An indie filmmaker heads to Hollywood to see what it takes.
His journey captured in film provides a road map through the jungle of Hollywood. He begins with the red carpet at the Oscars, takes you to the glamour of Cannes and finishes wit
h the prestigious BAFTA's, and an appearance on Sky News.
Along the way it is packed with insights from people working in and making a success of this industry, as well as those still hoping to make it. From actors to composers to scriptwriters and directors they all speak the truth about the industry and what is really important to avoid the pitfalls.
So join Douglas McFarlane as he brushes shoulders with Hollywood stars including Clint Eastwood, Kate Winslet and Sharon Stone, and enjoys some British banter with Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais and Eddie Izzard.
This documentary can be bought at Amazon.com using the following links:-
Also please note the AMAZON.COM link for UK/EUROPE/AUS is
and for US/Canada is
Julian Fellowes at the BAFTA/BFI Film Screenwriting Lecture this week
Julian Fellowes is enjoying major success in the twighlight years of his career and it's well deserved. We all know him from our TV screens in Monarch of The Glen, but did you know he won an Oscar for screenwriting with Gosford Park, wrote the script for the musical Mary Poppins and Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt and produced by Martin Scorcese. He certainly keeps good company. His success just continues and his latest work, Downton Abbey was nominated for 16 Emmy awards this week in New York. Fellowes had just returned from the awards and was in great form giving his BAFTA and BFI Film audience many gems from his worldly experience. One of the items picked up by the BBC today is when he mentioned "I do actually have an idea of doing a prequel of the courtship of Robert and Cora, when all those American heiresses were arriving in London." When someone like Julian Fellowes has an idea, the world listens.
If you didn't know, you do now. BAFTA Guru has lots of inspiring and educational videos for anyone interested in film, but especially aspiring and experienced filmmakers, composers, screenwriters and actors. I was inspired myself by the Julian Fellowes talk, so I had a look and noticed a lot of gems which you might also enjoy. They are in the order of "most viewed", with Charlie Kaufman consistently staying at number one. Did we really understand his films ? Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Synecdoche New York. While he earned plenty of Oscars and BAFTA's in his career, it seems like the box office is telling it's own story with his last film in 2008 taking only $4m against a budget of $20m.
As Oscar winning screenwriter William Godman's says "Nobody knows anything".
Douglas McFarlane, is founder of UK Film Network and director of award-winning documentary Making It In Hollywood.
Award winning documentary MAKING IT IN HOLLYWOOD is now only $10 for UKFilmNetwork members.
When I was setting UKFilmNetwork.com, I wanted to help filmmakers and performers find out more about what it takes to be successful in the film business. I plucked up the courage to apply for press accreditation for the Oscars in order to go straight to the heart of the business and perhaps do a blog direct from Hollywood. After I was accepted, I realised this was the opportunity to take a camera to record the journey and perhaps do some video blogs.
On the first day, I managed to interview some indie filmmakers before one of them invited me to an exclusive party where Clint Eastwood unexpectedly turned up. The atmosphere changed and a heightened energy took over the room. I managed to keep calm enough to get some great footage of the legend himself meeting composer Ennio Morricone for the first time in 40 years. It was this meeting that inspired me to continue to create a short film to take to Cannes.
In Cannes, the short film was screened and received good reviews, so I started to turn it into a feature length. I joined the throng of paparazzi and managed to get up close and personal with Leonardo Di Caprio, Jude Law and Jessica Simpson while jostling with experienced paps trying to get a better shot in front of me. It was fascinating seeing how Hollywood promotes their talent in front of the world's press and I got a feel for how ruthless the paparazzi can be to get that picture.
Sunny snowbound Sundance was next with Ewan McGregor and Sharon Stone offering sage advice on their experiences in Hollywood. Jackie Chan's son Jaycee spent some time chatting about how his family connections have influenced his career. I also filmed outside the legendary Egyptian Theatre where Robert Redford first handed out flyers at the opening of the first Sundance.
The next stop was at the BAFTA film awards, where I was fortunate enough to get a media box next to autograph hunting fans who attracted all the top actors close enough for me to ask them a question or two. I managed to chat with Ricky Gervais, Eddie Izzard, Tilda Swinton and the lovely Kate Hudson to find out more about what it takes to make it in Hollywood.
The end product is a film which is an inspiration to filmmakers and performers, and I'm hoping you will get some additional advice, guidance and ideas to help your next project become a success.
It's available on Amazon at this link:-
MAKING IT IN HOLLYWOOD
How I made it in Hollywood- Film blogger quit IT for the red carpet
May 26 2011 Samantha Booth
A film featuring Ewan McGregor, Kate Winslet and Clint Eastwood - not bad for a first-time director.
Movie blogger Douglas McFarlane got to uncover the secrets of the stars on the red carpets of the Oscars, Cannes and the Sundance Film Festival.
The resulting documentary, Making It In Hollywood, won him critical acclaim and a Golden Palm award - and now the DVD has gone on sale for the first time.
Douglas, originally from Clydebank, near Glasgow, said: "It was an incredible two years but I think my ultimate moment was coming face-to-face with Clint Eastwood. "I grew up going to see his films at the ABC minors in Clydebank every Saturday morning. He is a true statesman of Hollywood.
"Although standing in the same pub as Quentin Tarantino was also another amazing moment."
Douglas, 50, got to meet Eastwood at the 2007 Oscars, when he took his camera to see which celebs he could speak to.
He found out about an award ceremony for Ennio Morricone, the composer of the score of the 1966 western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, which starred Eastwood.
Douglas said: "It was a cocktail party-type scenario when there was a sudden huge surge of energy, there was a real buzz that was almost euphoric.
"The next thing I knew Clint had walked round the corner.
"It was incredible. I couldn't believe I was there filming this legend.
"When I did my piece to camera afterwards, you can see I am buzzing.
"And Clint and Ennio hadn't seen each other for 40-odd years, so I was desperate to catch that moment on film."
The next day, Douglas was on the red carpet at the Oscars - and ended up presenting live on US TV network ABC.
Douglas said: "One of the crew shouted "kiltcam" and suddenly I was live around the nation as well as doing a take for my own documentary.
"Americans love the Oscars being international, so I got a lot of attention, as you can imagine."
Douglas, 50, then decided to hit the red carpet at the Cannes Festival, where he captured stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio.
He said: "He was a good example of how strangely stars behave.
"On the red carpet with his entourage he was all smiles and waving but then just half an hour later on the way to the airport he was hiding under his jacket."
Douglas even got a chat with Jessica Simpson about what it is like dealing with stardom.
He said: "She talked about living her life in front of the press, invasion of privacy and how the publishers control what media they do.
"All the paparazzi were trying to get in on the act."
After Cannes, he went to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, where he chatted with Ewan McGregor about making it big in Hollywood.
He said: "It was just another one of those chance moments.
"He was a really thoughtful guy and he gave me some really profound words on Hollywood."
Douglas also got Sharon Stone talking about her career at the same festival - and her regret at taking on some jobs.
He said: "She told me she didn't want to be doing any more Catwoman-type roles."
Douglas's story is all the more remarkable because 10 years ago, he was working in IT in Edinburgh.
He said: "I wanted to do something different, something which wasn't just hanging around pubs, so I came up with the idea of taking up singing.
"After about 18 months and a bit of performance coaching I went to a Les Miserables masterclass.
"I performed with the professionals and it was immense, I got the bug.
"I was at the back of the stage thinking, 'This is what I want to do'."
Still working in IT, Douglas was soon winning roles in film, TV and theatre - from Taggart and BBC drama The Key to an advert for AOL.
Douglas said: "For some reason I found it pretty easy to get parts. The characters I play tend to be surgeons and policemen, possibly because I am 6ft tall, professionallooking and have a Glasgow accent."
Working in Jersey for six months in 2001, Douglas also began to write a theatre blog.
It wasn't long before 20,000 people were reading his site and he now has 100 volunteer reviewers around the country.
Fascinated by the mechanics of film-making, he took part in a series of classes run by Canadian director Elliot Grove, the founder of both the Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He said: "I actually showed him a short film I was working on at the time and he told me it was good and it would sell. Those words were music to my ears."
In 2005, BAFTA Scotland invited him to make a short film of the red carpet at their awards - as no-one else had showed any interest.
National Theatre Scotland invited him to their bash and he got a taste for something bigger - finding out how the world's biggest film stars made it to the top.
Douglas said: "I wanted to make a film about how you become successful in Hollywood.
"After all, this is what a lot of people on the theatre network want to know about.
"A lot of what we do on the website is about trying to coach people to be a success."
And Douglas also showed them how keeping going when things go wrong can pay dividends.
At the Oscars, he ended up in the lift with singer Celine Dion - but couldn't remember who she was.
He said: "I was staring at her because I knew who she was but I just couldn't place her.
"I had my camera on but her bodyguard told me he would take the tape and crunch it so it never ended up in the film.
"Then I look up and see Kate Winslet in that famous green dress coming towards me.
"I didn't get to speak to her, sadly, but I got her on film."
:: Making It In Hollywood by Douglas .McFarlane is available from Amazon, follow the link http://tinyurl.com/hollywoodfilm
An indie filmmaker goes on a search for ways to make it.
This serious but amusing journey goes to Hollywood at the Oscars, then to Cannes, Sundance, BAFTA Film Awards, the BBC/Film London Microschool and back to Hollywood to complete the journey.
Clint Eastwood, Ennio Morricone, Eddie Izzard, Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tilda Swinton, Sharon Stone all give their opinion on the subject as well as some ambitious indie filmakers and actors.
"Accent-tacular, a major feat in sound design", Peter Travers, Rolling Stone Magazine.
"It's good, it'll sell", Elliot Grove, British Independent Film Awards
Golden Palm Award, Honolulu Film Awards, May 2011.
Cannes Short Film Festival
Sheffield Documentary Festival
To purchase as a gift for yourself or friend, visit:-
Enter the discount code ZDHUZP3G
Discount code applies to November only. Offer ends 1st December 2011.
Director Douglas McFarlane at this years BAFTA Awards ceremony.
Hollywood out in full force
The exclusive invites have started to arrive. Free subscriptions to Variety and Hollywood Reporter are offered. The journalists in the popular press are starting to shake their heads in disgust or give a slight nod of approval at the latest onslaught of films being launched. It's the prestigious and lucrative box office time for the film business and Hollywood is out in full force already.
Academy awards season
There's a few films that are grabbing my attention and not all of them for the right reasons. Anonymous for one, is being brought to prominence less because of the film, and more because of the actions of Warwickshire campaigners, who in their wisdom have blanked out Shakespeare from various signs around the city, while ironically, it's showing at the local Picturehouse.
Personally, I understand their concerns. Movies do change cultural awareness in the populace and often the truth becomes cloudy. However, why bring any attention to it at all if it offends ? Of course, the rumours at the heart of the film have been around for years and available to any wiki searching Shakespeare fan. They surfaced as recently as 150 years after his death or 1616+150 = 1766. Controversial news at the time I'm sure, but can it really be so controversial this time around ?
Last night was a trip to see Contagion at the Warner Brothers private cinema in London. It's the only cinema I've been to where they invite guests to take a bottle of beer or glass of white wine (red will stain the plush carpet) to your seats. Well, the room is full of voters for that prestigious BAFTA. A prize which adds millions in terms of box office increases as a result of winning one.
The opening line of the film is uttered by Gwyneth Paltrow. Her coughing punctuates the film nicely and she doesn't last long as you've read from the press. A recent interview with Gwyneth herself suggested that she didn't have a lot of time to work on projects so a cameo role suited her. Not the case. What they don't say is that she is in flashbacks all the way through. Not that she's the only talent to capture your interest. In top form as usual are the amazing Matt Damon, the incredible Kate Winslet, a slightly Australian sounding Jude Law and a greying Laurence Fishburne. One to watch. Loved the RED camerawork from Steven Soderbergh.
Super Sell Him
Making his move in awards season this year is Morgan Spurlock. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. I met Morgan in a pizza restaurant in Sundance in 2008, while I was filming Making It In Hollywood. A documentary about how to be successful in the film business. I plucked up the courage to ask Morgan if he wanted to be part of it and he loved the idea and introduced me to his publicist from Harvey Weinstein Corp. She kindly offered a business card and suggested I follow up. I did but as you'd expect my calls weren't returned. A few years later, out pops a documentary about how to be successful in the film business. Just saying. It's actually the movie I should've made, as Spurlock cleverly chooses to get his film funding from product placements, and film the process of getting them. Worth watching if you're an aspiring award winner.
Last but not least is the family fun section, which at this time of the year is great as the major studios allow family members to accompany voters. This gives big kids like myself an excuse to take the family along to the premiere in Leicester Square of Arthur Christmas in 3D. Bill Nighy and the director/writers are also giving a Q&A at the end to provide more insights. The Adventures of Tintin is another one on the ticklist, though the nodding heads of disapproval seem to be coming from enthusiasts of the comic book. Get a life ! Move on and let's see if Spielberg can capture the essence in film. There I said it. For families everywhere.
Douglas McFarlane is Producer/Director of Making It In Hollywood. Out now on DVD at Amazon (tinyurl.com/hollywoodfilm)
Beverly Hills, CA (PRWEB) December 10, 2010
In the tough business of show business, there are not many ways to make a successful film outside of the Hollywood studio system. It's even tougher in the low-budget independent film world. Today however, saw the successful U.S. launch of Making It In Hollywood, where a blogger from Scotland turned his celebrity blog into a feature length documentary and partnered with Amazon.com to launch the DVD in the U.S. today.ShareThis Email PDF Print
Kilt-cam - Douglas McFarlane at the Oscars
It was an invite to cover the Oscars for his film and theatre blog that connected the ideas which were rushing around the head of first-time director Douglas McFarlane. He had been acting for several years prior to this, performing in theatres around his native Glasgow, character parts in a wide variety of independent films, and TV on a few occasions. Like many people who are intrigued with show business, he was keen to understand what it really takes to be successful in the Hollywood machine. Using his internet expertise, McFarlane started social networks in film and theatre which soon generated large communities. "As soon as I got the Academy nod, the plan was to interview indie filmmakers and blog an article to my UK Theatre Network and UK Film Network, using my high definition camera, laptop and smartphone", McFarlane says, "but all that changed on my first weekend in Hollywood".
After securing interviews with independent actors, directors and presenters working in Hollywood, he was invited to an exclusive pre-Oscars event where Ennio Morricone was receiving an Honorary Oscar award from the legendary film producer Dino-De-Laurentiis (who sadly passed away recently aged 91). Morricone had composed hundreds of film scores including the all-time classic The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and his work continues to be used in QuintenTarantino films. "Suddenly the atmosphere in the room changed and a tall grey haired gentleman passed through the crowd while the invited journalists from Fox News jostled for position in front of my camera", McFarlane says. "Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood arrived and hugged his old friend who he hadn't seen in 40 years. It was at that very moment, that I realised I was filming a behind-the-scenes view of Hollywood that a wider audience would be interested in seeing", the director adds.
Cannes was the next stop for our newly confident documentary maker and a fifteen minute short version of Making It In Hollywood was entered into the festival. It seems that all of Hollywood descends on Cannes in May as the tranquil beachfront is turned into an exclusive red carpet extravaganza and deals are made aboard large multi-million pound yachts. Jessica Simpson was launching her film "Major Movie Star" which created a media frenzy and clashes with bodyguards. With supporting camera from indie filmmaker Kevin Clark, they were able to film the event in close detail. In another scene in the documentary, Leonardo Di Caprio waves to fans in the Cannes sunshine, only to be later filmed at the airport being whisked away under a hoodie, avoiding the publicity that he was actively seeking only an hour earlier.
London was the next part of the journey as the BBC and Film London were running an annual competition to win "£100,000 to make a film". Winning through the initial stages to get to the top ten applicants was difficult enough but could our new director really convince those at the top ? The hard work over several weeks, culminated in a 4 day film school and a pitch to some of the most influential people in the British film business. This lead on to a trip to Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival, in the beautiful snow-capped mountains of Salt-Lake City. "I wanted to get more feedback from actors who had made it to the top of their career to keep a balance between those who were trying to make it and those who already had", says McFarlane. After hundreds of phone calls, chance meetings and serendipity, the A-listers started to talk. Sharon Stone and Ewan McGregor were first to provide insightful thoughts on how their success has come about. McFarlane adds, "I also interviewed Jackie Chan's son, Jaycee, and he let me know how he felt being part of an infamous filmmaking family".
It was back to London for the BAFTA's and an enviable slot on the red carpet next to the BBC to interview as many of the Brits who are household names in Hollywood. Tilda Swinton, Ricky Gervais, Eddie Izzard and Kate Hudson, all stopped to share a thought about Making It In Hollywood. The adventure ends with a final trip back to the 82nd Oscars in Hollywood where perhaps the most succinct view of Making It In Hollywood came from well-known New York Times film critic David Carr. "Douglas what you need to remember is that there is this whole heaving apparatus that goes on, independent of film. It's this huge throbbing machine where bells go off, and whistles blow, smoke comes out, and eventually everybody, the stars, the journalists, and maybe even sometimes the movies are thrown clear. But in general it isn't really about the movies. It's about a society need for a narrative of fame to go with these films. They need to know the story behind the stories that they've just seen."
McFarlane says "Making the documentary was probably the most exciting two years of my life, as I worked with a lot of great people and spoke to a lot of stars who I had admired from afar. I was able to understand the hard work, dedication, networking, skills and talent that you need in order to truly be successful in the toughest business, in the toughest town."
Making It In Hollywood is out now on Amazon.com with a UK release in January. It will also be available on Amazon's Video On Demand early in 2011.
Beverly Hills, CA — The 82nd Academy Awards, which will be presented on March 7, 2010, will have 10 feature films vying in the Best Picture category, Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis announced today (June 24) at a press conference in Beverly Hills.
“After more than six decades, the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year,” said Ganis. “The final outcome, of course, will be the same – one Best Picture winner – but the race to the finish line will feature 10, not just five, great movies from 2009.”
For more than a decade during the Academy’s earlier years, the Best Picture category welcomed more than five films; for nine years there were 10 nominees. The 16th Academy Awards (1943) was the last year to include a field of that size; “Casablanca” was named Best Picture. (In 1931/32, there were eight nominees and in 1934 and 1935 there were 12 nominees.)
Currently, the Academy is presenting a bicoastal screening series showcasing the 10 Best Picture nominees of 1939, arguably one of Hollywood’s greatest film years. Best Picture nominees of that year include such diverse classics as “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “Stagecoach,” “The Wizard of Oz” and Best Picture winner “Gone with the Wind.”
“Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize,” commented Ganis. “I can’t wait to see what that list of ten looks like when the nominees are announced in February.”
The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2. The Oscar® ceremony honoring films for 2009 will again take place at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.