Project Seven

General Questions

General Questions

General Questions

What is Project Seven?
Why are you doing this?
Who are you?
What kind of films are you making?
Why seven? Is that seven films each (forty-two total)?

Watching the films
Where can I view the films from Project Seven?
I’m having trouble viewing them online, can you help?
Can I get a copy of these films on VHS or DVD?

Supporting Project Seven
How can I support Project Seven?
I’m interested in helping contribute financially to Project Seven.
I’m an actor— can I send you my headshot and info?
I’m a DP/grip/sound engineer/musician— can I participate?
I have little or no experience in movies— can I still help on a shoot?
Can I join Project Seven as a filmmaker?

General Questions
What is Project Seven?
Project Seven is a challenge accepted by a group of six filmmaker friends from Hope Chapel in Austin, Texas who have committed to each creating seven short films, originally to be done in one year (currently the filmmakers voted to give themselves a more flexible timeline). Each filmmaker in Project Seven has signed a pledge to make a film with a common theme and deadline? (See “What kind of films are you making”?)

Why are you doing this?
Because we love movies. We love the craft of filmmaking. We want to become better filmmakers. Believing that the principal way to becoming a better filmmaker is to just make films porno, Project Seven serves as an forum to provide structure, collaboration, constructive feedback, the freedom to experiment and fail— and succeed! — and to just plain have fun making movies. All too often, inertia, excuses, fear, or trying to do something big and/or expensive get in the way of making short movies. We embrace digital technology as an economically viable way to make more films.

Who are you?
We’re six friends in Austin, Texas who got together and decided to go for this. Most of us have either made a couple of independent films before, or have been involved with film festivals. Although we are a somewhat mixed lot (married, single, men, women, white, hispanic, and gringo), our common thread is that we are evangelical Christians. None of us, however, are out to “preach” with our films. Rather, we believe that good story-telling is an end in itself, to the extent that it honestly re-presents the human experience as both beautiful and ugly. as comic and tragic. A spacious imagination is one that reflects the creative spirit of our own Creator. See the people section for more information.

What kinds of films are you making?
We’ve set some themes for each of our films we want to make. The theme may represent a genre, style, suggestion, or constraint. Each filmmaker can make his or her own movie in any format (DV, 16 mm, web cam, etc.) at any length. On the deadline date, we gather together to watch our films, eat good food, and offer each other constructive feedback on our work. The themes and deadlines are:

Theme Deadline (2002)
No cuts (one-shot) February 24
“A door opens” April 7
Children’s movie May 19
No dialog open
Sci-fi/fantasy open
“Love” open
Director’s choice open
If you watch the films, you’ll see there is quite a range, including comedy, drama, suspense, documentary, experimental. This variety is part of what makes Project Seven such an enjoyable and powerful creative experience. We also encourage each other (mostly our of necessity!) to make no-budget films (anything under $500, most cost much less than that); hence we often use DV and do all digital editing.

Why seven? Is that seven films each (forty-two total)?
Yes, that is seven films EACH. At the end of the year, we will have made 42 short films combined. Seven just seemed like a good number to keep us all on our toes, since it means we have 6-7 weeks to write, prepare, shoot, and edit each film.

Watching the films
Where can I view the films from Project Seven?
Many of them can be viewed online on this website; just visit the films section. Because online video is so data-intensive, you’ll need a broadband connection (cable modem, DSL, etc.)— or a lot of patience. All films are in Quicktime format, which you will need installed on your PC or Mac to view them (Quicktime available for free here).

Select films showed at the Ragamuffin Film Festival in Austin, TX (July 2002).

Finally, we plan to make the films available on VHS and DVD available as well. If you’d like to order a copy, please e-mail Jeffrey Travis for pricing and order information.

I’m having trouble viewing them online, can you help?
First, make sure you have Quicktime 5 or higher installed. Secondly, make sure your browser is not terribly old (e.g., it should be Internet Explorer 4.0 or Netscape 4.0 or higher). If nothing happens when you click on the images, make sure you have Javascript enabled. Finally, if everything else is OK, but it seems very slow to download, realize that an average 5 minute short is about 18 MB in compressed format, so it may take a few minutes to download before you can begin to play it. If you are still having trouble, please e-mail me.

Can I get a copy of these films on VHS or DVD?
Yes! E-mail me with the names of the short films you are interested in, and I will give you information on how to order copies. In the future, we may try to set up an online ordering system. Incidentally, we aren’t making any money by selling these (at least not until we get a distribution deal 🙂 ).It costs us real money, time and effort to make even one VHS tape or DVD, so we charge to cover the expense. We do want to make these movies as accessible as possible!

Supporting Project Seven
How can I support Project Seven?
Let us know what you think! Sign our guestbook, e-mail us. If you’re an actor or if you’d just like to help out on a short film production, see the questions below. We also accept financial donations to support Project Seven.

I’m interested in helping contribute financially to Project Seven.
We also gladly accept donations of any amount for Project Seven, whether its $10 or $10,000. Filmmaking, even with digital technology, is still one of the most expensive art forms to work in. Each filmmaker has contributed their own financial resources as much as possible and works a “day job” to support his or her art. Our “poor man’s filmmaking” forces us to be more creative (which we highly value) but at times does limit the possibilities of our work. In particular, we almost always need a good camera, tripods, lights, sound equipment (booms, shotgun mikes, lavs), and computers with editing software for each production. Donations to the filmmaking artists can be made to them personally, or to Project Seven.

I’m an actor— can I send you my headshot and info?
Absolutely! We are always looking for actors, whether you have experience or not, in the Austin Texas area. As there are seven shorts being produced at any given time this year, there are many opportunities for actors. Positions are non-paid unless otherwise indicated. Please send headshots and/or information to I’m a DP/grip/sound engineer/musician— can I participate?
We often need crew members to assist with productions, and we are always on the lookout for soundtracks from independent musicians. Please e- with your information and skills.

I have little or no experience in movies— can I still help on a shoot?
Very often we need extras and volunteers (“grips” and “production assistants”) to help during shoots. If you live in the Austin, TX area and would be interested in working with us on a movie shoot, please

Can I join Project Seven as a filmmaker?
Currently Project Seven is limited to the filmmakers who have already started the productions for this year. Still, if you are an independent filmmaker— drop us a line and let us know what you are up to — we’d love to hear from you.

Films online

Volume:”Love“ completed December 7, 2002 An experimental film about “love” as a collaborative effort of the whole Project Seven team. This film is based on the Biblical passage I fotos amateur Corinthians 13 and contains its text in its entirety. The film was presented at the “8 Minutes Max” artistic event, which sets an 8-minute limit for experimental art. Angela Alvarez Born in Kenosha, WI, Angie is proud to have called many diverse places home. Despite the constant state of transition, she is thankful to have experienced a variety of cultural climates to have shaped her world view and taught…

People

PeopleJeffrey Travis

Growing up in Argentina, Jeffrey never had a VCR, a telephone or Captain Crunch cereal till he moved to the U.S., but did develop a passion for magical realism literature as well as a love for beef and good wine. Jeffrey got a Master’s in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and has authored three books that have nothing remotely to do with filmmaking. Having mucked around with borrowed video cameras in earlier years, he made his first short film *Busy Signals in 2001 (together with David Taylor as DOS gringos productions). After making Recuerdos de Un Mate he got the preposterous idea of making seven shorts in one year, and so he & David started Project Seven. Jeffrey and his wife, Stephanie, have three children: Maeve, Aidan, and Rachel.

David Taylor

Born in Guatemala under the constant threat of a military or political coup, David experienced his artistic enlightenment in 1993, following his fortnight consumption of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Recently returned from graduate school in Vancouver, Canada, where he studied theology and ancient Greek and Hebrew, he has taken up a post as Arts Minister at Hope Chapel in Austin, TX. As playwright, he’s authored and directed three plays: “Virtues & Lies” (1997), “The Merrygoround” (1999), “Adam & Eve” (2002), and yet has felt that his imagination did not always fit within the boundaries of the stage. Under the influence of surrealism and impressionism, and not a little bit of satire, he’s taken the risk of grabbing a film camera, daring the fates to prove him wrong. Or something like that. I can never take these things too seriously.

Mike Akel

Michael Demetrius Akel was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in Arkansas. He has four sisters and one brother. He credits his dad, for influencing him with a love for film and two of his childhood friends, Chris Mass and Brian McComas for helping shape his view of comedy, drama, and storytelling as a whole. Mike graduated from Southwest Missouri State University in 1994 with a degree in Radio / TV / Film. However, it wasn’t until he moved to Austin, Texas in 1996 that he started pursing acting and filmmaking more passionately. Since living in Austin, Mike has performed on stage in “The Merchant of Venice”, “Little Shop of Horrors”, and “Nunsense”. On television, Mike has been cast in three commercials: “Time Warner”, “Dell Computers”, and “Army Reserve”. Most recently, Mike, along with 3 of his best friends have formed SomeDaySoon Productions, and made four films: “I Miss the 80Õs” , F-3 Film Festival (1998) “Robbers” , Fort Worth Film Festival (1999) “Butcher’s 15”, Austin Film Festival (2000), and The Hope Arts Film Festival (2001). “the surprise”, Just completed (Mar. 1st 2002). Mike is currently teaching TV / Film at Travis High School in Austin, Texas. “I can’t believe I’m a high school teacher who gets to show kids how to make short films, music videos and commercials, and to top it off, at the end of the month I get paid millions of dollars for it. OK, maybe not millions but I get paid more than I did at Starbucks.” Mike is extremely excited about Project Seven and the opportunity to run the race of making art with such talented and passionate people as you see above and below his picture.