Tuesday, November 13, 2012

You Don't Want Original Content - You Just Think You Do

I hear it all the time. Hell, I say it all the time: "Why can't Hollywood make anything original any more?" We're inundated with a steady stream of sequels, remakes, reboots, reimaginings, and adaptations of material from other media (comics, novels, magazine articles, 80's TV shows). In fact a website titled "Short of the Week" famously looked at Hollywood's trend towards regurgitating the familiar, and spawned this infographic which went viral:


The infographic and its accompanying article were meant as a rallying cry to filmmakers and audiences alike, to stop regurgitating the same-old, same-old and to stop lapping it up like mother's milk. Filmmakers and film lovers took up the banner and cried out "Where are the new voices? The new visions? Give us original content! We demand it!"

Only thing is, you didn't mean it. Oh, your intentions were good. In your heart you really want those original visions. You want to be re-inspired by original movies the way you were when you were a kid. You want that thrill of discovery.

Only, you don't. Not really. There's so much content out there competing for your attention that to invest any sort of time, money, or energy into watching something requires you to know something about it beforehand. Maybe you read the graphic novel. Or played the videogame. Or at the very least you know who's in it. It needs to have a "brand." It needs to be familiar.

Let's take a look at two films that we've posted on our YouTube channel, "Fallout" and "Red Sand."


On the first glance they are fairly similar - both are sci-fi action movies, made with roughly the same production value, same level of acting, same level of writing, and with essentially the same runtime. However one has 4,500 views accrued in just over a year and the other has 133,000 views in just over a month.


So what's going on here? The power of the known property, that's what. "Red Sand" is based on the immensely popular Mass Effect videogame franchise. "Fallout," while sharing a title with another videogame property, is an original vision not otherwise tied to any known property. This alone accounts for the vast difference in the view counts of these two films. In fact a closer look at the stats for "Fallout" serves to prove my point further. There are several spikes in the views graph for "Fallout," the most noticeable of which falls on May 24, 2012 - the day after the release of our first trailer for "Red Sand," which has an advertisement for "Fallout" tagged on the end.


That tag on the end of the "Red Sand" trailer provided "Fallout" with its largest single-day viewing spike, though the comparison is still paltry. On May 24, the "Red Sand" trailer brought in over 13,000 views, and passed a mere 500 of those viewers over to "Fallout"(roughly 3.8%).


By comparison, "Fallout"'s own trailer has roughly 3,500 views and has, according to YouTube's stats, prompted just 37 of those viewers to watch the actual "Fallout" film (just over 1%).


Even this graph serves to prove my greater point - that the average viewer will only watch something if it's somehow been granted the appearance of a "known property." In this case, that big spike on April 5, 2011 is just days after "Fallout" won Best Arizona Short at the 2011 Phoenix Film Festival - an assertion of quality by a known entity which says to the viewer "this is worth your time."

So what's the solution for a filmmaker trying to get more eyeballs on his or her films? For a long time that solution seemed to be "name actors." Get a recognizable name and face in your film, and you've got a hit on your hands. Well, yes and no. Casting Mark Meer in "Red Sand" certainly ensured a fair amount of viewership (he is, after all, the voice of Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect games), though one would hardly call him a "household name." Yet in this case he seems to have much more marquee value than "bigger" names like Bill Engvall and Danny Trejo, the stars of our film "Cowboy Dreams" from 2008.


"Cowboy Dreams" was, like "Fallout," an Official Selection of the Phoenix Film Festival. However its total view count is right around 10,000 lifetime views.


Just by math alone, one could make the argument that name actors can roughly double your audience (10,000 for "Cowboy Dreams" compared to around 5,000 for "Fallout"), but a known property like Mass Effect can multiply your audience by a factor of 20 or more.

And before you dismiss this article as simply focusing on YouTube stats, realize that I am using these stats which I have at my fingertips to illuminate a broader point. One need look no further than this summer's box office to see the evidence of my thesis. Compare the opening weekends of the Alien prequel Prometheus ($51 million) and the original story Looper ($20 million). They're both high-concept sci-fi with all-star casts, and yet their box office takes are inversely proportional to their quality.

In conclusion, before you decry "Hollywood's lack of originality" you really should look at yourself - and the rest of the audience - as the ones lacking originality! It's you, the viewer, who doesn't embrace original visions, new voices, unique stories. It's you, the viewer, who is ensuring a continued diet of the same-old, same-old! So if you're truly tired of the regurgitated pablum Hollywood is feeding you - stop consuming it. Watch something new. Find those hidden gems on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Go to a film festival. Check out the arthouse instead of the multiplex this weekend. But for the love of cinema, become part of the solution instead of just complaining about the problem!

Monday, November 5, 2012

UAT Wins 3 Awards at Inter-college 48 Hour Film Challenge

This weekend, two teams of UAT DV students competed in the 5th Semi-Annual Valley-Wide Inter-college 48 Hour Film Challenge, hosted by Grand Canyon University. (This is a recurring event that happens twice a year; GCU hosts in the Fall and we host in the Spring.) 12 teams total competed, representing GCU, UAT, ASU, and both Scottsdale and Glendale Community Colleges.

GCU Professor Gregg Elder assembled a panel of judges from the UAT and GCU faculties, as well as from the local film community. Four awards were given, Best Acting, Best Technical, Best Directing, and Best Overall Film. The Best Overall award included not only an individual trophy for the film, but the custodianship of the newly-minted "Persistence of Vision" Cup which like the Stanley Cup will be housed on the winning team's campus until the next challenge.

One of the UAT films, "Apart From Your World," won three out of the four awards and took home the POV Cup for Team UAT. The film, a musical exploration of geekdom that was filled with visual effects sequences inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Superman, Star Wars, and many more, won Best Acting for UAT student Nathan Benson (who also sang), Best Technical, and Best Overall Film.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Making of RED SAND

The UAT Digital Video team has put together 4 behind-the-scenes documentaries about the making of our epic Mass Effect prequel fan film, RED SAND! The videos give a great look into the creative process, the nuts and bolts of VFX-heavy filmmaking, and the community of UATDV students. It's 22 minutes of behind the scenes awesomeness. Check it out!

Monday, October 22, 2012

ONE Community: 'Karen & Nelda'

UAT Digital Video is delighted to share the story of "Karen & Nelda" which debuted on Spirit Day at the ONE Community Spotlight on Success Local Heroes Awards. The video was produced by UATDV students and faculty in cooperation with ONE Community.
This special tribute and video tells the story of Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey who have been together for 54 years. They met when they 18 and 19 years old. Nelda knew that she was gay, yet Karen was in a relationship with a soldier for 4 years prior to their meeting. Six months after their friendship began; Karen came back from spring break and told Nelda that she loved her. Both women were raised in Texas and have lived in the Valley for the last several years. The journey of their lives together and how society’s views have evolved over the last 50+ years was documented at the Spotlight on Success Local Heroes Awards which celebrates LGBT history month and twelve LGBT and allied ONE Community business members in October of each year.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

24-Hour Film Challenge: 'Concealed Chronicle'

Here's a fun little film a team of UAT Digital Video students produced for the summer 2012 A3F 24 Hour Film Challenge. That's right, they did this in one day from start to finish! And, it was in the Top 20 Films in the Challenge!

Parameters for the challenge were a required line ("Let's get this over with"), a required prop (a box which had to be opened or closed), and a required theme ("a hidden agenda").

More info about the challenge: http://www.thea3f.net

Friday, October 12, 2012

'Flight of the Melvin' Selected for 2012 Aliens to Zombies Film Festival!

Our family-friendly comedy sci-fi adventure "Flight of the Melvin" has been selected for its 9th film festival, the 2012 Aliens to Zombies Film Festival in Los Angeles! In addition, the film has been awarded "Runner Up, Best Special Effects."

The Aliens to Zombies screenings will be held on the evenings of Monday, October 29 (9-11 p.m) and Tuesday, October 30 (9-11 p.m.) at the W Hotel in Hollywood.

More info and tickets: http://www.alienstozombies.com/


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

RED SAND Released!

After 9 months of post-production, our latest sci-fi epic RED SAND: a Mass Effect fan film has been completed and released! The film debut on YouTube on Sunday October 7th following a live pre-show with star Mark Meer (the voice behind Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect games), and has scored 75,000 views in just under 4 days. We could not be happier! Check it out below:



And we are thrilled to announce that RED SAND has begun receiving invitations to cons and film festivals! This evening we were invited to screen at the following events in 2013!

RadCon 6A - SF&;F Convention - February 15-17, 2013 - Pasco WA http://www.radcon.org/

Seattle Crypticon - Memorial day weekend - Seattle WA

LoneStarCon3 Film Festival - Aug 29 -Sept 2, 2013 - San Antonio, TX http://lonestarcon3.org/

TCIF3 Film Festival - October 2013 - Richland WA http://www.tcif3.com/

If you want to see RED SAND on the big screen, and you live in any of the above locales, mark your calendars! More info as it develops!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DV Award Modeling Scholarship - Deadline October 12!


The DV Award Modeling Scholarship is awarded to a current University of Advancing Technology undergraduate student (on campus or UAT-Online) who has a passion for 3D modeling and design. This is a project-based scholarship open to any student seeking any Bachelor of Arts degree. To be awarded the scholarship, the student must present their 3D model for a custom trophy to be presented to the “Audience Choice” winner at the 2012 UAT Digital Video Festival. This model may be created using any software of the student’s choice, and must be fully ready for 3D printing using the University’s uPrint rapid prototyper. For 3D printing purposes, the model must be no more than 6” by 6” x 8” and must be one complete enclosed mesh with no holes.

Eligibility Requirements:
Must be a current UAT student in good academic standing
Must be enrolled in a designated Bachelor of Arts program of study

Application Process:
To apply, students must submit the following information on or before October 12, 2012.
A completed scholarship application
A current FAFSA on file with UAT
A minimum of three (3) renders of the model – front, top, and side – as JPEG images
The model file in a standard format such as Maya Binary or FBX
The model file in STL format for printing

Please submit application materials to Professor Paul DeNigris at pdenigri@uat.edu

Thursday, August 30, 2012

UAT Digital Video at PAX Prime this weekend!

Professor Paul DeNigris and student Caleb Evans will be speaking on a panel at this weekend's PAX Prime convention in Seattle, Washington. The panel is titled "Virtual Reality: bringing video games to life" and will feature a number of film professionals discussing their work on videogame-inspired projects such as our own "Red Sand: A Mass Effect Fan Film."

A little history of PAX, from their website:
In 2004, the folks at Penny Arcade decided they wanted a show exclusively for gaming. Sure, comics, anime, and other nerd hobbies were cool, and those activities all had their own shows… so what about games? From that idea spawned a small 4,500 person event in Bellevue, Washington, focused on the culture and community that is gaming.
Since then, the show hasn’t looked back. Doubling in size each year until venue capacities were reached, in 2010 the show expanded into Boston for PAX East, drawing tens of thousands of attendees in the inaugural year. The shows in Seattle and Boston represent the two largest gaming events in North America!
We'll post pics and video from this event as soon as they become available!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Summer Semester Recap!

WOW! Another semester done, and this one goes in the record books as one of the busiest and most successful to date for the Digital Video Program.

May

Two of our films, the family adventure "Flight of the Melvin" and the supernatural thriller "Covet" were selected for Phoenix Comicon.

Two of our videos from TEDxPhoenix 2011 made it to the front page of TED.com and scored over 3000,000 views combined.

The new Digital Video Program "highlights reel" debuted on YouTube and Vimeo, featuring some of the best work by our students from 2005 to the present.

The trailer for our Mass Effect fan film "Red Sand" debuted on YouTube and has racked up over 40,000 views to date. (The previous teaser for the film is at over 110,000 views.) The trailer also brought us significant press coverage by the likes of MSNBC, Kotaku, and more.

After screening at Phoenix Comicon, our multi-award-winning film "Covet" debuted online.

Professor Paul DeNigris' thesis film "Parallax" screened as part of the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival.


June

The UAT DV crew took a road trip up to Salt Lake City, Utah, to collaborate with the folks at Frogpants Productions to produce the DVD of their "Nerdtacular '12" event.

"Flight of the Melvin" was selected for GenCon Indy (a HUGE gaming convention in Indianapolis) and Dragon*Con (another HUGE convention for games, comics, and genre entertainment in Atlanta).

The videos produced by UAT DV for February's "Geeks' Night Out" event in Tempe were published to YouTube.


July

"Flight of the Melvin" got a rave review on Arizona film criticism site Apocalypse Later. So did "Parallax."

Professor Paul DeNigris and student Jared Oppie traveled to San Diego to film w00tstock 4.0, a "geek variety show" event held concurrently with San Diego Comicon. w00tstock was founded by MythBuster Adam Savage, Star Trek alum Wil Wheaton, and comedy music duo Paul & Storm (who had met the DV crew at Nerdtacular and invited us to come to w00tstock). The resulting videos are online on YouTube.

Our big film festival hit from last year, "Fallout," continued its amazing run by screening at the Fright Night Film Festival in Louisville, KY, where it won "Best CGI" and "Best Action Film."


August

"Flight of the Melvin" was selected for the Atlanta Horror Film Festival.

UAT Digital Video took home the award for BEST FILM in this year's IFP Phoenix 48-Hour "Beat the Clock" Film Challenge for our psychological thriller "Screaming in Silence."

Professor DeNigris' film "Parallax" screened at the landmark Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood as part of the 2012 Hollyshorts Film Festival.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Inspiration: 'Horizon'

Wanna see probably the most impressive 27 seconds you'll ever see? Check out "Horizon" by MickaĆ«l Forrett and then watch the breakdown below. One guy did all this work in Photoshop, After Effects, Maya, Mudbox, and Nuke. Unbelievable!



Thursday, August 9, 2012

'Clouds' - what happens when a DSLR meets an XBOX Kinect

Here's something I found a while back on Planet5D and never had a chance to post.
Ever since the Kinect emerged on the scene, its depth-sensing camera has fascinated legions of creative coders, but the team behind the RGB+D Toolkit is one of the few attempting to transform the gaming console into a real filmmaking tool. Using a Kinect and a standard DSLR camera, like your Canon 5D, these avant-garde image-makers have created a technique that allows you to map video from the SLR onto the Kinect’s 3D data to generate a true CGI and video hybrid. (From an in-depth article about the project on The Creators Project website.) 



The folks behind the RGB+D Toolkit that made these ghostly images possible have been keeping a log of their activities and are making their code available to anyone who wants to play. Maybe a future UATDV project will use this technology? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ken Burns: 'All Storytelling is Manipulation'

Here's a 5-minute interview with a man who has arguably become the master of the long-form documentary, Ken Burns, in which he describes his approach to telling stories.



Originally spotted this one over at nofilmschool. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

w00tstock 4.0 videos now online!

On July 12, 2012, Professor Paul DeNigris and student Jared Oppie went on the road to videotape w00tstock 4.0 at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego, California.

Billed as "A Night of Geeks and Music," the show starred founders Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage, and Paul and Storm, as well as a who's who of writers and musicians including John Scalzi, the DoubleClicks, Patrick Rothfuss, and Marian Call.

The result is over 3 hours of video - some of which is definitely for mature audiences. Here's the full YouTube playlist:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Great Review of 'Flight of the Melvin'

Arizona film blogger Hal Astell has been reviewing UAT films for a while and today he published his latest post, a wonderful review of our sci-fi adventure comedy "Flight of the Melvin," which he caught at Phoenix Comicon.
It's a family friendly affair, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's some sort of soporific Disney picture with cutesy singing candlesticks. It's so much better than that.
Read Hal's full review on his blog, Apocalypse Later. While there, you can also check out his stellar review of Professor Paul DeNigris' thesis film "Parallax."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

'Flight of the Melvin' Selected for Dragon*Con

Our sci-fi family adventure film "Flight of the Melvin" has been selected for its 8th film festival - the 2012 Dragon*Con Independent Film Festival in Atlanta, Georgia! From the Dragon*Con site:
Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!

This year, Dragon*Con will be held Labor Day weekend (August 31 - September 3, 2012) in Atlanta, GA.
Film festival info can be found here: http://filmfest.dragoncon.org/ We'll post the screening schedule for "Melvin" as soon as it becomes available!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Microphone Placement Tips

Here's a fun video that illustrates some of the key points to getting the best location audio possible.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

HurlBlog: 'Diffusion for the Digital Age – Using Smoke'

DP and blogger Shane Hurlburt has written an excellent post on the uses of smoke on set - to create mood, evoke a time period, or to create an appealing diffusion to make your actors look better.
The first diffusion I go to time and time again, whether it is film or HD, is smoke.  This is a very powerful tool.  Having the patience to use the right smoke to get your levels consistent can infuse a mood, transport you back in time, create style, and a cream effect on a woman’s skin.  One tool.




Check out more examples, and the full blog post over on HurlBlog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

IndieWire: 'The Six Things You Must Know to Make it in the Film Industry'

Barbara Freeman Doyle, Chair of the Film Division of Chapman University, shares her insight into how the film business really works in this incisive blog post for IndieWire.
In a business where much of the deal-making and negotiations are verbal, your word and your reputation is EVERYTHING. The film industry is small. Everyone who is established can easily make contact with anyone else or can get the straight scoop by making a few calls. How much you are paid, your title on a project, how hard you work, how honest you are, how you treat people— there are no secrets.
Read the entire post here, bookmark it, re-read it, commit it to memory, live it!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

UAT Digital Video produces Geeks' Night Out videos

In February 2012, a team of UAT Digital Video students lead by Professors Paul DeNigris and Todd Schoenberger provided video production support for the City of Tempe's "Geeks' Night Out" science and technology festival.
Geeks are really important to Tempe. About 20 percent of the jobs in our city are tech-related. We are, perhaps, the most tech-heavy town in Arizona, depending on how you slice it. We love geeks. They're smart, fun and want to change the world for the better. They've cured diseases, built robots, and yes, even helped us get to Mars. (Source)
The students involved in this project were: Alexander Broderick, Evanne Carter, Clayton Dowell, David Ford, Anthony Guilkey, Reginald Riley, and Vanessa Schell. Here's the playlist on YouTube, over two hours of engaging talks and high-tech product pitches. Watch it all here, or bounce over to YouTube to pick and choose which talks to watch.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

nofilmschool: 'Two Interview Lighting Tutorials That'll Kick Your Footage Up a Notch'

The great "nofilmschool" blog turned us on to these two awesome lighting tutorials. If you're new to lighting, or just looking for some pointers to sharpen your skills and fill out your aesthetic toolset, these are both worth a watch. From the nofilmschool article:
The first tutorial comes courtesy of stillmotion, the folks behind SMAPP (which looks like a pretty useful filmmaking app for folks learning the ropes).  Not only does this tutorial do a great job of illustrating a general lighting set-up, it does so while jam-packing key terms and concepts.  It’s a solid introduction to lighting in general — from key lights to fill lights, to lighting ratios, you get a lot of great information:



The second tutorial is from Eve Hazelton and the folks at Realm Pictures (who are developing what looks like a really cool underwater fantasy project).  What I like about this tutorial in particular is how it shows the many ways you can spice up the image with well placed lights in the background, and that 3-point lighting isn’t some hard and fast rule — you light to your tastes:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

fxguide: 'Art of Stereo Conversion: 2D to 3D – 2012'

In keeping with their amazing "Art of" series, fxguide has put together a comprehensive set of case studies detailing the 2D to 3D conversion pipelines for films such as Titanic, John Carter, Star Wars Episode I, and the latest Transformers.
Many people argue that if you want a film in stereo you should shoot it in stereo. Yet many filmmakers do not want the physical size of an on set stereo rig, or they prefer to shoot film (ruling out stereo in camera, effectively) or want to use anamorphic lenses which are extremely difficult for stereo native capture. Even on a stereo film, lenses and situations often times render a single camera the only viable solution. Thus, even on films shot in stereo there may well be a need to convert some footage and that high quality conversion is an important tool in the box of any effects house.
As a number of our alumni are currently working in the 2D-to-3D conversion specialty, and there are no signs of 3D disappearing from cinemas anytime soon, chances are high that you'll at some point be involved in this sort of work. Read the rest of this invaluable article here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

UAT Inducted into Cumulus, the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media

The University of Advancing Technology is pleased to have been inducted into Cumulus, the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media, as one of an exclusive group of universities worldwide. From their website: "Cumulus is the only global association to serve art and design education and research. It is a forum for partnership and transfer of knowledge and best practices. Cumulus consists currently of 189 members from 46 countries."

In fact if you look at the list of full members here, UAT is one of just 11 institutions in the United States, including Art Center College of Design, Ringling College of Design, and the School of Visual Arts. Great company to be in, indeed.

Here's UAT's member profile on the Cumulus website.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

UAT Sponsoring Trip to VFX Career Fair

The Visual Effects Society (VES) and CreativeHeads.net are hosting the VES Career Fair and Tech Expo on June 16, 2012, in three simultaneous locations - Los Angeles, London, and New York.
On the heels of our successful inaugural VFX Career Fair & Technology Expo last year, the Visual Effects Society presents our Worldwide VFX Career Fair. This will be a daylong event where the very best practitioners in the Visual Effects industry and the top companies in entertainment from around the world converge on Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, & San Francisco on Saturday, June 16, 2012 to employ, educate and inform the Visual Effects Community.
The VES VFX Global Career Fair & Technology Expo has the distinction of being the world’s largest Visual Effects specific Career Fair and Technology Expo dedicated solely to the Visual Effects professional. Exhibitions, Career Fair, Technology Showcases, and Software Master classes, all set the stage for the 2nd VES Career Fair and Technology Expo.
If you are interested, email ngraves@uat.edu. The entrance fee is $15 dollars and you must provide your own hotel room, but UAT will drive anyone interested there in the UAT Van!

AE Tuts+ 'Create Custom Blood Spatter With CC Mr Mercury'

James Whiffin posted this tutorial on AE Tuts+ for using After Effects' built-in "CC Mr. Mercury" effect to create (in his words) "300-inspired blood spatter." Here's the preview, and the full tutorial can be found here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

'Flight of the Melvin' Official Selection, Gen Con Indy Film Festival

Our sci-fi comedy "Flight of the Melvin" has been selected for this year's Gen Con Indy Film Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana, August 16-19! This is the 45th year for this venerable convention of gaming, sci-fi, and geek culture. From their site:
Gen Con Indy is the original, longest running, best attended, gaming convention in the world. For over 44 years, Gen Con Indy has been setting the trend and breaking records. Last year, more than 120,103 turnstile and 36,106 unique attendees experienced Gen Con Indy. The biggest complaint we hear is that there is simply too much to do, see, and experience. Get lost in a phantasm of art exhibits. Stare at jaw-dropping costumes, or better yet, wear one of your own. Meet the movers and the shakers in the gaming industry. Check out the newest games and get a sneak peek at the latest editions.
 Learn more about Gen Con at their website!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Inspiration: 'Because of Stanley'

Here's an amazing video produced via "Camera Mapping" or "Camera Projection." From the video's creator, Topi Kauppinen:
The reason why I’m so fascinated by Camera Mapping is the way it enables, in a sense, rebuilding physically long-gone spaces and situations by using relatively simple geometry coupled with a little bit of photoshopping. And the ultimate pay-off that comes with it, if done right, is the possibility for near photorealistic, but more or less limited, interaction. The most obvious interaction, of course, is dollying the camera into the frame, which creates something of an elaborate Ken Burns effect, if you will.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Black and Blue: 'Three Must-Have Skills for Pulling Focus and How You Can Improve Them'

Evan Luzi over at The Black and Blue Blog has written a really helpful article on focus-pulling, an essential skill for anyone considering a career in the camera department:
Pulling focus is hard. Really hard. It’s certainly no walk in the park.

In fact, it’s one of the most stressful, pressure-filled, ridiculously tough tasks that you can shoulder on a set and the consequences are as simple as they are brutal: miss the focus, ruin the take.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

For those who are good at it, it is. Nothing is more satisfying than keeping an actor’s eyes in sharp focus throughout the entirety of a 30-foot-dolly shot.

But that kind of skill has to be earned — forged in the fires of experience by tapping into and improving certain qualities necessary to pull focus in a seamless way.

So today I want to talk about three of these must-have skills for focus pullers and show you practical methods to improve them so you can panic a little bit less when the DP sets the stop to T 1.8.
Read Evan's list of three essential skills, and how you can practice to improve them over at The Black and Blue.

Friday, June 1, 2012

PBS: 'The Art of Film & TV Title Design'

Here's a great video posted by PBS - brief interviews with the creators of some of the most iconic title sequences of the modern era.
The credits are often the first thing we see when we watch a great film or TV show, but the complexity and artistry of title design is rarely discussed. Creators of title sequences are tasked to invent concepts that evoke the core story and themes of the production, and to create a powerful visual experience that pulls the viewer into the film's world. In this episode we hear the stories of some of the most inventive people working in the field, including the creators of the iconic Mad Men sequence, the hilarious Zombieland opening and "rules" sequences, and the stirring end credits from Blue Valentine.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

AE Tuts+: 'The Naked Truth About Rotations '

In this tutorial, Bartek Skorupa discuss at length the differences between "Orientation" and "Rotation," the issues of "Gimbal Lock," and how to work around some of the limitations of rotating layers in After Effects. A but dry, but essential stuff nonetheless!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Experts Agree: 'Shoot Flat!'

Both Stu Maschwitz (author of The DV Rebel's Guide) and Vincent Laforet (director and DP of many Canon 5D-shot films) have recently posted their processes for getting the best results out of their DSLRs. Basically the short version is "Shoot flat!" In other words, shoot with the least amount of contrast and give yourself the most latitude for color grading in post. Or in Laforet's words:
"The idea is to capture the flattest image possible with the most amount of detail and range of exposure possible.  Given that the Canon 5Ds compress the video image (it’s not capturing RAW) – you need to make sure you don’t crush the blacks or blow out the highlights as you won’t be able to correct for that in post.    You can always add contrast and saturation back to an image in post- doing the opposite is significantly more difficult especially off of the compressed file that the Canon 5Ds produce."
 Check out what both of these experts have to say. Here's Stu's article. And here's Vincent's.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

'Covet' Now Online!

Two crooked cops unleash an evil that corrupts and destroys everyone it touches.

Produced for the IFP/Phoenix 48-Hour Film Challenge, Summer 2011. A co-production of UAT Digital Video, Locked Horns Productions, and SWAT HD. Required prop: battery or helmet (we chose battery). Required line: "As long as it's free..."

The film won 4 awards at the 48 Hour Challenge Screening (Best Director, Best Use of Line, Best Ensemble, 2nd Place Film) and was also an official selection of the 2012 Phoenix Film Festival and 2012 Phoenix Comicon.

Filmmaker Magazine: 'Ten Tips on Shooting Low-Budget Movies from SXSW'

At this year's SXSW in Austin, Texas, a panel titled “The Great Cinematography Shootout” gathered a group of directors and cinematographers to discuss shooting independent films with lower-cost, high-quality cameras, like the Canon 5D (such as Sunset Stories, pictured here). Read the panel's 10 awesome tips here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Empire Magazine: 'The Best Filmmaker's TED Talks'

Inspired by our continued relationship with TEDxPhoenix, here's a great roundup of TED talks by and for filmmakers put together by Empire Magazine. The list includes the likes of James Cameron and Morgan Spurlock, and concludes with the great mock TED talk produced to promote Ridley Scott's Prometheus. But Andrew Stanton, director of Wall-E and Finding Nemo, kicks it off:


Check out the rest here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

UAT Digital Video Highlights Reel

Here's a reel highlighting excerpts of UAT Digital Video student works from 2005 to 2012, with peeks behind the scenes into prop fabrication, set design, makeup, effects, and more!



Complete list of projects, in order:

"Fallout"
"Bad Whiskey"
"I Have Some News"
"Reset"
"Get Pade"
"Data Stream"
"Pirate Booty"
"Like You Said"
"Somewhere (dot dot dot)"
"Extraordinary Colleagues"
"Flight of the Melvin"
"Red Sand"
"Nardo and the Sock of Destiny"
"Breeze in the Wind"
"Chet vs. The Elevator"
"Backup Plan"
"Peephole"
"Covet"

Design Spectre: '20 Websites To download Free Fonts'

Free fonts are always useful for motion graphics artists, editors, and designers.

Here's a handy list of 20 sites where you can find 'em!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

CNET: 'Why Hollywood loves 3D printing'

Just as UAT DV Students have been using 3D printing to fabricate custom props for films like "Fallout," "Flight of the Melvin," and "Red Sand," so has Hollywood. In fact, some of Tony Stark's armor seen in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers was printed using high-resolution 3D printers:
Though it's not a technique that's much discussed outside the industry, 3D printing is increasingly being adopted as a way to help make movies more efficiently and quickly than ever, according to Jason Lopes, a system engineer at Legacy Effects, an Oscar-nominated effects studio.



Check out the rest of the article here!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to Organize an Edit

Here's a helpful video for beginning editors on how to organize your footage when starting an edit. Host Richard Harrington uses Adobe Premiere, but his concepts are easily transferable to Avid, FCP, and other NLE's.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nerdtacular!

UAT Digital Video is pleased to announce that we will be partnering with FrogPants Studios this summer to provide video coverage of their "Nerdtacular 2012" event in Salt Lake City, Utah.

FrogPants has made a name for itself as a premiere podcaster dedicated to comics, videogames, and all around geek culture. (A perfect fit with UAT!) In 2007 they started Nerdtacular as a live event to connect with their fans, and the event has grown over the last several years into a min-con of sorts. This year is their biggest event yet, closing out a concert by with geek comedy music duo Paul & Storm.

Professor Paul DeNigris and a team of top UAT DV students will be traveling to Salt Lake City in June to document the day's events. We'll be livestreaming all day, and then will return to Arizona for post-production. Once edited, the coverage of Nerdtacular '12 will be posted to the web and will be distributed via DVD by the folks at FrogPants. We are super excited to be part of this event!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Summer Movie Season - Time for a Killer Poster!

In honor of the record-breaking opening weekend of The Avengers, here's a cool tutorial to kick off summer semester - "The Avengers Poster in Photoshop."


Design blog Abduzeedo takes you step-by-step through the process of emulating the look of The Avengers' iconic logo, using only Photoshop. Check it out!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Two more UATDV-produced TEDx Talks Make it to front page of TED.com!

Two more of the videos we produced for last November's TEDxPhoenix event have made it to the front page of TED.com!

"Rick Guidotti: From Stigma to Supermodel"
Rick Guidotti is a fashion photographer with a passion project: finding and sharing the unmistakable beauty of kids with albinism and other conditions that affect their physical appearance -- and the way society treats them. At TEDxPhoenix, he shares some of their stories and the empowering effects of a little glamour as he redefines their beauty in a flash.
"Brenda Brathwaite: Gaming for Understanding"
It's never easy to get across the magnitude of complex tragedies -- so when Brenda Brathwite's daughter came home from school asking about slavery, she did what she does for a living -- she designed a game. At TEDxPhoenix she describes the surprising effectiveness of this game, and others, in helping the player really understand the story.

These videos were produced during the Fall 2011 Semester by the DVA241 (DV Production) class and edited by the DVA274 (DV Editing) class, under the supervision of Professor Paul DeNigris and Associate Professor Todd Schoenberger. Students involved were: Ty Bitterolf, Kennedy Gray, Ariel Navarrete, Neil Sparks, Nic Vereen, Dylan White, and Annie Winn.

Friday, May 4, 2012

'Covet' and 'Melvin' Selected for Phoenix Comicon!

Two films produced by UAT Digital Video will screen at the 2012 Phoenix Comicon Film Festival! First up is our supernatural cop thriller "Covet," produced for last summer's IFP/Phoenix 48-Hour Film Challenge.

"Covet" screens Friday, May 25 at 8:55 p.m. in the Phoenix Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Phoenix.

Next comes our sci-fi adventure comedy "Flight of the Melvin." Having screened at Sedona and Arizona International Film Festivals recently, "Melvin" will be making its Phoenix Metro Area debut!

"Flight of the Melvin" screens Sunday, May 27 at 10:58 a.m., also in the Phoenix Ballroom.

More information about Phoenix Comicon - including their incredible lineup of guests (including practically the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation) - can be found on their official website at http://www.phoenixcomicon.com/


Monday, April 30, 2012

DV Internship: Knight Transportation *PAID*

Are there any Digital Video students interested in an awesome PAID internship???????

Job Title: Digital Video
Job Type: Internship - Paid
Full/Part Time: Part Time
Openings: 1

Description: Video Editor Intern
Knight Transportation

Duties Include
Assembling all raw footage, with camera shots either recorded or transferred onto video tape/hard disk in preparation for inputting into the computer

Inputting uncut rushes and sound, and synchronizing and storing them into files on the computer

Digitally cutting the files to determine the sequence of the film and determining what is usable

Creating a 'rough cut' of the program/film and determining the exact cutting for the next and final stages

Re-ordering and tweaking the content to ensure the logical sequencing and smooth running of film/video

Audio and vision engineering and editing

Experimenting with styles and techniques including design of graphic elements

Final authoring in preparation for web presentation

Exporting into various formats for delivery to Web Development Team


Skills Required
Ability to capture footage with equipment provided as necessary

Location:
Phoenix

Adobe Premiere Pro or equivalent (Final Cut, Vegas, Avid Liquid) Premiere Pro will be used

Working knowledge of the video production process. Video capture, editing, production, post and authoring

Working knowledge of audio integration for voice overlays and music incorporation

Working knowledge of linear and non-linear footage

Working knowledge of HDV, HD and SD and the ability to convert between multiple formats

Experience optimizing footage for web presentation

Adobe Flash, After Effects, Sound Booth (bonus)


How To Apply
Send a resume and cover letter to Shawn Smith: shawns@knighttrans.com

Employer Website: Knight Transportation: www.knighttrans.com

Saturday, April 28, 2012

'Melvin' AZ Film Fest Update - Honorable Mention, Comedy Short!

Arizona International Film Festival announced its award winners this evening, and our intrepid "Melvin" took home the "Honorable Mention, Comedy Short" award!

The complete list of award winners can be found here.

Don't forget, there's another chance to see "Flight of the Melvin" tomorrow at noon!

'Flight of the Melvin' One of Arizona International Film Festival's 'Best of the Fest'

Our high-flying family adventure "Flight of the Melvin" makes a return appearance at the 21st annual Arizona International Film Festival as part of their "Best of the Fest" screenings on Sunday April 29th at 12 noon.

The "Best of the Fest" series highlights audience favorites and award winners from the previous 16 days of the festival. Award winners will be announced this evening.

For more info about the "Best of the Fest: screenings, go to Arizona International Film Festival's website.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

UAT Named One of the Top 100 Animation Schools Worldwide


UAT was recently listed on animationcareerreview.com as one of the Top 100 Schools in Animation at #65. They have schools listed from United States, Spain, Denmark, England, France, Canada, Korea, Germany, Japan, Sinapore, and Czech Republic.  It is fantastic that we are recognized.  AND – they noted our faculty as "some of the most attentive and involved teachers in the animation education industry!"
"This list of the Top 100 Schools in Animation, Gaming and Design was compiled via a mixture of school reviews, industry-reviewed lists like the Princeton Review, and via a survey of the animation industry professionals and recruiters from companies like Pixar, J.J. Sedelmaier and DreamWorks who were featured in our Interview Series…
65. University of Advancing Technology – Tempe, AZ
The University of Advancing Technology's claim to fame is its teaching staff. Not only were the UAT faculty voted some of the most attentive and involved teachers in the animation education industry, they also bring copious amounts of real-world experience to the table. Their faculty and students are supported by small class sizes so the education is top notch. UAT offers BA programs in Digital Media, Digital Video, Game Art and Animation, Game Design, Virtual Modeling and Design and Serious Games and Simulation; a BS program in Game Programming; and an MS in Game Production and Management. The school also offers online degree programs in Game Art and Animation, Game Design, Game Programming and Virtual Modeling and Design."

Read the full article here: http://www.animationcareerreview.com/articles/top-100-schools-animation-gaming-and-design


Monday, April 16, 2012

'Fallout' Selected for Fright Night Film Festival

Just when we thought our festival run for "Fallout" was all wrapped up, the folks at Fright Night Film Festival in Louisville, KY, contacted us and asked to screen the film. One of their programmers apparently caught the film at the Terror Film Festival last October and thought it would be a good fit. So "Fallout" rides again on the big screen this summer. Check out the festival's official website here!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

DV-Related Jobs at Valve

The folks at videogame studio Valve (makers of Portal, Half-Life, and more) have posted a couple of job openings that would be a good fit for UAT Digital Video alumni:

"Film Editor"
We’re looking for versatile, self-directed editors who have experience creating movies from previz to final output, especially films that contain elements of drama, action, and visual effects. You must enjoy working in a fast-paced, collaborative environment. Though editing has been called the "invisible art," your reel or body of work should demonstrate a mastery of the craft, an ability to iterate, and a solid understanding of visual storytelling.

Duties:
  • Integrate into a multi-disciplinary team (6-8 people) and continually produce useful rough edits based on the group’s collective conversations and decisions.
  • Iterate quickly and submit work that solves problems rather than creates them.
  • Self-manage and also be aware of the needs and requirements of those around you.
  • Generate ideas and use rough edits to communicate those ideas to the group.
Requirements:
  • Strong knowledge of an editing package or two, such as Final Cut, Avid, Premiere, etc.
  • Ability to deliver without an assistant editor
  • Must be flexible and react quickly to changes in the game environment
  • Communication skills that allow you to describe your process maturely and succinctly
  • One or more of the following (the more the better):
    • Basic knowledge of 3D packages such as Maya, Moto, SketchUp, etc.
    • Ability to frame shots, set up camera parameters, and create camera moves
    • Lighting skills (rough or final)
    • Ability to set up or tune special effects/particle systems (rough or final)
    • Character posing and animation skills (rough)
    • Sound design skills (rough)
    • An awareness and appreciation of Valve’s various Intellectual Properties
"Sound Designer"
We’re looking for an experienced sound designer and/or interactive audio "integrator" who can help us create sophisticated, emotionally-compelling audio experiences for a variety of media formats and products. You’ll collaborate with a team of broadly-skilled peers to make sound a powerful element in all current and future Valve products, from multimedia ads to video game consoles, PC, and on-line gaming.
Duties:
  • Identify audio opportunities and asset needs in Valve commercial and promotional products in a self-driven but collaborative manner.
  • Conceptualize, schedule, design, and produce high quality audio assets in accordance with the development and testing cycle of the product.
  • Integrate audio in both linear and interactive forms with Valve products using proprietary software.
  • Manage all necessary audio assets (sound files, scripts, models, etc.) associated with a product using the necessary software.
  • Work with engineers and artists to understand and help develop cutting-edge, proprietary audio technologies.
  • Test, debug, and assure the functional quality of all audio in a given product.
Requirements:
  • Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in digital and analog audio production
  • Five years experience in:
    • Professional quality audio production and all related technologies
    • Game engine audio implementation technologies
    • Taking a video game or linear equivalent (e.g., film) from conception and development through publication and shipment

Friday, April 13, 2012

Playlist: Getting Started with Avid Media Composer 6

Check out this playlist from Avid showing off some of the features of the latest revision of Media Composer.



It's IMDB Friday!

Today I thought it would be fun to dig through the Internet Movie Database and see what some of our alumni have been up to!

Adam Benson - VFX artist in Los Angeles (Green Lantern, Star Wars Episode I)
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1652474/

Carlos Chavez - grip/gaffer in Los Angeles
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1949156/

Erin Clark - VFX artist in Los Angeles (Game of Thrones, Tron: Legacy)
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2527528/

Zac Donner - working in Los Angeles as a grip
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3352077/

Keegan Ead - cinematographer / editor in Phoenix
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2528542/

Carl Hawke - freelance production designer in Phoenix
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2496561/

Philip Joslin - VFX artist in Los Angeles (Green Hornet, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2)
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2638540/

Matt McElroy - VFX artist in Los Angeles (Justified)
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2692227/

Rick Ravenell - VFX artist in Los Angeles (Avatar, Castle, The River)
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2693314/

Robert Sucato - producer / director / cinematographer in Phoenix
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0837025/

Thursday, April 12, 2012

DV Internship: Evil Controllers

Evil Controllers is looking for Digital Video and Digital Media Interns from UAT!!!

Job ID: 2855
Job Title: Digital Video
Job Type: Internship - Unpaid
Full/Part Time: Part Time
Openings: 1
Salary: $0-$0 Hourly

Description: Media Intern
Gaming

Duties Include
HTML/CSS, basic understanding, no programming required

Video editing skills will also be required for final cuts

Video recording using a digital camera, and being familiar with lighting and sound for Youtube videos

Photoshop, with the ability to create organized and layered Photoshop files for hands-off to developers


Skills Required
Photoshop

Illustrator

Video editing software


Located in Tempe


How To Apply
Send a resume and cover letter to Phalane: phalene@wizler.com

Employer Website: Evil Controllers: http://www.evilcontrollers.com/

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tutorial: Kinect MoCap Animation in After Effects

From ToolFarm.com:
"Today I’m going to show you how to use your Kinect to animate a digital puppet... in After Effects. Once you’re up and running, you’re going to be using a Processing app called KinectToPin, written by the very talented animator Nick Fox-Gieg. That’s where you actually capture the tracking data, as well as where you convert it to keyframe information After Effects can understand."
Here's Part 1 of the 4-part tutorial. Check out the rest over on ToolFarm.com or on VictoriaNeice.com.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

'Melvin' and 'Parallax' Screenings at Arizona International Film Festival

UAT Digital Video's family-friendly sci-fi comedy "Flight of the Melvin" will be screening at the Arizona International Film Festival in Tucson, Arizona, as part of their "Shorts for Youth" program.

Shorts for Youth
Saturday, April 21st @ 3 pm
The Screening Room
127 East Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701

Buy Tickets Here!


Professor Paul DeNigris's Thesis Film "Parallax" (winner of "Best Arizona Short Film" at the 2012 Phoenix Film Festival) will also be screening at Arizona International. The film was produced by an all-star crew of UAT DV students and alumni.

Arizona Shorts
Wednesday, April 18th @ 8 pm
The Screening Room
127 East Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701

Buy Tickets Here!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Alumni Update: Erin Frisbie ('07)

Our UAT Digital Video alumni continue to do amazing things with their careers, and often keep us updated on what they're doing. 2007 graduate Erin Frisbie recently sent us a story about her work as a producer for SheKnows TV, and her new show "Homergency." Read Erin's story below!
Today is a very special day for me because I am able to share a project that was an amazing experience & opportunity to help a family that was truly in need. In early March the SheKnows TV crew & an enormous team of volunteers went into The Bundy family's house to give them a total home makeover from top to bottom. In late 2011 Scott Bundy, 33, was diagnosed with spinal cancer. He was faced with the difficult decision to have surgery on his spine removing the tumors to continue living to see his young son Jakob, 2, grow up. The surgery would paralyze Scott from the waist down forcing him to live the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

Before Scott was able to come home from the hospital the family needed to remodel a bathroom in the home & install ramps to ensure he had basic access to his house. The local news featured the family on a segment that got the attention of Home Depot who generously donated the time and materials to install ramp access to the house & create a handicap accessible bathroom in the hall bath of the family's home. While these improvements made it possible for Scott to come home, they did not remedy all of the struggles Scott would soon face in everyday life in their house.

SheKnows.com put out a casting call in mid February to find a family in need of a total home makeover. Nicole Dees, a family friend, answered the call & submitted the Bundy's story to myself and rest of the SKTV team. We knew that we had all of the resources to change this family's house & create a living environment that is comfortable & accessible for Scott for years to come.

Today Season 2 of SheKnows.com Homergency went live on our site. Below is the link to the full episodes, I hope you enjoy the show!
http://www.sheknows.com/sheknowstv/homergency/season-2

SheKnows.com is now casting for Season 3 of Homergency! (Please Note: We are looking for families in the Phoenix area)

Here are links to two stories the local news produced as media coverage of our show and The Bundy's story.

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_phoenix_metro/central_phoenix/home-makeover-helps-phoenix-man-battling-paralysis

http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/2012/03/21/20120321makeover-show-helps-phoenix-man-wheelchair.html

ERIN FRISBIE
Producer
SheKnows TV
erin.frisbie@sheknows.com

Monday, April 2, 2012

'Parallax' Wins Best Arizona Short at 2012 Phoenix Film Festival!

At the 2012 Phoenix Film Festival awards ceremony last night, Professor Paul DeNigris' Master's Thesis Film "Parallax" was awarded the Copper Wing for "Best Arizona Short." The film was produced with the participation of an all-star team of UAT Digital Video students and alumni who volunteered countless hours to make the compelling and realistic Iraq War drama. A huge contingent of UAT students, alumni, faculty, and staff also contributed to the film's budget on Kickstarter, so "Parallax" truly was a community endeavor.

UAT Digital Video won this prestigious award last year for the sci-fi action thriller "Fallout." This year's Arizona Shorts competition was tough, with lots of great entries in what many festivalgoers have described as the best batch of Arizona Shorts to ever play the festival. So "Team Parallax" is especially gratified to have won when pitted against such a great group of films! Congrats to everyone involved!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Celtx wants to give you money!

Celtx - the students' choice for screenwriting software (because it's awesome and it's FREE) - is giving away MONEY for your films. Check out the video below!


These are the rules for the Seeds program from their website:
  • We want to see your single best storytelling video of 15 minutes or less.
  • If you’re an individual or a team, share it with seeds@celtx.com through your Celtx account. If you’re entering on behalf of a school share it with schoolseeds@celtx.com.
  • That’s all you need do. There’s no entry fee and it’s open to all Celtx account holders.
  • The deadline for sharing is midnight, 15 April 2012. Selected creators/videos will be announced on or before 30 April 2012.
This is how they’ll be giving away the money:
  • 10 x $2,000 grants for individuals or teams
  • 5 x $1,000 grants for schools (grade school to high school)
  • All selected storytellers and projects receive promotion through Celtx networks on YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo & Google+.
(Original post courtesy of nofilmschool)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

'Parallax' and 'Covet' at Phoenix Film Festival this weekend!

Professor Paul DeNigris' Master's Thesis film "Parallax" will be screening twice during the 2012 Phoenix Film Festival's opening weekend. The film was produced by an all-star team of UAT Digital Video students and alumni who came out in force to help their prof!

"Parallax" - part of "Arizona Shorts"
Saturday, March 31 @ 10:40am
Sunday, April 1 @ 4:25pm


Click here for tickets for "Parallax"

And "Covet" - a multiple award-winner at last summer's 48 Hour Film Challenge, produced by many of the same folks who worked on "Parallax" - will also screen at the Phoenix Film Festival.

"Covet" - part of "Arizona Shorts Showcase"
Saturday, March 31 @ 9:05am


Click here for tickets for "Covet"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Help a UAT DV Alum launch his writing career!


UAT Digital Video grad Abraham Stopani sent me this email a couple of days ago:
As you may or may not know, my novel is in its final stage of editing and will soon be ready to go out into the world. I will be presenting it to editors and agents beginning April 20th. One of the big things the publishing industry looks at these days is how many people follow an aspiring author on their social media pages. If you don't already follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ would you, please consider doing so? If you wanted to be really nice you could encourage some of your friends to do the same. I'm constantly giving away free stuff on my blog and I link there from my social media feeds, so, hey, free stuff.

In fact, starting in April I'm going to open six weeks of drawings for autographed novels, books on writing and all manner of other cool stuff so now is a great time to jump on board.  If you recruit people have them include your name in a post or reply when they "like" (follow, +) me and for each person I'll enter you in a drawing for an extra special prize at the end of my publicity push.


Twitter:
https://twitter.com/#!/perilouswriting
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/S.J.Abraham
Google+: https://plus.google.com/103874764566828077737/posts

Incidentally, I'm going under my pen name of S.J. Abraham so don't be surprised when you see that name on the links above.
Abe was one of our star students while he was at UAT, and I'm sure his fantasy novels are going to leverage his incredible imagination and his knack for spinning a great story! Be a hipster and "like" his pages before everyone else does, and tell him Paul sent ya!

'The Walking Dead' Season 2 VFX Reel

Not for the squeamish.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Art of the Title: 'Game of Thrones'

UAT alumnus Erin Clark was part of the team that created the Emmy-winning main titles for HBO's critically-acclaimed and immensely popular fantasy series Game of Thrones. Take a look at the breathtaking title sequence and read about its creation, courtesy of Art of the Title.