“Unlaced” Official Selection SoCal Independent Film Festival

Director Patrick Ortman's film "Unlaced" is an official selection of the SoCal Independent Film Festival

Woohoo! The SoCal Independent Film Festival has chosen my movie “Unlaced” as an Official Selection of their 2013 film festival. It play s Saturday, September 28 (that is THIS SATURDAY). If you’re down in Orange County, here’s the link for tickets: http://socalfilmfest.com/2013-screening-schedule/

We’re playing in the “Beyond Intense” section. Which, I guess makes sense.

I continue to be honored and thankful that “Unlaced” has gotten such a good reception from film festivals. It’s a tough story, covering a subject that makes most of our society feel very uncomfortable.

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A Fantastic Yelp Review

“Onto the review:

–Patrick is an absolute pro that has won my business forever.

–He knows what he’s doing. While I plan on producing more commercials with Patrick, I will never again need to worry about what camera we’re using, what shots will look like, how the camera should move, or what should be in a set. Patrick’s on it.

–He is involved in every step of the way. Some competitors pass projects through the production process like an assembly line. I don’t like assembly lines for creative processes. They work for repetitive tasks, but not dynamic, creative projects. In an assembly line, every person on the line puts their part in and, if there’s a problem with the finished product, everyone points the finger at someone else. Here, the buck stops with Patrick. There is no assembly line — he is involved in every step of the way to ensure that the final product is perfect.

–Collaborating with Patrick is fun. He has superb ideas himself, but throughout my project, we bounced hundreds of ideas off of each other. Patrick really has the vision to help determine whether an idea or suggestion has potential or not.

–Actors and production staff love working with Patrick. I tend to ask a lot of questions and I ask the crew how they like working for Patrick. Not a single person had anything negative to say; in fact, they raved about Patrick, especially when comparing him to other producers they had worked for.

I am looking forward to my next production with Patrick. Definitely 5 stars.

To see the commercial Patrick produced, check it out on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/w…

(Patrick’s Note: I love what I do, and I love working with clients who “get it”. Working together with Kevin was a dream)

Original link for the full review.

“Unlaced” Official Laurels from Bel Air Film Festival

I love laurels. But nobody should rest upon them. Here’s the official selection laurels from the Bel Air Film Festival for my film “Unlaced”: OFFICIAL-SELECTION-LAUREL

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Why the Blackmagic Cinema Camera May Not Be Right For You

Photo courtesy Blackmagic

Photo by Blackmagic

I love the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. It’s fantastic. Makes gorgeous pictures. But in doing tests for a possible new project, we found one issue: moire. See, the BMCC doesn’t have an optical low pass filter on it. That manifests itself in some nasty moire if you’re shooting, as we were, architectural shots of a city. You know, situations where there’s going to be a lot of tight, fine line details.

Luckily, there’s an add-on OLPF coming out from a third party that’ll alleviate this problem. That, plus the global shutter of the rumored 4K Blackmagic Production Camera, may actually prove itself to be quite viable for projects like the one we’re undertaking.

 

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A Post About Visual Effects

The best visual effects are pretty seamless. You don’t know they’re there, basically. The fact is, on a decent production- even on small ones- it’s quite common for us to do a whole lot in the visual effects arena that the typical viewer won’t notice, unless you saw the original shots. Don’t like the view out the window? Easily changed. Don’t like the sky above? We can change that. Actress has a pimple? Digital makeup. We’ve created whole worlds on greenscreen stages for clients.

Speaking of small productions, here’s a really simple, low-budget VFX shot for an app promo we did. We didn’t have the budget to bring in a Hong Kong taxicab, but the client really wanted one. So we brought in a normal car off the street, and made it look like a Hong Kong taxi, including putting it into a street in Hong Kong, complete with window reflections and more.

 

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“Unlaced” Plays Yet Another Film Festival

My film “Unlaced” is an official selection of the Bel Air Film Festival in Los Angeles, California. Yay, us!

For more “Unlaced” stuff, please like our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/unlacedthemovie

 

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Do Cameras Matter in Filmmaking?

When the RED first came out, it changed everything. The picture was stunning for the price. Yeah, it was buggy, but they eventually ironed most of that out. And today, we have a plethora of amazing choices when it comes time to choose a camera for our films. Even on the lower-budget end of things.

These days, most professional camera systems are capable of fantastic pictures. There’s a particular few cameras that I personally like for filmmaking, though. And they are these: Canon’s C-series, Blackmagic’s cameras, Sony’s recent 35mm sensor cams, and (under certain circumstances) the RED. If you’re renting, throw in Alexa, of course.

Any of these cameras can give you a startlingly fantastic image. And it’s been like this for a couple of years, now.

The difference between the images you get and the images the pros get, though, isn’t the camera itself. What really sets the work apart is your choice of lenses, and lighting. These days, assuming you’re using a good camera system, the camera you’re using matters far less than your talent and your lens collection.

I know a bunch of camera fanboys just shit themselves, and are rising up to argue. That’s fine- you guys keep on arguing stupid things like specs and resolution. We’re set on making beautiful images. The fact is, once you reach a certain threshold in camera technology, what starts to hold you back is the optics. Great optics are not cheap, by the way! And your ability as a filmmaker to sculpt the light and create a look matters a lot, obviously.

So do cameras matter in filmmaking? Yes, and no. But certainly, rather than obsessing over camera specs, I think one would be wise to spend that effort on learning how to light and getting some good lenses. Bonus: lenses are a fantastic long-term investment, unlike cameras.

 

Fun in Casting for a TV Commercial

This week we officially started preproduction for a new TV commercial. I love new beginnings. Of course, we’re behind the 8 Ball on securing locations, but I’m hopeful my contacts and our awesome friends (especially Gary) will be able to help us out and let us create something that’s visually fantastic for this spot.

The exciting thing is, we did casting this week. Unlike a lot of TV commercials, this one actually has a concept and the client’s put some thought into their brand. So finding the perfect people to help realize his vision is paramount. Jess and I set up shop with the client at Spacestation Casting (my favorite for smaller projects) in Hollywood, and we saw about 60 people. I think out of that 60, only two didn’t really give of themselves- everyone for the most part was, as good actors are, very giving and open and fun.

It’s hard to be an actor. You’re running around Los Angeles all day, popping in and giving of yourself for a few minutes, then back in your car and onward. You’re constantly honing your craft, taking classes, performing in theater and web series projects. And you work hard at keeping your instrument in tune. You meet a lot of people, and it’s a life filled with hundreds of “no”s, yet it only takes a strategic few “yes” calls to turn your life around. I respect actors.

It’s also not so easy on the other side of things, if you do it right. Most casting directors are lazy, and they don’t do it right. I do. I feel if I’m meeting people who give of themselves, it’s incumbent upon me to give of myself, too. So I work hard at remaining present, engaged, and open to the actors I meet, and I genuinely try to help them create the performance they need so they get the job.

It’s kinda like going to 60 auditions in one day. But it’s worth it, when you find the right fits for the project at hand.

Onward.

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A Secret To Working With Guys Like Me

My grandmother was an artist, and she painted until she died. Mostly the folk art of Tole Painting, and she was pretty good at it. As far as I know, she never asked for, or received, payment for her work. It was all about the art and the craft of creating something beautiful and unique, then sharing it with people she loved.

I’m a little like her, in that I absolutely consider myself an artist and craftsman. You know what? All good filmmakers are. If you’re in it only for the money, if you’re dispassionate about your work, even if you’re “just” doing TV and web commercials, then you’re a hack. In this business, your job is to create something, and part of that is creating a connection between audience and idea/client/product/service. If you’re not full of wonder and proud of what you’re doing, then you’re a sucky hack. And your work will reflect that suckiness.

I’m not saying money doesn’t matter, by the way. It matters a lot. But money without passion or love is… well, crap.

And no, I’m not naive enough to think every video I direct is art. That’s silly. But there’s a certain craftsman’s pride that I need to infuse into every video and every film that I create. That’s a good thing, not just for me but also for my clients. It makes the work better. And sometimes it’s the difference that elevates and makes the work resonate with audiences in ways that continue to amaze me. What we do is powerful magic, and to attempt to reduce it to a formula or paint-by-numbers assembly line loses that magic.

 

 

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A Strange Movie Story

 

DISCLAIMER: This story would/could only happen in Los Angeles. People living elsewhere have better things to do, I think, and the fact that every person you meet in LA is an aspiring writer, director, or actor makes encounters like these not only a possibility, but a probability. Even for a small festival film like “Unlaced”.

Today I went to a store, and the person behind the counter started talking:

“I know you! You’re that movie guy!”
“Probably not.”
“Yeah, you are- God, I hated your movie, that guys’ wife was such a bitch!”
“I can’t argue with that.”
“Yeah, I was so happy when he fought back and got his life back.”
“Me, too.”
“So, you used to go to the Studio City store, right? I mean, I remember you.”
“Er, yes, yes I did.”
“So you must live around here. I mean, haha, of course you do. You want the usual?”
“The usual?”
“Yeah, you always get the xxxxxx (she tells me exactly my order)”
“Sure, thanks”

 

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About PatrickOrtman, Inc.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is one of the top-rated video production companies in Los Angeles and New York City. We make high-end corporate videos, and commercials for TV and digital for clients that include 11 Fortune 500s.