Three Things You Need When Filming on Location

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Over the years, I’ve produced and directed programming on location in more than 50 countries around the world.  For everyone that spends lots of time on a film or video set – particularly in far away places – there are certain things you just don’t leave behind.  Novices could do well to learn what more experienced filmmakers consider “must have” items during a shoot.  For me?  The top 3 would probably be my laptop (I’m always writing), a raincoat, and a great bag.  In fact, I’m a little obsessive about bags and have way more than I should.  But on location, a bag is my office, so I’m not afraid to spend money for one that does what I need. So I asked some other experienced professionals what were the top 3 absolutely “must have” items they take to every location.  Here’s a few answers:

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Creatives: Should You Discuss Your Project Before It’s Finished?

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I’m fortunate to be friends with a lot of highly creative writers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers. But a significant number never realize their full potential, and in fact, never actually finish many projects. It baffled me for awhile, but then after years of observing them, I discovered the problem:

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The Insanity of God – A Fathom Event

Coming to Theaters Near You...

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On August 30th, Fathom Events is showing our feature documentary “The Insanity of God” nationwide in theaters across America for one night only. How we got to this point might be a lesson in how the film business has changed and an encouragement to beginning independent filmmakers. It started as a

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How to Select a Great Director of Photography

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I see a great number of independent movies, reality pilots, short films, and other video work from people around the world. But in the vast majority of cases, there’s one overwhelming shortcoming with the project: It just doesn’t look very good. The truth is – even in the era of inexpensive high definition and 4K cameras – the Director of Photography matters more than the equipment. If you’re a producer, director, or investor, you need to make sure the person behind the camera knows what he or she is doing. So in the interest of a more visually compelling world, here’s a handful of criteria I use to find the right DP or camera operator for my projects:

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3 Rookie Mistakes Media Production Companies Make

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People have peculiar ideas about launching start ups. Before the Internet, I knew an inexperienced producer who was convinced that to be taken seriously, he had to deliver everything important (scripts, contracts, etc) via Federal Express. It didn’t take long to run up a $250,000 Fed-Ex bill and he eventually declared bankruptcy. Others have equally unproductive ideas about launching projects. So if you’re an investor in a media production company, or a major donor in a nonprofit media effort, here’s 3 of the biggest red flags you should be looking for:

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Why You Should Tell Your Story With Short Videos

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There’s a great deal of buzz about short videos these days, and there are good reasons. More video content is uploaded in 30 days than all three major U.S. T.V. networks combined have created in 30 years. So today, if your church, ministry, or nonprofit isn’t producing short videos regularly, then you’re missing an enormous opportunity to share you story with a growing audience. Here’s some key reasons why you should consider picking up a camera:

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5 Professional Tips for Filming with Drones

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Camera drones are all the rage, and we’re seeing them everywhere – like the snow ski run above.  But a great number of young filmmakers are using them without any experience whatsoever.  Not only does that end up with bad results, but with a drone, you can end up in jail!  So I asked John Montana, from No Title Production Films to give us a few tips on using drones.  Here’s what John suggested:

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The Secrets to Producing Successful Media Projects Overseas

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Shooting internationally can be an incredible experience. Over the years, our team at Cooke Pictures has produced programming in more than 60 countries around the world, and we’ve only experienced a handful of bad incidents. That’s not to say things haven’t been difficult – like when we did an interview with a Brazilian drug dealer while his gang held a gun on our cameraman, or when my crew was arrested at the airport in Lagos, Nigeria, or when we got caught up in a military coup. There’s been more, but you get the picture. During it all, we’ve learned a few things about how to keep those incidents to a minimum, so the next time you produce an overseas project, maybe this list will help:

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