Filming from the trenches - Great Acting = Great "Film Look"

I attended a magnificent play on Friday night called, "Dinner With Friends" at the Central Bank Auditorium in Port Of Spain, Trinidad. The play was produced by Abeo Jackson and Directed by Raymond Choo Kong and featured a cast of some of Trinidad and Tobago's most talented actors today. As I sat there just glued to the stage, I couldn't help but feel so proud of my country and the fact that most of these same wonderful actors on stage starred in my newest movie, Escape From Babylon.

I've often said to them during production that everything we do, myself and our little crew i.e., is all in a tremendous effort to accommodate you. We work our asses off to put everything in place  for you because we recognize how hard you work for the look and sound of the moving image and we truly are grateful for your efforts in helping us materialize a captured dream.

Some of the cast members of Escape From Babylon in rehearsal.

Today we'll be talking about Acting. As a Director I never feel more alive than when I'm working with Actors. Now... let's be politically correct,

An Actor to me is defined as: "A person who loves to listen to ME the Director, and then follows their sincerest instincts when delivering a performance because we trust and respect both our roles completely."

At a glance this sound like I just want to be placated in an effort to speed up production but don't worry, my direction has already been implanted into their psyche. Plus I don't direct robots. I direct people who are gracious enough and brave enough to transplant their souls into a character's shell and give it their own life all for the sake of an audience's listening and viewing pleasure.

Acting for me is immersing oneself in pure unadulterated inspiration. I love watching Actor's Biographies and this video of Mickey Rourke is one of my favorites.

Although these are outtakes, the frustration an Actor experiences when trying to deliver a performance is no laughing matter to me. A true professional is fully aware of how much time and money has been invested in the project and feels a tremendous sense of responsibility to deliver the best performance that compliments all the effort involved.

Here's a video about working with "strong personalities". That's just sugar coating for people who behave like divas, they'll never be actor's in my view ever. If you're a first time Director I would always want to wish you the very best of luck when it comes to casting your actors because they are so critical to deciding what you hope to be the rest of your film career.

Finally I leave you with Acting Tips from Hollywood Actor/ Acting Coach, Kirk Baltz. Most of the cast of Escape From Babylon have been trained by Kirk and I have to say he's a fantastic Acting Coach. Check out his Actor's Intensive website,, and sign up for great acting classes today!


Remember, NO FEAR when it comes to following your dreams!!!

Happy filmmaking ;)

Ciao, Nick

Filming from the trenches - Camera equipment for the true Guerilla Filmmaker plus lots more!

Hello all and welcome back. Ok let's get right into it.

One thing I want to do right from the start of this second blog is to offer my answer on another really annoying question: "Just what is the 'film look'?"

Here's MY answer in point form:

1. A good sense of design in your shot compositions (read books on Architecture and the essence of design). This also includes understanding the use of light.

2. Good camera equipment (we'll talk about this later).

3. GREAT FILM ACTORS!!!! (can't stress this one enough)

4. Twenty four (24) Frames Per Second.

5. GREAT COLOR Correcting and SOUND Design/Mix!!!

I say this question is really annoying because I've witnessed first hand how the search for this little leprechaun has hindered so many would-be filmmakers from just trying to tell a good story which is already so tough to do in the first place. 


Now onto our main topic, Camera Equipment. Well remember I like to show so here we go!

This is the camera I used to make my second feature film, Escape From Babylon - LIKE us here: Escape From Babylon. This was the best filmmaking experience I ever had primarily because of this particular brand and model of camera.

Listen to this great Director of Photography, Philip Bloom as he talks about DSLR Filmmaking. Very inspiring!

Once again you don't have money otherwise I'd already have it by now :P but is that going to stop you from answering the annoying film look question? You need to move that camera around, no doubt about it. Dolly movements are a must. Here's a tutorial on how to make a PVC DSLR Camera Slider to get those dolly shots!!! Learn to make things for yourself dammit!

Here's a great tutorial on color correcting your DSLR Footage!

Finally I leave you with these truly inspiring words by Director, Kevin Smith. People will always ask you, why are you doing this? Now I answer them with; "Because we're all going to die screaming." 

Next post we'll be talking about Acting.

Remember. NO FEAR when it comes to following your dreams!!!

Happy Filmmaking ;)

Ciao, Nick

Filming from the trenches - How to make the truly low budget movie.

If I were to be graded on writing blogs I would surely receive the fattest 'F+++' possible. I don't like telling things much, but I do enjoy sharing information by showing lots of audio/visual stuff. With that in mind there still remains these really annoying questions:

"So you want to make a movie huh?"

"What? How do you make one?"

Escape From Babylon Producer/Director, Nick Attin with Fight Coordinator/Actor, Joel Joseph and Lead Actor, Kearn Samuel.

I can answer the second one immediately. Get yourself a few hundred million clams and alla-peanut-butter-sandwiches!!! You've got yourself a movie, YAY!!!!!!!! LOL!

Anyways let me just show you by sharing the following videos that I found on YOUTUBE which really helped me answer both questions (Two Features Film made in just two years!!!)

Robert Rodriguez is one of my greatest influences as a resourceful Filmmaker. This was the video that started it all for me!!!

Dov S-S Simens is the greatest Film Instructor in the world. It is because of his Two Day Film School, I was able to make my first feature film, Little BOY Blue!!!

Be resourceful!!! Learn to make things for yourself. If you look at the pic at the start of this blog you'll see the same PVC rig that I made following this tutorial!!!

Learn from Film Critics. Listen to them, they know what they're talking about even when they're ripping your gizzard out and spiking it on the floor. I've selected this review by Mark Kermode because he really showed me what a Zealout I am when it comes to Quentin Tarantino and I still am!!!

This is something I also recommend you watch. Learn how to analyze films and what possible secrets there may exist when attempting to deconstruct the elements of cinema. Rob Ager is my favorite film analyst, check out this analisys of THE MATRIX and prepare to be amazed!

Finally I leave you with these two articles regarding Film Distribution:

Tune in next time when I'll be talking about camera equipment, I mean after all I can't just give away everything all at once? ;)

And remember, when you're asking that 1st annoying question, the shoes already told you: "JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!" Happy Filmmaking :)

Ciao, Nick