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Monday, July 02, 2007

KarmaCritic coalesces cinematographers to counter corporate caper

I'm not watching Fox's On The Lot anymore, even though I made a film to enter into the competition. It's not out of "sour grapes" or anything: when the show premiered I was eager and excited about its potential, and I was glad for whoever it was that made it all the way to the Hollywood round even when I didn't.

And then the show... failed to meet my expectations. Worse than that: it became readily apparent in the first episode that the art and skill of film-making would not be what this show would be about. Before the first installment was up, I was already wondering how much of a chance my entry had, considering that the attitude I conveyed in my intro video wasn't the combative/aggressive that the On The Lot producers seemed intent on having from the show's cast. More time and effort was spent on creating and exploiting conflict than was on the actual creativity and craft of film-making. Which is what I wanted to see and learn from.

But how much skill can it be said that anyone can pick up from watching your typical Mark Burnett production? Why should we have expected On The Lot to be any different?

I don't regret trying out for the show though. For one thing, it led me to make Schrodinger's Bedroom, and I'm very proud to have come up with the premise, to have produced it in so short a time and especially for the wonderful people that I got to meet and work with in making it happen. Schrodinger's Bedroom is still one of the best highlights of this year so far. And I'm glad that I got to meet a lot of fellow film-makers through On The Lot's forums: people who I really could learn a lot from and better my skill as a film-maker.

Those are the kinds of people that I want to associate with professionally. Because to them it is the film that matters, and not how old we are or what sex we are or where we live or how much we are arrogant (a trait that I have not seen from the ones I'm most talking about here).

Well, long story short: in the past few weeks the shenanigans coming out of On The Lot have almost strained belief. I've heard that Fox is so outdone at how lousy On The Lot is doing in the ratings, that it held back on the money it was going to dole out to the contestants to make their weekly films and instead forced them to use the films they made for the second and third rounds of the selection process! You can read more about it at Ain't It Cool News, in a story that directed me to the topic of this lil' blog post...

Some of those who also competed in On The Lot, disillusioned by what Fox has done with the show, have started their own film-makers forum called KarmaCritic. And for something that just started up, it shows a lot of promise: enough so that I signed-up with them this morning, after seeing several familiar and trusted faces from the On The Lot forums already over there. That my friend Phillip Arthur alerted me about KarmaCritic just before I went to its registration page was even more a good sign that this was something I should associate with. And KarmaCritic already has its first contest for those who would like to have at go at a serious film-making competition. I'm going to be spending the next few days working on an entry for this one.

So if you also are earnestly interested in film-making and want the benefit of a community of fellows that you can both learn from and enjoy your trade with, give KarmaCritic a shot. In more ways than I know to comment about right now, I think this could be a huge success.