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Thanks for Turkeys

Editorials are funny. More often than not, I'll have a title before I have an actual concept. Sometimes these easily flow into a stream of thought that's applicable, while at other times, the title will jump out at me and absolutely perplex me. This month I knew the title, but couldn't imagine what it could be about, until I spent a little time thinking.

Don't get me wrong, trying to come up with a pun about turkeys for Thanksgiving doesn't take any great wit, but, for me, this editorial was about something much deeper than a pun. Then I started to really think about it and to think about the history of MFM. That's when the title made sense.

You see, it all started with a turkey.

As long time readers of this magazine know, my first film was an overly-long comedy called, Commissioned. It was my pride and joy and I spent nearly two years in pre-production, production, and post on the film, only to discover that my baby, by all intents and purpose, was a turkey. The first thing that was wrong with it was that we hadn't understood a single thing about audio when we went into production, which meant that watching this film was likely to give you a sonic-induced migraine. (We would later spend almost a year doing ADR on the film, only to find that one of the crucial characters in the film refused to do their voicework and their voice turned out to be impossible to believably replicate. But that is another story!) Even without the audio issues and a number of lighting issues, the film's plot was excessively pedantic and did not properly grasp that good films do not replicate life verbatim. (Life, by its very nature, is long-winded, ungainly, and makes the most sense only at the end of a lifespan, not 90 minutes!) If this weren't bad enough, it was plagued by acting issues because the filmmaker believed that the best actors are people with no acting experience. Oh, and did I mention that this director felt that he should star in his masterpiece? Combine all of this with the fact that it was a comedy that was nearly two hours in length and saying it was a turkey was putting it mildly!

However, because of this turkey, I ended up delving deeply into the world of no-budget filmmaking, learning how to overcome each one of the issues I had blundered into before. And, after a lot of soul searching, I decided to pass on the information I discovered along the way to other filmmakers. That became the impetus for starting MicroFilmmaker Magazine, so that other low-budget filmmakers could learn from our early mistakes and our later successes. It was started with four filmmaking writers and an average readership of a few hundred people. Now, four years later, we have nearly twenty regularly contributing writers and an average of 50,000 filmmakers come here every month from all over the globe, finding out tricks and tips on the no-budget craft, learning from the films we critique, and gaining insight on the software, equipment, and books we review. We've individually helped hundreds of filmmakers and had a number of them credit our involvement in them gaining distribution.

So, as I think back on how far things have come and how it all started, I believe that the motto, “Thanks for Turkeys,” is indeed appropriate!

Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless,

Jeremy Hanke
Microfilmmaker Magazine

JeremyHankePicture The director of two feature length films and half a dozen short films, Jeremy Hanke founded Microfilmmaker Magazine to help all no-budget filmmakers make better films. His first book on low-budget special effects techniques, GreenScreen Made Easy, (which he co-wrote with Michele Yamazaki) was released by MWP to very favorable reviews. He's curently working on the sci-fi film franchise, World of Depleted through Depleted: Day 419 and the feature film, Depleted.

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