Monthly Archives: January 2013

Where Passion is Taught, Success is Found

Approximately 93 percent of students in Finland graduate from high school, a whopping 17.5 percent higher than the United States. So what are we doing wrong?

The average elementary school student in the United States gets 30 minutes of recess, while the average student in Finland gets 75 minutes, and a 15 minute break after every lesson. New York City has the same number of teachers as Finland, but nearly double the amount of students. The average student in the United States starts school at age 4, while the average student in Finland starts at age 7. There is only one mandatory standardized test in Finland, that is not taken until age 16. Although sounding counter intuitive, Finland is ranked number one in the education system.

Our team at Princebury is producing a documentary on the education system. We met with schoollogoEscondido Charter High School to take a glimpse at an education system that is pushing the boundaries of our Westernized ideals. Looking up to Finland as a big brother, this high school has an education system that not only works, but has the numbers at the end of the day to prove it. In 1996, Escondido Charter’s President and Founder, Dennis “Coach” Snyder made it his personal mission to create a different kind of high school. With a strong emphasis on fundamentals and individual passions, they build from the ground up with every single student. When meeting with Mr. Snyder, passion rubbed off on you as you shook his hand. This was more than a job for him, this was a dream.

After walking onto the campus, you could immediately sense the calmness in the air. The students radiated a sense of independence and passion. This, indeed, was not your average American high school. We met with a small body of students in a entrepreneurship class to sit and talk to them about their experience and insight on their education. It only took one look into one of those students eyes to see they loved where they were. Bullying, lack of counseling, inadequate teachers, poor quality of lectures and lessons… these were just a few things that lead those students to the seats they sat in that day. They were there to fulfill their passions and prepare for their careers.

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In the early 1930’s, a young girl at the age of 8 was taken to a psychologist by her mother for her lack of focus and under-performance at school. The girl was fidgety, and never paid attention in class, and her grades showed it. The teachers assumed she had a severe learning disorder and urged her mother to take immediate action. Little did her mother know, she was potentially putting her daughter’s future at stake. After endless questioning and analyzing, the psychologist asked to speak to the mother outside of the room away from the little girl. As he left the room with the mother, he turned on the radio. Once out of the room, he waited a moment and asked the mother to peek inside and watch her daughter. With awe, the mother watched her daughter rise to her feet and start to dance around the room as if it was her natural habitat. It was then the psychologist urged the mother to enroll her daughter into dance school. Today we know this young lady as Gillian Lynne: choreographer of “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera”. If her mother had taken solely the advice of the education system, she would have put her daughter on medication and sent her back to school. Gillian was not a poster child, she was a dancer. It took one man to see what others assumed was a disability, and allow what came naturally for her to emerge.

Gillian Lynne’s story should not be the exception. Our generation and the one’s after us should always have full range of choice: from getting a Ph.D to being an artist. It’s education systems like Escondido Charter that, like Gillian’s psychologist, bring out the very essence of a passion and continue to build a path for these students in the direction they naturally follow, not the path the education system tells them to follow.

The Budgeting Process

Walt Disney said “If you can dream it, you can do it,” but how much will it cost? Budgeting a film can be an intimidating and unappealing task to take on (especially so early in the process), but is an essential aspect of making your creative dream a reality.  Whether you want to hire a professional, or tackle it on your own, the budgeting process is worth the time. It not only keeps costs low and efficient, but also gives insight into the details people often overlook.

Whether it is a $10,000 or $300,000,000 film, the budgeting process is very similarly structured.  Break your budget down into three categories: Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production.  It is also crucial to account for the P&A (Print and Advertising) costs in your budget.  Understanding where and when your money is going will not only help you keep organized, but is required for almost all investors.

Pre-Production

Pre-Production is the first stage of the film making process, and typically lasts 2-3 months.  Typical costs associated with this stage are salaries, acquiring talent, forming legal documents, constructing a set, costumes and props, equipment, and transportation.  The crucial foundation of the Pre-Production stage is the script.  The script should be fully completed in this stage, fully reviewed, critiqued, and edited multiple times to ensure a solid final draft.  Before moving on to the Production stage, revise your budget and schedule.

Production

After the Pre-Production stage is complete, the backbone of the film will be in place and you will be ready to start shooting.  The Production stage typically lasts 2-3 months.  If you hired a director, cinematographer, and technical crew, this stage will be relatively simple.  Only creative input, supervision, and assistance will be necessary.  If hiring professionals is not in the budget, more creativity and skills will be required.  Make sure to budget for catering on set, transportation, lodging, location rental, repairs, and insurance.  Revise your budget and schedule before you move on to the Post-Production stage.

Post-Production

The Post Production is usually the longest stage of the film making process, typically taking 3-4 months.  After the completion of the Production process, the director, producer, and editor cut the movie to its target length and prepare the final product for the addition of sound, music and any special effects.  Make sure you have filmed more than enough material, because it can be very difficult and expensive to reshoot.  Professionals and/or equipment to edit raw footage with quality can be very expensive, but will make a massive difference in the final product.  Typical costs incurred in this stage include editing workstations, special effects software, sound mixing programs, and test screening costs.  Revise your budget once again after you have a completed product.

Print and Advertising

Print and Advertising costs depend vastly on how broadly you would like to distribute your film, but can cost even more than the entire Pre to Post-Production stages combined. There are several ways to distribute your film ranging from theatrical releases to DVD releases to Video on Demand releases.  P&A costs prepare your film to be distributed, whether it is Movie posters, putting the film on DVD and creating a cover, or a short trailer to promote the film.  Film Festival submissions are often a good way to introduce and promote a film.  Consider spending money on the P&A, because no matter how good your film is, it will not make money if no one knows about it.

It is often a good idea to budget an extra 10% to make room for unexpected costs that may arise.  It is better to have money left over, than to run out before you have finished P&A and distribution.  Another aspect to consider is negotiating salary costs by giving the people involved percentage ownership of profits to reduce up front costs.

Once you have completed your budget, and understand the entire process of making the film, you are ready to start finding investors, and start your Pre-Production stage.

Consulting and Advising services are offered by Princebury Productions & Media

 

DOONBY: The Provocative Movie Screenings in Washington, DC

Doonby

RISING STAR ACTRESS JENN GOTZON GOES FROM SMALL ROLE IN ‘FROST/NIXON’ ON CAPITOL HILL TO LEADING LADY IN ‘DOONBY’ SCREENINGS IN NATION’S CAPITAL

WASHINGTON DC (Jan. 23, 2013) – Actress Jenn Gotzon, whose career broke after portraying President Nixon’s First Daughter Tricia Nixon in a small role in 2009 Academy Award Nominated Best Film “Frost/Nixon,” is set to grace the real Nation’s Capital, a four-year President’s term later, screening the first of her seven films she stars in to release 2013, “Doonby.”

Cast as the love interest opp. “The Dukes of Hazzard” heartthrob John Schneider in the British writer/director Peter Mackenzie film, Gotzon plays the wild leading lady, who’s both smitten with and suspicious of the chivalry, heroism and seeming omnipresence of her town’s newest resident, Sam Doonby.

“Jenn Gotzon reveals character with an extraordinary emotional range better than almost anyone in Hollywood today!” states Dr. Ted Baehr, critic and founder of top family film review site Movieguide.

The mystery movie praised by Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano states, “Doonby is a moving and thought-provoking psychological thriller…that will linger in your mind and obsess your consciousness”. The theme is pertinent to the debates of morality in our nation helping impact people’s choices in a positive manner. Within the film, a cameo role by Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade) making “Doonby” courageous to show in the Nation’s Capital during the March for Life’s 39th Anniversary. Both free film showings, Jan 24, 7pm at Landmark E Street Cinema, 555 11th Street NW and Jan 25, 4p at (Marriott) Residence Inn 333 E Street SW. Washington DC, are sponsored by NET TV, a new television station broadcasting uplifting movies through Verizon Fios Video on Demand in over 18 cities nationwide. “Doonby” actors Jenn Gotzon and Joe Estevez (host of NET TV’s Faith Film Festival) will be in attendance along with film’s director Peter Mackenzie and associate producer Steve Doherty.

Gotzon speaks up as a role model through her motivational program “Inspiring Audiences” to schools, churches and festivals across the country. Doherty manages her outreach program. She states, “With all the hopelessness and shootings, there’s an underlying root of destruction that is heartbreaking to our nation, our world. I seek films to work on that give back to humanity,” which is a core principal behind NET TV, where Gotzon, as of 2013, heralds as their spokesperson.

Scheduled for theatrical release this April, Gotzon plays a historical character in French & Indian War drama “Alone Yet Not Alone.” This spring, Gotzon’s slated to film family-action movie “Wheeler” with Jennifer Hudson, cowboy western “Gold Revenge” and Savannah based thriller “Sinking Sand.”

For more info, visit JennGotzon.com, DoonbyTheMovie.Com or NETny.net SDI Entertainment PR, Los Angeles, CA – sdi.entertainment.pr@gmail.com