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The Director’s Chair Issue #138 – January 16, 2013 (Networking: Creating a Lasting Career)

Free Monthly Ezine for Independent Filmmakers

January 16, 2013                Scene 14 – Take 1

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Website: http://actioncutprint.com
Blog: http://filmdirectingtips.com


Dear Filmmaker,

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1. Introduction
2. Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. Next 2-Day Workshop with Peter: Directing Actors
4. NEW: Film Directing Coach Services
5. FEATURE ARTICLE: Networking: Creating a Lasting Career
6. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
7. Filmmaking Links of Interest
8. Product Promotion and Film Workshops
9. Subscribe and Unsubscribe Information
10. Copyright Information

1. Introduction

Welcome to Issue #138 of The Director’s Chair January 16, 2013

1. Feature Article – The feature article this month is called:
“Networking Is the Only Way to Create a Lasting Career in the
Movies” by Vince A Onken. “A Cameraman/Lighting Director I
know who had worked in film for forty years called me one day
and announced he was leaving the business. I hadn’t talked to
him in a while so I asked why, and he told me that all of his
connections had finally moved on, retired, or passed away.
That he had gotten comfortable with his nonunion/independent
work circle so he didn’t try to build new relationships and by
the time he realized it, it was too late.” (Read full article

2. Please send any comments, suggestions, questions or advice
to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

2. Two Bonuses For Subscribing To The Director’s Chair

Thank you very much for subscribing to this ezine.

BONUS #1 – Here is the link to download Day One (30 pages) of
“The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”

BONUS #2 – Here is the link to download the first 27 pages of
the “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course.”

3. Directing Actors 2-Day Workshop with Peter D. Marshall
March 9 – 10, 2013 (Toronto, Canada)

I have partnered again with Raindance Canada (Toronto) to
bring you another 2-day advanced directing workshop called
Directing Actors.

This directing workshop builds on my previous Advanced
Blocking workshop and creates an intense, experiential
environment in which directors and actors learn critical
skills for working together effectively on set.

The main objective of this Directing Actors workshop is to
demonstrate how directors and actors can work effectively
together to build trust; to maximize performance on set; and
understand how to work together cooperatively in a tense,
time-sensitive and often challenging creative environment.

You can get more information about this 2 day workshop here.

4. Film Directing Coach – Peter D. Marshall

Actors, Singers and Athletes Have Private Coaches. So Why
Not Film and TV Directors?

Hilary Swank used an acting coach to prepare for her role in
Boys Don’t Cry. She won her first Academy Award.

Singer Renee Fleming has always used a vocal coach. She has
won several Grammy Awards.

Rafael Nadal’s coach urged him on from the sidelines during
his Wimbledon tennis tournament win in 2010.

Arnold Palmer improved his game with the help of a coach. Even
Tiger Woods has had several coaches.

As a matter of fact, winners in nearly every profession
(athletes, actors, singers, business executives) know that
without the right coach, they won’t perform at their peak.

They know that without the support of an experienced and
qualified coach, they would constantly struggle to achieve

So if these top professionals in their respective fields use
coaches – why not film directors?

So why hire me as your film directing coach?

Along with my international teaching experiences and my 39
years of professional filmmaking experience (as a TV Director
and Feature 1st AD), I feel I have the necessary
qualifications to help you achieve your dreams of being a
creative and successful independent film director.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce you to my Film
Directing Coaching services via Skype:

5. Feature Article: Networking: Creating a Lasting Career

“Networking Is the Only Way to Create a Lasting Career in the
Movies” by Vince A Onken.

A Cameraman/Lighting Director I know who had worked in film
for forty years called me one day and announced he was leaving
the business. I hadn’t talked to him in a while so I asked
why, and he told me that all of his connections had finally
moved on, retired, or passed away. That he had gotten
comfortable with his nonunion/independent work circle so he
didn’t try to build new relationships and by the time he
realized it, it was too late.

I’m sure he would have liked to keep working but as fate would
have it because he gave up making new connections years before
the work-well dried up and he was done. The good news is he
has money and will survive; the bad news is scenarios like
this happen to less fortunate people every day.

“So how do I make a connection?” you ask. “Because I’m kind of
shy,” or “I’m not much for small talk.”

To start off that’s okay, because right now I’m going to offer
up this suggestion on how to present yourself on your very
first day. Granted, we are all different but these are things
almost anyone can do. Initially you should show up to the job,
fifteen minutes early, and while there quietly and tirelessly
work your tail off from beginning to end. That way you won’t
have to make small talk, just work talk.

Also, if you can, throughout the day keep a sense of humor
about yourself. A good rule of thumb is; always take your job
seriously but try not to take yourself too seriously. Display
that demeanor as much as possible and I guarantee people will
appreciate and remember you in a positive light. Plus, if you
are more outgoing and the opportunity presents itself, make
small talk, be approachable, and no matter what? Just be your
wonderful self and by the end of your very first job you’ll
have made at least one contact to get more work.

Quick note: The secret to making small talk is to start out
asking questions; for example, if you see bored strangers
milling around on the set, smile really big and say something
like, “This is fun, isn’t it?” and because that question is
basically the opposite of what they’re thinking you will get a
response one way or another.

They may chat or banter with you for a minute or they may
offer only a smile, but no matter how minor the exchange the
ice has been broken. You have now made initial contact and, if
you wish, are more or less free to interact with them the next
time your paths cross. They may even smile when they see you

Another quick note: If the word “networking” scares you
because it sounds so mechanical, just remember that all it
means is “meeting people” and making friends. In an office or
on a film set all kinds of people are everywhere and
eventually people talk with one another.

Since you most likely will be there for a limited amount of
time you may have to make “fast friends” by speeding up the
process a bit. A good start would be, smile. Smiling is
contagious and it draws people toward you. Others may see you
as a happy person and want that for themselves whether they
are capable of achieving it or not. Or they may just wonder
what you are thinking and need to know. When we smile at
someone they will often innately smile back.

Physiologically speaking, studies show that smiling causes a
chemical reaction inside of us that perks up our overall
health. Smiling releases serotonin, endorphins and other
natural pain killers. The mere act of smiling raises our
emotional states and lowers our blood pressure, so if you want
to transform a stressed out mind-set into a happier condition
force yourself to smile for five minutes straight, and I
guarantee you will not only feel better but you will laugh out

Also, if you can, smile at people that others do not smile at
as you may make their day, which in turn may make yours,
either right then or somewhere down the road. Bottom line:
People that smile on a regular basis are some of the happiest
and healthiest people in the world.

There are times in a Production Assistant’s life when they
forget to smile. Unexpected events and idiotic situations can
be overwhelming for beginners, and because I know that I’ve
always tried to be friendly and helpful to PA’s. First of all,
many are looking to network so meeting them is relatively

And second, knowing PA’s can sometimes be very useful because,
among other things, they often go between the set and the
office, meaning that they may have the “inside story” about
what’s going on behind closed doors. What the folks are saying
and doing in the office can, at times, be more important than
what’s happening on the set.

In my opinion it’s good to make friends with PA’s but there
are some people out there that just love to give them a hard
time. Those people either don’t know or don’t care that
today’s Production Assistants are tomorrow’s Production
Managers and Producers.

One day after lunch I told that theory to a co-worker who had
just finished picking on a PA, and he said, “That kid? He’s a
moron! He’ll never be a Producer.”

“But didn’t you tell me the Producer on your last show was a

He thought for a second, and glared at me.

I laughed. “C’mon. Let’s get a cup of coffee.”

Once again, just to keep it in the forefront of your mind,
making relationships with people is vital for career
development. Some connections may help your career but it’s
just as valuable to know that most will not. The majority of
people you meet will only be casual friends or acquaintances.

And yes, there will be a few jerks that you can’t stand,
however, if you continue to meet people not only will you get
work on a regular basis, but there’s a very good chance that a
handful of them will become your life long friends. Bottom
line: Don’t go overboard, just let it flow, and if you can,
make some friends and have some fun because you never know who
or what may be happening in the future.

Over the past three decades Vince Onken has worked on feature
films, television series, pilots and made for TV movies;
local, national and international commercials, documentaries,
press junkets, music videos, industrials and infomercials as
an Extra, a Production Assistant, Craft Service, in the Art
Department, in Transportation, as a Boom Man, an Actor, in
Props, and many years in the Grip and Electrical Departments
with titles like Juicer, Hammer, Best Boy, Dolly Grip, Gaffer
and Key before he ended up writing, mostly in movie marketing
for studios like Warner Brothers, Paramount and Disney.

Most recently he has written a handbook called “Zen and the
Art of Creating a Career in Film” for anyone interested in
working in Hollywood. It can be found at

6. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion (Free Advertising)

The Director’s Chair gives you an incredible opportunity to
get Free Advertising for your services and your films.

Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this

So if you want over 5800 filmmakers around the world to know
about you and your films, please send me your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to 300 words. I reserve the right
to edit the promotion for length, spelling and formatting.


(1) RGB and Alpha Studio – We are based in Cape Town South
Africa, that was founded in January 2008. We specialize in TV
commercials and post-production, having created commercials
for both the local and international market. Our services also
include audio visual’s, pre-production and film, to name just
a few.

Our team possesses a wide variety of skills that allow us to
tackle any project. Where necessary our experience and
connections allow us to build a team to tackle specialized

Going against the odds, RGB and Alpha was founded by a team of
relatively inexperienced artists, and has since grown into an
experienced and extremely capable studio that has successfully
tackled some challenging projects. We are constantly growing,
and are very excited by what the future holds for us!

Once again thank you!

Jason van Niekerk

RGB and Alpha Studio

(2) My name is Steven Santillan and I’m a short film maker
from Australia.

I use to make shorts in the late 90’s but gave it away.  I
have reconnected with a close friend and the both of us have
developed a youtube site called SLAPSHOT FILMS and have
started making films again.

We are dabbling in special effects.  Here is a list of our
videos in order from earliest to latest:

Glove Warfare

Clone Warfare


Rise of the Fallen – entry into a lightsaber contest

Please watch and comment as I’m keen to improve on our film
making and would love to hear some feedback.

If you like you like us, subscribe to the following:



This way you will be kept in the loop of more films we are


Steven Santillan

7. Filmmaking Links of Interest

1. Scriptwriting – Secrets of the Pro

2. iFilmfest App helps indie filmmakers track film festivals

3. Why You Should Leave Filmmaking to Steven Spielberg

4. How Creativity, Art and Filmmaking can Change your Life

5. Has 3D filmmaking had its day?

6. Tom Hooper Says “The Camera Should Be A Meditation On The
Human Face” http://su.pr/2oFLZI

7. The Really Bad Things In The Indie Film Biz 2012

8. How to run a crowd-funding campaign – making a trailer

9. Twitter Is Already Winning The Social TV War, But It Will
Soon Do More http://su.pr/7gG5Fj

10. 6 Filmmaking Tips From Kathryn Bigelow

8. Product Promotion And Film Workshops

From time to time, I will contact you to inform you of film
workshops, 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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10. Copyright Information

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Peter D. Marshall
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