Gavin Booth is a savvy young independant film maker from Windsor, and he's out to prove that Hollywood North maybe a lot further East than people think. With a shoestring budget (only $25,000, which would be seen as an impossibly small amount to make a movie with even by independant film industry standards), and a couple of computers outfitted with film editting software, Booth set out to make a full length feature film right here in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
And he did.
With shooting complete and editing beginning, Gavin Booth is already juggling the script for his next project, lecturing at writer's groups and local highschools, and running Mimetic Productions, a full-time business providing services for television, film, corporate video and multimedia. Oh yeah -- did I mention the upcoming project he's landed with Detroit rap artist "Eminem", and the fact that before the film's even hit the theatres, the youngest star of Gavin's movie has already won a model search competition and has just been signed by "Disney"?
If it feels a little like Gavin Booth might have the Midas Touch, you're right. Sitting down over a mugga joe with this vibrant young novitiate will leave you equal parts shell-shocked and inspired. He's a passionate storyteller who would be comfortable in any medium, and while the visual spark of film may be appealing, Booth is able to turn even a café table into a storyboard, tantalizing you with the "accidents" of a young life drawn into film making, and how being told "NO" was the usual compelling fuel for getting impossibile things done.
Booth is prismatic. He's the poster child for the possibilities of youth when given encouragement and a few basic tools to go out into the world with. In Gavin's case, this meant a video camera and a computer. If you're thinking about buying a computer for your own young prodigy this Christmas, Gavin's example might be an interesting guide.
What to look for? Read on to learn more ...
Gavin uses computers to help make films. Why does he call them "Hollywood in a Box"?
Gavin is able to use a PC to do everything from editing to marketing. With a couple of big hard drives, and a heavy-duty processor, he's able to manage a film project in-house from start to finish, from special effects and sound, to marketing and networking with people who can share ideas and offer services. This is a real boost for independent film makers with small budgets.
Most personal computers you buy today are equipped with a robust set of multimedia tools right off the shelf. Bigger hard drives and faster processors are making it possible to tackle multimedia film projects, and even burn them straight to DVD. While the hardware is an important part of the process, Gavin will tell you that the software you use is critical.
One of the better movie making suites on the market is Apple's Emmy Award Winning "Final Cut Pro" www.apple.com/finalcutpro, developed for the Mac computer platform. It's being adopted by more and more of the large movie houses to handle editing, and one that you can buy off the shelf at your favourite electronics store or website.
(See this product: Canada U.S. )
This is a case where the software and need should dictate the hardware you buy. Many people will tell you that, while there are a bevy of robust multimedia PCs hitting the shelves this Christmas, the "Mac" is the only thing to look for when buying a computer that you're going to use for publishing or film. If you've already got a personal computer instead of a Mac, and you're looking for audio-video editing and special effects software, Gavin suggest checking out Adobe.
(See this product: Canada U.S. )
Gavin also talks about the Panasonic DVX 100 digital video camera that he uses to film his work. It uses conventional mini DV tapes the same as home camcorders, yet creates a look that is identical to 35mm film. Matching the look of Hollywood, it's now being accepted for MTV and MuchMusic videos. Gavin says that while film has been the defacto industry standard for the last 100 years, the medium's now going digital.
(See Panasonic's latest line-up: the PVGS200 3CCD MiniDV Camcorder, the VDRM50 DVD Camcorder and the VDRM70 DVD Camcorder )
Gavin points out that George Lucas pioneered the medium with the StarWars movies, shooting them entirely in digital instead of the traditional 35mm film. He's pleased that Hollywood-style film making capabilities are "rapidly becoming more available to the small guy like who says I want to go out and make a film and I have limited funds to do it".
Where film-based cameras cost up to $100,000, film makers are now turning to high quality digital video recorders for $4,000 - $6,000. The quality rivals traditional film, they're incredibly compact/portable, and the price puts them within the reach of even small, independant film houses.
How does a young, unknown film maker from Windsor end up working with a Grammy award winning music artist like Eminem?
Today's computers come equipped with robust multimedia tools allowing you to create rich show-and-tell style projects that can be shared across the internet. This allowed Gavin to constantly network and market himself, connecting and collaborating with other people in the industry.
Gavin not only uses a computer to add sound, special effects and do the editing, he's able to compress and package the finished work into a DVD instantly, and also into web-ready formats that allow him to share movie trailers. It's a cost effective way to reach broader markets, and gain instant audiences.
Gavin also uses his computer to network with other people in the industry, swapping tips about film making, culling leads about places to be seen and heard, and even collaborating on projects. This collaboration places him in the path of a number of interesting folks, the latest being Detroit rap artist "Eminem".
Gavin's the first to tell you that it doesn't matter if you're young, or broke, or living in Windsor. Today's tools allow you to do things and reach people that independant film makers never had the chance to reach before.
How is Gavin using computers to reach out to other young film makers in the area?
Through his business "Mimetic Productions" Gavin is hosting an online screenplay writing contest in 2004, giving students and other young film makers the chance to network and connect.
Keep an eye on the Mimetic website for more information about this in the new year ... www.mimeticonline.com
So how do people learn more about these projects?
You can visit Gavin's website to track his progress: http://www.mimeticonline.com.
The trailer for the full length feature film that he just finished shooting locally is linked to from the front page of the website.
Some Thoughts of Your Own To Share?
gentle listener :)
If you were inspired by Gavin's story when you tuned in to the computer column on CBC Radio, and you'd like to meet Gavin in person, consider yourself invited to the "Coffee Exchange" downtown on Ouelette Avenue on Tuesday, December 2nd from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.. Gavin will be joining us for the final "NaNoWriMo" (National Novel Writing Month) coffee house.
Know of other people who are showing breakthrough innovation in the way that they use their computers? Drop me a line and let me know who they are, and what they're up to ... email@example.com.
I'm always grateful for your feedback. I want your experience as a listener, and as a visitor to the website, to make your journey as a computer consumer easier and more valuable.
As always, if you have some thoughts on topics you'd like to see covered in future shows, I invite you to visit the Listeners' Picks forum to tell me about it. I'm always looking for stories to share about great new consumer computing products and services.
Have a terrific Monday morning, and let's keep talking!