An Inside Look Into the “Room Full of Spoons” Documentary

Room Full of Spoons

I recently had the opportunity to interview Rick Harper who’s the director and producer behind the intriguing documentary “Room Full of Spoons.” Room Full of Spoons is a documentary project now in development, and raising capital to get to the next level. Its story is about the worst film ever made; the cult-hit phenomenon “The Room”, and its eccentric creator Tommy Wiseau.

You can watch and learn what this project is all about below, and read what Rick had to say in our interesting Q and A.

1. What’s the story behind your team wanting to develop “Room Full of Spoons” into a documentary?

I discovered “The Room” in 2010 and I immediately became obsessed with it, in weird way I felt I was the ultimate fan and that no one quite understood it like I did. In short, I knew it was something I had to be a part of.

At the time I had only ever dreamed of becoming a filmmaker, but when the owner of local theatre, The Mayfair, talked about bringing Tommy Wiseau to Ottawa my “production company” sponsored the event with the sole purpose of getting to meet him and possibly do dinner.

To my surprise, Tommy and I got along very well and he invited my team and I work to with him at several more screenings. Tommy was such a fascinating and complex person to me, odd and eccentric yet extremely intelligent and friendly, and at the time I felt The Room’s success was at its peak, so I had the idea of filming a documentary as a means to share this niche phenomenon with the world and celebrate Tommy’s uniqueness.

  1. Who is involved with the project?

We’ve been very fortunate to have the entire cast of The Room support the movie, many who I now consider personal friends of mine. They tell hilarious stories of how it was to work with Tommy, things that happened behind the scenes and their lives since appearing in the Citizen Kane of bad movies.

Most of the crew have made themselves available too, including Sandy Schklair, the script supervisor who takes credit for directing 90% of The Room. We’ve interviewed camera operators, the composer of original score, production assistants and even actors from other cult favourites. Room Full of Spoons really gets to the bottom of what makes The Room such a special movie. Juliette Danielle calls it “A love letter to The Room”

  1. What are the core goals for the film?

The great thing about this documentary is that it doesn’t only speak to existing fans of The Room. Our goal was to make it as comprehensive and interesting as possible for those who may not be familiar with the source material in hopes of expanding The Room’s fan base, all while answering each and every question the fans have debated over for years now. Following the success of Greg Sestero’s book The Disaster Artist and the soon to be James Franco/Seth Rogan film adaption, our hopes are for Room Full of Spoons to be an equally relevant companion piece to The Room.

  1. What have been the biggest project challenges and struggles to date?

In the process of putting together the documentary, I came to find that working with Tommy Wiseau in any capacity can be quite challenging. As the project got bigger, Tommy grew uncomfortable.  For someone with such a “big” personality, he is actually a very private person. He supported this documentary in the early stages, but isn’t directly involved in the production. While the research was extensive, it’s very difficult to make him understand that Room Full of Spoons isn’t an investigative report or an attempt to marginalize The Room’s success or invade his privacy.

His lack of involvement actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it allowed us to have artistic freedom and eliminate any potential biases. There’s a fine line between a documentary and a 90 minute commercial, if the person you’re documenting has control over the project.

  1. Have you been building an audience while the project has been in development?

Yes, we are very active on social media and engage with fans from around the world through memes, clips from the documentary and regular updates about the production. The Room community is huge and we’ve been working very hard to build awareness for Room Full of Spoons. We have an amazing fan base, several of who are now part of the film itself. UK rock band, Top Buzzer, have provided music from the soundtrack; Table 16 productions from Illinois have provided free film production services to us; and hundreds of fans have agreed to be filmed/interviewed about their favourite “So bad it’s good” movie.

  1. Have any good tips for creating a documentary?

Be patient- when creating a documentary, everyone involved is essentially doing you a favour. You can’t expect people to be as passionate or excited about the project as you are; many times there’s a grooming process involved. This is especially difficult in the beginning.  It’s easy to question someone’s credibility when all they have to show for it is an idea.  For example, it took 2 years to convince Phil Haldiman, (Denny from The Room), to meet with me. We were also fortunate to get other Room cast members to vouch for us and that secured interviews with their counterparts (which also took years in some cases).

Don’t rush- documentaries are not scripted so you never truly know when the story is over. By the time it’s released, Room Full of Spoons will have taken us 4 years to make. This of course wasn’t our original intention but time was very generous to us, we’ve matured as filmmakers and The Room’s popularity is at an all-time high. As a result, our release date was postponed a few times but only for the greater good of the project.

7. When and where can we watch your film?

Some recent developments are taking us to Europe in April for the final weeks of filming and we begin editing immediately upon our return. We expect Room Full of Spoons to be ready next fall.

Room Full Spoons will be available on DVD and so will More Spoons, a bonus DVD with hours of hilarious interviews and behind the scenes footage that couldn’t fit into the documentary. We also plan to have a limited theatrical release compete with prizes, Q&A sessions, and special guests.

  1. Any parting shots?

You have an opportunity to pre-order Room Full of Spoons and More Spoons now via Kickstarter.

The funds collected through this campaign will be put toward travel and costs associated with post-production. You can follow our progress at:

Facebook: Room Full of Spoons

Twitter: @roomfullofspoon

Instagram: @roomfullofspoons

RoomFullofSpoons.com

Tweet: An Inside Look Into the “Room Full of Spoons” Documentary http://ctt.ec/j6D69+

We thank Rick for his time and insightful answers for documentary producers to learn from! We also wish him and his team all the best with Room Full of Spoons going forward.

Enjoy this interview?! Great! Then subscribe to our blog via email as we will be doing more of these fun interviews in the future with other amazingly talented video creators, filmmakers, actors, writers, directors, animators and producers from our members on Spidvid.

And if you are a web series, TV, documentary, short film, or feature film creator or producer and want your story and content featured here, then reach out to us and lets discuss.

An Inside Look Into “Lanky Scoliosis” the Web Series

Lanky Scoliosis

I recently had the opportunity to interview Tim Murray who’s the creator behind the web series “Lanky Scoliosis.” Lanky Scoliosis is a new Web Series about a hopelessly awkward dreamer whose grand ambition is to work at Guinness World Records and talk to girls without being weird.

You can watch episode 1 below, and read what Tim had to say in our interesting Q and A.

1. What’s the story behind your team wanting to develop “Lanky Scoliosis” into a web series?

I always knew Lanky was a web series as opposed to a play or screenplay. The character grew out of a running joke between my best friend and myself about my horrible social interactions with people. I am extremely lanky and also have scoliosis so the name stemmed from my friends making fun of my physical awkwardness, which lead to making fun of my social awkwardness and the combination of these two things made me realize we had a great character on our hands. I created the idea and would jot down notes about it and the general structure, which was very clear to me would be best served as a short, funny web series. Then I asked my brother to write the dialogue with me. The handsome roommate character is based on him and we have both wanted to write something together for a long time. We were on the same page comedically and this seemed like the perfect thing to collaborate on.

2. Who is involved with the project?

I’m the creator of Lanky with all the episodes written by myself and my brother John Murray. Katie McClellan (NBC’s Believe) plays the main love interest and Adam Maggio (CRT’s A Funny Thing Happened…) plays the handsome roommate. Jenna Leigh Green (Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Wicked), Chris Grace (50 Shades the Musical, That Awkward Moment), Ciara Renee (Hunchback of Notre Dame, Big Fish on Broadway), Ben Fankhauser (Newsies) and Alanna Saunders (NBC’s Peter Pan Live!) also make appearances. I direct and edit every episode also.

3. What are the core goals for the series?

The goal for this series personally is to get some exposure for my comedic writing/acting. The goal for the series itself is to make people embrace what makes them weird. Lanky is an odd dude and he spends most of the series trying desperately to be cool or at least normal. I hope by the end of the series people will identify with Lanky, but realize that he’s special. What makes you different and often what you’re insecure about is what makes you interesting and I’d rather talk to an interesting person than an ordinary person any day.

4. What have been the biggest project challenges and struggles to date?

The biggest challenge is always the technical side. Lugging all my equipment around town and setting everything up and taking it down with virtually no budget and no crew is the hardest thing. I beg my friends to help out and after getting people to volunteer to hold the mic or record the scene has shockingly given us a very good and professional looking product. I’m lucky enough to have smart friends who pick things up quickly.

5. Did you’s start building your audience while the series was being developed, or when it first debuted?

I did start building my audience beforehand. I made sure to make the Facebook page and invite everyone I know as well as post pictures of the cast on Instagram and Twitter. When it debuted I just doubled down on the work load and sent out twice the press releases and posted the video on twice the amount of pages etc. This is one of the hardest parts of creating something for me. You want to get the word out, but the worst thing you can do is be annoying by posting too much. Then people unfollow you.

6. Your cast is very strong, how did you’s attract such talented people to get involved?

I am VERY lucky to have secured such an amazingly talented cast. The incredible thing about writing and creating stuff is that if you just ask people you’d be shocked on how many say yes. I got all of my first choices for the series and that feels incredible. I like to think that the writing had something to do with it. I’m really proud of the story we’re telling and I think the actors read the script and (I hope) thought “this is going to be really fun and awkward and funny”. Jenna Leigh Green was the one I was most nervous about asking because she’s such a star. She worked on a TV show for 7 years. A show I used to watch regularly as a kid. So when she said yes I definitely freaked out, but the day of the shoot I didn’t have time to be nervous. She was SO awesome to work with. There was just this vibe in the room that no one I’ve ever worked with has ever brought before. She brought the feeling to set that we were all working with someone who had MASTERED film acting. It was so cool. Everyone in the show is a friend of mine, most of them I’ve worked with before so it was so awesome to do this with friends and write for people whose work I respect.

7. Have any good tips for creating a web series?

The best tips I can give are to write it to death, shop it around to your friends and be sure that the product is of a certain quality. If I were a casting director or a network executive would I want to sit and watch this? If I were watching this alone in my room and didn’t know anyone involved would I judge it or embrace it? Am I proud of this? Are all questions I try to ask myself before I hit publish. Definitely shop your script around to lots of friends and get notes. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP! This is something I struggle with but it makes everything better when you bite the bullet and ask people to help you fix trouble spots or hook you up with someone who can give you advice on sound equipment, or how to film etc.

8. Where can we watch and subscribe to your series?

The web series can be found exclusive on YouTube on my channel TMURRAY06. Also check out the Facebook page for updates on the show.

We thank Tim for his time and insightful answers for web series creators to learn from! We also wish him and his team all the best with Lanky Scoliosis going forward.

Enjoy this interview?! Great! Then subscribe to our blog via email as we will be doing more of these fun interviews in the future with other amazingly talented video creators, filmmakers, actors, writers, directors, animators and producers from our members on Spidvid.

And if you are a web series, TV, documentary, short film, or feature film creator or producer and want your story and content featured here, then reach out to us and lets discuss.

Tweet: An Inside Look Into “Lanky Scoliosis” the Web Series http://ctt.ec/JS1K1+

Why Filmmakers Should Listen To Indie Film Academy

Indie Film Academy Podcast

I recently had the opportunity to interview Jason Buff who’s the founder of the Indie Film Academy. IFA is a podcast that’s dedicated to indie filmmakers and learning about and supporting their filmmaking journeys.

1. What’s the story behind how Indie Film Academy came to be?

Over the years, I have put together a number of independent film productions that have all fallen apart in one way or another. I even had a film that was fully funded and set to start filming in 2013 that fell apart just before we started pre-production. So, I put together the Indie Film Academy as a way of not only educating myself about all the things that were getting in the way of making these features, but also to share the information with other filmmakers. I have always loved teaching, so for me it is a perfect mix.

2. How do you decide on the guests you want to interview, and how do you get them on your show?

We focus on 4 main topics. Screenwriting, Funding, Shooting, and Selling. I try to focus on guests who are, in addition to being film industry professionals, also enjoy teaching. Finding people to interview is relatively easy. Sometime I interview the author of a filmmaking book I have enjoyed. Other times I will see an interview on a filmmaking site or a video on YouTube and try and get in touch. My latest guest, Kevin Shahinian, did a presentation at CineSummit that blew me away. So I just sent him an email and he said no problem. The funny thing is, the people who are very successful are usually pretty laid back and down to earth.

3. Why should filmmakers listen to your show, and how can the content benefit their teams and projects?

Each of our guests has something new and interesting to teach about filmmaking. Most of the interviews are about topics that I find interesting as a filmmaker, so I can only assume other filmmakers will find them interesting as well. For example, one of the key things I didn’t understand during my earlier projects was the business side of filmmaking. In many ways, understanding the film “business” is much more important than being a brilliant filmmaker. We are entering a new era of filmmaking where filmmakers really need to understand marketing and how to promote themselves online. It’s fine to make a movie that only 3 people want to see, but it’s going to be very hard to get investors. And even if you do get investors and make your film…chances are nobody’s going to see it. There are just too many options.

On the other hand, the online film market is flooded with horrible movies with cool looking packaging. Just click through the horror section of Netflix and you’ll see a lot of great artwork for horrible films. So we have these two opposite poles and I try to show how you can make the two meet in the middle. A film that makes people want to see it, but also a good film. Jaws is the perfect example of this. If you see the poster, you want to see it. But, it just so happens, the film is also amazing. These days, you see a lot of posters for movies that look amazing, but once they start your realize that someone has tricked you. So I beg filmmakers to start with an idea that people will want to see in the first place, and then make that an amazing film. Sorry, got off track. I just email people I want to talk with and some say yes, others say no.

4. What have you learned personally since the show made its debut?

I have learned so much it would be hard to just name one thing. I love simple tricks more than anything. Or hacks I guess I should say. One of the key issues I try to address on the site is how filmmakers can reduce their risk when it comes time to selling their films. I’m a big proponent of first-time filmmakers going to Sales Agents before they ever start their project to see what they think about it’s chances to sell. That was my primary concern as a filmmaker. But it’s also been illuminating to see exactly how few films make their money back.

Let me focus on one key thing I have learned from each of our four topics.

Screenwriting: Your first draft will always suck, great screenplays come from lots of rewriting.

Funding: There are a lot of rich people out there who would love to be part of a film.

Shooting: It’s important that your film looks expensive even if it isn’t. Avoid handheld and study the masters use of camera movement. Bad acting will kill a movie.

Selling: Horror always sells, try to get at least one known actor, create amazing artwork, start building your audience before you start filming so they’re waiting when it’s done.

5. What does the future hold for your show, and how do you see it evolving over time?

My hope is that the Indie Film Academy eventually lives up to it’s name and becomes an online school. I would love to create a program that guides filmmakers through the process of making their film. For example, the funding part of the program couldn’t start until the screenwriting part was done. Maybe the screenplay would need to pass through a certain criteria. Then students would gain access to the funding portion. I think it would cut down on a lot of the bad films that are made every year. I just wish filmmakers would slow down and wait until their screenplays were really ready before making their first films. I have seen many films that are halfway through filming before they realize the screenplay just isn’t holding up.

6. Where can we tune into, and subscribe to your show?

You can go to our website IndieFilmAcademy.com, on iTunes at IndieFilmPodcast.com, or on Stitcher at ifastitcher.com

7. Do you have any tips or advice for filmmakers just starting out in the industry?

Ok, I’m going to try and blurt out everything they need to know in one bite…it won’t be easy. Obviously, first things first, subscribe to the podcast and get our newsletter. Ok, here we go. Write and rewrite your screenplay and then rewrite it 5 more times. Get 3 people who will be honest and know screenwriting to give you harsh feedback. Talk to sales agents and other people in distribution to find out how much your film can man. Get at least one known good actor on your cast to: 1. Help get funding 2. Help teach the other actors on set. 3. Help sell your film. Shoot the film in a single location. Hire crew that knows much more than you do. Make sure to do all of the legal things like contracts and releases. Learn how to promote yourself on social media and get a following. Create a free mailing list to contact your fans. Try to get reviews at a few film festivals. Get other filmmakers on your side by offering behind the scenes information….Ok….that’s all I can think of for the moment…I need to breath.

8. Any parting shots?

There is no better teacher than failure. So the more you fail, the better you will be. There are no excuses, get out and start making short films even if they’re only a few minutes long.

We thank Jason for sharing his story, and highly recommend listening and subscribing to Indie Film Academy.

Our 5 Favorite Viral Videos From January 2015

With each passing month, online videos are getting more creative and fun to watch, which bodes well for our Spidvid members on our video production freelancing and collaboration site. Below are 5 remarkable viral videos from January, 2015. There are likely dozens of others just as deserving as these, so if you have a favorite then I invite you to include the link in the comments below for us all to watch and see what we think.

Doritos Bath Tub

1. Dover Police DashCam Confessional (Shake it Off) – Master Corporal Jeff Davis of the Dover Police Department lip syncs Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” while driving around in his cruiser. This video has almost 30 million views since January 26th!

2. “Slap her”: children’s reactions – What happens when you put a boy in front of a girl and ask him to slap her? Here is how children reacted to the subject of violence against women. This video has been viewed over 25 million times since January 4th!

3. A Cheesy Love Story: The Ad Doritos Don’t Want You to See – You won’t love this product if you knew what it was made from. This is a campaign to get people to tell Doritos to adopt a responsible palm oil policy, and save our rainforests from extinction. This video has been viewed millions of times between YouTube and GreenPeace UK’s Facebook page.

4. Transform your world with holograms – For the first time ever, Microsoft HoloLens seamlessly blends HD holograms with the real world. Holograms will improve the way people do things every day, and enable us all to do things we’ve never done before. This video has almost 13 million views since January 21st!

5. Venus Williams and The Best Ball Boys in the World – With some of the world’s best female tennis players going to New Zealand, the world’s best ball boys (dogs) were integral to this match. This video has over 3 million views since January 6th.

Shameless plug: Create highly entertaining videos like the ones above by connecting with and hiring our talented members to collaborate with. Be sure to get a Spidvid profile and post your project for free or find a project to bid and work on, and if you need any help at all just ask us!

What Format Should You Use For Your Video Project?

This article was written by the team behind One Inch Punch Pro, a Toronto based video production company with experience creating corporate videos, music videos, short films, reality television and more. We are pleased to publish this exclusive article here, and thank them for sharing this useful information for people in video production to learn and benefit from.

film reel

At one time making movies was simple because there weren’t a lot of format choices beyond 8mm and Super 8. No longer are we in the age of one format fits all. There are now many video formats to choose from (.wmv, .asf, .mov, .mpeg). Despite confusion that might arise from so many formats, a major advantage to videographers is that now quality footage is possible even from pocket devices. The following information examines video format, video production, and other factors that affect a video presentation.

Factors for Deciding a Video Format, Video Production

  • intended audience
  • whether or not the video will be seen online
  • internet connection speed
  • type of available video playback
  • online video trends
  • whether or not the video is embedded in an application

Once you know what you would like to do with your video, you’ll need to pick an appropriate format. Here are some of the more common file formats and what they offer.

Containers vs. Codecs

One of the first things you need to be clear about when it comes to digital video formats is the difference between containers and codecs. The container is the file. The codec is what determines how the content of the file is displayed, which may include compression. Codecs also encode the video and turn it into a stream of bytes. A video’s file extension relates to the container. One of the confusing things about containers and codecs is that they go in and out of style in the tech world.

Before deciding on a video format, video production and how it will be delivered should be considerations that point to a certain codec. The MP4 container with an H.264 codec is widely supported by sites that allow the public to upload videos. If your video is meant to be viewed on a mobile device then choose a codec that works with the OS.

Video Compression

The advantage to compressing video is that more video can take up less storage space. Some video data gets lost when a video file is compressed. Video compression software is based on displaying redundancies within a frame. A lot of the compression work can be done with DVD burning software. Usually when saving video in a software program you will be given the option to save the video in a certain quality. The higher quality will always be the most uncompressed. It is necessary to compress files in order to share them, especially online. When deciding on video format, video production and video presentation, remember that compression will have a big affect on appearance.

Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio is the dimension of the image, which is commonly 16:9, meaning a width of 16 and a height of 9. This dimension has been the universal standard for video and computer screens since 2009. Super 16 mm film has a similar aspect ratio. Other aspect ratios are used but are not as common as 16:9.

Audio Video Interleave (.avi) Container

AVI files were developed by Microsoft, originally for Windows 3.1 back in the 1990s. In recent years Windows users have switched to Windows Media Video. One of the disadvantages of the AVI format is that it does not allow for specification of the aspect ratio.

Advanced Systems Format (.asf) Container

ASF is a proprietary container developed by Microsoft that usually ends with the extension .wmv. It can be used for integrating Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Advanced Video Coding, High Compression (AVCHD) Container

AVCHD is a popular container used with digital camcorders. It is a joint effort by Sony and Panasonic. The file format is meant for storage as well as playback. The format supports standard definition, high definition and 3D.

Flash Video (.flv, .swf) Container

Flash video is delivered across the Internet through the Adobe Flash Player, which is what displays YouTube videos. Newer Flash videos use the H.264 codec. One major drawback with Flash is that it is not supported by iOS devices. Steve Jobs believed in looking pass the streaming problems of Flash and rely on better HTML 5 development to resolve streaming issues. Flash is otherwise a very popular container for streaming online videos.

QuickTime (.mov, .qt) Container

QuickTime is the proprietary video software playback system developed by Apple. It supports a wide scope of codecs as determined by Apple. It’s a popular video player that comes with Mac OS systems. Higher quality features can be accessed through a license with Apple. The iMac desktop comes loaded with iMovie, which is a basic version of Final Cut Pro, issuing .MOV and .MP4 containers.

Windows Media Video (.wmv) Codec

The WMV format supports high definition 720 and 1080 video. The way the format conserves space is that it only downloads a part of the video at a time. This feature has eliminated the need to wait for a video to completely download to watch it. There is often confusion between Windows and Mac software and what nuances are involved to make the software work properly.

H.264 Codec

This codec is used to compress a lot of video on the web. It can be used at very low and very high bit rates. It is commonly used with camcorders with the AVCHD container. Other common codecs include MPEG 1, 2 and 4, HDTV and DVD.

Format Conversion

Video can be converted from one format to another by using a tool such as a Kigo format converter, which works for both Mac and Windows devices. When converting a video format, video production degradation may occur. It’s a good idea to preserve the originals in a DVD format.

Whatever format and technology you use for your video projects, make sure that they will empower you and your team to achieve the project’s core production goals.