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What I Learned Producing Documentary Films

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Hoaxed: The Fake News Simulation, my latest feature-length documentary, is in post-production. Making movies has been a learning experience, and I’ve made some mistakes. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Stop talking about making a film, Go make a film.

You can film a documentary on an iPhone. It won’t be the greatest film, but it will be a start.

Someone put it into the brains of young people that they deserve a six or seven seven-figure budget and staff for a film. You deserve NOTHING.

Take your iPhone out, make some films, and quit expecting others to do the work for you.

You’ll learn how to set up a shot, how to be patient when outside circumstances frustrate you, and how to get quality audio. You’ll learn how to edit.

Someone put it into the brains of people that you learn skills while working on major projects. Wrong. You develop your skills on minor projects.

I made this film with an iPhone and a GoPro

I went to the DNC and RNC to embed with protesters, and I got the best footage of any media outlet. We put this into a documentary exposing the fake news media for its dishonest coverage of the Bernie Sanders movement.

As you can see, I made a lot of mistakes in Un/Convention:

  • I shot videos vertically,
  • The sound quality isn’t perfect,
  • Some of the film is shaky.

And I made a film.

Unlike every other a-hole in New York and Los Angeles, I shipped a product.

Now look at the teaser for my latest film, HOAXED.

Do you notice any improvements?

Hoaxed even has original music and a music video.

Avoid people who talk about wanting to make a film.

In life, avoid the wanters.

I want to do this…

It would be nice to that…

Every jerk off in LA and NY is going to write a book or make a film. Most never will, because they don’t want to work hard. Avoid these people, as time is zero-sum.

An hour spent with losers is an hour not spent with winners.

Shoot way too much b-roll.

If you’re a filmmaker, New York or Hollywood isn’t a big deal to you. Your audience loves the sights and sounds of unfamiliar places.

Plus, filming b-roll puts you into the mindset of creation. The more you film, the more you’ll see in real life worth filming.

Filming b-roll is also a safe way to improve your camera skills.

You may also accidentally film something cool.

Set up the story of people you’re interviewing.

How often have you watched a film where a guest was randomly put on the screen. Who is this person? Why should we care about this person?

B-roll of sets the scene. For example we were interviewing someone who had been attacked by ANTIFA. While the talented directors were setting up the interview shot, I looked at her interesting living situation.

She lived in a bohemian warehouse, which isn’t unusual in San Francisco, but is still pretty cool. And it also shows that people you think of as “conservative” don’t fit those old definitions.

Money and Filmmaking.

I haven’t made a profit from any film yet, so if you’re wondering how to make the big bucks, ask me in a few months or years.

I have raised enough cash to pay others who work on films with me. As for me, I’ve lost money on every film I’ve made. However I remain optimistic.

Welcome to the Rule of 5.

The Rule of 5 holds that if you put your heart and soul into 5 projects, one of them will pay off an order of magnitude greater than the sum of your losses.

Sometimes you’ll hit the Big Win early. My debut book Gorilla Mindset did far better than I expected. (The average book sells 500 copies, and only 1% of books ever sell 10,000 copies. Gorilla Mindset is at over 80,000 copies sold, and it keeps selling every month.)

Un/Convention did 80,000 page views. A documentary on the Sweden migrant crisis did 150,000 views before YouTube banned it. Silenced didn’t make a profit, but it sold enough copies to make me optimistic about Hoaxed.

Learn as you go. Sometimes you’ll hit it big right away. Usually you won’t. Most people quit before they reach the top.

The 80/20 Rule is an iron law.

In life, 80% of your upside (or downside) will come from 20% of your activities or endeavors. This is known as the 80/20 Rule or Pareto principle.

20% of your friends will give you 80% of your fulfillment and happiness. 20% of your friends will give you 80% of your drama.

80% of a funding for your film will come from 20% of your supporters.

Some people will pay for a platinum experience, if you offer them one. Think about what you can offer the 20% of your audience that is hardcore into supporting what you do.

Treat 100% of people well.

Give immediate refunds to the complainers. People will often email me to complain. I refund them, and then they complain about getting a refund. They just want to complain to someone, and they feel like buying a ticket gives them a license to be nasty and toxic to me. Wrong!

Get rid of the negative and toxic supporters. You feel like you need everyone, especially when starting off. Time is a zero-sum activity. Focusing on responding to complainers will distract you from giving value to people who support you.

Over communicate with your supporters.

Making movies is a lot like litigation. Nothing seems to happen for a long time, and then something huge happens. During that “nothing” time, people wonder if any work is being done. This is because people don’t realize it takes hundreds of hours to edit footage.

It’s better to over-update than under-update. Even if there’s nothing to report, reach out to your backers to tell them, “We are working hard,” and throw in a picture or short video clip.

You’re going to go over budget.

Murphy’s law applies: If something can go wrong, it will. You’re going to lose some equipment, the airline is going to charge you more than you agreed to, people may demand a bribe to get out of your shot. (Yes, this happens. If you’re filming in public, sometimes people will harass you unless you pay them off.)

Let your film evolve as you work on it.

Your art will push back.

You have an idea for a film, and while you’re making it, the art begins taking you in another direction.

For example Hoaxed started off as a hit piece on the fake news media.

As we thought more deeply about it, we realized that Fake News is a Simulation.

We live in a world of lives, and this world of lies was created by the fake news media. Hoaxed took on a more sci-fi vibe, and won’t look like a traditional “media” film.

 

What else do you know to know about filmmaking?

Post a comment below!

You can stream Silenced on Amazon.

You can watch Un/Convention here.

And if you grind away like me, you can STAY FOCUSED with Gorilla Mind.

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Culture

The Truth about Hydroxychloroquine and Coronavirus

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Trump is recommending people look into using chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus. Trump is not a doctor. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are not approved by the FDA for treatment of coronavirus.

Most doctors are using chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine off label for coronavirus treatment, some are using it prophylactically to protect themselves.

OFF LABEL USE is what is missing from media coverage on Trump and hydroxychloroquine. Reporters either don’t know what off label use is, or they are pretending not to know because ORANGE MAN BAD.

Here is what the FDA says in its guide on the off label use of drugs:

From the FDA perspective, once the FDA approves a drug, healthcare providers generally may prescribe the drug for an unapproved use when they judge that it is medically appropriate for their patient.

If you read any article about chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, and the article omits OFF LABEL USE, then you are being hoaxed by the media.

P.S. The man in Arizona who died from using chloroquine did not obtain chloroquine from a doctor. He used fish tank cleaner. (Yes, really.)

The couple unfortunately equated the chloroquine phosphate in their fish treatment with the medication —known as hydroxychloroquine — that has recently been touted as a possible treatment for COVID-19, which has infected more than 42,000 people in the U.S. and killed at least 462.

Reports that the man died after “listening to Trump’s advice” are dishonest.

The Arizona man’s wife is also a Democrat donor.

Wanda donated to the PAC 314 Action Fund, which has called itself the “pro-science resistance” to the White House.

Additionally, Fox News has reviewed a Facebook page apparently belonging to Wanda, which was first identified by the Twitter user Techno Fog. “Your psycho prez is in [t]own, are you going to see him?” Wanda wrote on Facebook on Feb. 19, by way of wishing a friend a happy birthday. Trump was in town at a rally in Phoenix, Ariz., on that day.

She administered the chloroquine to her husband. This wife was the only person who hates Trump who listened to Trump, by giving her husband chloroquine-based fish tank cleaner.

Nothing suspicious about that at all.

P.P.S. If you like this post, you’ll love Hoaxed Movie. Watch it here today.

 

 

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Culture

Is “Kung Flu” the latest Media Hoax?

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Several White House reporters confronted Trump regarding his decision to call the coronavirus (or COVID-19) the China Virus.  One reporter asked him about a White House administration official who is alleged to have called the coronavirus Kung Flu.

When the reporter was asked the name of the official, the reporter said she didn’t know.

The original claim regarding Kung Flu comes from CBS reporter Weijia Jiang. On March 17th, she Tweeted:

This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the “Kung-Flu” to my face. Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.

Ms. Jiang has not identified the official.

One reason could be because this official does not even exist.

Under American defamation law, you can lie all you like.

You can’t lie about a person by name.

If no White House official called the coronavirus Kung Flu, or if there is some important context missing, then Jiang could be sued.

You can watch the Kung Flu exchange in this video here:

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The Stafford Act Text Message Announcing an Emergency Quarantine is a Hoax

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By now you or someone you know has received a hoax text announcing martial law. With some minor variations, the texts all read the same:

  • In 48 to 72 hours the president will evoke what is called the Stafford act. Just got off the phone with some of my military friends in DC who just got out of a two hour briefing. The president will order a two week mandatory quarantine for the nation. Stock up on whatever you guys need to make sure you have a two week supply of everything. Please forward.

 

The National Security Council issued a rare public statement warning the public that the Stafford act text was a hoax.

How can you tell the Stafford Act Text is a Hoax?

Even if you refuse to accept the NSC’s word on the matter, the text message has some telltale signs of a hoax.

First, the text promises secret insider knowledge. “Just got off the phone with some of my military friends in DC who just got out of a two hour briefing.” This is a vague enough proclamation that it sounds plausible.

Second, no specifics of these friends are given. Who are these friends? Why did they call this specific person?

Third, the hoaxers ask you to spread the message. Why would anyone acting in good faith want to incite a panic?

If an emergency quarantine were able to be declared, the plan would be Top Secret. No one’s friends would just get out of a briefing and start alerting people. THEY WOULD GO TO PRISON FOR LEAKING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION.

If such an emergency plan were in the works and higher command wanted the story to get out, they’d leak it to a credible outlet. Not share chain-letter style text messages.

There’s also tradecraft involved in sharing classified information.

None of the telltale signs (and no I won’t share how to leak classified secrets here) were present in that alert.

UPDATE: Other outlets are now reporting that the Stafford Act text is a foreign disinformation campaign:

The Trump administration is alleging that a foreign disinformation campaign is underway aimed at spreading fear in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, three U.S. officials said Monday. On Sunday, federal officials began confronting what they said was a deliberate effort by a foreign entity to sow fears of a nationwide quarantine amid the virus outbreak.

Agencies took coordinated action Sunday evening to deny that any such plans were put in place, as they tried to calm a nation already on edge by disruptions to daily life caused by the virus.

 

——-

Read More about Mike Cernovich here.

Who is Mike Cernovich?

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