Posted by: michellemuldoon | August 15, 2016

On A Roll

Between Festival acceptances, nominations, and now screenplay results, the last few weeks have been nothing short of mind-blowing. Truthfully, Chaos Management truly started it’s run this year at NOVA Film Fest and it’s been non-stop since then. When you add in distribution for A Rendezvous with ShortsTV in  the US, I’m not sure if my head is going to explode or not.

When I have a run of success, it’s either been for a film or a screenplay but never for both at the same time. Not this summer. Both Chaos Management and my screenplay Birthday Blues are riding highs.

How good has it been over these last couple of weeks? Let me tell you…

BIRTHDAY BLUES

Las Vegas International Screenplay Competition

This is the first year for the Las Vegas International Screenwriting Competition, an event that prides itself on a jury that is made up of award-winning writers who read blind; meaning the scripts were submitted without any discerning marks other than the title.

Birthday Blues was first named Category Winner for Mystery Screenplays and then named to the Top Five list for all screenplays submitted. I couldn’t be prouder.

LVISC 2016

Action on Film International Film Festival

Birthday Blues has been named as an Official Selection Screenplay to the Action on Film Int’l Film Festival. While the script is not eligible for competition due to my volunteer status with the Festival, Official Selection is a stamp of approval that helps me introduce the script to other professionals at the Festival. If I want to talk to distributors or producers about the script while at AOF, it’s easier to do so with an official selection status. I’m excited that the Festival has shown the kind confidence in the screenplay that I have in it.

AOF 2016 Screenplay

 

CHAOS MANAGEMENT

MartialCon

Amazing news from MartialCon; a nomination for Best Director. The Festival, Cosplay and Trick Event is the first of its kind. The films will be played through out the convention floor at film kiosks. It’s a great way to receive multiple screenings in order to maximize audience exposure. The Event takes place August 19-21 at the Long Beach Convention Center. If you’re in the L.A. area, put it on your “must do” calendar.

I’m so honoured to receive a nomination for Chaos Management!

Austin Revolution Film Festival

Great news for Team Chaos. The Austin Revolution Film Festival has honoured our film with a nomination for Best Foreign Short Film. The Festival is in its fifth year and has is committed to indie film and filmmakers. I am so impressed with the level of communication I’ve received from the Festival. If you’re in Austin from September 20-24, 2016, feel free to check out our screening.

Covellite International Film Festival

The Festival takes place from September 15-18, 2016 in Butte, Montana. Butte has a fascinating history and is one of the largest national historic sites in the United States. It seems fitting that a place with a fascinating story to tell is hosting people who love to tell them.

Covellite Laurels_whiteBG

Valley Film Festival

Valley Film Festival has been around since 2001.  It’s the first Film Festival ever situated in the San Fernando Valley. This is another gem of a Festival that is committed to the education, production and distribution of film. If you’re in the North Hollywood area from September 28 -October 2, I hope you’ll pop in and check out the screenings.

TheValleyFilmFestival-2016

 

 

Film can feel like a constant struggle to find ways to create content and then to have that content viewed and respected. This has been one of those few weeks that I thought could only happen in my dreams. I could get used to this kind of a run. I hope it’s a prelude for more to come.

Posted by: michellemuldoon | August 11, 2016

Things Female Filmmakers Share

Talking

At the start of my film journey I found it hard to get on set. I remember volunteering for a short film made by a first time filmmaker, and I was asked for a resume. I thought it was overkill for a P.A. job until I realized that a first time filmmaker doesn’t have the hidden network that provides names of people to use, people to avoid, and advice on how to navigate the dicey issues of onset conduct.

I’m now a part of other filmmakers’ networks and I have one of my own. Most of the filmmakers in my local network are women, which I’m sure is not a surprise considering my commitment to gender equity and my involvement with Women in Film and Television Vancouver.  However, it might surprise people to hear I generally have a gender balanced set. This blog post is going to follow suit.

What I’ve noticed in the last few years is that whether it’s from a man or a woman, female filmmakers are putting up with less and less bad behaviour. And what should be frightening for many is, we’re telling each other about our experiences.

I can’t speak for every filmmaker’s network, but I can tell you what the conversations have been in mine:

  • If you’re one of those women who supports other women, we definitely sing your praises.
  • If you’re one of those men who treats everyone professionally, regardless of gender identity, then we definitely share your name. You’re a keeper.
  • If you show up on time, we don’t talk about you because we expect that’s part of being professional, but if you’re late or a no show, we talk. Oh yeah, we talk.
  • If you’re one of those women who hates to see another woman get ahead, we know who you are. You can’t hide forever.
  • If you’re one of those men who defers to the next highest ranking male instead of the woman director or producer then be warned, we talk a lot about you.
  • If you’re one of those men who would choose a man of inferior skills and resume over a woman (yes, this happens) then we most definitely warn each other about you.
  • If you get drunk and hit on people at the wrap party, be warned, we notice.
  • If you’re the cast or crew member who treats people on set poorly or with little regard for manners, you’re on the naughty list and we warn each other about you. The filmmakers in my network don’t want an above the line position filled by someone who treats below the line poorly.
  • If you make sexist jokes or untoward advances on set, we are warning everyone about you. And no, you can’t laugh it off as your sense of humour or accuse people of being uptight. It’s wrong. You’re wrong. Learn from it.
  • If you love your cell phone or shmoozing with people on set more than you love getting the project done on time, then guess what, we don’t want you and we don’t want our friends to hire you. The project should always be the priority regardless of the size of, or lack of, cheque that comes with it.
  • If you believe in respectful collaboration, we love you, and we share your name all the time.

These are all topics of conversation I’ve had in the last year in my network. Please note, none of my female network blanket hires women. What we all want are people we can work with. However, if men continue to hire men by default, then guess what so will we, and I don’t think drawing gender battle lines is in the best interests of the industry. Hire us, and we’ll hire you and everyone works. It really is that simple.

Ultimately, what filmmakers want is a collaborative environment where the project is the most important thing; not ego, not insecurity, not status and not gender. Gender disparity is a looming shadow. Breaking the glass ceiling is going to take a united effort.

Ultimately, I like to remember the immortal twitter words of Will Wheaton… Don’t be a dick. Everyone will know who you are sooner than later… because we talk… Oh, yeah, we talk.

Collaboration

Posted by: michellemuldoon | July 23, 2016

The Go West Fest Awards

The Go West Fest has announced its awards, and I’m proud to say that Chaos Management was named Runner-Up for Best Action Short Film.

This is amazing news because Chaos Management is a little bit action, and a little bit dark humour. It tends to defy one genre definition, so for someone to see it, and appreciate it’s Action Genre roots to the point of awarding it recognition is beyond fantastic.

Thank you to everyone at The Go West Fest.

Go West Laurel_Page_1

Posted by: michellemuldoon | July 22, 2016

The MartialCon 2016

The MartialCon

You can catch  Chaos Management this August at the Long Beach Convention Centre at The MartialCon 2016.

This is the inaugural MartialCon and it’s a special feeling to know that our film will help kick off what I expect will be a standard bearer for martial arts, tricking, cosplay, film and entertainment events.

Films will be exhibited on screens all around the convention floor. It’s a unique way to maximize viewership and I love the idea.

I’ve been asked a few times if Chaos Management is a teaser for a feature script. I think it might have to be, especially if there are events like this that it could be a part of.

My thanks to everyone at The MartialCon for including our project in their first ever international film festival and event. It truly is an honour.

Posted by: michellemuldoon | July 1, 2016

Distribution for A Rendezvous

A Rendezvous Poster

I am proud and beyond excited to share that the paperwork is signed and the deliverables received so it’s official, distribution has been finalized for A Rendezvous with ShortsTV. Thank you to the folks at ASA Films Inc. for making this possible.

ShortsTV is a division of AMC Networks and can be found on DirectTV in the United States. The exposure is huge and it’s so much more than I could have hoped for. The more people that watch the incredible performances of  Bronwen Smith and Catherine Lough Haggquist, and hear the haunting beauty of our theme song by The Land of Deborah, the better. I’m so proud of the work they’ve done.

The principals behind ASA Films are Del and Theresa Weston and they are committed to elevating the independent filmmaker to a worthy place within the entertainment industry. They are the people responsible for Martialcon, The Action on Film International Film Festival, and the Las Vegas Car Stars Events. Keep an eye on these dynamos as another Film Festival is in the works from them.  I cannot thank the Westons enough for brokering this deal.

ASA Films

I must also thank everyone involved with A Rendezvous and in particular fellow producer John Prowse, stars Bronwen Smith and Catherine Lough Haggquist, Composer The Land of Deborah, Associate Producers Joan Macbeth, Pam Wells, Madeleine Wilson and Melva McLean, Director of Photography Thomas Billingsley, Compositor Mario Ferero, Sound Designer Brian Lyster, Colourist Van Cooper, DIT Marc Baker and Set Photographer Michelle Lamberson. Marc, Deborah and Michelle have been with me on every project and their constant support has been a huge part of my journey.

I need to single out Mauri Bernstein, our editor extraordinaire. I can’t tell you how many times she cut this film for me. Her perseverance was crucial to finishing it.

This is the first ever distribution deal for Paisley Media. I look forward to this being the start of the next chapter of the company’s story.

Posted by: michellemuldoon | May 31, 2016

Filmmaker on the Rise: Matt Sconce

Matt Sconce Altar

I first met Matthew (Matt) Sconce several years ago at the Action on Film International Film Festival. He was screening his first feature film, Stricken, and everyone was talking to the young man who came out of nowhere. I say “talking to” versus “talking about” because Matt is one of the most open, amiable filmmakers you will ever meet at a film festival. Since then, I’ve gotten to know him better and I think, no I know, that this is the year that everyone will be talking about Matt Sconce even if they aren’t at a film festival.  While every journey in film is unique, there’s something special in his.

Matt’s path to feature film success starts with American Idol. Yep, you heard me, American Idol. Matt and his wife entered a national American Idol music video contest sponsored by Ford back in 2004, and guess what, they won. The prize included a car, video camera, money, a trip to the finale, being in a music video with the finalists and a host of other items. It was fifteen minutes of fame that ignited a life time passion. With that camera Matt filmed his first short project and thus began his practical education in film.

Eleven short films and a host of awards later, Matt set his sights squarely on making a feature film. That goal was achieved with Stricken, and now there’s no turning back.

Matt is currently on the festival circuit with is third feature, a found footage film called Altar, and it’s receiving great reviews and already racking up a cabinet full of awards.

Altar Cast

Altar is the story of a brother and sister’s relationship bound by the story of seven former college students dropped into the middle of a terrifying adventure. When they become lost in the woods, they stumble across something so nightmarish that they end up in a fight for their lives against dark forces.

Aware that the relationships of the characters were key to selling the story, Matt had the cast drive the four and half hours to set together in order to forge tighter relationships. They would need them on the tough shoot. They hiked into the woods beyond cell phone service and had to contend with a a freak thunder storm, a bobcat trying to get into the tent to eat a small dog on set, being stalked by a mountain lion, and even being paced and shadowed by a bear.

The experiences of the cast and crew have only added to the production. Altar has received some great reviews so far. Found Footage Files, a respected horror podcast, has called Altar “The film to beat this year and the possible best film of the year.” At this year’s Northern Virginia Film and Music Festival, the film won the Best Ensemble Cast Award.

Altar Matt Set

As if making film isn’t keeping Matt busy enough, he’s also focused on a new theatre model he created called Movie Heroes. He’s developed a membership based system to increase attendance at the theatre he now owns in Oakhurst, CA. He wants to use Movie Heroes to create a new model for filmmaking. Altar is the first film to be produced by Movie Heroes Studios, and it’s a unique business model that’s worth keeping an eye on. I think the sky’s the limit for what Matt can accomplish with this, and he’s the perfect guy to do it.

Matt Sconce is taking Independent Film in a whole different direction. He’s not only making film, but he’s working on a system to vertically integrate the screening of his films, and possibly other films down the road.  He’s doing something out of the box that is going to have a ripple effect in the industry. Keep an eye on this guy. I know I am.

If you want to learn more about Movie Heroes, please check out the link HERE.

You can watch the Altar trailer HERE.

If you see Matthew (Matt) Sconce at a festival, make sure you go and “talk to” him, then turn around and be sure to “talk about” him. He’s one of the good ones, and when one of the good guys succeeds, we all succeed.

Altar Poster

 

Posted by: michellemuldoon | May 24, 2016

Dear Protagonist: I Don’t Need to Like You

Write Characters Relatable.

Dear Protagonist,

I like you, I really do. I like you because I’m living with you twenty-four seven. You hang out all day with me; follow me to work, take walks on the beach and and yes, we sleep together. (You don’t even have the decency to make the morning coffee every once in a while, but that’s another discussion.) Yet with a foible or two, and against better judgement, I still like you.

That whole “Save the Cat” moment? It’s a little over-rated. Yes, it helps if the audience sees something in you they like but it isn’t necessary. I mean, let’s face it, trying to find that special something that everyone loves is a little crazy. Come on, that’s like obsessing over the cool girl gang in school and losing what makes you unique in the process.

What is necessary is that everyone relates to you; your dreams, ambitions, flaws and failings. They need to see something that they can latch on to, something that sings to a deep and protected part of their soul.

Liking you is so high school. Relating to you is universal. It’s the heart beat of what makes your story resonate. It’s what transcends your journey beyond the expected. Let the audience see your humanity, and they’ll follow you to “The End”.

So go ahead; open a door for a pregnant woman, save the cat in the tree, drop some coins in the homeless person’s hat. Do it and they’ll like you for now. Show the audience how bad your claustrophobia is. Struggle with the confines of suburban life as it suffocates your soul. Fear for your mortality as alcoholism steals everyone and everything you value. Do this, and you can be an experience they never shake free of.

Scream, fight, fall, cry; do it all, but don’t worry if they like you at your best. Worry if they relate to you at your worst. If they do, they’ll stay riveted to their seats to watch you rise like a phoenix.

Don’t worry about high school, dear protagonist. Worry about the world. For it’s there that an audience of greater magnitude awaits, and it’s there that tragedy will breed immortality on screen.

Sincerely,

Your friend and Mamma,

Michelle

PS: Would it hurt you to wash the dishes every once in a while?

 

Posted by: michellemuldoon | May 3, 2016

Raindance Workshop 2.0

 

Workshop Action

After a great response to our first Introduction to Screenwriting Workshop, Raindance Vancouver and I are teaming up for a second workshop on June 25th, 2016 at the Roundhouse Community Centre in the Yaletown neighbourhood in Vancouver.

You can find a listing of feedback on my Workshop Page, but I think this describes what the workshop aims to do best:

Passionate, informative, organized, inclusive, clear, concise and captivating. Great communication, interaction, discussion and ability to field all kinds of questions while keeping the class on track. So glad I took this class. A wealth of information.

— M.E. Bond.

The aim of the day is to give the screenwriter useful tools for writing and improving on their spec feature screenplays. Our last workshop included assistant directors, actors, production managers, novelists and recent production program graduates.

I’ve always said, just because you read screenplays doesn’t mean you understand the components of writing one. The structure of the story is crucial in screenwriting but success is also in the details of the page; how it’s constructed, formatted, and creatively worded.

The script is part creative endeavour and part film blueprint and understanding what that means is an important part of the process. Come on out to the Introduction to Screenwriting Workshop and find out why the craft of screenwriting is worthy of studying, as well as practicing.

Add in a discussion on copyright, indie film budgeting and networking, and it’s a jam-packed day.

 

Raindance Vancouver

Posted by: michellemuldoon | April 5, 2016

Austin Revolution Film Fest: Chaos Management

Austin Revolution FF

Chaos Management is having a great few months. I’m very pleased and proud to share that we have received an advanced acceptance to the Austin Revolution Film Festival taking place September 20 – 24 in Austin, Texas.

Austin Revolution is a true indie film festival. They are big on dialogue; between the audience and the filmmaker, and the festival and the filmmaker. Yes, that’s right, the filmmaker matters here. The films screen at the legendary Alamo Draft House. If you’ve ever been to Austin, you know this is a special independent theatre.

My thanks go out to everyone at the festival for including us in the program. If you want to be a part of the Austin Revolution Film Festival, then you can still ENTER on Film Freeway.

 

CHAOS Bullets

 

Posted by: michellemuldoon | March 23, 2016

NOVA Film Fest: Chaos Management

CHAOS Slumber

(Qelsey Zeeper as Abigail. Photo by Michelle Lamberson)

The “little film that could” does it again with our third screening, and second in two months.  Thank you to the Northern Virginia International Film and Music Festival (NOVA Fest) for including Chaos Management in their 2016 program.

We are a three minute short film with one person, in one setting. Our protagonist has an obstacle in her day, and yes, she finds a way to overcome it. All in two minutes and fifteen seconds (without credits).  It really is that simple. It’s a little dark, and a little funny. Okay, a lot dark and somewhat funny, but you get the message, it’s not quite your average cup of female protagonist tea.

  If a festival works with thematic blocks, we aren’t the easiest film to schedule so I am most thankful for every festival that screens Chaos Management.

NOVA Fest has been very kind to my work, screening Hey You last year, as well.  They are supportive of all filmmakers, regardless of budget, length and gender. In other words, they’re good people.

This is a festival that takes chances, and I would suggest you might want to put it on your application list for next year. It’s the kind of festival that welcomes the world.

Nova FF

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