The Making of Boyhood

Richard Linklater’s new film Boyhood is a coming-of-age story in the truest sense. The film follows the maturation of Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) over the course of 12 years – from kindergarten through high school. Linklater did not use a group of actors to mark the passage of time. Instead he chose to shoot the movie over 12 years, following the cast in real time.

It’s quite a feat when you consider all the obstacles one could encounter over such a period.

To start with the practical: financing. Linklater found financiers willing to fund the movie for a couple of hundred thousand dollars per year, but he fully expected the money to dry up at some point given the realities of the film business. Amazingly, it didn’t – Linklater’s blind luck.


The actors – particularly the child actors – were another consideration. Can you imagine the difficulty of trying to project both the talent and interest these six-year-old actors would have in the movie in their teens?  Linklater again got lucky with his lead actor, Ellar Coltrane, who remained passionate about the project. Linklater wasn’t so lucky with his real-life daughter (Lorelei Linklater) who at one point asked for her character to be killed off. Linklater used the tried-and-true method of any desperate parent…bribing her with a gift.

Add in the difficulty of also coordinating schedules each year with two full-fledged Hollywood actors in Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, and you have quite the production process!

Somehow Linklater didn’t just pull it off, he made the film and the passage of time appear seamless and organic. If you haven’t already seen Boyhood you should definitely go check it out.


Event: Digital Revolution at the Barbican Centre

If you happen to find yourself in London at some point this summer you should check out the Digital Revolution exhibit at the Barbican Centre.  Running through September 14th, the exhibit delves into the effect of technology has had on art over the past four decades.

The wide-ranging exhibit explores the impact of technology on various mediums. For example, one section focuses on how computers have changed filmmaking, looking at films like Inception, Gravity, and How To Train Your Dragon 2.


Walking the exhibit is more like entering a futuristic nightclub than a museum, but this may be part of the point. The way we experience and interact with art is changing along with the crafts, themselves.  Not every art form changes as drastically as film, but even the act of writing has slowly and subtly changed over time as new technologies – from the typewriter, to the computer, to the tablet – have allowed writers to alter their processes (not to mention new social platforms, like Twitter, which influence writing trends).  As for the reader, the experience has changed as well, with devices like the Kindle transforming how we digest language.

To learn more about the exhibit, and what the future of technology holds for your art form, take a look at the press release below:







The Power of Artistic Collaboration

There’s a wonderful op-ed by David Brooks in today’s NY Times that illustrates the power of artistic collaboration, dispelling the notion that artistic genius must arise only from a single and singular voice.

Countless pairs or groups of artists have complemented each other for the betterment of their art, but the one Brooks discusses at length is the relationship between John Lennon and Paul McCartney (profiled in full here).


Brooks write that the two had a “special tension” that came from having similar musical tastes but coming from different artistic traditions – McCartney from sunny-pop and Lennon from the angst-ridden rebel tradition.

 A good example of how this tension produced great art is in the famous Beatles song, “Help”. Lennon wrote the song while deep in depression and, unsurprisingly, it originally had a “slow, moaning sound.” McCartney took the power of Lennon’s depression and gave the song its classic, lighthearted melody.

Brooks goes on to discuss the many ways single artists or artistic groups can challenge and enhance their work by exploring life in ways that may make them uncomfortable – embracing life’s contradictions to come to new conclusions that would not otherwise be possible (you should check it out).

Also, remember that Tenlegs is a great place to meet new artists who you might not normally interact with. It might be a cool experiment to go through some of your fellow artists’ portfolios and find someone whose work troubles, confuses or challenges you and reach out to them. You can collaborate in our online Workspace or on Public Projects and see if you can help each other progress artistically. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next great artistic pair.



When Two Brands Are Better Than One: Part 2

Today – in our follow-up on Tuesday’s post about co-branding – we’ll discuss co-marketing. But instead of talking about it in general terms, let’s delve into the topic using a medium that is of interest to a lot of our Tenlegs filmmakers.

Let’s talk about movies.

Many filmmakers might scoff at the idea of including a glorified advertisement in their projects, but they’re forgetting how iconic the right product placements can actually be.

For example, Tom Cruise in Ray-Bans in Risky Business and Top Gun

Great co-marketing comes down to finding the right two brands to bring together.  It’s not about creating a hybrid product like with co-branding, but about associating two brands in order to enhance or alter the perceptions of one or both brands.

In terms of great films, it’s about including a product or brand that deepens our understanding of a character, a place, or a theme.  It’s a difficult task; you can’t necessarily include the product from the company who is offering you the most money, but you almost always can find brands that make sense in your fictional world.

One of the most innovative film studios, Relativity Media, has found a way to marry the demands of taking on clients who actually want to participate in films with the artistic demands of finding the right movie to make the branding experience mutually beneficial.

Basically, Relativity Media will sign on corporate partners, who each have the exclusive right to be the official sponsor of a given consumer good – like bottled water.  The company won’t flood (pun intended) their movies with this brand. You’re not going to find a gangster drinking SmartWater. What you will find is SmartWater on set, at red carpet events and in movies/scenes where such a product actually makes sense. Since Relativity Media always has new projects coming in, the task of finding the right artistic fit is not so daunting.

tomcruise tomcruise2

Even if you’re not working with a full-scale film studio, there are always ways to be innovative to help fund your movie.  Maybe your project is local, and you can ask a neighborhood store, bar, or restaurant to partner up?

More than anything, let’s just remember going forward that the stigma of product placement needs to be rethought.  After all, real people choose products that project a certain image to others. Why shouldn’t fictional characters do the same?