The Martian Movie – The Accuracy Of Science Involved

It is a well-known fact that the movie “The Martian” was considered to be one of the most accurate movies scientifically. In fact NASA themselves have been impressed with the accuracy of details expressed in the movie. NASA has even gone to the extent of using the movie as a marketing campaign for the 2030s actual manned mission to Mars. That’s how impressed they are.

The movie is based on the book written by Andy Weir and is considered close to perfect. The director of the movie requested NASA to check the film and make their corrections. Here are a few science based concepts from the movie.

The storm of dust

The storm of dust that starts up the movie is not right. Mars is thought to have dust storms but because the atmospheric pressure is very low the wind produced becomes minuscule. The dust however is considered very harmful.

Time taken to travel

The most accurate of them all is the accuracy of time travel between both the planets. The movie talks about spaceflight where it would require about 8 months to get to mars making use of all the modern technology.

The soil

The movie has it that the actor lands on Mars and is able to grow potatoes. The mineral and chemical content of Martian soil may make it possible for plants to grow and therefore this concept is accurate too.

Radiation

There is a high possibility of developing radiation related disease when one is exposed to high radiation for an extended duration of time. The movie shows the astronauts spending a lot of time on Mars whereas in reality the astronauts stay within the Earth’s magnetosphere.

Tornadoes

The tornadoes are tear up the surface in the movie and one may wonder how can this be possible if the atmosphere is thin. But it seems true that there is a possibility of tornado formation in the form of whirlwinds that take up the debris on the surface. Though they might not be as dramatic as in the movie, they do exist.

Gravity

The actor in the movie has no problem moving about and he in fact moves just like he would on Earth, however since the gravity of Mars is only about 30% as of Earth, the movement will be different.

The shelter

The habitat used in the movie is an inflatable one and this is something that is being considered in reality. Though with the thin atmosphere a habitat with earth like environment might have too much pressure within, this is not an idea to be dismissed easily.

Indie Film Financing and Movie Distribution – Dancing Nude

Indie film financing and movie distribution reminds of what it would feel like dancing nude on stage (much respect for exotic dancers at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club!). You show up to pitch your movie project and need to be able to dance to a film investor’s music. It’s their stage and not yours as an indie filmmaker seeking film funding. They want you to make a sellable movie which appeals to movie distributors so the production can make money.

Most investors I’ve met with are not interested in putting hard money into indie art house films because those are tough sells to movie distributors and overseas film buyers aren’t usually interested in seeing them. The dialogue and scenes of certain art house type films don’t translate well to foreign buyers and movie viewers. Action, horror and skin does not need subtitles for people to follow the story is what I’ve been told by distributors. Talking head movies can make no sense to viewers that don’t understand subtle lines spoken in a foreign language.

Independent film financing continues to change as indie movie distribution gets more financially shaky. The place it’s hitting indie movie producers hardest is right at the source – film financing. Film investors right now aren’t feeling excited about putting money into movies that do not have bankable name actors. This is not like so-called indie movies that have A-list actors or are produced for millions of dollars. Those type of indie film passion projects you can make once you’ve made it in the entertainment business at the studio level.

Indie film investors and movie distributors won’t expect you to have an A-list actor, but they do want producers to have actors (B-list or C-list or D-list) with some name recognition or celebrity. The first question film investors and movie distributors ask is who the cast is. This is where most indie movie producers are blown out of the water because they have an unknown cast of actors. Plus there is a glut of indie movies being made because technology has made it more affordable to make movies.

The bright side is that entertaining indie movies are being made that might not otherwise ever have seen light of day before. The downside is meaningful movie distribution (getting paid) for indie produced films continues to shrink as indie films being made rises (supply and demand 101). I talked to one movie distributor that caters to releasing independent films and they told me they receive new film submissions daily.

They were honest saying they get very sellable movies and ones that are less than appealing, but with so many movies out there they no longer offer a majority of producers advance money against film royalties or pay a lump cash “buy-out” to secure distribution rights. Their business viewpoint is most indie filmmakers are just happy seeing their movie released. The term they used was “glorified showreel” for an indie filmmaker to display they can make a feature film. So, they acquire many of their movie releases without paying an advance or offering a “buy-out” agreement.

Not making a profit from a movie does not make financial sense for film investors that expect to see money made. When people put up money to produce a movie they want a return on their investment. Otherwise it’s no longer a movie investment. It becomes a film donation of money they’re giving away with no expectations. I’ve been on the “dog and pony show” circuit meeting with potential film investors and learning invaluable lessons.

I’m in the habit now of talking to indie movie distributors before writing a screenplay to see what types of films are selling and what actors or celebrity names attached to a potential project appeal to them. This is not like chasing trends, but it gives producers a sharper picture of the sales climate for indie films. Sometimes distributors will give me a short list of actors or celebrities to consider that fit an independent movie budget. Movie sales outside of the U.S. are where a bulk of the money is made for indie filmmakers.

Movie distributors and film sales agents can tell you what actors and celebrity talent is translating to movie sales overseas at the indie level. These won’t be A-list names, but having someone with some kind of name is a great selling point to help your movie standout from others. Brief cameos of known actors or celebrities used to be a good way to keep talent cost down and add a bankable name to your cast.

That has changed lately from my conversations with distribution companies. Movie distributors now expect any name talent attached to have a meaningful part in the movie instead of a few minutes in a cameo role. Cameo scenes can still work if there is a visual hook that grabs the attention of viewers in some way. But having name talent say a couple of lines with no special hook won’t fly anymore.

Another way to make an indie film in need of funding more attractive to investors is to attach talent that has been in a movie or TV show of note. Their name as an actor might not be that well-known yet, but rising stars that have appeared in a popular movie or TV show can give your movie broader appeal. If you cast them in a supporting role keep working days on the set down to a minimum to save your budget. Try to write their scenes so they can be shot in one or two days.

When you’re pitching to serious film investors they will want to be given a detailed movie budget and distribution plan on how you plan on making money from the film’s release. The Catch-22 that happens a lot is that most movie distributors that cater to releasing indie films won’t commit to any deal until they’ve screened the movie.

There is not built-in distribution like with studio budget films. Film investors that are not traditionally part of the entertainment business can get turned off when a producer does not have a distribution deal already in place. They don’t understand the Catch-22 of indie filmmaking and distribution. This is where a movie producer really needs to have a solid pitch that explains the financial dynamics of indie film distribution.

Most film investors will pass on an indie movie producer’s financing pitch that mentions self-distribution in it. From a movie investor’s business perspective it takes entirely too long for an indie movie to generate money going the self-distribution route. It’s like the old school way of selling your movie out of the trunk of your car at places, but now it’s done online using digital distribution and direct sales via a blog. That’s a long grind that most investors will not be interested in waiting around for. Moving one unit of a movie at a time is too slow of trickle for investors.

A possible way around the Catch-22 is to reach out to movie distributors while you are pitching to film investors. With a firm budget number and possible cast attached you can gauge to see if there is any meaningful distribution interest in the movie. It’s always possible a distributor will tell you that they would offer an advance or “buy-out” deal. They usually won’t give you a hard number, but even a ballpark figure of what they might offer can let you know if your budget makes financial sense to approach movie investors with.

I know one savvy indie movie producer that makes 4-6 movies a year on very reasonable budgets and knows they’re already making a profit from the advance money alone. The film royalty payments are a bonus. The producer keeps budgets extremely affordable and streamlined at every phase of production. Once you have a track record with a distribution company you know what you can expect to be paid. Then you can offer film investors a percent on their money invested into the production that makes sense.

Social networking with other indie filmmakers lets you hear what’s happening with movie distribution from other people’s real life experiences. A cool thing I’ve been hearing about is that there are film investors that won’t put up money to make movie that is going to be self-distributed, but they will roll the dice on a feature that is going to specific film festivals. Not the art house film festivals. The ones that are very genre specific like for horror or action films. Like Screamfest Horror Film Festival or Action on Film (AOF). Film buyers attend these events and meaningful distribution deals are made.

Independent film financing and movie distribution are areas of the entertainment business all filmmakers will have to deal with and learn from each experience. I was in the hot seat today pitching to a film investor. I’ve streamlined the budget as much as I can without making the plot lose steam.

The jam I’m in as a producer is there are hard costs that cannot be avoided that include lots of gun play including two rigging shots where baddies get shot and are blown backwards off their feet. Badass action films need experienced and seasoned film crews to pull-off hardcore action shots off clean and safe. The cast I want to hire has the perfect appeal and name recognition for this indie action movie to rock viewers. There is nothing that can get lost in the translation in this film for foreign film buyers and movie viewers.

What I think got lost in the translation with the potential film investor today is if I keep taking out below-the-line crew to save money I’m going to have to do rewrites to the screenplay to take out action scenes. These are selling points that will hurt sales if they are written out. But it’s my job as an indie filmmaker to balance a budget that appeals to film investors. We’ll see how this goes. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing fade out.

How to Write a Quality Movie Review

Writing movie reviews can be a great hobby. With enough work, it can even become a great profession. However, writing a movie review can be harder than you might think. Fortunately, there are a number of steps one can take to make high-quality, interesting movie reviews that people will enjoy reading and be interested in reading more of your work. In this article, I will discuss some basic parts of a movie review that will make them both informative and interesting.

The first thing to realize is that no one really cares about your opinion. Nobody really wants to hear about what you like or dislike. After all, they like and dislike things, too. Whatever you do, talk about the qualities of the movie, not about your own sentiments. Movie reviews, after all, are not polls.

On to the techniques…

Talk About the Direction: Talk about the direction of a particular film. You should speak about the choices that the director made with respect to music, lighting and how the performances work together. Don’t forget to name the director of the film. It’s a good opportunity to link to other reviews for movies by the same director.

Talk About the Actors: Pick one or two of the actors in the film and discuss their performances. Who really drew you into their characters and why? Who best brought out the themes of the film using the acting? Was there anyone who stood out for the wrong reasons?

Talk About the Appearance of the Film: This is a general category, but you can talk about the use of color, of sets, of cinematography or even of special effects. Films, after all, are a visual medium, so you should discuss how that medium is used. You can even discuss things like the use of shadow, special camera tricks and so forth.

Talk About the Themes: Films are about something. What was this movie about? Once you’ve discussed the theme, discuss how well the film brought out the theme or any ways that it did the theme a disservice. What did this film have to say about the theme that is better than any other film. Themes are generally what directors are most interested in, so by discussing this, you’ll discuss the film in terms of what the director had in mind.

Compare the Film to Other Films: There are a few ways to do this. First, it’s usually a good idea to comment on how this film compares to other films from the same director, or how the performances of the actors compare to other performances by those actors. When doing this, comment on what is special about this film relative to those by the same artists. Second, you can comment on how it compares to other films with the same basic themes. Does it bring out the same themes in a more insightful way? Is the film re-inventing an already better-invented wheel?

Comment on the Making of the Film: One nice trick when reviewing a movie is to comment on its actual making or even distribution. If a film went over-budget, or if an actor chose this film over another, these facts can be interesting and something readers might not know, even if they’ve seen the film. You can also comment on how it was received at film festivals, if it was originally released there.

Following the above steps will help you write interesting and informative movie reviews that people will actually want to read. Happy viewing!