3 Takeaways from this year’s 168 Film Festival


Image via Wikipedia

Or, why I haven’t posted lately 🙂

I may have said some of this before, either here or elsewhere, however, put simply, I’ve been busy. Or, I haven’t gotten enough computer time, as it’s always a negotiation here, or maybe, it always has been, however, I never realized it before.

As I hope you know by now, Black Friday screened appropriately, on Friday, March 26th, 2010 as part of The 168 Film Festival, which is the culmination of what started out as Untitled 168 Project Team #13 2010 edition. It was a long and winding road, with many forks and spoons, wherein I came away with three things that may effect my future participation.

  • You can’t always fix it in post
  • Working in a “Christian” environment is no different than working anywhere else, and finally
  • The 168 Project is a year round ministry

Well, at least for me. I discovered that one filmmaker that made the top 20 this year raised $31K, or thirty one thousand dollars for the right handed people. I didn’t even have a tenth of that going in, and not to make this a plea for money, however, I do have some expenses that have yet to be met, and by now you know where the donate button is 🙂 In any case, I felt I did quite well in a year that I originally decided not to participate.

I’m not going to make that mistake again. I’m a filmmaker, therefore, I should be making films. I’ve got this nice Flip Mini that I won from the fine folks at Gate6 Inc, simply for tweeting. Most of you know that I tweet constantly, so that should come as no surprise. YouTube will now be my new best friend. I’m not really going to be posting anything spectacular, as those of you that may have already seen Makin’ Coffee or Cats!!! will attest. I’m going to start a new Word Press blog, that will be setup shortly, and I’ll move all 168 related activities over there. This site will return to its original intent, which is to promote Watchmaker, a film about Intelligent Design, and the surrounding controversy.

I will hopefully continue to post with more frequency on the above two subjects, as it seems that everyone thinks that blogging everyday is a good idea. I’m not so sure on that, as I don’t actually have that much to say, most of the time. In addition, I’ll continue to post elsewhere, on a variety of topics that interest me. I’ve even received a small paying gig for one of those. Small meaning, not my usual article rate, and not my usual frequency of writing said articles, meaning not enough to support me, my family or this ministry.

That’s why I need you. Thank you in advance for your support, both financially and spiritually. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride.

I’ll come up with an appropriate catch phrase later. Leave a comment, and let me know that I’m crazy 🙂

Update: This may be a response to this; simply so I don’t have to type all of the above twice 🙂 There will also be a site redesign in my future. And yours. Stay tuned.


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Maybe Selecting Team #13 Wasn’t Such a Good Idea

Ask any mathematician, and he’ll tell you there is no true randomness in the Universe. You can also ask a chaotician, but you might get a different response, as is the nature of chaos. A statistician will probably tell you that all probabilities are 50%. Either something will happen, or it won’t. In any case, I actually chose to be Team #13 in this year’s edition of The 168 Project.

Why would I do such a thing? And how’d I get to choose? Usually, numbers are assigned in the order entries are confirmed. However, as you know, I came into this process a touch late this year, as originally, I was going to take a year off, and maybe simply act. As in, “I’m not an actor, I just play one on TV…” Of course, no one has seen those performances, as they predate YouTube. They aren’t even in the IMDb.

Therefore, there were already 12 teams signed up when I did, thinking I’d get #13 anyway. Moments later, I receive an email back stating that I was team #14. Thinking quickly, I called the 168 Office, and asked why I didn’t get #13, and Karen was very accommodating, and switched the two numbers, as she hadn’t sent out the other confirmation yet. Thinking back, this may have been when all the trouble started.

I’ve never been triskaidekaphobic, however, I’ve had bad luck ever since. I can’t seem to get any traction on the fundraising (button in upper right), the actress that got me involved in the first place is no longer available, and I’ve been evicted from my apartment, just to name a few of the highlights, or lowlights in this case, of the last few months. I’m pretty sure that part of the whole “Hearing God” thing is to listen. I’ve been faithful, and before you go there, this isn’t a “Why Me?” thing. I firmly believe He wants me to make a 168 film this year, simply because all the elements are coming together, although, much slower than in years previous, and I’ll probably update my crew needs later in another post.

I also believe that it may be time to move out of this growing ever smaller apartment, and God may be telling me to do that, too. So, what brought on this latest rant? After all, I thought the planets, and even the full moon, were aligning this year so that I may have the complete and perfect 168 experience that I’ve always wanted. My kids get the production week off from school, therefore, the car, and even my family is available to perform in my film, if necessary. And that’s the problem. The kids don’t want to, and will probably get together with their friends during that week, and furthermore, there are movies coming out that normally we’d see together, however, I’ll be making a film. Oh, sure, my wife will star, however, she may also be otherwise occupied with taking my alleged kids to the previous aforementioned films.

So, what should we conclude? If you, my almost 4000 followers on Twitter can afford to donate a dollar each, that would be cool. If you think I’m crazy, which is quite likely, let me know. What I can tell you is this: My StarMeter is up 335% this week. But remember, or maybe I should. It’s not about me.

Adjust your expectations accordingly.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

Please, Retweet.

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$13 from 13 people for Team #13 on December 13th

And, in keeping with the theme of 13, I may have 13 reasons for you to give. Don’t know if I can come up with those, but here’s the math; I’m Team #13 for this year’s 168 Project competition, and coincidentally, 13×13 is 169. My entry fee is $168, therefore, if you meet my needs, I’ll payoff the entry fee, and have a dollar left over, with which to make the film.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Mike, how can you make a movie for a dollar?” Well, I probably can’t, however, I do receive in kind donations from friends and others that I’ve worked with in the past, and, you are free to give more, if you so desire. I won’t stop you. Anyone that gives will of course receive an IMDb credit, as well. It may be a ‘Special Thanks’, and your name may appear on the big screen in front of about 1500 people that will view the finished film.

And since I’m feeling creative, here are the 13 reasons you should give $13 (or more):

  1. Your name on the big screen, as mentioned before
  2. It would be a good Christmas present
  3. Put a lot of out of work actors to work
  4. As well as a lot of crew
  5. And me, the filmmaker 🙂
  6. Although, it’s not about me
  7. Contribute to a spiritually uplifting experience
  8. Also to something that will probably eventually appear on YouTube
  9. Or Vimeo
  10. What you help me create can’t possibly be worse than this.
  11. You still have money left over in this year’s budget
  12. Stimulate the economy, and finally….

  13. You’re not triskaidekaphobic.

If you don’t know what that last word means, look it up 🙂 Now, if you read this, and it’s not the 13th, don’t let that stop you from giving, and as I’ve stated previously, there’s nothing stopping you from giving more, I’d just like to meet this particular goal by the end of the year. Thanks!!

Oh, and as always, please retweet.

And if you don’t know what that means by now, you’re probably not following me on Twitter.


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A Scary Proposition…

As opposed to a scary preposition like, of. Because it’s not something that you can do to a cloud, which is how I learned prepositions in Grammar School. Or, elementary school, depending on where you grew up. Where I grew up, we called it Colfax Elementary, which in turn should tell you where I grew up.

Having digressed from the original point of this post, I submit to you the following: If I show my previous two 168 Project films here, and by extension elsewhere, free, will you in turn support my efforts to make what I’m currently calling 168 Project 2010 Edition??? You know where the donation button is, and furthermore, you should at this point, know who I am. If you don’t, then  you’re probably here for the first time. Which is ok, however, I need an indication that posting two short films based on Bible verses is:

  1. A good idea.
  2. Something you would pray about, and finally
  3. Something you would support.

I could easily put these up on iTunes, and charge 69 cents each, however, most probably wouldn’t bother to even seek them out. Did I mention that this year’s theme is, ”Hearing God?“ Probably not. What is God telling me to do? If you’ve read the previous entry, you know that I wasn’t going to make a 168 film this year, however, that plan changed pretty quickly….

So, leave a comment, and let me know what you’d like to do. And yes, I’m talking to you, my almost 3300 followers on Twitter 🙂

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

Please Retweet.


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A Horse Designed by a Committee


Cover of The Big Picture

You’ll look for that quote somewhere, and it’s either a camel or a giraffe, depending on where you find it. The theory being that if several people got together in an attempt to design one thing, by the time you’re finished, you’ll have an entirely different thing.

It’s very much the same with a movie. Writing a film starts out as a one man operation for the most part, unless you have a writing partner. Some writing partnerships work, and work really well. Some don’t, but that’s not what this is about.

After the script, or screenplay, is finished, that’s when the fun or the madness begins, because it’s never really finished, is it? 🙂 Unless you’re going to direct, produce, and exec produce as well, you’re going to have to show your “completed” work to others for their approval, or more likely, disapproval. Anyone who’s seen The Big Picture knows what I’m talking about, however, as that movie only really appealed to people within the Entertainment Industry, you probably haven’t, so, I’ll elaborate, reminding you that whenever I speak of the industry, I refer to, the business.

So, we’ll bypass the part of the process involving your agent telling you that your script sucks, and go directly to the part where you’ve convinced him otherwise, and he’s shopped it around, and actually done his job, and made a sale. Usually to a producer, hopefully that has a contract with a major studio to either make or distribute (preferably both) your movie.

But suddenly, it’s not “your” movie anymore. It’s theirs. They bought it, and for whatever reason, they want to make changes. Now of course, my thinking here is, if they wanted to make changes, why’d they buy it in the first place? Well, the quick answer is, they liked the concept, but not your execution. Translated: They haven’t seen a movie like it in the last six months, so, they think it’s original. The bonus here is, they even pay you to do it, since they are contractually obligated to do so, if and only if your agent has done his job properly.

Unbeknownst to you, or perhaps, knownst to you depending again on your contract, said producer has started the process of attaching talent. And quite possibly a director as well, and it’s at this point, that your movie is truly no longer your movie, as it’s now, the director’s. And he may want to make even more changes. To which you’ll acede, simply because well, you want to get your written by credit. Notice how we haven’t even shot the thing yet. It’s been said somewhere else that there are three different versions of a film, the one you write, the one you shoot, and the one you edit. There’s also the one the audience sees, which makes four, actually. As the writer, I really only have a modicum of control over the first one. Others that are making quite possibly more money than myself, have control over the rest.

It is why in my necessary finite thinking of, write the movie, find the money, make the movie, that I sometimes don’t get this part of the business. Yes, I do understand that the bottom line is and always will be what’s important, however, as William Goldman once wrote, Nobody Knows Anything.

What does all this have to do with Watchmaker? We have an A list producer, and A list director, however, no A list talent currently attached. And, we wish to make this on for what is a low budget to the Hollywood types, $5 Million US. Oh, and as previously mentioned, we have Universal interested, as well as another production company willing to put up their pension fund, if we can get the loan guaranteed. We’re dangerously close, people.

When I started this blog post oh, what, an hour ago, I was going to go in an entirely different direction, and yet, I still ended up at my basic conclusion, which is simply this: This movie will be made, despite its “controversial” topic. It’s only a matter of when. My only fear is that we may end up with an entirely different film than what we started with.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach. Please Retweet.


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The 168 Project… Version 2.0.1


Image via Wikipedia59 directors + 168 hours of no sleep + 1 bible verse + a crew and cast = A film ready for the 168 Film Festival in Los Angeles.

I am a filmmaker. Or at least, that’s what I put on my resume. And I am at it again with 168.

But I can’t do it without you.

So, what do I need?

  • $5000.00 – in any way that I can get it, pennies, $2 bills or $100 bills
  • An HD Camera – because a movie isn’t a movie without a way to film it
  • Prayer – especially since the deadline is February 20th
  • You – I need your commitment to participate on my team. For most of you, that will mean being available during the production week, which starts @ 2pm on February 20th
  • For those of you who don’t know what Project168 is, please check out The 168 Project Site.

    <blockqoute>I humbly beg your assistance through modest donations to help me reach my monetary goal. With enough support of $5.00, $10.00 or $25.00 here and there, I feel I can make a truly Christian short film that will inspire and entertain, as well as be funny. All I am asking is for you to trade that Starbuck Latte for a regular cup of coffee, and send me the difference. Or keep your Latte and just send me money anyway! In return you will receive a credit in a finished Hollywood film and, if you don’t have one already, then that’s something to tell all your friends about.

    Thank you in advance for any help that you can give.


    The 168 Project… Version 2.0

    That’s right, I’m doing it again. Taking the lessons I learned from the last time, and hopefully applying and improving on them this time. I’m Team #32 this year, which should net me a shot at a verse that I’ll wholly comprehend out of the box.

    I am adding an additional level of make believe stress, as I’ve decided to do the Hitchcock thing, and put myself in my film. Pray for me 🙂