A quick note to those filmmakers who have decided to shoot a feature film on a home video camera: Talk to somebody at 911 Media Arts Center or WigglyWorld about how best to capture sound and dialogue. That’s a simple way of saying that you should not use the onboard microphone. Every time you change camera positions, you change the ambient sound that the microphone picks up, and when you cut between two different camera positions in an approximation of traditional Hollywood “coverage,” the different levels of static and room tone can be absolutely jarring. On your level, you probably can’t afford to actually hire a sound person, but you can get some free advice on what you may need to purchase for smoother sound. This was a big issue when the first wave of post-Clerks 16mm features started coming out, and now it’s even more of an issue with video features. If you have dreams of selling your movie, make sure your dream includes good sound.

As long as we’re on the subject of locally made shorts and features, there’s good news from the people at the NW Film Forum. Their annual celebration of local works, Local Sightings, is right around the corner, and they need to see your work. This year they’ve teamed up with Altoids, which has released a statement saying that it wants “to strengthen independent cinema in Seattle by rewarding emerging local filmmakers through direct funding and increased exposure.” If that’s not enough to lure you into buying a tin of curiously strong mints, let me add that Altoids is giving cash prizes to one short and one feature-length film. The winning feature-length film receives $1,000 plus a cut of the profits from a weeklong run in the cinema, while the short-film winner gets a cash prize of $2,500, plus $2,500 worth of rentals and studio time. By the way, it is free to enter. What more can you ask for? The only limitation is that the piece needs to have been shot in the greater Seattle area, which for the purposes of this contest extends from Bellingham to Olympia. Send in your good work by September 15 in order to be considered. This series will be the first major presentation at the new space on 12th Avenue.

Speaking of the NW Film Forum’s new space, if you’re curious to see it, the best way for you to do that would be to join one of their work parties every Saturday at 10:00 a.m., and now every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. They’re willing to train you to do what needs to be done, which means you may even end up with more skills than when you started. Or maybe you have skills you’d like to share? There’s no better way to get involved in this organization than by investing some sweat and good will. Feel free to show up at the space (1515 12th Ave., between Pike and Pine) at the above-mentioned times, or call Wesley at 329-2629 to find out other ways you can help.

andy@thestranger.com

Support The Stranger