So you think filmmaking is easy – a piece of cake. You’ve spent three years at UCLA, graduated with honors – your student film was screened at the Ventura Film Festival.

You’ve got FILMMAKER printed on your business card. It’s all rosy and then one day you enter the real world…

It’s kind of scary out here. How to get work? How much to charge? Get a crew to help? What to pay them? Charge sales tax on DVD copies? The location needs a cool $1,000,000 insurance policy …

But be warned, dear newbie – the scariest thing out here is… CLIENTS, especially if they’re a dog.

MEET BENTLEY He might only be a dog but he’s client to be reckoned with.

“Stefan, I think that cut should be a dissolve.”

“Cutting is cool, John. Dissolves look really old fashioned these days.”

“Bentley, cut or dissolve?”


“It’s a cut. Thanks, Bentley.”


“No Stefan, I think he’s saying wipe. Woof means wipe. And he’s right, a side wipe would be great. Good boy Bentley. Daddy loves you”

“You’re not serious? You want a wipe?”

“Why not. Try it…”

“What do you think Bentley? Isn’t that better? Yep, stick with the wipe.”

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON Behind the photo of John and Bentley, you can see my poster, Keep Calm and Carry On. In wartime Britain, when the chances of a German invasion seemed possible, the government produced this classic. As you all know, as even Bentley knows, they didn’t invade and the poster was scrapped.

But it’s become my mantra. The visual equivalent of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

CLIENT ARE THE STRANGEST PEOPLE I received an email today from Peter.

“Stefan, I showed our homepage video to Xxxxxx of the Xxxxxx Corp. and he thinks the one you made five years ago was better. Can you comment on this?”

“Hang on a moment, Peter. I’ve got Bentley with me.”

OK, Bentley, here’s the new video – like it?” Two woofs. “Now here’s the old video.” No woofs.

“Peter, my client today saw both. Loves the new one. End of story.”

MY WEB SITE CLIENT Friends, I’ve got to tell you that if you can get your head around FCP, you too can make Web sites. WEB SITES … it’s a natural extension to your filmmaking skills. I’m surprised that UCLA didn’t include it in your curriculum.

You make a video – where’s it to be seen? On to the Internet, of course. You don’t want some dumb Web designer asking for files.

So my little FILMMAKERS protect your video and learn WordPress.

Now you’ve got double trouble. Take Michael (please)… He was no fun as a video client and now he wants a site.

“Sure, I can do WordPress. Here are some themes. I really like the iFeature theme – or Striking.” He settles for iFeature. I spend two weeks creating the site. I always buy an .info site from GoDaddy. They cost just over a dollar. I host them on my shared server for the client to see progress.

Michael LOVES what I’ve created… Wow. Great. Terrific. You are a genius.

Next week an email: “Stefan, I think we’ve picked the wrong theme. Maybe Striking would have been better. On the pages where we have white type over the ripple background, please lose the background and go to black type. Finally, it’s all too big for my Mac laptop. Please shrink the site down.”

Come back John. Come back Bentley. All is forgiven. You can have woofs, I mean wipes, on every scene change. Please shrink the site down. Grrrrrr.

Keep Calm and Carry On. Keep Calm and Carry On. Keep Calm and Carry On…

This entry was posted in 2011, Production Diary. Bookmark the permalink.