Light and Trees

Light and Trees

Monday, April 18, 2011

Terminal Island: An argument in favor of the death penalty.

"Terminal Island"(1973) is a dreadful exploitation film set in the near future where the death penalty has been abolished and convicts are marooned on an island and must fend for themselves. Like "Survivor" except with a bit more brutality, slavery, sex, and death. The storyline involves a main camp of convicts controlled by the tyrannical Bobby (Sean Kenney), who rules with an iron hand and keeps women around as sex slaves. When A.J. (Don Marshall), and a group of more “free-minded” murderers liberate the women from Bobby's custody, tensions mount to an all-out bloodbath.

Perhaps the most memorable scene in "Terminal Island" is when a female convict seduces a man, covers his genitals with honey, and then insights a swarm of angry bees to attack the man while his pants are down.

Phyllis Davis is known for her work on "Love, American Style" (1969), and for the role of "Beatrice" or "Bea" on "Vega$" (1978) from 1978-81. Her credits are extensive... (She played Susan Lake in "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls"). Phyllis is still involved in show business, but on a limited basis.

The following video clip is the infamous Phyllis Davis' nude scene as it appears in the feature film Terminal Island, included are rare "editor’s outtakes" and a corny 1970's voice-over.

CAUTION: Not suitable for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.
Vintage Grind-House; “Terminal Island” (1973)

Independent Cinema: Boobs, Blood and Bondage

Some people believe that the death of the Production Code in 1968 and the major success of the exploitation-style Easy Rider the following year forged the trend of sex, drugs, and debauchery in cinema. Perhaps it is true, then again, perhaps it was only a matter of time given the natural order of supply and demand.

Long before the 1960’s rebel filmmakers have been pushing the boundaries of what is considered socially acceptable or completely forbidden. Since the advent of the Zoetrope, there has never been any shortage of sleazy opportunists eager to fleece the golden calf, exploiting viewers hungry for the eye candy sugar rush of a pair of exposed nipples.

CAUTION: The following video clip contains images that are not suitable for all audiences.

Viewer discretion is advised. Scene from vintage 1960's GRIND-HOUSE movie: "The Love Girls" (1966) aka "Sorority Girls"

Reduce the dribble.

In the interest of reducing the amount of dribble on the world wide web, or increasing it, depending upon where you stand. The FILM REDRESS blog is shifting gears... I have decided to avoid the "ho hum-drum" topics, latest trends and "how to-s". From this point on I will express my thoughts without inhibition and write about subject from which I can draw inspiration.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Deliverables: The technical elements required for foreign and domestic release and distribution.

The technical elements that are required to distribute a motion picture are known as “deliverables”. They are the individual components of the movie, the skeleton that enables distribution companies to release it to the public. If you are independent filmmaker you should regard deliverables as a mandatory part of your production and think about them well in advance. Making a feature film isn’t easy, if you have committed to the journey I hope this information will be useful and perhaps save you some time, money and potential heartache.

I’m presenting you with two lists with anecdotes and explanations. The first one is from an American distribution company that picked up the North American rights for my movie. The second is from the distribution company that picked up the European and world rights. These are excerpts from the actual distribution agreements that we entered into, and they cover the basic essential elements that you should think about. If you have the luxury of working with an experienced Producer or Production Company (or if you paid attention in school) you might not need this, but for the rest of you I hope it is helpful.



"Delivery" will be deemed complete when all of the terms and conditions of this Paragraph 7 are

fully satisfied.

7.1 The Licensor will deliver to Licensee all of the following materials for the Program

(collectively, the "Materials," individually, the "Element").

7.2 A final color corrected HD master and/or a Digital Beta broadcast quality video master with

audio channels 1&2 being LTRT and 3&4 M&E and English language main titles and end credits. Textless

backgrounds should be recorded at least 2 minutes after end of program with additional color bars. A Hard

Drive with edit files and a final color corrected version of the Program.

The first element is the master of your movie. My recommendation is to create a “HDCAM SR MASTER”. An HDCAM SR tape is a high quality component digital format that can be copied (cloned) without degradation, it also holds more audio channels than HDCAM, DIGIBETA and D5. From your HDCAM SR you will generate and deliver other tapes that may be requested. Make sure that your master has a left and right audio mix on separate channels and music and effects on excusive channels as well. You can create a 5.1 mix, but regarding distribution, the basic nuts and bolts require separate tracks LTRT on channels 1&2 and Music and Effects on channels 3&4. Keep in mind that there are many ways to travel to the same destination. The important thing is that you chose an output master that has sufficient quality to contain your masterpiece and the respective audio.

TEXTLESS backgrounds two minutes after the end of the movie… Text less backgrounds are basically the credit roll without the credits on them. Start the text less backgrounds after about 30 sec of black after the film ends on the tape (start on either full minute or half minute and provide a written list of which text less BG goes where in the film with time code reference).

MASTER HARD DRIVE with your edit files and audio and supporting documents (self explanatory). Essentially a copy of the Hard Drive that you used to edit and grade your movie.

7.3 Original key art elements and color still images pertaining to the Program, which may be supplied on a CDR, DVD-R, hard drive, flash drive or via FTP. Any photographic, cleared musical elements

or other material pertinent to the Program of said product that is available through the Licensor.

Original key art and promotional pictures… Also, behind the scenes footage, cleared music etc... Stay organized and think about promotional elements during your production process. You should get high resolution stills and images of scenes… it’s crucial.

7.4 Music cue sheet with all ASCAP or BMI information for each individual artist and publisher.

A cue sheet is a document which is filed with the performing rights societies and contains a detailed listing of each piece of music used in a film or television production. The cue sheet contains information for each piece of music including the writer(s), publisher(s), usage of the music (background, theme, etc.), length of the music, and a title for each piece of music.

7.5 Contractual credit block.

A comprehensive list of credits as they are obligated to appear in the movie and on the poster.

7.6 Separate M&E tracks with a scratch dialogue track.

A D-88 tape of your movie’s audio; separate music, effects and dialog.

7.7 Music Licenses: Copies of all synchronization, performance and master use licenses in

connection with the music contained in the Program.

It’s IMPORTANT to keep good production records. Including copies of all contractual agreements, licenses, work for hire agreements, and release forms.

7.8 Electronic press kit.

A solid press kit, in paperless format.

7.9 Dialogue and Action Continuity: One (1) typewritten or photo-reproduced copy of a detailed

combined dialogue and action continuity of the completed Program(s), conformed in all respects to the

dialogue and action contained in the completed Program.

Initial: Licensor_____ Licensee_____

This document details your movie’s action and dialog with time code references. We had our movie translated and generated some German subtitled DVD’s by a company in Burbank. It cost about $1,500, and in the process they created a detailed continuity list for us, and we were able to get our movie into some German film festivals with the subtitled DVD’s.




1. 35mm Picture and Trailer (If available)

35mm print if available… Self explanatory.

2. NTSC and PAL 4x3 and 16x9 Digital Beta Master of the Picture with audio channel 1 and 2 containing a

stereo left and right mix of the original sound and channels 3 and 4 containing a stereo left and right mix

of the music and effects tracks with textless title backgrounds at the end of the Picture after the credit


3. NTSC and PAL 4x3 and 16x9 Digital Beta Master of the Trailer with stereo on channels 1 and 2 and

stereo M&E on channels 3 and 4

NTSC stands for the National Television System Committee, and it is the analog television encoding system used in most of North America, South America, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Burma, and some Pacific island nations and territories. PAL, stands for Phase Alternate Line, and it is an analogue television encoding system used in broadcast television systems in large parts of the world. Essentially, the NTSC system encodes audio and video at 30 frames per second and the PAL system encodes audio and video at 25 frames per second.

It can be very costly for an independent filmmaker to simultaneously generate PAL and NTSC versions of a movie. Our foreign distributor required a master as well, we then did an NTSC to PAL Conversion and output to the requested DIGIBETA.

4. HD (HDD5)16x9 and 4x3 Master of the Picture and Trailer (If available)

A D5(clone from your master) with the movie and the trailer on the same tape. A D5 is a high quality component digital format, similar to HDCAM SR but instead of 12 channels of audio it has 8.

5. DA88 of the M&E Tracks —harmonized

Mentioned earlier, D-88 separate channels with music, effects and dialog.

6. High Resolution Digital Stills (at least 40)

Self explanatory; press kit and promotional materiel mentioned earlier.

7. Music Cue Sheet

8. Dialogue and Continuity List

Same as above, cue sheet and dialog continuity lists.

9. E&O Insurance (If available)

Insurance documents… E and O insurance stands for errors and omissions and protects Production and Distribution companies from various liabilities regarding the images and sounds within a movie. Many distribution companies insist on carrying E&O… If the filmmakers don’t provide it, in some cases the distributors will. Typically it’s the producer’s resposibilty.

10. MPAA Rating (If available)

If you would like to provide a rating the MPAA has a submission process on the MPAA website. We left that area in the hands of our distributors.

11. Copyright Form PA

12. Title Report and Copyright Report

A clean chain of title is critical for foreign distribution. You will need copyright certificates, and clearance report. Often, title clearance is one of many procedures required by E&O insurance carriers to minimize the risk of litigation. Title and trademark clearance are essential.

13. Script

14. Synopsis

15. A transliteration if Picture contains languages other than English

Script and synopsis is pretty straight forward. We didn’t have to worry about #15 because our movie was in English.

That covers the primary essential elements that will be requested when you find distribution for your movie. I hope the information is helpful, and not too intimidating. If you have any insight, comments or questions I’d love to hear from you. Best of luck!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

NAPTE; The Business of Selling Television.

If you're a "big shot" television executive, or even a "little shot" television executive planning to make your mark in the world, you are probably deciding which fedora you are going to wear at the 2011 NAPTE conference and exhibition in January... The exact dates are January 24-26, and the location is Miami... NAPTE stands for the National Association of Television Program Executives, and the big event attracts over 5000 affluent media professional that shape pop culture and have major professional and personal buying power.

The annual Conference & Exhibition is the only American television program market serving the worldwide television community. The three-day market and conference is a key media event if you buy, sell, develop, finance, advertise, market or license content; implement technology; exploit rights; or leverage media assets... the annual Conference & Exhibition will probably determine what you will be seeing on television and perhaps the internet, for years to come. As the momentum steadily builds, along comes the buzz. Rick Feldman, President/CEO of NAPTE and Kevin Beggs, NAPTE Chairman (and LIONSGATE President -Programming/Production), have announced;

"...pacing is far ahead of last year's conference."

Big Wigs from more than 40+ countries are registered to attend... Motivated by two major factors. One, the thrill of gambling on something exciting and new, and two, the fear of missing out on the next "best thing". In previous years the annual NAPTE conference took place in Las Vegas, just a hop skip and a jump away from Hollywood.
Rick Feldman mentioned that while Las Vegas had been a good venue for NAPTE in the past, representatives from European companies are in particular happier NAPTE has moved to a more logistically and geographically better environment.

Visit the NAPTE website to view the schedule and list of confirmed event speakers.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Walking Dead has been rated the number one series in basic cable history. “Just don’t get any on your skin or on your eyes…”

If you didn’t know that you could hack apart a human corpse and smear the rotten chunks of flesh and rancid blood all over your clothing to avoid zombie detection, then you haven’t watched THE WALKING DEAD.

THE WALKING DEAD has been rated the number one series in basic cable history with a season average of 3.5 million viewers.

The reported viewer demographic is 18-49… Perhaps if they counted the fragile minds of the younger viewers who undoubtedly have sneaked a peek at the bloody mayhem flowing freely on AMC the numbers might be higher. After all, the show is based on a black-and-white American comic book series of the same name published by Image Comics back in 2003.

I had a chance to see part of the debut episode on Halloween. The story chronicles the hardship of a group of people trying to survive in a world stricken by a zombie apocalypse. The first episode offered a brutal opening scene in which the main character of the show (played by Andrew Lincoln) blows the head off of a 12 year old blond girl when he realizes she is a zombie, then employed nonlinear flashbacks to introduce a couple of additional characters and enough back-story to peak viewer curiosity. I won’t give anything away here… (oxymoron) I mean, what’s there to give away? It’s a zombie show, us against them... nothing new, yet still compelling and more interesting to watch than many of the other shows out there. In any case, I’m sure youngsters across the nation are talking about it - finally something worth paying attention to on basic cable.