Monday, December 30, 2019

WTH Happened to 2019??

     No really, what happened to the rest of 2019?  I feel like so much got fired in the latter half of the year so much was lost to the wayside.  Life inadvertently shifted work efforts into a variety of directions we never thought possible.  So here's a quick recap of what happened to us in 2019.


     Between Master Classes and Audio Books, Hooligan V and I have consumed over 2 dozens courses and books this year.  We've always pushed education as the forefront of growth, and we're not stopping.  There are still more Master Classes to tackle and audio books to complete.


     One of the biggest lessons we learned the hard way this year was to set harder boundaries among filmmakers.  Outside of a horrible (and ongoing) experience with a dictator-like filmmaker, the rest of our time on set was well placed.  We helped create a new and exclusive Business Owner group focused on the creative industry.


     Both Hooligan V and I did a run for a script competition through a major studio in what I'm calling a Writer Fellowship.  We both wrote a feature script each in less than 3 weeks as well as a Treatment for a new feature idea.  This was a major accomplishment for the both of us, and we spent the past few months fine-tuning our writing ability and process.  We now have 4 slated scripts we're working on both spec and original.


     A lot of our time was spent following one of our hooligans, Doc, on the Appalachian Trail as he traveled over 2,000 miles on foot in a kilt.  He accomplished this amazing feat with many tales and photos, and he's gearing up for Round 2 of the Triple Crown.  If you'd like more information, please visit:

     Overall, this year was full of life, lessons, and a lot of love poured into our families and films.  We weren't able to push for a narrative feature, but we're prepping for this upcoming year.  With some newer filmmakers on our roster and some up-and-comers making some headway, we're looking to make 2020 our year back into production.  Have a fantastic New Year!

Written by: J. Hooligan

#endofyear #2019end #whathappened #newyear #production #film

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

[SPOILERS] Avengers: Endgame - A Hooligan Review

     After 11 years, 22 films, and countless epic visual effect-laden battles, the MCU journey has come to a head with Avengers: Endgame.  We didn't splurge for opening weekend tickets, but we saw it today instead.  Wow!  What a ride!  So here it is - our Hooligan Review of Avengers: Endgame.  You are warned as there are...


     After taking some time to reset our feelings to zero and giving ourselves props for not having to get up to pee for 3 hours, Hooligan V and I were finally able to think about some of the major points that is Endgame.  There are so many great things about the movie that it would take WAY too long to go over them all.  We're still buzzing over the extraordinary story they've built for us to enjoy, so we will be going over just a few of the best ones that stuck out to us as filmmakers, and some of the worst ones as well.


     Endgame has a great structure in that it calls back to many of the previous Marvel movies by nature of story rather than forcibly injecting fan service (as what Solo felt like).  My particular favorite was seeing Stan Lee again looking so very lively and energetic in his cameo.  It was so fitting to see him one last time in the end.  He'd be proud to know fans aren't knowingly spoiling his decade-long plan for the sake of being assholes.

     Hawkeye made his return in the very beginning as we witnessed "the snap" kick-start the most prominent character arc of Endgame since most of the other characters are just themselves adjusting to the loss.  Clint quickly goes dark side after being away from the events of Infinity War and begins cleaning up the world of the left-over evils lingering behind.  As soon as the opening scene ended, we already knew it was going to be emotionally heavy as we watched Clint's family disappear without him even understanding what was wrong, forcing him to figure out what happened - we all saw that remnant of familiar dust lingering in the wind that he didn't even recognize.  It wasn't until his ownership of his faults while fighting with Natasha for the right to die (properly) for the Soul Stone that brought his redemption and weight of sacrifice back to the light.  It also made his payoff so much more heartwarming when the call came in before the final battle and moved aside to create headway for the massive wrecking ball of "I... am Iron Man."

     As the rest of the Avengers are dealing with their loss to Thanos' snap in their own ways, each one of them had something to gain by recalling the emotional moments of their pasts; the most notable being Tony Stark, which has overshadowed him and everyone since the end of Infinity War; it's also why Tony is the second Avenger to appear in the movie, and rightfully so.  The 3-hour time limit didn't feel like 3 hours, which is a great sign that the multi-plot took hold very well.

     The last point I'm going to note here is the little callback at the very end of the credits.  There was no post- or mid-credit scene, but there was an audible that signified the true end.  The clanging of a hammer from the very first Marvel movie that started it all with Tony Stark creating the very first Iron Man suit in a cave.  It felt like a proper bookend to this long journey, and was one last, great signal to show it really is over.  As Thanos alluded to, there's huge potential that lies ahead even though there are those of us stuck in the sorrows of the past.


     Out of all the great components thrown into Endgame, there are bound to be some bad parts to it as well.  One of my biggest qualms is with the story's predictability of major plot points: Captain Marvel saving Tony in the beginning, one must die for the Soul Stone, the moment when all the Avengers assembled to fight Thanos and his army, Captain Marvel coming back to save everyone in their time of need, Cap staying in the past, etc.

     The second biggest aspect that didn't really sit well with me was the Bulk (Bruce + Hulk = BULK).  It was reminiscent of the drastic character change of Thor in Ragnarok (not that I still didn't like the movie, I just didn't feel he had enough motivation to change).  I digress, but it just felt strange and diminished the weight of his conflict from Infinity War with a simple "scientific bypass".  Brushing it aside after making it such a huge deal in Infinity War just felt dirty.  The Bulk became the least empathetic character the moment they reintroduced him and became one of the most uninteresting leads from then on, which is truly unfortunate.

     Going back to Captain Marvel... I felt they missed a huge opportunity to utilize her so much more than just a random trump card that saves the day just in time whenever it's convenient for their purposes of story.  I wanted more of her considering she's supposed to be the strongest Avenger.  Yes, they tried to show that when she went head-to-head against a fully-stoned Thanos, and he hits her without phasing her at all... but then she can't seal the deal??  How??  Overall, it always had to be Tony that finished it, but it felt like another huge throwaway for no apparent reason.


     OK, now to the nitty-gritty of what's been bugging me about Endgame: Time Travel.  I felt like it ended up being explained away as just wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff.  I understand the need for making any sort of science as "quantum physics" to explain away plot points for the sake of fictional, artistic license, HOWEVER... the rules of the Universe must remain consistent to that which you have built, and the obstacles they encountered do NOT adhere to the rules they set up for themselves.  I can agree that their future selves going back into the past is technically maintaining a linear time experience that doesn't change unless they interfere with their older selves... but Cap, Tony, and Ant Man did exactly that!  Loki got away and stole the Tesseract, which means it's NOT on the same timeline anymore.

     Some have said that Cap going back and returning the stones to their original times they were taken from would essentially return the timeline to its original form (e.g. Thanos snapping half of existence away)... but when Loki got away that was no longer the case.  That moment was NOT the same moment that the Avengers took the Tesseract.  Tony and Cap traveled back in time to right after Captain Marvel's story when Nick Fury was still young.  So, returning the Tesseract way back then does not return Loki escaping with it in their first attempt.  That also means that Thor does NOT return to Asgard with Loki along with the Tesseract, Ragnarok does NOT happen with Loki there, and Thanos does NOT attain the Tesseract from Loki at the beginning of Infinity War.  Those timelines are now in alternate timelines and the new "snaps" that took place are essentially in vain.

    Even if you believe the new timeline didn't change the future, there is still another HUGE factor that does not make their theory work, and that is Thanos traveling forward in time from 2014 before he has any of the stones.  If the "future" Avengers can travel in the past and not change their timeline, that does not hold true for their past selves traveling forward.  In that case, Natasha, Gamora, Vision, etc, could have all been saved and brought forward without a problem (Gamora possibly surviving the final snap is proof of that as Quill is searching for her on his screen before Thor and Rocket board).  Also in that same scenario, returning the stones wouldn't make any sense to "maintain / return the timeline" since the past Thanos had already been killed in the final battle in the future of Endgame; that timeline wouldn't be touched regardless.  It's one huge problem in making it all truly complete for that Universe and subsequent Universes / timelines to actually make sense.  Even if Cap was planning on using time travel for one last chance to find happiness back in his own time, he could have done that without returning the stones at all since their timeline / future happened regardless.


     Despite the strange, conflicting nuances of time travel for the sake of a compelling plot, Endgame was still a fantastic piece in the MCU.  I am still down to watch it again and relive the emotional roller coaster that it took me through.  The wrap-up of it all, the bookend of Tony Stark / Iron Man's iconic journey, the last time we see Stan Lee in a cameo... it all came together in one wonderful piece.  All good things must come to an end, and this end played it the only way it knew how - in one epic finale.  Whether you enjoy superhero movies or not, there is no way anyone can deny the impact Marvel has made on the world over the past decade.  Others have tried, but these will definitely survive the test of time.  Thank you to all who helped make it happen!

Written by: J Hooligan

#avengers #endgame #review #film #movie #moviereview #filmreview #hooliganreview 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Digital Demon: The Painstaking Reality of Social Media

     We live in the Digital Age, though, not necessarily to the extent of the Matrix.  No one today can deny how integrated technology has become in our daily social practices and proven itself as a major thriving force.  Within the past couple years, my team and I have delved headfirst into the vastness that is known as Social Media - the proverbial society that exists on digital platforms that promote social interaction online.  If you're like us and despise the evils of social media (i.e. the daily narcissism, objectivity, apathy, etc), then you can probably feel the same eye-roll that kicks in when talking about becoming versed in such things.  Still, that hasn't stopped us from understanding this Digital Demon and attempting to whip it into some form of powerful workhorse.  Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (albeit slowly) have pushed to leverage their numbers for businesses, and companies looking to invest or sponsor your brand are looking at those numbers.  Yes, the bane of the Digital Age has become a necessary evil in sales and marketing.

     This year, we hooked up with some Social Media gurus to help us understand more about what it is that's driving droves of companies to push sales in the online marketplace, and the simplest answer we can gather is the "number" of people they pull in.  How many social media accounts do you have?  I counted ours today, including some of our clients' accounts we manage, and between just 2 primary members, we are managing around 16 business accounts on social media (including this one).  There is obvious overlap among our other members, but we're not counting those here.  It's not hard to find people you know that have 3-5 accounts or more on various social media apps.

     People return to what's familiar to them, and overwhelming them with visual stimuli pushes those images into the subconscious, and they integrate into our everyday lives without us realizing it.  We recognize brands, logos, taglines, and designs more easily because of their repeated contact among users.  That means that social media exponentially increases one person's exposure to your brand tenfold in a single day.  Content reigns high as king, and social media has allowed that king a fast and effective method of repeatability at a comparably lower marketing cost.

     What does that mean for us indie filmmakers?  It means both good and bad on either side of the spectrum.  On one hand, the inexpensiveness of social media marketing can technically be done by practically anyone for almost free (hold your cheers).  Some platforms require payments to extend your reach to funnel new clients / consumers, most notably Facebook and more recently Instagram, but it is not absolutely necessary considering it is still free to create accounts on said platforms.  On the other hand, social media is vastly over-saturated with ads, brands, and competitors doing the exact same thing, which means sticking out can be a lot tougher to accomplish without actually paying for extending your reach.  There are already a number of companies that utilize bots to boost their numbers to feed the algorithms of each platform, but they do not necessarily equal sales.

     This, however, can be a blessing in disguise for the creative problem solvers.  Innovation has never had such a readily-available testing ground for your marketing endeavors, and those that keep their creativity sharpened will have the edge above the others.  Analytics on these platforms are quite sophisticated today, so it has become easier for entrepreneurs to pull statistics to see how well or poor their method of marketing is working and shift if necessary.  Either way, it's going to take a lot of real work and time for the newbie that isn't willing to pay for a [social media] marketing company to do the work for them.

     I feel that social media will always leave a horrible taste in our mouths until we can all learn to treat others like people again and remember that there are actual people behind the profiles, not just some digital front.  Until then, the best we can do is adapt, adjust, and overcome the best we can.  There's a lot more to leveraging social media for sales, but that's a much longer conversation.

NOTE: If you'd like to have a more in depth conversation about the intricacies of social media, visit our website at: and book an appointment with us.

Written by: J. Hooligan

#digitaldemon #socialmedia #indie #indiefilm #filmmaker #indiefilmmaker #business #sales #marketing 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Entertain, Don't Preach: Why Your Didactic Film Sucks

     The film industry is inundated with creators and entertainers pushing to win over audiences in the hopes of becoming an overnight sensation and possibly a worldwide influence.  Indie filmmakers (like us) are always at the helm of finding new and innovated ways of getting noticed outside of the Hollywood system.  However, a growing trend has been rearing its ugly head among indies and even studios that's been influenced by the polarization of our political system.  Though this isn't a political post, it's worth pointing out that the result is (wrongfully) making headway in order to push political agendas directly into the storytelling process.  That trend is the prevalence of the didactic story.

     1. intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive
     2. in the manner of a teacher, particularly so as to treat someone in a patronizing way

     I often tell people that audiences go to the movies to be entertained, and they go to church to be taught a lesson, but that still doesn't stop them from wanting to push for the didactic film for their own personal reasons.  I've lost count of how many horrible stories, movies, and shows we've come across that contain the overarching agenda of "teaching" the audience how to behave, how consequences work, or how they will be dealt with, and they just leave horrible tastes in everyone's mouth.  Your #1 goal as a filmmaker is to entertain, not to teach - that's why it's called the "Entertainment Industry."  In fact, the moment you feel you know better than the cumulative brainpower of the entirety of your audience is the moment you will lose them.  That sort of arrogance is what's been getting these filmmakers in trouble and threatening their fan base and reception as a whole.  You want a surefire way of stifling your growth as a filmmaker?  Make a didactic film.

     To be clear, this is not to say that your film cannot have zeitgeist themes and topics like the current political polarization, but rather that when doing a film for entertainment, the politics of that world need to stay within the world of the characters and not try to breach into the audience as a force of example teaching them something.  Relating a protagonist to an audience on a fundamental level is crucial to most storytelling, but it does not play well when forcing inauthentic characterization out of the film's universe.  Audiences will suspend belief over fictional fantasy that is consistent throughout but not at the expense that the creator is somehow "smarter" or "knows better" than they do in terms of morality.  This is exactly why didactic films fail.  It's been the bane of church films for years now (not religious films; church films) - "let's make a film to teach the ignorant about how they're wrong for behaving the way they do or having a differing opinion"... it's absolute rubbish.

     One recent example of a didactic film we came across was a movie from Hulu's Into the Dark series called The Treehouse (bit of a SPOILER ahead - skip to the next section).  The trailer?  Fantastic and compelling; made us want to watch it.  The conflict?  Alluring with a sense of mystery and fantasy when it FINALLY picked up (almost 45 minutes in - ugh).  The actors?  They performed well.  The story and payoff at the end?  PFFFTTT!!!  Didactic bullshit!  The consistency of the universe they built ended as if it was some huge joke to fool not just the protagonist but the audience as well in lieu of forcing a lesson rather than portraying a snapshot of an interesting story.  In fact, if they would have just stuck with the supernatural theme being real, then they wouldn't have screwed the pooch every which way but loose.  Instead of delivering on the promise of being a supernatural fantasy thriller, the story fizzled out and let everything go as a picturesque of downtrodden women getting back at one asshole of a man (who was the protagonist, no less) - their efforts now lessened in the face of the lesson they wanted to teach the protagonist AND the audience.  The overall message was that men shouldn't rape women (admirable and very true, but again - this is not church) or else women will lash out together like a coven of witches pretending to fool you into believing magic is real.  It was actually counter-intuitive to the #metoo movement and downplayed it by reducing real women who have been victims of rape and sexual assault to conniving, vengeful bitches who hate men that will do anything to "trick" them into believing what they did was wrong instead of seeking real justice.  Sorry, but that's a real shitty kind of representation there.  This is also outside of the fact that there was no empathy for the protagonist - there was no one the audience could relate to by the end of the film since they pulled away from the protagonist and didn't build enough for the witches.  If they would have told the story from the women's side to begin with (to stick to their theme by the end), then we would have felt more driven to agree with their situation.  That's what happens when didactic-style film making takes over good storytelling and structure - they don't fall flat, they fall under.

     One huge tip to ensure you stay away from didactic-style writing is to keep the political world surrounding your protagonist and characters as external forces for them alone.  The Rules of the Universe can align to authentic situations we have in the real world for inspiration, or they can be completely made up and as wild as you want them.  However, they need to stay in that world instead of try to reach outside of the confines of the story to purposely influence the audience towards a lesson of your choosing.  If you want to teach people morality lessons, then become a Preacher not an Entertainer -  unless you're really adept at satire.  If you believe your lesson somehow holds a moral high ground that justifies making a didactic narrative, then you have no real understanding of the entertainment business at all nor what makes a good story.

Written by: J Hooligan

#indie #indiefilmmaker #indiefilmmaking #didactic #story #storytelling #film #filmblog #entertainment 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Oscars Backlash: Full Stream Ahead

     Though the Academy's Oscar Awards broadcast went off without a hitch - albeit a small one with everyone mistakenly thinking certain categories weren't going to be broadcast at all, and a host controversy with Kevin Hart, and a- well alright, definitely not without a hitch this year, but it's done with so we can move on... or so we all thought.

     I'm talking about Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, which is streaming on Netflix.  Last year, the Cannes Film Festival made waves when it barred submissions from Netflix that had bypassed a full theatrical release in lieu of premiering on the streaming giant after only 3 weeks in theaters.  Then that all changed when Roma took home 3 Oscars along with a nomination for Best Picture just a couple of weeks ago.  Pressure has now been building against Cannes in this rift with the onset of Martin Scorsese's Netflix-backed film The Irishman due to debut this year.  Although Netflix has already committed to a theatrical release, it stands at a stalemate with theater distribution giants like AMC and Regal that hold a strict 90-day run before releasing to streaming services.

     There have been many people in the industry that are voicing their opinions against allowing Netflix and other streaming films to be eligible for festivals and awards.  In an article by The Hollywood Reporter, it states that Eric Lagesse, the co-president of France's association of independent theatrical distributors, "worries that Netflix's model of bypassing theaters will undermine the independent industry, especially as the streaming giant, so far, has focused most of its money on backing established directors, neglecting young or first-time filmmakers."  Though I can sympathize with his point of view, I don't necessarily agree with the statement on a worldly basis.  Perhaps I'm a bit bias considering theatrical release here in the US already undermines independent theatrical releases on its own, to which Netflix and other streaming platforms have overcome this obstacle in their own way to show both big-budget films as well as ULB films of independents alike in one place.  I digress.  Even Cannes director Thierry Fremaux had reportedly offered a compromise with Netflix whereas he will consider The Irishman and other Netflix titles a chance to compete in the Cannes Festival under the caveat that if they win the Palme d'Or, Netflix must release their titles for theatrical release in France.  (The Hollywood Reporter -

     Steven Spielberg has also been very outspoken about streaming films and their eligibility for awards.  As a member representing the Directors branch of the Academy, he will be following suit with Fremaux's decision last year to bar streaming content by approaching the Academy to change the rules against future nominations.  Regardless, there are others that do not hold the same opinion like Ava DuVernay who took to Twitter to express her concern against others that aren't Spielberg that may not have their voices heard.  It's reported that DuVernay has supported the Netflix model as a legitimate platform for us independent filmmakers - hey, kind of like what I was saying earlier.  (Collider -

     Although many big-named influencers are speaking out against streaming content, this does not seem to be stifling any of the larger studios from continuing their venture into the streaming world.  Disney, TimeWarner, Universal, and others are already ramping up to break into the streaming game in an attempt to follow the Netflix pioneer.  Cable is slowly phasing out as streaming content is proving a pivot in the market, and the larger studios know this.  It's easily speculated that these giants will be offering exclusive, original content, some of which may indeed bypass theatrical release on lower-scaled budgets.  Large theatrical releases cost a lot of money, and if audiences are pulling towards streaming content in the comfort of their own homes rather than the allure of the red carpet release or popcorn-littered theater, then that is where the market of the future lies.  Does that mean that theaters will phase out completely?  I seriously doubt it'll go that far, but only time will tell which will lead in sales for film distribution.  Thus the Streaming Wars is not just about releasing new streaming platforms by big studios, but also that of viewership in competition against theater distributors.

     There's a lot of movement at the moment for film and filmmakers in terms of the dreaded "D" word (Distribution, in case you had your mind in the gutter).  The biggest fear as an independent filmmaker is that other indies will begin to downplay the theatrical release and consequently the broader appeal to larger audiences; eventually settling on stories that aren't entertaining and that won't necessarily get their careers off the ground.  We've personally seen the festival crawlers that are still seeing other short film competitors as their competition, relying on the old hope that they will get discovered and become a huge Director or Producer... that's not how it works, sorry.  Even we at Hyde Hooligans still talk about how Netflix remains secondary in the distribution model to theatrical release for exactly the same reasons these distributors are arguing.  Understanding what's going on in the industry and acknowledging the distributors' views is what will help us all (independents and otherwise) to move forward with the ever-changing flux of entertainment.

Written by: J Hooligan

#Oscars #AcademyAwards #Academy #Netflix #AlfonsoCuaron #Roma #AvaDuVernay #stream #streaming #streamwars #streamingwars #MartinScorsese #TheIrishman #rules #distribution #theater #theatricalrelease #indie #indies #indiefilms #independent #film #filmnews #filmblog #blog #hydehooligans

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Umbrella Academy - Move over Stormtroopers, There's a New Sharpshooter in Town

     Stormtroopers have notoriously been accepted as the worse marksmen of any organized fighters in any fandom.  However, after finishing season 1 of The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, I'm all in for highlighting the worst "trained gunmen" of all time as the Corrections Department of the Time Commission.

Look out as there are...


     I didn't feel this way the whole time.  After all, Five, Hazel, and Cha-Cha have notoriously been labeled as "the best" in the Corrections Department from the beginning.  Even after the first episode when Five strategically took out the gunmen after him, it felt as if they were dumb but at least somewhat capable.  Eudora and the police sounded as if they made a joke at how they were "professionals."  Then again, she may have been referring to Five's work.  All of that changed in the final episode of season 1.  [BTW: Diego and EuDORA... does that make Pogo Boots??]

     The culmination of the first season ends at the Icarus Theater where Vanya is to play as first chair in her concert debut, which happens to align with the onset of the apocalypse via her superpowers.  The rest of the siblings finally come together to stop her when the Commission sends their henchmen dawned in gas masks (with no gas anywhere) with giant red cylindrical eyes bursting into the theater to stop the Umbrella Academy from saving the world.  Yet instead of heroically dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging bullets, every single one of them finds themselves stuck in an aisle on the floor as bullets fly overhead when I realized something horrible... GODDAMN THESE PEOPLE CAN'T SHOOT WORTH A SHIT!!!

     Seriously.  The heroes were literally pinned down between the seats yelling to each other as henchmen invaded the bottom AND second floors from practically every entrance.  Yes, there were even henchmen firing from the balconies into the seats below at... who the fuck knows because not one of the heroes was hit by a single stray bullet.  Statistically speaking, even the spray-and-pray method has often landed many a lucky shot to unsuspected Call of Duty advocates, but no; not here.

     To make matters worse, Luther and Diego are in a wide ass walkway ducked behind the backing of an aisle of chairs - that is, until they get shot at and Diego appears down another aisle across from Luther supposedly squeezed between a different set of chairs like he's been there the whole time.

Five's head is sticking out well into the aisle as the henchmen didn't even bother shooting at him.

The henchman fired on the opposite side of the aisle to shoot through the chair (and missed) and didn't even bother to shift one aisle over to shoot Diego while he's stuck on the floor.

There were at least 2-3 henchmen in the balconies on BOTH SIDES... EACH!!  All of them were aiming down into the aisles below... still firing at who knows what.

There's two henchmen behind Klaus surrounding him.  Even if they were firing at Ben, they would still have had a clean shot on Klaus - the only physical person there.

     That last picture is after Klaus runs in unaware of the gunmen everywhere, stands up (still un-shot), and uses his power to pull out Ben's power to kill off the henchmen.  He's standing there with a blue apparition of his dead brother, and the henchman behind him is firing at what exactly??  Definitely not Klaus who is standing right in front of him and the others.  This isn't Dragon Ball Z, guys; you don't need to let him power up his ability right in front of you before you engage.

     So there it is.  The Corrections Department is now dubbed the worst "professional" marksmen.  Not only are they firing at nothing, but they lack the aptitude to shift for a clean shot on to take down 4 unarmed people cowering for their lives behind some chairs.  Clearly, they deserved to die the meaningless deaths they did.  I'm convinced they were all trained by this guy:

Written by: J Hooligan

#theumbrellaacademy #stormtroopers #sharpshooter #marksman #timecommission #corrections #correctionsdepartment #netflix #tv #film #filmblog #wtf

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Differences Between Audience and Fan Base - Indie Film Terms

     I know we do a lot of ranting and raving here, but we also like to spread knowledge to the indie film world.  There are a ton of film terms that mean the exact same thing in the industry, and it wildly depends on the group / studio that's using them, what region, what country; sometimes even changing on a single set.  There are two terms we often discuss in Development and Pitching that have small but distinct differences: audience and fan base.  They are very closely related but not the same thing.

What's the difference?

     Many filmmakers talk about "building your audience," but that is no longer the case these days.  In the early days of film, it was necessary to expose new genres and types of films to new audiences who have never experienced them - you truly had to build them then.  However, film has been around for over a century and does not fall into the same type of exposure marketing-wise (barring new ways to experience film like 3D, 4D, interactive, VR, etc), especially in the wake of the Digital Age.  As such, audiences are already built into genres.  The most distinctive is the horror genre, which is why it is considered the easiest genre to break out as a new indie production company or director.  As a filmmaker, you do not have to build an audience that enjoys horror; horror fans already know they like horror and will look for new movies in the genre on their own.

     I did use "fans" there, but YOUR fan base is where the terms get hairy.  Although you do not have to build your audience, you absolutely have to build your fan base for your movies.  Your fan base consists of audience members that enjoy your body of work and look forward to your future films; this is absolutely different from general audiences that already enjoy the genre or style of your film.  Whether you are a new director, new production company, or a relative unknown filmmaker, your job is to convert your viewers within your audience into fans that will return to see more of what you've got to offer.  Your "fan base" is essentially your "repeat customers."

     To be clear: your audience does no equal your fan base... EVER!  To assume this is to say that every single person that watches your film (audience) will instantly enjoy it and subsequently become one of your fans afterward. That will never happen (just the nature of the beast), but you can do plenty to increase your chances of retaining your audiences to come back for more later on.  It takes a lot of time, a lot of diligence, and a lot of patience.

How do you build your fan base?

     So how do you convert your target audience into your fan base?  That's a very tricky question.  There are many factors involved including: genre and genre history, story structure, cast, marketing plan / roll-out, distribution, etc.  I can't go into all of these here, but there is a huge one where my team and I always see indie filmmakers and large studios alike fall short: delivering on your marketing promise.

     Have you ever watched a trailer or teaser and became instantly curious to watch a movie?  Of course you have - we all have!  Have you ever gone to see a movie based on the trailer just to be massively disappointed since the trailer had all the best parts of the film?  Another resounding "DUH!"  Now, we need to understand that it is the job of the Trailer Editor to get people to see the film, and, as such, they must find smaller snippets that build anticipation (and never deliver) to get people to want to see them.  Good Trailer Editors know how to do this for the crappiest of films and know how to do it really, really well.  They are separated from the story as they should be, but when a film doesn't deliver to the same hype as the trailer, no audience member bats an eye at the Trailer Editor because it is the filmmaker's responsibility to deliver the promised compelling story.

     Don't fret, though; large studios fail on this huge factor of marketing and delivering a quality product all the time.  It is also why many filmmakers and studios try to compensate with gimmicks: anti plots, non-linear stories, high-end VFX, "action packed," "politically-charged," etc.  Despite what people believe, audiences are more willing to spend money on what they are familiar with like your trailer, teaser, posters, BTS, interviews, and so on, in a genre they are used to.  If you give them a romantic comedy when you've marketed a horror film, then you're in for a rude awakening.  I argue that the disconnect for audiences from becoming die-hard fans is due to this lack of delivery of a quality product that was promised to them in the marketing campaign.  Selling / Pitching as if your product costs higher than what you they are paying is a common and effective marketing practice, but that does not happen if you are flat-out lying about the story.  Your ideal situation to convert audiences into fans is when your end product over-delivers on the expectation of a good product and blows them away; that should always be your goal regardless of budget.

HARD PILL TO SWALLOW: Nobody cares about your budget or the hardships you and your team endured while making your film.  Stop trying to convince people why they need to see your movie when you're talking about it; they only care if it's entertaining - the delivery.

A small but prime example of horrible delivery

     Even something as small as your thumbnail art can make a fantastic case for the effectiveness of marketing, and the subsequent *sad whistle slide* that results from a bad delivery.  My business partner and I experienced this within the past few months.

     We were browsing Hulu for new material.  We came across this amazing looking poster (omitting film name).  It was a sci-fi movie on an abandoned planet occupied with killer robots.  The log line and thumbnail art were intriguing enough to get us to take a look.  The poster / thumbnail looked as if it would have high end VFX included in the film (great marketing).  What played out was one of the most terrible films we've ever seen.  I'm talking about run-down, human-made buildings (brick and mortar) on a supposed unoccupied planet, VFX robots that sometimes walk in front of foreground objects when they're clearly supposed to be behind them, etc; just overall vomit of filmmaking.  Later, we found a very similar poster (I even want to say the SAME poster) as we soon realized the filmmakers (or distributor / marketing team) literally rehashed someone else's poster design with robots, looks, style, and designs that weren't even in the film!  Needless to say, we did not become fans of their work.


     Knowing your target audience is crucial to understanding your market and what they already like to watch.  Funneling audiences to pay to see your genre film should always be your primary goal in your marketing plan and roll-out.  Your long-term goal as an indie filmmaker is to grow your fan base by converting audience members into fans who want to see what else you can create (and, more importantly, deliver) in the future.  Delivering on your promise of a quality product will be what makes or breaks you as an indie filmmaker.  Stay focused on delivering the highest quality of product (within the reasonable deadlines you've set and budget) to these built-in audiences to hopefully convert them into fans.

Written by: J Hooligan

#audience #fanbase #indie #indiefilm #indiefilmterms #buildyouraudience #buildyourfanbase #film #filmterms #distribution #marketing #quality #business #filmbusiness #filmblog #businessblog 

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Offended Audience

     We talk about audience appeal for certain types of stories every time a new film comes across our way.  Catering towards what people like and are familiar with has been an old practice for many filmmakers and studios to date.  However, there's been an unnerving trend that's been rearing its ugly head the past few years.  It's caused frequent eye rolls, unhindered migraines, and overt head pounding against walls.  I call it the Offended Audience.  Audiences that become so offended by a movie that they rise up against the creators as a whole to talk down on them and even attempt to oppress the creator's future work of making any other content.  Although having an opinion about a person or work is just fine, what's NOT fine is the extent of the actions being taken.

     Let's start with what it means to be offended.  According to Merriam-Webster, the closest definitions of "offend" I'm referring to are: (1) to cause dislike, anger, or vexation (intransitive); or (2) to cause (a person or group) to feel hurt, angry, or upset by something said or done (transitive).  To be "offended" by anything is a personal experience of someone's actions or words towards them - an internal reflection.  Now, if an offense involves a physical action towards someone, then I believe every person has a right to physically protect themselves.  However - and here's where it gets tricky - if it is involved in the Artistic / Entertainment realm without a physical component, then you have every right to shut it!!  This is EXACTLY the case when it comes to film and television.  People CHOOSE to watch movies and TV shows, then take to Twitter, social media, and their bullshit political groups to push for them to be removed.  Utter malarkey.

     Films and TV shows are stories for entertainment.  I did a video called the Fiction vs Reality Conundrum ( where I break down complications people bring in where they confuse fiction with reality in the face of the #metoo movement.  In short, fictional pieces (i.e. movies, TV shows, artwork, etc) are NOT reality.  The entertainment industry, by its own nature, exploits reality for entertainment purposes - that's the way it's always been.  If you agree with it or not is regardless of the fact that the entire WORLD uses entertainment as an escape from reality.  One of the main goals of humor is to diffuse the power of certain real-life tragic events by diffusing its power via the ridiculous.  Mel Brooks was notorious for this in his films - he's Jewish and constantly made fun of Hitler and the Nazis... but it was for entertainment, not to influence people to become Nazis. Now throw in the fact that there are droves of people speaking out against actors, directors, and creators to talk down on them for the content of their fictional story, and you have a mixture of ridiculous ridicule rounding every radical corner.

     Here's the point... if you feel the "need" to go complain to the masses in order to build momentum in an attempt to ostracize a filmmaker, actor, comedian, creator... over their ART and not their REAL LIFE OFFENSES, then you, Sir/Ma'am, are a Moronic Asshole encroaching on the Freedom of Speech.  Demonize the real life monsters, not the artists portraying them for entertainment, satire, cynicism, etc.  Seriously, if you feel offended by someone's work, then just don't watch their future pieces - it literally is that simple.  This isn't like the Street Art movement which was meant to interrupt the hegemony of society by forcing unwilling people to experience / see their art; you CHOOSE to continue watching shows and movies by particular creators.

     In the end, it's extremely tiring to hear the bullshit agenda being pushed by people aiming for universal political correctness in movies and television shows.  It's fine to have an opinion about someone's creation; it's NOT fine to expect / push for everyone to have YOUR opinion about it.  How many more times do we have to hear about actors, directors, celebrities, etc, being attacked for their work before we realize it's a fucking stupid attempt to fuel your God Complex to control everything around you??  Time will tell...

Written by: J Hooligan

#fiction #reality #fictionvsreality #offended #audiences #politicallycorrect #blog #movieblog #film #filmblog #filmlife #producer #producers #art #artwork 

Monday, February 11, 2019

RANT: The Indie Bullshit Game

This is something that's weighed heavily on my mind for some time now.  I'm an indie filmmaker.  I've worked as an indie filmmaker since I got into film back in 2013.  I went the film school route, graduated with honors as the Valedictorian, and continued my training down in L.A.  I eventually decided to start my own production company with my business partner, Hooligan V, in 2016 in the Bay Area where there wasn't (and still isn't) many production companies.  It's an area not over-saturated like Hollywood but has enough creatives in it to make prosperous if everyone actually pulled together and treated film as a business.  Through the years, we've helped on many productions - mostly shorts but some features as well, corporate videos, music videos, commercials, etc etc... and to be honest, I'm really tired of the Bullshit game so many indies in this industry want to play.

Of course this doesn't apply to everyone, and we've worked with some phenomenal people along the way, but there is a stigma perpetuated by film students, indie filmmakers, and freelancers outside of L.A. that seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I've lost count of how many filmmakers we've come across that felt they are God's gift to the film world with their short film idea they wrote, a story that's going to "change the industry" or "break the mold" somehow.  Although it's great to have that much faith into your project, that should never... NEVER prevent you from continuing to grow and hone your skills as a filmmaker.  The moment you think you know it all, you're wrong.

My team and I have made a habit of cycling growth with each an every project we work on.  That's not to say we're the best out there - far from it - but we constantly evaluate and acknowledge where we're lacking and plan to fix it the next time around or try something different.  Since film school, indie filmmakers seem to have forgotten this huge factor and remain with their heads in the clouds they've smoked for themselves.

To be fair, I gripe a lot about the lack of business acumen of indie filmmakers mainly because of the huge lack of it that I found in myself.  It's as if the artist in us clings to anything that will make our lives easier in the process of doing what we love without taking away from the art itself.  The problem is that film is one of the most complex mediums that requires both artistic design and business structure to create success.  You need a great story, great storytellers, great designers, great marketers, great teams, etc, just to get noticed as something that might be just good to audiences.  Too many indies are trying to take on too many roles by themselves, often by just one or two people.  I'm not going to lie, but we literally caught ourselves doing that recently.

This Bullshit Game is strong in the indie world, and from one creator to another, I say we need to stop getting in our own ways and start building together.  The idea that people are "selling out" because indies take on deals with larger studios needs to die already - they're getting more funding and recognition unlike you and I.  We have to stop looking for the easy ways out and look for the ones that will help us continue creating as artists - yes, that means finding those that can run businesses.  Crowdfunding will only get us so far as independents and should be one avenue to create clout towards larger fish.  I digress.  We don't need to "fake it" anymore and focus on what matters most.  Let's kick the shit out of this game and get to doing what we love.

Written by: J Hooligan

#indie #indies #indiefilms #independent #independentfilms #filmmaker #filmschool #business #filmindustry #bullshit #game #filmbusiness #rant #crowdfunding #growth #growing #film

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Pet Sematary 2nd Trailer

I just watched the latest trailer for the remake of Stephen King's Pet Sematary. It's creepy appeal surreal as a young actress makes her way back home, carrying an animal mask, after being brought back to life. I'm looking forward to seeing this in theaters!

The movie is coming to theaters April 5th. Check out the trailer on Bloody Disgusting.

~ Hooligan V

#petsematary #petsemataremake #horrorremake #horror #horrormovie #stephenking #horrornovel #trailer #bloodydisgusting #hooliganv #filmjammer