Arthur C. Clarke

He’s gone, but his words live on:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. 

 arthur-clarke-pic.jpg

Posted by in Uncategorized

Permalink Leave a comment

Couch Cases Trailer is Online!

View the Couch Cases trailer.

Couch Cases is a sitcom about a neurotic therapist who can’t follow her own advice.

We produced this project for about 1/1000th the price-per-minute of a network sitcom. We’re very excited about releasing the trailer, since we’d been working on this project for some time now.

Posted by in Uncategorized

Permalink Leave a comment

Red One Camera- Genius Monkeys is going 4K!

redone_4.jpg

We are happy to announce that Genius Monkeys will soon have Red One #2464, set to be delivered in late May/June. The Red One is an amazing camera, as it shoots 4K. That’s the highest resolution camera you can get, even Star Wars had only 2K resolution. 

What this means for us is, we will be able to offer our clients work that rivals and in many cases surpasses the capabilities of super 35mm film- for about half the cost. Suddenly, the “big look” of high-end television commercials is now available to clients without the deep pockets traditionally needed to afford such a professional look. This camera changes everything.

This is the new camera being used by Peter Jackson, George Lucas, Steven Soderbergh, and many other high-profile cinematographers and directors. Continue reading

Posted by in Uncategorized

Permalink Leave a comment

SXSW, Billy Bob Thornton, catching up with friends…

Kathi and I just got in from SXSW. It was… I’m not sure what it was, exactly. We met some interesting people, but almost none of them were film people. We loved the locals, we loved the musicians, and we had fun meeting some cool people. They just weren’t filmmakers. Maybe that’s OK. Maybe we fit in with the musicians better, since we’re both musicians too.

Highpoints of SXSW for me:

We got to see Daniel Lanois’ movie (http://www.daniellanois.com/hereiswhatis). I’d been a fan of his work since forever, and when I saw it on the schedule I knew Kathi and I had to go. It was a music documentary, and we both loved it. What’s best- Daniel was there and he was pretty cool in person, too. The film is about creativity, not just musicianship. It’s about being an artist. And it resonated with me.

The shorts program was a lot of fun, too. Sure, there was a bunch of stuff I did not love, but there were some really great films… including one that really touched me. I’ll post the link to that one once I know its title. I know, sad. But it all went by so quickly.

We liked the trailer panel a lot. Part of the reason was we’d just worked together to cut a trailer for our show. But the panelists were good.

Billy Bob Thornton’s panel was really the best part of the festival for us. The cat is cool, and we were both very impressed with his openness regarding politics in the industry. For me, the best moment of the festival was when he was riffing on success. He mentioned a conversation with Billy Wilder, and he said Billy told him, in effect, that the only way to succeed was to be who you really are, not some weird Hollywood-ized version of what you think “they” want you to be. I know it seems obvious, but living here in LA you get exposed to so many people who are full of crap that it’s easy to lose track of what’s important. I like that Billy Bob Thornton made it on his own terms. It gives me hope.

He also mentioned something that went along with the message in the Daniel Lanois film- basically, that an artist is an artist no matter what the medium. As a musician who is also a writer-director, this made me feel good, too. I don’t think we celebrate creativity enough, at least, I think a lot of people I’m around- including myself at times- don’t.

Oh yeah, and Kathi and I shared a plane with Billy Bob on the way back. So, we talked with him a bit. He’s a gracious guy. Of course, he was trapped in an aluminum tube that was going to be 30,000 feet in the air. We almost gave him a card, but instead promised to come see his band the next time they play LA. 

We were also lucky enough to meet up with some old friends who shall remain nameless who I hadn’t seen since my running days. That was awesome.

Finally, Harvey Weinstein bought me a beer. Well, to be fair, he bought about 200 people a beer- the entire theater, actually- through the generosity of director Morgan Spurlock at the screening of his movie Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden? The projector messed up, because of the storm raging outside the theater. And you know, the movie’s damn good too.

Speaking of weather, I loved an early morning thunderstorm we got to enjoy one day. Funny how a thing like weather can be so awesome, when you don’t get much weather where you live.

Other movies I enjoyed enough to remember after the rush of films we saw: Run, Fatboy, Run! (the director turned out to be pretty cool, too), Secrecy (wow, excellent documentary), and I thought Shuttle was disturbing and good. The movies I didn’t like? Nah. Thing is, except for one huge Hollywood movie that stunk and deserves to be kicked in the nuts, I respected every movie I saw. Some of them needed some work, but anyone who can get a movie together should be respected for that. It’s a huge deal, putting together a movie. Especially when your budget is 1/1000th that of a big Hollywood movie.

And that’s something I’d know quite a lot about, coming off Couch Cases. So, hats off to all the filmmakers and I’m grateful I got to see so many movies I probably wouldn’t ever see, otherwise.   

And now for what I didn’t dig about the festival:

Again, all this is colored by who I happened to bump into at the festival. It’s a HUGE fest, so my sample size isn’t statistically relevant. But it felt to me like a lot of the people there who I happened to meet were a bit pretentious, desperate, and fake.

Here’s what they’d do: they’d walk up (or you’d walk up to them), and you’d smile at them. Then, before smiling back, they’d “badge” you. They’d actually look at your badge and see if you were with Warner’s or Sony or whatever who could help them get their movie made or distributed. If you weren’t (I wasn’t, obviously), they would avert their eyes, not smile back and they’d walk by you as fast as they could.

And that’s bullshit.

I got to see what happened if you did have a badge from a big distributor, too. Those poor people got mobbed. Sometimes it’s better to fly under the radar. And that’s all I have to say about that.

We love Austin, Kathi’s a Texan so it’s coming home for her. And it feels like home to me, too. Yee haw!

Posted by in Uncategorized

Permalink 1 Comment

SXSW, Billy Bob Thornton, catching up with friends…

Kathi and I just got in from SXSW. It was… I’m not sure what it was, exactly. We met some interesting people, but almost none of them were film people. We loved the locals, we loved the musicians, and we had fun meeting some cool people. They just weren’t filmmakers. Maybe that’s OK. Maybe we fit in with the musicians better, since we’re both musicians too.


Highpoints of SXSW for me:

We got to see Daniel Lanois’ movie (http://www.daniellanois.com/hereiswhatis). I’d been a fan of his work since forever, and when I saw it on the schedule I knew Kathi and I had to go. It was a music documentary, and we both loved it. What’s best- Daniel was there and he was pretty cool in person, too. The film is about creativity, not just musicianship. It’s about being an artist. And it resonated with me.

The shorts program was a lot of fun, too. Sure, there was a bunch of stuff I did not love, but there were some really great films… including one that really touched me. I’ll post the link to that one once I know its title. I know, sad. But it all went by so quickly.

We liked the trailer panel a lot. Part of the reason was we’d just worked together to cut a trailer for our show. But the panelists were good.

Billy Bob Thornton’s panel was really the best part of the festival for us. The cat is cool, and we were both very impressed with his openness regarding politics in the industry. For me, the best moment of the festival was when he was riffing on success. He mentioned a conversation with Billy Wilder, and he said Billy told him, in effect, that the only way to succeed was to be who you really are, not some weird Hollywood-ized version of what you think “they” want you to be. I know it seems obvious, but living here in LA you get exposed to so many people who are full of crap that it’s easy to lose track of what’s important. I like that Billy Bob Thornton made it on his own terms. It gives me hope.

He also mentioned something that went along with the message in the Daniel Lanois film- basically, that an artist is an artist no matter what the medium. As a musician who is also a writer-director, this made me feel good, too. I don’t think we celebrate creativity enough, at least, I think a lot of people I’m around- including myself at times- don’t.

Oh yeah, and Kathi and I shared a plane with Billy Bob on the way back. So, we talked with him a bit. He’s a gracious guy. Of course, he was trapped in an aluminum tube that was going to be 30,000 feet in the air. We almost gave him a card, but instead promised to come see his band the next time they play LA. 

We were also lucky enough to meet up with some old friends who shall remain nameless who I hadn’t seen since my running days. That was awesome.

Finally, Harvey Weinstein bought me a beer. Well, to be fair, he bought about 200 people a beer- the entire theater, actually- through the generosity of director Morgan Spurlock at the screening of his movie Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden? The projector messed up, because of the storm raging outside the theater. And you know, the movie’s damn good too.

Speaking of weather, I loved an early morning thunderstorm we got to enjoy one day. Funny how a thing like weather can be so awesome, when you don’t get much weather where you live.

Other movies I enjoyed enough to remember after the rush of films we saw: Run, Fatboy, Run! (the director turned out to be pretty cool, too), Secrecy (wow, excellent documentary), and I thought Shuttle was disturbing and good. The movies I didn’t like? Nah. Thing is, except for one huge Hollywood movie that stunk and deserves to be kicked in the nuts, I respected every movie I saw. Some of them needed some work, but anyone who can get a movie together should be respected for that. It’s a huge deal, putting together a movie. Especially when your budget is 1/1000th that of a big Hollywood movie.

And that’s something I’d know quite a lot about, coming off Couch Cases. So, hats off to all the filmmakers and I’m grateful I got to see so many movies I probably wouldn’t ever see, otherwise.   

And now for what I didn’t dig about the festival:

Again, all this is colored by who I happened to bump into at the festival. It’s a HUGE fest, so my sample size isn’t statistically relevant. But it felt to me like a lot of the people there who I happened to meet were a bit pretentious, desperate, and fake.

Here’s what they’d do: they’d walk up (or you’d walk up to them), and you’d smile at them. Then, before smiling back, they’d “badge” you. They’d actually look at your badge and see if you were with Warner’s or Sony or whatever who could help them get their movie made or distributed. If you weren’t (I wasn’t, obviously), they would avert their eyes, not smile back and they’d walk by you as fast as they could.

And that’s bullshit.

I got to see what happened if you did have a badge from a big distributor, too. Those poor people got mobbed. Sometimes it’s better to fly under the radar. And that’s all I have to say about that.

We love Austin, Kathi’s a Texan so it’s coming home for her. And it feels like home to me, too. Yee haw!

Posted by in Uncategorized

Permalink 1 Comment

New Work Samples

We’ve posted some new work samples on our website. Take a look!

Posted by in Uncategorized

Permalink Leave a comment

Finally, the rains ended…

… and now we can grab some exteriors for “Couch Cases”. We had to wait a whole week and a half, between the rains and overcast skies. Today we have some clouds, but the sky also has some blue in it for the first time in a while. I’m charging up the batteries and getting ready to grab some exterior shots, indie-style. That means no permits. It’ll be fun!

This, dear readers, is why we should all own or have easy access to a decent camera package. 

I’ve been so slammed at work on an urgent but low paying project this past week, so it’ll be nice to get out and do something creative this weekend. We don’t have a lot of time before SXSW, and we need to get that trailer and some tighter cuts of the episodes completed before then. Not to mention some sort of music bed and a basic website. That’s a lot to do in two weeks, when you’re also working a fulltime gig.

The good thing, for me, is I still love the work. We did a good job. Sure, in post you see all the flaws- the bad performances (rare, but it happens to the best!), takes with weird sound interference (again, it happens), and camera moves and framings I wish I’d done a bit differently. But as you let it all wash over you, things come together and after a few hours of playing you begin to see something that looks as good as anything on television. That’s a pretty amazing feeling, seeing it all come together.

Lately I’ve done a lot of thinking about how to do the next project. On “Couch Cases”, I had to deal with a lot of relatively low-end technology. I figured out how to make it look great, but it did take a bit of energy and a lot of kludges from me on set. Sure, I could have hired a DP. But not for this budget. I’m a damn good DP myself, but I do think next time I’ll either procure or rent a more high-end camera system, just to make things easier on myself.

Of course, if the next project happens to be a studio picture or a network show then I’ll simply hire more people.

I learned a lot about story on this project, too. We did a lot of things perfectly, and with regards to story, “Couch Cases” is light years beyond anything I’ve done. Heck, it’s light years beyond most anything out there. But just as writing experience helps me learn more about story from a writing standpoint, I found that being on set and working with actors regularly really helps me from a directing standpoint, too.  I haven’t had this much concentrated experience with one group of people since UCLA, or perhaps since I did the whole community theater thing. This was extremely valuable to me.

I’ve also learned more about teamwork on this project. Usually I’m the writer-director. And I function pretty well like that. But for this project, Kathi was my co-creator and creative producer. We had a few bumps in the road, getting used to this new relationship. But in the end we got a much stronger product. Perhaps two heads are better than one? One of the things I like about Kathi is how she can size up a situation and see what’s missing. Sometimes it’s annoying. Often it’s useful to the project. 

And I’m learning that, in the end, that’s all that matters.

Posted by in Uncategorized

Permalink 1 Comment

Finally, the rains ended…

… and now we can grab some exteriors for “Couch Cases”. We had to wait a whole week and a half, between the rains and overcast skies. Today we have some clouds, but the sky also has some blue in it for the first time in a while. I’m charging up the batteries and getting ready to grab some exterior shots, indie-style. That means no permits. It’ll be fun!

This, dear readers, is why we should all own or have easy access to a decent camera package. 

I’ve been so slammed at work on an urgent but low paying project this past week, so it’ll be nice to get out and do something creative this weekend. We don’t have a lot of time before SXSW, and we need to get that trailer and some tighter cuts of the episodes completed before then. Not to mention some sort of music bed and a basic website. That’s a lot to do in two weeks, when you’re also working a fulltime gig.

The good thing, for me, is I still love the work. We did a good job. Sure, in post you see all the flaws- the bad performances (rare, but it happens to the best!), takes with weird sound interference (again, it happens), and camera moves and framings I wish I’d done a bit differently. But as you let it all wash over you, things come together and after a few hours of playing you begin to see something that looks as good as anything on television. That’s a pretty amazing feeling, seeing it all come together.

Lately I’ve done a lot of thinking about how to do the next project. On “Couch Cases”, I had to deal with a lot of relatively low-end technology. I figured out how to make it look great, but it did take a bit of energy and a lot of kludges from me on set. Sure, I could have hired a DP. But not for this budget. I’m a damn good DP myself, but I do think next time I’ll either procure or rent a more high-end camera system, just to make things easier on myself.

Of course, if the next project happens to be a studio picture or a network show then I’ll simply hire more people.

I learned a lot about story on this project, too. We did a lot of things perfectly, and with regards to story, “Couch Cases” is light years beyond anything I’ve done. Heck, it’s light years beyond most anything out there. But just as writing experience helps me learn more about story from a writing standpoint, I found that being on set and working with actors regularly really helps me from a directing standpoint, too.  I haven’t had this much concentrated experience with one group of people since UCLA, or perhaps since I did the whole community theater thing. This was extremely valuable to me.

I’ve also learned more about teamwork on this project. Usually I’m the writer-director. And I function pretty well like that. But for this project, Kathi was my co-creator and creative producer. We had a few bumps in the road, getting used to this new relationship. But in the end we got a much stronger product. Perhaps two heads are better than one? One of the things I like about Kathi is how she can size up a situation and see what’s missing. Sometimes it’s annoying. Often it’s useful to the project. 

And I’m learning that, in the end, that’s all that matters.

Posted by in Uncategorized

Permalink 1 Comment

Yet More Cutting, SXSW Coming Up

We’re still cutting “Couch Cases”- I try to get in there every time the main edit bay opens up for more than an hour. Which has been difficult, with client work lately. That said, it’s very exciting that we’ll be launching the new “Couch Cases” trailer, a national television commercial, 4 new online video commercials, and my friend Erica’s movie- all within a few weeks of each other.

We’re very excited about SXSW, too.

Posted by in Uncategorized

Permalink Leave a comment

The WGA Said It

From today’s letter to WGA members, regarding the new writers contract:

“It is an agreement that protects a future in which the Internet becomes the primary means of both content creation and delivery.”

There it is. And although nobody has quite figured out what the business model will be, it’s becoming clearer by the week that what we’ve been saying for years is indeed coming true- the Internet is becoming the primary means of content creation and delivery.

It is an exciting time to be alive for both content creators and audiences, and we’re very excited that our online sitcom “Couch Cases” is a part of this massive shift in entertainment.

Posted by in Uncategorized

Permalink Leave a comment

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.