Wednesday, June 20, 2018



Superior ambition is a frightening attitude to have when you’re an Indie filmmaker in the film scene mecca of Houston, Texas or any other part of the independent film structure in Texas. In this issue of the QUANTUM STORM E-MAGAZINE [QSE], the investigative team took a historic look at studio films that claimed to have [or have had] the proper film formats which are a huge talk of the Independent film trade right now, especially while many current films that are allegedly in production are heavily claiming to be produced properly on video. In today’s Indie film scene, it’s all about “talking the talk and walking the walk” and we aim to see who might be doing things the right way and who is [or was] just WRONG about doing anything right.

In the recent past, boasting that your film knowledge was up to par with the professional standard was the biggest question that frequently arose when word leaked out that you were working on an Independent film. Questions like; “Do you have an accredited film producer? Do you have a network willing to pick you up? Do you have a “big name” at the helm of this potential monster to help push your project to the next level?” were often pitched in your direction to “feel you out” about what was professional and what was amateur. In hindsight, those big questions once had credence, but in today’s level of film production, it’s already been proven that those old “requirements” are no longer valid and that trying to boast that they still are, is definite proof of the ignorance of a film maker and indications of the education that one may truly lack.

The days of producing a “teaser film,” “teaser trailers,” or a “sizzle reel” and getting it seen by the “right people” in the film business or vast networking system of Hollywood are long over for getting your film picked up by a professional producer in LA [Los Angeles] or any other studio in the big business of the mainstream film market; anyone who tells you different is a complete idiot. Local indie films have become a “meat market” of poorly planned and presented material that is often just put away and thankfully never seen of or heard from again. Many short Indie films are never finished or never  presented to a wide local audience for good reason; they sucked! The era of having a “guy with a new camera” came, went, and left a ton of local acting talent wondering what happened to that "one great idea" that they helped pitch to other actors in an attempt to assist them in the film project.

There have been some anomalies that have squeezed through the theory of having the “right people” by your side to get some mainstream attention. Case in point is Houston’s very own, Michelle Mower, who wrote and directed “The Preachers Daughter” [2013] and turned the entire local film scene asunder when she got her shitty film to premiere on a television network; I’m serious, the film is crap. Produced entirely with a group of local actors, the film did nothing but prove that crap can sometimes slip through the cracks; and the proof is in the pudding of the all white cast that did nothing but create some local heroes who have not done much else in mainstream media. If this review of Mower’s review offends anyone, pack a lunch and come over to my office for a chat. Even though I have to consider that Mower's handling of the film was pretty impressive, a lot of the wheeling and dealings were made through contacts that had actors parents covering the bills and finding those line producers to get the film completed and previewed for television. 

If there's anything that anyone learned from this project, was that there was a lot of legal mambo-jumbo the team had to go through to get this thing seen by the real people in business. It wasn't an easy ride, but Mower got her 15 minutes in the sun and now everyone who works in Houston's Indie film scene loves to toss Mower's name around like she's a who-knows-know person that once worked side by side with James Cameron or something. I certainly give kudos to this director for being able to sell local crap to a network, but the film was far less impressive than some of the better directed and produced projects that didn't have a well connected cast who could get the right people to see a really good film that was produced in town.

More recently though, the QSE began to cover one current project in Houston that has garnered some local reprise for Indie film projects because it’s producer and director claim that it will be turned into a series on Netflix; once its submitted through the system with the help of an “in” inside the vast vaults of Netflix’s superiors who desire bringing in a local Houston film project about gangsters; this project is entitled “VI”, produced by local Houstonians Jay McDonald and director Carlos Harrell.

This dramatic series has had a promotional push on Facebook that is second to none and we haven’t been seen such a push for a team project in quite a while. It’s gotten impressive coverage from amplified advertising and some local internet radio with enough internet airwaves that’s caused quite a little stir locally in a small section of the Houston film scene. It’s floundered to success before ever being released, due solely to the idea that it will be accepted for release on Netflix in the near future. It’s had a huge premiere in March [2018], where the owners of the dramatic series charged $25 a ticket to preview a short release of the pilot episode to a small string of fans and to the entire acting team [and their families] who helped put it together.

In the past, the Houston film scene has had it’s cross-sections of film cliques that have produced the same hyped amateur film crap from time to time, which seem to burn themselves out every two to three years; leaving you with a bad taste of slasher, zombie, or badly acted drama films that had no creative thought what-so-ever. “VI” is a little different though. There’s definitely a gritty, self reliance about it’s advertising that gives the impression of being in the right hands this time; definitely in a league all its own.

The trailer for the series looks intense; driven primarily with loose “hand-held” cinematography, some bad improvised acting, and an attempt at dramatic overtones which they hoped would show promise. Of course, you cannot judge an entire movie by its trailer alone, but you can perceive the films flow of format which jumped from one variant to another well within the 1080 to 720dpi spectrum; not that it’s a bad thing; but it is not acceptable through the Netflix’s required format for accepting film projects, no matter who your contacts are within the company.

Even worse, with so many actors already expecting a big jump in their acting careers, “VI” has already broke the number one rule of the Netflix film format by providing a premiere of the series for an outside audience which is a BIG no-no. Secondly, Netflix will not accept any film submissions filmed on Cannon, Nikon, or Panasonic cameras at 1080 or 720dpi, or accept any film submission that uses stock footage anywhere in the film. With three big rules already broken prior to the submission process, the only thing left to offer the projects team [and the actors] is that their work is being submitted as a “pitch project” or “sizzle reel” for approval for funding, which we already mentioned earlier in this article that it is not part of the modus operandi of Netflix to accept any kind of pitch material.

Nowhere in this blog are we suggesting that “VI” is a scam project; Lord knows that there have been many in the local Houston Indie film scene, but we can say that it seems that the producer and director have some explaining to do with their logic about bringing up their bad formatted film adaptation to Netflix for submission. But “VI” is only one out of nine current Houston film projects which are using the claim that Netflix has them in their sights for release; which is not the case at all. As other Indie projects throughout the state of Texas are beginning to use the moniker that Netflix is the choice avenue for true success, other indie films are going through to stream their films through a “softer” and manageable film submission format that provides the best chance for acceptance. All of the links for each streaming service is listed through this blog entry for anyone that is interested in educating themselves on how to do things the right way.

Next on our list is the vaunted Houston series MORE THAN HUMAN that had such a spark after a young cast of actors who were hand chosen by director Carlos M. Tovar, who pledged in conventions and other venues that this series was going to be the tip of the spear in SyFy projects being produced in Houston. The truth of the matter was, like most big hit web series projects, he made plans to bring in the long strain of "who's who" Houston actors to help produce the show even before he had actually started to produce the first episode to the series. Rumors circulated that the project was collapsing on itself even before initial filming began and Tovar was slowly starting to fit the moniker of being just another guy with an idea that was too big for his hands to control.

What I liked best is that the series Facebook page boasted that Tovar released some impressive and very short CGI filled trailers and even posted pictures of at least nine good episodes already on DVD that ready to be released to the world. Sure, Tovar had a plan in his mind, but the real side of life was hitting him hard and fast, fatally killing this idea before it could ever launch. During some local conventions, he brought the entire acting team out with cool promo t-shirts and put together a promotional push that just seemed to scream out that this series was going places in a relatively short time...because EVERYONE KNOWS that a good marketing campaign will bring out the big money spenders to get the entire cast and crew paid, right?....wrong.

The MORE THAN HUMAN project had it all, big cameras, fancy super suits, huge green screen rooms and Directors of Photography [DPs] from all over, fighting for a chance to work on this monster and get it out to the right people for a strong change at being launched on a network. This project also had posters, t-shirts, costumes, and a long line of “Houston talent”; many who even now show up ever so often in projects with head shots as the “who’s who in Houston” on various project Facebook pages and other websites as planned “guest stars” for later episodes. It's a curse that follows the clique heavy film projects in Houston. If you see any of the faces circled on the picture to the right as "featured local stars" who will be in a project, its almost a guarantee that the project will fail before it starts full production.

Of course, over all of the hype and the decent promotional push to get this monster series to LA [Los Angeles] to be seen by the right people, the only REAL thing that broke out of the production was the talented and very sensual Sadie Brook who surfaced as a top model in the Houston circuit and has had some modeling work out of state. The rest of the series just collapsed on itself and even the director doesn’t want to talk about what happened to his previous fan flamed project that once had the entire Houston film scene fighting for a role to help this thing get launched. Sadie's contribution to the series seemed to balloon after puberty kicked in and several of the original actors stepped away from the project for greener pastures.

The rest of MORE THAN HUMAN  [as in only the title] was swallowed up by a REAL network series that used the same title name and was produced in a far more professional format with proven professional actors about human/cyborg police officers and android counterparts. It seemed that the director or the producers of this Houston based Indie show forgot to actually file a copyright to secure the title name and the premise to the series as other network shows began to surface using the same story and plot formula which completely over-wrote this tragic waste of time.

But Houston alone hasn’t be the only city in Texas that has had first time “studios” and “film directors” claim huge projects who claimed contacts in all of the right places and needed the right “sizzle reel” or “film pitch” to get it seen and budgeted by the big industries in LA [Los Angeles]. Dallas had the serpentine RAINBOW FALLS directed and written by Daniel Rosales which flopped like rainbow salmon swimming upstream on the polluted Mississippi and how about San Antonio’s colossal five year colossal blunder with Zombie Reign: Revelation, which had one of the most talented group of actors any director would die for, just drowned in complete disappointment in the hands of Ramiro Avendano; who even now has hired new actors in Las Vegas, Nevada and is still trying to complete his over inflated pipedream.

All of these ideas weren’t completely bad, they just had misguided directors and producers who promised the world without a shred of real experience in learning about today’s format and production requirements to get their films submitted to the right streaming service or film distribution organization. Always remember, in hindsight its okay to learn something new and not wind up looking like a complete idiot in front of your production team when your project is turned down for not using the proper camera to capture your film series or not providing the streaming service with the required RAW film file optimum presentation.

Always remember, in hindsight its okay to learn something new and not wind up looking like a complete idiot in front of your production team when your project is turned down for not using the proper camera to capture your film series or not providing the streaming service with the required RAW film file optimum presentation. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018


Omar Scanu might be a name you read about in this blog, but he has been working within the  Houston Film Scene for a very long time, doing his part as an actor in feature films, short films, as an extra, and even as an aspiring and successful model. With Quantum Storm Pictures, he's participated on a myriad of projects which include, The Secret of Angelika5 [TSOA5], Wishbones [a pitch film], and Bionica. But some things have changed in his artistic world as he has been a 'Skratch' musical artist for many years, which led him to produce and direct a documentary film entitled, Skratch Society and The Golden Age of Skratching.

This months issue presents the limelight on several actors who are making ground in getting solid exposure with Indie films being produced in Houston and Austin, Texas. But none have taken their acting craft a step further by presenting a modeling and musical career like Omar. Whether you're a film director looking for a dramatic actor, a comedian, or a performer for a music video, those talents can be found inside his long range of acting talent which can be seen in his lengthy and breathtaking demo reel.

His acting talents entered the studio in 2011, where he played a vapor person in TSOA5 and began a professional relationship with D. R. Quintana that would span several years with either some great video work or some modeling photos that have brought out an interesting and form-breaking brand of headshots that are second to none in the state. Omar has also cataloged many hours strutting his modeling looks with a style that transitions well with the mainstream markets on the local runway, presenting some of the best styles in clothing that are making waves.

Omar is still waiting to have his break out moment in a film or series that showcases his talent to a larger audience, but he feels that his spark will catch the right project in due time. He is aware of the long working hours required to produce a film project and he is committed to completing films with all of the requirements demanded from an actor taking a part. His good looks and fit body are perfect for any role that requires an actor who is required to take on physically demanding roles.

In his personal life, he is a successful realtor in the city of Houston, working long hours in a day job and having the best time of his life doing so. He and his wife have also welcomed a newborn girl, who has been his biggest inspiration to build his career dreams to be successful in any avenue that lands in his direction. You are sure to only expect the best performances and projects from this veteran actor and don't be surprised if you see Omar in a new project or two in the near future with Quantum Storm Pictures real soon!

Sunday, April 22, 2018


The QUANTUM STORM Studio Review - LOST IN SPACE - Netflix [PG] - I'm a big fan of the original television series, not a big fan of the movie, but this new Netflix series was a HUGE disappointment! 

Another series falls prey to the idea that spending large amounts of money on useless and baseless CGI is the way to go. Especially when some dumb-ass director tries to bring in J.J. Abrams-type lens flares to make things look more spectacular, know that the whole production team was hoping something in the presentation of the show would make fans cry out for more.

But plain and simple, the plot and story is transparent, the acting is dry and filled with tons and tons of useless monologue that just stretched out each episode and left very little room to get to the point of the overall picture. The flow of the series bounces up and down after each new scene that was poorly constructed to tell three different stories at the same time; sometimes, you are even left to wonder "what happened to that other character when all of this was happening?"

The only light in the tunnel for this series was the cast which was rounded up for the show. I have to admit that there are blips and flashes of promises when the actors finally got into their roles...if you want to call them "roles." Again to put it plainly, "...having a career U.S. Marine play a useless father and husband because he was deployed most of his career and his wife resented it because she was the scientist of the family"...? Hello, who wrote this shit!? Sure, we live in a generation now where the woman is the strong anchor in the family and men are looked down as 'non-leaders' for this new generation of snowflake who are being brought up in our now soft society. But everyone knows [or should know] that military moms are bad ass, they kick ass, and always stand by their husbands when the tough gets going. This part of the series was written from looking at the "outside of what could be", instead of looking into a real military family and seeing what truly is!

One of the worst aspects of the series is showing that there is "token black actress" who's in the show as a main character in the family which was never explained...but was obviously added to prevent a white-washing of the show. The teens in this show are talented and cute, but none have the acting chops to pull off their roles in moments where they have to believe what they see in the CGI world. The scripted dialog produced for them seems to simple to employ and you're supposed to believe that if they shoot off some techno-babble, that these kids are smarter than your average bear. I sure as hell didn't fall for it and neither will the future followers.

But the absolute worst parts of the series has to be the tremendously bad editing, bad sequencing, non-tempo and the really horrible "J.J. Abrams-type" CGI that just left this pile of dogshit streaming for over nine episodes. I gave it a chance to prove me wrong, but the whole thing just puttered off and left the whole shit-smack open for a season two which would be an adventure-less idea to bring into next year. To say the least, the writers of this show had no idea how to create a solid SciFi show with enough drama and intrigue to keep the viewer entertained. I pray there won't be another season, but the Lost In Space trolls are already out claiming how good the first season was solely due to the robot, who was obviously a guy in a suit...and looked like a guy in a suit. 

☆ [Generous Star][1 of 5 Stars]

Saturday, April 14, 2018


Quantum Storm Pictures isn’t wasting any time spreading the news that the newest trailer installment for the planned 15 episode, Season One series of SPECTRE ZERO, was release on Facebook and Weibo on Thursday [4.12.2008].

The trailer presents some segments of dark humor as two characters in the show [played by Daniel Erik and Bishop Asher] discuss the addition of a new member to the team [played by Sara Mao].

The series began production in mid January with a planned release for the series on Facebook in April of 2018. The potential for the series was elevated after it was suggested that the first season to the series be submitted to Amazon for possible selection as a new independent series to stream on its movie/video services. The studio admits that it’s a long shot, but it feels confident that the series will be given strong consideration for acceptance.

Series creator/writer/producer, D. R. Quintana, brought development to the series in December of 2017 after working on several scripts for a sequel to 2017’s PRAYING MANTIS. He claims to have added dark humor and an intense dramatic feel to the series by keeping the cast young, which will help draw in a younger audience through this ultimately scary production which includes many documented [and real] Urban Legends found on the internet and located in vast cities in the U.S.

After only three months of production, the studio claims that the series has reached the territory of nine completed episodes, with enough video content to present 45 to 50 minute episodes in the first season of the series. There will be several story plots that require two-part episodes, but all of the episodes have been designed to present one long story arc to it’s future fans.

It is the intention of the studio that if the series is accepted for streaming by Amazon and asked to produce a second season, the team of actors and the studio are more than willing to commit to starting production of season two in September. Worst case scenario is to present episodes for the series on Facebook in 20-minute segment videos to each episode.

Future fans should expect at least two more promotional trailers before the entire first season is submitted to Amazon for review. Promotional trailers are allowed during the submission process to help build a fan following prior to releasing the series to streaming services. Amazon highly recommends that individual studios do their best to promote their own projects for selection of purchasing a "second season" to their shows.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


The Quantum Storm E-Magazine [QSE] proudly presents the spring edition issue with tons and tons of news and information [over 45 pages] concerning studio productions throughout the state of Texas. Some of the most creative and epic Indie film projects are currently in production with many showing solid promise of accomplishing their goal in being distributed through streaming services on Amazon, Zulu, Hulu or Netflix.
Last month, the studio began pre-production on a planned series entitled SOUL SEEKER with lead actress Stephanie Greenfield who appeared in 2017’s studio feature film, PRAYING MANTIS. The studio plans to start producing twelve episodes in San Antonio, Texas this September and submit the series to Amazon in December for a possible early 2019 release. The production to SEEKER will begin shortly after studio work on SPECTRE ZERO wraps for the second season and will take a break when the studio plans to produce another feature film sometime in October.

Stephanie Greenfield is a relatively new actress taking an action leading role in a series with Quantum Storm Pictures, shortly after she began collaborating on several projects with the studio to help hone down stronger scripts for future productions. Greenfield is said to be excited about the part of the Soul Seeker in the newest installment by the studio, is currently in training for the part, and recently conducted a costume test and production survey for future episodes in Marfa, Texas, which will be critical during the production of the series.

Working with Stephanie during the early development of Soul Seeker has been quite an adventure” says David Quintana, director and creator of the scripts to the series. “We definitely have a mutual respect for the project, to get it launched in the right direction the first time we plan to start shooting this monster to film.”

Quintana also mentioned that their efforts in producing costumes and effects for the series were put to the test in Marfa, Texas, where they plan to return at a later time to continue filming scenes there for effect. Many of the scenes will require the cast members to work in the dangerous climate and locations in West Texas.

Seeing Stephanie all dressed up and viewing the potential for her playing the part was a big insight of what to expect when the cameras begin to roll in September” adds Quintana. “There’s a new energy in the studio production we are bringing to the future fans of our project. It’s exciting to see the potential of each new script come to life and I feel confident that Stephanie will perform brilliantly in this action role.”

The QSE will present updates for the series as they arise, including the training methods required by Stephanie to play her role and a photo layout of the actress with a full interview. 

Saturday, March 31, 2018


Let us take a look at your ‘acting credentials’ and see if you truly are worth the cash you claim with the talents that you can present to the production. Is it time that someone who has been in the Indie film scene to give you a real life review of your talents, evaluate where you started to where you are now and see if it will be worth the risk to give you a cash incentive to be part of this new project, which in all reality could just wind up crashing down on itself and wind up in “File 13” with all of the countless other projects that did the same?

I’m sure that there are Indie actors who have crossed over to network projects and some parts as an extra in big films, but seriously where is the individual scene that required your attention and gave you real national exposure? It is common knowledge that any free loading amateur can be selected as an extra, even many with no acting experience can be selected to play an extra as a zombie in some well known television series without ever having to take an acting class in their life. There’s no bones about it, coming to a project with a resume filled with bunch of parts as an extra is nothing seriously to brag about.

Just because some new Indie film project has a budget of $5000 doesn’t mean you will require a check for having a two minute part in the film or series. Most of all indie film scene projects work on a basis of trying to create a feature film with as little spending as possible, due to the sole fact that most of the budget will be used for production requirement; filming licenses & permits, cost of producing & using new music, copyrights on scripts & titles, costs of renting, etc-etc-etc. What one should do is accept that their assistance in producing the film will prove their commitment to work under the restraints of the project, up through the end. Money should be the last thing on one’s mind until the project premieres and there is proof that good revenue is flowing back in to the production.

Meeting an actor with no real experience except maybe a few parts of as an extra, no demo reel, no resume, and no experience in theater is a detriment to the thespians who have worked for years to perfect the craft of acting. Demo reels are a top notch requirement by any acting agency. A strong resume which presents your roles in films [with links to show your work], plus a list of acting schools with the mentors contact information goes a long way too. But having parts in theater goes a long, long way for proven that an actor/actress has cut their teeth committing to a live project where one cannot easily hide their mistakes on a stage.

Sure, I’ve done my share of auditioning actors who have had extensive gigs working on local commercials and some models who have made several shoots for magazines and promotional ads, and a large majority of these individuals have not been able to pass a simple audition. It’s nothing personal, but with so many projects that did not lend any support to helping them win a part of a film or a fill as a model, has held them back from the countless other actors who have taken the harder direction to work on projects that require one’s long term commitment to helping the project reach the next level of success.

This is what you should be thinking about on a constant basis before you approach the production team about earning a paycheck on a real Indie film project. Many long term Indie film teams can see through your bullshit [or B.S.] and will often choose a lesser trained person for a role due to your neglect in over promoting yourself just to try and win a paycheck. 

Remember that you’ve been warned again about trying to make a quick buck as an extra on a Independent film project. Being an extra on a national commercial or a recognized film project on a professional film set is a completely different set of circumstances; but you still have to audition to win a part in the Indie film scene arena. Don’t drown yourself in your small film career where no one really cares.

And I often don’t care about what commercial you played an extra in. I find it funny how no one has shown me a resume that lists them as an extra in Green Lantern; as half of the local acting film scene in Houston once boasted about how excited they were having a part in the next block buster.

D. R. Quintana
QSE Editor

[This post is the opinion of D. R. Quintana and is not the opinion of his crew and actors within Quantum Storm Pictures.]

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


The honest answer to a question about the potential of having a solid Indie film trailer is “Yes, a projects success depends on what it takes to bring attention to your Indie film!” and it makes a HUGE difference to the success of your films potential for having a premiere – but don’t actually believe that people outside of your little circle really care. Indie films come and go all the time, and most of the time, the only people that truly care about your film project are the actors, the production team, their families, and friends that know about the Indie film and what it’s all about from the team. So, what should you do to get the best attention for your film?

First, get someone outside of your circle to promote your film to all of the news outlets and through all of the local Internet news circuits that they can; having someone that isn’t biased to your pride helps out a lot. Local Indie film directors try to produce fancy websites and Facebook pages to help quick-start the promotion process, but directors have BIGGER things to worry about than try to promote their own Indie film. Sure, every actor in the film claims to have ‘this contact’ and/or ‘that agent’ that can help to get the word out about your film, but a true promotions director knows the real contacts to get the word out about your film. Let them do the hard work and give them the best material to advertise your project without remorse or recourse for under promoting it.

A solid promotional director will cost you money, but to trust an accomplished advertiser to push your work to the right people outside of your circle is the best investment you’ll have when the premier date comes dancing around in the local community. A proven promo-director has to out-smart the previous ‘big Indie hit’ that came before you, so it’s always a contest to get the best person at the helm of pushing your new Indie film. 

With that, you’re going to need a solid trailer. So, where do you begin with your first trailer? What source material do you need? Should you use real material from your film?

Well, trailers are a tricky thing. Some production teams use ‘trailer ideas’ to bring investors and producers in to help their projects with money or locations; the proper term is ‘pitch film’ or ‘sizzle reel’, so if you decide to work with a team who say, “It’s called a trailer”, I highly recommend you bail out from that team right away. These types of people find out the hard way about movie making, so as a growing actor, it’s always a good thing to know when it’s time to bail when you’re working with stubborn people.

If your team has an Independent film idea you’d like to ‘pitch’ to an investor or potential producer, you want to produce a ‘pitch film’ [or sizzle reel] which is usually a seven or eight minute look into your project idea. But, we’re talking about a ‘trailer’ for your Indie film, right? So, let’s go over what you need to present to people outside of your project to get them excited to see your potentially exciting film.

I will begin by telling you that having a ‘clique of friends’ to help support your film is a good thing, but you need sheer honesty to see if your film is worth bragging about. Remember if you’re an Indie filmmaker/director, people outside of your friends circle [or clique] always expect local Indie films to be crappy and lack material worth watching, so your trailer has to prove those people wrong. Always show them that you have class within the production, and that yeah, it’s actually going to be a fun film to watch. I know what you’re dying to ask; “How do I do all of that?”

As I stated earlier, it’s all about honesty. First time local Indie directors are always looking for someone to hand out accolades for every small scene they complete; but how good are those scenes really? How did everything tie in together? Was the mood you wanted to present in retrospect all there? These questions cannot be answered and evaluated by the production team. I hate to say it, but if you clearly have a scene between two people sitting on a couch, passing out what you think is a key point or important information within the films storyline, you should truly consider not showing that in your trailer. “Couch scenes” are considered amateurish, strong signs of a low budget production, and will give the audience an ill fated glimpse into the quality of your film.

I recommend for first time directors to set up a private screening for different genres of people after your films first run at post editing who are not part of any clique or production circle. They should be split up in several groups to best evaluate a rating system, evaluate flow, and gage interest for maturity purposes if your film declares a film rating of PG or higher. These groups can be split up in age groups, like this:

- First group 8-16 years of age.
- Second group 16-24 year of age.
- Third group 25 or older.

Keep the numbers of each group small to less than three per age group. These groups should be allowed to take notes and openly review your film. If you feel that the younger audiences[8 to 16 y/o] won’t understand your film or be too afraid of the projects content, remove them from the first group and add another age group who will help you get the right type of review that’s good for your project. Ask this audience of reviewers to be brutally honest as their review will help you establish a movie rating for your film; whether the film will be PG, PG13, or R. Don’t ever just assume the rating of your film because you ‘feel’ it should be a certain rating for future audiences.

So from here, let’s pretend you have your review and now you’re considering on producing a ‘trailer’ because the initial reviews from your unbiased group gave you good marks. Keep in mind that most professional trailers to a finished film should run under two minutes in length. If you’ve produced a comedy, make sure the trailer is funny; if you’ve produced a dramatic film, make the trailer dramatic; if you made a horror film, make damn sure it’s scary; if it’s a sexy film, make the trailer sexy. The best advice I can give is, don’t tell the viewer the whole story and plot about your film. A trailer is preview of things inside the project that best represents the whole meaning of your film. Push the envelope where you need to and if you have a film format that separates you from other Indie films, toss that in for good measure.

Some of the best trailers we’ve ever previewed have been those trailers that have presented the unexpected without giving away too much. Most of those trailers were produced by persons not related to the production team; meaning that the director put the production of his films trailer into the hands of an experienced editor who has actually seen the film and knows what will make the trailer tick to audiences. A good sound track is also key to delivering a punch [or dramatic peak] that fits the mood of the trailer. The prowess of your actors will be evaluated by the audiences when they watch your film, so don’t worry so much about trying to present the total acting quality in your trailer.

People love to see flowing scenes from one scene to another, so be sure to make your trailer flow constantly with scenes you now will set the mood for the trailer. If your trailer can bring in only one person outside of your friends circle to see your project, then the trailer has done its job. The list for bad film trailers is long and distinguished, but if your current trailer design has the following bad practices in trailers, you should consider cutting a new trailer.

- Trying to show the entire cast of your Indie film in the trailer; because you feel like you owe it to the entire team.

- Making up scenes in the trailer that are not in your film.

- Showing a plot twist in the film that gives away your film’s best avenue for stunning your future audience.

- Presenting the names of all of the actors and production team in a trailer “credit scroll” just to satisfy your crew’s vanity.

- Presenting a release date or venue location on your trailer; as you will wind up making updates to every change of venue; always present only one trailer for your film to use in all promotional venues.

If you’re an Indie filmmaker who has several successful films in your resume, the lists and the information shared may not mean much to you. But if you have yet to successfully break away from your local Indie clique and get impressive ‘outside’ numbers for your films premiere, it might be due to not bringing in the newer crowds through your previous trailer. Try a change in your post production habits, put your faith in an experienced Marketing or Promotions Manager, and try some of things we’ve presented to help you on your way to improve the attendance in your new films premieres.

D. R. Quintana
CEO and Editor of the QSE
Submitted as Liner Notes - His opinion is not the opinion of all of the QSE Staff or the actors who work with him on film projects.