Monkey Massacre

Another vlog! I’m working on an ambitious short, but I didn’t want to leave you all without a video this week so I made a northern pligramage to see the Monkey Massacre Memorial statues. I did plan to do a video where I went to a lot of bizarre areas around Atlanta, but traffic worked against me. Perhaps I will return to finish the job.

My First Screenplay

Hi guys! I’ve been dealing with a pretty rough migraine this week so I couldn’t really write anything too extensive this week.

However, I did find the first screenplay I ever wrote.

An Eye For An Eye is a Sin City-esque revenge film I wrote sometime in 2014 while I was in community college. It is approximately 16 pages and hopefully it isn’t too horrible to read.

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A Year in Focus

As of today, Pulling Focus with Ethan Hatchett has released 10 episodes cover subjects such as Christine (2016), Mindhunter (2017), and film editing. I couldn’t be more happy with the series and the response towards it. Thank you all!

I have always loved watching video essays and I had tried making some in the past, but for whatever reasons, I was never happy with them.

I have a big plans for 2018, so stick around for more!

A Bird in Hand is finally up.

or watch on Vimeo if you prefer.

After over a year, A Bird in Hand is online for all to see. I started this project during my film apprenticeship at Film Connection in late 2015 and now it is fully realized. I have known the Pitmans for over a decade at this point, and it was an honor to capture their story.

The first major lesson I took away from this experience is to be open to whatever happens. In October, 2016, when it was shot, I was as flexible as a rock. My friend Tal who was an enormous help in all areas, flipped his car a day before shooting on the way to Jekyll Island, so that freaked me out for all of production. I was on edge the entire time we shot, to the point where my arms were sore from being locked in the position I was holding the camera. This film meant (and still does) a lot to me and I was terrified of messing it up. I would argue that in a lot of ways I did mess it up, but it still turned out well. When I do my next film, I know I will be much calmer because I have grown as a person from this experience.

Overall, I am very pleased with this film. I hope that it brings the exposure that the Jekyll Island Banding Station deserves. I think helping nature (and by extension animals) is one of the most altruistic things you can do.

Learn more about JIBS.

Please Don’t Run Away (video)

I made another pseudo music video. This one is for the song Pills by Joji. I had a weird nostalgic/blue vibe from this song so I used old footage from the beach and made this video.

I hope you enjoy it!

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/244167528″>Please Don't Run Away</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/ethanjhatchett”>Ethan J. Hatchett</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

“Who Killed Eggins?” Remastered and Recut

In 2014, I wanted to make a Noir film with eggs, so I did. Who Killed Eggins?,  is my favorite film from the EMagnusTV Era (2010-2014), where I learned a lot about filmmaking without any real knowledge or education.

In 2014, I would have been 16 years old. While my peers were going on dates, buying cars, and “having fun”, I was making eggs talk in my basement. I was at a particularly awkward stage where I was a high school junior (?) taking my first filmmaking classes at a community college with twenty-somethings.

The fact that I was able to edit it in to something coherent is interesting, but I find that the sense of humor still bears resemblance to my current work even more interesting. If you watch The Bench, or Phantom, you can still see that weird humor. Glad to know I was always this weird.

I had a lot of fun recutting this film because I had forgotten a lot of jokes in it and found them hilarious in retrospect. I remember being embarrassed about making this film and thinking it was awful, but now I realize that it was not edited properly and it is a perfectly fine, little comedy short.

You can view the original here. 

I Made A Short About Pooping

It’s getting around the time of year when I made my first film, The Bench, so I decided to make another silent short film. Phantom, tells the story of one man’s strange bathroom experience.

I some how manage to shoot it all in the family bathroom without being interrupted or caught. I live with six people, so that alone is an achievement. I had a lot of fun making it and I hope you will enjoy it!.

P.S. I am slowly raising money for, A Bird in Hand. I hope to have it re-edited and back out there early next year.

Go watch Synecdoche, New York!

This is a public service announcement.

Everyone that is  reading this, go see Synecdoche, New York, as soon as you possibly can. It is my new favorite film and touched me greatly.

The film was the directorial debut of Charlie Kaufman. I love every Kaufman written film I have seen, but this one is definitely the best. I put off seeing this film because it cost $2.99 on Amazon to rent, which keeps in line with the themes of the film. I would have given much more to see this film had I known just how great it was.

I would not call this film abstract, I would call it subtle. I can’t tell you what the film is about, but I can tell you what I interpreted from it.

Synecdoche, is in large part about death, how death affects things, and how people deal with it.

“Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won’t know for twenty years. And you may never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is: it’s what you create. And even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are only here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to but it doesn’t really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope that something good will come along. Something to make you feel connected, something to make you feel whole, something to make you feel loved. And the truth is I feel so angry, and the truth is I feel so fucking sad, and the truth is I’ve felt so fucking hurt for so fucking long and for just as long I’ve been pretending I’m OK, just to get along, just for, I don’t know why, maybe because no one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own. Well, fuck everybody. Amen.”

The main point is that we spend our lives waiting, hoping for something to make it better when we could have made it better ourselves all along. It is tragic, but has an underlying feeling of hope. You can change right now. Nothing can stop you.

That is what I got out of it, but no interpretation is wrong. This is definitely a must-watch.

Lessons From Editing a Documentary Short

In September of 2016, I shot a documentary short about bird banding. A whopping NINE months later, I now have a cut that I like.

When I completed the production of the film, I had a Dell laptop with an Intel i7 processor, 8gb of RAM, and a subpar graphics card. The screen couldn’t even do 1080p. Fast forward to the present and I’m writing this on an iMac with 12gb of RAM, a Radeon HD graphics card, and a screen that can display a little over 2K resolution.  I also didn’t have the full Creative Cloud either.

Equipment doesn’t make films, people do. However, equipment does dictate when your film is going to come out.

I shot the b-roll for the film on the Canon C100 Mark I and the interview portion on my trusty Nikon D3100. My little laptop can handle my Nikon and most DSLRs more than adequately, but the C100 shoots in AVCHD which is larger than the MP4 files of standard DSLRs.

Editing a documentary is difficult. Everyone says that, but until you’re in the trenches, you don’t quite believe it. I didn’t believe it. I had a vision for what I wanted, but the film itself, had different ideas.

You are trying to represent these people’s lives as accurately as possible. It is an immense responsibility. For me, since I was so close to the subject, I tried to view it as an outsider and just show it objectively. As humans, we are innately biased, so being truly objective is pretty much impossible. What I did to combat this, was assemble a focus group of sorts. I got someone who was there to view it to see if it was a fair representation of the events, someone who helped me develop the idea to see if I was conveying what I was trying to convey, and someone who knows nothing about it to see what I was actually conveying. The most important question to ask each individual you show your film is, simply, “What is wrong with it?”, or, “What didn’t you like?”.  We all appreciate praise, but it is rarely constructive.

I think I’ve grown a lot as a filmmaker and a person since the production of this short. The most important lesson I’ve learned through all of this, is to never give up. Thoughts of all of this footage on my hard drive would keep me up at night. Not only for my own sake, but for the subjects too. When I locked the cut into something decent after all this time, it was like a gigantic weight had been lifted off my shoulders. All the the doubt, anxiety, frustration, and work paid off into something. It was tangible.

I will keep you all updated on the film as it progresses. I wanted to share my excitement with you and let you know what I have been doing. Also, there should be a new video next week about a certain political event happening in my state. I will be filming it tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Gray Catbird (Still from A Bird Hand)
A still of a Gray Catbird from, “A Bird in Hand.”