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What's New
Grand Forks Herald prints story about NoDak Films...read all about it 
I'd like to think Mr. Ryan Bakken and the Grand Forks Herald respectively for writing and printing an article about myself and NoDak Films in Sunday's Community section of the Grand Forks Herald.

Mr. Bakken captures the essence of my conviction in the latter half of the story, but I
wanted to clarify a few things from the top half of his article:

Mr. Bakken said, "You've heard about the vanity press. Allow me to introduce you to the vanity cinema. The vanity press means you can get your book published - but you have to pay for it. And now comes along a deal where you can land a movie role - but you have to pay for it."

When Mr. Bakken interviewed me over the phone he stated that my funding strategy for Last Summer For Boys was like the vanity press and I said, "I suppose it could." To be honest, I really didn't know what the vanity press was so I did a little research and sent him an email the next day tItled Fees vs. Subscriptions, it said:
Mr. Bakken,

In our phone interview you compared what I am doing to the film version of the vanity press.

Rather than a vanity press(er), I consider myself like a newspaper; people will subscribe to NoDak Films and in return I'll give them something they can view (read).

The vanity press relies on Fees from creative minded authors. I am a creative minded screenwriter relying on Subscriptions to print (make, reproduce) my words on screen.

Thanks again

Needless to say Mr. Bakken didn't make the comparison between his job and mine.

Mr. Bakken said, "Mr. Anderson, a former resident of Plaza, ND."

This is true, however I moved from Plaza after my eighth grade year and lived in Minot the next four years - graduating from Minot High School. Also, while in college I lived in Fargo for four years so I consider myself a resident of Plaza, Minot and Fargo.

Mr. Bakken said, "Now living in California"

This is true, but I am living in California because my wife is in graduate school. After she completes graduate school we are moving back to the area.

Mr. Bakken said, "If you contriubte $100...you will receive A) a role as an extra B) a chance to audition for one of the 55 speaking parts C) a listing on the credits as an associate producer."

(B) needs further clarification. When someone contributes $100, they have access first to all speaking roles, if they wish to audition. Anyone will have a chance to audition for speaking roles, whether they contribute or not, but contributors have access first and have more time to rehearse a partiulcar role before the general public gets a chance.

Mr. Bakken said, "Anderson's script is about two childhood friends coming home to Plaza, one from theTwin Cities and one from Fargo. It wil be shot in Plaza."

Two things, the script is not entirely about two childhood friends coming home to Plaza. Plaza is only one part of the script that maneuvers between other cities and other elements about the two friends and the people who surround them. Secondly, Plaza is not the only shooting location. We will shoot in Minot, Fargo, Ray, along Highway 83, along I-94, in Minneapolis, and perhaps other North Dakota locations.

Mr. Bakken said, "As far as needing 1,889 extras? Well, there's a graduation scene and Anderson envisions packing them inside the Minot Dome. So don't plan on getting any close-ups."

The scene Mr. Bakken refers to is one of many scenes where we need extras. Also, plan on close-ups because I'm not short-changing my contributors with a squinting view of themselves in one scene. Contributors will appear throughout the film in various scenes and from various camera angles.

I am grateful Mr. Bakken went out of his way to interview me and I am grateful to the Grand Forks Herald for printing the article, however I just wanted to extend the dialogue on a few of Mr. Bakken's points.

I'd also like to think Kim Watson for encouraging me to contact the newspapers about NoDak Films.

Click on the "related link" tab below to view the article

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I have NoDak Films too....a quote 
This morning my 11-month-old daughter wore her NoDak Films sweater jacket. My 2-and-a-half year old son pointed to the logo on the back and asked my wife “What’s that”? She told him and he said, “I have NoDak Films too.”

He spoke in that great voice all 2 ˝ year old's share--as though he was asking a question when he was just stating a fact. All day I’ve thought about what my son said in conjunction with an email I received from a young man a few days ago who called NoDak Films, and essentially my artistic integrity, “another folksy attempt at culture”

I call him a young man (he called himself an artist) although I don’t know his age (he did mention hIs college education), but his own artistic self-doubt crept into the tone of his email. The next day I emailed him and he responded with an apology for his “rant” and hoped it made for some interesting reading, which, interestingly enough, it did not.

I mention the young man along with my son because the young man questioned my integrity as an artist and my son confirmed my integrity, but not in the conventional way one perceives an artist.

I am not a “starving artist.” There was a time when I was an idealistic artist and believed that someone would find my art, (and I say art to encapsulate all forms of art from writing to painting to music to dance to film and all others in between) and I would then be discovered, but art like discovery takes time. The young man told me to make my films and ask questions later. My son told me, indirectly, through what he said that art takes time, patience and lots and lots of questions.

I spent over two years writing Last Summer For Boys while working as a High School English Teacher and then Program Coordinator at an educational non-profit, and in that time I asked myself a lot of questions and wrote and re-wrote the script…but I wanted more. I wanted the artistic value of my screenplay on screen the way I envisioned it and that vision was a North Dakota vision. I see every shot and every shooting location from Plaza to Minot to Fargo and all the specific locations therein. I see all the characters and all the people I want to involve, who are everyday North Dakotans.

While writing Last Summer For Boys, two more screenplays began to surface about other North Dakota topics and individuals. I realized that my stories are North Dakota stories and they should begin from North Dakota, both creatively and from a business standpoint.

NoDak Films is an extension of the idealistic young man I once was, just like the young man who sent me the email (although his “rant” sounded more uninformed than idealistic).

NoDak Films is an extension of my son and daughter who make me understand that hard-work and vision are best expressed by genuinely enthused words.

I have NoDak Films too

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What do you think? 
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2000 North Dakotan’s spent 6 million dollars in the Motion picture…industries.

In 2004, the most recent update, North Dakotan’s spent 11 million dollars in the Motion picture…industries.

In 2000 the average ticket was $5.39, which means 1,113,172
movie tickets were sold. That means, in 2000, every North Dakotan went to the movies twice.

In 2004 the average ticket was $6.21, which means 1,771,336 movie tickets were sold. That means, in 2004, every North Dakotan went to the movies three times.

So in 2008, next year, if the trend continues, every North Dakotan will go to the movies four times, which means that with demand will come supply and in this age of instant entertainment, NoDak Films is turning the lens inside out and broadcasting North Dakota films with you in them and with you (the everyday North Dakotan) in mind. Heart-warming, dramatic, feature length films that tell a familiar story, but one that most people haven’t heard yet.

So here’s a question for you -- when you think of a heart-warming, dramatic, feature length North Dakota film, what do you envision?

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How much is in 2.94%? 
$612, 692, 448

This figure represents the box office numbers of four films:

Dances with Wolves (shot almost entirely in South Dakota).
A River Runs Through it (shot almost entirely in Montana).
Field of Dreams (shot almost entirely in Iowa).
Fargo (shot almost entirely in Minnesota).

The average ticket price in the early to mid-90's (when these films were released) was $4.15. This means that nearly 150 million people went to see these films. Although the number reflects domestic and foreign sales, it's the equivalent of HALF of the population of the United State -1 out of every 2 people. That is unbelieveable.

With the exception of Fargo, the first three films also generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue for their respective states because they positively and beautifully depicted their respective states through great dramatic film. Unfortunately Fargo highlighted every negative stereotype of our state, which is ironic because the film was shot almost entirely in Minnesota. ( a poInt i make in a previous blog)

South Dakota, Iowa, Montana, Minnesota. With the exception of Iowa, these states border North Dakota, yet North Dakota is absent from the list and the positive economic windfall that was created by a 2-hour movie done right.

It's time for North Dakota to take another chance -- Wooly Boys didn't get it right. Fargo didn't get it right, but NoDak Films will get it right with your help.

Our goal is not to break box-office numbers, it's to reinvent what they mean. In the last census North Dakota's population was 642,000 people. We need 2.94% of our population to contribute to NoDak Films.

2.94% of $612,692,448 (the figure at the top of this message) = $1,801,315.79
or based on current theatre ticket prices; 275, 010 people will watch our first film, will watch you and your name appear on screen, and will watch a great 2-hour movie filmed in North Dakota and about North Dakota.

And we're talking about 2.94%.

Spread out over an entire country full of Independent theatres, savvy home entertainment equipment, the Digital Revolution and a new generation of entertainment outlets -- there is no reason North Dakota can't be cast in the role of great films, great NoDak Films, where great films live.

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My father-in-law is a photoshop/illustrator wiz, which is impressive considering he started using the program at 50 (he's now 54) and he's not a computer guy, he's a landscape architect.

His new hobby is ironing on obscure, usually jazz oriented images onto t-shirts. He and my mother-in-law visited recently and he surprised me with a few NoDak Films t-shirts for my son, daughter and myself.

Seeing the shirts on my kids gives me all the more reason to stay motivated and believe, as I do, that NoDak Films is a really great thing, but we need your contribution in order to bring that greatness to fruition.

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i've been lookin for these 
A gift from my dad this Christmas, along with the annual his and hers Klutz toy...

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Which item below is most different then the others?

(A) Wolves
(B) Field
(C) A River
(D) Fargo

The irony of the answer, if you put Fargo, is that Fargo puts you in a specific place, but as soon as I expand (A) (B) and (C):

(A) Dances With Wolves
(B) Field of Dreams
(C) A River Runs Through It

Place becomes more emblematic of an entire state while Fargo is seen as an emblem of stereotypes:

(A) Dances With Wolves -- shot almost entirely in South Dakota
(B) Field of Dreams -- shot almost entirely in Iowa
(C) A River Runs Through It -- shot almost entirely in Montana
(D) Fargo -- shot almost entirely in Minnesota

Again notice the irony; Fargo was shot almost entirely in Minnesota.

NoDak Films goal is to shoot films almost entirely in North Dakota while bringing the kind of positive attention Dances With Wolves, Field of Dreams and A River Runs Through it brought to their respective states.

I'm not denying Fargo was a good movie, but I'm unwilling to accept its title so from now on Fargo becomes A Minnesota story.

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North Dakota Secretary of State recognizes NoDak Films 
It's from August 24th, 2006, but I'm proud of the fact North Dakota recognizes NoDak Films as a Trade Name so its worth repeating on this blog.


Nathan Anderson

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History....and the digital revolution in film 
I’m excited! NoDak Films is here thanks to fellow Minotian Luke Graner who was the graphic technocrat of the website.

I’ll get right into it…

My wife is a graduate student in public policy so her professors constantly make her read policy/political related articles. One of her professors, who, interestingly enough is the former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton (his 1st term) assigned the article I’m about to mention. My wife wanted me to read an article written by Bono (the lead singer of U2). It wasn’t really an article, but a speech he gave at the National Prayer Breakfast this past February 2006. Bono is big in the global health community and was actually a candidate to become President of the World Bank (an international organization that does lending programs and financial programs for developing countries). At the end of his speech, Bono highlighted three things our age will be remembered for in future history books: the war on terror, global health and the Digital Revolution.

I’m not saying Bono is a historian, but I found it very interesting that along with the war on terror and global health, he put the Digital Revolution or Digital Technology as one of the most important things happening today.

As you view the NoDak Films website, click on the “About Us” link and scroll down. There I mention an article in Time magazine titled "The NEXT Big Thing is Us" where George Lucas says the film industry is not taking advantage of “technological advances”, which really means digital technology. It would cost the film industry $3 billion dollars to convert all of its film projectors to digital (because major studios have been making films the same way for 100 years), but as technology advances, that figure will drop allowing digital independent theatres to open and compete. The author of the Time article, Richard Corliss, goes on to say, “Movies have two big problems: the way they’re made and the way they’re shown.” If Bono, George Lucas and Richard Corliss are right, and I think they are, the digital revolution will turn moviemaking into the next great small business and change the way movies are made and change the way they’re shown.

I call it the “minor-league effect” because if you have been to a minor league baseball game, the owners try to find clever ways to get people in the seats, because every team competes no matter what place there in. Film will operate the same way. The great thing about NoDak Films is the “Model” -- it reflects the title of the Time article: The NEXT big thing is us and our films are like watching a 1st place minor league team because great films take great scripts and NoDak Films has some great scripts under its belt.

I created NoDak Films because I believe Digital Technology will create the next revolution in movies with us (every North Dakotan) ahead of the curve.

Thanks for listening

Nathan Anderson

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