Beautiful Outer Space Programs on Roku and Fire TV

I’m a big fan of space-nerd programs. I’ve been publishing content from Space agencies like ESO and NASA for years. My “Aurora” short film is one of my most popular connected TV videos. And after thousands of downloads it’s still in high demand because not only is it just filled with gorgeous visuals — it’s also very mellow and relaxing.

Just recently, I decided to ramp up the variety of programs that feature outer space themes for two reasons. For one, the spirit moved me…I love the beauty of outer space, and TV shows about space exploration inspire and uplift me. And reason two, is because I want to share the inspiring, and very relaxing feeling that I get from watching this programming with you.

So, today I’m announcing that I’ve added a few more documentary style programs. We have “The Eyes on the Skies” a 60 minute movie described by Germany’s ESO (European Southern Observatory:) It “explores the many facets of the telescope — the historical development, the scientific importance, the technological breakthroughs, and also the people behind this ground-breaking invention, their triumphs, and failures…” The program is presented by Dr. Joe Liske. I don’t Joe, but I feel like I do because he’s a very personable host — and I’ve been watching his videos for years on my Roku channel called “Space.”

We are also streaming Europe to the Stars — ESO’s first 50 years of exploring the southern sky. Per ESO: “The [60 minute movie] consists “of eight chapters each focusing on an essential aspect of an observatory, while putting things in perspective and offering a broader view on how astronomy is made. From site testing and explaining the best conditions for observing the sky to how telescopes are built and what mysteries of the Universe astronomers are revealing…” Boy that’s allot of “techy” sounding stuff — but please don’t let that throw you. The movie is a nice watch.

Next is the 30 minute movie called MUSE, The Cosmic Time Machine. About the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer installed at ESO’s Very Large Telescope. What’s a spectro…explorer? Hey, I may be a sci-fi nerd, but I can’t tell you any better than them. Watch the film free and ad-free (of course) on my channels.

And lastly we have “In the Shadow of the Black Hole.” Wherein a
a picture of a black hole is taken by the Event Horizon Telescope. (Sounds like a Hollywood Sci-Fi movie ehh?) This recording proves Einsteins theory about black holes. The picture was accomplished via a planet-wide array of eight telescopes. The film is an international collaboration accredited as an ESO production.

If you’d like to see a nice introduction to the fine films that I am streaming, please watch the following…

Just to be as clear as the night sky…You may watch these films on my Roku and Fire TV channels for free, and ad-free. And there are numerous other Documentaries by Nasa and other agencies. Plus of course I feature many Star Trek shows and indie-made films for you to enjoy. Regarding the content I posted today — I should be clear that space agencies (like ESO and ESA) and directors like Lars Lindberg Christensen deserve credit for making these films a reality. Please add my channels and donate to my patreon campaign if you like to see more in the future. – (c) Dean Lachiusa

Mr Ed streams on Roku for free

I’ve found three rare Mr. Ed television sitcoms, and two are currently streaming. One episode is a hilarious story about a Cat and a beneficiary. The other is a very RARE PILOT & PITCH that is a must see for fans of the show, as well as anyone who is interested in how shows were pitched, produced and sponsored by Ad Agencies and Advertisers like the manufacture of the LARK automobile. The Lark? Seriously?

Okay so as it turns out, it’s not a “lark.” Studebaker was making cars back in the late 50’s to early 60’s and this one was being sold as the main promotional ‘vehicle’ for an up and coming series.

The tentative series was called “The Wonderful World of Wilbur Pope” and this episode (the pilot) is called Wilbur Pope and Mister Ed. And it stars two actors who were cast specifically for the Pilot – but not the series. That’s interesting, ehh? I didn’t think it worked like that. Scott McKay played (Wilbur Pope.)

And his wife (Carlotta) was played by Sandra White. Both were replaced within this video. Ed stayed. (Wink wink.) Sound confusing? Well, I was certainly surprised. Let me run down how the video plays out so that you may better understand.

First we start with an advertising pitch-man. He’s a boring looking character, tooled up with a pointer, chalk-board graphics and well placed, but verbatim dialog. Did you know that the average household watches 3.5 hours of TV a night? Groovy. Okay, so then we move on to the show, and it runs a good half hour. But immediately afterwards we have a new spokesperson…

That’s George Burns. He talks about how Sitcoms typically fail because they have nothing to write-about after six episodes or so, but this series will be the exception because of “Ed.” And then he proceeds to tell us about how the new actors for this series are funny, experienced and importantly the lead man is a “clean cut fine looking young man who will make a great salesman for your product.” Then the new actor is introduced, and he’s darn funny. This is the new Wilbur, Wilbur Post played by Alan Young.

Young talks about how George Burns will be overseeing the writing on the show. Then he proceeds by delivering an example performance, and then he really shines when he plays next to his new wife “Carol” Carol Post, played by Connie Hines. And I have to say I really enjoyed the way they played out a ‘sample’ scene. It was very convincing and the two demonstrated nice chemistry. This is the beautiful Connie Hines…

The cool “sales pilot” and other classic shows like Petticoat Junction and Fireball XL5 are available on my Roku channels, free & adfree. Oh bye the way, I noticed something of a mystery. Within the pilot — they never gave away the name of Mr. Ed’s voice-actor. Interesting, maybe that’s part of the charm. Watch the two episodes now, and stay tuned for a third,* VERY RARE episode in which Wilbur sells United State Savings Bonds.

*ADDENDUM 4/20/2020 – the episode “Wilbur gets the Message” is now on all of our Roku and Fire TV channels. While it does have a few funny moments, it does require a little patience. You may be asking “since when does a sitcom require patience?” The answer is because it’s basically a special program designed to sell Bonds and inform folks about the virtue of “Payroll Savings.” It was produced on behalf of the US treasury. On the plus size we have our favorites — Alan Young (Wilbur), and Connie Hines (Carol), Mr Ed – the “Horse of course,” ‘PLUS’ the character-comedian George O’Hanlon – from The Jetsons. (c) Dean Lachiusa

Star Trek ‘continues’ with series on Roku

For many Star Trek lovers, the “Discovery” of Star Trek on Roku and other Connected TV devices is not entirely new. And for readers of this blog, you may already know what I think about the Star Trek Discovery series per my article last year. But this year, we have a new show to watch, and it features Patrick Stewart and other iconic actors from Star Trek’s Next Generation show.

I enjoyed the premiere episode, which (was) free on Youtube, and I am tempted to sign up for the entire series. Tempted, but not enough to pay them for it. Note: The following video is a SPOILER!

I did try to subscribe to CBS All-Access with what was advertised as the CBS “gift” code, but after giving CBS my name, email, DOB, and my first male child, the interface did not work, I didn’t get my free month — maybe the code expired, but it was only a week old. So I’m back to weighing the benefits of paying for CBS.

Based on my feelings for Discovery, and based on the things I’ve read about Picard on Facebook, I’ll have to pass. Why pay for it when CBS has operated as a Ad-Supported network for years, and now they expect me to change my viewing habits just for a few new shows – sorry, not enough.

I already pay for Hulu and others. I really wish CBS would reconsider their entire “all access” formula. Let’s talk about something a little more positive. Have you watched Star Trek Continues, Star Trek New Voyages, or the new shows from Tim Russ (of Star Trek Voyager) and his Atomic network? Here’s a full episode of Atomic’s “Renegades.”

I like Renegades, but I prefer the new Trek based series that they are working on. I’ll post episodes as soon as they are made public. I hope that they release the Atomic programs for free and ad-free because it’s the only way I operate. My Roku channels are noncommercial.

And I do this because I love the craft of filmmaking, and I enjoy supporting filmmakers, especially those who make programs out of pure passion for their subject matter. (You can help me support indie film here.)

And that folks is why you’ll find I write often on the subject of fan-made films. And it’s also why I showcase short films on my Free Film Festival and Free Roku Channels.

This is also why I stream great programs like “The Verse” — a Firefly short that just begs to be developed into a series. If only we fans could convince the owners of the franchise to allow fans to produce more noncommercial content. You may watch The Verse on my Roku channels, and of course it is free and advertising free like all my programming.

I’ll talk more about fan films and the regulations later in a adjunct article. This is an enormous area of controversy that I cannot discuss without going into details. But, I will say that for years, the makers of Continues and New Voyages were allowed to produce Trek programming as an homage, as long as the shows were never commercialized/monetized.

And the producers of those shows, along with the Farragut producers did respect the network’s rules that were set forth in “guidelines.” (PS: Farragut is a long-running series of fanfilms that do not get rated very positively on Youtube, so I don’t have a sample for you here.) BUT, I do stream (2) Starship Farragut animated episodes on my Roku Channels.

Something happened a few years ago. Another guy decided to make a Trek fan film, but not with fans. Instead, he hired professional crew and talent, and then he raised money — allot of money with the intention of releasing a professional (perhaps commercially viable) film. He threw it right in the Network’s face on Kickstarter and social media. In the end, according to reports – he openly defied CBS and Paramount in court. To make a long story short, now would be fan-film makers have new “fanfilm guidelines” that really put the “AXE” on how a fan made film can be produced. The films must be 15 minutes…The story-lines and characters may not be continued for more than (2) episodes, etc.

The actions of the “Axe” have effected every producer of Trek films, and I think that in turn may set the course for other franchises. And I stream them all – from Croft to Alien (see my free/adfree Android “Fan Films” app.) So, what I’m getting at here is that one selfish action may just be the thing that is effecting how the new owner, Disney handles requests to do Firefly/Serenity fanfilms. Like I say, there’s more details and I’ll do an entire article on this in the future. For now, I’ll leave you with a look at “The Verse.” — (c) Dean Lachiusa

Leave it to Beaver, pilot streams on Roku & Fire TV

Last night I had the pleasure of watching a real rarity, the Pilot episode for the original Leave it to Beaver program. It was a simple morality play, and I’ll give you a clue about the story.

Note, this sentence is sort-of a SPOILER: The boys get tricked into “earning” a gift for themselves, but then they end up returning the item, and then they get rewarded for being “good boys.

Here’s what IMDB says: And yes, this really is a SPOILER ALERT! “Sneaky Frankie Bennett tells Beaver that he can win a new bicycle by entering a popular television show’s Franklin Milk bottle cap contest; but Beaver and big brother, Wally, cause quite a commotion at the milk company’s office when no one there seems to know anything about a contest after the boys show up to claim their prize pulling a wagon loaded with a thousand bottle caps.”

Gee, it’s a swell story. Seriously, it’s cute and a nice way to remind yourself that there was indeed a day when life seemed simpler than today. I also found that watching this Pilot episode gave me the opportunity to play TV-Studio-Exec. Why did the network choose these actors, and why were some of them replaced?

Before Wally, there was Paul Sullivan. A clunky looking kid who is much taller than “the Beav.” His performance was believable enough, but he did not return in the series. Why? The scuttlebug is that Sullivan grew too much. He was too big to play Wally’s role. Okay, it happens.

Then we have Casey Adams who later in his career used the name Max Showalter. He seemed like a nice enough dad. His performance seemed convincing. He does have a nice satirical look about him. Maybe that’s why he didn’t return.

It’s hard to be objective when critiquing these actors. After all, the entire series was played by a guy who had obvious chemistry with June Cleaver for so many episodes. Yes, I’m talking about Ward Cleaver played by Hugh Beaumont…

And the beloved Barbara Billingsley is June Cleaver. Bye the way, did you ever think about their last name? Cleaver. I can hardly imagine an angel like “June” swinging a cleaver. Let’s move on 😉

What about Eddie (the hassler) Haskell? He’s not in the pilot – at least not by name. The kid that originally convinced the Beav to do what he does is Harry Shearer (Saturday Night Live.) He’s a Eddie Haskell type of smart-aleck. I think it’s safe to say that this character is developed later as the Eddie character.

The pilot can be seen in it’s entirety on TV.

The Cleavers (as seen in the rest of the series.)

I love that photo! Here’s what Jerry Mathers “the Beav” has to say about the Pilot’s name, the characters, cinematography, and how the show became a series in nearly 100 languages and countries. Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device. https://youtu.be/35EMVyAntAg

Don’t forget to add my channels to watch the Pilot and other pilots like MR. ED! And meanwhile, I’d like to remind you that I depend on the support of folks like you. I have a Patreon page for my fund raising, please take a moment to lend your support of $1 or more. — (c) Dean Lachiusa

Cord Cutting 101, how to save money on your TV bill

Cord Cutting 101, the how-to guide to free TV and alternatives to expensive Cable TV bills…

Have you heard about “Cord Cutters” and how they are saving hundreds? (Yes, cord cutters save $200 or more a month!) This article covers numerous ways to save money on TV.

Two years ago I was paying Comcast over 300 dollars a month for my Cable TV, Internet, and digital (landline) Phone. Before Comcast I tried AT&T, and the cost was about the same. And both companies enjoy a monopoly of-sorts, so they were constantly charging more for their services. And I really hated the way that these big co’s treated me. I mean, I wanted to watch NBA, and in order to do so, I had to buy a freak’n “bundle.” And the bundles offer all kinds of extra programming that I paid for – but didn’t want. You’ve probably gone through the same torment, so I’ll end my complaint session here. Moving on…

A BRIEF SATELLITE STORY…
Last year, I switched to Dish and I saved a ton of money. They didn’t push me to upgrade to bundles, and they allowed me to downgrade to an el-cheapo service of 40 bucks a month. But still, I felt that I was paying for local-tv programming that is offered free through my antenna.

Later, I downgraded my Dish to a “pause” plan. This cost me $5 month, and it allowed me to keep my Dish SAT while I tested the alternative – local TV channels delivered via OTA (over-the-air) antenna. So far, I’ve experienced mixed results. When it rains or the wind blows — so does the local TV.

In Metro Detroit, DISH has a introductory plan that cost about 30 dollars, and it has local channels plus TBS, Motor Trend TV, and many more…This was my latest adjustment to my Dish plan. It saves me allot of money, and I get reliable Local News, as well as LINK TV and International news from China. A nice plus is Dish’s “studio” channel where they feature films from some of their add-on channels, like MGM. You might want to ask if they offer it in your area.

Not very often, on a very Stormy day, my Dish may go out temporarily. And on the rare occasion when I use my alternate — an over-the-air Antenna (you may recall the old rabbit ears) the programming is good. However a breezy day will bring poor reception. Bad reception over an antenna is usually very bad – meaning…the picture on my TV is either totally black or displaying a bunch of square-pixels accompanied by the audio cutting out. That’s when I switch on my Roku or Fire TV.

If you like what you’re reading…you’re a “Cord Cutter” and you might like my line of cord cutting swag, from pillows to mugs – click the pic below to get your own 🙂

A LOOK AT OTT, CTV, AKA “SET TOP BOXES”…
Set Top Boxes like Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV all function the same way — you must have an Internet connection, 4mbps or better to use these devices to watch movies and Shows on your Television. (My current company says my Internet speed is 25mbps or so – and although that is not a consistent speed, it is perfectly fast enough.)

Using your Set Top Box (or “stick”.) You need to plug in the unit into your HDMI port or your composite (RCA) jacks on your TV. Just look for the “in” ports, it’s pretty standard on most TV’s, “Input” RCA jacks are Yellow for Video, and Red for Right-Audio, White for Left-Audio. Then plug in the power on the unit, turn on the TV, select the “source” aka “input” for the signal you’d like to watch. (In other words, this set-top-box “source” is an alternative to just turning the TV on and watching via an antenna or cable/sat TV.)

Next you should see that your Roku/Fire/AppleTV is asking you to connect to an Internet Signal. I’m sure your Internet Provider set you up with a WiFi Router. You’ll need the name of it, and it’s password. Type that into the prompts on your TV, and it will eventually connect you. Now click on the “home” button for your Roku or whatever — and you see they’ve automatically loaded a few starter channels. Yay! Your ready to watch.

USING THE INTERNET TO WATCH TV IN STANDARD DEFINITION…
As a side-note, on my second-TV, I adjusted my Roku’s display settings to Standard Definition, 16×9 Wide-Screen. This saves data-use aka “Internet Bandwidth.” My Fire TV doesn’t have the same settings, because I have a Fire TV “stick” which plugs in via the HDMI port on my TV, offering a HD display of 720 or better. Therefore, when I want to save bandwidth, I instead use my Roku because I can use the composite plugs and a SD setting.

Why save bandwidth? Because my Internet Provider allows me 1TB of data use per month. And, because I operate a Film Festival, and CTV channels, I often find myself downloading large movie files, converting them to the proper streaming format (mp4) and then re-uploading these files, which demands a large amount of Internet data. So for me, 1TB is nice, but it is easy to use up in one month.

You might appreciate another reason why I sometimes watch Roku-TV in SD mode. For one, usually the picture clarity is fine. When I watch programming on my own channels (Movies PlusArt House MoviesFilm Fest Best) — or Sony’s Crackle, or competitors like Netflix, I get a clean looking picture. And when a movie is offered in UHD, and then displayed in SD, typically I do not recognize much difference in image quality when I watch in SD mode. (Now, if I were to place a TV with an HD image right next to it, then of course I’d see the difference – but that doesn’t happen.)

Thirdly, I set up my “second-TV” in SD-wide display mode because when/if someone in my house watches a streaming-TV-program, they just might forget to turn it off. And that means that the Netflix or whatever they are watching will automatically play through the night…resulting in my bandwidth getting used up, and then I end up paying the Internet Company a penalty fee for overuse.

TV-APPS AKA SETBOX-TV CHANNELS…
Ok, moving on. Let’s say you have a Roku or another box that you’ve paid 25 dollars or more for. (The only cost for a Roku/Fire is the one-time purchase fee.) Additional fees apply to Netflix, Hulu subscriptions, if you opt for their programming — but really, you don’t have to. Great channels (aka TV-Apps) include Pluto, Crackle, Movies Plus (of course,) ABC, Petticoat JunctionTMN (The Movie Network) and many others like CW Seed.

Netflix is an App. It also is considered a channel on Roku. I subscribe to it. And I love my Netflix at about 8 dollars a month for the non-UHD reception. I get some great shows like LOST IN SPACE and LILLYHAMMER and quality feature films. BUT – I do not get my local programming. No local news, no Nightly News unless I want to watch the previous days programming.

Hulu is similar to Netflix. I pay about 6 bucks every month with advertising. Great programming like Dirk Gently, Quickdraw, and Misfits is here. But again, there is no live-local programming like Detroit area news, etc.

So, the dilemma is if I’ve fired my Cable TV company then: How do you get LIVE, LOCAL TV broadcasts in RELIABLE QUALITY without spending too much money?

Some services like Sling offer paid packages that deliver content to Roku and FireTV for about $40 monthly. This might be the way to get a few local LIVE channels, plus some other networks like Starz.

You’ll be hard pressed to find an economical package that offers NBC, ABC, and CBS. You may be thinking…I’m trying to save money — that’s why I “cut the cord!” So what is the solution?

The answer might be Digital Re-Broadcast. For example, a temporary solution could be services (like) “Locast.” I found this on my Roku. It works in just a few towns like NYC and San Francisco. They’re not in Detroit yet. My bro uses it in NYC and he is very happy because his digital antenna is about as reliable as mine is. From what I can see, the App is free, and it appears to be legal (appears!) After some research I found out that Locast just might be pushing the boundaries of what they are allowed to do.

Both Aereo, and FilmOn lost their argument to rebroadcast local channels, and I think that although Locast is non-profit, they might be pushed to shut down operations. I recently found an article that said they were being sued, and I’m not surprised.

If re-broadcasters like Locast actually license local rebroadcasting rights, then we might see TV-APPS that work in more towns like Detroit. I also tried “Stirr” because its description on the Roku channel promised Local programming, but I have yet to see any local Metro Detroit channels, and certainly not local news or “network” channels. So again, the free services that promise you access to local network channels are usually “re-broadcasters” and likely a bunch of horse-hockey. They usually operate until a complaint is made, and the FCC brings them down. Read more below…

What you should know about services that offer digital re-broadcast via Roku, Fire, and Android…
Most of these services are designed for our troops abroad. That is, like the AFN (American Forces Network.) Some rebroadcasters have agreements that allow them to re-broadcast HBO, STARS, and other networks to foreign countries. These re-broadcast services are not licensed (or intended) for use in the USA. Have people found a way to use these APPS in the USA? Yes, but I won’t say how because firstly it’s illegal, and secondly you cannot depend on the service when you use it outside of the way it is intended.

PS: Kodi is one of the biggest to offer rebroadcasting. When it functions as a digital rebroadcaster, it is what I consider to be the pirates haven – and being a filmmaker (and a righteous-dude) I absolutely hate this service — but that’s just me living in a world of thieves and catch-me-if-you-can thinkers. (Waaaaaa – cry baby!)

Moving on….Antennas!
What a cluster-frak. You can shop all day long, but I have to say that I’ve used Amplified and non-amplified antennas (like the old rabbit ears.) And neither one really works great in my house in Metro Detroit. We have about 20 great channels too, ranging from NBC 4 to 4-2 and “4-dash-3.” Sounds confusing? It isn’t really. The channels are set up just like they were in the analog broadcasting days, accept that channels like Channel 4 now has “multicast” channels like Heroes and Icons (H&I) on their 4-2 channel. Don’t worry, you don’t have to find these manually, and you really don’t have to understand how multicasting or “subchannels” work in your town.

If you have a TV set with a Digital Tuner, then simply plug in an Antenna into the “Antenna In” coaxial port of your TV. Then go into your TV’s settings and use the Channel set up options to “auto tune” your OTA (Antenna.) It might take a few minutes, but your TV should find a few channels. And most new TV’s have a “skip” option that allows you to weed out the channels that you don’t want to watch.

Before you buy an antenna, you might consider a homemade solution. I know of two designs, and one that I currently use. Before we start on this – please take note: A coaxial port can be damaged – so don’t just jam any old metal thing into it…Okay, that being said, let’s examine a couple do it yourself indoor antennas…

ANTENNA DIY…
1.) I read about a guy who says to use a PaperClip — I would guess that the (big) business grade clip could work. He took a clip, and straightened out one end, then he gently pushed it into his TV’s “antenna in” jack. Done, with limited channel reception of course. But hey, don’t quote me, and don’t blame me if you decide to test your TV with a PaperClip or a wire.

2.) A coaxial cable. After buying both a Amplified Antenna, and a Rabbit Ear antenna, I decided to use a DIY antenna made out of an old cable-tv-cable. One end screws into the port “it’s the coaxial jack” of your TV, and the other end needs to be prepared like in the following tutorial….

3.) Proceed at your own risk…
Steps A-B: Carefully, snip ONE end of the cable off. Then carefully…carefully (so you don’t cut yourself) skin the protective rubber housing off of the cable. You need to do this slowly so that you DO NOT cut into the copper wire on the inside. (Pardon me for being redundant.)
Now, without cutting the inside lining…shear anywhere from 6 inches to a foot of the housing off, but like I say do it carefully and don’t cut all the way through because you’re just trimming off the protective rubber exterior. You may throw this rubber piece away.

C) Now you’ll see the lining, it’s a mesh — a wire mesh. This easily pulls back. It’s like putting on a condom (don’t get mad – this is the best analogy I can offer.) When I made my antenna, I didn’t have to cut the mesh. You should also be able to simply pull it back upon the cable, and then tape it up. Use a good tape like black electrical tape. Okay? Tape up that mesh that you pulled back.

D) Now you’ll see a plastic piece that protects the inner copper wire. If you have a good wire cutter then carefully…carefully slice this housing (WITHOUT CUTTING THROUGH THE WIRE INSIDE.) Now pull off that plastic housing.

E.) The copper wire is revealed. This is your antenna. Place it AWAY from a wall, as close to a window as you can get. And of course don’t place it near any open wires, metal, or a where a child can poke himself or a power-socket. Don’t use it outside – you don’t want this thing to become a lightning rod.

F.) Reminder – the end of the cable with the Coaxle plug goes into your TV 🙂

I get about 30 channels with my DIY antenna, but like I say it’s not a perfect solution because the weather conditions greatly affect the picture and audio quality.

My ultimate solution…
I’ve opted to use two main solutions, and one backup. I have the el-cheapo “SAT” plan for 28 bucks a month — this provides my local network news, TBN, Motor Trend, etc. I secondly have Internet bundled with digital phone. I use my Internet to connect my Roku and Fire TV devices, and on these devices I have the cheapest Hulu plan, coupled with many free TV-APPS that run on my Roku/Fire. My backup is my homemade “DIY” Antenna, which I rarely use.

Did you find this article helpful? Then please visit our Patreon campaign, it’s a very inexpensive way of saying “Thank You.” https://www.patreon.com/moviesplus — (c) Dean Lachiusa


Indie Filmmaking – Distribution 101, your best bet to insure The Calvary is Coming!

Recently I read an article werein several successful filmmakers answered questions poised by an independent filmmaker. We’ll call the indie “Michael, a low budget filmmaker with a dream.” Along with my interjections, below is an excerpt from the “Shooting People” website.

Michael, a low budget filmmaker with a dream: “I am searching for a way to make exploitation movies with loads of action, gore, fun & excitement that people can watch over a beer (the way that the Sy-Fi channel make countless “Shark” exploitation movies).
And I’d make them cheap, for £5,000 ($8,000). I have all the equipment so no need to rent lights, cameras, etc.”

A response from Film Composer, Kays Alatrakchi: [On Imdb, Kay has an enormous list of films since 1992. This guy knows his business.]
Get to the back of the huge line? Because what the world really needs right now is more shit films!

Several friends of mine work for The Asylum (if you have no idea who they are…google them). I’ve also had the misfortune to work on a couple of their films, mostly because one of those aforementioned friends talked me into it. The Asylum does follow a Roger Corman type of model in the sense that they pre-sell everything. They have been around for long enough that they have strong relationships established with distros all over the world. What they literally do is custom-create their films to fit whatever markets they’re trying to pre-sell…hence the shit that they turn out because Germany wants a tornado/disaster film, and shark films are really huge in Japan right now.

Their films are typically budgeted in the $250K range, even so; most of the budget goes for them to get the have-been F-list actors that (once again) the distributors require to close the pre-sale. The Asylum generates good earnings as it’s been reported in a number of industry trade rags. On a movie where they invest $250k, they typically have made $750k without breaking a sweat.

But they have a system, and they have an established distributor network. They have enough muscle to be able to negotiate lucrative deals. They also can pickup the phone and speak directly with SyFy Channel’s program director and work out inside deals for exclusives etc. Did I mention that they also have an in-house CGI dept, sound design/foley/mixer, green screen and shooting stage, and a music composer who does great work because he knows that he will make money through cable airings and so he’s willing to work for peanuts up-front. They pay their crew about $100-200/day on their shoots which are typically in the 7-10day range for a feature.

The point that I’m trying to make is that The Asylum is not making films for $10k, they are very business savvy and have the type of workflow and connections that you don’t have. To look at them as an “example” of how to make movies that make money, without looking at the rest of their picture is to set yourself up for failure.

A response from Documentary filmmaker, M. Rossato-Bennett: [This filmmaker does not have a long filmmaking career, but his documentary is rated 8.2 on Imdb, and I think that means that he’s done something right and is worthy of listening to.] I would like to submit that there is another way- What the world needs is not more distraction- think about it, if someone wants to be distracted your film is now competing with virtually every other film ever made! It used to be there were just a few films playing in your town any given week. That is real competition!

So I made a doc that I cared about because I wanted to change the world. I knew there was an audience, I knew I could help a million people. I never expected to get accepted to Sundance, as a matter of fact I almost did not apply.
…Why not change the world rather than try to recreate what has been done? I think everyone is always following dead dreams- after Picasso there was a huge generation of want to be painters. After Lucas there was a huge generation of want to be Spielbergs. If you want to make money make a low budget VR movie! Look to the future not the past for inspiration!

Here is my truth- Emotion is everything- Make a film that makes people feel deeply and it will find an audience. People need to feel. Distracting entertainment is so overdone I would not want to compete there.

Response from Michael, a low budget filmmaker with a dream: (…I’d like to clarify that I don’t intend to re-work or make a ‘Corman’ type film, but make a film in the same ‘business’ style as him. Making it dirt cheap, shoot for a few days (Little Shop Of Horrors was shot in just two days), mainly one or two takes max and move on…)

Another response from Kays Alatrakchi: Nothing good can come out of that type of filmmaking. Good films take time, talent, resources, and a great screenplay. If that’s what you’re setting out as your goal, I think you’re doomed from the start.

My take: I think that both Kays’ and Bennet make valid points. While back in film school (circa 1997) I did think that what Michael proposed would be a good idea. Because genre films were selling to territories across the globe. But that was when low budget films were being produced on 16mm or the new Sony and Canon DV cameras. It was an era before the over-saturation of low budget Genre films.

Nowadays you can shoot your low budget zombie film on a cell phone. And you likely will get an offer for distribution. But you likely will not make any money. Rather, it will cost you money. Here’s what typically is happening in the distribution landscape. Because there’s just too much low budget product out there, and you want to get your film seen, then you likely will end up paying your “distributor.”

You’ll pay them to prepare art. Yes, I know you have your own art, but they could insist on using their studio artist, and this is not cheap. (let’s call it $1,500. to start.) See the list of delivery assets in order to help you to avoid or minimize this charge.

Then, you’ll likely pay them to prepare your content for delivery. This is another area that hits filmmakers in the pocketbook. Even if you mastered in MOV or Pro-Res, they’ll want to check the film for formatting errors, and that’s just to start the process. In order to eliminate charges to you, keep in mind that a distributor will likely suggest all or some of the following assets for a digital release (we’re not talking about DVD, etc…)

  • Video should be at native frame-rate.
  • Video should be at native dimensions (aspect ratio.)
  • Do not convert from PAL to NTSC.
  • Do not upscale SD to HD.
  • ProRes 422/HQ (preferred) or DNxHD.
  • Nothing before/after the video except at most 1 second of black (no slates,color bars, counters, etc.)
  • Audio embedded, stereo OR 8ch with mono tracks and usually stereo on tracks 7, 8.
    • TRAILERS…
    • A trailer or preview clip is required. If a trailer is not available, A distributor may charge you to create an official trailer for (about $400 and up) — or pull a preview clip for $50 or so, in the same format as the feature file provided.
    • Trailers or clips should be 30 – 90 secs.
    • Must be Green band “appropriate for all audiences.”
    • No references to the physical format or bonus features.
    • No URL’s of any kind and no call to action tags (e.g., “Coming Soon” or “Available Now.”)
  • OTHER DELIVERY ASSETS…
  • Closed Captions are usually required. If you have CCs already then they might want a .SCC file.
  • If you do not provide closed captions, they have charges for this service – typically costing $1 per minute (based on run time).
  • You’ll likely be asked to name the files that you submit using a UPC, title, and the type of asset (feature, trailer,captions). 
  • ARTWORK: Key/Cover art: Usually 1920 x 1080.
  • Key/Cover art: 1200 x 1600 (3:4 aspect ratio.)
  • Key/Cover art: Layer intact PSD (Photoshop) of hi-res or 3:4 art.
  • Stills: 3-5 stills from the main feature. Native resolution, ask if they prefer a JPG or other format.
  • Also optionally you can provide a 1920 x 1080 “background image” (“to convey the mood of your content.”)

Regarding formatting errors, let’s say that you shot in 29.9FPS, but during the editing process, you placed a clip in your film and it runs at 24FPS. This can create streaming problems. Video playback can studder or freeze intermittently if the video was made with a mixture of clips that have different frames per second.

Yes, this is true even if you’re exporting to a 29fps because every brand of editing software, from AVID to Premiere has difficulty creating frames when they are missing. Back in the days of 16mm filmmaking, we ran into this kind of problem when transferring film to the AVID digital systems. It was called 3:2 Pulldown back then — and you don’t want to mess around with this. So don’t transfer from PAL to NTSC, and try not to mix clips from sources that are not native to your editing project’s settings.

So, this is why distributors check your film for formatting issues, and why it could cost another $5,000 or more for “delivery.” In the end, you might just get your movie placed on Hulu. And when your film doesn’t get watched by enough viewers in the first week or so, HULU will drop it from their catalog.

You may be wondering why a Distributor does business this way. Well, think about their mode of operation. They have a large catalog, with some “A-List” titles that add clout when the distributor negotiates with platforms like Netflix. 

Do the distributors “A-List” titles go through the same nightmare I described previously? Heck no, these titles have legs, and bankable-talent. So no, let’s get back to you, the low budget indie filmmaker. 

You’re there to fill space in the Distributors catalog, and you’ve been chosen because you need to get your film seen, and you’re willing to pay to play.

Before you lose all hope, please read on…this is NOT ALL BLEAK!

If you think you’ll make money from sharing ad-revenue. Ohhhhh, my filmmaking brother, I wish it were true. Google it…You won’t find any success stories. And the reason is in one word. Subdistribution. If you manage to land a distributor who does NOT require payment for their services, then you have be weary of the tricks of the online distribution system.

Here’s a typical scenario. A Distributor promises you 50% of the Rental or Ad-revenue. But, they don’t actually have a direct deal with the platorm (VUDO/HULU/NETFLIX.) No, they typically allow another “distributor” to make that deal, and in exchange that distributor gets…50%. Okay. So now you’re getting 50% of 50%. See what I’m getting at?

Let’s say you do manage to get a reputable distributor. One that really has a direct relationship to a streaming platform. I’m sorry if this sounds so bleak, but now imagine trying to get paid your $75 ad-rev royalty. They don’t want to issue a check because you haven’t reached the tier required. If you manage to get $200 in a payment period, then maybe they’ll send you the money if you haven’t accrued any other weird fees like data charges for uploading your film to their server. And that’s if you can rely on them to pay you.

In some regards, you have to understand their position. Imagine, dolling out $25 checks to hundreds of filmmakers every month, that’s something that is timely and costly. Bookkeeping is of course is the oldest, most common complaint in regards to Distributors.

You could produce a film that’s easier on the eyes. Something that doesn’t depend on the Genre. Something with Marquee value. What’s Marquee Value? It’s that little thing that talks to the potential film-watcher. It says “Oh that might be a good movie, it has that guy from Alien in it.”

That’s Lance Henriksen, and no I don’t know him and I’m not endorsing him – but you get the idea. What talent like this costs you will return you many times in Marquee Value.

Okay, so what’s the take-home or main-thrust of this article? Here’s ann alternative that costs the price of a large Latte. If (IF) your movie is good enough — OR HAS MARQUEE VALUE — then Roku and Fire TV channels like mine will stream it. I cannot endorse the slew of Roku and Fire TV channels out there, but I can tell you that mine have been popular for 6 years now, and I think it’s a nice way to go. You’ll have to submit your film to me via my film festival (a measly 5 dollars) but in the end, if it’s good enough I can get you about 50,000 views on my connected TV channels.

Note that my TV channels have over 1 million subscribers…but the actual viewers are less, so I won’t Blow-Smoke.

But hey, 50,000 viewers is pretty darn good, and imagine if you put your point-of-sale on your film, film-art, and logline? Have you imagined? Well, think about setting up your website for donations, T-Shirt and Coffee-Mug, and DVD sales. And then when people from my channels visit your website, you could actually make a buck, ehhh?

Additionally…if your film isn’t quite ready for prime-time, then you may stream it on my Android App or Youtube channel. No matter where you are in your “release window” check out https://filmfreeway.com/Metro-Film-and-TV-Awards to take advantage of all my almost free ($5) Streaming Opportunities. — (c) Dean Lachiusa

The Lift-off Rip-off Festival

I recently entered a Film Festival known as the “Lift Off Sessions.” This is part of a series of film festivals hosted by the Lift-off network of international festivals. I was very happy to get the notice that my webisode, Lights Camera Aliens – was accepted, Yay!

Here comes the “but.” It’s always an ego boost when my films get accepted by a Festival. Because Film Festivals are subject to the judges taste, and sometimes your film just isn’t a good fit for the theme or the agenda of a particular Fest.

For example, in 2019 I entered the London Lift-Off Festival (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE “SESSIONS” FESTIVAL REVIEWED BELOW!) The London Lift-Off Festival is a very important Fest to me because they are associated with the infamous Pinewood Studios in London, and when a filmmaker gets selected to this Festival, it means that industry leaders (distributors, PACT producers, etc) will see your film.

Mine was not selected in 2019. Why? Well, I screwed up. I entered a 37 minute Pilot into their “Web Series” category. My content was too long. If it’s one thing I’ve learned: When you enter a Film Festival, make sure your submission is an exact fit. Don’t enter into a category with the idea that the judges will understand if your film doesn’t exactly match what their category guidelines are. Additionally, do not assume that the Fest judges will invest time into imagining how to best make your film submission fit into their Festival.

Here’s a brief look at what I submitted. (Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device. https://youtu.be/g1nHI4VuGHo)

Secondly, agenda. Some Film Festivals are geared towards Hollywood content. You know, the film that has a Marquee value talents of an A or B list talent — the “bankable” film.

And then, there’s so many other Fests that are geared towards the indie filmmaker – the low budget production with storytelling that ends the film on something less than the “happy ending” that we tend to see in big budget Studio Films.

Independent Film Fests have a wide range of agendas and mode of operation, and it really takes allot of time to find the right “fit” for an indie-made film.

Okay, so onto my review of the Lift-Off SESSIONS. Firstly, it was not a live event — it was an online festival. Movies like mine where placed on Vimeo by the Fest, and then largely we the filmmakers voted on each one of the films. Lift-Off suggested that we contact our friends and cohorts and ask them to vote, and the Fest provided a link for use on Facebook, Twitter, etc. That was the first round.

As the Fest progressed to another round, it became quite evident that the filmmakers would have to leverage social networking in order to entice more people to watch their movies. Trouble is, there was a 14-Euro (about 20 bucks US) fee required to watch the Lift-Off Fest’s online movies.

Well, that folks is what we call a PAY TO PLAY scheme.

And while I may sound a bit harsh here, I have to say that I feel that this is a horrible way to conduct a Festival. There’s just NO WAY TO GET AN OBJECTIVE VOTING PROCESS when a Fest is conducted the way Lift-Off Sessions worked.

But don’t let me sway you entirely. Below are a few reviews that are only available to participating filmmakers. (That’s right, the Lift-Off Sessions reviews are NOT ON PUBLIC DISPLAY.) Now, because I participated, I am able to copy and paste some of the reviews here for you to read…

A review by participant, Naima Duyser
“Grossly disappointing festival. If, like me, this is your first time submitting, then do not bother with this festival. They are only trying to squeeze money out of the public.

First of, they mention that the public will determine the first round of votes. What they fail to mention, is that in order to vote, one has to pay FOURTEEN euros and 20 cents. Your film will be one of a hundred films clumsily thrown together in a vimeo-on-demand page. This means that the votes are pretty much a popularity contest. Whoever has friends and family willing to pay that amount for one single vote will be the one who’s film goes into the second round, regardless of whether it is a good film or not. I’m guessing the reason they choose over a hundred films to enter the first round is so they increase their chances of making money. What I find particularly disturbing is the fact that they are making money off YOUR films, without giving a cent back to the people who deserve it.

They also mention that after the first round, “a team of judges” will judge your film based on several aspects and go in deeper to evaluate your film. What one might think this means is that after making it into the top five, you will get a detailed, more personalized report, or some type of commentary from the judges in which you can use to further develop your film. No. After a week of raising awareness to the festival, inviting friends and family to pay to give your film a vote, and then getting into the top five, you would expect better treatment from this festival.

Even the winners are not ranked, just again, thrown in a final, clumsy, long list that makes you feel irrelevant and like you wasted your time. What a grossly disappointing waste of time and what an even more disrespectful panel of judges.

Also disgusting that the event has disabled public reviews. Am utterly ashamed in myself in taking part in such a horrible event.”

A review by participant, Evrim Karadağ. “I was proud to be a part of this festival but your system is just not working. I am from Turkey and lets say I made a film with the best idea possible. In The Lift Off Sessions, I have to compete with 100×5 other films from many other countries. What is even more not working was the voting system. You probably have no idea the meaning of some 15.50 dollars in other countries with brightest ideas and worthless currency. Still, thank you all for trying. #supportindiefilm.”

A review by participant, Jonathan Nolan. “Well intentioned, but the voting system makes the whole thing a farce. Not that I expected to “win”, but the voting system is 1990s tier and frankly, embarrassing. This festival conglomerate presents itself as a big operation of a high standard, this festival indicates otherwise.

As for not allowing public reviews on FilmFreeway, that makes me go “hm.” as well.”

The end? Okay, maybe not quite.

I do (somewhat) agree with Jonathan about the technical operation of the Fest because, it was clunky. However, as a developer of SDK’s on the Android, Fire TV, and Roku platforms, I can tell you that software engineering is costly. Therefore, as much as I did think the Lift-Off Fest was a technical cluster-frak, I have to give them a pass on this because their submission fees would have to reflect the cost of upgrading their technical operations — and, we (the filmmakers who submitted to the Fest) didn’t pay for anything uber-technical.

Secondly I do obviously agree with the all the reviewers regarding the fact that Fest reviews are not being released to the public. And the cost to watch the movies was akin to a PAY TO PLAY scenario. Uggh! Oh well, noone ever said indie filmmaking was easy. And the post-filmmaking journey, from the Film Festival Circuit to finding a Distributor is just as challenging as the process of making a film.

Bye the way, my web series may be sampled free on my TV channels.

See the Apps on the TV-APPS link to watch the sample and upcoming episodes of “Lights Camera Aliens.”

— (c) Dean Lachiusa

Star Trek TV series you may watch free

When I first took notice of Star Trek Continues the new “Kirk” through me for a loop. I wasn’t prepared to hear a new voice introduce the programs continuation of the “5 year mission.”

After watching a few episodes, I was hooked. The series is great. I started with the first of 10 epiodes, and each show got better and better. Buy the last episode I was close to tears. Excellent programming, and there’s plenty of nod’s to the original show. In fact, the set is a duplicate to the original Hollywood (1967) Trek set. The actors are great, and wow, there’s great cameos by actors from “The Original Series.” ‘Plus’ there’s talent from Star Trek – The Next Generation, Voyager, Farscape, Buck Rogers, and Battlestar Galactica (the latest series.)

But this show is NOT the only Trek-tribute series. There is another 10 episodes from a producer who made (the first) Trek studio duplicate. He’s the first Fan Film hero who produced a full size (9,000 plus sq. ft) studio-come-offical-Trek tour, Mr. James Cawley…But WAIT! There’s more.

Tim Russ, from Star Trek Voyager launched a production company that produced a feature-film with James Cawley of Ticonderoga, in Essex County, New York. Russ’s company is called “Atomic” and they are known as the “Renegades” who have and are still producing very professional online content for lovers of Trek, sci-fi and good drama.

I just might give you links to all this great content, but I’d first like to ask you to watch on my noncommercial TV channels. Check out my Roku channels via the TV-APP link herein. (You’ll need either a Roku or an Android device for my free, adfree “Fan Films” app.) You’ll be able to watch a few rare Trek films like this one…

And here’s another very professional Trek-homage that is on my Roku channels.

Okay, so below there are a few samples… Please bookmark this page for future updates to my streaming content, like Star Trek fan films “Horizon” and “Exeter.”

PS: The pic below is a homage to Trek actors who have passed...

Here’s some samples of Fan Made Star Trek films that are considered the absolute best!

A. From Vic Mignogna and the Neutral Zone’s Kingsland, GA Star Trek studio comes 10 shows and a few extra’s. Note, the new Kirk may take some getting used to. Here’s a preview of the show (and don’t forget that you may watch it on my ROKU TV-APPS AD FREE and FREE… This is Star Trek Continues! (Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device. https://youtu.be/eLNgNsoZgrE)

B. One of the best episodes from a different group called Renegades, operated by Tim Russ (Voyager) and his Atomic network is a treat to watch. Here’s a one of my favorite episodes of the show that was produced with James Cawley. Please don’t forget that you may watch similar Trek programs on my ROKU TV-APPS AD FREE and FREE… The video opens with Walter koenig and then the episode starts and you’ll see Ferris Bueller’s Alan Ruck in the first scene! (Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device. https://youtu.be/kFqAME7dx58 )

C. From the Hollywood-connected James Cawley and his NY Trek studio-come-Official-Star-Trek-Tour was one of the first to work with Stars like Walter Koenig (Chekov) and George Takei (Sulu) — and produce episodes with the folks who are now producing the “Renegades” programs. Here’s a compilation video of teasers, clips, and set-tours. This is Star Trek New Voyages (aka Star Trek Phase II.) Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device https://youtu.be/TDQ2LZbVut4.

D. A Reminder…Watch many of the Trek films and TV episodes on my FREE, NON-COMMERCIAL ROKU channel’s linked on this website Click to add a free Roku channel.

PSSSS: You can also watch free and AD-Free on my Android APP called “Fan Films” on Googleplay here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fan.films

Enjoy…I’ll be back with more after a brief ‘NON-COMMERCIAL’ announcement! – Dean Lachiusa, curator Movies Plus and MetroFilmFestival “streaming fest” on FilmFreeway.

PS: If you like my free adfree TV streaming services please support me with a buck or two on https://www.patreon.com/moviesplus — (c) Dean Lachiusa

Film Festivals are canceling but Online Fests are thriving

Who would have thought that this whole dang virus thing would screw up every live event on the planet? I didn’t anticipate this kind of things months ago when I entered my film into Film Festivals via the FilmFreeway website.

And now, I’m getting email notices. The fests I entered are either postponing or canceling until next year. There’s almost no alternative. Except my own Festival.

Yep, I created a film festival 6 years ago. It’s an online Festival that offers the winners the option to have their movie streamed online and on Roku, Fire TV, and Android.

A little more history…I started building Roku channels years ago. In order to get content that was not the usual public domain fair, I operated two Facebook Video/Photo contests and I also contacted some film buddies and I offered them a free deal to get their films streamed to my audience. The formula worked, although none of us made any money. That’s okay, because the exposure was great — and no

one makes money on short films anyway.

If you think you can recoup your cost of producing a short film — then you’re dreaming…and may God bless the dreamer.

Next, I asked filmmakers if they wanted their film compiled into a feature film or a 30-minute featurette for streaming purposes. The result was my “Zombie Pix” feature film, distributed by VODO to 15 thousand VODO viewers online. Secondly the 30 minute compilation film project was and is still being streamed on my channels, it’s an all-genre video called “Film Fest Best” — and it is one of the most popular videos that I stream. In the end, these two compilation videos gave filmmakers free exposure, and I have some good content for my streaming TV audience.

In 2015, after successfully running (2) video/photo contests on Facebook, I decided to give my Festival a more tangible presence. I built a website, http://www.MetroFilmFestival.com and then I developed an Amazon Fire TV channel. Both worked very nicely. And the audience has grown ever since.

Now, I have over 375,000 subscribers on my Fire TV channel, called “Movies Plus.” And, I have built several new Roku channels, in which the total subscribers are over 1 million. That’s great reach. And it’s free for filmmakers who would like to stream their film on my channels.

There’s even a success story. A filmmaker named Alex who took the initiative to leverage my Fire TV channel. He streamed his “Down River” feature film for 6 months. Then he took the stats from the streaming experience (about 70,000 views) and he presented this to a venture capitalist. It impressed the money-man so much that he agreed to finance Alex’s next film. Now Alex has his movie, “The Directive” on Hulu. There’s a newspaper article that tells the whole story — read it via my Festival page on FilmFreeway.

Okay, so to wrap things up a little, now I have many channels. The most popular are TMN (The Movie Network) and “Movies Plus TV.” And I have my Film Festival that is online and supported by my Roku and Fire TV channels. I also have an Android App, but that is still in the “launching” phase, so I don’t brag about my Android subscribers just yet. You may add the channels and TV-Apps via www.moviesplus.org

If you’re a filmmaker looking for free film distribution…You can get in on this, free.
If you’re a filmmaker looking for free exposure for your movie, TV or web series…You can get in on this, free.
If you’re a filmmaker looking for free publicity and promotion for your movie or TV Pilot or series…You can get in on this, free.

To get started, you may email me directly, BUT I suggest using the free service film freeway. My Festival is only $5 to $8 to enter. That’s cheap! The submission fees are less than 9 dollars. And in return you get access to all the resources I listed above. Free online streaming for your movie, TV show, Pilot, web series and more.

(Please note that the current Festival doesn’t have a category for Features, therefore if you’d like to have your feature streamed, simply contact me directly on Facebook or through the links on my moviesplus website.)

Also, TRAILERS AND TEASERS are FREE TO ENTER, and you may get yours immediately streamed on Android by visiting my Youtube channel, again the link is on the Movies Plus website.

To enter the Festival for FREE or for as low as $5, please visit https://filmfreeway.com/Metro-Film-and-TV-Awards

Cheers and good Streaming,
Dean Lachiusa
Curator, the Metro Film Festival.
http://www.MetroFilmFestival.com — (c) Dean Lachiusa

How to get money for your film

This video by Film Riot discusses the in’s and out’s of money making for indie filmmakers. Please take note that he does mention that Film Riot videos do make about $1,000 on Youtube because they have over 1-MILLION views. Yep, there’s a stat to take notice of. (Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device https://youtu.be/hvDJ1a1j6Xc)

Host Ryan Connolly also mentions that he sells Posters and some ancillary products — but he never recoups his cost. “Short films are passion products…you make them to get exposure…you rarely make any money…”

How does he get money to make a film? He goes to people to sponsor him — of course, Film Riot has a large subscriber base, and products like Adobe, and manufactures of cameras respect Film Riot, so he has a realistic approach to getting investors based upon his Film Riot following. Do you have an audience of millions like Film Riot?

Another method, do what Alex did with the Movies Plus Fire TV channel. He streamed his film for 6 months. He then took the download stats to an investor (about 70,000 downloads) and Alex got financing based upon his success on Fire TV. See how you can do this for $4 on https://filmfreeway.com/Metro-Film-and-TV-Awards

Kickstarter, Film Riot has never used it. He does talk to a filmmaker who treated Kickstarter campaign like a full time job and made “Pizza Time.”

Also, The film “Sky Watch” (released on Youtube) is discussed, and how the filmmakers no-budget, badly made short films finally helped him to produce films like Sky Watch successfully. He says “you can’t make money on narrative films…” And he “fostered relationships from short films” to gain financing on a bigger productions. That’s a lesson.

If you treat your cast and crew like peons or minions, do you think they’ll help you on future productions?

David Sandberg talks about how he used low budget equipment like a homemade built dolly made from Ikea parts, cheap 300 watt lights to shoot his early shorts, and like Blender 3D software (free). He says “professional gear takes a beating and will go on forever…cheap gear will [cost] you…time.”

Below is another Film Riot – budget oriented video. Before watching it, Youtube played a “Masterclass” advert-video by Ron Howard. It was very interesting to me, and one thing stuck out. This is a little off topic, but please indulge me for a second.

They showed Ron Howard behind the scenes, he instructed an actor to say a line a particular way, and Ron said the line the way that he, an actor would say it. I’d like to point out that Ron Howard has the acting chops to do this, while other Directors might not have the experience to suggest to an actor that they emulate his delivery. (A little food for thought.) Let’s move on to the next video.

What is low budget?
This is mostly a video about independent films made with low or now budget. Ryan says a micro budget is up to $500,000 outside of the Hollywood system, but geared towards being sold to legitimate distributors, some who are “Hollywood.” Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device https://youtu.be/AEOo2MzdxyA)

Note that Ryan mentions these are not hard and fast rules and “numbers.” When focusing on shorts, budget can depend largely on where your located. His short films were all low budget films (like $300.) And he discusses how he progressed up to $100,000 for his “Ballistic” short, where he depended on allot of free crew-work and more. He says “…The more money I had…the more stress…and tighter restraints.” So, the take home lesson here is that having more money does not guarantee that you’ll have an easy, stress-free shoot.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you’d like to read more, please visit my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/moviesplus — (c) Dean Lachiusa

Spellfury, a Sword & Sorcery Comedy Series

Years ago I spoke with Travis Gordon, the writer/producer/director, CGI artist and the creative thrust for the Spellfury youtube series. He’s a great guy with high hopes for his micro-budget TV Sword and Sorcery (and comedy.) Spellfury is just plain fun.

I fell in love with it the first time I watched an episode. Does it have the big budget effects and talents like Felicia Day? Nope, but that’s okay by me. I don’t judge Spellfury on it’s merits as a high-tech show — because it’s not poised to be compared with Stargate or Dirk Gently.

She Punches With Elf Power!

Actress/Producer Julie O’Halloran answers questions about the popular web series “SpellFury.”  She plays the role of Druinia, a passionate, multi-talented Elf on a mission. 

Druinia of Spell Fury uses Elf power

Q: The outfit is a little tiny, do you ever get any feedback good or bad regarding how your character is portrayed?

Answer: The feedback has been positive. Although the outfit is a little revealing, I think Druinia comes across as a very strong and independent character. I think the fans think its just part of the fun of the show.

Q: What parts of Druinia’s character are strong, and how do you see her overall – as a sensitive character?

Answer: Druinia is very independent and strong. She’s tough when she has to be but she has shown her softer side as well. I think the interesting part of her character will be balancing how tough she will have to be in fighting off different creatures on the show, but also being vulnerable at the same time, showing that she’s a real person with real feelings.

Q: Is it difficult to work in green screen? Explain how you get ready for the process of working with characters that will later be placed into the scene. Any trouble with fight scenes?

Using Green Screen on the Set

Answer: I have a very supportive cast and crew who make the fight scenes fun. We rehearse them a lot, and work out all the movements so things go pretty good all in all.

Q: Any thoughts on how Druinia’s character will expand in the next season? Do you think your character will have a love interest in the story?

Answer: I think Druinia will learn more about herself and what lengths she’s willing to go to avenging her father’s killer. She will encounter more characters and more creatures that will test her in different ways. As for a love story…I don’t think anything is out of the question, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens!

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it: “Spellfury is an action comedy web series. It is a “a comically low-budget fantasy series that gently mocks The Lord of the Rings genre with exploding monsters and bad wigs”. Spellfury is a comedic fantasy adventure web series written and directed by Travis Gordon and stars Julie O’Halloran as Druinia”

Meanwhile, I’ll contact Travis and see if there is a way to get Spellfury streamed on my TV-channels. Here’s the primary cast n’ crew: Jason Devlin, Penu Chalykoff, Sarah Ferguson, Travis Gordon, and Costumes by Ann Gunthorpe of “Ye Olde Bag Company.” Below is the youtube intro (episode 1.) Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device. https://youtu.be/UNJ7sbfS4Xg

Thank you for watching, I love to support indies, especially Webisodes like SpellFury, and I hope you do too. — (c) Dean Lachiusa