Film Riot, which plays Mondays and Thursdays on Revision3, is a virtual film school right here on the web. It is especially valuable for those who look to get into web video (or any kind of film and video work) and might not have that much money, as host Ryan Connolly and his crew take you step-by-step through some of the tricky aspects of a DIY shoot. Over the past couple of months, Connolly's appearances on Revision3 have increased, adding the Monday show in addition to the twice-weekly film review and rumor show Film State. On top of that, he's been working on his movie Tell and somehow fitting in an impossible quickie short film Losses, which came out this past week on their YouTube channel.
The ReelSEO Exclusive Ryan Connolly Interview
Film Riot is based in Florida, shooting everywhere "from Miami all the way up to Orlando." It is an entertaining, educational, and always fun 5-10 minutes out of a Monday and Thursday. Ryan was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions, where he tells us what he hopes each viewer gets out of Film Riot, what he believes is the future of web video, and why he talks so darn fast.
What kind of superpowers does it take to do two web series with two episodes each a week, a movie, and try to have a life at the same time?
Haha! The power of coffee compels me! I think it is really just a matter of passion, I love filmmaking more than almost anything else, and I am really lucky to be doing what I love. So for me, I hardly notice how much I work most of the time… Unlike when I had a normal job and would check the clock every 30 minutes, now I look at the clock and I am surprised to see 8 hours has passed. The only real hard part is finding time for a personal life, especially now that I am married.
How did you become involved with Revision3?
I started an independent web series on YouTube called "Making the Film" (which was a terrible name!) Revision3 caught wind of it and got in-touch with me, of course my reaction was "EFF YEAH!"
Please explain your hyper-fast delivery!
It's just my personality. If I am excited about something I talk pretty fast. At the beginning of the show, a lot of people wanted me to slow down, but it was out of character for me. So a few people (mainly my older sister) encouraged me to be myself, and guessed that my fast delivery would most likely become a big character point for the show. 2 years later, I think she was totally right… Plus, I think it keeps the show exciting.
One of the best aspects of Film Riot is its accessibility. You do episodes based on viewer questions, sometimes sidetracking away from your planned episodes to address the fans. Explain what is important for you for viewers to get out of each episode of Film Riot.
Two things really, I want them to be entertained and learn something along the way. I think of Film Riot as part entertainment part educational, sometimes the entertainment gets a back seat to the education, but the entertainment part is still very important to me. We get a lot emails thanking us for something that made a viewer laugh when they really needed it! And that is so rewarding for me! To be a part of someones life like that, and help cheer them up when they are down, is a really special thing.
The other thing is the information. When I was younger there was nothing like this, I had to try and learn on my own without any good info to help me at all! I really wanted someone I could ask questions to and get an educated response… So that is what I try to be for our audience, someone they can ask for advice… And though I don't always know the answer, I do my best to help out.
A segment from one episode of Film Riot checked down all of the gear you bring onto a production. What are your weapons of choice in post-production and why?
I use a 27" iMac right now, but plan to get a tower for more power soon… For editing I used to use Final Cut Pro, but since the ridiculous release of FCPX I have jumped ship to Adobe Premiere Pro, which I am loving! I pretty much do everything in Adobe products now… After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere and Audition. I'm pretty impressed by the workflow so far. I also have a ridiculous amount of plug-ins, like Red Giant's Magic Bullet Looks, Colorista II & Primatte, and VideoCopilot's Optical Flare as some that I use most often.
What are the biggest mistakes people make in DIY filmmaking/video?
There are a bunch of things, but some that really kill a video most are:
- Pacing: Most people make things too long, their video is 7 minutes when it easily could have been 3.
- Composition: Where the camera is placed will make a video either look like a home-movie or help it seem like something more.
- Audio: If you can't hear what the actor is saying, then it's pointless.
Do you have aspirations to do movies/TV outside of web-based content?
YES! My number 1 goal is feature film. Since I was 8 years old all I've wanted to do is make movies that an audience goes to theater to see. Everything I do is hopefully one step in that direction. But the cool thing about that is, I plan to continue Film Riot even when I am making features. So ultimately the show will be able to take a behind the scenes look at making a feature like has never been seen before.
Tell us about your movie...Tell.
Tell was a lot of fun to shoot, and a story I wanted to put together for a long time. It has taken a while for me to get to because of different road blocks, but I am hoping to have it finished by the end of the year. This one, just like Losses, is something that my audience has never seen from me. I really like doing something totally different with each big project I do, and the next one I have lined up after Tell is completely different than both Losses and Tell.
When do you hope to release it?
Hopefully the end of the year, or the beginning of 2012.
What do you believe the future holds for web video?
I personally think it is the future of home entertainment. Look at Netflix, Hulu, Rev3, etc… This is what I watch at home. I actually cancelled my cable and only watch streaming entertainment now. It's just more convenient.
Do you have any favorite web series?
Do you think there is a show on the web that is criminally under-seen?
Not really, good stuff seems to have a way of rising to the surface.
What does it take to launch a successful web series?
A good idea, a LOT of hard work, and some pretty packaging. I think one of the most important parts to a web series are the characters on screen. If you have good content and good on-screen personalities, you should have a successful show on your hands.
What is the best thing about web video compared to TV and film?
As a film lover, I think movies are still way better. But I do like web better than TV. The originality, convenience and variety is so much better I think. Web video is still a baby, but already there's a lot of content coming out that is up to TV standards! And unlike TV, you get more than reality TV that follows ridiculous people, and another CSI show, when you watch web video!
What is the biggest problem with web video today?
Too much crappy content to sift through before you find the good stuff. The ability for anyone to just start doing it is a GREAT thing, and has given us super awesome content like the Portal: No Escape short film, the first Mortal Kombat short film, FreddieW's stuff, and the Rev3 lineup… But we also get a lot of stuff that's not so good.
Do you have any particular favorite/memorable episodes of Film Riot?
Oh man… That's a tough one. I really love the mini-series we did where Josh got possessed by Stark. The scene where he chops my head of in slow-mo is one of my all-time favorites.
What do you have in store for future episodes of Film Riot that you are excited about?
We are doing some more Losses episodes that are pretty cool, then we will get back to some cool effects, including some weather stuff! But I'm excited about the next short film I have in mind. I think everyone is going to dig it, and the behind the scenes of that one will be super interesting!
I can tell you loved using the RED Epic camera. Is the RED Epic the future of all filmmakers, or just a few elite directors?
The RED Epic is definitely one of the best non-film cameras out right now. However, the future is always shifting, in a few years there will be something better. But for now, the Epic is easily one of the best cameras I've used.
Did you feel in any way let down that you had to convert your footage to 2K?
It is a shame all that extra detail had to be squashed. But, it was still much prettier to shoot in 5k then down-convert to 2k than it was to shoot straight 2k. I've been using DSLRs so much lately that I forgot the value of true high-quality! So using the Epic, even dropped to 2k, was absolute HEAVEN!
What is like working with your brother Josh, and how much did you enjoy turning him into a badass for Losses?
It's great of course! I'm lucky that not only is he my brother but he is one of my best friends too. Plus him being my brother makes it a lot easier for me to push him harder, which came in handy with Losses. We had such a short time frame to shoot some very technically complicated things, so we didn't have times for breaks. With any other actor I wouldn't have been fully comfortable pushing them that hard. But since Josh and I are so tight, it was easy for us to collaborate like that and just keep running around getting it done…
And making him tough was easy, I said action and he did the rest! :)
What do you hope for in the long-term for Film Riot, creatively and in terms of viewer support and recognition?
Really I just hope we can keep going with it, our audience keeps loving it and it keeps helping people! I have big plans that I hope work out for my company [Triune Films], and Film Riot would definitely benefit from that! But more than anything else, I just want it to continue to help people who are passionate about making films.
We'd like to thank Ryan Connolly for taking time to answer our questions. If you've been following Film Riot for the past month, you know the guy is super busy and always working on something. But it's good to know that he loves it and it doesn't seem like work. We appreciate his time! And if you haven't seen Film Riot yet, even if you know all there is to know about video, what's wrong with you? Go watch it every Monday and Thursday on Revision3, and while you're at it, take a look at his show Film State as well. You won't be disappointed.