GADZOOK FILMS Producing independent film in Seattle, Los Angeles and beyond.

2Oct/08Off

Vote!

Hey folks. I can't stress the importance of registering to vote and then actually voting. So to help you out I've collected a couple links.

In California the deadline to register is October 20th, 2008 to vote in the next election!! You can find out how to register here.

In Washington the deadline to register is 30 days before an election... in this case, October 4th! You can go here to get information on how and when to register.

Now, how about a video? I didn't make this, but I wish I had.

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.
31Aug/08Off

Major redesign

Well, as you may've noticed, I've been doing some... uh... late Summer cleaning. I'm been preparing the old GadZook Films site for upcoming fun. I've added a lot of new videos (and added higher-resolution versions of some older videos), removed some icky, non-working links and slapped some nifty dynamic content on the ol' frontpage. Watch that spot over the next couple of months and follow this blog for details. Keep in mind, the paint is still wet in places and some links are not working properly. Be patient... my poor little laptop can only encode so fast! Why don't you subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog?

 Subscribe!

If you want to be really cool, you'll add this blog to your Technorati faves. I promise I'll continue to update this thing with words of wisdom. A lot of projects are under way and when they reach critical mass I'll start releasing some more detailed information. Until then... stay tuned, enjoy the redesign and updates and I'll talk to you soon!

P.S. Tell all your friends: Snow Day, Bloody Snow Day is on SALE! Only $8.00 plus s/h. Get it now in the GadZook Store.

9Dec/07Off

The PA’s Resume

So I've had a couple people request my resume. OK, cool. No problem. 'cept my resume shows in wonderful detail all of my producing credits. Were an employer to look at it she might posit that I had no intention of being a PA at all. Or that my application was just a lark. It's like a doctor putting in his hours and hours in surgery on a resume to be a nurse's assistant.

So I've been working on highlighting my skills as a PA with emphasis on my abilities in the realm of production management.

Funny thing is, I'm still not sure what it is I WANT to do. Producing has been the easy choice - but what kind of producer. Who does what I want to do in this town. That's a question I need to find an answer for.

In the meantime, here's a handy site for working on a film resume. I must admit I've never written a resume for film jobs - never had a need in Seattle. So this is all a bit new to me. If anyone has any other insights I'm all ears.

Edit: This post has been getting some extra hits of late. I've noticed the link, from the Texas Film Commission was woefully out of date. I've updated it. 🙂

Filed under: General Shtuff 2 Comments
2Dec/07Off

In LA

Well, I made it. I've been here slightly over a week, having arrived at 4:45pm on Saturday, November 25. I found a place on Monday the 27th, moved in on Tuesday and had my first acting gig on Thursday. I've been making some connections but a severe cold has side-lined me and I haven't been able to really get up and go as much as I would've liked to.

Still, this coming week should bring even more connections to the table. Not having a steady job, it's hard to really budget and still get out and do things. Gas here is as pricey as anywhere, but I'm driving far more often than I was in Seattle. Luckily my neighborhood has some amenities within walking distance (some a bit of a long walk). Bottom line, if you as a Seattle-ite intend on moving to LA, do not assume your transportation costs will be equal. Luckily I was prepared for this and thus far it hasn't been a huge problem. Most of my miles are highway miles anyway. 🙂

The acting gig was for a how-to podcast which, once it's up, I'll link to. It was fun and most interestingly the production was done very similarly to the way we shoot our stuff. A mixture of run-n-gun and professionalism. It felt good to know I wasn't doing things so far off the book that no one else would follow my methods.

I was telling my friend that LA is funny in the sense that stars, or even remotely famous people, are around all the time. There's a comedian I enjoy and she's hosting an improv show this week. In Seattle I would be lucky to spend $50 to see my favorite comedians once a year at Bumbershoot... but now I can see them for $5 at the local theater. Pretty cool. Networking is the key, down here. The addage is true, you can't throw a rock in this town without hitting some wannabe writer/director/actor. And many of them are actually talented. But a good portion of them are hacks. But each one has a contact pool that can be developed.

While I don't foresee making my own stuff anytime soon, I am hoping to start meeting crews and gather resources to do so. In the meantime I'm enjoying working on other projects as they come up.

Filed under: General Shtuff 2 Comments
13Oct/07Off

Why I’m Going to LA

by Dom Zook.

Good question. I've resisted this dilemma for about 8 years now. I've known I wanted to make movies since I was in high school but never really considered it something I'd like to do for a living for the rest of my life until I graduated from college. I went down to Irvine for some graduate school auditions (back then I thought I wanted to act) and revisited SoCal - the place I grew up in for the first 8 years of my life. It was my last night there, I was alone, and I walked out in to the balcony and looked up at the sky and I (imagining camera crane lifting up to my eye level) said to myself "This is it. I'll be back." I kid you not. I was corny even back then.

Flash forward to 2005. I stopped in LA on my way back from London and got this eerie sense of deja vu. I wondered then just how long it'd be before I had to move. That was the point I determined to make the biggest push for a feature film to be made in Seattle I could.

And I did. If you scroll back through the last couple of years' worth of posts you'll see the trials and tribulations. I did it all. Cast negotiations, legal paperwork, business plans, investor talks, budget write-ups, etc. And frankly I had a great plan with a fantastic script (written by Faye Hoerauf and Jessica Baxter) and I knew it would be a hit. Modest hit, maybe, but a hit. Unfortunately no one was buying. No one of influence believed the script would go far. Despite at least one major name in the cast and several more just waiting for an investor to come forward, despite several awards for the script alone, despite a rock-solid business plan with proven talent (and I'm not even talking about me, Faye or Jessica here!), we were denied.

Meanwhile a lot of other movies got made in this town. Many with large budgets. Some with budgets much larger than our's. Some with budgets much smaller. My job prevented me from ever volunteering or even working on these sets but from the horror stories I've heard I'm not sure that was a bad thing. But in Seattle you learn quickly that you either drop everything to work on free shit to build up your name or you hope that gravy train will eventually stop on your terms. It doesn't. There are no entry level film positions in this town. No one wants to hire a producer who actually demands you add insurance to the budget. Auteurs don't like to hear their script is unfilmable for the budget they can afford. They also don't like to hear a plan for raising the money they need when they just want to shoot now and "gee, all I want are 50 extras, a bunch of copyrighted songs, cinematography like that last Ridley Scott feature and Jake Gyllenhaal." They always end that with "I already know 50 people who'd do it, too." Yeah, but see, it always sounds great until you tell those 50 people they have to get up at 6am and there's a strong likelihood we won't get to them till 4pm, and since you're a cheapskate all they have are cheese and Nalley's Beef Stew out of the can. Movies can't get made that way. Rather, movies SHOULDN'T get made that way.

Not one to feel sorry for myself I continued to make movies here and there when time and money (usually both equally little in amount) would permit. That's the great thing about the 48 Hour Film Project - it's one weekend and at the end you have a finished film. Voila! If you're smart it's almost no out of pocket and you have one more resume piece. Anyway... I realized that while I enjoyed doing this, I wanted to make MOVIES. FILMS. Features and shorts that you could really dissect and enjoy. I knew, all too well, that the only way that would happen would be to either win the lotto or convince someone with money to give me some and cross their fingers (like I do every day). But Seattle investors are not a keen bunch. Most of the guys with money know someone who's ponied up cash to other local projects only to see that money squandered by terrible production planning. Newsflash, learn how to control cash flow people! Don't make your movie if you can't even post it! Wait till you have the money... trust me, the experience is much better! I cannot think of a good reason to shoot a movie with only half your budget in place.

Then there are the producers who pay the crew a "livable" wage but in doing so have yanked cash from other areas that make a movie a movie - like post production, food, other crew, etc. My mantra is if you can't afford to do it well, then hold up and raise the money till you can or make something else. It's a long mantra. Like this post is becoming.

Bottom line: I'm moving to LA. Not because the industry is any easier down there, but it's THE industry down there. Sure it ain't easy to get a job down there but it's next to impossible to get an entry-level job HERE and actually move up the chain unless you're the guy with the money. Plus, the ocean. OMG the ocean! Puget Sound is not the ocean. Seeing the water, the horizon, the actual sandy beaches... wow. Yes a lot of LA, heck, most of it is full of conceited, narcissistic jerks and working in the film industry will expose me to most of that population. But it's miles better than working a dead-end job outside the industry and not advancing.

So I'm moving to LA to work in movies. I hope to be back to Seattle with a film project in the very near future and I'll be doing my darnedest to bring shoots up there. I'd appreciate any contacts you may have in LA and in return I'm more than happy to pass your info to folks down here if you're looking for work. Who knows who I'll meet?

Yikes, so that's the uh, long of it. There's obviously a lot more I could go on about with this topic. Maybe a later date. This blog will not die, of course, so stay tuned for A Seattle Filmmaker's Guide to LA.

Filed under: General Shtuff 6 Comments
1Oct/07Off

Make that November

I'll be heading to LA at the end of November. Not March as previously thought. I'm still looking for work down there (it's hard when they see the Seattle address), but I should find something soon. More details as they become available.

Filed under: General Shtuff 3 Comments
20Sep/07Off

911 Short Film Contest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 10, 2007

911 Media Arts' ON SCREEN Magazine Announces Fall Short Film Contest "Music in Film," Winner To Be Screened At SIFF 2008

ON SCREEN, the magazine of Seattle independent film and media arts, is holding a new short film contest in conjunction with its Fall 2007 "Music in Film" issue. The grand prize winner will be screened at the 2008 Seattle International Film Festival, with prize packages for second and third place including gift packs from sponsors Experience Music Project and Scarecrow Video, broadcasting on the Seattle Channel, and 20 hours of post-production time at 911 Media Arts Center.

To be accepted, all films must include original music, feature at least one musician character, and reflect the theme "communication breakdown." They must be shot in Washington State and be no longer than 7 minutes with credits. No music videos are allowed.

Judging the contest will be some of the most important and influential names in Seattle independent cinema, including: Carl Spence (Seattle International Film Festival), Virginia Bogert (Women in Film), Warren Etheredge (The Warren Report), John Sinno (Typecast Films/Arab Film Distribution), Andy Spletzer (Film.com), and Misha Neininger (911 Media Arts Center).

The deadline for entries is November 1. All films will be screened at a special program at SIFF Cinema on Saturday, December 1, with winners announced after the show. A downloadable application form and more details are available at:

http://www.911media.org/shortfilmcontest/

911 Media Arts' ON SCREEN, the magazine of Seattle independent film and media arts, launched its Fall 2007 issue August 30 with a gala at the Capitol Hill Arts Center featuring VJ scobot and DJ Hyasynth spinning live beats and video, and tons of free Vitamin Water and Vitamin Energy Drink from sponsor Glaceau. The event brought out amazing filmmakers, media artists, and supporters of the Seattle film scene like Charles Mudede, Peggy Case, James Keblas, Emily Resling, Dom Zook, Webster Crowell, Jacob Stone, Ben Kasulke, Jason Staczek, Joe Shapiro, and many more. We had a great time and anticipate more such networking events in the future!

Contact:

Alicia Dara, Short Film Contest Coordinator and ON SCREEN Assistant Editor

alicia@911media.org

Adrian MacDonald, ON SCREEN Editor

adrian@911media.org

7Sep/07Off

Whew!

Thanks to Eric T. for pointing out the side had been, in his words, "borked." Apparently a great deal of spam had come in to the account (and apparently been sent from, too). My apologies if you received any. It's hard to tell what was actual spam and what was someone telling me my account truly had been blocked because of spam.

Anyway, we're back and supposedly in the clear. Sorry for any inconvenience!

Filed under: General Shtuff 1 Comment
20Jul/07Off

Comic Con 2007

Well, it's that time of year again! Time to bask on the pasty glow of geeks in San Diego. As usual the schedule is packed with panels and meetings. This is the first year I've gone as a professional. Two years ago I went as a filmmaker, last year as a lowly guest. As a professional I get listed in the trade magazine that the convention puts out. Not sure if there are any other perks (besides a free pass) but I'll find out.

Filed under: General Shtuff 1 Comment
13Jul/07Off

Interview on 48HFP

I just did an interview with James Callan over at Seattlest on this weekend's 48 Hour Film Project. Nothing a lot of you don't already know, probably, but Seattlest is always fun to read.

Filed under: General Shtuff 2 Comments