Thursday, January 1, 2015


Greetings and welcome to Cinemusing!  I’m Brian Johnson, a wannabe director, and as I write this, I am pretty much a total nobody.  And frankly, I don’t care if I stay a nobody for the rest of my life – I just want to make movies!  And this is where I will be chronicling my adventures in film production, whatever they may be, as well as discussing random aspects of the creation and artistry of films.  On occasion I will include essays on films that intrigue me beyond merely reviewing them like a critic.

I have long had a dream to see “Directed by Brian Johnson” on a movie screen, a real theater movie screen somewhere.  Limited release, wide release, I don’t care.  And it has to be a feature-length production: Short films are nice and all, and I have even seen two of my short films projected on movie screens at film festivals, but I want to direct a feature film someday.

I hope to have captivating material to include here shortly, as I have a New Year’s Resolution to produce one new short film per quarter of the year.  And I hope you’ll stick around, as an encouraging fan, or as a newbie film maker yourself who wants to learn from someone else’s mistakes, or as a seasoned veteran who can point me in the right direction when needed.

So here we go!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Plan

I have always been somewhat of a timid and self-conscious person inside.  I think I could probably have gone farther in life already but that I often hold myself back.  This is true even in my film production work where although I love what I do, I am so sharply aware of the flaws and my inexperience that I hinder myself from reaching higher.

This year I decided it was time to go for it, as far as my film dreams are concerned.  I’m still realistic enough to feel that I shouldn’t dive into some attempt to raise funds and complete a feature film, but toward that end I am going to make four short films in 2014.  The goal is to make these films of a caliber that together they create a portfolio which inspires confidence in people who might consider investing in a feature-length project in 2015.

I now have a solid circle of like-minded friends with the talents to pull this off, and with the presence of websites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, some basic funding will help with any costs associated with the project.  And even before all four films get finished, each successive film should generate enthusiasm for the one after it.

That’s the plan, anyway.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


In an earlier apparition of this blog, I had several entries illuminating my past and bringing readers up to speed.  This year, I’m just not in the mood to recreate all that.

The short version is that when I was about twelve or thirteen, my dad brought home a VHS home video camera.  And I fell in love.  (With the camera.  Girls had cooties until I was about seventeen.)  I used it more than anyone else in the family, and often for utter spontaneous nonsense with friends – nonsense that I hope never sees the light of day ever again.  I have a vague memory of an event several years ago in which someone managed to find said video productions and edit portions of them into a highlight reel, perhaps for my birthday, and I recall making a desperate scramble for the door because it would have been downright painful to be in the room with people while those videos played.

But there they are, they are a part of my formulative history, and those who have been cruel enough to watch them in my adult years will attest that one can see the seeds of my personal style of film production as well as sense of storytelling and humor in them.

I learned to edit using the camera and a VCR, and began studying movies to see how they did things.  Simple things, like overlapping one person’s voice with a cut to another shot.  I experimented with duplicating real movie-making techniques, and though I didn’t get far with the equipment at my disposal, I was learning.  And I was learning to a degree that when I went to college to earn a film production degree, I arrived my freshman year more prepared and immersed in film production than any of my fellow classmates.  (A professor said that; I’m not just inflating my own estimation of myself.)

My immediate use for my degree was to shoot wedding videos and other conventional industrial media, with cameras and a computer I acquired in the early months of 2001.  I did cram in time that summer to shoot a feature-length production using local home-schoolers and any interested parties from the student body at my teaching job.  We turned William Shakespeare’s As You Like It into a modernized production and spent most of the summer out in the parks and woods of Central Oregon getting it done.

The following summer I created Horatio, a (theoretically) original screenplay, with many of the same performers from the previous year.  That one was so well-received that I commenced a re-write of it that went on to place in an online screenplay competition.  The final draft sits unfinished on my computer, waiting only for some time in my schedule.

Then it was several before I would make another scripted production, this time a short film for the VideoMaker Magazine Five-Minute Movie contest.  In October of 2008, having just learned of the contest, I did a short bit of brainstorming that led to a script entitled Dessert.  The final product went on to place second (a glorified third) against over 175 other entries that year, complete with recognition in a VideoMaker magazine the next spring and a few thousand dollars’ worth of software (that I have never been able to use because I work on a Mac and it is all for PCs.  But it was a nice thought and a rewarding feeling.)

From there I wrote and shot Mammon and the Archer and Animals, both of which technically are not yet finished.  The cast and crew have seen nearly-done versions, but I still have plans to properly write the music and mix the sound and otherwise tinker.

Lastly, I wrote and directed a short comedy entitled Dumb Jocks in April of 2013, with the final product being officially filed as “done” on December 3rd of the same year.  (Which only makes sense because December 3rd of the following year hasn’t happened yet.)

So that’s the short, short version of what sprawled over several pages the last time I had this blog up and running.  Really, the combined effect of those entries was a complete biography of my life, and you hardly came here to read that.  You came here to follow along with my current endeavors, and future entries will speak to that.