Friday, July 17, 2009

Mass Animation

Last Wednesday's New York Times featured an interesting article on a company called Mass Animation; the company recently released a short film created by Facebook users. Mass Animation set out to create a 5 minute short through "crowdsourcing," allowing friends of their Facebook page to submit scenes for possible inclusion in the film.

The company provided users with a free software download and story paramaters, including the soundtrack and the films' first scene. Users voted on submissions, and Mass Animation worked with the winners to create the final piece. Fifty-one people across the globe contributed a scene to the short, and each received $500 per scene. The short film, entitled "Live Music," concerns a love affair between a violin and guitar. It has received such good press that Sony Pictures Entertainment will air the short before screenings of the theatrical release "Planet 51."

Mass Animation founder Yair Landau says he sees "Live Music" "as a step in the democratization of creative storytelling in Hollywood." Whether "crowdsurfing" has an effect on the industry remains to be seen, but its cool to see a company trying something new, and showing the international and interactive possibilities of the digital age.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wounded Marine Careers Foundation


Since we first posted this story a few weeks ago, thanx to a vigilant blog reader, I've learned that there are some serious questions swirling around this program and the cost of tuition being billed to the office of Veteran's Affairs.

I'm generally one to reserve judgment until all the facts are clear, but the bottom line that is evident to me at the moment is that this program was billing the military approx. $88,000 per serviceman for many soldiers that completed this 10-week training program.

There are more details of course, but that figure alone is an indication to me of something seriously wrong with this program, as $88,000 well exceeds the cost of a full-year at a top-notch film school like NYU, USC or any other prestigious film program I can think of. It also appears that the honorable people who participated in and taught this program were unaware of the costs being billed to the military.

I whole-heartedly support our young men and women in the military and think there is a need for programs like this to open up opportunities for wounded servicemen, but I'm no longer convinced that this is a worthwhile program. I hope that this is all some bizarre accounting mistake or misunderstanding, but it smells fishy to me.

Here are some links to stories that elaborate further on the contraversy. You can judge for yourself:


Awhile back a colleague, first turned us on to this great cause that he was volunteering for and we figured why let him have all the fun. If anyone else out there wants to do something meaningful to help Iraq War Vets read on...

In 2006 documentary filmmaker Kevin Lombard, and his wife, Judith Paixao, founded the Center for Careers in Media, a program geared at helping disabled veterans learn technical film production skills and find job placements in the civilian workforce. Part of the Wounded Marine Careers Foundation, the non-profits' goals are two-fold: to provide vets with viable work skills and an "occupational and therapeutic healing tool."

Training is intensive, running six days a week on the San Diego, California campus. Students have access to six sound stages, as well as "complete production support services," from wardrobe and props. Courses are geared toward the production of short news clips for popular media outlets, and include Digital Cinematography and Scriptwriting/Story Development.

Graduates of the program receive professional certification from companies like Apple and Adobe, and will also be accepted into The International Alliance of Theatre Stage Employees. Graduates are also assisted in job placement upon the completion of the program.

If you're interested in providing a tax-free donation or sponsoring a student, click here for donation information. If you're a vet interested in the program, the next session starts September 8, and applications are available by contacting Judith Paixao at

Vets who have served from 9/11 on are eligible to enroll in the program, which teaches the vets production through a mixture of "classroom and field instruction, as well as personal mentorship."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Excerpts from Ant's Guerrilla Filmmaking Crash Course

I have a confession to make...I am a dedicated film and video maker and have been for more than a decade now, but my current reality is that I have actually come to enjoy teaching others what I've learned through the years more than actually doing it.

Don't get me wrong, I still stay on my video and filmmaking grind and I still like it, but teaching it, inspiring others and making light bulbs go off in new filmmaker's heads really gets me fired up and I love doing it. I could (and have) done it for 8 hours straight many times. Hence this entire Down and Dirty DV project that's developed over the last few years.

So to that end, here's a few quick tidbits of FREE and valuable (words rarely seen together) guerrilla filmmaking advice that I offered in my last Guerrilla Filmmaking Seminar at the B&H Event Space.

There's only so much time on the radio show and blog to get into specifics, but in the seminars and products I can break things down in more detail. If you like what you see and want to get he whole presentation including all the illustrations, slides and inappropriate humor, this entire seminar is available on DVD HERE.

Also, it's still in the discussion stages, but I think I'll be teaming up with the good people at B&H again in the very near future to offer an unprecedented educational opportunity for knowledge hungry guerrillas. So stay tuned for an official announcement in the coming weeks.

For now enjoy this newly released video clip...