plus you get to support my work!). :)

Thank you in advance and I hope you check it out!

-Blake

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Continuum Now Playing On JTS.tv!

As of today 2/28/12 I'm happy to announce that my new sci-fi series CONTINUUM is now playing on a new independent TV network called JTS - Just The Story, and the first season will play exclusively on their platform.




The show joins a dozen other great series such as BLUE MOVIES, ASYLUM and CLUTCH - just to name a few. And I hope you'll join me in supporting this new venture.


Our first episode is currently available as a free preview on the JTS site, and starting today new episodes will be released weekly for the next eight weeks (9 episodes in season one, then later 9 episodes in season two for a total of 18).


JTS is not only offering a free preview of episode one from CONTINUUM, but they are also offering a free preview of their entire site - granting access to all the ad-free shows for a test drive to see if you like it.


Here's the link if you'd like to do a free trial:
http://www.jts.tv/ContinuumTrial/


The cost is only $3.99/month or $39.99/year.


For that you get unlimited access to all the shows on the site, including the exclusives such as my show CONTINUUM, and also favorites like BLUE MOVIES and ASYLUM along with the only place to watch THE JEFF LEWIS 5 MINUTE COMEDY HOUR or COMPULSIONS or CELL completely ad-free.


Additionally you can watch these shows on pretty much all devices like your computer, phone, tablet and coming soon set top boxes like Roku.


JTS also has a very filmmaker-friendly revenue share model and so hopefully creators such as myself will be able to make money on our shows, and ideally continue to make new episodes in the future.


As indie content creators we need this subscription model to work for us to keep this nascent industry sustainable.


So in saying all that... I hope you will subscribe! :) Thanks for the support!


-Blake

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How To Shoot (Good) iPhone Video

A new episodes from "The iPhoneographers", a show I produce...



 You can also watch it on YouTube if you prefer. Thanks for checking it out!

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JTS.tv Launches


A new Netflix-style site has launched for indie TV called JTS... Just The Story

It's a low cost subscription model geared towards high quality short form web series - and it's very filmmaker friendly.  It's only $3.99/month or $39.99/year for unlimited ad free viewing online, on mobile apps and soon on set top boxes like Roku.

Definitely check out their FREE previews including my series Continuum. :)  

Yes, this is a sales pitch of sorts, BUT even if my show wasn't involved I'd be pimping this propaganda all day long. The web series space needs a valid subscription based model to work for it to be sustainable. Trust me, I know. You can only make so many shows without every making any money back!  Money definitely isn't everything, but without it we can't keep these shows going. So hopefully JTS.tv will fill in that gap.


Thanks,
Blake

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New Series: The iPhoneographers


I'm producing a new tech-related show called The iPhoneographers that primarily concentrates on the video capabilities of the iPhone and the iPad - from apps, gear, accessories, movies and more. And it's not just for pro level filmmakers... we're covering all angles for hobbyist and pros alike.

This is my first attempt at a hosted "lifestyle" type series. All of my other online work has been narrative (Pink, 88 Hits, Exposed and Continuum). I'm not abandoning the narrative stuff at all by the way, I'm just working to create a slate of shows that cover a wide variety of topics and interests.  We've got several other shows in the pipeline too including a cooking show, fitness show, an interview-style show and even a movie parody show - all with a twist of course. ;)

2012 looks to be a pretty busy year!

Here's the main site for the new iPhone series:
http://www.iphoneographers.tv

And then of course you can follow the series on Twitter or Like it on Facebook.

You can also watch it directly on YouTube and Blip.

Let me know what you think!

-Blake

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Joe Swanberg's New Film... For Free

Lots of talk these days on free versus paid downloads of films, etc. and so I found it interesting that Joe Swanberg would release his latest feature or free on Vimeo.

The film is called Marriage Material. I haven't watched it yet, but Joe makes primarily "Mumblecore films", which are definitely an acquired taste.

Here's the film:


Like most "free" things on the Internet this looks to be a marketing play to promote his other work. I'm not saying that negatively either by the way, I actually this it's pretty smart.

Here are a few of the reasons he sites for releasing it for free:

1. The date of the "release" is connected to the shipment of the first DVD in the Joe Swanberg: Collected Films 2011 set that Factory 25 is doing, but it's not lost on me that Sundance is also starting this week.  The Sundance Film Festival makes the whole country aware of independent film for a week or so, but most people can't be there, so it's fun to put something up that everyone can see.

2. The Collected Films set is an attempt to try something new and find an alternative to conventional distribution.  I figured it would be fun to celebrate that by giving away another film in an unconventional way.
3.  The American Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, did a retrospective of my films in November and I showed "Silver Bullets" at the Viennale the month before.  None of my films are available legally on home video or streaming in Poland or Austria, so the inability to find my work or share it with friends after the festivals was frustrating for new fans of mine.  Releasing this film on Vimeo allows me to keep the conversation alive with the people I meet internationally.
Read the LA Times Blog piece on it for the other reasons. 

-Blake

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SPILT MILK Now on iTunes

My feature film SPILT MILK was released on iTunes today!  It's been kind of a long journey on this film, so I'm pretty happy to finally have it out to the world. :)

Here's a direct iTunes link:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/spilt-milk/id489101084

You can buy or rent it in SD or HD. And here's the trailer to refresh your memory...



The film stars a lot of great folks including Jake Johnson (currently co-starring on FOX TV's New Girl), Chase Jeffery (Mind of It's Own), Kim Matula (CBS TV's The Bold & The Beautiful), Matthew Tompkins (Phobia), and many others (see IMDb for full cast).

Soon it should be available on Netflix and Hulu too... I'll post here when it's online.

Thanks!
Blake

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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 TheWB.com. And speaking of TheWB.com, 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 JTS.tv - 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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