Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Psych" Director Mel Damski on The Next Double Down Film Show

Wednesday, March 4th - 9pm - On the next Double Down Film Show we’ll have a conversation with Emmy and Academy Award-nominated director, Mel Damski, who has had a very long and prolific career in the director’’s chair of some of the best new and classic tv shows ever including the hit shows:
  • Psych
  • Charmed
  • Boston Legal
  • Mash
  • Lou Grant
  • The Bionic Woman
  • Plus more than 60 more tv shows and movies!
We will be discussing the mechanics of putting together a show, the television director's process, how to prepare for a career in tv, the differences between television and film directing and how to navigate the studio system amongst other practical career advice for aspiring film and tv makers.

The Double Down Film Show...Filmmaking Reality Starts Here.


Wednesday, March 4th @ 9PM EST

Listen in from your computer:


Listen or call in from your phone:
(646) 929-1956

(*If you miss it live you can still listen to the show later as a podcast at the same web address.)

Watch "Paper Chasers" Online for FREE!

Many of you have emailed me asking about director Maxie Collier's documentary Paper Chasers which is an inspirational and instructive doc about Hip Hop entrepreneurs. I mentioned it several times in my book, The Shut Up and Shoot Documtary Guide, because it's the project where the very idea for the book and this business (Down and Dirty DV) was born.

Almost every production technique I write about in the book was applied to this low budget documentary production...Shooting in the Hood, Stealth Camera Techniques, Feeding Your Crew, Traveling w/ Equipment, 10 Ways to Lower Your Budget, etc.

Paper Chasers is a great and rare study in the realities of low-budget filmmaking as half of the documentary is about us making the documentary. It's a stand alone doc and a making-of doc rolled all in one. (I pop up in a few cameos throughout, but I'm mostly behind the second unit camera for the crew shots.)

I served as Associate Producer/Gaffer/2nd Unit Camera/2nd Unit Audio, etc. It's always available on Netflix and at better video stores everywhere, but for a limited time it can be viewed online for FREE at Maxie's site, PaperChasers.TV .

Of the many projects I've worked on in 17 plus years on the film grind, this one is still probably my favorite on several accounts: I was working with a crew that I truly consider to be friends. We hung out with each other socially on a daily basis long before, during and after the production. I futher learned how to really make those limited dollars show up on the screen. And biggest of all, it literally changed my life by inspiring me to start my own film educaton business (which you are enjoying right now) and write my first book (which is now a bestseller).

It introduced me to so many influential people in the entertainment industry that started with much less than I had, but had managed to parlay it into so much more with four simple ingredients: PLANNING, HARD WORK, FAITH AND PERSERVERANCE. I still think back to and try to apply the many lessons of Paper Chasers to my life and business on a daily basis.

The movie has been edited down to an hour and half, but I sat thru at least 56 hours of great advice from the likes of Fat Joe, Jamie Foxx, James Brown, Chuck D, Ludacris, Damon Dash, Chuck D, Tony Mercedes, Flavor Flav, etc. (Yes, even Flav had words of wisdom- "Don't work with people that want to make money off you, try to find people that want to make money with you.")

Not only that, but it was mad inspirational to interview someone who was at the time a complete unknown outside their local area, have them share their plan, then see them execute the plan they told us about and blow up on the world stage- Ludacris, South Park Mexican, 5th Ward, Big Moe (R.I.P.), and others.

Anyway, it's got a real cult following amongst urban entrepreneurs and music industry types, but the valuable lessons I took away from the film and the making of it are all 100% applicable to any struggling filmmaker or artist. You may know the "show", but if you want to actually succeed, you need to also know and understand the "business" part of the equation. That's what this film helps deliver.

I don't know how long it will be posted, so enjoy the flick while you can. You will learn, laugh and be inspired by the end. Let me know what you think afterward.

The Paper Chasers Trailer (1:26):