Letters

“Beginner’s Guide” Not Just
for Beginners

I bought a three-year subscription last month and was delighted
to see the 2004 Beginner’s Guide to Making Movies. I may
no longer be a beginner, but the article by Mark Bosko was excellent,
and I will be looking into Netflix and other companies as ways
to distribute my film. And for 9:04 a.m., my next big film,
I plan on using this Guide (and other articles in older issues)
to help me out. Thanks a whole lot.

Heath McKnight, Boynton Beach, FL

Raining on Macy’s Parade

I might have been interested in subscribing to your magazine,
but have a problem with your recent cover: William H. Macy,
Sex Symbol for the Thinking Woman
? Although I like Mr. Macy
as an actor, I must say, find me one woman anywhere who lives and
breathes and thinks of him as a “sex symbol” and I’ll eat my hat.  I
have to believe the cover was designed more for shock value than
real meaning!

Jim “Doe,” City and State Withheld

Minghella is the Most

Iwant to thank you for the excellent interview  with Anthony
Minghella, titled “A Symphony of Ideas,”  in your Fall
edition. It’s one of the better interviews with a director I’ve
ever read—and I’ve been reading MovieMaker and other film
magazines for a long time. Minghella is a fascinating artist, and  Phillip
Williams’ insightful questions captured the man’s wit and wisdom
perfectly.

John Corda,  Huntsville, AL

Quoting “Base” Prices Not Enough

Ifeel you have made a great misrepresentation
to aspiring filmmakers in your section titled “An Independent Camera View” (2004 Beginner’s
Guide to Making Movies
). The prices you list as “Average Rental
Price Per Day” are misleading.

A camera body may well rent for $1,150 per day as you say, but
what about everything else? What about lenses? Magazines? Matte
boxes, follow focus units, video assist and monitors, filters,
tripods, heads and extra batteries? You gave the impression that
for about $3,500 somebody could go out and shoot a three-day or
week-long project in 35mm format. Maybe with a Starcam.

I have been in the camera rental business for 25 years, working
for both Panavision, Inc. and two major Arriflex houses in Los
Angeles. A Moviecam Compact daily rate is much closer to $2,800-$3,000
per day when you add all the equipment needed to really make
a film. Some commercials rent at $7,500 per day. I get dozens of
calls a week from “no-budget” filmmakers who scream when I tell
them what rates are and this is with the substantial discount (usually
35 percent and more below list price) extended to new filmmakers.
You should have listed older workhorse cameras like the Arri BL3
and BL4 for lower budget projects. How many first time filmmakers
are going to shoot with a Millennium or a 535? Not many.

Rick Mervis, Marketing Director,
Otto Nemenz, Inc., Hollywood, CA

Trust MM to be in Consumer’s Corner

Iread your magazine cover to cover, as it often speaks to me on
my level, which is total wannabe. And yet there is so much meat
there, too, for the expert. I will retire in a month and buy equipment
and start my own production services business with a shoestring
and hope. I pore over your well-written information and take notes
as I am going to base the purchases I make on the articles (and
other information) from your well thought out and excellent magazine.
Your magazine truly has the feel of being on the side of the overwhelmed
consumer, and I trust that.

Christine Pincince, Fort Walton Beach, FL

Beginner’s Guide is
Soup to Nuts

Just wanted to drop a quick note to tell you how much I appreciated
your first annual Beginner’s Guide to Making Movies. I am
an independent filmmaker and also teach screenwriting at the New
School University in NYC and have recommended it to all of my students—plus
those at an independent filmmaking seminar I spoke at in Illinois.
The issue very thoughtfully and thoroughly walks the reader through
the entire process of making a film, from soup to nuts. Congratulations
on a job well done! Keep up the good work.

Bill Pace, New York, NY

Sin of Omission

I notice that every film equipment manufacturer and dealer was
listed in your 2004 Beginner’s Guide to Making Movies
EXCEPT US! Is there some reason we were not included, or did we
neglect to fill in some questionnaire or something? Our products
are very relevant to low-budget filmmakers, since they permit upgrading
old and affordable cameras for modern crystal sync filming.

Clive Tobin, President
Tobin Cinema Systems, Inc., Tacoma, WA

Getting it Feels Good

Iwanted you to see the types of emails I’ve
been getting due to the MM article, “Breaking Down the Breakdown” (2004 Beginner’s
Guide to Making Movies).
Some of the people are getting it,
and it feels good. (Letter follows below)

Tom Razzano, President,
The Budget Company, New York, NY

Dear Tom:

I’m filmmaker from Chicago. Our company has four completed productions
under our belt, and I am in pre-production for another. I saw the
stripboard you prepared for MovieMaker and you have my total
attention. I just want to say thank you! You’ve made my job a lot
easier. Please keep doing what you do.

Martino Hernandez, Chicago, IL

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