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The Director's Chair Issue #101 – Oct. 26, 2009 (An Austrian Filmmaker's Journey)

Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

October 26, 2009                Scene 10 – Take 8

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Web Site: http://www.actioncutprint.com


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1. Introduction
2. Two Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. Subscriber Request: Seeking a Director
4. FEATURE ARTICLE – An Austrian Filmmaker’s Journey
5. Write an Article for The Director’s Chair
6. The History of Film
7. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
8. Subscriber Links of Interest
9. BLOG – Film Directing Tips
10. Are You on Twitter?
11. Filmmaking Workshops
12. Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
13. Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information
14. Copyright Information


Welcome to ISSUE #101 of The Director’s Chair (Oct 26/09)


Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas,
Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Botswana, Brazil, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile,
China, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark,
Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands,
Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary,
Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy,
Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Republic of
Kosova, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia,
Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia,
Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan,
Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania,
Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Serbia and
Montenegro, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan,
Sweden, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania,
Thailand, Trinidad and Tabago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United
Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay,
Venezuela, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

NOTE: If your country is not represented here, please let me
know and I will add it to this ever growing list.

2) FEATURE ARTICLE – the special feature article this month is
called “An Austrian Filmmaker’s Journey” by Florian Fessl.
“Hi, my name is Florian Fessl, I’m a Director Editor and
Filmmaker from Austria. I made several short fiction movies
and music videos for mayor and indie labels.

Last year I made TIEFENSUCHT, a high quality 20 minute short
within 9 Months and (very) low budget. Over the years I
somehow became an expert in shooting and producing low budget
projects. Peter asked me to unveil my secrets of how to shoot
a high quality low budget movie, so here I go.” (Read entire
article below.)

3) FACEBOOK – The Director’s Chair has it’s own page on
Facebook. If you haven’t signed up to Facebook yet, I
sincerely recommend you think about doing it. Facebook is a
fabulous place to meet people who share your passions and it
is one of the top Social Networking sites on the Internet.
Here’s the Facebook home page: http://www.facebook.com

Once you are signed up, type in “The Directors Chair” and
the page should come up. Sign up as a fan and then start to
join the discussion forums, post photos, videos and write on
the Walls. If you are already a member of Facebook, here is
the direct link to the page: http://snipurl.com/923qh

From time to time I will contact you by email to inform you of
certain film workshops or filmmaking products or Online
courses that I feel are beneficial to filmmakers like
yourself. Of course, you are under no obligation to purchase
anything. I only offer this information as a service to
subscribers of this free ezine.

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6) SUGGESTIONS & COMMENTS – Send any comments, suggestions,
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Peter D. Marshall


Thank you very much for subscribing to this ezine.

BONUS #1 – Here is the link to download the first 28 pages of
my 201 page pdf Online Audio Course:, “The Art and Craft of
the Director Audio Seminar.”

BONUS #2 – Here is the link to download the first 24 pages of
my 137 page “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online
Course For Independent Filmmakers.”

3. SUBSCRIBER REQUEST: Seeking a Director

I received an email from a subscriber looking for a young
director (preferably female) to shoot a film on the prevention
of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.

He is seeking a Director with a track record who can partner
with him in this project and can give the film an
international quality.

I have not had a chance to contact Ben personally, but he has
been a subscriber to this ezine for two years. I don’t know if
he has filled this position or not, but if you are interested,
you can contact him at:

Ben Egberi
Email: ashero009@yahoo.com

4. FEATURE ARTICLE – “An Austrian Filmmaker’s Journey”

Hi, my name is Florian Fessl, I’m a Director Editor and
Filmmaker from Austria. I made several short fiction movies
and music videos for mayor and indie labels.

Last year I made TIEFENSUCHT, a high quality 20 minutes short
within 9 Months and (very) low budget. Over the years I
somehow became an expert in shooting and producing low budget
projects. You can watch some of the movies I made on

Peter Marshall asked me to unveil my secrets of how to shoot a
high quality low budget movie, so here I go.


Last year I decided to once again make a short movie, after
Magdalena Berger co-producer and good friend of mine told me
her Idea about raising money from the government by promoting
the Austrian nature in a fictional story. I fell in love with
this simple and good concept and started writing “Under The
Blue” (the original title is “Tiefensucht”).

I always kept in mind that I am writing for a low budget
movie. I am used to that, but my goal was to write the
pictures as cinematic as possible. And it had to take place
outdoor and the scenery had to be nature. With this in mind, I
started to write about 3 people sitting on a boat in the
middle of a lake.


It took me 5 days to write the first draft of the script about
Georg, a man in his mid 20’s on a boat with his father and
brother. They meet only once a year to go fishing together. It
is a tradition. They are sitting in the boat, talking about
the good old days, when suddenly the fish of an old
fisherman’s tale bites the father’s bait and pulls him out of
the boat.

The father disappears under the water surface. When Georg’s
brother jumps after him, he also disappears in the Water. Left
alone Georg has no other choice than following them under the
surface of the water into a strange but beautiful world, where
he finds out about the truth of his family.


I finished the first draft of the script in May and wanted to
shoot the movie in summer. There was not much time left to get
the budget, team and cast together, so I spent 4000€ on the
project to get it started. The best way to get things moving
is to drop money into the project and I was convinced, that I
will get the money back out of the movie as soon as it is

Then I and Magdalena started to apply for funding from the
government (the only way to raise enough money for movies in
Austria). It was a big drawback, when the BMUKK, the biggest
funding body for short movies refused to fund our project.
Also it is an official public institution for financing film
projects like this, you need good contacts to get funded by
them and apparently our contacts were not strong enough.

It was clear, that we would need to deal with a budget which
was way under the calculations we made. Fortunately, threw the
connections of my brother, we got funded by the “Land
Oberösterreich” the governmental institution of the area I
come from. I really have to thank him for that. It was not
much, but it brought back my hope to be able to realize the

Besides editing the script for the next two months to get the
final draft, Magdalena and I started scouting locations all
over the place in Upperaustria. We traveled to every lake and
waterfall in the area. It didn’t take us long to realize, that
the best place to shoot at was the Attersee, the lake my
grandma lives at. It is such a beautiful location.

My grandma offered us her boathouse to shoot at and because
everybody around the lake knew her, it was easier for us to
get everything we needed for very few money, like the
production boats and this beautiful wooden rowing boat you can
see in the movie.

When this all was set up, I organized the castings by writing
to all agents and actors companies. The easiest way would have
been to hang a casting call out at all the acting schools but
unfortunately it was summer and all the schools were closed.
I’m so happy, that I still found the perfect cast for the

It didn’t take long to get all the crew together. It mainly
consisted of all the people I worked with the last couple of
years and who became close friends of mine. Nobody got paid
at that time, not even the actors. They were all ok with that.
The actors knew, that they would get good stuff for their demo

The deal was, that everybody gets paid when the movie makes
money. I’m still excited how this will turn out for this
movie. We got the HD camera and 35mm lenses for free thanks to
David Wagner my camera operator, who by the way did an amazing
job on set.


After solving smaller and bigger problems, we finally shot the
movie on the last 6 summer days. We calculated 7 days for
shooting, but when we started, it was clear, that the 7th day
would be something about 12 degrees and rain. Since the actors
had to be in the water most of the time it was not bearable to
shoot under this conditions. We had to work this one day in,
and we did.

Thanks to my grandma we had a sauna on location, where the
team and actors could warm up during the shootings on the 6th
day, where a storm came up with 16 degrees Celsius air
temperature. Without the sauna, I’m pretty sure, that not
everybody would have survived. Still I have to say that the
storm was worth the amazing pictures we took.


I didn’t touch the material for one month. I couldn’t. I
thought about giving it to another editor, like I would have
normally done, but I couldn’t afford one. I could have given
the material to an unpaid editor, but that never works out
well. Editing is in my opinion the most crucial part in
filmmaking which consumes very much time to make a good
working movie.

When I finally started editing, the first thing I did, was
creating a teaser which should transport the overall feeling
of the movie. There was so much response to this 90 seconds
teaser, that Magdalena and I started to meet up every mayor of
all the towns around the lake to get sponsored by them. Every
single one of them hesitated to give us money, but after
watching the teaser they immediately agreed to sponsor us.

We also got sponsored by the tourism office and the Raiffeisen
Bank. We got money from nearly everybody we went to. It was
really fascinating to see, what is possible to archive with
the right attitude and a good teaser.

You may think now, that we raised millions on sponsoring money
for a short movie, but we talk here about 300 Euro’s in average
per sponsor. It was ok. We needed every cent. The biggest
sponsor was a clothing company called Airfield. The owners of
this company were neighbors of my grandma.

Through these sponsors I luckily got the money back I invested
into the movie and I could start editing without having the
pressure to do other jobs besides that to earn money for
living. I also did the color correction and retouching on my
own. In fact I did the whole post production myself except
sound design and sound mixing. That actually was the key to be
able to realize the movie with this small budget we had.

The Viennese premiere in May this year and the Upperaustrian
premiere went very well with more than 400 visitors. Now I
started to apply the movie to 24 film festivals. We will see
how this works out.


I am really happy that the movie turned out so well. It was an
insane amount of work, since I had to do big parts of pre- and
post-production by myself but I learned unbelievably much at
every instance of the movie production. Last but not least the
biggest advantage was having the full control over the

The big problem was being so deeply involved into every single
step of the creation process without having a neutral editor
on board. I had to be very careful to not becoming blind and
completely moving away from the viewers perspective. This is
really hard, but I always tried to keep track of the reaction
of people, who have never seen the movie before.

I always tried to figure out, how these people experience the
movie and how they react to the changes I made. Therefore I
did a weekly screening of the movie during the process, where
I invited friends and other people from the industry to get
their reactions and opinions. I split my testing crowd up into
groups. I always invited one group at a time and never showed
the movie to a group more often than two times.

I think listening closely to other people opinions during the
creation process is the road to success. You have to take this
opinions serious and then decide what to do with the

Filmmaking is very much like programing a computer. You are
programing the brains of your audience by screening a movie,
and you make the movie for impartial brains, so you can’t only
rely on your own (biased) brain when you want to make the best

My Name is Florian Fessl. I’m a very ambitious filmmaker,
director and editor. I made several short movies and many
successful music videos for major and indie label bands in
Austria. My great passion is telling suspenseful narrative
fiction stories. I’m also a reliable and very creative editor,
who knows how to meet the needs of directors.

You can watch some of the projects I have done at

This upcoming year “Tiefensucht” will hopefully be screened at
several film festivals. I would be very happy if you get the
opportunity to watch it.

For any comments, questions, critics of whatever it may be,
please feel free to contact me any time at
5. Do You Want to Write an Article for The Director’s Chair?

If you would like to contribute articles, tips, links of
interest, industry news, interviews, special event dates or
other resources to The Director’s Chair, please email me at:

6. The History of Film

1. The History of Film (Wikipedia)

2. Cinema History: A History of Cinema Through the Decades

3. Early Cinema

4. Film History by Decade

5. VIDEO: The History of Motion Pictures

6. VIDEO: The History of Movies in 424 Images from Films.

7. VIDEO: The History of Motion Pictures

8. VIDEO: The Very First Motion Picture (1889)

9. VIDEO: Greatest Moments in Film History (Part 1)

10. VIDEO:  History Of Cinema


Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this
section. If you are interested, send your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to less than 200 words. I also
reserve the right to edit the promotion for length, spelling
and formatting.

1) Ian Agard – I am a 34 year old entrepreneur, filmmaker
living in Toronto who has been working in the North American
film industry for over five years. In early 2008, I shifted my
talents towards writing, directing and producing where through
my production company Agardfilm; I have produced two ten
minute films and a feature length film, “Bend & Break.” I have
also written an ebook title “Stop Waiting and Make Your Movie”
which offers first and second time feature filmmakers sound
advice on how to raise $5,000 to $500,000 to make their film.
Click on the links below for more information.

The ebook “Stop Waiting and Make Your Movie”:

Ian’s website: http://www.ianagard.com

Bend & Break promotional site:

2) TBA: (This space could be yours next month!)


“Subscriber Links of Interest” is where you can further
promote yourself, your company or your productions by having
your information displayed on a special links page at:

If you are a subscriber to this ezine and you want me to put
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Again, I also reserve the right to edit the promotion for
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Please take some time to look through the many blog postings
on my filmmaking blog, FilmDirectingTips.com and make some
comments on the posts – your feedback is important to me
because they will help me decide on the content I will add to
this blog.

RSS – http://filmdirectingtips.com/wp-rss.php
FEEDBURNER – http://feeds.feedburner.com/FilmDirectingTipsAndResources

Here are some of the latest blog entries I have made:

– Exclusive Interview: 1-1 With “Paranormal Activity” Director
Oren Peli
– Film producers find way to make Internet content pay
– Francis Ford Coppola Sees Cinema World Falling Apart
-Hollywood is relying on Twitter and Facebook to gauge popular
buzz on movies even before they come out
– Finance your film or TV show in 6 months. Winning funding
strategies for content producers


Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging
service that allows users to send and read other users’
updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based
posts of up to 140 characters in length.

Twitter is one of the best and quickest ways for friends,
family or people with common interests to stay in touch.

It’s also becoming one of the best ways to promote yourself
and your films on the Internet!

If you have a Twitter account, let’s follow each other. You
can follow me at http://twitter.com/bcfilmmaker.

I also suggest you follow my partner Trilby Jeeves at

11. FILMMAKING WORKSHOPS – Peter D. Marshall

I have worked in the Film and Television Industry for over
35 years – as a Film Director, Television Producer, First
Assistant Director and Series Creative Consultant. I’ve been
asked many times to share my Film and TV production
knowledge with others. As a result, I developed several
workshops that I have successfully presented over the past
15 years.

To find out more about these workshops, just click on the
link below. If you are interested in any of these four
workshops for yourself or your organization, please contact
me to discuss how we can bring these workshops to you.


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