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