OIL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCHES IN 2016
(OIL CITY, PA) The first Oil Valley Film Festival will take place September 1-3, 2016. Based in Oil City, the festival is designed to bring the voices and films of new and established filmmakers to the heart of Venango County, an area underrepresented in the world of film.
The festival programming will include feature and short films in competition, along with feature-length and short screenplays in competition. Day three will feature a hand-picked block of curated filmmaker to screen in exhibition, all leading up to the awards ceremony on Saturday night.
“We’ve already received submissions in each category from all over the United States, and a few Internationally, and the festival is still a year away,” said Matt Croyle, the festival’s director. “As a filmmaker myself, not only do I want to continue to make movies here, but this festival seems like a way I can use my passion to share films with the community – films they may normally never get to see in a multiplex. This is about starting something that the community can really get involved in and get excited about.”
The festival is currently in search for partnering venues, and has already partnered with Videomaker Magazine, MaddyG TV on ROKU, and the Oil City Library.
“The Oil City Library is a gem. We’re really happy to have them on board. Dan Flaherty and his staff are doing great things with that facility, and I couldn’t be more proud to have them be a part of the festival,” Croyle continued.
More information about submissions, corporate sponsorship, and general inquiries can be found at: http://oilvalleyfilmfestival.weebly.com
One Fish films has launched its latest project on Hatchfund for funding. ‘Circle, Michigan’, an hour-long television pilot, is looking to raise $2500 for its initial production costs.
The follow up to Croyle’s feature film, ‘Potential Inertia’, ‘Circle, Michigan’ will also shoot in Venango County, Pennsylvania.
All contributions are tax deductible. For more information, or to make a pledge, please visit: http://www.hatchfund.org/project/circle_michigan_one_hour_tv_pilot
(OIL CITY, PA) – With the worldwide release of Matt Croyle’s first feature film, his production company, One Fish Films, has released the shooting script version of the original screenplay for the film. People are now able to download and read the screenplay for free.
The screenplay is located here: PotentialInertia-ShootingScriptPDF
The film is available worldwide at: http://potentialinertia.vhx.tv and http://www.indiereign.com/videos/potential-inertia
With 99.95% of my first feature shot, I thought I would give some personal tips on how to actually get believable performances from your actors. And while this may sound like a pretty simple task — “Just say the lines.” or “Give me a bit more sadness behind it.” — it definitely is not a simple thing at all. I will explain why it isn’t so simple, and then I will give you some tricks I, myself, was able to use on my feature, ‘Potential Inertia’.
SUBJECTIVITY & PERCEPTION
As a director, you have to ask yourself: “What is believable and what isn’t?” The answer is: It’s subjective. I think one has to truly grasp what kind of film they are actually making. Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? All types of films require all types of acting — “styles” if you will. However, regardless of genre, even if it’s an “over-the-top” comedy, all performances must be believable to an audience if the audience is going to be willing to come along with you for a ride.
What is “real” actually starts with the writer. It is how the writer writes the characters themselves. What is real in the world of the character may not necessarily be real to the audience.
For example: In ‘Dumb and Dumber’, Harry and Lloyd are not very realistic characters to an audience. They’re portrayed as cartoonish embellishments of what low intelligence would be — brilliant comedic acting by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, but they seem not very plausible in real-life. However, every other character in the film is just like you and me. These are not only choices by the writer, for writing such fantastic lines, but also the direction that has been given to every actor on set. The normality of the supporting characters embellishes, even more, the absurdity in the direction that was given to Carrey and Daniels — and we’re willing to “believe” them as being “real” because the reality is subjective to the characters themselves.
The actor must make choices — or have those choices made for them — that would best interpret how that character would physically react or vocalize given a specific situation(s). The director’s job is to make sure their vision of said situation(s) translates to an audience in the most realistic way possible. If the audience can’t connect, or buy into the reality of what they are seeing, then it’s ultimately the director’s fault.
THE EXPERIENCE FACTOR
So, how exactly does one go about getting their actors to pull off this remarkable feat of morphing themselves into what you want and need from them? How do you get your actors to be “real”? How do you get your actors to be “believable”?
Every actor is a different monster, and I say ‘Monster’ in a very loving way. I’m also an actor, so I know what it feels like to be molded, scorned, twisted, praised, rewarded, and the plethora of feelings that come with the job. But, as a director I must realize that each person I’m directing is different. Each has different experience. Each has a different process they use to get into character.
In my first feature film, ‘Potential Inertia’, the experience of my actors runs the gamut. I have had to direct people who have been leads in previous independent features, people who have been background and supporting roles in major Hollywood movies, and people who have had no acting experience in their entire lives.
My actors with experience on stage, screen, or both, all have their own processes. For those folks, it was imperative that I made clear what kind of film this was to be — the tone, the level of intensity or urgency for each scene, and the fact that I didn’t want their lines to sound inelastic. And with those experienced folks I was able to allow a level of trust that veteran actors deserve, because they are the ones that can understand the structure of a scene. They are the one’s who you really need to mentor those lacking the time spent in front of an audience. Regardless, each of those actors have individual processes, and as a director it is my responsibility, again, to understand each process by itself, be able to explain what I want to coincide with each process, and be able to find a cohesive way to mesh each actor together with another.
It can be extremely fun or totally frustrating to direct an actor who has never been in front of a camera before. They are extremely aware of the camera itself. They are not sure of themselves, or what to expect from a more experienced actor they have to do a scene with. It is a real test to put someone on screen who hasn’t the slightest clue of what they are doing.
I have knack at “seeing” people. I mean, really seeing who they are. Not all extroverts make good actors. Not all introverts can’t be actors. However, all “passionate” people can. I believe putting someone who is a passionate person in front of the camera for their first role will be a better idea than putting someone there who isn’t one.
The following notes are a bit of advice I have for those directors trying to get believable performances from their actors. These notes are a direct result of trying to make my first feature film as conversationally believable as possible using both veteran and rookie actors. I hope you all find them useful.
- Always remember that every actor has a different process, especially those veterans you have in your cast.
- Let the words in the script work for you, and not against you. If you need to give an actor a line reading, especially the rookies, do not be afraid to do so in the most polite manner possible. Let your actors play, but if they’re not giving you the delivery you want, make sure you show them what you need.
- Make sure your actors understand what each scene is about, and what is happening both on the surface and underneath it. Scene study with your actors can be a valuable tool when your actors are making decisions while the camera is rolling. If they don’t know why they’re saying something, if they don’t know their motivation, then there will be no focus or purpose in the delivery of their dialogue.
- Remind your actors to BREATHE. Breathing is imperative to coming across as believable. People breathe when they speak.
- Remind your actors to NOT RUSH their lines (unless rushing their lines is a character trait, or the scene calls for it).
- Let your actors veer slightly off script, perhaps to say their lines in their own way. Unless a specific line MUST be included in the story fully intact, sometimes letting your actors take a more personal approach to delivering them results in a more conversational result.
- Prepare them for the intensity or lack thereof in each scene.
I think it is important as a director to remember that each set is different, along with each script, and one must always take those two factors into consideration when looking at what is ‘real’ and ‘believable’. Please remember that your actors are an extension of you, and your vision, for what the film will ultimately be. Work WITH them, have fun WITH them, and communicate WITH them.
COPYRIGHT (C) 2014 MATT CROYLE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
As I near completion of my first feature film, I’ve learned quite a few things about what not to do while making one. If you’re considering making a movie, here are five important things you must never do.
1. DO NOT SHOOT WITHOUT A FINISHED SCRIPT
While ad-libbing scenes can be a fun and creative way to create scenes with actors, and while there have been some great flicks made by simply having a treatment or outline, this is not how you want to make your first film. Chances are the actors you can afford to cast are not the wonderfully trained ad-libbers they think they are. The more structured — your first filmmaking experience is — the better.
Also, shoot the script. Shoot what is written on the page. Anything else can be done in pickups or re-shoots. The bulk of the performances on your first film will be shaped entirely in the editing room.
2. DO NOT HIRE PEOPLE FOR YOUR FILM THAT CAN’T COMMIT THE TIME TO DO IT
When you are making your first film people will have a tendency to view it as some sort of hobby or extracurricular activity — even those folks you ask to come aboard, to be part of it. Until they see some progress, or a rough cut, most won’t see it as a serious endeavor. Do NOT bring people into your project that aren’t going to be available on days you need them. That family day at the amusement park should have to wait until you get the shots you need. The actress who can’t find a babysitter needs to find one, and show the fuck up when she’s called to set.
3. DO NOT USE ON-CAMERA AUDIO
Audio is the most important part of your first feature, because chances are it’s not going to be a cinematic masterpiece. It’s going to be a stepping stone. Clean, external, audio will make your production stand out next to the kid shooting his on the camcorder. According to one of the board members at SXSW, clean audio makes a huge difference in whether or not a film is chosen to screen there, regardless of what it looks like. In other words: Your movie can look like crap, but as long as it has clean audio, that people can hear, and isn’t distracting, your movie is already better than one that looks amazing except for the fact that people can’t hear anything.
4. DO NOT ALWAYS RELY ON EXISTING LIGHT
This is a given, especially with DSLR technology. Some cameras are great in low light, but sometimes you have to light the shit out of things in order to get that clean digital look. This can always be adjusted in post by adjusting gamma, brightness, and contrast. Light, light, light.
5. DO NOT KILL YOURSELF
Making movies is a very difficult thing to do. Your first flick should be super-fun and engaging, but do not beat yourself up over things you can’t control. Making movies is fun. And if it becomes not fun, then you should probably find something else to do with your time. Relax. Enjoy the process. Good luck.
Copyright © 2014 Matt Croyle. All Rights Reserved.
(OIL CITY, PA) – Erica L’huillier, Copy Editor of The Derrick and The News Herald, recently sat down with ‘Potential Inertia’ writer/director Matt Croyle to ask him some questions about his upcoming debut feature film. ‘Potential Inertia’, which is being shot in Venango County, is due to be available for the festival circuit this Summer.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYBW6PW694M]
EL: Why should people watch your film?
MC: Why? That’s a simple, but really good question that can’t be answered as simply as it’s asked. Well, there are a few reasons. Firstly, I think we have a solid, meaningful story to tell. A lot of my writing deals with loss, and this story is something that everyone can relate to since we all have to deal with it at many different junctions of our lives. I guess we tend to forget, sometimes, that we all share the human condition. Hopefully, this story, this film, can give its audience a sense that they’re all experiencing something together — both in viewing the movie, and outside of it. Secondly, I think people like movies, especially movies that are different from ones they are used to seeing. This isn’t your typical “Hollywood” film. Thirdly, I think people should watch our film because a group of very talented people all came together to make something that we all truly believe in — to tell a story we all believe in. They’ve worked very hard, and I don’t feel that their efforts should go unseen.
EL: What makes it different from what audiences are used to seeing?
MC: It’s different in a lot of ways, but in ways that are not typically noticeable on a first viewing. The obvious difference is that it’s in black and white. Not too many feature films are made in black and white today. This was a conscious choice. People are definitely going to notice that there’s a lot of dialogue, and a lot of times not too much camera movement, flashy lens flares, as things like that take away or distract the audience from dialogue whether they realize it or not. I think stripping it down, making it black and white, keeping camera movement to a minimum really helps keep the focus on what the characters are saying. I shoot a lot in closeups, as well. It gives the film a more intimate feel. I’m not saying I’ll shoot everything I do like I’m shooting this film, but it works for this particular story. One major difference between ‘Potential Inertia’ and your “typical” Hollywood script is that while it follows a conventional three-act structure, the rising and falling of action just isn’t there. I never wanted it to be. This is a story of loss, so I wanted to come on this journey with Declan as he repeatedly experiences loss in many ways. Luckily there is some comic relief in the film, otherwise someone would probably end up wanting to put a gun in their mouth by the end of it.
EL: If you could start over, would you do anything differently?
MC: That’s a very difficult question to answer. The short answer would be, “Yes.” I’m sure there are plenty of little things that we’re doing that could be streamlined. I’m sure the whole process of pre-production on my next film will be completely different. With this feature we’re kind of winging it with locations as we close in on post. I think there would be some value in having those locations locked, in taking time for rehearsals in those places. The thing with this film is that it feels “real” because it is. I’m pretty much putting my actors in those places for the first time, rolling camera, and letting them go. Each scene feels new to them. And while that’s good for this movie, it may not be good for every movie. This is a very grounded, organic film in many ways. Projects that I’m developing will need to take a different approach because they have a completely different feel to them.
EL: What has been the most challenging part of making ‘Potential Inertia’?
MC: The hardest parts of making this film have been two things: Logistics and Sound. It’s really been a logistical nightmare, and I’ve said that all along. When your actors are not getting paid, have real jobs, and real lives, and they’re trying to come from Jamestown, Pittsburgh, and these places over a hundred miles away – just to shoot for a day – it can get strenuous and time-consuming. That’s the main reason it’s taken us this long to make the film. The upside is that we’re almost finished, and they’ve dedicated themselves to making this movie happen regardless of the time frame. The other real challenge has been sound editing. I did learn lot about it shooting ‘Monster’ but it’s always tough, and so important. I’m doing everything myself, which is important on a first feature, because then I can really feel that the film is mine. Anything anyone loves, I can take credit for. Anything anyone hates, I can take the blame for and try to correct it on my next project. Plus, in doing as much as I can myself, I get a better understanding of the overall process of making a feature. I have a hand in everything, and it prepares me better for whatever projects I will work on in the future.
EL: Why ‘Potential Inertia’? Why this story?
MC: I was at a point in my life where it just seemed right that I make it. Loss is something we all share in, and it’s truly universal. It fascinates me how everyone seems to deal with it differently. The story is very much me, an internal reflection of myself. It just felt right to remind people they’re not always alone when they lose something or someone.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT POTENTIAL INERTIA ONLINE AT: http://potentialinertia.onefishfilms.com
Interview Copyright © 2014 One Fish Films. All Rights Reserved.
(OIL CITY, PA) – Today, One Fish Films announced its plans to to shoot its first episodic pilot. The previously untitled project now has a title: “Circle, Michigan”. No immediate details about the plot are available, but it will be written, directed, and star One Fish Films’ Creative Director, Matt Croyle. One Fish films released the title card for the pilot upon the announcement.
Filming will take place this Winter, in Venango County, in western Pennsylvania. All media inquiries are to contact One Fish Films at: 814.319.5581 – or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a side by side comparison of scene 26 from the upcoming feature film, POTENTIAL INERTIA, and the original draft of the script.
“It’s an interesting process when you’re both writing and directing a film. You come to realize that you could be an immense prick, and make the actors say the lines exactly as written (which in some cases wouldn’t make you a prick), or you could let your actors feel the lines out the way they want to – give them a little space to work,” said writer / director Matt Croyle.
He added, “This is a look at a rough cut of scene twenty-six along side the actual script. It’s kind of fun to watch.”
POTENTIAL INERTIA is scheduled to be released in early 2014, and is finishing up principal photography.
For more info, please visit the official site: HERE.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srFsUTPCnjA]
Some people think it’s a game, making movies. Hollywood studios make it a game – a numbers game, a money game, a popularity contest. Sometimes the independent filmmakers, the folks making flicks outside of studios, make it a game too. Which, in itself, is all “fine and dandy” to protect your product, create suspense. I get it. Don’t give your flick away before your flick is ready. However, I’ve been getting a lot of flak recently from some folks – in the industry and not – about how I’m handling my picture (my first feature film) before it’s even completed.
I’ll get questions like: “Why are you releasing so many stills?” “Why do you have so many teasers out?” “Why is there a trailer before the film is finished?”
My answer? Because I can. And, not simply because I can, but because I want to. I want to engage with my audience, those people who are helping me make this picture through funding, being on set, spreading the word – those people should share in what the picture is becoming, and they should be able to see what it is becoming. I think the more open we are about our process, the more people will be willing to open their hearts and wallets to our film – if not now, then in the long run. Nobody likes a “snooty” filmmaker, and there are plenty of them out there to go around. I’m enjoying letting people learn the process of making a feature along with me, and if that inspires and/or helps someone make their first film then that’s just awesome. That’s icing on the proverbial cake. (I’m not sure if I just used the word ‘proverbial’ correctly, but I don’t care.)
It’s a lot easier to be open as an independent filmmaker than if I was to be, say, under a studio contract. That’s a total different ballgame. Sure, the money would be awesome, but it doesn’t let me engage an audience the way I would like to, with the content I would like to.
I been asked, “What do you think other independent filmmakers think about how you’re going about this?” I haven’t really been able to answer that question until now. My answer is: “I don’t care.” I’m sure some of them think it’s annoying, or that I’m “giving too much away”, or that I’m being too self-righteous; patting myself on the back. Sure, part of this flick is about me. It’s been mine since the get-go, but it’s ultimately everyone else’s when it’s done – and that’s what’s important.
So, I’m going to continue to do my best to be open with everyone as we push toward completion, and I hope everyone stays interested. Major thanks to those who have showed us support so far. We’re getting there, and we’re right there with you.
Check out our official site.
While we’re inching closer to wrapping principal photography on Potential Inertia, I’ve decided I would take a bit and discuss some things I’m learning, or have learned, throughout the process of making my first feature film.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3gyu82f4ec]
Our picture is, pretty much, what the industry describes as a “no-budget” feature. Through crowdfunding we’ve acquired backers/producers from all over the world, but we’ve raised nowhere near the amount that I originally wanted for the picture’s budget – but, we’re getting it done anyway – because we want this picture made.
I AM NOT A FILMMAKER
I’m not quite sure I would call myself a “filmmaker”. If the act of simply making a film counts, then sure. But when I think of the term filmmaker, I think of people like Scorsese, Kubrick, Coppola, Russell, Soderbergh, Jarmusch, and the like. Sure, I’ve directed online shorts, an award-winning web series, and for the stage, but I’ve never made an actual feature film until now. Those guys are proven. I am not. I guess the real point I’m making is that I haven’t proven anything to myself, most importantly, as far as putting a feature film out into the world to live on its own. So, I’m going to think of myself not as a “filmmaker”, per se, but as a “documenter of my own experience”.
With that said, making a movie is hard. Very hard. Super-hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And while I could be making the worst movie in the history of mankind (which isn’t actually true, because I saw a truly horrific full-length film online the other night which may qualify), the fact is I feel good doing it, and I know I’ll feel even better when it’s finally, as they say, “in the can.” Nobody tells you how hard it’s going to be. Well, some do, but it’s truly something you have to figure out for yourself – or with others straggling along with you on your exhausting journey to put a ninety-minute slice-of-life out to any kind of audience you can trick into mistaking your blood, sweat, tears, and intrinsic failure, for an actual “real” movie. Here’s the thing: As Kevin Smith puts it, “Every movie is someone’s favorite movie.” And, he’s right. So, you don’t have to be a “filmmaker” to make a movie. You just have to be willing to let yourself make a film.
HATERS GONNA HATE
One thing I’ve come to realize is that no matter who you are or what you do you will always have haters. In today’s age of technology, anyone can make a flick. Anyone. Seriously. Over the course, so far, of making this picture I’ve come to understand that the majority of my haters out there hate me because I am doing something they wish they could do, or had the support to do, but somehow they are not doing it at all. These people don’t even have to know anything at all about me, but they hate me with a passion.
The best words of encouragement I can give to someone dealing with all the hate is to acknowledge it, note it, and shake it off. Ultimately, those people who are not supportive of you have their own issues they need to deal with. And the best thing you can do for yourself, and your picture, is to keep that in perspective. The hate doesn’t have anything to do with you. Thousands of people are working on movies everyday, and they don’t hate them – they hate you. So, suck it up, brush it off, and shoot your flick. The old saying is true: “Haters gonna hate.”
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE (Yes, even your friends.)
There’s always that old mantra to never do business with your friends. Horseshit. Your friends are the ones who still believe in you, even when they’ve seen what an idiot you can sometimes be. And, chances are, they are like you in their tastes. If you like art, they probably do too. These are the people who have held your hair when you puked, carried you to your front door when your broke your leg on the ice, bitched-out your ex for making you cry in front of your entire class. These people love you and want you to be successful, at least intrinsically for yourself. These are the people that have your back. Not having them around would be more of a handicap than having them there.
The same goes for people you are bringing into your little world that is your picture. They should be able to see the process, and your ideas as something they can get on-board with – even knowing that things will almost never go according to plan. The better someone is at their craft, and the more you surround yourself with them, the more they will push you to be better at yours. The great thing about these people is they will ultimately become your friends. You will bond, share histories, news, and make memories that you’ll always remember. This is a collaborative process, this making a film thing – so surround yourself with those people you trust, enjoy, and dedicate your time to making the best movie you can with them. If anything, you’ll always have something to talk about later in life.
“NEEDING” VS. “WANTING” – What to shoot. (And being resourceful.)
The most important thing I’m learning, by making this flick, is that I can’t let anyone tell me that I can’t do it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do something. That’s not up to them to decide. There are going to be plenty of times during production that you’ll look at yourself, your project, your cast and crew (or lack thereof), and you’ll want to pull your hair out. But you have to step back, and look at the big picture and be resourceful.
For example, one shooting day we had called for 100-150 extras for a scene. Four people showed up. Four. At first I, obviously, was mad, hysterical, and annoyed. But, after calming myself down a bit, I stepped back and really looked at what I “needed” to shoot as opposed to what I “wanted” to shoot. My story is a very intimate one. It’s about the central characters, not about how many people attended the graduation ceremony I was attempting to shoot that day. So, instead of “wanting” to shoot 150 people, I realized I only “needed” to shoot a handful – those involved in the story. With some careful camera placement, and some added sound, I was able to cut a scene that’s visually about the core participants, but it still sounds like there is 150 people present.
When you’re working with no budget, “wanting” something isn’t always an option, and maybe it won’t even make your story any better. You just have to be able to step back and realize that your picture isn’t always going to turn out exactly the way you want it, and will almost never be exactly what is on the page.
NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO GET BEHIND YOU
Just as the haters will hate, not everyone you talk to or email is going to get on-board with your crazy little indie film idea. In fact, most people will tell you how cool an idea it is to your face, then blast away at their friends about it later. They’ll be willing to “help out” in any way they can, but then seem to fall off the face of the planet when you’re actually in need of a hand on set, or call for a bunch of extras. This will happen with the most organized of productions to the chaotic ones. Here’s the thing, though: You can’t expect them to. You can’t expect everyone to be excited about your project, your work (and some people will say it isn’t work because you’re not getting paid – or paid very little). They all have their own lives to live, and errands to run, and babies to feed. So, again, you have to suck it up and do the best you can with what you have.
I would say that 95% of directing this first feature of mine has been the art of problem-solving. The other 5% is the shooting, and the fun stuff. Whether it be logistics, scheduling, props, lighting, it’s solving problems that will consume most of your time. Not that all of those things are the director’s responsibility on larger-budget sets, but when you’re making your first feature I think it’s imperative that the director take on most of the responsibility them self. Why? Because I think it’s a great learning process for future projects if you take responsibility for the things that don’t work, and take the praise for the things that do. This way, your first picture is truly, undeniably, yours.
I’d like to close this article by saying that I’m so very grateful for the support we’ve had, and continue to have, on my first feature film. I’m learning as I go, and it’s a very humbling experience creating a world for everyone to come visit for while. I’m also very proud of everyone involved. It’s taking us a while to finish our project, but I hope when we do it’s not too much of a disappointment to audiences. I’m proud of what we’re putting together, and I guess that’s really the most important thing – I’m creating something together, with a bunch of like-minded people, who share a love for telling a story.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO MAKE A PLEDGE TO OUR FILM, PLEASE VISIT: http://potentialinertia.weebly.com
COPYRIGHT (C) 2013 Matt Croyle. All Rights Reserved.