Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Hello Garrick,


Of the hundred or so replies I have so far sifted through, yours showed the most professionalism and, if I may say, character.


You understand our situation well, and you most likely know we're winging it -- although that's solely with respect to the shoot itself. We have done our homework re: making accounts receivable deals. I'll get into them soon enough.


Because your e-mail was strong, I decided to go into more detail.


First things first -- the core group.


Me, Daniel Christoff aka D. Victor Christoff: Writer/Producer .I've sold seven theatrical release screenplays to producers like Ilya Salkind (Superman: The Movie, The four Musketeers, and the Lupo brothers. Currently teaching screenwriting, fiction and poetry at TCL, I have written a nat'l radio show and served as editor-in-chief for a nat'l newspaper and nat'l magazine. I have fiction and poetry published and have won some awards here and there.


Steven (last name omiited for now): Producer. Has made dozens of films and HBO half hours. Wrote a best seller. Ran the HH Repetory Company. At least half a dozen awards.


Packager: Tom (last name omitted for now). Former president of the MPPA. Produced a short- lived TV series. Ran NBC's music devleopment for 25 years. Connected to the top.


We are currently going over the last three selections for director, so I can't fill you in there.


I could say more here, but that's our center.


After reading your e-mail, I forwarded it to Steven, who is an exceptionally sharp and exacting producer. He even went so far as to run an IMDB on you. I hope you're not offended. You shouldn't be.  Steven put you on the list of eight artists under consideration, and agreed to my stipulation that we talk to you first.


Your b.g. was key. See, we're doubling and trippling up on roles, and you would fit in a lot of ways. 


The business end? I've made a deal with distributors, and we're looking at anywhere from 300 to 500 screens per state. 


Yeah. You can see where the money's coming from and estimate how much.


As well, just the other day, I put together a tentative foreign distribution deal that will enable our film to show in Germany, Italy, France and Belgium.


Our packager comes from the school that says: "You can shoot a blank screen, but if you know what you're doing, it's going gold."


He's right. You probably know it. Connections are the milk and honey of this industry.


Tomorrow, Steven and I will meet with some friends. This mostly has to do with the SC Film Board, with which we have an in, finalizing locations and occupying our newly acquired warehouse. We're also going to track the shooting script and call in some favors.


But we'll be discussing you, too.  


At this point, be confident is all I can say. You're up against some pros, but I intuit you're hungrier and, generally, more solid. That you know theory, for example, goes a long way with me, and I hope to go over some when we talk.


You scored more points since you've done LA and UCLA -- by the by, did you get a chance to meet my old friend, Lew Hunter? He asked me to teach screenwriting there and I almost did. In fact, I've been asked to teach at the Sorbonne, too and... 


Enough of my ego.


Here's how it will work. After narrowing the list further, I'll give you a call (say, Monday @ about 8PM? Let me know.). Please note: Gotta be simpatico. You'll be working with veterans, while still dusting the ears of recent film school grads. Sure, we appreciate suggestions and points of view, but at the same time, we need a man who, like me, can just zip it at times.


After we talk, you talk to Steven.


We make the final choices and I both meet and give you the treatment. You'll have to sign a non-disclosure and non-compete.


Then you decide if the project's right for you. Now, I fully realize artists will always say the project's right for them. But the artist who can articulate why is the one I look at long and hard.
After all, we're risking our reps and we need a real and up front.


If you're selected, the script and meetings with the DP, Steven, myself and others follow. This means we discuss your contract, as per your involvement. You could get more than Guild, depending. This also means you will come here -- to Beaufort. We put you up and feed you.  


Then we go shoot.


No one sees the shine off a dime until we screen.


How's this all sound to you?


Send me an e-mail and we'll see where we are.


Until then...






Thanks Daniel for the in depth email. I see you are very passionate about what "people like us do."  Before we start trading our family trees, I have a couple of questions myself. Only because I have found myself in a business "boom" of my own and have to make sure this project is worth taking some time off. 

First off:

1) If you have DP and Producer and all the Above The Line, What would you need me for?

2)Would I be using my own gear or would you guys be "borrowing" it for the shoot?

3)What is the shooting schedule, (day wise,)? 

4)And when would the shoot start?

You talk a good game. I know this business and know I want receive a penny of compensation if it's not upfront WHICH IS FINE in some cases but if I'm considered would like to sign the agreement and read the script as soon as possible. The writing will obviously let me decide if it's justifiable for me to go M.I.A to Beaufort, SC for the set amount of time of shoot on my own buck. 

Points mean nothing.

Deferred Payment is as likely as Master card relieving me of my debt because of my good looks.

If it's great cinema and something I'd be proud to be a part of,then it means cutting my testacles off to be there, pay or not, even if it means fetching the seventh pizza pie of the seventh day of shooting. I'm in if you can inspire me. If you cannot, let's just say, I will never EVER forget this email. May be the best response I have ever received from a Craigslist Employer. Call me on Monday night at 8pm. I'd love to talk to you.


Garrick Lane

Posted via email from Diary of A Shoot Stuff Guy

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This Film Will Be Seen in its Entirety.


"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." - First Amendment

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Letter to a Client

Dear XXXX,

Ok so some of the Professionals I work with have seen the trailer and we’ve analyzed every angle of it. I’m going to give you my absolute honest and professional opinion and then I’m going to offer a solution and you may or may not like the solution. It depends on how badly you want to get your films “out” or “to Hollywood.”

This trailer is truly unfixable. There is nothing my expertise or creativity can do with it. Nobody is going to give this a second look and that is just being honest. I know its hard to hear that but it’s the truth. It was poorly lit, shot and planned out.

If you ask Mark, Ennix or any other filmmaker on the East Coast, I keep my word and I always do what I say I’m going to do. In this case it is no different, but there are usually stipulations to those loyalties.

I rate my time on different scales. I may do something for free depending on different things. My latest, “passion project” was Ennix Xiong’s Bad Ass Killers. It was a feature. We shot it for $12,000.00 I was paid $2500.00 for the job. I Produced, Shot, Rewrote, and ultimately Edited and Sound Designed it. If you break that down to the amount of pay I made by hour it equals 4 cents a hour. The reason I have stuck in on it, is I get 25% of profits and being that the film will level out at $20,000.00 on cost. We WILL because of the fruits of my labor and the amount of care I have put into it will sell it for at least $50,000.00. Do the math on that. Sure it’s not much but once you sell a feature to anybody, you will get a chance to make another film with somebody else’s money. Every job I do for little to no money has to have some sort of value to me. Your trailer does not and as is will not. Now if you paid me, sure I’d do whatever I could to see this trailer through knowing the outcome would be one big goose egg which is why I won’t allow you to pay me to fix this. But with that said will not fix it for free either. On Union jobs, I’m paid $450.00 to $850.00 a day, depending on how much of my equipment is used. It’s not because I’m expensive. It’s because I’m that good at what I do and that’s what people pay me because they know the result is well worth more than that.

I can throw this together and with fancy text and smoke and mirrors but in this business we have a saying, “you can’t polish a turd.” Unfortunately, that’s where we are on this trailer.

I’m going to keep my word to you that I’ll help but I want it to be worth all our while and the only way it will be worth my while or yours is if it either is good enough to raise funds to make the feature or it’s good enough to get passed around small production companies that could afford to pay a million to produce it. That means reshooting this thing using production value. So here’s the pitch and it’s as cheap as I can do it for because your basically not paying for my equipment, or experience. You’ll be paying my bills for the month it will take to plan, shoot and edit it. I will reshoot this trailer using my crew, my gear, for $1000.00. If you want Mark as well, add $200.00 to that. Mark will not only help direct the actors, but he’ll add voice over and if we can’t get John Rutland back will play his part. The $1000.00 also includes two more crew men that are paid and I’ll get two PAs that will do it for experience. We’ll shoot it all over two days with lights, sound, DONE RIGHT. I won’t be free of my commitments til June or July so it’s no rush. I will assure you if you speak to Ed and the rest of the cast that you are reshooting and have hired Roadhouse Pictures and Garrick Lane to shoot it, you will have no problems getting them back. I can assure you that. We will do it right and you will have a piece of your art that will really show your talent as a writer. It will get you noticed.

Don’t make a decision today. Think about it. This is not a scam. This is the real deal. How much is your script worth to you? How much do you REALLY want to do this for a living? Is it worth $1200.00. If it makes you feel better, I spent $1200.00 on 3 hours of stock footage and used 25 seconds of it and it increased the value of this Documentary by 200%. Let me know what you think. Ask around. My word is 100% and my work ethic is the best in the Southeast. Call Mark if you have any questions. Let us know.

We will make a trailer that has contention for a future. What you have now.... Well, without sounding like an asshole, is just a lesson learned.


Garrick W. Lane
Creative Director

Posted via email from Diary of A Shoot Stuff Guy

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Moment of Reflection

The house is quiet. It’s been another good day with my children. This week I incorporated some tougher rules and they welcomed them with small open arms. In return I gave them their birthday presents early. Don’t let me fool you. It was me that could not wait to give the presents to them.

We’re resting now before leaving. My car keys in my hand. We’re watching a scene from “Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs.” It’s the forty fifth time I’ve seen it and somehow am not tired of it. Maybe my subconscious tolerates it because the kids love it so much. They pay no attention to me who can’t stop looking at them.

I reflect on a life that has not been wasted even during the years of waste. I reflect on a life of disappointment and fulfillment. The two probably fairly equal if I closed my eyes today. Many of my disappointments vindicated some how by the chain of life, karma, fate, growth, whatever. Maybe it is my refusal to ever settle or my obsessive quest of redemption for all the wrongs I caused many people during my adolescents that keep me working so hard to do all the right things. Something keeps me driven and it’s a drive so powerful it overwhelms me into reclusiveness and obsessive compulsive behavior at some points. I snap out of that reflection as my daughter turns to me and says, “Dad but when you go, I will miss you.” I reply with the obvious, “I’ll always be there right next to you even when I’m not.” She smiles, not fully understanding, turning back to the TV.

I clutch my car keys and stop myself from standing. I realize my statement was wrong. It is them that will always be next to ME. They are the ones that drive my force, correct my wrongs, inspire me to achieve greatness. It is them I find a way to redeem everything I’ve done wrong. It is them that is my universe.

They turn and smile at me as Steve, the monkey, puts his hands up and yells, “yellow” with mustard on his palms. They love that part. River turns back quicker to the television than Payton. Payton knows these are our final moments together before Dad has to go do his thing. She gives me a wink of approval, she’s not worried. She’s a happy kid. Maybe she knows already that she has one of the few parents in the world that is actually living the dream. She has one of the few parents that gets up every morning excited about going to work. Maybe she knows how lucky I am and is happy for me somehow. I wipe a single tear from my eye and grab their bags. I’m leaving for my next job in Florida for National Geographic and will not see them again until their birthday party the following week. It is OK. They know where Dad’s going and they know why he has to go. Or maybe they don’t bat an eye because unlike him, they are certain they will be right next to him the whole week as he trudges around with the horses, wipes hand size mosquitos off his camera lens and while they sleep, dreaming of another fun filled day, their father will be in a dark room full of LCD monitors, Waveforms, RGB levels, on his sixth Red Bull editing and will love every moment of it because it is them that drives him to live this life. He won’t miss them because like them, he knows he had not up until that moment wasted one minute with them when they were all together and had plenty of credit left.

I snap out of it, “Let’s go Ding Dongs.” Meatballs has ended. They are excited about going to their mother’s and their father is excited that he gets these moments everyday they are in his life to reflect just how well he’s doing because of them. We exit the house. In seven hours I’ll be a 1000 miles away from them and I’m OK with it because they are the reason I’ll be there.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Eric Gales - Prelude to Delta Blues Story

One of the greatest guitar players ever born walked out of prison and into BB Kings in Memphis, TN the night I just so happen to be running the cameras. I clocked out and took my handheld to the stage and started shooting. In the 12 minutes there are only two incidents of shakiness. By 2 minutes in, it was as if my camera and his guitar were working together. This performance is mesmerizing. (Sorry for the audio. had to take the stereo out of it to keep it from being stolen so you get the mono version. It's still just as good.)


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