Seasons Greetings! So grateful you take the time to follow our blog. More to come in the New Year. Wishing you & yours the very best this holiday season!
Seasons Greetings! So grateful you take the time to follow our blog. More to come in the New Year. Wishing you & yours the very best this holiday season!
The web series Galactic Galaxy created & directed by Anthony Ferraro won for Outstanding Film at the prestigious Berlin Sci-Fi Filmfest.
From the official Berlin Sci-Fi Filmfest Web Page:
Winner of the Outstanding Film Award goes to a film that offered action, drama, comedy, VFX, live action and animation.
Congratulations to Anthony Ferraro GALACTIC GALAXY
Galactic Galaxy, created by Anthony Ferraro, is a hilarious, action-packed adventure in space.
“I finally achieved all my goals in life…in one show: playing a sci-fi villain who snorts lines, in a series that looks like a comic book.”-Jeff Lewis, Actor The Guild
Galactic Galaxy is an irreverent sci-fi comedy web series like no other. This rotoscope style space odyssey, in the spirit of the cult classic 80’s film Heavy Metal, was meticulously crafted by creator and director Anthony Ferraro.
The talented cast features Jeff Lewis (Vork in Felicia Day’s The Guild) and Julia Morizawa (Dr. Bright from The Bright Sessions). The writing team includes Charles Horn (Robot Chicken, Star Wars Special) who said about the series “Anthony has a unique visual style that I haven’t seen before.” -Charles Horn, Writer Robot Chicken, Star Wars Special
Galactic Galaxy follows the epic journey of Fen, a space werewolf who teams up with non-nonsense space trucker Pam Redcup to rob an illegal space disco and fulfill his destiny to save the galaxy. What is particularly distinctive about Galactic Galaxy is the graphic novel look of its video production. By combining live action performances with 3D sets and landscapes the show evokes the comics of the 70s and early 80s. Galactic Galaxy is a love letter to the sci-fi saga genre, filled with action, suspense, and a healthy dose of the absurd.
“Anthony’s creative abilities have brought to life a style not often seen in the digital series world,” -Suzette Laqua, Executive Director of Vancouver Web Fest
“I love that Anthony is tapping into the sci-fi fandom without being cliche and of course, adding humor into the mix is always a welcome change from overly serious dystopian dramas!” -Sarah Penna, COO of Frolic Media & Co-Founder of Big Frame
Episode one of Galactic Galaxy will be released on YouTube on June 14, 2018 :
Creativity is a powerful life force mojo accelerator. Collaboration is a powerful and satisfying brain enhancer.
The cast & crew of “Aeranger” on location in Topanga Canyon, CA. Left to right, Kristen Pickrell-Makeup Artist, Bobbie Breckenridge-lead Actress, Nick Kretz-BTS Photographer, Jon Schweigart-Cinematographer and Sage Bova-Sound Recording/taking this picture.
In this tutorial, I share with you the basic smartphone video rig and apps I use to capture DSLR style video easily and inexpensively.
Be sure to watch my video channel for more Sci-Fi filmmaking giddy-up.
You spend months thinking about and prepping your project during pre-production period. You wrote the project or created it. You have a handle on it or are steering the ship. Momentum is building. You survive the shoot and now you enter the post-production phase. You have a years worth of blood, sweat, and tears on a hard drive. You need to find an editor
You look at some editing reels and the editor you think is perfect is $650 a day your total budget for the edit is $500. You talk to several editors to try and get them excited about your project in the hopes they will join the team. I am going to stop right here. Put yourself in the editor’s shoes, you want them to edit for little or no money and to start off that relationship you’re going to hand them a hard drive with three terabytes of raw footage that contains a bunch of folders that say, Card 01, Card 02 and contains numerically labeled shots. That is hardly enticing, in fact, its a deterrent.
Here is a simple way to get an Editor excited about working on your project. You want them to be able to dive right in. You are going to prep the drive. First, create a series of folders. The main folder will be the project name, the title of the work. Within that folder create subfolders. Number them as follows: 01_project, 02_Media, 03_Music, 04_Audio, 05_GFX, 06_Docs, 07_Stills, 08_Assets, 09_Exports.
Now move all your media into the 02_Media folder. If you record audio separately move that into the 04_Audio folder. Add a copy of the script into the 06_Docs folder. If you have storyboards put a copy there. If you have ideas for music put those in the 03 Music Folder.
This next step is what will really help you entice an editor to start on the project. Set up the project in the editing software and make selects. Most likely you will be using Final Cut, AVID or Adobe Premiere. As of now, the most predominant DIY platform is Adobe Premiere Pro CC. If you don’t own it you can get started for under $20 a month. Whichever platform you choose the steps are the same and very similar to the project folder structure. In your chosen editing platform create a new project. In the project create a series of folders. 01_ Sequence, 02_Media, 03_Music, 04_Audio, 05_GFX, 06_SFX, 07_Titles, 08_Misc. Next, import your footage into the project. Media into the media folder, Audio into the audio folder, etc.
This next step will really go a long way. Create a New Sequence in your project and call it selects. Start to watch all your raw footage and “select” your preferred takes and pull them into the timeline. Perhaps you like two, just pull them both. Creating a sequence and making selects is very simple. If your not comfortable or familiar with the editing platform at all a few google searches will guide you through this basic process.
Alternatively, if that seems too involved or beyond your time or abilities. At the very least Set up the drive with the folders and create a paper edit. Create a document and assign a brief description of each Footage Card and Contents. Then Do a paper edit. Watch the footage in a viewer such as Quick-Time. Make your selects that way. Create a new document, split the page into two columns. On the left will be the script, On the right will be your notes and your ‘Selects” If the script says, ‘Mary Enters, speaks to Bill. Mary: Hi Bill!” That will be in the left column in the right will be the shot into something like Mary Enters Card02, IMG-0190.mp4 at 03:04. And just map the whole script out with your selects.
The point of all this is to present the editor with a project they can jump right into. If you present an editor with a low rate and terabytes of raw footage they will politely pass. If you talk to an editor excited about the possibilities of the project with specific examples from media you’ve already organized and prepped you have a reasonable chance to get them just as excited about being a part of something. If you don’t have the money to invest you simply need to invest your time. Sharing the time investment with the editor rather than laying it all on them will encourage talented people to join you. Last I should mention be sure to make a backup of the drive and its contents and store that away safely.
For more tips and shared experience visit our youtube channel Create Sci-Fi with plenty of informative videos on creating content.
More and more I am filming content on my smartphone and I am digging it. Let me start off by saying I am old enough to have been creating content before there were video cameras and desktop editing options. I am also young enough to have been an early adopter of that technology. When I started creating videos over 10 years ago all the working film people would give us video creators a hard time. Saying it’s less than, a toy and not legitimate. Well now that is no longer true and it was well worth my time to go on the journey. Recently hearing about phone filming technologies I scoffed at them. Then I had an uncomfortable realization. I was treating the idea of shooting video on the phone the same way the film people scoffed at video in my early days. I quickly started to learn about the new technologies this is what I found.
To start you want to beef up your camera app and get a sound recording app. The two camera apps that I have been using are Filmic Pro at $14.99 and Movie Pro at $5.99. Right now for me, Filmic Pro is in the lead also the Film Riot Show did a great review tutorial on Filmic Pro here. For audio I have been using one app I’m very happy with called the Apogee Meta Recorder at $4.99. For a single person shooting I have been using a simple inexpensive phone lav, you can get ones like this on Amazon for $20.00. If you are shooting a scene with multiple people you can use a shotgun, Rhode has many phone friendly options.
For stabilization and framing there are many options as well. On a basic level I use a simple tripod phone mount and a basic flexible gorilla tripod. Here is a best of list. Recently I purchased a handheld rig from iographer for around $60.00.
Last I will say I have worked professionally as a video editor and when I import video captured on the phone into the editing program I am hard pressed to find any reasons for not capturing video images on the phone. All the gear to make a legitimate attempt at filming with your phone is under $100.00. That to me is amazing. I would highly recommend you explore the possibilities of shooting a short film or web series idea you’ve been kicking around as soon as possible. With gear under $100.00, it will only cost your time.
To put my money where mouth is so to speak, on my youtube “How To” channel I am doing a series called “How To Make A Sci-Fi Short Film” So far all the episodes are shot on the phone and the short that I will be making at the end of the series will be shot on the smartphone.
I hope you found this simple hack useful. For more tips and shared experience visit and subscribe to my above-mentioned youtube channel Create Sci-Fi with plenty of informative videos on creating content.
One great way to elevate the status of your web series is to cast a known actor who has been off the radar. In film, Quentin Tarantino is the master of this. With our modest web series production budgets, we can scale this practice down. For example, if your web series is sci-fi you would try and cast a memorable day player who was in several episodes of the TV series Star Trek: Enterprise (2001–2005). If you are making a comedy perhaps you look for a lead actor from an 80’s TV show that you’ve not seen show up in anything in a while. Making a Thriller? Find that actor from that memorable X-Files episode, you get the idea. My colleagues and I are always trying to think of actors for our projects that people know, but don’t know they know, until you remind them. If your script and concept are solid and you are organized and persistent, you can land one of these actors for your show.
Some examples of would be Beverly Owen (later re-placed by Pat Priest) as the teenage niece on, “The Munsters”. Shelley Hack and Tanya Roberts who both replaced the Kate Jackson character in the original, “Charlie’s Angeles”. Jenilee Harrison and Priscilla Barnes who both replaced Suzanne Somers character in the 70’s & early 80’s TV Show,” Three’s Company”.
Some people may be skeptical but when you have invested all of your time and energy into a project you want to make sure you’ve done everything to ensure the success of your show. Securing an actor that resonates in the pop culture zeitgeist can go a long way in stimulating interest in your project. Consider casting a recognizable actor in a minor role as the Mom or Dad, the Boss, the Quirky Neighbor, the Spaceship Captain… I could go on.
Here is the Hack. Consider this type of an actor for a supporting role in which you can shoot their appearances across your entire season in one day. Once you have an actor in mind you need to consult IMDB Pro to learn who represents them. If they list an agent and manager the manager is preferable as they tend to have a more personal relationship with their clients. If it’s just an agent then use the agent.
For the record, the procedure I am about to share with you was recommended to me by an A-List talent manager, it is not something I developed myself. You need to decide how much its worth to you to have this actor. I aim for something in between the regular SAG day rate and the Ultra Low Budget day rate. When contacting the actors representative and making your brief pitch you say, I would like to offer Actor Name X amount plus 20% for management fees. Basically what you are saying is if you are Offering the actor $500 on top of that you are offering the manager $100. The reason is this, they are the gatekeeper. Even if the actor, in theory, would be thrilled to be a part of your show and just flattered you thought of them, most likely they will never even know because it simply was not worth the managers time to pass the information on. In the big scheme of things, the $50 they would make is just not worth their time. When you offer the “plus 20%” they would make $150 which is still not much but what is important is that you are sending a message. The message is you are a professional making a serious inquiry and that you value their time. The following is an example of an intro email.
My name is ___________, I am the creator of a web series titled “__________”, and I would love to offer your client Actor Name a featured role in this project. I became aware of Actor Name from Their work on “XYZ” and was very impressed by “XYZ.”
My project, “_________” is unique in that … (Here I would talk about what the goal is for the series, i.e. You are already accepted into certain online platforms, festivals and whatever else you plan to submit to) We just finished the (amount of scripts?) for season 1. (Something of note about the creative team). The role we have in mind for Actor Name is XYZ and we really think they would be outstanding (and hilarious/powerful?) in the role.
The episodes are roughly Xmins each in length and their role is in (every?) episode (or name how many). It is possible to shoot all of their scenes in one day. We can offer $____ for the day “plus 20% for agent/management fees” (Here is where you say your total budget is X for the entire series, and that it will be under a SAG new media contract whichever one you choose. This is also a place to be personable and add that Actor name will be fed well, and get first class treatment etc., this is a personal moment do your best).
I would be happy to send scripts and links to proof of concept materials.
Thank you in advance for your consideration,
Certainly, you will pay more then you can afford and you will jump through a few hoops and be turned down by many of your choices but it is worth it if you succeed. It is one of those unexplainable things, audiences and the media love it when these types of actors appear in your show. In the end, you will be glad you made the effort.
I hope you found this simple hack useful. For more tips and shared experience visit my youtube channel Create Sci-Fi1 with plenty of informative videos on creating content.