EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRAS The long Hot Summer: Connections #73

     My dear New York friend, Composer Bob Christianson and his talented lyricist/book writer Alisa Hauser have received  a national Emmy nomination for outstanding Music and Lyrics for “No Trouble,” beautifully performed by Scott Coulter, in the HMS production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL: THE CONCERT that aired on Public Television last December and will repeat again this December.


     For my birthday on July 18th my wife Marcia arranged for me to ride along with a Police Officer in a Ford sedan on the midnight watch with the Santa Barbara Police Department.  I will say that you can’t get more upfront and personal than this.  I was told it was a slow night.  A traffic accident with injuries;  possible use of narcotics;  a parole violation that ended up with us transporting the young man to Santa Barbara County Jail, which is run by the sheriff’s’ Department; public drunkenness: the hispanic male had been released from jail only two days before, so we took him to dry out at a detox center.  Sadly, they were going to put him back on the streets at 5:30AM.

     The officer who I spent the 10-hour shift with I got to know really well, and he’s a good man, a gentle soul, and an asset to the SBPD.


     I am now on the Board of Directors and the Treasurer of the Community Film Studio of Santa Barbara.  We are a 501 (c)3 non-profit.  I am currently overseeing the deliverables of The Bet, our first feature film, to Origin Releasing.



EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRAS NAB 2014: Connections #71

     In April, I attended NAB again at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  I flew from LAX (Los Angeles) to Las Vegas on Virgin America, and the round trip ticket cost less than $100 plus tax.  I arrived at the Convention Center around 1PM and walked the various halls until closing time.  I was invited to an NAB-affiliated party, but I was too tired to attend.  So I had a lovely sea food dinner and called it a night.

     The next morning I got up bright and early, ate breakfast and headed back over to the L.V. Convention Center. All in all, I figure that while I was there I probably walked about 5 miles.  At least my body felt that way. A reminder of when I played football back in the day.

     I left the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel at 3:30 for the 5:30 return flight to Los Angeles.  I then took the Santa Barbara Airbus back to can you guess? Santa Barbara, and arrived home around 10PM.

     It seems as though everyone at NAB was talking about 4K and beyond, and there were Drones everywhere.  Mount a GoPro Hero 3  onto a drone and you can make aerial shots that you never dreamed were possible.

     Black Magic was again a popular destination.  It is now official that Black Magic has reduced the 4K camera from $4,000 to $3,000.  So the old advertisement that said “4K for $4,000” has new been changed to “4K for $3,000”  And this price includes a full copy of their exceptional color timing product called Resolve.

Cannon Cinema Lens

Cannon Cinema Lens

     Of course, the quality of digital cinema acquisition depends on many, many  factors.  Among them is the camera platform manufacturer, chip size, the ability to record RAW, uncompressed 444 or ProRes 422, etc.

      I personally believe the quality of the glass (lens) should also rank very high on this list.

     If anyone has any questions about NAB 2014, please contact me and I will try to answer them.




     NAB is coming up again, starting this weekend and I am going to travel to Las Vegas on Tuesday, April 8th.  The major attraction at the Las Vegas Convention Center will be 4K camera acquisition with Black Magic, Sony, Canon and Panasonic leading the way.  Of course, other companies will be making surprise announcements that are always very exciting for me and everyone else.

     I plan to take pictures next Tuesday and Wednesday at NAB and will post them when I return home.



EXTRA! EXTRA! 2014 Grammy Awards Ceremony: Connections #68

Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr at the Grammys

Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr at the Grammys

     I enjoyed last Sunday’s Grammy Awards Ceremony that featured the reunion of former Beatles members Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, they both have their chops, and watching them performing together brought back so many fond memories.

     Today Sir Paul McCartney is a very wealthy man.  Forbes Magazine estimates his net worth at around $650 million.

     I remember back in the 1960’s when the Beatles visited Los Angeles and stayed in a rented house in Coldwater Canyon that hordes of young people caused a massive traffic jam – I witnessed this first hand because I was working as a newsreel camera for KHJ-TV, channel 9, in Los Angeles.



Green Screen Shoot on 12/30/13

Green Screen Shoot on 12/30/13

     This year is ending on a high note for me.  Yesterday, December 30th I directed a green screen shoot with actor Martin Bell at Prestige Studios in Hollywood, California.  This shot is VFX 1 and the actor standing  at the podium behind the camera slate will be digitally composited with the stage of Miami Auditorium at it would have looked during the Miami Beach High School graduation ceremony in 1956.

Director John Orland telling actor Martin Bell how to wave cashiers check in the air.

Director John Orland telling actor Martin Bell how to wave cashiers check in the air.  Note the American Flag has only 48 stars because this scene takes place in 1956

     I am always the first person to arrive at a location and the last one to leave, and yesterday was no different.  So, for me, it was a 15 hour day.  No complaints, though, because I love to make movies.



EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRAS Location Expo: Connections #62

     Every year Los Angeles hosts the Location Expo. a market place where U.S. states and cities, foreign countries and cities try to woo filmmakers to shoot their movies at these particular locations all over the world.

     This year the Location Expo was held at the L.A. Convention Center, and I attended on Saturday.  I knew several people who worked for locations that had booths there, and I received useful intel. from a representative of the Big Island of Hawaii.  I also had conversations with representatives I did not know before and  everyone, of course, was very friendly because they are there to attract producers like myself to shoot their movies at the places they represent.

     Most locations now offer tax credits that are a major attraction for filmmakers, because it can reduce the total cost of the film by 10%-30%.  But “buyer beware,” it is not an easy route to go.  I will be happy to answer any questions about that, so feel free to contact me.

Vampires In Movies Are Loved

Vampires In The Movies Are Loved!

     No, I did not meet any Vampires, or at least I don’t think I did … but it was bloody hot in Los Angeles yesterday



EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRAS Christmas in May in Chicago: Connections #61

     The flight on United Airlines from Los Angeles to Chicago was one of the bumpiest rides in my entire life.  About one hour away from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport the aircraft started its gymnastics.  I was seated in the last row at the rear so I was aware if there was turbulence it would be amplified.  But this was ridiculous!  Without any warning the plane started bumping and grinding like a stripper in a dark club.  The plane then dropped like a roller coaster plunging down a steep incline.  There was absolute silence in the cabin.  The turbulence continued for what seemed like hours but in reality was probably about 20 minutes.

     I endured this torture to be present at the recording of my friend Bob Christian’s taping in Skokie, Illinois., of “A Christmas Carol,”  which will be shown on PBS this Christmas season.

     There were 3 complete shows with 7 cameras, one of them always flying in the air, a 44 piece symphony orchestra, conductor, two coral groups, and wonderful talent playing the principal roles in this timeless story. One show was with an audience and some little girls were dressed in their Christmas finest.  At the end of this performance there was a well-deserved standing ovation for all of the performers.


     The other two performances, one of them pictured above, were for backup to accommodate making the best possible choices of everyone’s performances.

     All in all, “A Christmas Carol” is a wonderful show, and I’ll be counting the days to Christmas.