My First Year Coming to a Close

21 Dec

It’s been about a year since I launched and I must say that it has been immensely rewarding. My initial plan for the site was to merely update the progress of my first feature film, Girlfriend 19; however, I naturally began to share my thoughts and experience with film in general. Spurred on by encouraging comments and feedback, I wrote about a variety of relatively unspoken issues filmmakers commonly face.

The post which received the most feedback was Los Angeles Won’t Make Your Movie, which brings the deceptive nature of my hometown to light.  Many commented and affirmed my belief that coming to Los Angeles may not be the best move for an aspiring filmmaker.  Rather, it may be better to stay within one’s hometown and utilize connections, resources and an existing support structure.

I also wrote about the free gift all filmmakers need, but rarely receive: encouragement.  Although encouragement is an invaluable fuel filmmakers need to keep going, I rarely hear it mentioned or discussed in filmmaking books, seminars, etc.; I guess it’s too mushy a subject, but not for me!

It’s been a pleasure sharing my thoughts and hearing yours on FollowMyFilm.  I’ll be taking a couple of weeks off and will be back and running in 2011.

Once again, thank you and Happy Holidays and New Year!

- Christopher

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Girlfriend 19 Editing Underway!

14 Dec

Whenever my friends and family express their desire to watch Girlfriend 19 once it’s ready, I chuckle because I’m personally dying to watch it!  LOL

Girlfriend 19 is going to be an unconventional film in many ways, so it’s hard to imagine what the finished film will be like.  The truth is that I designed it that way.  Rather than follow hard-and-fast narrative and stylistic rules, I wrote and directed Girlfriend 19 in a much more visceral and instinctive manner.

Editing the film will no different, which is why I am so thrilled Jarrod Burt and John Patrick Nelson are my editors.  They work as a team and recently edited the feature film, Grey Skies, which has been doing very well in the film festival world.  Besides being immensely talented, Jarrod and John are downright honest and good-spirited.

I’ll be working loosely with Jarrod and John during the first edit of the film.  In essence, they will work on their own while I periodically check-in and give feedback.  Once the first overall edit is complete, we will then watch the film together and collaboratively determine any necessary changes.  I may also ask a few trusted friends and colleagues for feedback after the first edit as well.

I will definitely post some photos of Jarrod and John in action and, perhaps, I may be able to post some clips/scenes from the film.  I’m just a bit wary of giving away too much and ruining the film!

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Goodbye Production Value

7 Dec

Most filmmakers rarely make films.  Simply put, it takes a ton of time, energy and resources to actually make a film, even a short.  Like the thousands of disillusioned immigrants who were promised the “American dream” at the turn of the 20th century, many aspiring filmmakers have found themselves unfruitful despite the “digital revolution.”  Although affordable video cameras have virtually replaced expensive film equipment, not much has changed in terms of lighting, costumes, make-up, locations, talent, crew, catering, insurance, contracts, etc..

Because of such production demands, most filmmakers spend little time actually making films.  Though my business card says, “Christopher J. Boghosian, Filmmaker,” much of my time is spent planning, promoting and thinking about my films.  I assume John Doe, Baker frequently bakes or Jane Doe, Yoga Instructor consistently teaches yoga; however, Christopher J. Boghosian, Filmmaker rarely makes films.  Sure, filmmakers are often unproductive due to their own issues.  Like other artists, they battle numerous personal hurdles such as laziness, ignorance, ego and fear.  Believe me, I fight inner demons every day!  Nonetheless, even if one earnestly attempts to make a film, the sheer complexities of the task eventually overwhelm and thwart them.

An important distinction must be made.  The type of filmmaking I am speaking of is live-action narrative filmmaking with high “production value,” which essentially refers to the richness or sophistication of a film.  For instance, a film with myriad locations, celebrities, costumes and stunts will have high production value, whereas a film like Paranormal Activity with two primary characters in one location lacks production value.  Although such value is subjective, there is general consensus in the film business and amongst movie-goers regarding how rich and sophisticated a movie should look.  Therefore, those who strive to make a distinguished film for a large audience are faced with the production value challenge, which usually means raising money to secure, coordinate and execute multiple elements over a long period of time.

As a relatively new filmmaker, production demands quickly become my nemesis.  Making a film often ends up becoming a logistical chore, not a creative venture.  Rather than develop the craft of writing and directing, I often spend my time securing locations, gathering equipment and managing people.  And if you’re thinking that such chores ought to be delegated, I simply ask to whom?  Unless you are blessed with an abundance of loyal colleagues or resourceful family and friends eager to volunteer, you, the filmmaker, often end up doing it.

As a result, I have been developing a filmmaking methodology that will eliminate much of the burden.  Rather than raise money or solicit volunteer services, I am seeking ways to reduce production elements in general.  It’s like America trying to reduce its dependency on foreign oil.  How can I become more independent through efficiency and innovation?  Can I only film at one location?  Do I really need a ton of expensive equipment?  Again, it comes down to production value.  Many people try to make movies with a high production value on the cheap, but they almost always fail, because it’s too taxing and expensive.

Excellence is doing the best with what one has and because I currently don’t have plentiful resources, then I must let go of high production value expectations.  I had no crew and rented no equipment for my last short film, Jasmin & Josephine.  I was the only person who worked on it, from writing the script to editing the film.  As a result, I literally made the film in one week.  I didn’t have to wait on paper work, people’s schedules, etc..  In fact, the elderly woman in the film is my very own grandmother and we filmed in her apartment!  Sure, there is virtually no production value, but, hey, I successfully made a film that I am very proud of.

I am convinced that aspiring filmmakers like myself need to abandon production value and focus more on making films.  I miss my camera and I miss working with actors.  As a result, I am developing an intense filmmaking project for myself to begin in January.  Tossing production value and it’s obstacles aside, I’m going to free myself to simply make films!

-Christopher J. Boghosian

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Paradise Recovered

1 Dec

Monday night was a very encouraging night for me as an independent filmmaker…

Headed by David Branin and Karen Worden, Film Courage hosted another independent film screening at the Downtown Independent theatre in Los Angeles, CA.  The film was Paradise Recovered, an indelibly poignant romantic comedy written by Andie Redwine and directed by Storme Wood.

First, the mission of Film Courage itself is incredibly encouraging.  David and Karen have selflessly committed themselves to uplifting and supporting independent filmmakers.  Through their weekly radio show and monthly screenings at the Downtown Independent, filmmakers are given an opportunity to share their work while listeners and viewers learn from them.  I’ve always said community and camaraderie is the backbone of creativity, which is why I am so thankful for David and Karen’s vision.

Second, the Downtown Independent theatre has become a hub for independent film in Los Angeles.  They host a wide array of independent film events such as screenings, seminars, and workshops.  The Downtown Independent brings films to Los Angeles which otherwise would never be seen on the big screen.  Truly independent films like Paradise Recovered are embraced and promoted.

Finally, watching Paradise Recovered last night was encouraging in itself.  With a tiny budget, Redwine and Wood made a fantastic film chock-full of professionalism.  Rather than produce a film beyond their means, they embraced their limitations and made the most with what they had.  With connections in Indiana, much of the film was shot there, giving the film an incredibly tangible touch of authenticity.  Indiana locals embraced their production and welcomed them, affirming my thoughts regarding film production in Los Angeles.

Last night strongly affirmed my belief that this is a great time to be an independent filmmaker.  Communities like Film Courage and the Downtown Independent are giving independent filmmakers like me a lot to be hopeful for!

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Girlfriend 19 Campaign Contributors

23 Nov

Our IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign was a giant success!  We raised nearly $9,000 to help pay for Girlfriend 19 post-production expenses, such as editing, sound design and the creation of an original score.

In the end, what thrills me most is not the money, but the generosity and support demonstrated by so many friends and family members.  I’ve probably said this a thousand times: independent filmmaking is incredibly challenging due to its complex nature, thus, support and encouragement is absolutely necessary, especially at the beginning of one’s career.  And please know that tax-deductible contributions can still be made although the campaign has ended.

Now, as promised, I would like to publicly thank all who contributed financially to Girlfriend 19 during our IndieGoGo campaign.


Girlfriend 19 IndieGoGo Campaign Contributors!