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Topic: Opinions Needed
Message: Posted by: Flores Magic (Jun 6, 2007 02:57AM)
Hey everyone. I'm going to be shooting a Documentary over the course of the rest of this year. I attend the University of Colorado at Denver majoring in Writing and Directing. The Documentary will be for my production 3 project and will be submitted to various film festivals.
Now, of course the Documentary is going to be about Magician's. I already have a topic for the film, but it's not set in stone. I want your opinions on what topics you would like to see discussed with some of the best in the business. Let me know. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me a message. THANKS!

Darren
Message: Posted by: John Heggie (Jun 6, 2007 02:24PM)
Darren,

- What is the focus of the documentary?
- Do you have an outline for how this documentary is going to flow?
- How long is the film?

~John
Message: Posted by: Flores Magic (Jun 6, 2007 11:32PM)
John,
I have the film scripted out. Even though it's a documentary there still has to be a script. The focus of the film is under some debate with myself and my producers. The main theme as in the script follows the stories of how the Magicians I interview first got into magic, when their big break was, their biggest influences, etc... Shortly after I scripted it out, I started searching for talent and it kinda blew up on me. I have a group of about ten magicians and it's still continuing to grow. These past few weeks, I decided not to go with my original script. I just need something more. My new theme I want to discuss with them is the exposure of secrets and how its affects magic.
This coming week, I'm going to be shooting some test footage/questions out in Vegas. To see which direction I want to take it.
There are going to be 2 versions of the film. A 20 minute version and a feature length version.
I didn't explain myself well enough on my post, I was crunched for time and didn't want to give too much away. the film isn't just going to be for magician's. I want it to be something that everyone can watch.
Let me know what you think.

Thanks

Darren
Message: Posted by: John Heggie (Jun 7, 2007 09:43AM)
Darren,
It sounds like your film is well thought out.

Since this is going to be for the general public I would suggest having a ‘human interest’ element to the main characters (magicians) in your film. Achievements and accolades are nice to know about a person but their personal struggles, heartaches, tears, family life, the business of magic, interactions with everyday people and finding out the quirky side of the person will draw the viewer in. But I am sure you already knew that. :)

In any business I like to learn about the 90% of what the public would never know about that job.
With a magician it would be:
- Marketing / promotions / advertising
- Scripting / choreographing a routine
- Practice time
- A second or third job to make ends-meet
- Quoting a customized event
- Sales presentation / closing
- Billing / collecting
- Crafting your 15 second ‘elevator’ introduction on "What do you do for a living?"
- Civic group and Magic association memberships
- Odd hours of work

For the general public I would think the job of a magician is just that a job. But the real story is what goes on in the magicians’ life to be a magician. Not everyone has what it takes to be a magician but magicians are everyday people.

I am looking forward to seeing the final product.

Good luck.

~John
Message: Posted by: sfmiraj (Jun 7, 2007 12:13PM)
Johns post regarding the "Human Interest" is very important. That is THE commonality of ALL successful films....no matter the genre.

A few more thoughts to keep in mind:

* Be mindful of current perceptions of magicians by the general public....and exploit this perception/prejudice.

* Find a 'Hook'. Something that will draw in the viewer. Tell us something UNIQUE.

* If you have a clear slant on the film, it makes it more interesting. Docs can be dry, but don't have to be. Have you seen March of the Penguins? Synopsis - Its about birds that don't fly. But, after viewing it...holy cow... I've come to have an incredible appreciation for these creatures.

* I know of others working on similar doc film projects on magicians. What will make YOUR film stand out? Think, "Capturing the Friedmans".

* I don't think the general public would care about the general stuff about magicians. Tell them the Gossip. The grit. Scandals. The obsurdities. What are our personal lives like?

Ever been to a magic convention? There's a (cess)pool wealth of material to run with. HAve you seen the social skills of many of these guys? Speaking of guys, Talk about the women, or lack thereof.

Discuss Sexism. Plagarism. The crap that keeps these message boards prolific.

All that is fodder for Entertaining film.

Or you can just be dry and lifeless. Nothing wrong with that. What's your choice?
-rk
Message: Posted by: Flores Magic (Jun 7, 2007 02:57PM)
Thanks guys. Your input is greatly appreciated. I'll keep you guys updated on the production. I'll also be posting updates on my website http://www.FloresMagic.com

Thanks again

Darren
Message: Posted by: John Heggie (Jun 10, 2007 08:34AM)
Sfmiraj,
Great idea with "The Women of Magic".

Darren, if a documentary on the women of magic hasn't already been done that might be a great follow up to you current film. That topic should be an award winner.

An author once told me that you will sell more books about a niche within a market than you will a book that hits on all areas of interest within that market.

~John
Message: Posted by: ScottRSullivan (Jun 10, 2007 09:02AM)
There have been a small handful of projects like this. The first that comes to mind is an NPR program entitled, "Box Jumpers." It was very well written and produced, as is standard with NPR.

John, you hit on a very key point: the niche market. Mandatory reading for anyone interested in this type of project is [url=http://www.thelongtail.com/]The Long Tail[/url] by Chris Anderson. He discusses the power and importance of niches, especially in the new web-centric world.

A director once said you could take anyone's life and turn it into a blockbuster film. The trick was to you've said, find the hook, the emotional aspect of the story. The material is there.

Filmmaking can be a bit like sculpting. You have life, recorded on film. Then you must decide what to show your audience. Just like the sculpter has his statue already hidden somewhere inside the slab of rock.

You just need to be the sculpter and chisel away what doesn't look like your statue.

For this specific project, I personally wouldn't focus too much on the specific secrets that are exposed. I could see this where you follow two or three specific magicians for a few months, showing how the magicians and audiences must evolve because of this.

From a D.o.P. point of view, perhaps closeups of people pointing at something they see (no need to reveal the secret, show the audience whispering to each other and pointing).

I have a background in film and editing, so email me if you like.

Good luck!
Scott
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Jun 10, 2007 10:17AM)
Showing the different types of venues may be of interest.

Impromptu.
Street.
Restaurant.
Strolling.
Formal Closeup at a table.
Stage.
Kids.
Geek.
Bizarre.
Busking.
Mentalism.
etc, etc.
Message: Posted by: John Heggie (Jun 10, 2007 08:27PM)
Scott,
Thanks for the book recommendation.

~John