Digital Convergence Episode 115: The Age of Indie
Mitch, Chris and I talk to author and indie filmmaker Mike Carroll. He’s been on the show before (back in episode 75) and he’s back – this time talking about the second edition of his book Naked Filmmaking: How To Make A Feature-Length Film – Without A Crew – For $10,000-$6,000 Or Less Revised & Expanded For DSLR Filmmakers (Volume 1)(Note: affiliate link)
I apologize to our listeners for being late getting this episode out. I got sick again and fell behind with my business and the podcast. The wait is worth it, though. Mike Carroll loves cinema and the craft of filmmaking. We love listening to Mike, in part because of his fountain of filmmaking lore and knowledge, but also because of his passion for the craft. After listening to Mike in this episode, you can’t help wanting to grab your camera and start making an indie feature with your HDSLR!
CARL 00:00 This is the Digital Convergence Podcast Episode 115. It’s Wednesday, March 20th, 2013. We would like to welcome you to another edition of the Digital Convergence Podcast, your talk show about photography, video and post production. This is episode 115, The Age of the Indie. The Digital Convergence Podcast is sponsored by CrumplePop, Film and Broadcast effects for Final Cut Pro. Now, today is a Digital Convergence team is Mr. Chris Fenwick of course–
CHRIS 00:42 Hello, hello, hello.
CARL 00:43 Hey Chris, and also Mr. Planet Mitch of planet5d.com in the forums of planet5d.com.
MITCH 00:50 Oh! You’re so sweet.
CARL 00:51 Yeah. So, I’m getting the hang of it. [laughter] And of course, we’re joined by Mr. Mike Carroll, the naked film maker and no–
MITCH 01:00 Yikes!
CARL 01:00 It’s not what you think. [laughter] He bares his soul for all, Mike. [laughter] It’s good to have you back on the show again.
MIKE 01:07 Oh, thanks so much for having me.
CARL 01:08 Man, we’ve been saying, we’re going to have you – of all the episodes, we’ve done – and don’t tell anybody, okay? But I think you were the most interesting person we had on the show. Just to let anybody know that we said that, okay? [chuckle]
MIKE 01:22 Of course. Well, I get such a kick when I hear you mentioned me on your show every couple of episodes, I feel like I should be sponsoring you somehow.
CARL 01:31 Oh, we can arrange that. [laughter]
MIKE 01:33 Okay.
CARL 01:35 We can definitely arrange that. No, it’s cool to have you because you up-heading me of what our convergence crowd is all about. You went out as an Indie filmmaker using the tools that are available and you created your own – not just one future film but multiple films and you’ve written a book. No, wait, you’ve written two books, but we’re going to get into that in a little bit. So we’re going to talk about that. But hey, I want to challenge our lustrous panel of cinematographers here. Okay, this is a music, this is a theme from either a TV show or a movie and let’s see if you can guess where it came from. Are you guys ready?
MITCH 02:20 Yes.
[inaudible] CARL 02:58 All right, would you like to take a guess?
MIKE 03:02 That’s so easy.
CARL 03:03 Oh, no.
MITCH 03:04 Oh, no.
MIKE 03:05 It’s The Day the Earth Stood Still by Bernard Herrmann.
CARL 03:08 You have got it. Absolutely, and I knew Mike would get that one.
CHRIS 03:12 Actually I think the song is called Gort.
[chuckle] MIKE 03:15 Gort Klaatu Barada Nikto.
CARL 03:17 There you go. And we’re talking about the 1951 version not the fake 2008 in the boot.
MIKE 03:23 Right, right.
MIKE 03:24 And you know what’s so unique about that score is that they didn’t have a studio orchestra.
CARL 03:31 Really?
MIKE 03:31 It was all done with the theremin.
CARL 03:33 Yeah, Isn’t that– I love the theremin.
MIKE 03:35 Yeah.
MITCH 03:37 I don’t know what that is.
CHRIS 03:38 You are a font of knowledge.
CARL 03:42 So theremin is this antenna thingy and you just wave your hands in front of it to produce different pitches with the sign wave that you hear. That weird–
MITCH 03:53 Really?
CARL 03:54 Whistling sounding thing. Yeah. Moog music still or used to make those things. I don’t know if they still do, but used to be able to get them from Moog.
MIKE 04:05 Really? I did not know that.
CARL 04:06 Yeah. But anyway, very good Mike. Man–
[laughter] MITCH 04:10 Way to go Mike. I would have gotten that one wrong again.
CARL 04:13 What were you going to say Mitch?
MITCH 04:14 I was going to say the outer limits.
MIKE 04:16 Yeah, I was kind of going down that road too. But I think I have to resign from the show now, right? Is that correct?
[laughter] CARL 04:26 No, no. The only one that we were going to fire you from is if you didn’t get route 66.
MITCH 04:31 Yeah.
MIKE 04:31 Oh, okay, good.
CARL 04:33 Anyway, it’s cool. Yeah, and you know that movie, the soundtrack was nominated. I don’t think it won, but it was nominated best original score. And the golden globe, I believe if I’ve got the facts right.
MITCH 04:47 Oh, you always have your facts right.
CARL 04:49 No I don’t.
MIKE 04:51 I’ll tell you, it is such a great score. I’ve got it on my iPad.
CARL 04:54 Do you really?
MIKE 04:55 Yeah.
MITCH 04:55 No wonder he got it. He’s a cheater.
[laughter] CHRIS 04:58 No, he’s a real fan of cinema.
[laughter] CARL 05:03 I do not know what Hollywood was thinking when they remade that movie with – who was that? Keanu Reeves. That movie was terrible, I’m sorry.
MIKE 05:15 Okay, here’s the lowdown. On moodmusic.com, you can buy a Etherwave Theremin Kit.
CARL 05:25 That’s cool. I still got.
MIKE 05:26 The build it yourself kit has an unfinished wood cabinet, prebuilt circuit board, several wiring points require soldering, not for the faint of heart. Power supplies included over 120 volts for use in US or Canada or 220 blah-blah-blah. The Etherwave Kit comes with a DVD containing two video tutorials. There you go.
CARL 05:45 How much is it?
MIKE 05:47 $359
CARL 05:50 Wow. Hey, does somebody want to buy me one of those?
[laughter] MIKE 05:55 I think you might have to have a synthesizer to plug it into.
MITCH 05:59 Oh, gosh.
MIKE 06:00 Customize your cabinet with me–
CARL 06:02 Have you seen my studio?
MIKE 06:05 No, I don’t think so.
[chuckle] CARL 06:09 I can handle that. That’d be cool. All right but this is not a music podcast is it? It’s about–
MIKE 06:16 This weekend move–
CARL 06:17 Making video, yeah. There are some cool stuff from Moog, but I have to do another podcast for that. [laughter]
MITCH 06:26 The Podcast King, Carl Wilson.
CARL 06:28 Right, yeah. Don’t feel like a podcast king as you can tell my voice is real froggy–
MITCH 06:34 Well, because you have been doing too many podcast.
CARL 06:35 is that what it is?
[laughter] CARL 06:39 Oh well. So, everybody know what time it is?
MITCH 06:50 It’s time for old fashioned news from Planet5D.
CARL 06:53 Yeah, take it away Mitch?
[laughter] MITCH 06:56 Making up my own story line there. I don’t have a whole lot of news this week. I think everybody is kind of in the loll before the storm of any bewitches two weeks , three weeks from now. I forgot–
CARL 07:11 April 7th.
MITCH 07:12 Yeah, so that’s about three weeks–
CARL 07:15 Well, technically, its April 6th, isn’t it? When it actually– I guess, they start having summer dance. but I won’t get there until the 7th.
MITCH 07:21 I think they are actually start on Friday or Saturday but any way [chuckle] there is also sort of stuff going on at NAB and I just ever barely scratch the service and by the ways, speaking of NAB, how is that for a Segway? I’m going to remind everybody that I’m going to be doing a live show every afternoon from 5 to 6 on the Teradek stage. I don’t have a link through that yet to where you can tune in but everyday will be having NAB wrap up show, but you can see me live. And we’re trying really hard to get Chris and Carl both on there.
MIKE 07:58 I’m going to be there in the audience watching for two days. [chuckle]
CARL 08:03 Hey, we’ll be the heck of course in the background, right?
MITCH 08:05 Yeah. I won’t doubt it. About the only exciting there was– I don’t know if I should say exciting, the rumor mill has the cannons going to announce a new camera tomorrow.
MIKE 08:16 Really?
MITCH 08:17 Yes, and it’s interesting and the kind of– I just don’t see the excitement over it, but the rumors are that they’re going to be announcing the EOS-B which is the name that was given to it on the leak by Best Buy. Best Buy had this on their website. I don’t know if even still there but it was leaked early. And the cool thing, quote on quote about it is the fact that it is smaller than a T4i and I already think that the T4i is too small but I have big hands. And larger than the EOS M which is the dash M is a Mirrorless camera. So this is an actual DSLR but it’s somewhere between the Mirrorless M and the T4i in terms of size. I guess there is a big market for small cameras these days which is – the only big appeal that I can see for it is got the same sensor apparently as the T4i, it does HD, video, digit 5 processor, 4 frames per second, the T4i does five. Base price is supposed to be about $799, which is really interesting because the T4i is currently retailing for about $650. So, we’ll have to see how this works out.
CARL 09:51 Where do you think these leaks come from Mitch?
MITCH 09:54 [chuckle] It’s really interesting on this one because the leak actually came from a website, alleged “legitimate website” [chuckle] I shouldn’t say that. Best Buy is legitimate, okay? [laughter]. Sorry, rephrase that. The question about why it was posted on this buy site. Did somebody screw up and post it early? I was recently told by – the guy is a BNH photo by the way, that they don’t get days and days of information early from folks like Canon and Icon and that kind of stuff. They sort of get it, half a day before. So they don’t have–
CARL 10:41 They have to scramble.
MITCH 10:42 Yeah, they have to scramble to get these things online. Just like I do, when I don’t get in the aid for the camera.
CARL 10:49 Do you think it really will be called the dash B or do you think that it was like a place hold their name or something?
MITCH 10:55 I don’t have a clue to be honest with you.
CARL 10:58 Interesting.
MITCH 10:59 It’s kind of interesting because the EOSM is mirrorless. I don’t know what the B would stand for.
CARL 11:06 Yeah, interesting.
MITCH 11:07 Earlier rumors where that it was going to be the seven DD, which would be replacement for the six DD, but this is no where close to the specs of that, so I don’t know. Just like on Mac rumors, there are people who love to make these things up to try to become famous and– [laughter] Same guys that write viruses and Trojans, and everything else seemed to get jollies out of making things up just to say, “Hey, I got my cellphone kind of rumors” or whatever even though they didn’t get your name in there.
CARL 11:44 Well, did you see that idiot before the 5D3 who posted a 5D2 with two XLR cables on the front of the handle?
MITCH 11:50 [laughter] Yeah.
CHRIS 11:52 Oh, wait. That was me.
MITCH 11:54 Oh, yeah, that was funny. I wonder why he did that.
CARL 11:59 Because he’s an idiot.
[laughter] CARL 12:02 He wanted to be nerd famous.
MITCH 12:05 You can also now get – GH3 is become quite available now. It used to be in really low stock. So, if you’re looking for the Panasonic GH3, you can find those all over the place now, which took a long time for them to actually get it out, which kind of surprises me. It’s to the point now where some manufacturers are announcing this camera 6 to 12 months in advance and it just lays me.
CARL 12:34 I think that has to do with marketing and just trying to keep their name in front. If all their competitors are announcing something, maybe they just feel they have to be getting on the game.
MITCH 12:45 Well, but I’ve also been told that companies don’t like rumor sites because it “cuts down on sales”. People see the rumors and they go, “I’ll not buy something.”
CARL 13:01 Right.
MITCH 13:02 But now, for example, Canon released announced the 1DX, nine months before it came out. The 1DC was almost a year. Anyway, it’s just interesting the way that’s going to happen. Big news coming up in April is supposed to be the new firmware for the 5D Mark 3.
CARL 13:24 You know what? I totally forgot about that, the name announced that five, six months ago.
MITCH 13:29 Yeah, I think it was November and so we’re still eager waiting that.
CARL 13:36 That’s supposed to give us clean HTML.
MITCH 13:38 Yeah.
CARL 13:39 That’ll be cool. We actually bought one of the Kypros to do that, and then we’re disappointed that the new 5D3 didn’t have a cleaner to be able to record that way. So now, I get to use that for more stuff.
MITCH 13:53 Yeah, well see. I still don’t have a date on that. I’ve been trying to find that, but well see.
CARL 13:58 Okay.
MITCH 14:00 In terms of– One other interesting thing, which we debated before the show about whether this is actually a cinema pic or not, but I really enjoyed this.
CARL 14:11 It’s news now, so hit it.
[laughter] MITCH 14:16 The DigitalRev website, they sell cameras, but they also have Kay, who does video reviews on YouTube and he’s got hundreds of thousands of followers. Periodically, get’s a famous photographer to shoot with a really crummy camera. And, he’s done it several times and it’s really fascinating. And this particular episode which I posted on my 5D couple of weeks ago, was shot by Vincent Laforet. And they gave him an – God, I forgot the name – Canon A2E and that they put a lens baby composer lens on it. It was just fascinating to watch Vincent shoot because – especially, in one section where he stood still for 10 minutes waiting for a pigeon to fly through the view because he had seen it happen and he wanted to wait until another pigeon or the same pigeon came back. And so he just stood there waiting and Kay was standing around going, “What are you doing?” [laughter] But in our fast paced world, it was really fun to see somebody slow down and actually wait for something to happen.
MIKE 15:39 It reminds me of what Rick Salmon says his workshops, he says “You don’t take pictures you make pictures.” That is what Vincent Laforet was doing. He was waiting for the opportunity. He anticipated what was going to happen and he put himself in wait for it. He made the picture. I always liked that little Rick Salmonism there.
CARL 16:04 This looks like an interesting bit. I have been watching it while you were talking. Pro photographer, cheap camera.
MITCH 16:11 Yeah.
CARL 16:12 [inaudible] very interesting and cool.
MIKE 16:13 The truth be told though, look how many of us – I look at my own – my 5D Mark 2 now is primarily a work machine. It’s not the machine that I turn to for fun as much as I used to because I love using my iPhone 5 as – for just fun photos, the fun things and then processing them on my iPhone. It is just the most fun thing in the world is to go to the park, take photos of things and then play in camera plus or – there’s all these different apps that you have to mess with. That’s a lot of fun to me. I like doing that.
CARL 16:57 It is amazing how much entertainment can be had in your iPhone.
[laughter] CARL 17:05 What’s next?
MITCH 17:06 I’m done.
CHRIS 17:07 It seems like there should be a cut of music here.
[laughter] CHRIS 17:13 I say it and it just happens, it’s magic.
MITCH 17:15 Your magic.
CHRIS 17:17 Scrolling through the show notes letting Carl cough on his own. Hey we should talk about Crumple Pop. I recently told you guys about being down in Santa Barbara working on a piece that I could not have gotten through without the Crumple Pop. I think they called it Split Screen X I believe?
MITCH 17:40 Correct.
CHRIS 17:41 Is that the one?
MITCH 17:42 Yes.
CHRIS 17:42 Yeah. I loved it. Very enjoyable to use. They always have a DCP discount DCP20 on their website for 20% off of anything from their site, but did you notices Mitch a couple of days ago, and actually I can mention this to Mike and Carl that a couple of days ago, I was going to bed and flip in to the news, thrill one last time and it’s not fair to give this now but I just thought it was interesting. They had a one day surprise sale, 40% off.
MITCH 18:18 I was going to mention that.
CHRIS 18:20 A bits to it.
MITCH 18:21 Well, the great thing about that and as much as some people don’t like mailing list, if you’re on their mailing list, they have done that several times. They have thrown up one day sales on several occasions but the only way your going to find out about it is either watch the Planet5D news or B, get on that mailing list because that’s where they show them. They pop up there.
CHRIS 18:49 I got it through the mailing list so mailing lists are not all bad people. Sometimes they can save you money.
MITCH 18:55 They could have saved you 20% more than the DCP20 code.
CHRIS 19:00 Is it 20% more or an additional 20%?
[laughter] CHRIS 19:05 I’m sorry. I’m just arguing.
MITCH 19:07 All right math whiz.
CHRIS 19:08 Well, it’s hardly math.
[laughter] CHRIS 19:11 It’s called sentence structure. Anyway we are big fans of Crumple Pop and you should be too. So–
MIKE 19:17 I know Gabe is going to be at NAB. They are not going to have a booth, but they are going to be there. So–
MITCH 19:22 Yeah. We got a hiccup.
CHRIS 19:22 Oh!
MIKE 19:23 Yeah. I look forward to meeting them. Yeah.
CHRIS 19:26 I would like to talk to Gabe about my time code plan and I would like him to build me.
MIKE 19:29 There you go.
CHRIS 19:31 Cool! Alright! What’s next?! Is there another sound effect? I can’t remember.
CARL 19:35 Oh! I can do that. I can do sound effects. Hold on. Alright. So. Joining us today is Mike Carroll the naked film maker who’s actually technically wearing clothes, but Mike, how did you come up with the name Naked Filmmaker? You were here before and you told us but tell us again.
MIKE 19:58 It’s a combination of things. The first thing is when everybody else I know makes movies they make them with the crew. Even friends of mine who I work with as camera man when they want to make a movie, they write it, they direct it but they get someone else to shoot it. And for me as a camera man, I can’t imagine anybody else looking through the lens except for me. So when I did something I used my news and documentary skills and that I write it, I shoot it, I direct it, I edit it, I do the sound. I put together the DVD. I do the poster. I do everything. And when I bend it screenings of other people’s films and a capital B – I thought it was a good story but the lighting could have been better or the sound was a bit weak in some areas. So they have someone else to blank, the camera man or the audio guy whereas for me, I have no one. No excuses.
CARL 20:59 Yeah.
MIKE 20:59 So and it’s – I look upon to this and artist do does paintings. They don’t have assistance doing the sketches and then someone else filling and the colors and all that. I do it all and when you see a film that you’ve done entirely by yourself, you have nothing to hide behind. So in effect you’re naked before the audience because all the judgment is on you.
CARL 21:21 There you go.
MIKE 21:22 And also it’s a play on the wonderful role nor titles in the 40’s and 50’s like The Naked City, The Naked Jungle, stuff like that because it gets a lot of attention.
[laughter] MIKE 21:37 The two biggest first words in movies are either naked or last.
CARL 21:42 Really?
MIKE 21:43 The last picture show, the last mile. All of that, just type it in IMDB and there’s just a whole page full. So, I wanted to also play off in the word thing, but off course, if you type naked in the Amazon, you get an awful lot of books. And I wanted to have a title that would be very easy to remember. So not many people are going to remember my website, michaelfilm.com but if you say naked film making, no one is ever going to forget that.
CHRIS 22:13 Well, you’ve done well. [chuckle]
MITCH 22:16 Yeah, it works like a charm.
CARL 22:18 I’m actually checking on the Netflix as we speak.
MITCH 22:22 Don’t get destructed.
CARL 22:24 Well, I’m not going to get too destructed but I want to…
[laughter] CARL 22:29 Oh yeah, there’s a couple right there. Netflix is, “Oh yeah, you’re right, couldn’t I? There’s a whole page. I’m on my Apple TV here, bump, bump bump.” Yeah, there’s quite a few. So, you were very kind to send us a copy digital of your revised book.
[laughter] MITCH 22:53 Well, you have the only one who only have digital. I have not seen it in print yet either.
CHRIS 22:57 Oh is it too late to make corrections?
MITCH 22:59 No.
CHRIS 23:00 I find a couple of typos.
[laughter] MIKE 23:03 E-mail me, I’ll fix them right away.
MITCH 23:05 I’m laughing because I did too.
[laughter] MIKE 23:08 Please e-mail me, I’ll fix some. I did not–
CHRIS 23:10 No.
MIKE 23:12 I did not edit it myself.
CARL 23:14 Page 163, the word battery is spelled wrong, one.
[laughter] CARL 23:18 Five words away from where it is spelled right.
[laughter] MIKE 23:22 Live them alone.
CHRIS 23:24 No. Are you kidding? I would spell my own name wrong if I was not from mere repetition. If you recall, I tried to write a book a couple of years ago or co-write it and I was awful and I had to quit so now I’m amazed you pull this off.
MIKE 23:38 No. Well, on editing, that’s the one great thing about–
MITCH 23:42 I just pulled another one. [laughter] Sorry.
MIKE 23:46 See, you can not edit your own work. You can only do it so much. My wife reviews it after me and she is scrupulous. So I will go through it again. But the one nice thing about this is that the book– I can change it at any time. And that’s uploading a new file.
CARL 24:06 That’s awesome.
MIKE 24:07 So, those will be corrected by the end of the day.
CARL 24:10 So here’s the point people. If you want to get a rare – a copy of Mike’s new book with the typos, order it right away for an Amazon. [laughter] MIKE 24:22 So when I wrote the first book, it was because– and thanks for having me on the show again. When you had me on last year, we talked all about making movies and how to make a films, or how I make films. And I should say that mine is not a how to book for everybody. It’s how I make movies and it’s for other people to take what they will, apply it to themselves, and take what you want and leave the rest. So, I’m not telling everybody this is what you do and all the other books are wrong. This is just how I do it. And–
CARL 25:02 I really appreciate that. Anybody who has watched my tutorials realizes that I’m showing people the way I do things. And I’ve had people write me and say, “You’re an idiot you should do this,” and I’ll go, “Hey, that’s a good point. I did not know that worked that way.” And in a lot of ways, the act of sharing is also a way of learning.
MIKE 25:24 Yeah, yeah. I take from everything and from the first time moment that I began discovering movies and becoming interested in them. I felt like a sponge absorbing all these different things. What makes this scene so good and was it the shooting or was it the editing? Why is the dialogue so good in this scene and then you watch another movie and it’s just completely unforgettable. So, I’m always watching and trying to grab what I can and learn how to make improvements, and also improve my spelling.
[laughter] CARL 25:59 So, what are you working on now besides the book? Are you in the middle of another project, anything you want to tell us about?
MIKE 26:08 Oh, sure. I’m an open book. [chuckle] I’m always working on a lot of things. I’ve made two feature films, Year and Night Beats, also a full length documentary. They have all played in film festivals. The reason the book came about was that I had taught a couple of education courses through UC Davis University on film making. And I wanted to write a film book, but I did not know how to write. So what I did was I recorded the class, and then I transcribed it.
CARL 26:53 That’s clever.
MIKE 26:55 It’s time consuming.
CHRIS 26:57 Well you can pay people to do that now.
MIKE 27:00 Yeah, but that goes against my ethic of not spending money.
[laughter] MIKE 27:06 I make a feature film for $10,000. I don’t want to pay anybody else. But you also learn by listening to how you speak, and I learned just how incoherent I could be by listening to my own lectures. So, I was benefited by editing. So, word processing was a huge help. The first drafted book, after I did it was 600 pages and I had over 200,000 words.
MITCH 27:39 Wow.
CARL 27:39 Wow.
MIKE 27:40 And I edit it down the first edition of make it filming making was 65,000 words. So I edit it, and edit it, and edit it. So I put the book out because I thought I need to generate some interest in the movies. I put them together as DVDs, full with extras and behind the scenes and audio commentaries, because if you make a DVD, it’s important to have more than just the movie and the trailer even if it’s a major studio film. If it only is the movie in the trailer, people don’t buy as many, whereas if you got a moderately interesting movie but full of extras, you get interest from people in buying that. So I always encourage people to put as many extras into it as you can. So I look upon the movies which are filled with extras and the book as a whole circle that if someone is interested in film making to find a book, then they’re going to be interested in seeing the movie so then they’ll buy the movies or buy a movie and check that out and vice-versa if they had seen the movie at a festival or heard about it to the podcast or check that out, or if they want to know more about film making then they’ll get the book. So it becomes a circle that feeds itself.
MITCH 29:06 And it made you incredibly rich, right?
MIKE 29:10 Well, it has made a couple of dollars. [chuckle] I will say this. I am very grateful that I have a full-time job, and that’s a job that I always wanted. Professionally, I’m a TV news cameraman for an NBC affiliate in Sacramento called KCRA, and it’s a dominate station. It’s a great job. I am so grateful to have it and I love doing it. So I make the movies as a creative outlet because I have always wanted to make a movie, and now you can make a movie. You don’t have to raise money. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on film. You don’t have to do all of that. And you can make a movie with the camera, so I got into it at the beginning of the digital wave. But as far as actually making any money with– I will say this, that when I first came out with the first edition of the book which was exactly three years ago, in March of 2010. For the first couple of months, I sold maybe 5 copies a month. At the most I sold eight. And I really was thinking, why did I do this? This was a complete waste of time. Nobody knows it. And I could not get any publicity. I could not get a magazine. I could not get anybody to even to put a review it or anything. To get any publicity is impossible. This show is the only publicity I’ve got.
MITCH 30:40 Really?
CARL 30:40 But then you were on the digital convergence podcast and salesman to the roof? Is that what you are going to say next?
MIKE 30:45 Yes. I started selling 10 copies a month.
[laughter] MITCH 30:48 Awesome.
CARL 30:50 Hey, and I’ve gotten Amazon affiliates from that. So, that’s pretty cool. I know that you’ve been selling some.
MIKE 30:57 Well, what happened was that, starting at thanks giving, which is the beginning of the Christmas season, I went from selling 10 copies to selling a hundred copies.
MITCH 31:09 Oh wow. Great.
MIKE 31:10 That first Christmas. And then it would go down but maybe just to 30 copies a month or 50 copies a month, but what I was trying to get around to saying is that I’m not getting rich off of it, Mitch. But I will say that since Christmas of 2010, I have not paid a credit card statement with the money that I’ve earned as a camera man, it’s all been done from Amazon income.
CARL 31:39 Oh, very cool.
MITCH 31:40 Awesome.
MIKE 31:41 So, it’s been a help.
CARL 31:42 You must have been giddy crazy when you sold 100 copies one month.
MIKE 31:48 I was shocked and–
CARL 31:50 To go from 5, 8, and 10 to 100, good night!
MIKE 31:54 Well, here’s the deal. I’m in two local film making groups. Every city has a film making group. It’s just like SF Cutters and the Cutters in Atlanta. Every city has a film making club or whatever you want to call them. And I’m in two here, and I thought by the time I got to halfway through that first Christmas rush, I thought everybody that I know has already bought the book. Who are these other people?
[laughter] CARL 32:22 I don’t have any more friends.
MIKE 32:23 I was out of friends after two months, that was it. And then Amazon has something that was never available to authors before which is called Amazon Author Central. And for as long as people have been publishing books, the authors want to know where the books are selling. And agencies and publishers say, “Well, that’s too difficult to do. We don’t have that information.” Amazon has the country and the world broken down into sections. So you can sign in to Amazon Author Central and see exactly where your books, DVDs, CDs are selling anywhere in the world. And when I signed onto it and I looked at it, I go, “Oh, my God.” I’ve gone outside of my zip code.
CARL 33:11 That’s a great thing there because we were talking this on the show last week when I mentioned that I’d work to help format a record label with a friend of mine and we did the normal middleman distribution thing. We had no clue our stuff was going to people. We’re going bankrupt. We did not get paid for the stock that we send out, even though, I do spot checks in the store. It’s great they give you that tool. This is what the whole publishing industry is up on errant right now.
MIKE 33:42 Well and it’s not – I don’t want to limit, since this is a film making program and the book is all about film making. I don’t want to limit that Amazon and Create Space is just about books. It’s also about movies. It’s about music. It’s about a variety of different things. So for filmmakers who’ve made a film that’s been in a festival but they thought nobody came knocking at my door to distribute it. You don’t have to worry about that because you can do it yourself and you’re actually much better off doing it yourself.
CHRIS 34:14 Is it hard to set up in Create Space to sell like a DVD or video streaming?
MIKE 34:21 Well, you have discovered that what last week when you went on, when you fill that out in five minutes, you were ready?
CHRIS 34:26 Yeah, did not set up any content or did anything to submit. [chuckle]
MIKE 34:30 It’s so simple and it’s simpler now than it was when I first did it three years ago. It is gotten easier and easier to do.
CHRIS 34:39 So what’s your take on the revenue sharing with Create Space?
MIKE 34:45 Oh yeah, you and I – we’re talking about that last week. My take on it is that– Let’s see… My books – the revise version sells for $14.95. I tried it. I don’t put anything out that’s over $14.95 because anything beyond that I think is no longer an impulse buy and I want to keep the prices as low as I can to stimulate people to not think twice. And also the Kindle versions are much cheaper. The price break on Amazon, it winds up being about you get just under a third of the retail cost of the book, unless, if I listed it in $20 and I’d make quite a bit more, but I try to keep it low. So my take on $14.95 is I make around $4. So it’s a small amount for me. But here is – and if I wanted to publish the book myself, make up 1500 copies or something like that and pay $5000 or $7000 and sell them only through myself as a store, then I would get what 50% or 60% of that. And likewise if I was had a movie and I was going to sell it for $14.95 or $19.95, I could make up a run of a thousand DVDs and then I could sell them all myself and I would have the lion share of that revenue. But at the same time, if you do that, you could wind up stuck with a garage full of boxes of your book filled with the occasional typo or with–
MITCH 36:32 You’re not going to let that go.
[laughter] MIKE 36:35 Yeah, or you could have a typo on the back of your DVD box. You could have your name spelled wrong, which I did when I first was doing my first jacket. I got my dust jacket back on the DVD and on the back of DVDs, the titles of the credits are so small. You need a magnifying glass. It’s like a lawyer wrote it. So it’s easy to miss things like that. But what I’m getting is that you can have tons and tons of your books. I know several people that back when you would go out and shoot like the train show. In town, we have a big train museum and we do a whole special on a documentary on the train show because train nuts by every single thing about trains.
[laughter] MIKE 37:27 And so he did a thousand VHS’ on them, and sold them and he still had a couple left. He sold them of a lot. But still there’s a couple left over. And my whole thing is that I don’t want to have the offer ahead. I don’t want to have the cost.
MITCH 37:44 Have you thought – there are websites like Cafe Press, where they will do the printing and they only print on demand. Have you thought about those things? Have you looked into that?
MIKE 37:53 Well, that’s exactly what Amazon does.
MITCH 37:55 Now? Okay.
MIKE 37:57 It’s printing on demand, and the prices are the cost are incredibly low. I can say that for a book it’s 0.13 cents per page. So, depending upon how long your book is that’s you can figure it out. If you got a 500 page book, it’s going to be $6 to print the interior. And then the jacket is another 30 of 40 cents because it’s a different paper and color and bound and all that.
CARL 38:30 That’s the quality compared to Random House or some other traditional printer here.
MIKE 38:38 You can’t tell the difference. It all gets down to – one of two things, either you– for a book, you either bring someone else in to as a designer, to design the page and the font and your header, and get the titles right and do the layout that way and an artist to do your jacket. Or you take more time but you do it all yourself using photo shop and word, which is what I did. Everything – the whole book is put together using Microsoft Word. I did not use In Design. I did not do anything like that. And then the jacket is done in Photoshop. And that’s also the exact same way that I do my DVDs – the jacket because when you buy a DVD from Amazon which is also printed on demand, you get a DVD jacket exactly like you would buy at Best Buy or something and it’s in the box and then the disc itself is also printed and you design all of that yourself.
MIKE 39:45 The disc art you upload as a JPEG, the jacket you upload as a JPEG. And for the DVD you mail in the DVD, at least, I did it last year ago. They might have it all set up so that you can upload it now. And they send you approved but it wise being exactly what you sent in. In fact now, what they have got it set up is that you can do check your proof digitally online and it saves them the printing time. It saves you the two or three weeks before you get the hard copy of the book. So, it’s much simpler and you can do it all yourself. It’s just takes a little more time.
CARL 40:32 Have you considered releasing your book as e-Books or do you?
MIKE 40:40 Well, I do Kindles. I do the Kindle versions. And one last thing just talking about going through Amazon, yeah, they do take a larger share. Then say if I was selling it myself, but at least as far as books go, I don’t want to have to shell out thousands of dollars and then be stocked with copies of the book that I can’t change. And also at anytime, I can change and modify the interior content of the book by fixing my copy in the file in Word and uploading a PDF, and then within 24 hours it’s in. It’s immediate. And you can also do that with a movie. If you have a movie on Amazon, you can add a new feature to it. Let’s say, you put it out the first time and nobody’s looking at it because it’s just a movie and a trailer. You can add commentaries, you can add making of, you can redo the dust jacket and upload all that and change it at anytime. And you also control the description that’s on Amazon about it.
MIKE 41:57 They take all of the work and effort out of it so, that you don’t have to go through the middleman. And they have the cost. When you set up project on Amazon whether it’s a book, a movie, a CD for music before if you were self publishing or so making a movie, printing a DVD, there would be an initial cost of $300 maybe to set it up, get it into their computer and stuff like that. With Amazon, the initial cost is zero. You don’t pay one penny. The only time I ever pay Amazon to see my book is when I pay the printing cost of a proof of a book and that I don’t pay any extra cost. I just pay the printing cost of the book and that’s it.
CARL 42:48 So basically, you almost have to buy your book to see your book.
MIKE 42:52 Well, exactly. [laughter] Yeah, but I don’t pay $14.95. I pay the printing cost, so they don’t even charge me for all of their other costs that were involved for boxing and packing and all of that stuff, no. It costs absolutely nothing to create a project if you’ve got a movie that is sitting around, it costs absolutely nothing to set it up and put it on Amazon.
CARL 43:21 I want to talk a little bit about a recurring theme in your book as I’ve been reading through it the last couple of days. You really are the hands on guy. I read the whole story about shooting the long monologue in Nightbeats, and the story of packing up the trunk, and driving over to the theater, and wrestling with the kid– Well, not the kids, the skateboarders turned out to be not a problem but the drunks at the pub nearby–
[laughter] CARL 43:56 Yeah, giggling at you or making noises every time you did a take, but even down to the– I ran the cable across the parking lot and put the cones out. But it’s not even just in your shooting, but the I love the fact that you talked about– I used Y adapters so I can hear everything that gets recorded. And I have an instance recently with the producer, who traveled a great distance over the ocean to be a part of a shoot, and hired a local crew. So, he’s already not controlling that and they shot three interviews in England, and one of them came back clearly out of focus.
MIKE 44:44 Oh.
CARL 44:45 The poster on the wall behind the man. Sharp as a tack.
MIKE 44:48 Oh I hate that. [laughter]
CARL 44:49 Dude in the foreground, clearly out of focus. And it’s astonishing to me when people don’t take that hands-on approach. And I love the way every shot of you on the set, you always have your headphones on, and you’re never more than arms length away from the camera. It’s a real testament to your desire to control that. Now a lot of people see that as a power trip, but in your case, it’s – who else is going to shoot it? There’s nobody else on the crew. Of course, I’m going to have to shoot it. And I really appreciate that in what you’re getting across through all your stuff.
MIKE 45:39 Oh. Well, thanks. I shoot it because I’m the only person who’s going to understand what I want to do.
CARL 45:47 Right.
MIKE 45:47 And I don’t say that arrogantly, it’s that when I talk to film making groups, and I explain to them that every movie is going to be different. And when you look at filmmaker’s work, you wonder why is this movie look this way and the other movie cut. It looks nothing like it. Yes, you may have had a different cameraman but they also may have gone after a totally different aesthetic and I think every project needs its own aesthetic, so that it looks different. Otherwise, it’s a TV series where every episode has to look the same and I like having things looking different, even if a big proponent of shooting natural light. But you can – although, our movies have been handheld, maybe I want to use a steady pod and make it looks smoother, or maybe I want to a tripod more often or experiment more with wide angles because almost everything I shoot has been in telephoto.
MIKE 46:45 I want to do something that’s going to be visually intriguing for me. For instance, when I was shooting Nightbeats, we had one big night where we shot in the night club and we were shooting all of the music which was all done live that night. All of the songs is being done over one, two and a half hour straight and we had invited people and it was by far our most expensive night that we shot. And I had asked two of my fellow cameramen from Channel 3, who also had camcorders, if they would there in the film making, and they came and they shot behind B-role and shots of people and all. And their footage was all good, but each person had a completely different eye. And I was totally focused on what I was doing because I had to get all this stuff in just two and a half hours. And so I told–
CARL 47:37 Were you able to use– I’m sorry.
MIKE 47:39 I wasn’t able to use any of it. And it was all great footage, but it was all great footage from their eye. It did not match the aesthetic that I was going for.
CARL 47:49 Interesting.
MIKE 47:49 And you just kind of get that. That’s why if a director has a multiple cam thing, he’s over off to the side or maybe even in another room looking at a bank of monitors to see how it’s all coming across. For me, I don’t like doing that because I do one camera shoots every angle in the movie I shoot. And it isn’t from arrogance, it’s that I wanted to have a certain feeling, since I’m shooting tight shots, I know where I want to have the eyes go. I know how much of the forehead to crop. I want to follow a theme, but it’s also another thing that it’s just me and the actors. In fact, the camera becomes another character in the scene and that’s why I described it with my camera. You have method acting. I’ve got a method camera because I’m intuitively reacting to what the actors are doing. It’s another extension to that, and the actors like it that way.
CARL 48:46 Yeah.
MITCH 48:48 How often do you hear from people that sort of basically say, “Thanks. I’ve always thought that I had to have a huge crew. I’m glad to see somebody else doing it as a one-man band and doing everything.” Is it common or are you–
MIKE 49:06 No. I still get a lot of people saying, “Why did you do that? Do it that way. [laughter] They’ll say, “I understand how you can do that but I don’t have that kind of an eye.” It takes absolutely fanatical obsessive attention to detail and everything where if you’re focusing on a shot, you also have to be thinking, “Okay, where is the microphone cable?” Is that in the shutter? Or is– do you have everything set up so that nobody’s going to trip and fall. For instance, When Nighbeats was all shot at night, and people said, so you got black extension cables for your lights–
MITCH 49:46 No!
MIKE 49:47 Absolutely not. I had white, orange and yellow cables.
MITCH 49:51 At least people would not trip on it.
MIKE 49:53 I don’t want anybody to trip. I want everything to be seen in visual, but you also– I got road cones just from Home Depot, just to set up as a periphery, taking– A couple of times we were on active streets, but we’re shooting at 2:00 in the morning, so traffic was almost nothing.
CARL 50:14 Yeah, that’s the story I read about asking the skateboarders to leave.
MIKE 50:18 Yeah. Well, also, we were– one of the main characters in it played by my wife’s stepdaughter, Laurie. She’s a junkie stripper in it, who’s living on the streets, and so she wears a really wild outfit. Well, we would get cop cars coming through maybe a couple of times a night checking out the scene, but to their credit, they went around the road cones. So even police will respect a road cone if you put it out.
[laughter] CARL 50:50 So there’s your hot tip for film making today. [laughter]
CHRIS 50:53 Carry some cones in your truck.
MIKE 50:54 You don’t need a perimeter, you just need orange road cones from Home Depot and that’s it.
MITCH 50:59 I was going to ask you if you were did permits.
CARL 51:01 No, no.
CARL 51:02 Oh no. [chuckles]
MIKE 51:03 A permit really is a studio company needs permit because what’s the permit for? It’s for parking and they have trucks. I’ve got a Toyota. My entire truck is loaded into the back of my trunk. So it’s all simple. And also in the new blog, I have lots of photos so the people can see what’s in the trunk of my car. People can see the gear that I take–
CARL 51:29 I love those photos. And to be clear we at the DCP, we are not offering legal advise so in your own community, you may want to consider looking into the permit thing but we understand. I think Mike you would say it’s easier to say to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.
MIKE 51:48 Yeah. Well, I would not be – if I will shooting in front of City Hall during the day time, I would get permits, but if it’s after hours and it’s start forget it, I’m going to be out there by myself and I have.
CARL 52:02 Yeah, it’s funny.
[laughter] CARL 52:05 Tell the story about being– I don’t remember where you came from before you got to Sacramento but the story where you decided that you needed to buy your own tripod.
MIKE 52:17 Oh, yeah. Well, I was–
CARL 52:19 And I tell you that around the same era late 80s, I did something very similar than buy a tripod but I bought my own gear to help myself look better. Go ahead.
MIKE 52:34 And that’s what’s it’s all about. I was a beginning camera man in the business. Well, it was about three and a half years in. I started out in a mail room and then finagled my way into a job as a TV news cameraman at another station by sending somebody else’s tape in getting a job.
[laughter] MIKE 52:57 I had to learn everything from scratch. Everything was learned on the job which I think is really how you learn everything. It was in a station that’s now a powerhouse in Kansas, KWCH. Once–
CHRIS 53:12 If I was the cameraman I would shoot stuff like this please hire me. [laughter]
MIKE 53:18 Exactly. Well, I said, yeah, I shot that went on a vacation release status by filling in. I said it was my own stuff. It was just not my own stuff, but it had my name on it. But anyway, a lot of the gear was old and poor or the newer stuff people would grab right away. So I had a really terrible tripod that I could not lock down on tension. The tripod was weighted for – let’s say a 15 pound camera, and I had a 30 pound camera up there. So if I tightened the tension, it was not going to hold, and if I started to move away, I could not let go of the pan arm or it was going to start to tilt forward and then the weight of the camera would crash it to the ground. So that was not good. I hated using it. It was an old rickety aluminum tripod. I could not pan without it shuddering. I had worked in L.A. where I had a brand new Sachtler tripod, which is what all the stations used.
MIKE 54:22 And God it was just a dream. You put this tripod out and it did not move. It was solid. You panned and it looked like it was on not just network TV, it looked like it was in the movies. It was just beautiful to use and a joy and I liked using it. So when I had the chance to go back to Kansas and become the Chief Photographer, so I did that, and I was back with this old crappy tripod. They said, “We saved it for you”. And I was like, “You really should not have.” Thanks for nothing. So anyway, what I did was I thought I need to invest in myself. The only way I was going to get better was if I started winning awards in photography. So I took out a loan against my car–
[laughter] MITCH 55:11 You can do that?
MIKE 55:12 Well, back then I could. I don’t know–
CARL 55:14 Mike Carroll, the title pan DP.
[laughter] MIKE 55:18 Yeah. I took out a loan and I bought a $3500 tripod. At that time, all of the tripod we use–
CARL 55:28 I got to stop you right there Mike. [laughter] This is so contradictory the way most people think I think because most people would have gone and got that loan for the camera without thinking about the tripod.
MIKE 55:42 Well, I’m talking about working in news where all of the gears are given to you.
CARL 55:48 Yeah, right.
MIKE 55:49 Unless you’re a freelancer, you don’t buy your own gear. And even then, some freelancers don’t because each organization you work for has a different type of camera that they use and everything is exactly the same. If you work for NBC you’re going to use this. If you work for CNN, you’re going to have that type of the camera and they all could be different. Organizations often will have the gear and just hire the DP to use on the freelance basis. I was a staff photographer in a small station. I’m now a staff photographer in a fairly large station and they provide all of the gear. It’s a different set up. But at the station where I was working at, which KWCH in Wichita, we still had some old gear. We were going through the switch to become the number three to becoming a number one which we did.
MIKE 56:42 But I needed to improve myself. I wanted to make my own work look different and better. And the only way that would work for me was if I had my own tripod and I was shooting on a tripod and getting those steady shots and really making it look – taking it to a higher level. So, I took out a loan. I bought the tripod, and then because you’ve invested these much money and you’re not going to let it sit on the back of your truck. I spent 3500 bucks. I got to use it on this story. So I would do that and I aggressively paid it off in about 6 or 7 months, so everything was clear. I did start winning photography awards and contests because of it. It did pay off and because of the reel that I put together–
CARL 57:30 This time of your own footage.
[laughter] MIKE 57:34 Well, with the footage or the stories that I shot with the tripod I invested in, but using their gear and all of that. I got my next job and then I got the job here in Sacramento. And when I came here, we had good gear. We had Sachtler tripods. We had really nice cameras. I did not need my tripod anymore so I sold it. It was two years old, so I sold it and I got $1800 back. So I felt you buy good stuff and then you sell it, and you get some money back for it. And if I bought a cheaper tripod, I would not get anything, but I bought a name and the investment paid off in my career and it also paid off when I sold it.
CHRIS 58:20 And I think that is really the key is the investing in your career. Carl and I talked about this a lot how – the number one thing that you need to do in this industry and probably frankly in any industries, you really do need to invest in yourself. You need to– Learning is important. Sure, there’s plenty of gear and software to learn about, but there’s also business practices. It’s not fancy. It’s not exciting. It does not have a cool name but you do need to learn how to manage a business. You need to learn how to promote yourself and there are plenty of resources out there that allow us to do that, but we very seldom – do we see the need to invest in ourselves to make ourselves a better business person, as well as a better technician, or editor, or camera operator, or writer and that’s something that we should really consider doing more.
MIKE 59:24 It’s like we all have decent computers–
CHRIS 59:28 I loved the fact that you did the one whole movie on an eMac–
[laughter] MIKE 59:34 Well, the eMac was a great computer at that time.
CHRIS 59:37 Really? An eMac? Okay. [laughter]
MIKE 59:42 Well, this goes to another part of my aesthetic, is that I make my movies as a one man, but I also make them with gear that anybody could get. I just describe that gear that I work with today. I shoot my paying job. I have $50,000 camera with a $20,000 zoom lens on it. I have a Sachtler which – the Sachtler that I bought in the mid 1980’s was $3500. Today, that would be a $13,000 tripod.
CHRIS 60:14 Yeah.
MIKE 60:16 So I used high-end equipment. My wireless microphone is $3000 that I shoot with at work. But now, when I make my films, I do not use any of my station equipment. I don’t borrow it. I don’t use it. I don’t want to have the liability, and I stress to other people don’t use your company equipment. Don’t deal with that liability because if it breaks so you’re stuck with it, and how are you going to explain for that.
CHRIS 60:44 Yeah.
MIKE 60:44 So I use my own gear. I have a Canon 7D now. I describe all the cameras that I made my movies with before. I use the Sennheizer Evolution series wireless mics which you can get for $500, $600, something like that and are spectacular. I’ve edited using– My film so far were all done using Final Cut. Starting with Final Cut when it didn’t have a number and then Final Cut 6 or 7 at the end. So I use everything that you can buy. I have microphones that– I do have high end shotgun microphones that I have bought from people that I get to know. But once you get into the circle of film makers, you meet people, who either they’re buying something new, and they want to sell some gear they have got or they’re getting out of the business. And they’ll say, “Hey, you want this?”, and they’ll give you a deal. So I’ve got a $2000 microphone, I paid $500 for–
CHRIS 61:44 Oh, I’m a big believer in buying used stuff.
MIKE 61:47 Oh, yeah.
CHRIS 61:48 I’ve got a Maki 1402, I bought for $200. It’s a 400– It was brand that this company, they bought it and they never used the thing. It was a no-brainer to buy.
MIKE 61:58 Yeah, and it’s all over the place. We were talking about San Francisco cutters, and tomorrow night Robert Delva, who edited the Black Stallion is one of the great films. He had sent me an e-mail that – when he was working at Disney, he was leaving the lot and they were throwing all of their 35 millimeter movie editors into the dumpster because they had gone digital. They were just throwing that stuff away.
CHRIS 62:30 Wow.
MIKE 62:30 And now I will say, I have a 35 millimeter movie [laughter] that belonged to Universal Studios. I paid $200 for it on eBay. I just wanted to have it as a piece of history. And also I’ve got C stands that people have given to me because they say, “I’m getting out of the business, or I’m retiring, I’m moving.” Here are my C stands. When you get into this and also if you’re a nice guy, people will give you stuff and they will give you some good stuff. I’m not saying that you should plan this is part of your business plan [laughter]. It’s part of it. This is just kind of a perk to doing something and being honest with people and mutual respect and people liking you.
MIKE 63:16 But let me add one other thing, if I could about we’re talking earlier about distribution and Create Space. For filmmakers and make stuff when I was on the first time, we got to the end and Carl asked me about where can we see our stuff. What’s the future? How do you get distribution? The big thing now is that people are still trying to get into film festivals to make movie thinking that– then they’re going to get picked up by a studio. Their movie will get distributed and play in theaters around. Once in a while, that happens. That happened for Lina Donna with tiny furniture but I don’t think that movie was distributed but I don’t think it made you any money. Usually, that will just happen once in a great wall wireless. You’ll have better luck with fine lottery tickets or something. Our company may see a great talent and buy their movie and distribute it but they’re just doing it to create relationship with the artist. That happens very, very, very rarely. You can’t count on it.
MIKE 64:25 When I was in my first film festival with my feature film here in San Francisco, the San Francisco Independent Film Festival, which is a great, great festival. There are a bunch of other movies that played there with me and really good films. And then six months later, I started seeing them in my local video store. And I would look at them thinking, “How did they get out?”, and I would look on the back, and they are all being self distributed. It was all – whatever the name of the movie was .com, and you go to their website and they were selling them all themselves and they managed to get themselves onto some catalog. So, that made me start thinking, and I started looking around, and discovered Amazon, and Create Space and how you could put your movie out as a DVD. And they also handle all of the streaming.
MIKE 65:18 So, if you have a film that you want to make or that you have made and you have played it in a festival, you can upload it to Amazon and you can upload anything. If they are going to look at it, just make sure that it is not someone else’s movie. Make sure that you are not uploading Steven Spielberg’s link in your title on it or something or some other very questionable material. But just make sure that you’re the copyright owner. And then you upload that, and then when you’re doing the DVD, you mail the DVD and they check it to make sure all the specs are right. And there’s also one last thing, which is the box, you check. Do you want it to be available for streaming, for rent or for purchase as to download? And I check yes and you determine how much you want to charge and they take 50% of that. So I charged $99 to rent, and $4.95 if they want to buy it as a download and its a 50-50 split.
MIKE 66:14 But the nice thing is that they take care of the cost for the streaming. I don’t pay anything for that. They do it all as part of their system. And I don’t know if they have got it set up now for HD. I’m sure that they will, if they don’t have it set up yet, but they take care of all of those cost. And final thing about that’s why I am so far only doing things through Amazon, trying to get to iTunes is very hard and there are a lot of people – they are called aggregator setter will try to say well, sign up with us and we’ll get you on to iTunes. I have not have luck with this people yet because they send me up their business agreement and it’s 20 pages long and right away that turns me off.
CHRIS 67:02 Right.
CARL 67:03 Yeah, we were talking about that last week, iTunes can be a difficult place to get your stuff distributed like that. I do have a question, though, when you set up to publish your video on Amazon, there’s no exclusivity there, is there? You could go to Vimeo on demand?
MIKE 67:23 No. Yeah, I can publish anywhere. In fact, Year and Dog Soldiers are after listening to your show talking about free and about uploading whole documentaries. There was the one documentary on the digital platforms and I can’t remember the title of it that you were talking about, where the company had put the whole thing up there free. That really inspired me. So I put Dog Soldiers and Year up on Vimeo for people to be able to watch free, to see what it looks like. And then if they want more, if they want the extras, then they can go to Amazon and buy the DVD and get all the extras. But I have decided put at least those two up free. I’m not going to do that with Nightbeats just because it has some mature subject matter and I don’t want people who are too young to click on it or anything. But I tried to be responsible that way.
MIKE 68:18 But the last thing I want to say about the benefits from me is a filmmaker or Creates Space is that I don’t have to do the sales. I don’t have to deal with the sales to next. I don’t have to deal with the states to say, “This is how much I own.” All the board of equalization at the– I don’t have to explain to the IRS at tax time. I brought this camera and this laptop to make this movie, and then will say, “Is it a hobby or what? If you put it up on Create Space, it is not hobby, it’s a business. And especially, if you’re making money if– Couple years ago, I went to– It was tax time and I was going to see my account and then he just look to me and said, “You’ve been doing this a couple of years now and the IRS is kind of wonder where it’s all going.” And I said, “Here’s this form that I just got from Amazon with how much money I made last year.” And he looked at me and said, “I never have to ask you this again.”
CHRIS 69:15 Right.
MIKE 69:16 It completely justifies it and there will be no questions ask about that, and it is completely regenerate and they take care of it. I don’t have to deal with it.
CHRIS 69:25 That’s cool.
MITCH 69:25 Great point.
CHRIS 69:26 I never hope point of this business that you need to understand taxes. I’ve had the discussion many time with young people when they first start getting involved in the business and freelancing and I tell them, I said, “I know you think you’re making tons of money, go talk to an accountant. Go talk to a CPA. Don’t do this Turbo Tax thing. You need to talk to somebody who understands what you can and cannot write off legitimately and frankly they will save you a ton of money.”
MIKE 69:59 Because the taxes change every year. There’s a new codes.
CHRIS 70:01 Yeah, and I’m sure many people would disagree with me there, but I’ve been using various CPA’s for the last 25 years and it’s always money well spent, I think.
MIKE 70:14 It’s good to be married to one too.
CHRIS 70:17 [chuckle] There you go.
[laughter] MIKE 70:19 My wife is my chief financial officer.
CHRIS 70:22 Does she do all the taxes?
MIKE 70:23 She does.
CHRIS 70:23 Obviously.
MIKE 70:24 Yeah.
CHRIS 70:25 Yeah, very cool.
MIKE 70:26 Yeah, she does a good job with it too. But we never– The whole M game with taxes is not to pay anything, [laughter] or to pay your fair share, I should say. I suppose. But I get tickled at some people, they talk about having huge refunds. I never have a huge refund from the IRS or the state government because my end game is – I have no intentions to give the government a loan. I will give them my fair share for the services that I get but that’s it. I’m not giving them a free loan. So – but I have seen people who have started businesses who did exactly what you said Chris where they think they are making a lot of money and–
CHRIS 71:07 They go spend it all–
MIKE 71:08 Yeah, they go spend it all but they didn’t hold anything back for the cordially estimated taxes or corporate taxes or however they are doing it. And that’s not good man, and they go bankrupt.
CHRIS 71:20 Yeah.
CARL 71:22 Yup, and we are seeing a lot of companies go out of business with the latest article. Did you see this article, I think it was on Creative Cow?
CHRIS 71:30 Yeah.
MIKE 71:32 We took a lot of heat over our commentary on that.
CHRIS 71:35 Yeah. Well, we have opinions and everybody has one.
MIKE 71:39 It still boils down to poor business practices.
CHRIS 71:44 Absolutely.
MIKE 71:44 Making poor business decisions and if people want to take exception to that, I’m sorry, you are not going to be in the business very long. It’s just the way it is. Business is always been that way for thousands of thousands of thousands of years. If you don’t adjust with the times and you don’t exercise good business practices, you’re not going to survive. It’s pure and simple. I don’t care what people think on that. I’m sorry. I don’t want to see people mistreated. I don’t want to see people in unfair conditions. But you know what? You got to make good business decisions. I can’t believe I’m going off on a tangent like that.
[laughter] MITCH 72:14 Let’s talk about something–
MIKE 72:15 I did not even cough once during that. [laughter] I think I got a cure. All right, we do need to move on, don’t we?
CARL 72:23 I believe we should move forward to our– Let me think now, Mitch mentioned the Vincent Laforet cinema/news story about pro photographer which you camera.
MIKE 72:40 So, you’re going into the cinema room?
CARL 72:44 Mike is one of the most sincere lever of film and the staff that I know. Mike, do you have anything you’ve seen lately that you would recommend people watching and why?
MIKE 73:01 Oh, gosh.
CARL 73:02 Either online or maybe a full feature release–
MIKE 73:07 I don’t even go to the movies anymore.
CARL 73:09 Really?
[laughter] CHRIS 73:10 I don’t either.
MIKE 73:12 And when go to the video store, I don’t know what’s there. So, if I throw out an old title.
CARL 73:19 Okay.
MIKE 73:20 Because Chris you said you haven’t seen this before, The Black Stallion.
CHRIS 73:23 Oh yeah, going to go watch it.
MIKE 73:25 I think it’s just one of the most beautifully edited and photographed films. When I teach classes or speak to a group and we’re talking about editing, I always want the finale where the horse race at the end of the film because it is so amazingly done and so beautifully done that at the end of it, I’m literally in tears just that how beautiful it is. It moves me every single time and it’s the power–
CHRIS 73:53 Who directed that movie?
MIKE 73:54 Carroll Ballard.
MITCH 73:55 Who edited that movie?
S? 73:58 Robert Dalva. [laughter]
MIKE 74:02 When you look at it, it’s so amazingly done. It was made around the late 1970’s, 1978 or something. I just encourage people to go and see that. It’s considered one of the greatest children’s film but it’s so beautifully done that it’s adults can love it. It was produced by Francis Coppola. It has a score that it just gets you every single time from the right beginning to end. So I would like to encourage people to watch Black Stallion.
CHRIS 74:35 I promise you I’m going to watch you tonight before I go see Robert Dalva talk about it tomorrow night NSF Cutters. Mitch, you had your Vincent Laforet pic. Carl, do you have anything?
CARL 74:50 No.
CHRIS 74:51 Okay. I–
CARL 74:52 My brain’s not working today. So,–
CHRIS 74:53 No problem. Just last night I watched an amazing documentary. I had to buy it from iTunes. It was well worth whatever it was I paid for. It’s called Sound City. You may heard of this?
MITCH 75:07 Nope.
CHRIS 75:07 So, Sound City is a– It was produced and directed by David Grohl from the Food Fighters and he also was the drummer for Nirvana. Sound City was a recording studio in San Fernando Valley in the– It was built in 1969, I believe. It survived the 70’s, the 80’s, the 90’s, and I think just recently closed down or maybe there was one woman who’s interviewed was – who was credited as being the manager from 1991 to 2001. So, maybe it closed down in early 2000. But it’s fascinating. If you’re a lover of 70’s and 80’s rock, you’re going to hear some really great interviews and the number of performers that David Grohl got in it as interviews is amazing. And what was interesting about it is that David started the project to do a documentary about the mixing console in the studio A control room at Sound City. And it was an old Neve console and he ended– I’m not going to spoil that. Anyway, he starts the story about the console and the documentary just grew and grew and grew. But it’s a real testament to the– They talked a lot about the analog sound versus the digital sound, and like I said, if you’re a lover of 70’s and 80’s rock, it’s really awesome. I just watched it last night and I bought it because I had a feeling I was going to watch it again and again. So it’s what we’re checking out.
CARL 76:53 Neve is certainly an icon of sound–
CHRIS 76:56 Yeah, Rupert Neve. As a matter of fact, he grow ends up getting the this one low scene I will tell you. When the guy, the owner of the studio gives David the original purchase order that they – when they purchased the console. The console in 1972 I believe they bought it was $75000. And the guys says, “By comparison, I bought a house in–” What’s the canyon? The famous canyon? Anyway, right near there. He was, “My house cost half as much as that.” [chuckle]
MIKE 77:40 Oh well, to have a full console and Neve console– There’s no way you could afford that but a friend of mine had. He had two Neve channel strips.
CHRIS 77:50 Right, that–
MIKE 77:51 And that’s what we would use.
CHRIS 77:53 Yeah, in the post digital world, that’s what a lot of people do is to buy a single channel strip for their mic chain, and then record through that. But anyway, they talked about two inched tape. They talk about the end of two inch. They talk about the beginning of pro tools and in the early days they called it “Slow tools” [chuckle] but it’s a fascinating documentary David Grohl did a great job on it. Beginning to end, it’s wonderful.
CARL 78:23 I have to check it out. It’s good.
CHRIS 78:24 Yeah, you’ll actually really like it because it’s that era when you had your publishing company.
CARL 78:34 Hardware, software, anybody?
MITCH 78:38 I got nothing.
MIKE 78:38 Hey, I do have something that’s interesting.
CARL 78:41 That’s why we do the show. [laughter] What do you got?
MIKE 78:45 Well, I have not tried this. It’s just been announced but I am very much intrigued by this. The Wacom has a new Cintiq 13 inch tablet control. Have you ever used any of the Wacom tablets?
CHRIS 79:03 I have. Back in olden times of CRTs and 1024×768. I had a big 12 inch, 12×12.
MIKE 79:12 I used to use them. I got away from it a few years ago but now I’m intrigued because now it’s basically a 1920×1080 LED display with a 2048 levels of sensitivity. So you can angle this. And so you can actually draw on it as if it were you’re drawing on your monitor. Kind of like you’ve been doing with an iPad but iPad is not pressure sensitive.
CHRIS 79:37 Right.
MIKE 79:38 So I think that’s kind of interesting. I’d like to try it. It’s less than a thousand dollars and it’s a–
CHRIS 79:44 Is the model number on it?
MIKE 79:45 It’s called the Cintiq, C I N T I Q 13HD, and it’s compatible with both MAC and PC’s. So interesting device. I would love to try that.
CARL 80:00 Interesting. I just downloaded a piece of software for my laptop just a couple of nights ago and it’s called F.lux, F dot L U X. And I do not recommend putting this on any machine [laughter] that you do color correction on but essentially, what it does is it – your display kicks at daylight. It’s balanced for daylight and anybody who has ever tried to shoot computer screens will realize that they have to either blue gel the room or warm up the display which you will never get equal color temperature between your floor gram subject and the computer that they’re working on. So what F.lux does is it realizes that just physiologically, we as human beings, we are suppose to pay attention to the sun. And when the sun sets, the reason we have that golden hour is the color temperature of the atmosphere is changing.
CARL 81:03 And so at night time, to be staring into a 1920 x 1080 panel of daylight is probably not good for us. Just emotionally, or physiologically, or I don’t know how you would call it. It’s not good to be staring at the sun in the middle of the night. So what F.lux does is it realizes – you tell it what time zone you’re in and whether or not it’s daylight savings time or not. And as the sun is setting over the course of an hour, the color temperature of your display changes. And so again, you cannot use this while you’re color correcting because you need to have a consistent look. But on my laptop, which is mostly just a surf board for me, it changes the color temperature so that in at night time – and you can tell it how warm you want it to warm up the display.
CARL 82:04 But I got to tell you that when you’re just reading the news or surfing or whatever late at night, it changes. It’s different. It changes the viewing experience and the mindset behind it is that you will be able to sleep better and you’re not screwing with your body by staring at a little mini-sunlight late into the evening. But anyway, I have been trying it for a few days and I like it. I will say that it’s default setting at night. I want to say 4200 degrees Kelvin which I think is way too warm but that’s adjustable. You could say, “No, no, no, only change down to 5200 or whatever.” Actually, I will let you know what my setting is.
MITCH 82:49 Gosh, I can’t believe how expensive this is.
MIKE 82:52 It’s Grantola free right?
MITCH 82:54 Right.
CHRIS 82:56 There you go.
MITCH 82:59 I just downloaded it.
MIKE 83:00 What you could do is combine that with a timer on your laptop to automatically just shut it down. [laughter] Okay, time’s up. It fades and then boom. It goes off and says, “Well, that’s it. No more.”
[laughter] MIKE 83:18 Yeah. I have mind set to about 5200, which is more– 5200 is closer to light–
MITCH 83:27 Yes. We care about organamics on the show. This is cool.
CARL 83:30 But anyway. Again, don’t do it on something that you’re critically working on color with but if you’re just reading the news and stuff, take a loot at it. I’m very intrigued by it. I’ve enjoyed it for the last few days.
MITCH 83:44 Cool.
MIKE 83:45 It’s time to wrapped up.
CHRIS 83:47 That’s it.
MITCH 83:50 I’m wrapping my gifts.
CHRIS 83:53 Sorry about that I had to deep switch.
[laughter] MIKE 83:56 I’ve figured.
CARL Sorry about that. Hey, Mike. It’s been a tremendous pleasure having you on this show today.
MITCH 84:04 Oh, Mike?
CARL 84:05 Did we loose Mike?
[laughter] CHRIS 84:07 I think Mike is busy downloading F.lux for his computers. We may have lost him.
CARL 84:12 He still shows he’s online.
MIKE 84:14 No. I’m here, I’m here. I just had it muted. I was correcting the spellings in the book.
[laughter] MITCH 84:21 I haven’t sent them to you yet.
CARL 84:22 The whole point of this is we wanted to illustrate the new era of self publishing. He can be on a podcast, correcting the spelling and make that book available on Amazon.com or as we speak. How is that?
MITCH 84:37 Instamatically.
CARL 84:39 So, Mike, where can people find out about you and your new book?
MIKE 84:44 Well, you could just Google “Naked,” my name will show up on the computer. And then you can– There is my website which is nakedfilmmaking.com. It’s also mikecarrollfilms.com and nightbeats-movie.com. But by the names where everything in URL, everything back to the same website. So, you can find out things there.
CARL 85:06 Very cool. Sorry guys.
MITCH 85:11 No problem.
CHRIS 85:13 You can find me at chrisfenwick.com and Chris Fenwick on Twitter and also Chris Fenwick on Vine. Please, Vine is so much fun people, give it a try.
CARL 85:23 And Mitch, how about you?
MITCH 85:25 I am at–
CARL 85:25 How do we find your planet?
MITCH 85:27 email@example.com.
CARL 85:30 firstname.lastname@example.org.
MITCH 85:31 That’s all I do these days.
MIKE 85:34 And I’m croaking on Twitter.
[laughter] MIKE 85:37 Croaking at the Carroll Olsen.
CARL 85:40 Let’s all thank Carroll for a digging deep to find the energy to get to the show because that’s just the way we are. We want to make sure you guys have a show every week. Thanks a lot Carroll.
MIKE 85:53 Hey, you guys are awesome.
CARL 85:55 Don’t forget to go to iTunes. Rate us there. That really helps. Tell your friends. Let us know about the show. If you like what were doing, send us a note. If you don’t like what were doing, don’t send us a note. We don’t care. No, I don’t need that.
MITCH 86:10 Is this mail thing on your site Carroll?
MIKE 86:13 Yes, I do. I do need to update it though because it’s now out of data, so I got to go fill it up.
CARL 86:19 Got you. Thanks for listening and I think this wraps up another episode of the Digital Convergence 115.
MIKE 86:31 Whoops. [laughter]
CARL 86:33 Whoops! And we’ll see you all next week.
[inaudible] MITCH 86:45 I think there was a call–
CARL 86:46 I think so. I didn’t hit the switch. I didn’t hit it.
MIKE 86:50 It was very appropriate.
CHRIS 86:52 And fade to black.