“Energy! O Energy!” brings home an Award

Energy! O Energy! has won the 2013 Audience’s Choice Award at the Costa Rica International Film Festival.  CRIFFWINNER audience choice

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“Energy! O Energy!” is off to the Film Festivals

Great news!  EOE is screening on June 17th in Palmerston North, New Zealand at the 2013 Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival.  Along side Energy! O Energy!, award winning films such as If a Tree Falls and Fall and Winter will also be screened.  Check out the rest of this year’s selections here.  It’s an honor to be included in such an incredible program.  Congratulations to all of the films selected. Reel Earth 2013_Official Selection (1)

Thanks for Watching

It seems that filmmaking and self-promotion often go hand in hand, and I don’t like this.  Making films is not about popularity, but rather providing people with something they can enjoy.  The only problem is that in order to allow others to see your product, you often have to fight your way through a swamp of other content.  Everyone is making movies about everything these days.  It’s getting harder and harder to get your material seen.  Is this a bad thing though?  If I said it was bad, it would be hypocritical because I just said that my goal is for the audience to see pictures that they enjoy.  So what if these pictures aren’t mine?  At the end of the day, I love being a part of the experience of film, whether it’s making the movies or watching them.

One of the benefits of the saturated modern film atmosphere is the amount of incredible films being made.  There was a time when only certain people could create media.  With computer and camera prices dropping and the quality rising, it’s easier than ever to shoot and edit a film.  Now more than ever, filmmaking is accessible to a huge number of people, and this is great.  There’s something unexplainable about the power of a great film that transcends the filmmaker behind it.  The only time I would ever want one of my films to be seen over another is if it has that indefinable power to captivate the audience and allow them to experience something.  I would never make a film just because I enjoy it.  I would always make a film that I believe has the potential to offer something to others that they don’t already have.

Self-promotion can easily fall into the question of, “what can I get from these people?”  My question is, “what can I give these people?’, and that’s what’s important to me.  As soon as I have nothing more to offer my audience, I will stop making films.     A film is more than moving pictures of a screen.  You can’t separate the audience’s experience from the art of film.

The reason I am writing today is to tell everyone thanks for being an audience, and I hope to continue giving you what you want in a film.  The future is a very uncertain place for a filmmaker, but as long as I have an audience that cares, I’ll still be here making movies.  The short film “Western Wandering” is doing very well in the Wyoming Short Film Contest, which is due to each one of you.  There are some amazing films in the contest this year and it’s been a privilege to compete at the same level as them.  At the time of writing this, there is still one more week to vote.  Thank you so much for all of your comments, votes, and support.  If you haven’t seen any of the films, you’re in for a treat.  And as far as the motive behind the competition, it couldn’t be better.   The $25,000 must be put towards making another film in Wyoming.  It seems like a win-win for film gurus.   You get to see all of the amazing competition films and then the best of the best gets the opportunity to make another film for us to enjoy.  Click here to watch and vote for this years entries.

Western Wandering Short Film

The Art of Finishing Something

This week was the host to quite a few finish lines in my life.  I finished the short film “Western Wandering”, I finished a fashion show promo video, and I finished my master’s degree in communication and journalism.  On one hand it’s a huge relief, but on the other hand, finishing something doesn’t always mean that you’re less busy.  In my case it just means crossing things off the top of a list and moving other things from the bottom up higher on that same list.

Even though I’m just as busy, there’s still a value in finishing a project.  A professor once told me that the worst finished project is better than the best incomplete project.  Finishing films is one of the hardest things I struggle with every day.  It’s not because of the work involved, but rather knowing when to let go.  My advisor Conrad Smith told me the other day that “Energy! O Energy!” has enough footage to edit for eternity.  He’s right.  The struggle is knowing when to stop, and realizing that you finally have what you want.  The footage has been shot and the story is in place.  Now it’s just a matter of finding what I want to use and using it.

I just finished my MA degree and a common question I’m being asked is, “what’s next?”  I wish I knew.  Like I said before, just because you finish something doesn’t mean that you’re done.  Right now I have a number of other films on the burner, and EOE is hopefully going to be complete by the end of May.  But then what, more school, projects to pay the bills, a feature film?  My answer is, all of the above.  Living is learning, which means that I never plan on being finished with “school”.  Who says the projects that pay the bills can’t be fun?  As for another feature film, there will be plenty of those as well.  The past few films have been low budget and made with the resources that I have.  These films were made out of pure passion and very little else.  My goal for the next film is to take the idea of passion, and combine it with the resources of a well-funded film.  Hopefully this is a recipe for a film that can reach a large audience and make a difference.  “Come on kid, that’s just crazy.  Do you really think you’re going to change the world?”  If I had a penny for every time I heard this, I’d have enough money to change the world.  It doesn’t bother me though because my idea of changing the world is different from that of the people who say this.  If someone watches “Western Wandering” and feel the emotions and the experiences of the adventure, that’s all I can ask for.  We tend to focus on the huge concepts and ideas in the world, but what about the individual moments?  The huge concepts are made from each individual moment.  If someone experiences one of those moments though one of my films, what more could I want?  Remember, knowing where to stop is the hardest part of finishing.

Long days and long nights make for short lives?

Have you ever heard this saying?  Probably not, because I think I just made it up. It’s been quite some time without any updates and although it feels like just a few days have passed, it’s been over 3 weeks!

So where I have I been? I’ve been locked in my house trying to edit a number of different films.  The first one you are familiar with, “Energy! O Energy!”  It has officially hit the 1-hour mark and is nearing the completion of a rough cut.  The second film is something brand new that I haven’t told anyone about until now!  I stumbled across this link about a week ago and knew that I had to make something.

http://www.wyomingshortfilmcontest.com/VideoContest/1198276/About

It is a short film competition hosted by my home state, Wyoming.  The requirements are that each film must be less than 15 minutes and feature Wyoming as a major character.  This is when “Western Wandering” was conceived.  “Western Wandering” is a story about discovering what truly defines the state of Wyoming.  It is within days of completion!  I’m just working on one of the last songs and it will be ready.  The competition officially starts on April 5th. Part of the judging is based on viewers’ ratings so make sure to check out some of the great films in the competition this year.  If you find that you like my film, please support me by voting!  This competition is a great way to encourage filmmaking in such an amazing state.  The winner will be awarded $25,000 to make another film in this beautiful state.  So if you like what you see, vote and just maybe, it will give that person the opportunity to make another amazing film for your viewing pleasure!Image

Energy and Politics

If you’re anything like me, all those lovely pictures of a snowy Park City in that last post distracted you. Winter in the West can be rough, and it can definitely cause some chaos around town… especially a ski town hosting one of the largest independent film festivals and celebrating the first good dump in FOREVER. But, for those of you that made it past the slideshow and read those last few sentences, you know that Mark had an interview with Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. So lets pick up where Mark left off, on the issue of politics. Well, politics and energy.

The day I’m writing this is not only the day Mark had the interview, but it also happens to be the day of the State of the Union Address. If you watched it, you will have noticed that about 15 minutes were devoted to the discussion of the future of our nation’s energy. I guess this whole energy thing is a pretty big deal…  According to our President, it’s one of the 5 biggest issues facing the United States right now. But let’s put the ultimate future of America and the human race aside for a second and ask a more simple question: How political do you think the issue of energy is? Are there sides? Do your political opinions influence the type of energy production you support? In an earlier post Mark replied to the criticism that he was “green” or an environmentalist (re: liberal) because he rides his bike. After getting to know Mark, you would soon realize that he rides because he loves it and couldn’t care less about what political stereotype is attached to pedaling a bicycle.  It’s funny how political lines can get drawn anywhere, even the type of transportation you choose. (For the record, I know lots of liberals that drive big honkin’ trucks for one reason or another; I also know a staunch Republican that drives a hybrid.) So, are solar panels Democratic? Is natural gas Republican?

Mark has approached this movie with what I consider to be a devout stance of neutrality. But that brings me back to my point; his neutrality towards favoring one type of energy resource has by default required him to detach himself from the political spectrum. I for one am extremely interested to hear what Governor Mead (R) has to say about energy in Wyoming. Maybe Mark can chime in here and talk about his interview… or maybe you’ll just have to wait and see it in the film.

Marty

Tired, sleep deprived, and inspired at Sundance Film Festival

These three words can sum up this weekend.  Tired, sleep deprived, and inspired.  Despite the predicted record snowstorm, Carrie and I still decided to make the drive to Park City, UT for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.  Everything that was predicted, was delivered, and then some.  The snow came in huge wet flakes that covered the bustling town of Park City.  Along with the excitement of extra 50,000 people in town for the festival, the snow made sure that our car got stuck at least 4 times.  The films also lived up to the ongoing hype of Sundance.  We had the opportunity to see the premieres for two films including Bones Brigade, which I have been looking forward to seeing ever since it was announced as in production.  This was skateboard and filmmaker legend, Stacy Peralta’s newest film.  I actually fell into the opportunity to ask Stacy a question about passion and filmmaking during a morning Q&A session.  That’s a whole other entry though.  The other film we saw was Declaration of War.  The weather was so bad that the director couldn’t even make it in for her own premiere.

Of all of the celebrities wandering about, I found my highlight of the weekend.  I had to opportunity to talk face to face with Glen Friedman.  If you don’t know who Glen is, a quick Google search should do the trick.  Basically, he is one of the most influential photographers of the last 30 years.  His roots are in the early skateboard and music scene of Southern California.  I’ve been looking at his photos in magazines since I was little and to get the opportunity to meet him was incredible.  Once again, that is a complete other entry for another day.  Rather than talking all day about the festival, I’ve decided to just show you some pictures.

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This Tuesday I’ll be headed to Cheyenne, WY to interview Governor Matt Mead for Energy! O Energy!  Check back for details on what he says about energy in Wyoming.