Hello, Reddit. My name is Mason Rey. When I was 11, I saw Blade Runner and knew I wanted to be a director. Now at 33, my first film (Lamp Light) just came out on all major digital retailers after premiering at the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival. It took a personal loan of $10k, 5 years of filming (mostly alone), losing 45 pounds in 2 months, traveling across three states, a lot of help from friends/family/strangers, and a boat load of industrial strength Tums, but it's done! Now I'm here and eager to answer any questions one might have about writing, making, festival...ing, and selling a film in the digital era.

If you're interested in the film, Lamp Light is the story of a schlub named Don Gos that's at the end of his rope. A sudden tunnel collapse, while driving, leaves Don hopelessly trapped in his car and forced to face his personal demons. With the help of another survivor, Don clears out the ruins of his life while evading the suffocating grip of his mountainous tomb.

Here's the trailer on youtube and here's the trailer on Vimeo. If you like it and want to check out the full film on Amazon, iTunes, or Google, I sure as hell won't stop you!

Proof on the Film's FB Page. A screenshot for the lazy. Even more proof if you want to see horrors beyond imagining my mom thinks I'm handsome.

*Update\* I'm going to keep answering every single gorgeous question you folks ask, so please keep them coming. Nothing is getting buried. Mrs Rey has been nice enough to come help me some because they're coming in a little fast at the moment but don't slow down. :)

*Updater\* I fucking love you people. I've been answering questions for 12 hours straight and I will continue to answer every single question until I can't lift my head anymore. If I've missed your question, it was not intentional, tag my username and I'll hit it up tonight or in the morning. Thank you SO much to everyone that was nice enough to ask, comment, troll, and updoot. I've really loved this and it's felt really lovely to be able to help people struggling with the same fears and pains I did. Keep at it folks!

*Updated\* Well, I think I answered every question, comment, and troll. I had a blast! Thanks to everyone for their support. And hey, future redditor. If you find this thread and want to ask a question, reach out. I'll be happy to help if I'm logged in :) Take care!

Comments: 390 • Responses: 101  • Date: 

ms2guy293 karma

What led you to chase your dream at 28? What did you leave behind?

MasonTheDirector285 karma

Well, I wanted to start it right away out of high school but I was kind of a lazy dreamer. It took a few years of working in the real world to motivate me. I eventually thought going to film school would help me out (big mistake, it didn't really teach me how to make movies) so that was 4 years of my life wasted. :/

I still have my day job until I see where this all pans out so I haven't left much behind other than a lot of sleepless nights, lol.

Daddy_0103104 karma

What does film school teach you?

MasonTheDirector280 karma

Not much. A lot of film programs don't even require you to touch a camera to graduate. It's a lot of film theory and looking at the "why" of film making, not the "how". It CAN help you in tangential ways but if you're going to film school to learn the technical details of how to shoot/edit/light a movie, go to youtube. It taught me more than anything I learned in film school.

Daddy_0103133 karma

Interesting...and disappointing.

MasonTheDirector171 karma

Trust me, it was. While I'm not upset that I went, those four years of my life could have been spent huffing on actual film sets and hustling for film work which would have given me a very real amount of experience. No one is going to give you a film and let you direct because you have a degree. It means nothing to anyone in the industry. You will meet film people, and connections really matter, but past that...save your money or get an MBA. lol

Iplaymeinreallife12 karma

But like, didn't you need those years to know what sort of experience was worth soaking up and what wasn't?

MasonTheDirector32 karma

I get what you mean but to me, that's kinda like saying "Don't you need to fall down a 200 foot cliff to understand how painful it is as well as how good it feels to not be in agony?" Um, I'll just take the advice and avoid the pain. ;p

Film school is great for some folks. And in a tangential way, I'm sure it did help me... but if I could go back, I would skip that particular degree.

Toxicscrew23 karma

Sounds like Kevin Smith’s story, except no YouTube in the early 90’s

MasonTheDirector20 karma

He's not wrong.

moody_dudey17 karma

Idk where you went to school, but this is not the case for many film programs. Honestly, it sounds more like you mistook a Film Studies program for film school... Film studies is like English Literature.

Hell, even my random college in the northeast offered a ton of hands-on classes to learn how to light/shoot/edit a movie as part of the film studies program.

MasonTheDirector14 karma

Oh yeah, definitely. I get what you're saying. I ACTIVELY wanted to participate in hands on technical learning so I took classes that focused on that but they weren't mandatory in my degree. It was possible for someone to be a film school graduate and never touch a camera. I don't know what NYU's program is doing but I'm sure it's amazing. But not a lot of people are getting into NYU.

Every college is different but for me, and a lot of the people I've met in the industry, film school was a waste of time for everything but the connections made.

LatteTigre3 karma

Wow... As someone considering going to film school or learning screenwriting, this is enlightening.

MasonTheDirector4 karma

There is stuff to be gained going to film school. But if you're taking out a 40k+ loan to get a piece of paper thinking that it's going to make you a filmmaker or even get you in the door somewhere...well... :(

Hyde_873 karma

Like most things nowadays...I am a self taught developer and a lot of developers will tell you that you can learn more by yourself than in school, but it's a scary road to take and we need more to show, in your case, a movie which is awesome.

MasonTheDirector5 karma

I mean, it's just awe inspiring how much content is out there, for free, just to teach us things. I renovated my house SOLELY by using youtube. It's just amazing. Technology is amazing.

DaTacoSauce3 karma

Hashtag not all film schools. Regardless I respect your tenacity in this project and I can’t wait to watch it!

robstach3 karma

Súper insightful comment about how much higher learning really prepares you for the career of job you want to do.

MasonTheDirector9 karma

I don't know why you used an accent mark in "super" but it lends more credence to the word and I'm going to start spelling it as such.

HyperlinkToThePast21 karma

I'm a lazy dreamer too, about to turn 27. Hoping I can finally get my shit together this year. Wasted 5 years at a job already.

MasonTheDirector30 karma

Rodney Dangerfield was 46 before he hit it big. You got time ;)

GeanCanach2114 karma

I work in LA in the film business; don’t go to film school. Come here, get a job as a PA (production assistant) and learn about the business on the fly. You will learn more in a month on a movie set than you will in 4 years of film school and you’ll also meet tons of other like minded people. No one in Hollywood cares what film school you went to.

MasonTheDirector9 karma

This guy films.

ms2guy10 karma

Why did you find film school unproductive? How far back did you have the idea for your screenplay?

MasonTheDirector25 karma

Why did you find film school unproductive?

It's more about film theory than the technical/physical creation of a film. I'm sure people can get value from their film degrees but half your time is spent with electives and the other half is spent talking about why a director used blue curtains in a scene...not exactly making someone directly into a director.

How far back did you have the idea for your screenplay?

I started thinking about what film I would make back in high school. I had a HUNDRED ideas scribbled down and saved on Word docs but all of them were too big for my budget. It wasn't until towards the end of college that I started getting serious about making the film and knew I needed a smaller scale story to realistically film. It's a wise idea to write for the size of your budget. Lamp Light largely takes place in one location and that was very much intentional. That, in and of itself, provided a lot of challenges but it solved a lot of money issues. Save the intergalactic space epic for your second film ;)

Semantiks8 karma

talking about why a director used blue curtains in a scene

in retrospect, have you ever looked at a directing decision of yours and thought "hmm... thats why they're blue. maybe i did learn something..." :p

MasonTheDirector24 karma

No. Because on an indie set, the curtains are blue because that's what Nana had and she's staying at your Aunt Lisa's for the week so you have the whole house to shoot in uninterrupted, for free. :p

wishihadaps43 karma

Hey man as a dude who gave up on his dreams on working in film and turning 28 this year I want to say I'm proud of you. I like to read and hear people following there dreams and succeeding. Better than living an unfilling depressing life. Hope this film opens many doors for you.

MasonTheDirector3 karma

Thank you so much for saying that. It means a lot to hear. I honestly didn't make the film to make any money. I still don't know if it will, lol. I made it to say "this is what I can do when I have NOTHING, imagine what I can do if you trust me with SOMETHING." So I hope it opens doors too.

I'm sad to hear that you gave up but who knows what great and interesting things are ahead for you. Don't be hard on yourself and listen to Picard.

And, hey...I hope you get your PS4.

AtheistComic80 karma

You have to confirm your age to watch the trailer so I can tell you right now a lot of people are not gonna watch it. Can you post it somewhere that doesn’t require an age confirmation? I would like to watch it but I’m not signing in

MasonTheDirector80 karma

Interesting. Give that a go:
https://vimeo.com/260873484

AtheistComic35 karma

Jesus that looks horrifying! Thank you for sharing that via vimeo.

MasonTheDirector34 karma

Haha! It always puts a smile on my face when I can momentarily traumatize people. I guess that says a lot about me.

macjonald7 karma

Oh wow! What a fantastic concept! I love it - wish you all the success! Actually really want to see this.

MasonTheDirector22 karma

Thank you so much! Please do and leave a review, my kids are going to need college.

TheShowerDrainSniper2 karma

But who is coming?!

MasonTheDirector2 karma

Well, you'll have to rent it to find out. ;)

moonskye30 karma

I’m so proud of you! 💗

What was your wife’s reaction to all of this?

Have your kids seen the film?

MasonTheDirector54 karma

I'm really lucky in that I've had a really supportive wife. She's a big film fan so she was very positive and excited to watch the movie get made. I couldn't have asked for a better cheerleader. That being said, she was super excited to have the literal two tons of rock and crushed Honda OUT of the garage. lol

My kids have not seen it as there is a LOT of no no words in the movie. But I'm sure they will one day. They have watched me edit parts and screamed "Daddy!" when they saw footage of me on the computer screen. lol

iNeedMoreSpeed29 karma

I'm always so curious about the screenplay, and it's the one thing very few people ask about, and the thing that creators hardly ever bring up themselves, so I have a bunch of questions! :)

  • How long did it take you to write the script?
  • How did you decide to get feedback for it? How did you decide whether to take the feedback and make changes or throw out the advice?
  • Did you ever feel discouraged from making the whole thing at the screenwriting phase of the creation process?
  • Were you ever nervous that maybe this was a bad film on the page, thus making you nervous about embarking on the project to begin with? If so, how did you overcome that fear?
  • How much of it did you change once you and the actor got on set, or did you prefer sticking with what was on the page as much as possible?

MasonTheDirector64 karma

How long did it take you to write the script?

I'm reminded of the famous quote “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” lol. It very much felt like that. The script took about 9 months to write after work and on weekends. But it never felt finished...more on that in your later question.

How did you decide to get feedback for it? How did you decide whether to take the feedback and make changes or throw out the advice?

That's a good question because if you ignore what anyone says, you run the risk of making a film so myopic that no one likes it but you. On the other hand, a hundred people have a hundred different opinions and you run the risk of losing your artistic voice to make something bland. Ultimately, I put it in the hands of people that had similar tastes as me, so I respected their opinions. Giving your David Lynch style thriller to a Michael Bay fanatic won't give you the feedback you need.

I also asked them specific questions about scenes that I was on the fence about. I had them attack my weak points and didn't just leave it all up to them to discuss. It helped narrow down where the problem areas were and made me feel better about the end product.

Did you ever feel discouraged from making the whole thing at the screenwriting phase of the creation process?

Oh yes. But, the cure for all writers block is to get in your car and drive. No radio. Just drive. Your mind goes to interesting places when you have nothing but yourself and the road to think about.

Were you ever nervous that maybe this was a bad film on the page, thus making you nervous about embarking on the project to begin with? If so, how did you overcome that fear?

The self doubt never stops. Even now when it's done. You just have to learn how to focus it into something constructive. Be your own harshest critic and your end product will always be better. There's nothing wrong with thinking what you've made is garbage because then you can start fixing it.

How much of it did you change once you and the actor got on set, or did you prefer sticking with what was on the page as much as possible?

The film I wrote and shot are massively different. You have to trust what feels right in the moment on set because that's REAL. That's life. When you're writing, you're trying to convey ideas. You aren't in the heat of the moment. You aren't living the situation the characters are in. So you should always change to fit the reality of the situation. Words are cheap and can be replaced.

iNeedMoreSpeed19 karma

love it, thanks for taking the time to reply to all this! It's such a rare treat to hear about that facet of the process :)

MasonTheDirector19 karma

I'm happy to oblige :)

kyldare17 karma

Dude! This is an awesome AMA. Thanks for the thorough responses. I'm a writer by trade (stuff for magazines, generally), and have always dreamed of writing a screenplay. Haven't followed through, yet. This is giving me some serious motivation. Thanks! And good luck with the film's release!

MasonTheDirector11 karma

There you go starting to get me in the feels. You're very welcome. I'm so happy that I could help boost your motivation. It's worth giving it a shot for many reasons, the least of which is that it will help improve your storytelling ability overall. Script writing helps you distill the essence of a scene and helps you focus what you want to say in your writing.

Just remember what my old friend Bill Shakes' used to say. "Brevity is the soul of wit." If you can get your character's motivation across with 2 words instead of 20, then do it. That's especially true with a script where every word is precious.

runnerofshadows22 karma

Having been inspired by blade runner - would you like to make a cyberpunk or neo-noir film at some point?

MasonTheDirector40 karma

Are you kidding? ! CD PROJEKT RED can call me anytime.

carltheawesome21 karma

What would you most like to tell us that no one ever asks about?

MasonTheDirector70 karma

The main character is only seen ONCE, with another character, in the same frame. Even when he's interacting with other characters, you never see them together but in one very specific scene. I did this on purpose to help aid with the feeling of isolation. It's something you might not notice until the end of the film or upon a second viewing but I think it helps make you feel like he's all alone in this hell he's in.

BigBeanBoy20 karma

Hi Mason, my name is Sam. I'm 26 and from Canada. When I was 23 I made a feature film in a similar situation to yours. I wrote, directed, produced, acted and edited in my film. It's called A Dog In Paris. We filmed in Toronto and Paris. I self-funded it with money from my day job. After years of applying to festivals like Atlanta I gave up and just released the movie on YouTube. I was wondering if you had any advice for a fellow filmmaker who just couldn't seem to make the festival circuit?

Movie link below.

https://youtu.be/YTyTaii1LXo

Congrats on your success!!!

MasonTheDirector19 karma

Thank you for your question and sharing your story. It's important people see this because I DIDN'T reach the goals I set out to make. I told myself when I started college that I was going to make a movie and everyone would see my genius and bring me trucks full of money to make the next Matrix. lol. That didn't happen. But I did make my film and I'm proud of it.

Even if a film goes "nowhere", you still have something to be proud of because where others simply talked about doing something, you actually did it.

As with all things in life, Picard says it best...It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.

Toxicscrew20 karma

What’s next?

MasonTheDirector43 karma

My writing partner and I have a WWII horror film we've written up on The Black List called The Industry of Crows that we'd LOVE to get made but we'll have to see how Lamp Light sells before that can even be entertained. Time will tell.

Toxicscrew16 karma

I’m intrigued, hope it works out. Good luck at the festivals.

MasonTheDirector25 karma

The festivals are all wrapped for me (you're only allowed to submit the year it was finished) so now it's just available for viewing :)

Thanks for your question!

I_AM_PLUNGER4 karma

Holy cow a WWII horror film sounds cool. There may be others but I don’t think I’ve seen one yet. Thanks for the AMA, I loved the trailer and I’m dying to watch the movie during the week when I’m not working as much.

MasonTheDirector10 karma

I'm actually more proud of it than I am Lamp Light, lol. It's like The Great Escape meets The Thing and I freaking LOVE it. If it never gets made into a movie, I'll turn it into a full book. It's worth the effort.

Force_5216 karma

What frustrated you the most about the whole journey? What was the closest you came to giving up, and how did you get past it?

MasonTheDirector29 karma

What frustrated you the most about the whole journey?

Festival rejections were really hard to take. Every time I got one, it felt like a personal slap because I had put so much of myself into the film. But once you get into one, you feel vindicated.

What was the closest you came to giving up

I think at the start of filming was the closest time. Because my character gets trapped in the car and the film calls for me to lose a lot of weight to show my survival, the film had to be shot in chronological order. So the start of the film is actually the start of the film's production. I had a lot of technical problems and issues with locations that really just made me want to quit. I ended up scrapping 90% of the first act and reshooting because of those issues.

How did you get past it?

I'm pretty sure I'm still traumatized from those early days of filming. lol. But in the moment, it wasn't hard to get past simply because I had already put in so much work. Quitting wasn't an option. How could I quit when I had spent so much time, energy, lover, money, and attention into the film? How could I look my friends and family in the eye and say that I just gave up? I couldn't.

Force_5210 karma

That's really inspirational, honestly. Do you have any plans in place for your next project yet? And of all the things that have been said about your movie, what's been the most impactful?

MasonTheDirector29 karma

To quote from a previous question:

My writing partner and I have a WWII horror film we've written up on The Black List called The Industry of Crows that we'd LOVE to get made but we'll have to see how Lamp Light sells before that can even be entertained. Time will tell.

And of all the things that have been said about your movie, what's been the most impactful?

When the movie premiered, I could hear people behind me crying at a particular emotional scene towards the end of the film. As odd as that sounds, THAT was the first time that I knew I hadn't failed as a director. Even if the film didn't go anywhere from that point on, I felt like a legitimate director from that point on because I made someone feel something. In my head, my job is to make my audience feel. Whether it's fear, sadness, joy, whatever...I have to TRICK people into feeling something using just 24 frames in a second and some audio. Everything on the screen is fake but if I can make it so real that you forget it's fake for a moment and empathize with the character to the point of tears...well... I've done my job.

wedonotglow15 karma

A few pregundas:

What was it like seeing your film displayed on the big screen for the first time?

Also I love the ATL film festival! Which film block were you in and did your film premiere at the Plaza?

MasonTheDirector19 karma

What was it like seeing your film displayed on the big screen for the first time?

I cried. It was surreal to spend five years of your life dreaming of a singular moment and then, after all the waiting, to be IN that very moment. It was overwhelming to see all the pain, frustration, sleepless night, and technical joys up on a massive silver screen.

Did your film premiere at the Plaza?

It did premiere there!
https://www.atlantafilmfestival.com/2018/lamp-light

wedonotglow7 karma

That's awesome! I forgot the blocks were for short films. Congratulations on sticking to your dream man!

MasonTheDirector5 karma

Thanks!

BleachedWhale2 karma

Could you lose yourself in the moment, and enjoy the film as a film - or were you thinking "I wish we had gone for that other option on the object in that scene, but that moth#$f&ker screwed up the finish, and was out of budget......"?

MasonTheDirector6 karma

At that stage, I had literally seen my film (due to editing and export reviewing) probably 20-30 times. Literally. So I was very much numb to all the personal complaints I have (and still have) with the film. I'm more aware of the film's shortcomings than ANYONE ever will be so that didn't bother me at the point. I was really in the moment and just enjoying how far I had come. Kinda how I am now, talking to you fine people.

CRITICAL914 karma

How did you get the money to make it?

MasonTheDirector31 karma

I saved a little from working my day job but most of the $10k came from a small "personal loan" from a local bank. It's not a huge amount to a bank so they don't need much collateral and I have pretty good credit.

I spent another $5k of miscellaneous money over the next 5 years of filming. Spread out, it didn't hurt much. Mostly for replacing broken gear and paying people to do jobs for the film I couldn't do directly (sfx work/music/so on). That just came out of my normal paycheck.

CRITICAL99 karma

So $15k altogether? Not bad not bad. I'm worrying about finacing my grad film at the moment, I don't want to spend a lot if money on it but good locations aren't cheap. Anyway, thanks and well done.

MasonTheDirector41 karma

For locations:

  1. Make a spreadsheet of the locations you need. Then google, for instance hospitals or a gas station, and just email them. Be SUPER polite and humble and just ask. It costs nothing and a lot of places are willing to help out if you don't make it hard on them or shoot at an off hour. I called 15-20 hospitals across 3 states before I found one willing to work with me. It took a lot of work but I got the room for free to shoot in.
  2. Steal a shot if you have to. Just avoid landmarks that give away where you were and be quick about it but plenty of classic films stole shots ( the famous "I'm WALKIN' HERE!" from Midnight Cowboy for instance).
    1. Make your camera not look like a camera if you can help it. It draws attention and people will narc on you.
  3. Forests are free. That's why 99% of B movies take place in them. I couldn't work one into my movie but if you can, do.

Daddy_010314 karma

How do you get added/invited to a film festival?

MasonTheDirector27 karma

You submit your film according to each specific festivals guidelines and dates. Each festival has an entry fee (around $40-50 a pop) so make sure you have at least 2-3k saved up at the end of filming for a bunch of festival submissions. Also, make sure you're applying your film to the right festivals (no point in sending your narrative film to a documentary festival) and be prepared to get a lot of rejections. You're a nobody so they aren't going to put your film before BIG NAME STAR'S NEXT INDIE FILM!

Slvrandblk12 karma

What was the main camera gear and lens you shot on?

MasonTheDirector17 karma

YAY! Finally a tech question!

There were two big things I wanted for the film when it came to the look of it. 1) Heavy shadows 2) Minimal lighting. I wanted the film to feel plausible in how it was lit even though I had a whole lighting set up to simulate a single bulb from the overhead light of a car. So I needed good dynamic range and low light performance.

I shot on the BMCC 2k. At the time it was, by far, the best bang for your buck due to the dynamic range. Also, it shot on RAW which I knew I would need because as also the film's camera man and cinematographer, I couldn't be behind the lens the whole time to make sure the exposure was perfect. Shooting on RAW gave me some working room.

For the lenses, to help with low light, I tried to only shoot on super bright primes. I was cramped in the car so I also needed wide angles. That kept a lot of my shooting to the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G. I'd say 80% of the interiors were shot with it. Occasionally, I needed the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II for when I needed to get the whole of the interior in the shot.

DougLangway110 karma

What was the hardest part of filming?

MasonTheDirector32 karma

The self doubt. Every night when you go to bed, every day when you press record on the camera, every time you edit a scene, you can't help but think you're wasting your time. You feel in your gut that no one will like it or will care. You tell yourself that what you're doing isn't going to mean anything. There is this constant nagging feeling that everyone is internally mocking you when you tell them what you're doing. It's a black cloud that follows you around.

With all of it, you just have to fight the demons. Every...fucking...time. You have to keep pushing because if you don't try, you'll never know if you could have made your dream work. I think that's common with anyone following some great hope of theirs.

BleachedWhale6 karma

Francis Ford Coppola felt exactly the same about Apocalypse Now.

MasonTheDirector5 karma

You know, I've been saying for YEARS that I'm exactly like Francis Ford Coppola. No one would listen :p

I_am_usually_a_dick10 karma

stupid question but if I watch it on Amazon do they pay you? I guess my question is did they give you a bulk payment up front for rights to show it or do you get residuals based on number of views?

sorry if that is a dumb question but I have never fully understood how money and movies work. take a movie like Blair Witch or Saw that were made on a dime and made millions, does all the profit go to the producers only? seems like a rigged game if so.

MasonTheDirector13 karma

You do your username no justice by being overly polite with your question ;p

That's not a stupid question at all! The answer is complicated though because every distribution deal is different.

For me, when you purchase it, Amazon takes a cut and sends the profits over to the distributor. From there, all money from sales and rentals gets divided up to the respective parties that was initially agreed upon. The distributor gets a %, the sales agent gets a %, and all the parties involved in the distribution deal get their % (me). Distribution contracts are SUPER complicated and intricate and get negotiated in a million different ways so there's no one way to answer it.

Plan_Bee_Keepers9 karma

How in the world do you do every part of a movie by yourself???

MasonTheDirector15 karma

That's a question I asked myself when I started. Lol. I should clarify that I did have a lot of help from friends and family. The associate producer on the film, Nathan Goss, helped me with a lot of the prep work and prop work. My other friend, Jess Pouncy, also helped with set decorations. The music was largely done by my good friend from the band Supine Sea. So there was a lot of help.

But to answer your question directly, one bite at a time, as you go. The internet age has made learning so effortless. A lot of the technical details about how to light, how to edit, how to color, how to submit to festivals, and so on, is all on youtube. The amount of free teaching out there for people hungry to learn about cameras and all the technical bits is astounding. The hardest part is being motivated to do it all and putting in the time. That passion/insanity isn't something I know how to teach.

Plan_Bee_Keepers5 karma

Trailer looks great, btw. I’ll be giving it a watch for sure.

MasonTheDirector5 karma

Thanks!

Rahludan8 karma

If you could go back to the start of the movie and do something different, what would it be?

MasonTheDirector30 karma

I'd edit it all on Apple hardware/software. NOT because it's better but because the industry, at the indie level, doesn't seem to give a fuck about anything other than ProRes and a lot of 3rd party gear/hardware/software prioritizes Apple.

It's frustrating because I didn't have much of a budget for the film ($10k total) but what little I did have went to getting the equipment I needed for editing. Half the budget went to building a computer that could handle the BMCC 2k raw footage. At the time, I bought and built (PC MASTER RACE!) twice the editing power with a PC but I ended up having to deal with SOOOO much stress finding work arounds and trying to figure out solutions to problems that wouldn't have existed if I had just been one of the herd and gotten an Apple. Sigh.

mvenice16 karma

Or you could just use OS X on your pc. Not going to lie it’s a pain to get working right.

MasonTheDirector12 karma

It seemed like a MASSIVE headache 6 years ago when I was doing the prep work. And like you say, you're just exchanging one set of headaches for another. Best just to break down and submit. lol.

CChocobo4 karma

It’s less awful now I believe, but yeah still a struggle. Having OS X “just work” is a big plus.

I face a similar challenge with Sketch and a bevy of UI/UX tools that are OSX only. I’d really rather not shell out $3.5k on a new MacBook but it’s looking grim.

MasonTheDirector3 karma

TheStorMan5 karma

What kind of problems did you meet trying to do it on Windows? Were the cameras and equipment available geared towards Apple?

MasonTheDirector5 karma

So many. The biggest was that the VOD company that handles all the big companies' uploads only take ProRes video files which is difficult to work with outside the Apple biosphere. Also, lots of 3rd part plug ins and camera gear has software that's either Apple exclusive or just works better with Apple because they prioritized it.

NegativeStock3 karma

Pro Res is on Premiere Pro CC. It mightn't have been while you were filming though. I also had Pro Res on windows for years through an odd incident but now anyone can have it. You can also install Avid codecs for free on Premiere Pro but now apparently they too are included on Premiere Pro.

Also, before, if you wanted to be able to watch apple codec footage on windows you HAVE to install Quicktime, which is apples media player. There was always these prerequisists to getting windows editing up and running like installing Quicktime and installing Avid DNxHD codec packs. Not doing this would fuck a lot of people up and dramatically hinder your editing capabilities. Now it's all built in, you may still have to install Quicktime though.

MasonTheDirector6 karma

Oh yeah, it's on Premiere Pro NOW. lol. Only after I went through hell and back. And from what I hear, it's still buggy and doesn't want to play nice with multiple file formats in the same timeline. It's SUCH a headache. Thinking about it gives me that 1,000 yard-stare you only see in veterans of wars and film editors lol.

anon1208 karma

What would you say was the most difficult aspect of coming up with the script? What was the process like for you?

MasonTheDirector29 karma

Great question.

Leveling out the tone was probably the hardest part. Lamp Light is a very sad movie but you can't really ask your audience to be sad for 90 minutes. You can make a movie about drowning puppies for two solid hours but no one will want to watch it. So, I put a lot of levity/humor in the film to break up the heavy loneliness/drama that goes on for the whole of the movie. At the same time, you don't want to make your drama too jokey and lose the emotional impact you're going for. I would put each scene on a post it note while I was writing, red for sad scenes and blue for levity scenes. If I noticed there were a bunch of red scenes in a row, I would try and write a blue scene to break up the heaviness. I think it really helped to keep the audience entertained and the film flowing.

chanakya0098 karma

How did you lose the 45 pounds?

MasonTheDirector21 karma

Great question!

Painfully. lol. I wanted it done as soon as possible as I was sort of reaching a deadline with myself and my family over the ending of filming. I wanted it wrapped so we could sell out current house and move. That meant losing the weight fast and unhealthy.

I don't like exercise because I'm a shitty person so everything I did was around diet. I ate 300 calories of pure protein every day with a multivitamin. That usually meant some chicken (Boars Head Teriyaki is great!) with mustard and a pickle for dinner. That's it. I lost roughly a pound a day. I had a couple days where I cheated but I mostly stuck to it. I wish I could have lost even MORE weight for the film but I was running out of time.

I know what I did was super unhealthy and don't recommend it, but I don't smoke or drink so I figure that would balance it out in terms of "things that took years off my life". lol

MilesJacobMusic5 karma

...holy fucking shit

MasonTheDirector3 karma

It wasn't as bad as it sounds. Your stomach kind of just gives up bitching after the first week or two.

throwawaybutforchang6 karma

From that description, I know what I’m watching today! For my question, what’s next now that you’ve made it?

MasonTheDirector3 karma

I kind of answered this in another question so I'll quote it and say that I would LOVE to keep making films but only time will tell if that can happen.

My writing partner and I have a WWII horror film we've written up on The Black List called The Industry of Crows that we'd LOVE to get made but we'll have to see how Lamp Light sells before that can even be entertained. Time will tell.

pe8ter6 karma

What's your cut if I buy the movie on iTunes?

MasonTheDirector14 karma

That's tough to say without getting my first royalty statement, which will come every 3 months, because I think all the companies take a different cut. But it's somewhere north of 60%, I believe, after all the dogs get their share of the bowl. lol Once big benefit of being the only producer, financier, and risk holder, is that I get all the profits. Much risked, much rewarded.

memooohc6 karma

What inspired you to write such a story? Does any scene have any special meanings for you?

MasonTheDirector9 karma

What inspired you to write such a story?

I think any good film sets out to ask a question. So, I originally started out writing with the question in mind of "What would it take to break a man? Just break him down to his base instincts,fears, wants, and desires. To make him question everything about himself." It reminded me a lot, when I was writing, about The Book of Job in the Bible. I'm a former Catholic so I'm very familiar with the story of the Devil doing everything he could to break Job and renounce god. That story was a lot of what was in my head when I started to write. I kept thinking, "What if the devil had won? What if he broke Job? What would that look like?". That's the core of the film.

The actual setting of the story itself came from me driving in a tunnel. lol. The SAME tunnel you see in the film. It's in Tennessee and it's a very strange "one lane" tunnel. Usually they're multi-lane. It's very claustrophobic and I kept thinking "MAN, it would suck if I got stuck in here." I then realized that it would make an ideal scenario for the movie I wanted to make.

Does any scene have any special meanings for you?

I don't want to spoil the film but there is a significant reveal towards the end of the film and it deal with loss. I wrote that scene from a personal experience with loss and the film is dedicated to that person for that reason.

theutzigs5 karma

is that the same as this?

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt6039800/

MasonTheDirector3 karma

Sure is. Thanks for reminding me that I need to update that! lol.

theutzigs4 karma

I was just confused as to why that said 2016, and you said it was coming out this week

MasonTheDirector4 karma

Production wrapped in 2016. It spent a year and a half on the festival hunt and then took a year to distribute.

DocsDelorean4 karma

how did you get money to make a movie?

MasonTheDirector3 karma

I took out a small personal loan with a local bank of $10k, using my car as collateral. Over the film's 5 years of production, I spent around another $5k in disposable income on miscellaneous services and bits of equipment.

Vrezhg4 karma

Love the camera work leading up to collapse, really cool angles and eerie without sound.

Can you post a part of the screenplay up? I was writing one a long time ago and got some feedback that it was too detailed and would be better as a book.

Curious to see how much of the story is written in detail by you and how much of it is left up to the interpretation of the director during filming.

MasonTheDirector5 karma

I would LOVE to...but I'm not going to because that would be the OPPOSITE of what you need, lol. I wrote Lamp Light literally for ME. Just me. I knew I was going to be shooting it and acting in it so a lot of the script is VERY wordy and overly detailed so that I could remind future me what I was going for. Showing you the script of Lamp Light to help you figure out what you shouldn't do is like going to Charlie Sheen for sobriety tips.

Vrezhg3 karma

Lmao fair enough, mine had a similar problem. I was very detailed, maybe too detailed ahead of time.

I guess it’s more of a problem if someone else is meant to shoot the movie.

MasonTheDirector6 karma

Do this. Make a list of your top 5 films. Then head over to https://www.imsdb.com/ to find their scripts. Because they're your favorite films, you've probably seen them a bunch and know most of them by heart. But being able to read their scripts will show you just how much was left out of the words and how much the director created with the camera. It will give you perspective.

Vrezhg3 karma

Uhhhhh awesome. Why did I think scripts were like top secret or something. Thanks for the website!

MasonTheDirector2 karma

Haha, happy to help. That's what AMAs are for! :)

Adil_Kiyani4 karma

I'm 23 and I've recently graduated from college, I wanted to go to film school but my parents forced me to acquire a conventional education. I've wanted to make movies since I was 15 but I don't know the first thing about the process or editing or even the various intricacies of camera angles and operations. I'm currently working and saving up so I can go to film school now because I'm still determined to not give up on my one and only passion. Do you have any advice that I could use? What should I do to start out? I haven't really directed anything before but I really want to start writing and shooting little shorts for basic experience. Would love you get some guidance.

MasonTheDirector9 karma

  1. Go to film school to meet people, not for the classes. The classes are important and all but you're going to get the most value out of that piece of paper by being friends with movie folks. They're the ones that will work with you for half their normal pay and recommend you for things here and there. Be friendly, be social, and connect with everyone you meet.
  2. Don't take out a student loan. You're never going to get rid of that debt and it follows you everywhere. Save, work while going to school, and look at scholarships. But don't take loans.
  3. One of your teachers is going to try and make you watch Irréversible. Skip that day.

Adil_Kiyani3 karma

I've already seen irreversible though lol, very powerful movie. Big fan of Gaspar Noe.

Jao_R4 karma

How hard was it to secure the loan? And were you super thrifty with it or did you go ham on equipment?

Btw, trailer is not available in my country.

MasonTheDirector5 karma

A CONSIDERABLE amount of time was spent making a budget. I sat down and spent WEEKS doing the pros and cons of this camera vs this camera. What I would need for camera X over camera Y. A lot of sacrifices were made and a lot of technical hoops had to be jumped through. Half the budget went into building a computer powerful enough to edit and store all the massive data I would be creating. By the time I showed up for the loan, I pretty much knew down to the penny what I would need to make the movie get rolling. A big benefit to owning everything was that I could shoot when and where I wanted with no external pressures. The downside was that I didn't have any budget really for anything else, lol. It took awhile to slowly get the funds to pay for music and SFX work.

Give that link a try: https://vimeo.com/260873484

astarisborn264 karma

Congrats on it all!! I’m similar to you, chasing my dream of making my screenplay an actual film but at a stand still bc of funding so I’m working currently on learning the backside of filming/editing with a fellow director in town. I majored in performance & directing so while I’m broke, I’m learning at least.

I’d love to know what equipment you included in your budget since this year I’m saving & working a side job just to fund my dream. Would you mind sharing?

Ps-Looks so good! Just saw the trailer, makes me so uncomfortable....LOVE IT!!!! Way to go man!!!!

MasonTheDirector2 karma

Thank you so much for your kind words. I'll quote below an answer I gave previously to a similar question but PLEASE don't go solely by it because I was looking at equipment from 6 years ago and I was looking at gear that was best for low light vs budget. So, there are probably a ton of new options out there and better option if low light isn't a priority. That being said BMCC are still amazing and I think they have a new pocket 4k that looks amazing and is cheap. We live in a GREAT time for video tech.

Do what I did, look at cameras in your price range, go to Vimeo and search that model. See what people are making on those camera (write down their lenses if they mention it too) and find something that makes the image quality/feel you're going for.

There were two big things I wanted for the film when it came to the look of it. 1) Heavy shadows 2) Minimal lighting. I wanted the film to feel plausible in how it was lit even though I had a whole lighting set up to simulate a single bulb from the overhead light of a car. So I needed good dynamic range and low light performance.

I shot on the BMCC 2k. At the time it was, by far, the best bang for your buck due to the dynamic range. Also, it shot on RAW which I knew I would need because as also the film's camera man and cinematographer, I couldn't be behind the lens the whole time to make sure the exposure was perfect. Shooting on RAW gave me some working room.

For the lenses, to help with low light, I tried to only shoot on super bright primes. I was cramped in the car so I also needed wide angles. That kept a lot of my shooting to the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G. I'd say 80% of the interiors were shot with it. Occasionally, I needed the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II for when I needed to get the whole of the interior in the shot.

Jao_R4 karma

Trailer gave me 127 Hours vibe. Similar or very different? How many shooting days did it take?

MasonTheDirector6 karma

Very different. I don't want to give much away but the main character finds another survivor and a lot happens.

It took 5 years to shoot. I didn't keep track of the days. 1 to 2 days a week on average. Every week. So lets just say 260-300 ish, based on that?

MasonTheDirector4 karma

Oh, and the loan wasn't hard to get. I had good credit from responsible credit card usage in my youth, lol. I also put my car up as collateral.

unpill4 karma

what youtube channels do you recommend for learning the technical side of filming?

MasonTheDirector4 karma

That's a great question! Red Letter Media on YouTube is the sharpest, most independent, most sincere movie analysis on the internet today. It's funny, biting, and honest in a way you rarely see on the internet. They should be watched 24/7 for film criticism and analysis.

PaulAndresen4 karma

To someone wanting to make their own film like you did, what's a piece of advice you'd give them?

MasonTheDirector20 karma

Cocaine.

Joking...that being said, you will need a lot of energy to keep yourself motivated. It will be a constant and endless trial of your patience and fortitude.

Another bit of advice is to use https://freesound.org/ to help with foley work. It's a huge free user-generated library of sounds. The amount of content that's donated by the community for artists to use, is insane. Just make sure to attribute what you use. It's what bros and broettes do.

ChiChiChicharonnnnne4 karma

  1. The trailer was awesome.

  2. You seem like a really legit dude.

  3. Did anything in your personal life inspire this film? It feels very authentic from the trailer.

MasonTheDirector5 karma

  1. Thanks! Flattery will get you everywhere.
  2. I am indeed. And, often to my detriment, far too legit to quit.
  3. MANY, MANY, MANY things. My loss of faith growing up, my own self loathing with a dead end job, and even how I personally use humor to cope with stress is in the film. It's a DEEPLY personal film and very little of the main character is wholly fictitious. People can smell fake from a mile away. I knew that if I made a film, it had to be honest. It had to have a heavy dose of reality in order for people to buy what I was selling.

morphballganon3 karma

Wait, Tums come in industrial strength?

MasonTheDirector4 karma

Everything is industrial strength if you drain the bottle for long enough.

Jablu3453 karma

it's a good film, although anguishing for my mild claustrophobia

When you choose the plot of your movie is your narrative influenced by any particular writers Say I wanted to film a Medieval story so I read up on H A Culley. Or I want to make a Catch 22 type movie and read up on the Inspector Gadget and David Copperfield books. Or a Sci fi and I read up on Alan Watts and Michio Kaku for example?

MasonTheDirector6 karma

Thanks!

I'll be honest, I didn't really do that from a literary perspective. I did do it from a film perspective though. I read scripts for films that invoked the kind of isolation and dread that I was going for. I would say that Moon and One Hour Photo were probably the biggest influences when I was writing Lamp Light. People always mention 127 Hours when they here the premise of the film, but I'm not a huge fan of it. Please don't tell Danny Boyle.

zT1TzbaT3 karma

How was your experience trying to get a distributor?

MasonTheDirector6 karma

Well, first, I got a sale's agent. Mine contacted me after I was in the ATLFF but plenty will look at your film if you proactively message them. He/she is a kind of a film distro middle man/woman. They knows all the distributors and shops your film around to all of them. They gets a small percentage of the final deal. I had around 10 distributors interested in the film, but a lot of them weren't a great fit or were only interesting in domestic rights or what have you. I finally settle on one and they've been very polite to me.

GETTING the film ready for delivery is another story. It's a LOT of work to get together all the paperwork, the E & O insurance, the legal clearance, the documentation, the file formatting, the file delivery, the crediting, and so on. It took months just to have the film ready to delivery to the distributor.

brbafterthebreak4 karma

Really makes you realize just how much work shooting a big star studded motion picture is

MasonTheDirector7 karma

Well, not to say it's easier because I wouldn't know, but they pay specialists to do it all and those specialists don't have to pull their hair out to figure out how to make it all work like I did lol

NoahTheAnimator3 karma

How do you feel about piracy?

MasonTheDirector3 karma

I'm torn. The truth is, it's not black and white.

Growing up, my mom didn't have a two dimes to give me to go see a movie. So I pirated many films. At the end of the day, I was stealing the chance to look at art. I wasn't stealing bread or heart medicine. Now that I'm older and have an "adult job" I don't pirate a thing because I know I'm voting with my dollars. If I give my money to unique films with interesting voices, MORE films like that will be made. MORE art gets made and I want to support that. If everyone that sees this post buys my movie, I'll be able to make more movies because they voted with their dollars.

Now, if some poor kid that doesn't have the cash but wants to see my movie decides to steal a look at my art, I can't be angry. He just wants to be in on what I made and, in this impulse driven digital era, that means a lot.

FIESTYgummyBEAR3 karma

[removed]

MasonTheDirector5 karma

If you live in a film town, check out the local casting calls for extras. It's not really "acting" so anyone can do it and it doesn't take a lot of time so it's def something that can be done as a hobby. I have friends that pretty much only do Extra work and they have some really fun stories to tell.

Nowado3 karma

I'm guessing you met a lot of people trying to 'make it' on the way.

How many of those who you met failed, how many succeeded? What's the success rate like?

MasonTheDirector6 karma

That's a hard things to answer because the terms "failed" and "succeeded" are so relative. If someone works every day doing something they love but never wins an Oscar, did they "fail"? I know a lot of people that were chasing their dreams and STOPPED. I know a lot of people that did this. More than half. But that's different. And there is no shame in that either. Life is what you make it.

Bill Burr might have the best advice on this.

puzzlefarmer3 karma

It’s on my Amazon watchlist now. Have you made any shorts?

MasonTheDirector3 karma

I have not. I figured if I was going to make something, I'd go all in on the first shot and prove that I could turn a profit to future investors. There isn't any money in shorts, sadly. I do like shorts though.

RanchCornNutsYes3 karma

Hi Mason!

This sort of project is something I’ve been looking to do at some point in my life - what type of equipment and editing tools were absolutely required for a good product?

Thanks for sharing!

MasonTheDirector2 karma

I used DaVinci Resolve for all the editing, coloring, and audio. It's a VERY powerful tool, largely free for everyone off the bat, and completely free if you buy a Black Magic Cinema Camera. Be warned though, it does not have ProRes support so if you want to do movie stuff, it wouldn't be great. Not at this time. I ran into a lot of problems. If you plan on doing internet content, it's amazing.

officialratman3 karma

What is one piece of advice you would give someone on making their way into the film industry? PS looking forward tie watching your film!

MasonTheDirector2 karma

Make sure that you love it. You have to love it more than anything else. Because there are a thousand other people who may love it more than you do, so if you're not 100% committed, then there's no point in even trying.

thetachi1173 karma

Congrats on the film! I'll have to see it whrn I get off.

When's the next project? Also, need a gaffer? I could send you my lighting package lol.

MasonTheDirector3 karma

Listen here, Weinstein. I know it's you. I fell for that whole "send you my lighting package" line ONCE already and I won't do it again.

As for the next project, I'll quote a previous answer.

My writing partner and I have a WWII horror film we've written up on The Black List called The Industry of Crows that we'd LOVE to get made but we'll have to see how Lamp Light sells before that can even be entertained. Time will tell.

joepaolella73 karma

I'm an aspiring filmmaker myself and it's my dream to have a film of mine screen at a major festival. Do you have any advice for people aspiring to do this? What were some of the difficulties you encountered and what was the most disheartening thing you experienced? Added your film to my watchlist!

MasonTheDirector6 karma

Do you have any advice for people aspiring to do this?

  1. Don't do it unless you want it more than anything. Because it's a thankless job that will have you constantly discouraged. Take the amount of work you think it will be to make your movie, and multiply it by a factor of 20. That's what the actual work will be like. The amount of work that goes into making a movie is insane and, looking back, I have NO idea how I did other than "I wanted more than anything in this world".
  2. Even if you're on a PC and hate Apple, do the editing and all the digital work with Apple. It will make your life SO much easier when you have the finished product.

What were some of the difficulties you encountered and what was the most disheartening thing you experienced?

  1. Finding time. I could only really shoot after my day job and after my kid (later kids) were asleep. Or I had to take off work to do an especially complicated/timely scene. The main reason the film took 5 years to shoot was just because I didn't have the time to shoot. A few hours here, a few hours there, so on.
  2. File /software issues at the end of shooting. There are a lot of technical specifications that have to be met to deliver your film to the distributor. I ran into a lot of issues with getting the film ready to go because of (as previously mentioned) the whole PC to Apple/ProRes/Multiple editing software issues thing. I essentially had to convert the film three different times across two different editing suites to get it ready to be delivered. Once again, don't fight Apple. lol.

Added your film to my watchlist!

I <3 You

KaidanTONiO3 karma

  1. Even if you're on a PC and hate Apple, do the editing and all the digital work with Apple. It will make your life SO much easier when you have the finished product.

Why Apple, specifically? Do they have Mac-restricted software that a souped up PC build can't use?

MasonTheDirector2 karma

For instance, the company that handles the Amazon, Google, and VOD uploads ONLY take ProRes as their file format. ProRes, until recently, was LARGELY restricted and proprietary to Apple editing software. So you had to jump through hoops to get your DaVinci Resolve file to export a ProRes file. So you export and PRAY that it worked but you wouldn't know if it worked until you were done encoding which, for a 90 minute 2k films, took HOURS to attempt.

KaidanTONiO3 karma

Holy crap does Apple have a monopoly on the film market. I know that some creative YouTubers would use Mac for their stuff, and I wondered why, when PC has come so far.

Maybe some of them do it because they're just Mac people, but your testament brings more meaning. I could make the best videos I want in 4K MP4 or whatever the camera recors in, and it's considered anathema to professionals, is that it?

Unless I convert it with ProRes, which you say USED to be Apple-exclusive? In that case, PC hardware for the win!

MasonTheDirector3 karma

Youtube doesn't care about ProRes so if you want to make content for that, go nuts with any file format you please. For film industry stuff though, it's ProRes the majority of the time.

ProRes is now available for Adobe CC which is a HUGE win but also not perfect. I still saw export bugs from it.

joepaolella71 karma

Thanks so much! I also watched Blade Runner at a yoing age and fell in love with films because of it!

MasonTheDirector6 karma

It's such a captivating and timeless film. Narrative issues aside, it works on so many levels. RIP Rutger Hauer

nilbog4202 karma

Is cool cats a reference to kindergarten?

MasonTheDirector2 karma

Sponge Bob taught me that anything is possible with imagination.

EnderAurora32 karma

What got you to believe in yourself even if your dream at some times seemed crazy and unrealistic?

MasonTheDirector3 karma

Here's the thing. You got one shot at life. One. Even if you believe in an afterlife, it's AFTER life. So you have to live. Live as big as you can. The fear of death is a hell of a motivator.

MasonTheDirector3 karma

Lots of self-delusion, dreams of grandeur, and I had a very supportive wife. lol

ingrownnail1 karma

Glad and proud. Maybe let us see the trailer for free and then pay to see the film? Would love to see the trailer and it might get me to pay to watch the film

MasonTheDirector3 karma

The trailer is free on youtube and linked in the body of the post. But I don't mind linking you personally because that's the kind of stand up fella I am. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SHp6cAxdVM

ingrownnail2 karma

Thanks, I watched trailer and liked it.I'm going to watch the film. Congrats!!

I'm working on a script and going to dress up as all the characters :p

MasonTheDirector3 karma

Thanks, and I hope your nail gets better.

martusfine1 karma

How did you lose 45 pounds in two months!? 🧐

MasonTheDirector2 karma

From a previous answer :)

Painfully. lol. I wanted it done as soon as possible as I was sort of reaching a deadline with myself and my family over the ending of filming. I wanted it wrapped so we could sell out current house and move. That meant losing the weight fast and unhealthy.

I don't like exercise because I'm a shitty person so everything I did was around diet. I ate 300 calories of pure protein every day with a multivitamin. That usually meant some chicken (Boars Head Teriyaki is great!) with mustard and a pickle for dinner. That's it. I lost roughly a pound a day. I had a couple days where I cheated but I mostly stuck to it. I wish I could have lost even MORE weight for the film but I was running out of time.

I know what I did was super unhealthy and don't recommend it, but I don't smoke or drink so I figure that would balance it out in terms of "things that took years off my life". lol

martusfine2 karma

Did you gain it all back?

MasonTheDirector2 karma

Actually, I used the progress I made to motivate me to lose even more weight so I'm about 10 pounds lighter than I am in the movie. My thinking was, "Listen, you're never going to be this slim again. Better get the most out of it and ride the wave." lol.

Imbeefy-7 karma

Oh look another ad. How many extra accounts did you make to ask yourself questions?

MasonTheDirector3 karma

Username checks out. There is much beef with you. But, the overwhelming majority of questions are coming from old and seasoned accounts so rest easy, your cynicism is not warranted today. :)