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Planet_Fiction

  • TRANSMISSION #26 // HOW TO START 2017

    January 18, 2017 | Posted By: | Uncategorized |

    How to start 2017?

    Well, one way would be for me  to start posting transmissions again…another would be for you to read an article I wrote for the Globe and Mail:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/i-ditched-the-corporate-world-to-hit-the-road-spending-seven-months-living-and-working-in-mytruck/article33515894/

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    TRANSMISSION #25 // THE TAILGATE OFFICE SUMMER 2016

    June 8, 2016 | Posted By: | Uncategorized |

     

    I have to admit I was more than a little sad to leave the mountains.  This ski season was nothing short of epic, I reconnected with old friends and finally had the time and focus to charge forward with my own projects (everyone has a novel in them, I finally found mine).  But when the snow melted it was time for me to depart, and yeah, I wasn’t happy about it.

     

    But bills need to be paid and contracts fulfilled.  I now find myself hovering around the coastal area of BC waiting for clients to sign off, plans to become actions  and people to make decisions.

    I hate waiting.  Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a very patient individual.

    So, with a client’s deadline looming and another chapter for my book due I decided to pack up my truck (a kitted out F150 my friend’s kids named GARGANTUA) and work from the road.  My mood/brain needed a reset.

    I call it the #TAILGATEOFFICE and I love everything about it. 

    My vehicle has been modified to carry all necessities and just a few toys.  Currently on my roof rack is a mountain bike, a kayak, a stand up paddle board and a surf board.  I have enough food for a week, clothes for every kind of weather and, of course, my laptop.

    I also have places to explore, people to meet and too much coffee to drink (need that free WIFI).

     

    If possible I highly recommend it.  There’s a lot to be said for sitting on a tailgate, laptop balanced on your knees, surf pounding a few feet away and knowing that tomorrow you’re going to be doing it again but somewhere new.  I find my mind is clear, my creativity fueled and new ideas absolutely come faster.  I’m focused on my projects because I like the preparation and planning of travel and enjoy a well organized excursion.  Meetings are done over the phone while driving through the mountains, sitting on the ferry or walking by a river. 

    You have to make sure you never, ever miss a deadline not matter where you are working from (you should always deliver early), you have to make sure you are prepared for all unknowns (solar batteries, back up portable hard-drives, lot’s of pens) you have to be prepared to sit in a truck for hours in an unknown town in the middle of nowhere and be able to consistently deliver on time, on budget and exceed expectations.  Freelance work can be challenging.  Doing it from the road even more so.  But it’s so worth it if your clients and you are happy.

     

    I’m actively seeking new gigs, contract or full time.  I can always be reached on my cell (250-231-3744) or my email (sean@planetfictionstudios.com).

    But, not this afternoon…

    Today, having been working since 7AM I am now going to wrap up this post.  I’m going to go surfing, then prep a particularly fresh and large fish for dinner and then I’m going to sit by a campfire under the stars  and relax.

    Best.  Benefits.  Ever.

     

    END TRANSMISSION.

     – SEAN

     

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    TRANSMISSION #24 // TRAILERS. ENOUGH ALREADY!

    January 20, 2016 | Posted By: | Uncategorized |

     

    Recently I’ve been providing the creative direction for a couple of projects that won’t be seen for quite some time.  With launch dates a considerable ways off I was pleasantly surprised to be engaged in a conversation about possible marketing campaigns.  We began talking about teasers, trailers and, of course, the teaser for the trailer (probably created by the same geniuses that thought filling your TV screen’s corners while you’re watching something with clips of upcoming shows was a good idea).

    Game and film studios will spend massive amounts of money on marketing.  Often more than the project’s production budget.  Much more. 

    Which is a hard thing to deal with when you’re scrounging for every project penny.

    So what do you show?

    Too much footage, plot and reveals leaves would-be consumers saying “Well, now I don’t need to see the whole thing, I already know everything that’s going to happen.”

    Too little of your project means your project gets lost amidst the countless other entertainment offerings bombarding everyone on this planet on a variety of devices hourly.

     

    I decided to do a little surfing.

    No. Not the good/healthy/soul cleansing kind.

    The other kind.

    The kind you always look back on and realize there’s an hour of my life you will never get back.

     

    So.  Movie trailers.

    Most studios think YOU, the consumer, are stupid.

    The entertainment industry, for the most part, has lost its mind.

    I suspect that most people partake in a little Netflix action weekly, if not daily.  There are multiple ways to download, rent, purchase and view movies and television series.  Many, many people partake on a regular basis.

     

    So I’m pretty sure people understand, or at the least, grasp what can and usually does happen in a narrative.

    But studios (and by ‘studios’ I mean those ‘people’ in charge of trailer decisions) feel most people need a lot of info to get their asses in theaters.

    A LOT of info.

     

    INSIDIOUS (2011)

    Thaaaanks for telling us the twist in this trailer.  I love it when a horror movie gives me the heads up months in advance.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuZnRUcoWos

     

    Cast Away (2000)

    A trailer about Tom Hanks by himself on an island?  I’m in!

    Oh, there’s more? He’s in a plane crash, befriends a volleyball, grows a beard, escapes on a raft, gets home four years later and sees his wife.

    You kinda had me at TOM HANKS…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJvosb4UCLs

     

    MONEY MONSTER (2016)

    Well hey there George Clooney (star) and Jodie Foster (director) you’ve made some great films in the past so I’ll totally give this a…

    Forget it.  But thanks for saving me a few bucks by showing me EVERYTHING.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr_fdDBYvps

     

     

    Whatever happened to getting people excited?

    Whatever happened to getting people intrigued?

    What happened?

     

    I have been a part of many production teams in my career.  Sometimes working over the course of a few years on a single project.  I know what it feels like when marketing steps in and creates a plan to show your work to the public.

    Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t.  As a producer I have been very aware of other influences, of nervous share holders, of panicky leadership.  It’s never quite black and white on what is good or bad.

    But still…

    It’s brutal when a trailer harms a production.

    It tastes like a heavy dose of disrespect.

    Disrespect towards those who put their time and efforts into creating something.

    Disrespect towards those who worked their entire lives to reach a point in their careers where their animation/music/words/stunts/SFX/VFX/framing/passion/blood/sweat/tears are to be experienced by audiences.

    There is nothing worse when working in the entertainment industry to see your project put into the hands of those who don’t care or try.

     

    A few that have, in my opinion, done it right.

    CLOVERFIELD (2007)

    Even if you didn’t like the movie, you have to admit this trailer got your attention.

    Especially when nobody even knew this movie had even been made.  The trailer was the first glimpse of anything.

    Surprise!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvNkGm8mxiM

     

    10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (2016)

    A Cloverfield sequel??

    Surpise!  Again!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3YIJOl2PH0

     

     

     

    SUPER 8 (2010)

    (is it me or are there some similarities with these BAD ROBOT produced movie posters…?)

    I levitated out of my chair when I first saw this trailer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpzUCA5i6zY

     

    ALIEN (1979)

    What do you mean ‘in space no one can hear you scream’? 

    WHAT DO YOU MEAN????

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjLamj-b0I8

     

     

    Granted, even some of these brilliant examples had unnecessary additional trailers.  But, in these cases I like to think the studios – and I’d like to think the filmmakers – were trying to do something right.

    A good rule of thumb for making a trailer?

    Take your final edit and cut it in half.

     

     

    Going to the movies has always been a thrill for me.

    I love when a first glimpse, months before, transitions into that special, giddy sense of anticipation as the theater lights dim.

    Stop with the disrespect towards the movie goer.

    We’re not stupid. Try harder.

    Entertain us.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMOVFvcNfvE

     

    END TRANSMISSION.

     – SEAN

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    TRANSMISSION #23 // BODY ARMOR & CLIENTS

    January 13, 2016 | Posted By: | Uncategorized |

     

    There are two things that take up the majority of my time right now.

    Mountains and work.

     

     

    I am trying to establish a balance with the two.

    6AM to 8:00AM: Emails and editing

    9AM to 12:30 PM: Skiing or snowboarding (unless the 20 cm rule is in effect)

    1PM to 6PM: Writing

     

    This is a pretty consistent schedule for me.  I’ve found that creative challenges are better met when sliding down a mountain and sitting at a desk is much easier after heavy doses of fresh air and powder.

     

    But for both to be successful choices need to be made on gear and clients.

     

    Growing up in the mountains, time spent in the military and extensive travel have taught me most successful adventures are largely due to reliable equipment.

     

    I’m also pretty big on scoping out the background of a company.

    Do they stand behind their product (I break everything)?

    Are they contributing positively to their industry or just camping out for sales?

    Does their marketing numb my mind, feel detached or actually speak to the product and its environment?

    A few of my prime selects:

    Triple Aught Designs: kick ass quality outdoor clothing and gear

     

    Salomon: My choice for snowboards, snowboard/ski boots, bindings, skis and tough footwear

     

    Arc’teryx: Excellent jackets and pants that take all sorts of abuse

     

    Hestra: Best.  Gloves.  Ever.

     

    Smith: First rate eye-wear and a surprisingly good snowboard helmet

     

    Trek: I own two of their mountain bikes

     

    Red Mountain: Best. Ski hill.  Ever.

     

    I’m also someone who has often and usually quite spectacularly smashed themselves to pieces.

    A motorcycle helmet saved my life.

    A flak jacket stopped shrapnel from tearing apart my lungs.

    Arm protection meant a shattered elbow instead of a missing limb.

    Impact resistant lenses meant a black eye instead of blindness.

    Yes, I know.

    I should just stick to writing.

    And yes, I take my choice of gear very seriously.

     

    Also, I take who my clients are going to be very seriously.

    Is their primary goal money?

    Are they passionate about the project?

    Do they follow a process, respect their own people and love what they do?