How to Make an Indy Film

So what do you do when you have non-professional actors and no budget? You embrace the docudrama/neo-realist film making philosophy. When you cannot afford special effects and fancy cameras, you don’t strain your budget. You make minimalism your special effect and you blur the lines between fiction and reality. For a church film, I would suggest a mission’s docudrama in black and white. We’ve seen the docudrama’s success in films (Blair Witch Project), Sit-Coms (The Office) and Reality TV (Jersey Shore). This paper will explore the philosophy  bazinga behind producing this hybrid genre.

Pre-Production and Neo-Realism

Rossellini, the father of the Italian Neo-Realist movement, had no intentions of creating a movement. He essentially said this all came about from not having enough money to do anything else. This makes pre-production less complicated for independent filmmakers. Behind all the rhetorical tropes, neo-realism amounts to shooting on location, and re-writing the script to fit the real people/ non-commercial actors that are available. In many ways the script is 50% staged and 50% improvisation, this culminates with a very intense sense of reality on the screen.

When Roberto Rossellini released his early film Open City, people were saying how realistic it looked; hence the term Neo-Realism. Andre Bazin, film theorist, was a huge fan of neo-realism and Rossellini in particular. The goal, according to Bazin, is to achieve the totality of life by looking at its simplicity.

Rossellini was able to bring reality back to the entertainment world at a time where the films were getting bigger and more fantastic. Instead of escaping reality, Rossellini made us face it. Instead of flooding us with stunning set designs and special effects, they gave us “fragments of reality” and invited us to take part in piecing the meaning together.

At the time of the war, Rossellini believed there was a desperate desire for truth in film. This is why he attributed a moral position to his filmmaking. No one was reporting what was really happening during the war and he wanted people to know. He used film narrative to expose this truth. There were dramatic stories really happening all around him and he wanted to capture them. It is arguable that The Hurt Locker and Precious could fit within a neo-realist hybrid.

Bazin campaigned for true continuity: deep focus, wide shots and a lack of montage. This would leave the interpretation of a scene to the audience member. The present-day neo-realist does not necessarily uphold to all of these somewhat obsolete standards of objectivity, but the current docudrama approach does strongly encourage a similar interpretation on the behalf of the spectator.

One of the best parts of Richard Linklater’s film Waking Life is when the main character is watching a film where filmmaker Caveh Zahedi and poet David Jewell discuss Bazin’s theory on realism. They highlight Bazin’s Christian belief that every shot is a representation of God manifesting creation. So we are essentially watching a movie within a movie that is talking about film theory. What is even more eye opening is when they employ his aforementioned theories, saying “let’s have a Holy Moment.” What follows is a very creative quest for an elusive filmic aspiration to capture the truth.

Production – Successful Examples

Some argue that fiction cinema has embraced, more than ever, non-fiction aesthetics. Several filmmakers are simplifying there film language.

Blair Witch Project

Myrick and Sanchez’s Blair Witch Project, released in 1999, is one of the most well known hybrid successes. It artificially vacillates between art and life. One of the techniques that I would employ into our film would be using the properties of something like a Hi8 (shaky cam). This technique, like the original neo-realists, creates fragments of reality and invites the audience to peace them together. For example: shaky cam jerks the subjects in and out of the frames, shifts focus in and out, and uses long continuous handheld shots. This style relies heavily on immediacy and intimacy.

In This World

Michael Winterbottom made a film on an immigrant’s road trip called In This World (2002). They took one digital camera, using portability and the journey setting. Although half of the film was staged, the street scenes, crowds and marketplaces were not staged. The visual effects of the real helped to draw us into the scripted journey and human drama that was at the heart of the film. It then reverts to documentary mode at the end by using title cards.


Kiarostami, director of Five, takes five long takes to make his film. This film makes use of the long takes that Bazin identified as part of the neo-realist movement. There were several “holy moments” where director Kiarostami captures fifteen minutes or so of the ocean or the moon in a pond. Kiarostami continues to avoid complicated plot structure and unnecessary artifices in the film Ten.

Dogme 95

The Dogme 95 group consists of several people including: Thomas Vinterberg, Lars von Trier, and Kristen Levring. This group sparked neo-realist filmmaking in several impoverished locations. This was a return to the natural feel of filmmaking. The Idiots not only subverts big budget Hollywood filmmaking, but it also calls into question documentary filmmaking. The opening scene draws you into this conflation immediately.

Ford Transit

Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad directed a hybrid film called Ford Transit (2002). Using a 16mm camera, Abu-Assad tells the story of a Palestinian transit driver named Rajai. Rajai must transport locals through military check points in Ford minivan. While keeping the camera mounted on the car for the majority of the film, Abu-Assad also manages to keep the tension at an all time high. In 2003, this film won the Best Documentary Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

When Abu – Assad’s film was accused of being fraudulent he responded by saying his film is both a documentary and a fiction. Like the film Precious, this film could have happened and did happen. Just because the events we’re watching may be acted out does not mean that they are fictitious.

Like Bazin, we can transition into this filmic style easily because neo-realism does not conflict with the Christian message. According to Bazin, it emboldens the Christian message.

Low Budget Marketing – Post Production

Okay, now we have a product that needs some editing but the big question is how in the world do we get this film in the theater? Did we go through all of that for nothing? Should it just go straight to DVD? Even then, how do we get it out there in the book stores and on Netflix? Straight to DVD is definitely an option. I would like to posit editing a short version of the film and using the rest of your budget on one or all three of these options: book formats, networking or film festivals.

Investing In Your Fan Base

One of the more time consuming methods of marketing your film is to first market it as a novel and gain a strong reading fan base. The documented success of the novel will make adapting the novel into a film, for a big company, much easier. I know one may think this process involves just as much funding but if you get published, it costs you nothing. If you self publish, it still cost much less than making a feature and financing the distribution. At least by doing it this way you have the ability to more readily distribute your product and you avoid straining your budget. This also allows the production value of the film to reach a high quality level when it becomes a feature film. Here are a couple of examples:

The Shack

William P. Young worked with Brad Cummings and filmmaker Bobby Downes with the initial purpose of witnessing to others about the glory of God, but ultimately Downes and Wind Blown Media wish to turn this book into feature film. How did they turn this story turn into a best seller? After submitting the book to 20 different publishers and getting 20 rejection letters, they decided to print the book themselves. They marketed their book with a $300 podcast and sold their first million copies out of their garages.

A Time to Kill

Christian author John Grisham had 15 publishers and 30 agents reject his first novel. After getting tired of the process he decided to publish the book himself with Wynwood press in 1989. In 1996 it was made into a crime thriller starring Samuel Jackson, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey and Sandra Bullock. It took in nearly $110 million at the box office and was nominated for several MTV awards.


The makers of Facing the Giants admit that they got lucky when they called Sony and asked for the rights to some of their music. Sony pictures eventually endorsed the film and helped with the funding and distribution. There are several stories like this where Christian departments in Hollywood companies try to network with Christian filmmakers in order to garner the Christian audience.

For example, Sony also signed a production deal with Bishop T.D. Jakes after his film Woman Thou Art Loosed, drew theater goers through grass – roots marketing in black churches. Jakes also fits into the “investing in your fan base” category because he initially self-published a book version of this film. Lions – Gate is funding Tyler Perry who wrote several successful feature length films: Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion, Why Did I Get Married 1 and 2. Tyler Perry recently helped to endorse the independent -film Precious. This film was initially headed directly to DVD but has gone on to be nominated for several Academy Awards, including best picture.

Film Festivals

Making a short film and submitting them to film festivals is one good way to get distribution and funding for a full – length version. Several film makers have done this to get their films into the theaters.


Vacation With the Rich and Famous at St. Barts

Want to bump into celebrities and be seen hanging out where the rich and famous play? Then the Caribbean island of St. Barts is the place to be.

While warm sand and blue waters do make an ideal vacation location, this destination has that and a whole lot more. All of the hot celebrities dock their yachts at St. Barts, where the glitzy night life and the glamorous day times are the envy of the Caribbean. It’s not about who’s seen between bazinga the pages of a magazine; it’s about who’s at the table next to yours.

Formally a quiet island where “night life” referred to sipping wine and watching the stars glittering in the sea, St. Barts has become a sensational vacation destination. As more and more tourists enjoyed the beauty of the island, the live music scene and clubs erupted, creating the fabulous island that it is today.

Le Select in Gustavia is a simple building, designed in a nautical theme. It has been called a “glorified shanty.” The open-air garden has been dubbed “Cheeseburgers in Paradise” in honor of none other than Jimmy Buffett, who often visits St. Barts and even has a home there. Many musical celebrities have been seen here, sometimes even providing live entertainment. Mick Jagger is one of the famous guests of Le Select.

Opposite of Le Select is Bar de l’Oubli, a hip location that serves breakfast to patrons recovering from the previous night and that stays open as late as business requires – usually to at least midnight.

Do Brazil, located on Shell Beach, is owned by former French celebrity, Yannick Noah. This Zen café serves French-Tai as well as French Brazilian dishes. Dishes include amazing meals like duck breast with pineapple, Szechwan pepper, and local pumpkin purée or Mahi-Mahi Moqueca, which is a Brazilian specialty that contains coconut milk, peppers, onions, garlic and coriander. The delicious cuisine can be enjoyed on the “sunset beach” after an invigorating swim or romantic walk.

Nikki Beach, known as “The Sexiest Place on Earth,” is the ultimate beach club. Consistently gorgeous – from the décor, to the music, to the staff – Nikki Beach is a perfect blend of fashion, dining, music, and entertainment. You might see Paris Hilton, Sean Combs, Ivanka Trump, or Mariah Carey enjoying champagne and mingling with guests. But this is no pretentious dinner club. This contemporary locale is more like a Hollywood frat party.

Other celebrity hot spots on the island include the seductive Bar’Tô Lounge in Guanahani, which plays the top hits that keep the young crowd dancing. Dinner and dessert is available from Bartolomeo, which is next door. Baz Bar, on the harbor in Gustavia, has a mellow mix of soul, jazz, and cocktails. Legendary parties occur nightly in the unassuming pitched-roof cottage of Le Ti St. Barth at Pointe Milou. Lastly, but certainly not least, is the Yacht Club, recognized by its white drapes and remembered for its harbor views.

Laurie Harley writes for Boat Caribbean yacht charter consultants, specialists in sailing and motor yacht charters in the Caribbean Se


Avail Digital Marketing Services To Transform Your Business

A strong marketing strategy is not a choice, but it has become a necessity for every business be it a startup, medium-sized company or large organization. Every business is struggling to keep up with promptly evolving customer behavior. A personalized marketing strategy can help a business to know what customers wish for.

When implemented in a right manner, a marketing strategy can show noticeable results in the context of ROI, traffic and online visibility. However, onlyfreedommatters achieving desired results is not so easy. In order to get the most out of it, the marketers should go on board on a range of digital marketing services to transform the way they promote their businesses.

A successful digital marketing campaign includes professional strategies, structures, and top-notch technologies, along with professional experience. The experts utilize cutting-edge digital marketing techniques to drive bottom-line development of a business. If you run an online business and would like to grow by leaps and bounds, it is the time to hire a digital marketing expert. If you are still confused, here are some reasons why you need an effective digital marketing strategy for your business –

Get a direction

Many businesses don’t have a clear motto and aim. They don’t know what they want to achieve exactly. The experts set the goals keeping in your mind your expectations and utilize the best methods to achieve them for you. The marketers start the work by outlining the business goals. Planning, execution and management, etc. all the responsibilities are carried out by the professionals.

Know your market share

In order to satisfy demands of the customers, it is essential that you know your market share. The experts analyze customer’s behavior, buying tendencies, competitors and many more things to let you know where you exists the market. Social media marketing is one of the advanced and useful digital marketing techniques that allow a business to know the customers. The experts increase engagement with customers by making a strong and dynamic presence of clients over social media.

To be in competition

Online marketing is not a one time job, it is an ongoing process. If you are not utilizing avant-garde digital services, your competitors will move ahead to you. Every day, many companies are launched over the internet with a common goal to achieve success and increase profit. Without proficient marketing plans, it is not possible to survive in the competition. Having a professional digital marketing partner may enable you to lead the battle. Don’t give up if a marketing plan is not offering quick results, be patience and wait for productive results.

To build loyalty online

Gaining confidence of your clients is not an easy thing to do, it requires constant efforts. By utilizing right kinds of marketing services, you can build and maintain trust and loyalty among clients about your brand. The marketers know how to make the clients remember you with online reputation management and branding. Blogging, content marketing and social media activities, etc. can help you to build loyalty among target audiences.

Know your customers

A successful marketer always understands the mind-set, needs and expectations of the clients. If you don’t how what your clients very well, it is time to invest in an effective marketing campaign. The experts evaluate the clients, identify weakness and address them to nurture your business.

Go beyond the boundaries

With traditional marketing techniques, you can grow, but can’t reach the edge. Digital marketing services allow you to go beyond all the boundaries. By investing in SEO, social media marketing and PPC, etc. you can enlarge your reach to your potential customers.

Encourage customer engagement

Professional digital marketers understand the worth of customer engagement for the growth and popularity of your business and they encourage it using various tactics. They segment the customers according to your interest and allow you to interact with them.

In order to accomplish your goal, opt for a right digital marketing company that can carry out the jobs in an efficient manner keeping in mind your business nature, target audiences and specific objectives. Choose a reliable company that is engaged in offering top-notch digital marketing services according to the latest trends.


Pregnancy Gender Selection – A Chinese Child Birth Conception Chart

With a one-child policy in effect for two generations, the Chinese have it tough when it comes to raising a family. Gender selection at conception and pregnancy stages have always been an important consideration to the Chinese family as it is only the Son, and not the daughter, that will eventually carries the family name.

When it comes to selecting a bazinga child’s gender at birth, the Ancient Chinese provides a detailed and pretty impressive Pregnancy Gender Selection Chart (or Chinese Gender Conception Calendar), which gives a systematic prediction on the gender of a baby based on two factors;

(a) the age of conception of the mother, as well as (b) the month of conception.

This Pregnancy Gender Selection Chart is not to be confused with the better known Four Pillars Birth Chart (or Bazi) in the field of Feng Shui. The Four Pillars Reading is used for predicting the fortunes of a person based on his birth information, where else the Pregnancy Gender Selection Chart is meant for pre-determining the gender of a child at the conception and pregnancy stages.

This rather well-known Chart was discovered in the Ming’s Tomb and is apparently kept by the Imperial Family. However, there are in effect numerous similar gender selection guides circulating among the Chinese population, especially in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This Chart produced here is meant purely for leisure read.

There is no scientific basis on its prediction, although older generations of Chinese have proclaimed it to be highly accurate. Some feel that after all, with the largest population in the world, the Chinese got to know a thing or two about childbirths. In effect, with only 2 gender selections in the word (i.e. either boy or girl), no prediction mechanisms, either ancient or modern, will do far wrong if they do not deviate too far from the 50% benchmark.

Although this method of selecting gender is safe and natural, it is not meant to be a serious alternative to modern medical science. In modern society as we know of, there are indeed couples who do have problems producing either boys or girls, and the problem can be attributed to both the Father and Mother, and not solely to the Mother in the case of the traditional Chinese Pregnancy Gender Selection Chart. These can be affected by many modern factors not found in Ancient China, including radio waves activities exposed to from modern equipments.

See the Chinese Pregnancy Gender Selection Chart and read more about its usage and origin at the Chinese Pregnancy Gender Selection Chart

Copyright @ eChinaExpat.Com

Interested in China and the Chinese Culture? Read more articles by Linus Leong at [] Linus is an expat living in China. He writes about China and the Chinese Culture for eChinaExpat.Com, a platform for Chinese Culture, China Travel, Feng Shui and general China expat tips for expatriates and tourists living in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and other China cities.


Top Schools For Criminal Justice

The top schools for criminal justice should offer programs that are useful in the real world and programs that are appropriate for a variety of students including busy working adults. If you are a working adult, the following are considered by some experts to be the top schools:


  1. American Intercontinental University Online: This is one of the top schools because it offers an accommodating accredited program for AS and BS degrees with administration, forensics, law enforcement and special population specializations.
  2. Colorado Technical University: The criminal justice associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from this school provide excellent perspective on the theory and history of law enforcement, judicial system and human behavior fields.
  3. Everest College: This school offers comprehensive justice programs in 23 states and online, making it a convenient and affordable option.
  4. Heald College: The business administration department at this school offers degrees in criminology and criminal law with focuses on administration, business management and investigations.
  5. LA College International Online: If you want to begin working in the justice field in as little time as possible, this school is an excellent choice with its 18-month associate’s degree and 36-month bachelor of science program.
  6. Liberty University: This Baptist university offers a Bachelor of Science in justice covering constitutional procedure, criminology, ethics and juvenile justice.
  7. Rasmussen College: This East Coast school’s offerings include associate’s and bachelor’s degrees concentrating on correction, crime scene investigation and homeland security.
  8. University of Phoenix: This is one of the most well known online universities and is considered among the top schools for criminal justice with studies in criminal courts, criminology, cyber crime, forensics, juvenile justice, policing practices and more.
  9. Westwood College: You can find Westwood campuses in five states, where you can earn a Bachelor of Science in justice with concentrations on ethics, legal systems and sociology.