Birthing RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

When you watch a film that you absolutely fall in love with five minutes in, and you know it’s going to change the way you appreciate “movies” from then on out, when you sense in your gut that “movies” will become “cinema”, and you are destined to become a “cinephile” and to sacrifice a typical existence for one that is constantly seeking the brass ring of cultural immortality through cinema… you probably, at some point, ask yourself — many times over and over — how did those guys create that piece of entertainment?

For us, it was RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

Indiana Jones and his swashbuckling tale of derring-do exploded upon the cultural landscape in the summer of 1981 and irrevocably changed everyone’s expectations and appreciations for the action-adventure film. It gave George Lucas his second extra-lucrative franchise… and gave us the man in the hat with the whip.

raidersofthelostarkThe thing is, we are by no means unique in regards to our love and appreciation for this movie. RAIDERS’  impact can’t be overstated, and not just with us.

Continue reading Birthing RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

Large-Format Cameras and Lenses

The other day my brother Alex and I were talking about large-format cinema cameras and what makes that acquisition format special, considering that the Oscar-winning film THE REVENANT used the Alexa 65, and just prior to that DP Robert Elswitt, ASC photographed the underwater vault sequence in MISSON: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION with the same camera. He needed the highest resolution and frame size for the extensive CG work required to pull off that amazing, high-tension moment.

Large-format cinema, primarily 70mm films from the late 50s through late 60s have always fascinated me, starting with LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

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Premiere of ARCHITECTS OF CRIME at LA Shorts Film Fest 2016

On Saturday, September 3, 2016, our film ARCHITECTS OF CRIME premiered at the LA Shorts Fest… one of the Academy Award-qualifying film festivals.

We had a blast unveiling our film for the audience at LA Shorts Film Fest, and to our fabulous cast and crew who were in attendance.

Daniel L. Abrams, Hilliard Guess, Indra Bartona, William Derrick, Ko Massiah, Christopher Derrick, Peter Lucas.... filmmakers, producers, cast of ARCHITECTS OF CRIME, LA Shorts Fest - LA Live, Regal Cinemas
Daniel L. Abrams, Hilliard Guess, Indra Bartona, William Derrick, Ko Massiah, Christopher Derrick, Peter Lucas…. filmmakers, producers, cast of ARCHITECTS OF CRIME, LA Shorts Fest – LA Live, Regal Cinemas

 

Hillard Guess, William Derrick, Luther Mace, Christopher Derrick - ARCHITECTS OF CRIME premiere, LA Shorts Film Fest - LA Live, Regal Cinemas
Hillard Guess, William Derrick, Luther Mace, Christopher Derrick – ARCHITECTS OF CRIME premiere, LA Shorts Film Fest – LA Live, Regal Cinemas

 

Ana Zimhart and William Derrick at LA Shorts Fest, LA Live - Regal Cinemas
Ana Zimhart and William Derrick at LA Shorts Fest, LA Live – Regal Cinemas
Peter Lucas, William Derrick - ARCHITECTS OF CRIME premiere at LA Shorts Film Fest, LA Live - Regal Cinemas
Peter Lucas, William Derrick – ARCHITECTS OF CRIME premiere at LA Shorts Film Fest, LA Live – Regal Cinemas
Christopher Derrick, Hilliard Guess, Mario Perry, Indra Bartona - ARCHITECTS OF CRIME premiere at LA Shorts Film Fes - LA Live, Regal Cinemas
Christopher Derrick, Hilliard Guess, Mario Perry, Indra Bartona – ARCHITECTS OF CRIME premiere at LA Shorts Film Fes – LA Live, Regal Cinemas
Ana Montgomery Photo LA Shorts Fest AM28175
Filmmakers, producers, cast, and crew for Architects of Crime premiere, LA Shorts Fest, LA Live – Regal Cinemas.
Ana Montgomery Photo LA Shorts Fest AM28135
William Derrick, Marcos Efron, Bobo at ARCHITECTS OF CRIME premiere, LA Shorts Film Fest – LA Live, Regal Cinemas

 

Waiting for the film to play on the big screen - William Derrick, Hilliard Guess, Christopher Derrick
Waiting for the film to play on the big screen – William Derrick, Hilliard Guess, Christopher Derrick

 

Main title card for ARCHITECTS OF CRIME premiere at LA Shorts Film Fest - LA Live, Regal Cinemas
Main title card for ARCHITECTS OF CRIME premiere at LA Shorts Film Fest – LA Live, Regal Cinemas

Continue reading Premiere of ARCHITECTS OF CRIME at LA Shorts Film Fest 2016

First Festival Selection for Architects of Crime

,Proud to announce that our science fiction film noir short film Architects of Crime is an official selection of the 2016 Action On Film International Film Festival.

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The Festival Game

We’ve had films in festivals before (F*ck You, Pay Me! screened at the  Hollywood Black Film Festival, Amsterdam in the Picture, and the Seattle Science Fictions Shorts Film Festival, to name a few). We even took home top prize. Which is an accomplishment, to say the least. It’s a tremendous honor to have your film screen on the festival circuit. It’s were you get a different type of exposure; the audiences are more inclined to appreciate alternative storytelling styles and endings.

One of the things that sort of sucks about making indie films and shorts (and particularly writing screenplays) is the target audience isn’t the actual viewing audience. It’s a small collection of people who then make a decision if a wider audience is going to see your film. And the big reason you seek the “I like this” decision for the Hollywood so-called taste maker ranks is that marketing dollars will be spent on your film if they get excited about your work.

Oone doesn’t need Hollywood’s permission or sanction to get your film seen by audiences, not with YouTube and Vimeo and all the other streaming platforms available. However, where Hollywood has the market cornered is marketing and advertising. It’s as if  Hollywood film distributors are actually niche ad agencies *it’s a wonder that a company like Publicis doesn’t snap up a film studio with its intricate distribution machine).

You have to do a great deal of self-promotion to raise awareness of your film just using social media. Selection and subsequent screening in a film festival adds to the audience awareness critical mass that you’re after.

We’re so excited!

ARCHITECTS OF CRIME – Behind the Scenes

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DoP Shane Daly and his team get ready for the next take; Peter Lucas, Rhona Bennett, , , Shane Daly (L to R)
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20 stories above the streets of Los Angeles a crime is about to take place… the rooftop video village; Co-writers/co-directors Chris & Will Derrick review the framing, while producers Hilliard Guess and Indra Bartona observe. DoP Shane Daly and his team finalize the camera set-up.
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Ana Zimhart kicks the shit out of David DeSantos during a take. DoP Shane Daly captures the action.
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Ana Zimhart reveals the blackmail footage as David DeSantos looks on as his fate is sealed.
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Ana Zimhart precariously walks the balance beam.
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Co-writer/co-director Will Derrick gives a last minute adjustment to Rhona Bennett and Peter Lucas
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The Derrick Brothers and DoP Shane Daly work out the scene breakdowns and framing options.
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A take in progress; Will & Chris Derrick watch Rhona Bennett and Peter Lucas on the monitor; DoP Shane Daly captures the take.
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Co-writer/co-director Chris Derrick reviews the framing of Rhona Bennett’s close up. DoP Shane Daly lines up the shot.
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Ana Zimhart prepares to flip off the water tower.
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DoP Shane Daly, high up on the building, readies his camera team to capture Ana Zimhart (climbing down the ladder) scale wall — in the one and only take.

These are a few more of the behind the scene photos for ARCHITECTS OF CRIME. MovieMaker magazine was gracious enough to hi-lite our work on its Instagram feed.

Looking at these now, several months later, the project looks ambitious, but every film project one directs can be considered ambitious because of the number of people you have to persuade to be on your same page. This means no one is above the film; that’s why egos must, under no uncertain terms, be checked at the door. The greater (or shall I more fragile) the ego at the department head level or above, the more trying directing a film can be. Everyone’s name goes on the film, and why does that no satisfy one’s ego? Why does that fail to give one satisfaction, because if it did then the yelling, screaming, and sabotaging wouldn’t happen.

We are forever thankful and grateful to our collective team who helped make this happen.

 

 

 

 

 

MAD MAX FURY ROAD Audio Supercut

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD… the action film throwback that ratchets the genre forward. So much has been said about the extensive use of center-framing and how that helped keep the action easily understood by the editor and the viewer, so this isn’t about that. It’s about the wonderous sound design of the film… the soundscape that keeps you enveloped in the fever dream George Miller created.

Zackery Ramos-Taylor put together this awesome supercut of the MAD MAX: FURY sound effects.

Continue reading MAD MAX FURY ROAD Audio Supercut

Star Wars: Rogue One Trailer

So LucasFilm drops this today!

The official trailer for ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story. The pluses is that we’re seeing the Star Wars universe with NO hint of the Skywalker Clan as main characters in the story… which after 7 films that story element has worn extremely thin (and we have two more films to go).

The minuses… it’s a story about the Death Star, which makes the fourth film to deal with a similar type of planetary menacing weapon. And since this is obviously about the mission that leads into getting the stolen data tapes into Princess Leia’s hands, so she can upload them into R2-D2 to kick off STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE.

Another plus! Forest Whitaker. Not since LAST KING OF SCOTLAND have I been more excited to see him in a film. He adds a quality to his universe that we haven’t seen… sure, Samuel L. Jackson was in the misbegotten prequels, but he doesn’t fit into this kind of universe. Whitaker elevates every scene he’s in, and when he’s not the star he brings nuance and energy and gravitas like only a rare few can do.

Another minus… the visual “lens”; just once would I like to see a Star Wars film executed with the directorial panache of an “artiste”; yeah, that sounds pretentious as fuck, but you know what I’m getting at here. Guys like the late, great Tony Scott or Danny Boyle or Steven Soderbergh never get a shot at directing a franchise film because they parameters of the franchise are too constricting to their director’s voice, and the producers and studio have the fiduciary obligation to cherish the franchise, to deliver these exact replicas of what made the franchise a franchise in the first place. But if these guys (or girls) were given the reins, it would be like the best fan fiction imaginable…

So Christmas this year… I guess all the other movie studios are going to concede December and April to Disney for the next 5 years (consider the Star Wars Film and the Marvel films). It’s probably a good time to buy Disney stock.

Controlling the Aspect Ratio

The bulk of this article comes from Benjamin B’s article in The ASC magazine, entitled THE ELASTIC FRAME, any remarks or additions have been marked in blue.

In our current age of digital projection, the projection aspect ratio is subject to change at the will of the filmmaker, giving the filmmaker unprecedented control of how he or she wants to present their work on what canvas.

The aspect ratio of a film the “canvas” in which we filmmakers compose our images.

Let’s take a look at the options and their history.

1. Film-Projector Gates
2. Digital Projection
3. Biutiful (2010)
4. Anamorphic is not 2.40
5. Mommy (2014)
6. The Elastic Frame
7. Tradition and Innovation

Addendum:
11 35mm and 70mm Aspect Ratios

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1. Film-Projector Gates

In the days of film projection, aspect ratios were defined by pieces of metal. In film cameras the gate is the window that lets light through to the negative. Gates have a slot for sliding hard mattes, thin pieces of metal that narrow the window to a desired aspect ratio. (Hard mattes were more frequent in European cinema than Hollywood, where producers demanded open gates to have the option to do minor reframing). Many (but not all) film prints were also exposed with metal mattes that blocked light, putting black around the intended image frame.

Film projectors were outfitted with metal gates that matched the aspect ratio of the film, though these gates were often slightly bigger than the target aspect ratio; for example, some theaters used 1.66 gates for 1.85 films so as to be sure to not impinge on the image.

In traditional 35mm, aspect ratios could be changed by optical printing, but it was a complicated process. Note also that prints of anamorphic films had squeezed images, and required changing the projector lens as well as the gate so as to unsqueeze the image optically during the screening.

Continue reading Controlling the Aspect Ratio

Alternate History on Amazon Prime

There are very few science fiction classics that broach a subject that could have seriously affected the real world like Philip K Dick‘s MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE. Its premise – The Axis Powers won World War II and conquered the planet (we assume they have, since they occupied the US).

Man in the High Castle
Man in the High Castle

Continue reading Alternate History on Amazon Prime

The official site of the Derrick Brothers