This Week’s Good Reads (week of August 18)

SAGindie — Friday, August 22nd, 2014

During the week we often get so preoccupied with our real lives that we sometimes neglect our internet browsing. With the weekend ahead of us, we’ve compiled some of our favorite film-related reads from this past week: See what some industry heavyweights including Ted Hope (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive), and Mark Duplass (The One I Love) have to say about the state of independent cinema. So snuggle up on the toilet couch and get to browsin’!


Good Reads for the week of August 18, 2014

Does indie film have a future? (via Ted Hope with Anthony Kaufman for Salon)
Producer and indie film champion Ted Hope writes about the future of the industry in this excerpt from his book Hope For Film.

How sex, lies, and videotape Changed Indie Filmmaking Forever (via Jason Bailey for Flavorwire)
A look back at Steven Soderbergh’s breakthrough film on its 25th anniversary.

The next edition of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide will be its last (via Matt Singer for The Dissolve)
Who knew an obituary for a book could be so moving?

Jim Jarmusch on Vampires, Music and the Future of Independent Film (via Chris Patmore for Indiewire)
The auteur speaks about his new movie, soundtrack music, and retaining control of your film.

Pulp Fiction brought guns, gimps, and glory to the Cannes Film Festival (via A.A. Dowd for The A.V. Club)
A look back to when a scrappy, violent American indie took a stuffy French film fest by storm. “It’s a scandal!”

Mark Duplass on How to Get a Movie Made in 2014 (via Mike Ryan for Screen Crush)
The actor/writer/director/producer spouts some crazy wisdom about filmmaking.

Updated to include: 5 Ways You Are Using Twitter Incorrectly to Promote Your Film’s Crowdfunding Campaign (via Richard “RB” Botto for Medium)
Some very sage advice on how to properly engage potential funders on Twitter.


In case you were ignoring us (aka blatant self-promotion)

Filmmaker Interview: Chris Lowell and Mo Narang of Beside Still Waters (via SAGindie)
The actor-turned-director and his writing partner discuss their debut film, how to cast for chemistry, and what to do when the power goes out mid-filming.

Movies You Probably Forgot Were Indies (via SAGindie)
From Terminator to TMNT, 7 mainstream movies with indie roots.

How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?


If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.

In Cased You Missed Them: This Week’s Good Reads

SAGindie — Friday, August 15th, 2014

During the week we often get bogged down with so much “work” and “socializing” that we sometimes miss out on good content spewing from the internet. If you’re looking for some interesting news, articles, interviews or essays about the world of film, fear not! You can catch up on some of the week’s best reads here:


Good Reads for the week of August 11, 2014

David Lowery Talks Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (via David Lowery for The Talkhouse)
The director of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints writes about why it’s okay for kids to like dumb movies.

The Essential Black Independents (via Brandon Harris for Fandor)
A list of 25 standouts in the history black cinema.

How to Make a Sundance Indie Film (via Briana Rodriguez for Backstage)
Director Charlie McDowell, actor Mark Duplass, writer Justin Lader, and producer Mel Eslyn on the making of The One I Love.

Attention, Filmmakers: Here’s 6 Traits You Need to Look for in a Sales Agent (via Bill Straus for Indiewire)
Bill Straus of BGP Film on how to get the best sales rep for your film.

How They Did It: Jesse Zwick Dives Straight Into About Alex (via Jesse Zwick for MovieMaker)
The first-time director gives a play-by-play on how he got his ensemble dramedy made.

Alamo Drafthouse is Coming to LA! (via Casey Warnick at Drafthouse)
Rejoice, Angeleno cinephiles!

Steadicam Inventor Reveals the ‘Impossible Shots’ That Changed Filmmaking Forever (via Ariston Anderson for The Hollywood Reporter)
How the man behind the iconic camerawork of Rocky and The Shining started his endeavor.

New Mexico’s Artisans Take Advantage of Incentives and Experienced Crews (via Iain Blair for Variety)
Why indie filmmakers and big studios alike are flocking to New Mexico to make their projects.

How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?


If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent filmmaker or film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.

Criterion Collection on Hulu!

Will Prescott — Thursday, February 17th, 2011

A long time coming! More details HERE.

SAGIndie joins Brooklyn’s ISSUE Project Room in presenting Actor as Auteur: Brunch with Steve Buscemi

SAGindie — Wednesday, May 12th, 2010


On June 6, 2010 Actor, writer, and film director Steve Buscemi will talk with Emmy Award-winning journalist and Co-Host of WNYC Radio and PRI’s The Takeaway, John Hockenberry, about creating unforgettable characters that ultimately drive a film’s narrative and impact. The afternoon will feature film clips from the actor’s career as well as brunch at an award-winning Brooklyn eatery.

It is our pleasure to extend an advance invitation to SAG and SAGIndie members. The event will be publicly announced this Friday May 14th, so please take advantage of this opportunity to secure seats to this intimate event.

Actor as Auteur Brunch To Benefit ISSUE Project Room
Presented in Collaboration With SAGIndie
Sunday, June 6, 12pm – 2pm
$125 Per Person ($95 tax-deductible, three-course brunch is included.)

For more information please call 718-330-0313.

There are numerous iconic characters in film history, from The Little Tramp to Charles Foster Kane to Colonel Kurtz to Travis Bickle, all of them well drawn and directed. However, had Chaplin, Welles, Brando or DeNiro not played these roles would the film had the same powerful impact on our culture? Can a case be made for actor as auteur?

It is difficult to imagine Buscemi’s roles and their indelible effect on each film without his personal, stylized approach in bringing them to life. They emit essential energies striking a balance between deeply held neuroses and outward bombast. From lead roles in films like Fargo, Resevoir Dogs, Living in Oblivion, Trees Lounge, and Ghost World to supporting roles and cameos in films such as The Big Lebowski, and Barton Fink, his presence breathes life into every corner of a film. “Buscemi is a quiet tyrant of artistic fury who threatens to overrun every frame he’s in with the inner desperation he projects even in his most subtle performances,” says Hockenberry.

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SAGIndie is a gentle and loving union between the hard working thespians of the world and the passionate filmmakers who buck the system. Since its formation in 1997, SAGIndie has been traveling to film festivals, trade shows and conventions spreading the word: Just because your film isn’t produced by a studio doesn’t mean you can’t use professional talent. www.SAGIndie.org

ISSUE Project Room, a registered 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2003 by visionary artist Suzanne Fiol, and is a vibrant nexus for cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary arts in Brooklyn. ISSUE supports emerging and established experimental artists through more than 200 programs each year including music concerts, literary readings, films, videos, dance, visual and sound art, new media, critical theory lectures and discussions, site-specific work, commissions, educational workshops, master classes, and genre-defying interdisciplinary performances that challenge and expand conventional practices in art.  Support for ISSUE has been provided by CHORA, a project of the Metabolic Studio, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation led by Artist and Foundation Director Lauren Bon. CHORA aims to support the intangibles that precede creativity. www.ISSUEProjectRoom.org 

John August (dot com)

Will Prescott — Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

For those of you who aren’t familiar with his work, John August is one of Hollywood’s hardest working screenwriters. With substantial writing credits to his name (GO, Charlie’s Angels, Big Fish) he has also directed, produced, and worked within the industry for numerous years. Bottom line – the guy has been around. Not only is he talented, but he’s also super smart and wants to impart his knowledge on you.

His website, johnaugust.com, is one of the most amazing filmmaking resources on the ‘nets. I visit it daily and always come away with something useful. Topics of discussion aren’t just limited to screenwriting, they span the industry and can range from Releasing Micro-Budget Indies to Tips for using Index Cards. On occassion, John will even give his opinion on random, day-to-day issues like taking anxiety medication.

It doesn’t matter what level of the industry you’re in. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to his site. You’ll learn a lot.

My Experience with a Man-Eating Croc at the Lake Placid Film Festival (Just Kidding- about the croc, not about the festival)

Ellen Tremiti — Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Just yesterday I sat at my desk and picked out a list of films that I hope to see at Sundance this year. This will be my first time attending the festival and as a recent film school graduate I am very excited and thankful for the opportunity. I put Welcome to the Rileys on my list and eyeing one of its cast members, Melissa Leo, brought me back to a film festival that I had a chance to participate in while still in school at Emerson College. It was the Lake Placid Film Festival and one of my most beloved film professors, Pierre Desir, agreed to take a group of 5 students to the festival for a long weekend to see a couple screenings, including Leo’s academy nominated performance in Frozen River, and to compete in the student 24 hour film Competition, judged by a Frozen River producer, director Courtney Hunt (also nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay), and actress Melissa Leo.

After making the drive from Boston to Lake Placid we were housed in a large dormitory style room that shared a large common area with the other groups. The next day it was time to receive our 24 hour rules and requirements, each movie had to incorporate different aspects of the Lake Placid area, including a marathon, acid rain and a dog (not sure how that one fits in thinking back now, residents of Lake Placid must own a lot of dogs). We had time to brainstorm and then cast from a line-up of local actors.

Under the guidance of Pierre we location scouted while making all the necessary stops, the thrift store for costumes, the local all-purpose store for balloons, streamers, and chalk, and the hardware store for Christmas lights and a dog leash; then we ran around with our from-home props, including a banana suit and got to work. We were, if you haven’t figured it out yet, making a love story. We used two of our own crew, who had an acting background, in addition to the local talent, and we set about creating something simple and something short. We had a goal to edit this movie to be 5 minutes as opposed to the limit of 10. We shot all necessary moments, the meeting of the young, eccentric couple, the honeymoon period and then the simplistic moments that pulled them apart. This all led up to our finale at our most scenic location: the Lake Placid horse track/fair grounds.

We had decided to frame our story around a dance marathon at the fair grounds. Our local actor played the Dance Marathon DJ and our group duo played the last couple dancing. After hours and hours of trying to break the world dancing record, they were exhausted and that’s where we spliced in the memories of their relationship, good and bad, which led them to the final seconds before the marathon would end and they would break the record and win, but in that moment our female character realizes she doesn’t know why she’s still there and leaves.

When our movie played the next day I was surprised at the crowd’s reaction to that moment–horrified gasps and sad laughs at the boy left alone on the fair grounds. Our movie was definitely the most absurd; from its opening moment to its end it held onto a specific, colorful and zany vision. We also made a very big effort to have fun, which not all the groups did, and that was pretty key in this whole sleep-depraved experience.

So it was a wonderful moment when all of our fun paid off and our film, titled “Somebody’s Fool,” won the competition, mainly for our “fellini-esq vision” (thanks Ms. Hunt) and for sticking to a style from start to finish. If I could pinpoint why ours stood out that day I would say it was the style, but it was also more subtle moments, shooting our climax at magic hour, playing with silly dialogue, matching our shots to our art/costume design and most of all, being flexible. We were the only group who chose a non-running marathon and the other groups assigned specific roles to each person in their group, there was a writer, a director, a cinematographer, etc. but we didn’t do that. Sounds scary, right? Well, it’s not if egos are put aside. I’m not suggesting that any film be made like this, but for a 24 hour competition, it was vital even if we did receive some flack for this by the judges. By pooling 5 experienced student filmmakers’ minds we came up with the best concepts to suit our movie and we kept everyone involved.

So this second blog of mine told a story, but hopefully it showed you that I enjoy filmmaking and making projects happen successfully and also, that I understand that each project is different and each filmmaker has different needs depending on what they’re making and how they’re making it. The key is flexibility and learning how to make your specific movie happen, and of course, I also learned that winning feels good, so let me and SAGIndie help you improve your movies so you can win at your own festival competitions no matter how big or small they are!

Netflix Interactive Map

Will Prescott — Monday, January 11th, 2010

Over the weekend I stumbled upon this amazing interactive map that the NY Times put together. It gives you an idea of the Netflix rental patterns for 100 frequently-rented titles in 12 cities. Some of the 2009 findings are pretty interesting – considering that the top rented films can change drastically from one neighborhood to the next.

While big films like THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON and TWILIGHT top many zip codes, it’s very encouraging to see quite a few indie films sprinkled within the findings.

Check out the map HERE.

What’s New in the New Year, you say? Well, me of course!

Ellen Tremiti — Thursday, January 7th, 2010

My name is Ellen and I am the new SAGIndie Assistant.

I am very excited to pick up the torch here at SAGIndie and wear as many hats as needed. I’ll be alleviating the workload in the office, helping filmmakers and thespians alike learn how SAG’s low budget contracts can make their lives better and easier, assisting with the planning of SAGIndie events and acting as Darrien’s all-around right hand woman.  There are a few mixed metaphors here, but the point is I am ready to help SAGIndie continue to help all of you as a valuable and approachable resource.

A little about me: I was a film and writing/literature student in college. I still enjoy those subjects very much. My favorite movie is Taxi Driver, mostly because of these two guys, and a seventies theme shrouds my top ten, Jaws, the Godfather and even Rocky are in there. But, I also love Fargo, don’tchaknow, and more recently I really enjoyed District 9 and Up in the Air. On an un-cinematic note, I like Paris (been there once), game nights, and wrought iron and I dislike most cheesy romcoms, really loud sounds and anything flavored with coconut, ugh.

Hope you’re having a good day and you’ll be hearing from me again soon!


iPhone Apps for the Biz

Will Prescott — Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Happy New Year!

Trying to figure out what to spend that holiday cash or iTunes gift card on? Why not head to the iTunes store and load up on some filmmaker friendly apps?

Our friends over at THE WRAP put together a list of the 10 “Hollywood” apps every movie lover or working professional must have for their iPhone. Some are more fun than practical, like the Space Odyssey inspired HAL 9000 app, which costs nothing, but provides hours of fun with endless Hal one-liners. Other apps are much more useful for the indie filmmaker on the go, like the Artemis Director’s Viewfinder, which costs $29.99, but allows you to plug in the shooting format, the aspect ratio, and the type of lens you’re using to preview an upcoming shot.

Check out the entire list HERE.

SAGIndie wants to hear from you

SAGindie — Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Hey! We need your help!

In an effort to strengthen SAGIndie and provide you with quality information, we’re looking to gather feedback from any and all interactions you may have had with us. Be it at one of our monthly workshops, one of our fabulous festival events, or just over the phone — your opinion matters to us.

Have our workshops totally confused you? Did you enjoy the scones at our Sundance Filmmakers Brunch? Have we (appropriately) touched you in some way and inspired you to be a better producer? All feedback — positive or negative — is welcome! (although, keep in mind that a special treat may be awarded to the person who showers our National Director with the most compliments.)

So, go ahead and drop us an email at blogadmin@sagindie.org and let us hear it. Feel free to send your comments anonymously, but please include any pertinent info regarding your interaction(s) with us, such as “I was at your bowling party in NYC” or “I attended a contract workshop on November 30″ or “I called in on a Tuesday in March.” The more information we get, the better off we’ll be able to address your thoughts.

As always, thanks for your continued support. We look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,

Your friends at SAGIndie.