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11.06.2013

PRODUCTION JOURNAL: Midweek MIDDAY Mixer - 11.6.13

Oh boy... started the day later than I expected so the Midweek MORNING Mixer became the Midweek MIDDAY Mixer.  You probably didn't notice but still felt like I had to explain.  Now... on to our program... 

November 6 marks the birth of 2 important directors and film visionaries who should be better known by mainstream audiences - Thomas Ince and Mike Nichols.

Thomas Ince - November 6, 1886

Born into a stage family in Newport, Rhode Island, Thomas Harper Ince would grow up to be known as the “Father of the Western.” At the age of 15, Ince made his Broadway debut. But despite his theatrical blood, and performing in a number of plays and vaudeville shows, Ince could never make his acting career pay off. Instead, he turned to the new medium of film. By 1910, he was directing one-reelers. And by 1911, he’d convinced the New York Motion Picture Co. to send him to California. In Los Angeles, Ince’s ambition blossomed. He leased land close to Santa Monica, and hired a wild west traveling show to set up a makeshift studio making westerns and historical epics. In the next few years, he consolidated this venture into Inceville, a prototype for later Hollywood studios. In the process, he also redefined his role from director to creative producer, dictating what projects would be made and with what director and talent. As the studio grew, Ince instituted assembly line principles to the film production, breaking up the making of a film into various departments (writing, costuming, shooting, editing, etc). By 1915, Ince had sold Inceville and formed Triangle Pictures, a vertically integrated company that would handle production, distribution and exhibition, a move that again foreshadowed the future of motion pictures. Constantly changing, Ince personified the potential of this new industry. A contract player, Florence Vidor, later remembered, “One could not meet Thomas H. Ince in his studio without seeing that here was a great dynamic personality, having the brightest blue eyes, ready smile and charming manner; always interested in everything––perhaps the secret of his youthfulness.” In the end, however, Ince is perhaps as well known––if not better––for dying at the age of 42 under mysterious circumstance on William Randolph Hearst’s yacht. ~~Focus Features

Mike Nichols - November 6, 1931

Mike Nichols, who was born on this day in 1931, has been among the cream of the crop of Hollywood directors since he announced himself as a major talent in the mid-1960s with the prodigious one-two punch of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Graduate. But it’s easy to forget the wealth of life experiences he had before this breakthrough. Nichols was born Michael Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin, but fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1939, settling in the United States. (According to a recent interview, when Nichols arrived here, he knew only two English sentences: "I do not speak English" and "Please, do not kiss me.") Made a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1944, Nichols attended the University of Chicago in the 50s, and there discovered his creative impulses: with Elaine May, Ed Asner et al, he formed the Compass Players, a comedy ensemble which later evolved into the seminal Second City troupe, and also started a folk music show on the radio. Nichols and May paired up and became a hugely successful comedy duo on stage, the small screen and on record (they were Grammy nominated). Though they parted ways in 1961, they would work together multiple times again, not least when they performed at Jimmy Carter’s inauguration celebration. When Nichols began directing for the stage, it immediately clicked that directing was what he was meant to do: he won back to back Tony Awards in 1964 and 1965 before being lured to Hollywood, but returned many times afterwards to Broadway, winning a further five Tony awards 1968 and 2005. ~~Focus Features



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So what can we learn today to make the best film we can...

WRITING: What are 10 things you can do to beat writer's block and finish that script?

PRODUCING: What are 12 ways to make movies like Stanley Kubrick?

FINANCING: What can you expect from Hollywood's latest quarterly earnings?  And what's wrong with Hollywood according to James Toback?

DIRECTING: What are 5 things they don't tell you when you make your first big budget film?

SHOOTING: What are 11 essential film shots and techniques?

LIGHTING:What can masters of portraiture teach you about film lighting?

SOUND: Want to hear the stories of the work Hollywood composer, Hans Zimmer, has done on classic films? Of course you do.

STUNTS & FX: How do you film realistic, bloody gun shots on a low budget?

EDITING:  What are Roger Crittenden's 10 commandments that editors should follow?

MARKETING: Successful marketing for your film involves understanding the real trajectory it has. Here's why.

DISTRIBUTION: Think outside of the box and you'll see why online distribution allows films to break out of the 120 minute running time.  Plus here's what you should know if you want to four-wall your film.

LEGAL: What should you know about the crowdfunding rules being proposed by the SEC?

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