IRS Targets Documentarians as “Hobbyists”

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This is disturbing news. Apparently, the IRS is going after documentary filmmakers and forcing them to prove that they are making films as a career and not just a hobby. In other words, if a person spends days, weeks, months, years writing grants, doing fundraising campaigns, shooting in all kinds of situations (many of them grueling), editing under tight deadlines and then trying to sell and distribute their product for a profit, that might be deemed a hobby by the government if they fail.

Paul Devlin has the complete story here at

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Three Cheers for “Plot Device”

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Seth Worley of Nashville just hit the jackpot. His short film, Plot Device, is getting lots of buzz and The Hollywood Reporter says this in a recent post –

“When it hit the web at the end of June, the video started making the rounds at film studios and agencies, and calls started coming in. Now the 27 year old is planning an August trip to Los Angeles and has lined up meetings with CAA, UTA, WME, some management firms and producers.”

Seth just happens to be really into making TV and movies and a short he created for a contest got noticed by Red Giant. The maker of Magic Bullet and other software apps for visual media asked him to create a promo for Magic Bullet and Plot Device was the result of that. Sounds like he might be someone to keep an eye on.

Check out Plot Device…

By the way…his budget was $10,000.

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Crazy Rube Goldberg Video…WOW!

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I’ve always been fascinated with Rube Goldberg contraptions. I think it’s something about the combination of creativity and engineering skills put to use purely for the enjoyment of the creators and the audience. This is a particularly impressive example. It’s also a great example of inbound marketing for the corporate sponsors. How much did they have to pay to get nearly 100,000 views in the first two days on Youtube? Probably not that much.

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Editing on an iPad

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I do a lot of productions where I travel by plane to shoot for a day or two (or more) and then bring all the footage back for editing. When it makes sense I take my laptop and a drive so I can transfer all my footage to the drive and possibly even lay out a rough cut on the timeline. This works great, but sometimes my laptop is a bit bulky considering all the other gear I bring.

That’s why this video looks promising for the future of very basic editing on an iPad (or any tablet, for that matter). Final Cut, Premiere, Avid, whatever. If I can travel with an iPad and a tiny drive and accomplish the same thing…color me happy.

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FCP X: What Apple Should Have Said

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When Apple gave their sneak peek of FCP X in April, they should have then released some sort of statement to the editing community. The release should have read something like this…

We are excited to be preparing for the release of Final Cut Pro X this coming June. We are extremely proud of the work that our developers have put in to this new application and believe that it will show our loyal customers that Apple is fully dedicated, long-term, to the craft of editing for film, television, video and the web.

With that in mind, we want to stress that this first release in June will be a Beta version of the application. We wanted to get it into our customers’ hands as soon as possible, but there are some things to keep in mind.

First, this is not an update to your existing version of Final Cut Pro. This is a completely new application. Therefore, it will not overwrite your existing application and you can use both your existing software and the new FCP X on the same computer. We feel this allows producers and editors to continue working on any existing or legacy projects for as long as they need to, while gaining confidence and comfort with the new workflow of FCP X.

Second, this Beta release will have some things missing that editors rely on. Rest assured we are working to include these things down the road, whether as a built-in feature or as a third party plug-in from one of our trusted partners. What’s missing from the Beta release? Multi-clip editing, the ability to assign specific tracks for certain elements, management for multi-seat facilities and a few other things that we are committed to incorporating in future releases.

So, you might ask why not just wait until it is complete to release FCP X. Well, we thought the best way to improve this product is to get it into the hands of all the great editors out there actually practicing the craft of editing on a daily basis, and then benefitting from all the excellent feedback that would be generated.

Thanks for reading, and when FCP X is released in June, please let us know what you think. Until then, happy editing!

After releasing this statement they should have continued to hit these talking points to anyone and everyone that would listen.

The reason for doing this is obvious; by giving us a glimpse and then retreating to their bunker in Cupertino, they ceded control of the narrative to the blogosphere…a dangerous proposition indeed. So what did we hear in the hours, days and months after that night in April? From Apple – nothing. From anyone with an opinion and a keyboard – “This is the end of FCP.” “Apple doesn’t care about us.” “It’s just a glorified version of iMovie.” …and on and on and on. Everybody bloviating and making statements of certainty without really knowing much of anything.

Of course, there were people on the other side as well, who applied the rosiest of perspectives upon that Rorschach Test of a presentation. And what ends up happening? Everybody is disappointed.

We’re talking about Public Relations 101. Set expectations. Control the narrative. Flatter your base (AKA kiss ass).

The big question as I see it is why didn’t they do something like this? I can only come up with three possible options.

1) Incompetence
2) Arrogance
3) Incompetence & Arrogance

Either way, somebody should be very worried about their job at Apple.

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