Friday, January 29, 2010

Humane Society of the United States 24th Genesis Awards to be held March 20th, 2010

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE


The Genesis Awards is one of the coolest Los Angeles Awards show ever. Not only does the Genesis Awards honor the media for spotlighting positive animal stories or exposing animal cruelty, many celebrities involve themselves as award presenters at the Genesis Awards. It's like the Academy Awards, only for animals. If you love animals you may want to consider attending, space permitting. Click here to learn more.

A basic ticket costs around 350 bucks and you get an entire evening of hobnobbing for animals, Hollywood style. Your evening could include seeing your favorite Hollywood celebrity presenting an award, a silent auction, a vegan meal, and amazingly enough, an actual awards show being filmed for broadcast on Television after you dine! There's even an after awards party as well.

I learned of the Genesis Award over 10 years ago via Nora Fraiser, and together we created a demo tape for the Genesis Awards back.

I also was involved in several other Genesis Awards projects including remastering Genesis Awards Founder Gretchen Wyler's demo reel and adding her acting segments to it (Gretchen's guest starring role on Friends as a grieving widow entertaining the bereaved guests was worthy of a guest star Emmy nomination), creating the DVD for the 19th Genesis Awards, the Genesis Awards Red Carpet DVD, and remastering archival video footage from the first 19 shows inclusion in a very special 20th Genesis Awards tribute.

It has been pretty amazing having a home video and editing business that over the years has allowed me to create projects for corporate giants such as Sony, the Genesis Awards / HSUS, Prudential Jon Douglass, Rodeo Reality, Glen Tonsor and Joico, In Defense of Animals, and a Harman Kardan video that apparently was shown to congress after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, to name just some of the companies I have worked with.

I've also had a chance to meet and work with Hollywood celebrities, and just as importantly, people with ideas and a passion to see those ideas to fruition.

If you are planning on creating or broadcasting a commercial and want an objective, outsiders point of view about your commercial, contact Alessandro Machi about his consulting services at...

info at alexlogic.com

You can also view more
commercial critiques
by Alessandro Machi at

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yes, I plan on doing something really crazy with Alex Logic dot blogspot dot com.

I think I'm going to offer a 900 number for anybody who has a film or video production directly with me. Let me explain why.

My attempt to profitably run a video production and editing company for well over a decade met with many production successes. However, being successful at creating productions while remaining profitable is an area that is far more difficult than many might ever imagine.

The actual fine tuning of a production can literally double the editing budget. Many times I just did many of the little extras that I knew would make the production solid, and just took the time off the session so we could stay within budget. Since other places don't necessarily go to the same extreme, I can't force someone to pay for "the little things" that can make a big difference. Hence, my profit margins many times were break evens at best, worse when I added in unexpected video equipment repair delays and the ever increasing video formats.

My film and video production and editing experience and studio can help the newbie by observing how actual video equipment works. I can also help those just needing quick guidance via a phone call as well.

I will use the Alex Logic Blog to explore the inner workings and strategies of the over one hundred projects that I was a involved with. In many instances, my responsibilities carried over into several adjunct positions, including producer, director, camera person, editor, scheduler, technical trouble shooter, project negotiator, billing and production assistant.

The experiences I went through, if interactively shared with others, might accelerate the process of learning by having the right experiences rather than random experiences.

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The mechanic in the Seinfeld clip below is reminiscent of me, at times, except I'm not as tall, and I give my clients more safe space when we are confined in the same editing room.

I'm not necessarily the mechanic who drives off with Jerry Seinfeld's car, but I did make sure that when I finished working on a video project, the edited master was ready for duplication and mass release.

Let me also add that I am on Jerry Seinfeld's side in the video clip above but I understand the mechanics desire to make sure Jerry's car is in tip top shape. The biggest difference is I never milked a job.

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I believe I have experiences that will help accelerate your learning curve forward in the world of film and video production. I will share how it is possible that the effort you put forth may or may not result in a positive result.

Imagine doing a demo for a corporate sales person who wants to try out for Home Shopping network, the sales person makes it to the next round because of the demo I made for them, is then offered an on air job, AND DOES NOT TAKE IT BECAUSE IT WILL MEAN A PAY CUT!

It's kind of funny. Imagine if this client had taken the job, pretty nice feather in my cap. Same with another client who was offered a four deal on Channel One after we had a very fascinating experience putting her demo tape together.
There are at least half a dozen and perhaps as many as a dozen success stories in which the person I helped didn't completely follow through with the project after it was completed, for a myriad of provocative reasons as the ones described above. There are no hard feelings on my part because I have a lot of semi interesting stories to tell as a result, but I do wonder what might have been if just a couple of the many people I feel I helped, would have actually followed through with a bit more intensity than they did.
There are several dozen behind the scenes stories that I will be sharing as well as this blog develops over time.

One such example is the cancer video I worked on where out of the crew of 9 that worked on the video, 8 SMOKED. (I was the lone exception). Or the time I was in film school and I got five of us hired to work on a Rebe Jackson music video called Centipede, as production assistants. What was our job? Picking up cigarette butts. I kid you not.

Being able to keep the location looking within 10% of the way it looked when we first got there meant the production company had succeeded, even if the footage came out badly, they still could consider it a success if they hadn't thrashed the place!

I will keep adding more and more images and stories of all the film and video projects of note that I have worked on in my own world of truly independent, low low budget, NO WEDDING VIDEO, film and video productions throughout the late 80's, the 90's, and into the new century.

There is one rule that I believe I never broke from early on on any project that I edited. I would not release a technically inferior edit master to a client. As a result, I can take a 10 to 15 year old betacam sp edit master, put into a betacam sp player, and not be embarrassed to show it. I am very proud of the quality control aspect that I have put into all of my productions as nowadays I realize filmmakers have one huge disadvantage versus the generation that came before them.

In the 90's, we were FORCED TO INTERACT and work with each other whereas nowadays, you get to learn how to do it yourself. I realize now that many of the experiences I had years ago when I was working 10-15 hour days on projects that required more cooperation among other people make them richer experiences than many of the present production experiences that seem to be about mastering a new format or learning an improved technology rather than about the people, places and things that are being documented.

Why will I be offering a 900 number? I figure by the time I have this blog filled with several dozen production stories along with the imagery on the sides of the blog that is sure to elicit more questions than they answer, along with what I hope are bits of wisdom mixed in, paying a couple of bucks a minute to ask me pertinent, direct questions just might be worth it to somebody on the planet.

If you think I'm being greedy for offering a 900 number so you can talk directly to me for a relatively small minute by minute fee, I have already donated literally 5 thousand hours of my time in the past 10 years on various forums, blogs, and websites. To this day I still donate my time for free to All Experts and most of what I have written still exists on the internet.

However, one thing about the internet that I find both rewarding and frustrating at the same time is that there is too much information. And that's where my 900 number comes in. You can cut through hours of conflicting albeit "free" research, and just ask me specific questions that relate to the nuts and bolts of film and video production from a somewhat unique experience.

Imagine being the one person who MUST finish each and every job, and then imagine the learning curve that must go into being able to deliver a project to someone and have them accept it when they paid 1/5th the going rate yet expected 5 times the value. You don't have to imagine it, I'm your guy.

If nothing else, I will have at least documented my absolutely crazy intensity to make my clients film and video project be watchable when completed, no matter what the budget was that they had to spend.

If you are planning on creating or broadcasting a commercial and want an objective, outsiders point of view about your commercial, contact Alessandro Machi about his consulting services at...

info at alexlogic.com

You can also view more
commercial critiques
by Alessandro Machi at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Taco Bell's version of Thelma and Louise, the commercial that was Banned after only one night.

After being named the winner of an Academy of Television Arts and Sciences internship scholarship back in the 80's, my internship was spent at a commercials production company called Film Fair.

It was an honor to win such an award as I had to compete against students from colleges all over the country, including Harvard!

Some time after my internship had ended, automobile driving specialist Larry Boenzle informed me of a Thelma and Louise Taco Bell commercial that he would be participating in with fellow stunt car driver Mike Ryan, imagine my surprise to encounter a couple of Film Fair employees working on the shoot.
The adage it's a small world in the film production world sure can be true at times.


I decided to use a super-8 camera that Dave Riddle of Four Designs company fame had specially modified per my request to capture the actual stunt of the car jumping the train tracks while a locomotive cruised by at 15-25 miles an hour.

Dave Riddle added a rheostat dial to the super-8 camera that altered the level of current the camera received. The rheostat mounted dial would allow this particular Super-8 camera to smoothly fluctuate in speed from a low of around 2 frames per second all the way up to around 36-40 frames per second.

This rheo stat modification apparently does not work on most super-8 cameras, but in this instance for this particular super-8 camera, it worked like a charm. I used good old trusty Kodachrome 40 super-8 film to film the stunt.
There are times when I display a bull in a china shop etiquette, and this time was no exception.
Before the stunt was to take place, I recall going up to one of the youngish agency executives and exclaiming my surprise that they would attempt this type of commercial. I think I said something along the lines of "this strikes me as the kind of commercial that gets taken off the air because of viewer complaints within a day or two of the first time it is shown on television".

Fortunately, I did not say this to the executive in front of other people as well, so he remained pretty non-plussed about my comment and stated that the commercial had not received any major cautions from the ad agency or taco bell and therefore he was not concerned.
I may sometimes be a bull in a china shop, but I try to make sure there is room to maneuver for all parties involved.
And yes, the commercial was pulled from national broadcast after the first night or two of broadcast. File this under "just another example of people not listening to me when my opinion might have helped them figure out a solution to an upcoming unforeseen problem".

As for the Super-8 camera rheostat, you can see the car turn into slow motion as it begins to jump the train.

If you are planning on creating or broadcasting a commercial and want an objective, outsiders point of view about your commercial, contact Alessandro Machi about his consulting services at...

info at alexlogic.com

You can also view more
commercial critiques
by Alessandro Machi at

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dali,Dali,Dali four minute short film version I was cinematographer on.


Dali Dali Dali was a 2008 VSM finalist, you can click here to see the four minute video.  (note, these two links no longer work) 

If you click here you can see a one minute trailer, or watch below.


Director: Irakli Karlo Uchaneishvili - Writer/Producer: Levani Uchaneishvili



Dali, Dali, Dali is the visionary work of Levani Uchaneishvili, who not only co-directed the film but also handled art direction, design and played the lead role of Salvador Dali. It was amazing to see Levani transform into Salvador Dali right in front of us.

I handled all of the camera and lighting for this four minute film to video project. Since I had no crew for most of the shoots, I devised a lighting system that was powered by anton bauer lithum batteries.

The anton bauer lithium batteries in conjunction with portable frezzi HMI lights allowed me to power up the HMI lights using only a 1.9 lb Anton Bauer battery source. The batteries could keep one light going for TWO HOURS! This in turn allowed me to literally pick up the light, stand and battery and the same time and move them.

I used a quick charger to immediately charge discharged batteries while the back up anton bauer batteries were being used. I also used lead batteries but those start at a lower voltage and one has to watch the voltage because once it gets below 12.0 volts, it could start to do some damage to the frezzi hmi lights. Frezzi lights like 13.2 volts but the lead batteries are such a constant source of power that I felt they were fine as long as the voltage remained up above 12.0 volts.

Its amazing how quickly lighting can be done when the power supply is a battery located at the base of the light stand. No cords to hide, no generator necessary, a wow all the way around.

The shoot got really crazy on some days. There were days where I was running TWO SUPER-8 FILM CAMERAS at the same time, doing the lighting, even taking polaroid stills to assist in nailing down the proper exposure, loading and unloading the film.

As if that was not enough, the film cartridges were almost always removed from the camera before they were run completely through so that the same angle could be filmed with different film stocks. This required my using a digital frame counter so I could keep track of how much film had been shot with a particular film stock before it was replaced.

I would write how many frames had been shot, put the new film in, shoot with that, then at some point, go back to the prior film stock. I would have to reset the digital frame counter to zero then do the math in my head as to how many frames were left. Yeesh. All this while doing lighting and keeping track of exposures and shooting some wonderful BW polaroid stills that enabled me to calculate the exposure of the shot.

Over the course of the production we shot on a boat (I lost my favorite cap on that shoot as the wind blew it off the top of my head during one boat manuever), the beach on more than occasion, in tight quarters, in movie theatres both old and refurbished.

The film transfer to video was done by Spectra Film and Video in North Hollywood California. Spectra Film and Video did an awesome job of doing a normal transfer, plus also a "special effects laden" pass of the footage as well.

You can go here to see a four minute promo of a short film I shot for the multi talented Levani and his brother Ira. (note, this link is no longer active however you can click here to see the one minute trailer instead.) 

I was asked to edit the longer version of the film but the prolonged illness of my father and several other considerations made it impossible for me to step in and do the editing on the longer version, but I was the editor of this four minute version that edited in my own studio.

The longer versions of the Dali Film will also feature the work of other camera people as well as some of the film has since been shot in Europe.

It's amazing what can be done with a 45 year old film format called super-8 when a talented actor and his brother get involved.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

If you are planning on creating or broadcasting a commercial and want an objective, outsiders point of view about your commercial, contact Alessandro Machi about his consulting services at...


info at alexlogic.com

You can also view more
commercial critiques
by Alessandro Machi at

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