May 31, 2009
If my first year of blogging was just about making myself known, the second year had to be about refining how I tell my story. While my list of film school shorts, personal experiments, parodies, narratives and travel edits is long - it's the way that I've showcased them here that has really changed over the last year.
More than just highlighting the projects and edits themselves, I've done my best to try and conceptualize the experience of my work in my newest posts and updates. Why did I make this? What was I inspired by? What did this lead to? The blog that Editing Luke has become is so much more than just a video site, it's an in-depth personal account of my history and experiences in my pursuit of film making opportunities as well as creative justification for my efforts.
Like any artist in any medium, my goal is quality feedback and interaction with other like-minded readers and viewers. Editing Luke has allowed this to continue and grow from day one. The more I seem to enhance my site, the more I've been amazed at the impression it allows me to make with new people. I haven't been lying when I've said it's my online portfolio - I've used Editing Luke on my resume.
There's been no trick or instant success that's kept all this going. Editing Luke exists because I'm passionate about what I do, I love connecting with new readers/viewers all over the world, and because I've been able to see the rewards of my hard work from time to time. Persistence and creativity mixed with some moderate viewership has made this a success.
After one year my blog views were 15,854, my video views were 53,698 and I had made 147 blog posts. After 2 years my blog views are now 49,625, my video views are 212,645 and I've made 305 blog posts. In terms of total views, that's growth of over 200% in the last year.
I'm continually grateful for what so many of you have helped this blog become. Thank you for reading, for viewing, for checking in every now and then just to see what I've got going on. The potential of what your interest can bring is a constant motivation. For those of you who continue to visit I can't say it enough, thank you!
I created two new promotional edits this month to celebrate 2 years of Editing Luke. The edits are identical, but I switched up the music tracks to get a different feel for each video. Have a look, and I hope to continue sharing this experience with you for years to come. From myself, Luke Fandrich, cheers to two years!
May 28, 2009
Do you remember turning 21? For me it was a party in the dorms, followed shortly after by an evening on Expedia planning a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas just days later. Nothing quite like the optimism infused, debt ignoring student life.
My birthday is on March 31, which just happens to land a couple weeks before the end of the school semester. In early April 2005, my friend and fellow travel companion, Andrea and I got to chatting about how cool it would be to go to Las Vegas. Her birthday is just 4 days before mine, so she had just turned 21 also.
On a whim, I started searching out Las Vegas trip packages only to happily discover that we could go on a pretty sweet vacation for $500 each. We chose one of the cheapest big hotels on the strip, Circus Circus, and planned a 5 day 4 night trip. And what did we do? Gamble, wander, and take advantage of all the free things there was to see.
It was the first time I tried roulette, I bought myself a pressed Lucky Penny, and I ate more Denny's than one man should eat. We walked the entire Las Vegas strip from the Stratosphere down to the Luxor - take a look at the map and see how far that is. And purely by luck, we were there the weekend that the Wynn opened their doors for the very first time. They've already built a second tower/hotel called Encore now. That place changes so fast.
While we did Vegas on the cheap, there was nothing like being there right after turning 21. Nothing like ending the semester only to wake up in Vegas a couple weeks later, on a continuous high that we even talked ourselves into going.
I'll never forget this trip. The edits I made instantly make me nostalgic, and the loss of hotels like the Stardust and New Frontier already date the footage. It was rush, and the primer for our ultimate Vegas experience that followed in 2008. See the four Las Vegas edits from 2005 below.
Las Vegas Strip
Fremont Street Experience
Sirens of Treasure Island
May 26, 2009
Last night I was interviewed for TRS Presents: Off Screen by Patrick from The Reel Skinny, a blog and podcast about independent filmmaking, filmmakers, and movie reviews.
Patrick came across my blog and contacted me about discussing my own independent filmmaking experience just last week and offered me the chance to talk about one of my favourite subjects - myself. No, I'm kidding. The invitation was very flattering, and I'm happy to promote The Reel Skinny just as much as I'm happy to receive the promotion and consideration from them.
I touched on everything from university, to film festivals, my promotion online and this very blog. I rambled quite a bit, but if you can get over that it's worth a listen, haha.
Click below for the full interview:
TRS Presents: Off Screen #4 - Luke Fandrich
Also, you can listen to and download The Reel Skinny podcast, including my interview, for FREE on iTunes just by searching The Reel Skinny in the iTunes store.
Thanks again Patrick for the opportunity to talk to you.
May 24, 2009
Project: Mean Mr. Mustard is Homeless
Shot: March 2003
Location: Downtown Alley - Regina, SK
Revisited: March 2009
This is one of the bigger changes in one of my former film scenes. In the 6 years since this project was made, one of the buildings that used to be on this alley has been demolished, and the loading dock that served as Mr. Mustard's bed is now completely boarded up and enclosed. The alley, which was paved at the time, is now a muddy mess due to the construction in the area. While it wasn't difficult to recognize my shots again, the changes really emphasize how long it's been.
May 22, 2009
In May 2004, at the end of my second year in university, I left on vacation with my friend Andrea and her family on a 10 day trip to Los Angeles. It was a true tourist affair with visits to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios, Newport Beach, and Hollywood & Highland. For a poor film student at the time it was a trip beyond my means, but one that played to my every interest.
I'm always fascinated how a few days of a good vacation, in retrospect, can still seem so fresh and relevant. Being in Hollywood felt surreal. My last memories of the location were from elementary school when I travelled there with my own family. Those distant memories were triggered in 2004, and the new experiences being captured came at the height of my film student optimism. LA and Hollywood seemed as stereotypical as I had hoped they would be. Although my own realistic plan wasn't to run off to southern California, I was incredibly keen to get swept up in the possibility.
The theme parks, the coasters, the busy sidewalks, the glaring sun and the cool ocean were all captured on my little Sony D8. Just watching the videos over again triggers clear visions of what it was like, what I was thinking and the little side stories that still find there way into random conversations. I even held onto my Disneyland ticket as a reminder of the experience. At 20 years old, I can clearly say that it was the last of my family vacations; Just along for the ride, not worried about making plans or a schedule, generally just looked after - and it wasn't even my family.
All the footage I shot has now been cut down into little clips over the last few years so that I could share them on my blog. There are a few postcards, some new revisions, and specific cuts for several Disneyland attractions. I shot a lot and I tried to make the most of it.
Five years ago this month and it seems like another world. I know I'll be back there again, but until that happens I'm happy I have the edits. Quite simply, for a college kid dreaming about making movies, this trip sure hit the spot.
Scroll through the playlist to watch the clips.
Videos in the Playlist: Hollywood & Highland, Newport Beach, Day at Disneyland, Splash Mountain, Mark Twain Riverboat, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Disney's California Adventure, Disney's Electrical Parade, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Backlot, and Flying Montage
The Complete California Playlist
May 19, 2009
While I'm certainly not passed the point of receiving advice myself (although I guess no one really is) I feel that I have had my share of trials and errors in filmmaking or video-making. From a kid who wanted to make movies, to a film student who wanted to get out of class, to an adult just looking for film work, it continues to be an uphill battle.
There's certainly no correct formula to success, but if you're looking for a few tips on what you can do to improve your own creative ambitions, and maybe take filmmaking beyond a hobby, here are a few things that have helped me out (especially as a student).
2. It's Okay To Like The Mainstream
3. It's Okay To Like The Avant-Garde
5. Watch Critically
6. You Can't Please Everyone
7. Use The Internet
8. Find The Answers You Want
9. Promote Yourself, Network
10. Get A Job
11. Keep At It
Hard work talks, persistence talks, passion talks, sitting back and hoping only wastes your time. Working through the tough times not only says that you're serious, it helps prove to yourself how much you want to succeed. Enjoy your experiences, embrace challenges, find ways to motivate yourself, and learn with an open mind. Those who are persistent end up reaping the rewards. The most sound advice I have for aspiring filmmakers is the one thing that I can actually guarantee; Keep at it and you'll find your niche.
May 18, 2009
I can't begin to express how thankful I am for all the support, kind words, views, and feedback I've received throughout the Yobi Film Contest from so many of you. It's been one nerve-racking experience week after week, but here I am - eliminated.
I'll be honest, plain and simple, it hurts. So much energy was invested in this, and this anti-climactic ending has me shaking my head. I really felt based on the quality of my short, the persistence of my promotion, and my well-seasoned contest strategy that I'd be able to make the finals amongst my competition. For what it's worth, I can tell myself that I gave it my all.
There's a new season of Yobi Film starting in June, maybe I'll try again. Maybe I'll search out some new festivals and contests . . . maybe I'll just try and forget about this one.
Until next time, thanks again for all your efforts - it takes some of the sting away.
May 17, 2009
I just wanted to make one last stitch effort to call out to any of you who may be interested in voting for my movie, The Gizmo Tree in the Yobi Film Contest. After several weekly rounds of voting, there's only a single day left to vote to see if I make the finals - the Top 5 and final round of the entire contest. This opportunity is huge to me, and at this point it really can come down to just a couple votes. To view my contest profile and cast a last minute THUMBS UP vote for me and my short, click here.
Thank you to all of you who have shown your support throughout this process, I can't express enough how much I appreciate it. We'll know whether the voting worked by tomorrow - be sure to check back. Fingers crossed, it's all come down to this.
May 16, 2009
Created in the same technical guise as my earlier split screen experiments, Headphones is a brand new self-portrait of sorts. This is but one more short in a series of edits that is meant to reflect a process, a personal awareness, and a deliberate approach to editing as art.
I've said it many times before, but the idea behind shorts like this isn't about masked themes, but about appreciating the digital medium and editing technique by taking a forced look. Just as a painter might fill a canvas for the tactile experience of seeing the streaks and runs in drying colours of paint, these editing experiments serve a similar purpose for further nurturing my personal appreciation for the technical execution of editing. Working with seemingly mundane raw footage only emphasizes this, and putting myself in the mix puts a face to the technique.
As I find myself more inspired to shoot, more of these edits always pop up and I feel that it's for the sake of variety that I share them. While individually, Headphones doesn't say much, it does add to the diversity and overall arch of my portfolio. Which, for the sake of this blog and myself I think it's essential to showcase editing not simply as a career or task, but as a powerful way to express creativity.
May 15, 2009
I came across this video today, I hadn't even realized that it was uploaded over a month ago. Squonk Productions gave me a very generous shout out in what they advertised as their 'last video entry' on YouTube. I can identify with their frustration about getting noticed on YouTube. I was just mentioning this after noting my 200,000 view milestone. I work darn hard at my edits, went to film school, screen my work at festivals, etc. and still despite all the effort it's taken 2 years now to get a sum that seems even remotely impressive - I haven't seen any of my videos earn substantial individual views on YouTube.
I came across Sqounk's video as I was re-uploading Buick to the Future: Episode 1 due to a copyright issue with the song 'Good Vibrations'. This dispute between YouTube and Warner Music Group is just one more reason to complain about the site - it's started to become more about YouTube partners' individual revenues, royalties for labels, banner ads and popups, than about the free-for-all video hosting site it started out as - or seemingly was just a couple years ago. Who couldn't have seen this coming though, right?
Anyway, the obstacles do keep the path interesting. I'm proud of what I've done so far and truthfully, I never expected it to be an easy climb. It's just nice to be regarded as a deserving 'underdog' after all this time. The fact that anyone is tuning in or reading to begin with is pretty awesome! Thank you Squonk Productions for making my day! And thank you viewers and readers who continue to make this the great experience that it continues to be on a (near)daily basis! Stay tuned.
May 14, 2009
I'm rolling back the counter a bit here to highlight the passing of another significant milestone. On May 8, 2009, less than 7 months after hitting 100,000 video views, my online uploads surged passed the 200,000 mark. The relatively quick increase has been a direct result of uploading my work onto the Yobi.tv Film site - where my short, The Gizmo Tree has been viewed over 40,000 times alone, easily making it my most popular upload.
I have to say that it's nice seeing some of my uploads take off on their own at last. It's now only several days away before Editing Luke celebrates 2 years, and it's certainly more of a celebration seeing just how beneficial and rewarding this blog has continued to be.
The biggest eye-opener as of late has been the benefit of uploading my work to a new site. I've been drumming away at YouTube for a long time and have never really seen any personal overnight successes, but new venues, with Editing Luke as the central hub, show a lot of promise. Onwards and upwards!
May 11, 2009
My short film, the Gizmo Tree has just reached the Top 10 of the Yobi Film Contest! We started out with 30 movies/semi-finalists and after a month of voting I now find myself only a single round away from reaching the Top 5 - the ultimate round - the Finals!
To skip ahead and cast a much appreciated vote for my movie, click here.
Ever since uploading my work to the Yobi Contest site back in December, my focus has been making it to the finals in the film category. Win or lose, I really just want to feel satisfied that I pushed as hard as I could, promoted as hard as I could, and even if it's just for a week, feel like I had a shot at the top title. Opportunities like this are obviously few and far between.
While I can't deny how helpful the $10,000+ grand prize would be in helping me advance my own career and facilitate a desired move to Vancouver, what's actually fuelling my campaign for votes is the exposure that a contest like this gives my work and myself (which it already has). If I can gain even a couple new contacts to improve my network, the reward can be far more significant and long lasting - being featured as a finalist is a great start!
It's funny to be talking about my serious outlook in relation to a short like, the Gizmo Tree. It's a clean cut, quirky little comedy that seems to serve its purpose and encourage a few laughs - but the positive response and feedback has been incredibly humbling. I've watched it and critiqued it more times than I'd care to remember, and yet it's this easy going flick that has the potential to influence some fairly dramatic personal and professional upgrades.
Your votes, attention, time, support, viewership, feedback, and even your ability to put up with my self campaigning, speaks to the fact that many of you are willing to help me achieve something that I can't possibly succeed at alone. In this case it's a single weekly vote and telling others about my short, which in turn is helping me reach new viewers and grow in popularity. In the last round alone, the Gizmo Tree shot up over 9,000 views.
To cast a vote for the Gizmo Tree:
1. Visit Yobi.tv and use your email address to join the site.
2. Once logged in, simply visit my Gizmo Tree Contest Profile.
3. Click the THUMBS UP under my movie. That's it!
I want to thank you all for your help and support - whether this is the first time you've voted or the 5th, the rounds are only getting more competitive and intense. That said, I'm going to give my weekly pitch again and ask if any of you can mention my short to a co-worker, friend, spouse, family member, etc. it would be greatly appreciated! This is the last round of the semi-finals, and the Top 5 is almost close enough to touch.
May 8, 2009
It was this random Christmas tree ornament that became the elaborate treasure and reward in my short the Gizmo Tree. Just a piece of plastic that hung heavy side down on a cheap holiday display . . . I saw it and instantly thought that it would make a perfect prop for some future project. It didn't inspire the Gizmo Tree, but it seemed fitting for the fantasy element of the movie and made up for the faulty gift plot line - somewhere in the rush of writing the project it was included for the extra novelty and punchline. To this day, the 'jumbo diamond' as I excitedly referred to it in Gizmo, still sits on my desk as a reminder of the project.
May 6, 2009
It's just what mainstream audiences were crying out for, another one of my art shorts! I'm joking of course. As pretentious as the title may sound, I'm not really making any sweeping claims or revelations about my own mortality other than the fact that, like everyone else, I will eventually die.
My death, as you likely assumed was the focus in I Was Dead, felt like a captivating subject for a new art short mainly because of how pointless it seems for me to think about it right now. Being so enamored with getting my life started is far more relevant, and clearly more uplifting then worrying about checking out.
Still, I think we all wonder how we'll be viewed when we're gone, and I became intrigued with the idea of what someone might say if they were visiting my tombstone. Will anyone even visit? What day of the week will I die on? Would this blog post seem more meaningful somehow? The concept of the short was based on the illusion of visiting my own grave site - trying to imagine how I'd reflect on my life and comprehend not existing anymore if it were actually possible to be there after I'd passed.
Last year I had shot a bunch of random footage on my little Samsung cam in the hopes of using some of it for my split screen experiments. Until now nothing ever came of this graveyard footage, but I remembered how beautiful some of it was and thought it would make a nice edit. The 'Fandrich' tombstone is my Grandpas, but seriously thinking of it as my own felt incredibly unnerving.
I Was Dead is an eerie but poignant personal edit, that in my view, presents a stark view of individual mortality and our craving to understand it. We'll all be gone at some point, but to what degree does that mean the end? How will you be remembered?
May 4, 2009
Folks, we're now halfway through the Yobi.tv Filmmaking Contest semi-finals, and my movie, The Gizmo Tree has progressed from one of 30 films, to one of 15 films in the running for a grand prize of over $10,000 for best film. I'm now only 2 weekly rounds away from reaching the finals!
Thank you to all of you who have voted so far and helped me advance to the next round. I'd be lying if I didn't admit how exciting it is seeing my short advance yet again, and seeing it rise in popularity (now over 32,000 views). Take a moment to visit my contest profile to watch my short, to vote again, or to vote for the first time - this videomaker would really appreciate it! Also, if you've let anyone else know about my short, pass on the good news and remind them to cast another vote.
To cast a vote for the Gizmo Tree:
1. Visit Yobi.tv and use your email address to join the site.
2. Once logged in, simply visit my Gizmo Tree Contest Profile.
3. Click the THUMBS UP under my movie. That's it!
Once again, you can watch my promo video for the Gizmo Tree below to see how all this started, for instructions on how to vote, and to help me promote my short in the Yobi Film Contest. Thanks for your effort everyone now please, GO VOTE.
May 2, 2009
Shot: July 2008
Location: Ross Glen Green Strip - Medicine Hat, AB
Revisited: April 2009
Funny, the transformation from the summer to the spring. The park currently in shades of yellow and brown is slowly coming back to life now. Siblings was all about an excuse to enjoy the weather, get outside, and have fun, so it's interesting being in the same spot and feeling like everything's so quiet and lifeless. Things change quickly though, and I know we're on the verge of warm weather and a new season of swinging. Not like I need much of an excuse to make another short though.
May 1, 2009
Camera #3: Samsung SC-D453 (2005-present)
It was just after Christmas in 2005 that I decided to spring for a MiniDV camera. I'd been shooting several projects in film school on MiniDV and after collecting a small collection of tapes I thought I would benefit from having a DVcam of my own.
There was nothing complicated about my choice. I picked this little Samsung because it was compact, no bigger than my hand, and it seemed ideal for traveling with. Truthfully, I didn't feel I needed a major quality upgrade so much as I needed a format upgrade to output my video to the new MiniDV standard. Plus, for homevideo sake and after carrying around my Sony in LA and Vegas, it was nice to have something a lot lighter.
The first thing I did with this camera was a project titled, A Chill in the Air in January 2006. It opened a lot of doors for me, and was directly involved in my next camera upgrade that spring. To this day I still use this camera for casual shooting and experiments. I took with me to Vegas again, and use it mainly to capture homevideos. It's still a sleek and easy to use little piece of equipment.
Camera #4: Sony HDR-FX1 (2006-present)
High Definition Video (HDV) Camera
When I was on the verge of nearly winning the National Film Board Citizenshift contest with A Chill in the Air, I got into a conversation with my parents about my camera. I had sent them an email about how I dropped and broke my picture camera, which they read as me breaking my video camera.
When I discovered I'd lost the NFB contest in the final round, my parents surprised me by saying they'd been looking at cameras for me - as an early university graduation/consolation present. After several weeks of back and forth they ordered me my new camera.
When I got home from university that spring it came in the mail - and I can't explain how awesome it was. It felt like a real step up, that all my early experience compounded to say 'you've finally earned this' - that staying determined really does payoff. It was a huge show of support from my folks, who seemed just as proud and confident that not only did I know what I wanted to do, but that I had the chops to succeed.
This camera has really marked my transition from student to independent filmmaker. From Educated Detours to my Rushmore travelog to Elliot, the Buick Series, Give it Time, Gizmo Tree and beyond, this camera has allowed me the means to truly play - and get paid.
I think it feels twice as good to have this camera after all these years because it feels like I've really worked my way up to it. Receiving it as a gift from my folks felt like I'd proved something to them and to myself - that my approach was more than just a part-time hobby, that this was the start of a career.
It's still an amazing and very flexible piece of equipment. I've used it when hired as an independent videographer, for festival submissions, for personal experiments, and most anything else I possibly can.
Equipment is all about options, and at this point I feel able to achieve the majority of what I want to do within my own personal studio. It's been a long road to feel this sufficient regarding my productions, but a step at a time has turned into quite a journey. I can't wait to see what comes next.