Archives For Dan Baker

What the Heck is Timid Monster?

Dan Baker —  February 3, 2013

Ah, yes, I anticipated your question. See? I’ve written a whole blog post about it.

Allow me to start at the beginning.

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“WHAT???”

That was Jess’ response when I told her the John Gray feature film script was a quarter finalist at BlueCat. That places us in the top 10% of 3391 international submissions. Fer’ real, check it out!

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I’m a busy man, as all independent filmmakers are. I don’t have time to fiddle and fuss around with my website, which is why I rely on WordPress and DreamHost. They’re great. Set it and forget it! And if there’s ever a problem, there’s always somebody I can talk to.

When I had to settle on an e-commerce partner through which I could sell our films online, TopSpin came highly recommended. Many self-distributing artists I look up to use TopSpin, and their product, by far, seemed the most appropriate for what we wanted to do.

Turns out, that was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made (and I’ve made some bad ones).

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What’s got a beard, a pair of shades, and ADD? Nope, it’s not a hipster…it’s a podcast.

Yup! I was interviewed recently on the MemNash Radio Podcast, hosted by Marty “The Beard” Ray and David Lee “The Hawk” Jordan. Listen to hear me speed-talk my way through such topics as the John Gray feature film, self-distribution, and the future of Macedonia Films.

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In my younger days (I’m 32, so those days aren’t too far behind me) I thought that success meant having many irons in the fire. After several years of multi-tasking, I’ve learned how true the old adage is: “he who chases two rabbits catches neither.” So, this year I’m resolving to do less. MUCH less. In fact, if I can help it, I’m only going to focus on one project.

I, like many of you I’m sure, need lots and lots of encouragement, inspiration, and butt-kicking. And I, hopefully like many of you, draw all those things from a good documentary. Here are three of the most moving docs I came across in 2012, each challenging in their own way.

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Top 10 Posts of 2012

Dan Baker —  December 31, 2012

About this time last year we sat around talking about the future of filmmaking, and what it would look like to be a filmmaker in the next 5-10 years. The one thing we kept coming back to was, unfortunately, an annoying marketing buzzword: community.

As cliché as ‘community’ sounds, it’s really where our hearts are. So, in March of 2012, we started blogging with the aim of building a relationship with our fans. We don’t always know what to write about, but as you’re about to see, we get things right from time to time.

For your enjoyment (and hopefully, betterment) I present to you, our top 10 posts of 2012:

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The first time I heard independent feature films typically take 4-5 years to complete my mind was boggled. After all, we turned around a pretty successful short in under two months. How hard could it be?

Turns out, pretty dagum hard.

Officially we started writing the John Gray feature film September of 2011, which puts us at about the 16-month mark. I sometimes wonder if I had known how utterly frustrating and maddening this writing process would be, if I would have even started.

Fortunately, I discovered these difficulties gradually.

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We haven’t been shy in talking about our plans to self-distribute our next couple films. Successes like Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog and recent Sundance winner Indie Game: The Movie have shown that technology + great idea = awesome. However, the naysayers are quick to bring up the bane of the modern artist: online piracy.

I have mixed feelings here. Part of me is terrified that taking on the enormous financial risk of making a film will lead to complete and utter ruin an account of piracy. The other part of me wants to give the internet the benefit of the doubt.

The online community has the power now to fuel all kinds of crazy awesome, or become the very thing it hates: a corporate tool. Allow me to explain…

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I like Japanese food. I read once that one of its main tenants is to highlight a food’s natural texture and flavor in it’s most pure form. If a dish is to feature mushrooms, then it’s flavor must be unmistakably mushroom; all seasonings and garnishes must work to accentuate and compliment the mushroom.

I don’t know if anonymous Vimeo user kogonada is Japanese or not (British maybe?), but kogonada has done for film what Japan did for the mushroom. In the following four “supercut” video essays, kogonada boils down Stanley Kubrick, Darren Aronofsky, Quentin Tarantino, and Wes Anderson into their cinematic essence.

While the video essays are a work of art in their own right, they open up and explore the habits of these four directors in a way that leaves you pondering their choices.

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The way of the future!

A couple of associate professors and a grad student at Cornell University have developed a clever way of simulating the sound of cloth moving within 3D software.

Foley artists normally record these necessary sounds separately in a sound booth and painstakingly line them up with an on-screen character’s movements. Having been knee-deep in this process on Avarice, I’d welcome a little computer help!

What do you think? Could this someday replace the need for foley artists? What about computer generated foot passes?

Read more on Engadget.