Saturday, March 7, 2009

TFS Listener Q&A - 1

One of our Texas Film Scene podcast listeners wrote in some questions, so I thought I would post the answers here on the blog, in case the answers might help others.

Steve Powers writes:
When discussing sales on Amazon I heard you mention "onsies" and "twosies" (if that spelling is even remotely correct) What is that?
During my discussion with writer/actor/producer Ben Taylor in TFS episode 2, I referenced the success of Amazon's "long tail" sales model. The term long tail is a reference to Chris Anderson's book.

Amazon sells a lot of stuff, but not all of it is best-sellers. In fact, about 20% of Amazon's sales comes from selling very small quantities- one or two items. Retailers like Wal-mart or Target can't do this, because retail space is EXPENSIVE, and the shelf space an item takes up is part of that retail space. So Blockbuster, for example, has to make enough margin, and sell enough quantities of each item for it to pay for it's shelf space, and make a profit for the retailer. It cannot afford to sell one-sies and two-sies. It needs best-sellers.

Amazon does not have to worry about shelf-space. It has invested in it's infrastructure, which is like a filmmaker buying his own camera: what your CPA calls a capital expenditure. Sure, it's expensive, but once purchased, you can spread that cost out (amortize) over several movie projects, for years to come. Amazon then uses that infrastructure to serve as a middleman between makers of stuff and buyers of stuff. They partner with FedEx, UPS, the US Postal Service, and manufacturers to take the order, deliver the order to the manufacturer, and let the manufacture ship direct to the consumer. How do I know this? Because I am an Amazon supplier, too! I have had my music CDs on Amazon (and CDBaby, and iTunes) for years.

What does that mean for you filmmakers, actors, and writers? Good question! Check these blog posts for further discussion.

Steve also writes:
Also I heard Ben mention you wrtiting "Chubic notes" (again, I hove no idea how to spell that) and I've never heard of that before either. Is it a study method or something like that?
Yes, it is a study method (sorta) originated by Ivanna Chubbock, by way of Roy London, by way of Uta Hagen, by way of Stanislavsky, with a detour through cognitive psychology. I studied it with Bentley Mitchum, one of Ivanna's prize pupils, who taught the class in L.A., before moving to Texas.

Students of these methods tend to do a lot script breakdown work in isolation, prior to a scene. The technique emphasizes individual motivations over a group choreography, which is the tradition of the stage, and of several film actors. In other words, actors using this technique don't much care what the other actor plans to do; they have their own motivation, and will adjust their behavior according to their scene partner(s) responses. It's a good technique for film, since the camera is usually trained on just one or two actors at a time, not a whole stage/set with an ensemble of actors.

I have not taken the class, but I understand that Austin actress Katherine Willis and actor Peter Blackwell teach a Roy London-style class here in Austin (Peter studied with Roy). Chubbock's book details her technique.

Steve, thanks very much for the questions, and I hope the answers helped. Please stop by iTunes and leave some feedback on the podcast, if you don't mind.

If anyone else has questions, comments, or suggestions, shoot me an email, and I'll respond. Thanks for listening to the Texas Film Scene podcast! Let me know who you would like interviewed, and leave me feedback or constructive critiques at iTunes.

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