duminică, 10 august 2014

Socialist Vlog #1

Just the first episode of what I like to call 'Soviet Humor'. Also, I won't be updating this blog any longer, so if you like the Socialist Vlog, please subscribe to my YouTube channel as well.

luni, 7 aprilie 2014

How I Wrote a Novel in 3 Days

 Hello, fellow human.

 Today's post is about what I like to call 'Extreme Motivation'. Something that we are all used to wanting, but never actually managed to reach. It's that thing that keeps you going in that vision you have of yourself working non-stop towards your goal.

 We all have our highs and lows. It's during those high points where the world seems to be at your fingertips and that desire to conquer pops out of nowhere. Suddenly, you are hit by an image of yourself vigorously typing at your amazing project sometime late at night. Proudly, you announce that starting tomorrow you will be that person.

Yes, I'll be right with you as soon as I'm done writing my 367 page e-book

 What happens when you wake up the next morning?

They called him 'Tired Power'.

 There you are again, watching mindless YouTube videos in the comfort of your bed. In fact, you're even annoyed with it, but for some reason keep on wasting your time.

 Maybe it's just the way we're programmed to act. Maybe it's just some basic survival instinct meant to do one thing and one thing only: keep you alive. Unfortunately, as time went on, man developed a consciousness that worked against his reflexes. 

Your conscious mind vs. your subconscious mind.

But enough with the complaining. Here is how I, for one brief moment, managed to overcome it(and you can too).

 Here's how I wrote a novel in 3 days

 It was the winter of 2011 and I was an unpopular and possibly retarded kid. 

 However, it wasn't the above that was bothering me. In fact, I always saw myself as being light years ahead of everyone else. I knew I was better than them and all I needed was a way to prove it(which is a bad mentality to begin with, but I'm just saying this as part of the story).

 So in the three days following Christmas, all I did was write an average of 40-50 pages a day. By the end of this writing rampage, I had a rough version of what was my second (completed) book.
 A few months later, I got the rights to it, added some extra chapters and printed out a small number of copies.

 No, I was not an overnight success and I didn't make any money from it- which is exactly what I was hoping for. I learned that life was a little more complicated than that.

 I then tried writing another book. This time, I couldn't stick to it. Why? Because I knew that all those rewards I wanted were not going to come to me this way. I needed another plan.

 *I ended up writing some e-books, but that's another story.

 For 6 years I tried to make a feature film. I always lost interest in every movie I'd start to work on.

  I have hundreds of unfinished scripts standing around the house. Some of them materialized into half-shot, half-edited 20-45 minute videos. All except for one.

 When I started making I Know Your Browser History, I decided to make my commitment to it by creating an IMDb page before I even picked up the camera. For me, the fact that the IMDb page existed was pretty much my only motivation.

 Unfortunately, I now know how many undone projects there are at the Internet Movie Database, so it would no longer help me stick to my projects. If I were to begin something else(and I will), I'd have to put myself in a position where I am forced to keep up with the same project no matter what.

 When I wrote the book, I never for a second had in mind the possibility of me failing at becoming a well known author. I did it as if commercial and mainstream success was right around the corner. I thought I was going to be famous.

 What is the key to Extreme Motivation?

 The answer is simple: Stay stupid.  
 Don't question the possibility of you succeeding. Do what you have to do and think later. 

 For example, the book was awesome. Everyone in school loved it, even though that didn't make me a celebrity. Had I used the same approach for marketing it- who knows- I could have made it.

 If you can't stay stupid, just find something that will force you to stay on the tracks. For me, it was the IMDb page and this blog. 

 In fact, it can be just a matter of goals: Instead of going for getting rich and famous through this project, just chose make this project great. Take it one step at a time and at least make it to the end of the first step.

 What happens if you don't take it step by step? You'll get a horrible project that you hate. Since you hate it, you won't be that confident with it and therefore suck at the marketing part. That's it.

 So remember- Stay stupid or have something else keep you stupid.

vineri, 4 aprilie 2014

How to Get Your Email Noticed

 Hello, fellow human.

 So recently, I decided to make one final attempt at getting my film into a festival, then give up on the project. I'm glad I did both. Here's how I got the organizer's attention and had them accept a further screening within a few hours.

 Before I start

 Let it be known that in order to get wherever you want to get also requires great skills or an amazing product. Here we only focus on getting your email spotted and answered to.

 The Right Way vs. The Wrong Way

 Back to the story, I emailed the following over to the festival's office:

 And here's what I received(they even said 'Thank you'):

 Was it luck or just pure inspiration? Let's compare it with another email that I had sent a while earlier. Take a look and tell me what you think.

 Woah, dude! Talk about a formal message. This one seems to be more of a letter of honor from a forgotten World War I veteran. 

 Did I receive a reply? Yes, I did. But it was far from what I(or anyone else) would want to hear. All I managed to do with this one was annoy the other guy and be politely told to fuck off.

 But enough with the drama. Here's the simple, easy to apply method that I used.

 How to Write it The Right Way

 I'd love to bore you guys with a few more paragraphs about the insight on this concept, but it's too basic. I will sum it all up in the quote below.

It's not about what you want but what the other guy wants.

 It sounds over-obvious, but just think of all the times you ignored this simple rule. 

 In the case of the 'Right Email', Joshua was only looking for some comedy films to be shown at his festival. Period. I never said my movie was fabulous or that it stood out in any way, since that is an entirely subjective matter. The only 'real' thing is that I made a film that fits into the required criteria. That's point blank. If the guy wanted to know more, all he had to do was ask.

 The Wrong Email, however, didn't take anything in consideration apart from my own needs. Instead of at least proving to benefit bmunoz, I never even bothered to mention anything about the film itself. Because of all this, it ended up looking more like a desperate cry for attention and not possible content for the festival's audience. 

 So what's the key to writing a successful email? Quite simple. Just follow the two rules below:

 1.Only talk about how you can benefit the other person.
 2.Use verifiable, objective reasons to prove the benefit.

duminică, 30 martie 2014

Announcing the daily quotes series.

 Seeing nothing else to do(at the time), I decided to come up with these daily motivational quotes.

They're all up on my new channel.

duminică, 23 martie 2014

Why Movies That Have Names as Titles Are More Successful.

 If you're like me, then you've been wondering what the key to a sleeper hit is.

What is a sleeper hit? Generally, it's a production that, despite having little to no marketing to it encounters massive mainstream and commercial success. For example, take The Blair Witch Project(1999) or Rocky(1976).

 What was it about these movies that made them so great and brought the previously unknown makers to stardom?


 I've chosen this one because I think it is the most intriguing case of all. Before it, Sylvester Stallone was a nobody, broke and trying to sell his dog because he could no longer afford to feed it.

 After allegedly writing the script in 3 days, it caught the eye of several production companies, none of which was willing to let Stallone have the leading role. Insisting that he played Rocky Balboa, he was eventually given a 1 million budget(about 25 times less then the initial assumed cost), a van and a camera.

 A few months later, Stallone was accepting his Academy Award at the 1977 Oscars. Talk about being productive!

 Like I previously said, the marketing budget was close to nothing and the film was released mainly in coffee shop theaters. After all, it seems like the only thing that could have boosted Rocky's popularity in such a way was word of mouth. But why was there even a 'word of mouth'? Why did people like it and why did they even decide to 'tell their friends'?

The title relates to the character, and the character to the people

 This is a movie about a regular, happy and just plain stupid guy who, after being a smoker and an alcoholic, decides to beat the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Even though he never actually wins the final fight, he does manage to knock the other guy down, somehow achieving something.

 First of all, the movie focuses on Rocky's evolution from not even thinking of doing something with his life to being... successful. He has to go through the stages of figuring out what he wants to do, then doing it. It's a story, not a series of actions.

 Second of all, the main character's simplicity and bright attitude is completely different when compared to other 70's movies. Almost everything else was a combination of cynical, dark and egocentric characters, fake-looking gunfights and car chases revolving around a pointless drug deal or kidnapping. 

This time, the protagonist was close to the average viewer, sending some sort of a message of hope and 'you can do it if you put your mind to it' stuff.

 But still, it would have never been as successful, grossing 225 million dollars worldwide without the title.

 The title shows what kind of movie this is. It shows that this is a story of evolution and success.  Can you imagine it with another title?

I think you guys see where this is going. Other notable examples would be Scarface, The Godfather and even Harry Potter.

 For some reason, most people are attracted to people and not ideas or actions.


Sorry for being away

I'll be back in a few hours.

miercuri, 29 ianuarie 2014

I am a 15 year old who made a feature film alone over the past 6 months.

So my name is Achim Scarlat(as you may have noticed) and I am an obsessed teenager trying to make a feature film ever since 2009. During this time, I ended up writing about 20 books, out of which 5 were ever published, made a video game, started a few small businesses(though none of them made me any money), about a dozen blogs(only one remained consistent) and made several short films-all by myself. However, I could never complete a feature film.

 I had a bunch load of half-done projects and others that I barely started working on. Why? Because of my long-lasting problem of losing interest in everything I did. I like to think that I have overcome that over the past 6 months.

 I started by writing 2 page screenplays that were downright retarded and exaggeratedly expensive, eventually getting to make an actual, watchable movie called 'I Know Your Browser History'. My next goal is to promote it using an ARG that I designed http://imgur.com/tY3Ys7Q.There's obviously a lot more to learn, but you name one guy who has written, directed, produced, filmed, edited and starred in his own film, then went on to promote and release it by himself. In fact, I'll even show you how I did it.

 Can you move a camera while acting at the same time? No, you can't. It's magic.


 At some point in 2012 I was trying to sell my t-shirt design on a website called Cafe Press(or something like that). While my new models were uploading, I went on to take a look at the 'meme' section.

 And there it was. A t-shirt that read I Know Your Browser History. There and then an entire

fabulous movie flashed before my eyes.

 I immediately dropped my current project at the time and went on to write. I promised myself
this was the last idea I ever gave up on.

 Did I keep my promise? Nope, but I kept the title, writing several screenplays of different genres with it.

 And then...

 Eventually, it was summer 2013 and I was struggling with a black and white detective
movie. And as much as I loved the title, I loved the other idea that was on my mind. But this
time, I came up with a plan.

 Yes, I gave up on that version of IKYBH in order to complete the other version of
IKYBH. The only way for me to do this was to keep it as simple as possible.

 I had to face it. I had no friends and nobody to hold the camera, so the script had to be as cheap and as simple as possible. This meant no video effects, no complicated shots or locations and as little characters as possible. I was also going to avoid a lot of props, filming indoors and at night, etc. So far, this seems like a pretty bad movie, right? Not if it's done on purpose.

 You can find the longer story here. I'll try and sum it up for you.

 I worked on this project from September 2013 to December 2013, finishing a day before New Years. Though I haven't promoted it to the fullest yet(which is my goal right now- getting 50.000 interested people), I can still tell you how the entire production of I Know Your Browser History went.

 The Script

 I wrote this one in the final week of August, solemnly swearing to write at least ten pages a day. After seven days, I had run out of story and had a 63 page script. Surprisingly, I also managed to stick to it.

 Being consistent

 Like I said before, I have trouble focusing on things and lose interest quickly. This was a major setback that I needed to overcome, and the only way for me to do this was by convincing myself that what I was doing was actually important.

 This is why I made an official website(that I changed later on) filled with crap about the movie, an IMDb, a blog and YouTube channel I updated daily, as well as accounts on every social media website that I could think of. A lot of these links were unrelated to the movie and were later removed from anything that had to do with IKYBH.


 There is a whole load of crap that happened during filming. Maybe I'll tell you later.

 In theory, I discovered a method to move the camera while acting at the same time. It requires a rope and a tripod, making it too simple for me to explain.
*Just have the tripod hanging on the rope, which should be tied to something at both ends.

 Sometimes with the help of my dad, I filmed it from October to December. I deleted and re-made tens of scenes and in the end I had to re-make the entire audio track(but that's another long story).


 I edited IKYBH in a shitty software called Cyberlink Powerdirector 9. I can't blame it for crashing since it wasn't meant for producing full high definition feature films. Either way, I made several backups of the project and it eventually worked. I also have to thank Kevin MacLeod of incompetech.com for the music.


 Actually, my budget was $0. I did it with things I had around the house just so I could prove a point.


 I am still struggling with this part, but what I can tell you so far is that I have designed a series of web puzzles called The Zog Liquid in order to promote it. 

 Actually, my plan here is a bit larger, but I'm not sharing it with you. Maybe later.

 I will come up with a series of videos describing every other thing that went wrong in the making of this movie and how it ended up good.


miercuri, 15 ianuarie 2014

5 Movie Urban Legends:Part 2

My last article on this topic scored in the most views on this blog. That's 1000+ visitors on one article in 2 months. Obviously, 99% of the people who read the first part of '5 Movie Urban Legends' didn't bother to read the rest of the stuff on this blog. That's perfect.

 Like I said, the few of you who have read my earlier posts will notice a few unusual things about this post. But as far as that goes, it's still good. Here goes...

1.Apocalypse Now(1979) http://www.apocalypse-now.org/

Heard of this one? Probably yes. It's the thing where Martin Sheen is sent to Cambodia to assassinate some colonel who claims to be a god.

Apocalypse Now (1979) Poster

 So what exactly places this movie on our urban legends list? No curses and lunatics this time, but a few interesting bits.

 Apparently, Sheen was drunk while most of the movie was shot. The parts where he isn't are probably the parts that were done with his double. Why?

 According to both internet creepy pasta and whatever records there are out there, Martin Sheen had a heart attack on set. Nobody knows why this happened.

 But there's another interesting part- the scene where he smashes a mirror, then collapses, soaked in his own blood. His own blood.

 If you take a look at the original script, you'll notice there is no mention of this taking place in the film. Instead, Sheen took a more improvised approach here by accidentaly stabbing himself with mirror fragments while high on the alcohol.

2.Twilight Zone:The Movie(1982) 


This one is perfect for a respectable controversy freak. There's so much tragedy in this one I have no idea how to start.

 First of all, Spielberg produced it.

 (The helicopter in the picture above is not 'part of the movie'. Even if it is, it wasn't supposed to.)

 So there's this scene in the movie where an entire village blows up in flames. Vic Morrow(who had the leading role) quickly picks up two small children under each arm, then proceeds to run across a river with a helicopter flying just a few feet above their heads.

 Obviously, this sounds like an interesting green screen attempt or a pretty dangerous stunt. According to Paul Stewart(the special-fx guy), it was none. In fact, he told the parents of the two kids that a lot of loud noises were about to come up, but there was no risk involved. What happened?

 First, someone yelled out 'action!'. The helicopter took off and Morrow grabbed the kids, heading for the river. Then this:

 Pyrotechnics popped in as Vic struggled to face the wind coming from the propellers. In no time, the heavily armed set took down the helicopter. The pilots lost control and crashed on top of the three people, beheading Vic and 6 year- old Renee Shin-Yi Chen, then crushing 7 year old Dinh Le to death.

 Paul Stewart and John Landis, the director of the film were later tried for manslaughter.

 While the above is certainly verified, there's a bit more controversy involving the two kids. The parents, for whom I couldn't find any evidence to prove their existence, were allegedly told to keep quiet about the two children acting out in the scene, mostly because child labor laws prevented them from working nights. If anyone asked, they'd claim that they're friends with the producers and have simply offered to help out.

3.The Exorcist(1973) http://theexorcist.warnerbros.com/

We all know a lot about this one, most of which was just a marketing strategy. But the rumors around it are still good to hear.

 To start with, the whole production of this film was a freaky experience. Freaky enough that the director had a priest bless the set before they started shooting anything.

 Then the scary 'events' popped in one after the other: 

 First, a fire destroyed the studio. Things went on fine from there... until the release... when both Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros died before they could see the movie. 
 This whole series of deaths sounded a little weird, so I decided to check the life span of these two people. Here's what I came up with:

 Vasiliki Maliaros? She was born in 1883 and died in 1973, aged 89. This was also her first and only movie, so I'm guessing that a part in it was more like a death wish. As for MacGowran? He was 54 at the time of his death, probably a heavy smoker as well as professional alcoholic who died of a flu epidemic while in London. 

 Besides, The Exorcist isn't the only production where the set caught fire. Next.

4.A Day at The Beach(1970, 1992) 

 What is 'A Day at The Beach'? Most likely one of those odd 70's movies about nothing. It's the controversy that makes up to it.

 Some say Peter Sellers also shows up in the movie while wearing a disguise. In fact, there is a short sequence when the main character talks to a store owner closely resembling him. But enough with that- time for the cool part...

 Produced by Paramount, 'A Day at The Beach' is a movie directed by Roman Polanski, who apparently never directed it, only working as one of the producers. Some say he did it only to cope with the murder of Sharon Tate(his wife), who was killed by the Manson Family.

 Released in 1970, the film was somehow lost without a trace for over 22 years, only for it to be shown to the public again in 1992. There are also some rumors about parts that were cut out from the old version, but my question stays the same: who was the mysterious store owner and who directed him?

5.I Know Your Browser History(2009 or 2013) 


I couldn't find much about this one, but the story behind it is worth hearing.

Either in 2009 or 2013, some kid got his camera and decided to make a movie by himself, having no help from anyone. And guess what? He did it, but the few people who know of this movie have no idea how.

 Personally, I've never seen the movie and I'm quite sure nobody has. All there is to it are some stills and movie clips, most popular being the one above. But enough with that. Time for some internet tales...

 I'm assuming you've guessed the plot(a guy blackmails the world with the only thing we have in common), though I'm not sure of anything else above that.What seems more interesting is the following:

1. The guy claims to have done it by himself, yet there appear to be moving shots in the film. There is one shot where you can see the shadow of someone holding the camera and some where there should have been a shadow instead of none.

2. Clues in the background point out that the movie was done in 2009. There is also a banner ad for the iPhone 3GS in one particular shot, but more confusing is the laptop and car the protagonist uses, all from the 90's. In fact, other cars in this movie seem to be from the early 2000's. The whole thing is quite strange, since IMDb states the budget for this film is 5000$, which is too little to replace the entire locations. The director(who also did everything else) claims he did it for $0, if you count out the camera.

3.Most of the movie is filmed on an empty field and through a forest that is allegedly called 'The Suicide Woods'. Funny thing is, a rope with a cut off end is seen hanging from one of the trees during an action scene. 

 Some say there is also a previous version of the movie and that it also features a hidden message, but that again sounds like- creepy pasta.