Getting a film made is one of the most challenging experiences anyone can go through. From writing the script, to securing the financing, to picking a crew, to casting the film, to finally shooting and editing it, filmmaking requires a huge diversity of technical and creative skills.

But in today’s media-saturated world, it’s arguably just as hard to convince people to care about your small indie film. If you have a tiny movie, how do you get it out there? What strategy do you use? What elements do you prioritize?

I had a chance to chat with writer/director Megan Griffiths about how she approached these problems for her latest film, Sadiewhich is out now on home video (Disclosure: I consider Megan a friend, plus I did some behind-the-scenes photos for Sadie.). Check out the video of our interview read a transcript of the conversation. This transcript has been edited for clarity.
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A Cast of Kings – Season 8 Preview

game of thrones merchandise

Game of Thrones is returning and so is A Cast of Kings! In this episode, Joanna Robinson and David Chen discuss discuss how they’ve done their re-watches of the show and talk about the plotlines they are most looking forward to resolving in the 8th and final season of Game of Thrones. Learn more about why Game of Thrones might be the last show we watch together.

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us movie

Jordan Peele‘s Get Out was one of my favorite films of 2017. Peele’s film not only tapped into the the racial turmoil our society was experiencing (a “post-racial lie” as Peele referred to it), but it also gave us indelible imagery and ideas that have become a part of our culture.

As a result, I was really looking forward to seeing Peele’s follow-up, Us. This week, I watched the film with Peter Sciretta at the Hollywood Arclight and we recorded a video reaction about the film immediately afterwards. You can view our spoiler-free video reaction below, in which we grapple with how well we felt the movie explained certain plot elements and whether we like the film more than Get Out (we have also provided a transcription if you’d rather read it).
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prospect review

Prospect is a bold, unique indie film (read /Film editor Jacob Hall’s review of the film from SXSW). It’s a low-budget sci-fi western that relies heavily on practical effects to tell its story. In this day and age, that’s a rarity. It’s particularly impressive because when you use practical props, sets, and effects, you have to deal with a lot of inconveniences on set, like figuring how to work with actors that need to be in helmets and space suits for eight or twelve hours per day. That’s daunting on a big budget film, but the challenges are exacerbated when your budget is in the low seven figures.

On the occasion of Prospect’s March 8 VOD release, I spoke with filmmakers Zeek Earl (writer/director) and Matt Acosta (production designer) about how they overcame some of these challenges. Below, you can watch and read my interview. Matt and Zeek also shared some great behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot, which you can see in the video.

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Russian Doll Trailer

Netflix’s Russian Doll really surprised me. At first I thought it was just a warmed over Groundhog Day rehash with characters that I wasn’t really a fan of, but episodes three and four throw into focus the true arc of the series. From that point on, I was hooked and couldn’t stop until I got to the end.

Let’s discuss the themes of Russian Doll and try to interpret that crazy ending. You can also check out my video review of the series below. Naturally, major spoilers for Russian Doll season 1 follow.

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2018 will be remembered as the year the movies didn’t die. After years of stagnation, the U.S. domestic box office actually showed a solid performance, raking in an estimated $11.8 billion, a significant increase over the $10.6 billion it made in 2017. Movies decisively demonstrated that they are still relevant by continuing to become memes, topics of water cooler conversation, and cultural touchstones. People are occasionally putting away their smartphones and leaving their home theater setups to actually go to the movies again.

The year was full of notable moments and trends. Continuing Hollywood’s gravitation towards reliable IP, pretty much all of the top 10 films of 2018 are sequels or titles that are based on existing properties. The strong performance of Aquaman showed that the DCEU film franchise is far from over (despite what the mediocre performance of Justice League might have you believe), while The Grinch‘s huge box office take reveals that there are some stories that people will always turn out for in theaters.

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A Cast of Kings – Off-Season Update

Game of Thrones 15 million

In this special bonus episode of A Cast of Kings, Joanna Robinson and David Chen discuss some off-season developments that have happened in the past week, including George RR Martin’s interview with The Guardian and the new teaser trailer. Check out Joanna’s interview with George RR Martin and stay tuned for the new season of the show and podcast in April 2019.

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AMC Stubs A-List Review

AMC’s recently-announced Stubs A-List subscription is very exciting because it’s the first subscription service from a major chain to seriously compete with services like MoviePass and Sinemia. Sure, there’ve been pretenders to the throne like Cinemark’s Movie Club, but A-List’s value proposition actually poses some serious challenges to MoviePass’s domination of the subscription market. Below, you can watch my video review and read up on what’s great (and not so great) about A-List.
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While a video projector can be the cornerstone of a decent home theater system, it can also be a finicky beast. Projectors kick out a ton of heat and noise, they aren’t super portable, and they often require additional augmentation like a device to actually input a video signal, or speakers so that you can actually hear what’s happening.

That’s why I was so intrigued when I first saw an Indiegogo campaign for Anker’s Nebula Capsule Projector last fall. It actually seemed too good to be true. A projector that was the size of a Coke can, with a speaker built in that was running a version of Android with video apps? For under $500? (It retails on Amazon right now for $300). The prospect was so exciting that I threw caution to the wind and backed the campaign.

I wanted to understand if the Nebula Capsule really could do everything it claimed to. More importantly, I wanted to see if it could help me realize a long-time dream: Watching Netflix projected on my ceiling while lying in bed. Keep reading for our full Nebula Capsule Projector review.
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Avoiding Star Wars Trailers

(This article does not mention any details of Star Wars: The Last Jedi that haven’t already been revealed in trailers and marketing materials.)

During a recent visit to see Blade Runner 2049 at the Seattle Cinerama, I was seated comfortably and waiting for the show to start. Moments later, the Lucasfilm logo appeared on screen, a trailer started to play, and I saw Rey’s face against the backdrop of Luke Skywalker’s mysterious planet, Ach-To. Within seconds, I’d gotten up and left to go putter around near the concessions. I did this because I have been avoiding pretty much every single piece of marketing material for Star Wars: The Last Jedi for the past year.

As I exited the theater, I was surprised to find a few other men that had also stepped out at about the same time as me. I overheard one of them saying, “Yeah, I thought I was safe, but then that music came on and it’s soooo Star Wars…” His voice trailed off and he stared off wistfully into the middle distance. I realized that these were my brethren. We were all going to save ourselves for the “pure” Star Wars experience together.

I’ve now seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi and today, many months after the first trailer debuted, and many months of scrupulously avoiding any trailers, I want to try and answer the question: Was it worth it?
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