Character Research II (Dio)

Part two of my little research trilogy is about another character (Dio) who has a very different perspective on life than the first one (Fritz). Again I’m using my train commutes as a time of contemplation and experimentation. It seems repetitive, but it allows me to demonstrate how the three very distinct characters see their world based on mundane travels.

Character Research I (Fritz)

…so I have all this footage lying around which I recorded during my commutes to cologne…and just now I realised how it can help me explore a charakter I’m trying to write a story about. Since I’m not good at writing I tried to make this fake video diary the way he would make it. To see the world through his eyes and follow a development in his perception, instead of making up a half baked background story and writing silly dialogue. Mabe I can sneak in narrative film making this way… ;)

Inception and Surrealism

For a film that does not contain any surrealism, it’s seeping with it…

That’s the weird thing with american block-buster cinema. Some directors manage to hide their art inside an unassuming piece of entertainment. The last couple of decades seem to me like the early communist Russia. During the 20s it harbored the most talented film makers in the world, only to put an end to it in the 30s. Vertov, Eisenstein and the others had to bow down to Stalin, with devastating effect to their art. In hollywood the new capitalist regime in form of big corporation, which took over the broke studios, allowed great artists to emerge during the 70s and 80s (Lucas, Spielberg etc.).  Nowadays there is less risk-taking and the rules are strickt. Everyone who wants to grow out of no-budget movie-making, has to fall in line. That’s why inception is not a great movie on the inside. It’s full of coded messages meant to be decoded outside of the movie theater.

Paraphilia behind the scenes

As promissed the making of Paraphilia. I wanted to capture the rather hilarious and relaxed time during the production inspite of the tough deadline we were given. I remember being rather stressed about the outcome. It’s a risky gamble I allowed myself with the improvisational nature of the film. It’s unpredictable how long it takes to edit something useful out of the huge pile of messy footage. But watching this in retrospective…it’s incredible how much fun we’ve had shooting this! Now we feel like school kids fooling around during an assignment, winging it last minute and getting through with it AND earning an A+  :D

Paraphilia – an improvisational colaboration


The rules were simple:

1. you get 6 random acting students

2. you have two weeks to make a film together

3. make it about sex and power…

4. don’t forget to have fun!

I wanted to experiment with improv. I was lucky, that my actors came up with lots of good ideas and even wrote their own dialogue parts. After shooting those, we began the improv-session, and let me give you one advice right away: shoot on a tripod! If you’re lucky as I was, your actors will make you laugh so hard….I had to edit around the messed up parts where I shook the camera to much :D Fortunately the other camera was on a tripod. We had to shoot it like a live theater play, to be able to edit without continuity issues. When I’m done editing the behind the scenes video, it will show how simple the set was. To be continued…



world cup madness in Germany 2014

It’s amazing what you can do with such inexpensive and inconspicuous gear. Not being noticed by the drunk worldcup-celebrating mob is the best! Testing my mirrorless camera at night with a speedbooster and a nikkor 85mm f2. It increases the light and gives me the same creative freedom like a full format 35mm camera at an acceptable quality.


Michael Bay – What is Bayhem

Or: Octavian Petreanu – What is Octified?
I’m comparing myself to Michael Bay, yes! But seriously, this is an interessting case of being slave to a distinct visual style, you try to explore and master for years. On the one hand, I’m trying to stick to it but I’m also growing tired of it and want to flee from it. I have some kind of love-hate relationship with myself that way…like I have with Michael Bay. He sometimes creates very artistic/interessting images and cuts, but is usualy a victim to his need to make every shot look epic and awesome. I can relate to that in regard to my octified ‘style’. This video essay elaborates beautifuly:

Michael Bay – What is Bayhem? from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

highspeed photography tests

Experimenting with my new camera. It was dirt cheap but it can shoot 11 photos per second!

Video tests coming up next ;)

The Golden Age of Creative Distribution

So the film industry is bloated with a few big block-buster movies and way to many little indie films to count? The times of being discovered at a film festival as the next hot iconic director is over? Suck it up and read this article!


Earlier this year I reblogged about the issue of wage dumping and the inflationary state of the indie film market. Now it’s time to stop whining and try out new strategies.

Your film is a unique snowflake and so is your distribution model, so embrace the unique strategy before the opportunities melt away.

Crowdfunding isn’t just about raising money, it’s about finding your core audience and creating new opportunities to distribute.

Creating Characters: The Behavioral Paradox

One of my rookie mistakes when I started writing were characters designed to close to real human beings (friends and enemies). It’s easy to write down interessting situations which actually happened and just characterise people involved. But the only ones liking those stories and characters were the ones who knew them personally. Without being there and witnessing the weird behaviour firsthand, no one could relate and believe it. My Professor told me, that the only way for a beginner to create believable characters and stories, is to get rid of the desire for complexity and depth. It took me a while to recover my enthusiasm and start writing again. Back then this article would have helped me a lot:

Creating Characters: The Behavioral Paradox

Character is Paradox.

Human contradictions ARE NOT always justified;
Character contradictions ARE always justified.

Get your “dark night of the soul” moment over with as soon as you can!

Article from 5 Things About Crowdfunding That Were True in 1998 (& Are Still True Today)

I say go ahead and — privately, privately — indulge yourself with your whiniest, most self-loathing feelings after your first big setback. Why? Because a) it’s early enough that you will still have the energy to overcome that despair, and b) once you survive that dark period, you will enter a sort of bliss where you just don’t care what happens anymore.