Kickin’ Up Dust

September 18, 2013, 6:40PM. Backer Chris Mitchell, along with the help of 146 additional backers took us past our Kickstarter goal of $15,000! I am thrilled to announce that my next picture, Wrong Side Up, is getting made and I couldn’t have done it without this community of tech savvy art appreciators. Thank you all for your pledges. – Whether it was 1 dollar or 1000, it was crucial, it was important, and it has added to this production. – On behalf of the Dust Bowl movie crew, I can honestly tell you that this movie would not have been made without your pledge.

One of my favorite things about Kickstarter is the relationship the platform develops between the audiences and the show, before the crew even starts production. In an odd way, along with being a fundraising tool it also assists in marketing and distribution. Some of us have been really good friends before this Kickstarter project, some of us were complete strangers, but now we all have one common bond called Wrong Side Up, and we are all part of its creation. I will update you periodically throughout the production to let you know how your movie is going and we will celebrate together once it is completed and premiered.

Thank you so much for your support and interest in this picture, It’s bound to kick up dust. And there is still 55 hours of pledging to go! Keep on pledging here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hdilla/wrong-side-up-a-dust-bowl-inspired-short-film

– Henry Darrow McComas, Colorado Video Producer

Hollywood is imploding

Stephen Spielberg predicted at a University of Southern California event with George Lucas last June. “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe a half-dozen mega budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground.” In the following summer months, we witnessed inflated budgets juxtaposed with slow foreign growth. There were 18 movies that cost over $100 million dollars to produce this summer, only 11 of which made their budget at the box office. Spielberg was right – with a dramatic decrease in profit in the foreign market, the high price of movie tickets, independent films deciding to debut through streaming devices rather than the movie theaters, and practically no DVD sales – what is the studio system supposed to do? Change while telling compelling stories.

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Audiences are becoming saturated with 3D action narratives. During the blockbuster summer of flops, movies like The Conjuring and The Purge switched up their marketing styles, invested in their scripts and doubled their productions’ budgets during their opening weekends. Part of this was because their budgets to start off with were practical. The biggest threat to Hollywood, however, is the home theater. With video on demand, audience members like you and I are showing that our palate is much more broader than the Blockbuster template and that we love other things like smaller independent films, thought provoking documentaries, Netflix queues, Amazon Prime and episodic dramas on HBO and AMC. Cable, iTunes, Netflix and other video-on-demand outlets symbolize an alternative to Hollywood. Vimeo recently released their on-demand platform alongside of YouTube – the market is evolving as we learn new ways to digest our entertainment and media. Soderbergh leaves the theaters for HBO, Kevin Smith tours with his films and follows the credits with a live Q&A and Spike Lee, Zach Braff and Veronica Mars turn to Kickstarter. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the totempole, the small independent filmmakers like me have something that we didn’t have since the Cormanite days – a voice.

The world wants something new, and we are all here to develop it. I guess what I’m really trying to say here is thank you Kickstarter backers. You have truly transformed me, my career and my goals. Before I started this campaign, I was unsure of the possibilities, and now I have a platform to work off of. I have an audience that not only wants to watch a movie with me, but they want to help make it too! That’s what movie magic really means – motion pictures being inspired by a community that has a say in what gets produced and what doesn’t. Audience members who know they’d rather watch a short film about a struggling young man from the Dust Bowl era over a Lone Ranger remake. Hollywood isn’t imploding, it’s changing – and quite frankly I think it’s for the better. Thanks for giving me a megaphone and allowing me to create. I love all of you because you have given me the chance to produce something wonderful, and I can’t wait to watch the final edit with you.

If you get a chance. share this post with your friends. If you haven’t pledged to my next short film #WrongSideUp #DustbowlMovie yet, please do. Let’s get this picture funded!

106 backers, $12,747 pledged of $15,000 goal, 7 days to go.

Love and thanks!

Your Support, My Story, Our Film. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hdilla/wrong-side-up-a-dust-bowl-inspired-short-film

– Henry Darrow McComas, Colorado Video Producer

About:
Henry McComas is a film and video producer based in Denver, Colorado. Prior to moving to Colorado Henry was a video producer and filmmaker in Seattle, WA where his first award-winning short film, Emerald City, was born. His new project, Wrong Side Up, is a totally different feel, setting and experience for Henry. It is a coming of age story about a twelve-year-old boy whose fate is determined by his father’s departure and the impending Dust Bowl as he is forced to care for his family and their farm. Ultimately, this is a film about responsibility, accountability and most importantly, family. Wrong Side Up is our biggest project to date and we are so excited to share it with you.

Our incomparable team:
We are so excited to be working with some of Colorado’s most amazing talent including award-winning Director of Photography James Drake who will be shooting on the Red Epic; Motion Graphics extraordinaire, Kevin Kerndt; phenomenal film composer Chris Joye; and world champion Irish dancer and bagpiper, Owen Barrington. We are also excited to be working with historians from History Colorado and stellar band, the Dustbowl Revival.

Our final plea:
We need your help to show this Dust Bowl narrative. We want you to be a part of our favorite film to date. We want to see your name on the credits and for you to feel the same sense of pride when it’s finished that we will as the creative team. Together we can make this phenomenal short come to life. Please pledge to the production and spread the word. Show your interest by sharing this link with your friends, family and social networks: DustBowlMovie.com You can also use #dustbowlmovie or #wrongsideup on your social network sites including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

When Harry Met Sally, they went on a luxury vacation…

The first video is Family Vacation Stories. The premise of this spot was inspired by the love testimonials from When Harry Met Sally. The WHMS vignettes portrayed elder couples sharing their experiences of falling in love. I played around with the idea of families shairing their vacation experiences and then threw in some Modern Family themes. I wrote, directed, shot and edited the spot. The talent came from Radical Artists Agency, gear from Video Equipment Rentals (VER), and the wardrobe/hair and makeup was from Ashley Kelly Style. The music was composed by Christopher Joye at Coupe Studios and the logo animation was created by Kevin Kerndt at Kerndt Design. This was a Colorado produced spot through and through and it couldn’t have been done without all the talented Colorado creatives and the beautiful Vail, Portico property as our shooting location.

Meet Portico is a revised How It Works video with an added family vacation sequence from our Tarranea shoot. We wanted to show how Portico homes allow families to get close and spread out while showcasing the multigenerational appeal as well. I got to shoot a majority of the footage in Virgin Gorda, BVI, Anguilla and California and put it all together in the Denver, Portico offices.

Indie Webcomic July 2013

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What’s a film industry without a little ego, self-deprecating humor and technical catastrophe? From production politics to collaborative disasters on a shoestring budget, the indie webcomic reminds us of why we should hire a professional; so we don’t get caught in situations like these.

Final Cut Pro X Color Correction Key Commands

I’ve started playing with FCPX a lot more as of lately…I like to check in on the major updates and stay current with most nonlinear editing systems as the industry evolves. There used to be a time where there was one alpha NLE but now you have to find the right tool for the job as opposed to finding one tool that will work for all jobs. I’ve been applying focus on FCPX and its color correction capabilities and thought I would keep an updated list of the things I discover. Keep in mind these notes are coming from an editor who primarily uses FCP7, Avid and Premier Pro. I must admit though; I have been pleasantly surprised by FCPX, primarily as a coloring tool. Below is a list of key commands that I find most useful when color correcting footage.

Final Cut Pro X Color Correction Key Commands
S enables and disables skimming
Command 4 open inspector
Command 6 access color board
Command 7 access video scopes
Command 5 open effects browser
Option Command B for balance
Option Command M for match color
Shift Z snaps all the clips in the timeline back into viewable area
Control Command C activates color pane
Control Command S activates saturation pane
Control Command E activates  exposure pane
Option G new compound clip
Control V show video animation
Option Command V paste effects

Editor’s Note – Indie Webcomic lands a new artist.

Open bodies of water, a really good song. (Currently, Carolina Drama by The Raconteurs.) Sunday morning comic strips; the good ones, names like Bill Watterson, Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman come to mind. Real life experiences, a great night at the bar, political debates, collaboration, a funny occurrence on set, an excellent shot that unexpectedly occurs, lime-green-bubble iMacs, renaissance, thought provoking narrative and technology that inspires art…these are the things that inspire me, these things inspire Indie Webcomic.

Indie Webcomic is a digital comic strip that I have been producing for over a year now. The idea originally came along when I was shooting a short film on a tight deadline in Seattle, WA. Our main location was the beautiful Discovery Park. Little did we know that along with the beauty of Discovery Park comes much air traffic and noise because of its unfortunate location in the center of Boeing’s flightpath. In the eleventh hour my crew and I found ourselves having to shoot the rest of our film with partial takes between the the control and overbearing roar of airplanes that consistently flew throughout our fantasy film. It went a little something like: “Action!” The talent started their lines and then an airplane would zoom pass. “Cut!” The scenario was so ridiculous it became almost comical…after the award ceremony, in which we brought home two awards. (Thanks to a great crew and some creative editing.) We relived the plane scenario at an after-party and everyone couldn’t restrain themselves from laughing. I thought to myself, the follies of an independent film is universally funny; it relates to most industry creatives and is relevant to my current stance in life. What if we made a short film based on this idea…after a quick balance of the checkbook I figured a comic strip would be a more reasonable route.

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What’s a film industry without a little ego, self-deprecating humor and technical catastrophe? From production politics to collaborative disasters on a shoestring budget, the indie webcomic reminds us of why we should hire a professional; so we don’t get caught in situations like these. And so Indie finds a home; the monthly webcomic doubles as a serial of advertisements for the Colorado Production Guide under the Colorado Film and Video Association umbrella. Each strip shows a blatant act of unprofessionalism that guides folks to the production guide, a database of Colorado Production professionals while maintaining a progressive narrative inside the #indie world.

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Artist Nathanial Hamel and writer Henry McComas at Comicfest. 2013

Every issue thus far has been penned by me and illustrated by Royce Fooray Southerland, a talented artist in Seattle. Like most comic books, the illustrators switch out from time time, this allows new perspective to classic characters and even motivates new ideas. I am thrilled to announce that as of todays issue, #indie will be 100% Colorado made for its next story arc. Like any creative person the people I collaborate with inspire me. Each illustrator brings a token sense of style and characteristics to the panel. Their visuals help manipulate the story into the final product you view. Comic book  artist, Nathanial Hamel has joined the team and will be drawing #indie from Thorton Colorado. Nathanial is a commissioned artist working mostly on independent titles. He is also a bit of a business man…Nathanial is one half of Pow-Products a small business that developed the world’s first and only comic book panel stencil system. It’s local innovation like this that the Colorado Film and Video Association looks to be a part of. The production industry is more than a camera crew and an editing suite and we love to be part of the creative arts every step of the stage. From idea, to script to panel to lens, to screen. The Colorado Film and Video Association (CFVA) serves Colorado’s visual media industry in order to further local industry development and livelihood.
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– Henry Darrow McComas, Colorado Video Producer, Communications Committee Chairperson, Indie Webcomic Author

Deal or No Deal – Colorado Media Production Incentive

The Colorado Joint Budget Committee chose to strike the $1.5 million added to the media production incentive by the House from Colorado’s budget. This becomes somewhat problematic because Hallmark’s new television show that is in development, When Calls the Heart, has already been approved by the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media, to receive up to 1.6 million dollars from the incentive.

For a state, landing a series is like finding the Holy Grail; not only would an episodic series create hundreds of jobs over a six episode production spread (months) for Coloradans but it would bring tourists with tourism dollars to the shows shooting locations. Picture what Breaking Bad did for New Mexico now convert that demographic to a hoard of mommy-bloggers with time on their hands and cash to spend. Film Commissioner, Donald Zuckerman, stated that he has a plan to find the funds to meet Hallmark’s needs. Of course if this does happen, the incentives will have a lockout for all other projects until 2014, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because we get our Holy Grail. If the Film Office can’t find the extra money…ideally Colorado should support smaller projects that do fit in the incentive’s smaller budget. THIS MEANS YOU CONTENT CREATORS!

The best thing we can do at this time is to continue creating quality content and hiring locally as we work on developing Colorado’s brand. Production is beneficial to the state and it will take Colorado creatives to consistently show how beneficial it is each year. Keep the conversation going by displaying the high level of production Colorado has in its locations, talent and crews.

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– Henry Darrow McComas, Colorado Video Producer

New issue of Indie webcomic!

What’s a film industry without a little ego, self-deprecating humor and technical catastrophe?

From production politics to collaborative disasters on a shoestring budget, the #indie webcomic reminds us of why we should hire professionals; so we don’t get caught in situations like these. Indie is a digital comic strip penned by Colorado Video Producer, Henry Darrow McComas and drawn by comic book illustrator, Royce Fooray Southerland. The webcomic can be found on the Colorado Film and Video Association or on Henry’s Colorado Video Production website.