Official Artist
Aaron Palermo
Actor , Director , Composer
35,497 views| 9  Posts

Interview with Dov Simens


     A cool dude, AARON, sits across from an older, wiser, cooler dude,



               Hi Dov, I'm gonna play good cop and

               bad cop to get the real info that

               alive not dead members need to know

               about your class.


               But you look more like a Jewish



               Haha! I want to start out by asking

               you about two of your star

               graduates: Quentin Tarantino and

               Robert Rodriguez. As far as I know,

               except for your 2-Day Film School,

               neither of them had any traditional

               film school training. I think one

               of the reasons why they are so

               successful is because they are not

               bound by the rules of traditional

               film schools.


               I'm not hearing a question here. Is

               this the good cop part?

     Aaron shines the spotlight onto Dov's head.


               Can you elaborate on how your non

               traditional way of filmmaking

               training helped them succeed in the

               Hollywood film industry?


               Two of my crash course film school

               graduates, who have grossed over

               $16 BILLION US DOLLARS in the past

               decade, succeeded with my non

               traditional film education

               information for they did not try to

               launch their careers, the

               traditional way, by thinking they

               can start-at-the-top with an

               expensive, effects laden, studio

               budget feature film.

               But due to my class, they realized

               they would not obtain the financing

               for to launch their career. Instead

               they accepted my non-traditional

               independent method of starting at

               the-bottom with a low-budget one

               location feature film. Thus,

               Quentin did "RESERVOIR DOGS", a low

               budget, 90-page, 1-location (a

               garage) script, and Rodriquez did

               "EL MARIACHI, a no-budget, 90-page,

               1-location (small town) script.


               How can their success be emulated

               by Hong Kong and China's



               Tarantino & Rodriquez's success can

               be emulated by Hong Kong & Chinese

               filmmakers by doing the exact same

               process. Secure a great 90-page, 1

               location, such as a Wan Chai

               Bordello, TST Hotel, Kowloon

               Restaurant, Soho Police Station,

               etc. and with HK$10,000 to

               $HK$100,000, independent money, and

               2 DSLR or HD or Red One cameras do

               a 1-week or 2-week shoot with a one

               month edit. Now, if the Hong Kong

               or Chinese filmmaker has a gift of

               dialogue in writing and casts the

               proper, although not famous, actors

               and shoots in a location that is

               only unique to Hong Kong or

               Shenzhen it is my firm belief that

               the no-budget to low-budget

               finished feature film will be in

               numerous film festivals and have a

               good likelihood of securing

               distribution. The key again is the

               great script that takes place in 1

               location which has excellent

               dialogue to propel the story and

               plot twists.


               Why do you think your students can

               succeed in launching a film career

               faster than traditional film school



               It is very simple. All those

               expensive 2-4 year theory laden

               film programs get everyone full of

               so much useless information, that

               the students become intimidated by

               the process, although they know a

               lot of small details, and still do

               not understand the film business.

               Whereas my student-graduates, in

               one weekend walk away with just

               enough information on

               screenwriting, budgeting,

               financing, directing, shooting,

               editing and distributing that they

               quickly get to see the entire

               puzzle called "Hollywood" and

               understand the film business and

               how to start their careers with

               their first independent feature



               It says that your 2-Day Film School

               'condenses four years of film

               school education into 2 days'. What

               about all the technical knowledge

               such as directing, cinematography

               techniques, lighting…Will you

               discuss them during the 2 days and

               how will a person be able to learn

               them in 2 days?


               Even though my course is only 2

               Days everyone in attendance will

               understand the basics of Directing,

               Lighting, Cinematography, Editing,

               etc. What they will not understand

               is the art of those crafts, for I

               do not teach art, I teach business.

               And I believe no one can teach art,

               no one can teach talent. I teach

               the business of making the art. I

               do not teach art. For as a Producer

               or first-time Filmmaker you just

               want to know enough information

               about Directing, Budgeting,

               Lighting, Camera, Shooting,

               Editing, who-to-hire and what-to

               pay, so that you can get your first

               feature film done.

               The key word is "done" and, more

               importantly done on a no-budget or

               low-budget independent budget which

               is probably going to be HK$10,000

               to at the absolute most

               HK$5,000,000. Examples are; with

               respect to Directing I will quickly

               teach (1) how to cast, (2) how to

               schedule 5-pages and 25 shots/day,

               (3) how to shoot every scene with a

               Master Shot, 2 Medium Shots and 4

               Close-ups and (4) how to hire and

               oversee your film editors and sound

               editors during post-production.

               With respect to Lighting I will

               teach how to set up each shot with

               a Key Light, 2 Back Lights and Fill

               Iights knowing that you only, on

               your first shoot, have 10-15

               minutes per setup to light. With

               respect to cameras I will teach

               what format (Film, Digital, HD,

               DSLR, etc) you can afford then how

               to get-the-deals, from camera

               rental facilities in Hong Kong or

               China, then I will teach how to get

               a Cinematographer, a Camera

               Operator, a First Assistant

               Cameraman and 2nd Assistant

               Cameraman who knows how to operate

               those cameras and what-to-pay them.


               What's the bare minimum budget

               required to make a feature film

               that is professional looking?


               Depends on what you call

               "professional looking". However,

               numbers (aka: HK dollars) are very

               simple to explain. HK$20,000 will

               get you a 2-day, weekend shoot,

               with 1 DSLR camera and a 6 person

               crew. HK$200,000 will get you a 1

               week shoot, with 2 HD or HDV (1080i

               or 720p) cameras, and a 10 person

               crew with an original soundtrack.

               HK$2,000,000 will get you a 3-week

               (18-days) shoot in the 35mm Film

               format, with professional actors, a

               25 person crew and a 2-month post

               production process.

               Thus, for HK$20,000 to HK$200,000

               you will get a movie that looks

               like "Blair Witch Project",

               "Paranormal Activity" or "El

               Mariachi". For HK$200,000 to

               HK$2,000,000 you will get something

               more like "Reservoir Dogs" or

               "Napoleon Dynamite". And, for

               HK$2,000,000 to HK$5,000,000 you

               will get "The Wrester", "Juno" or

               "Little Miss Sunshine". And each of

               these films I, during the "2-Day

               Film School" will  teach how to

               make them step-by-step, bank check

               by-bank check in a very simple to

               understand manner. Again, what I

               can not teach is talent. Thus,

               everyone must bring their own

               talent and I promise to give them

               the information to make their first

               feature film.


               Film production costs are often in

               the millions and multi millions

               both in Hong Kong, China and

               Hollywood.  How can filmmakers in

               Hong Kong break out and make great

               movies on a small budget?


               The key to making great movies on

               limited budgets has never changed

               in the last 100 years. It is

               always, "Get the great 90-page, 1

               location screenplay". Now to get

               that, I apologize but the most

               important thing to do is to get

               realistic by attending my "2-Day

               Film School" on January 7-8. After

               that I expect each person to read

               15-20 scripts of movies they've

               seen, in the similar genre of what

               they are about to make. Then I

               expect the filmmaker to write,

               register and copyright a 3-5 page

               treatment getting the 15 basic

               scenes for Act I, II & III of their

               primary story fleshed out.

               Then the filmmaker is to flesh out

               their story with 3 B-stories or sub

               plots, each one taking up 7-8

               scenes and intertwined into the A

               Story and then establish each one

               of the characters in your story

               with a back story. Now with the 40

               50 scenes established in a high

               low, rollercoaster emotional

               structure the filmmaker, as writer,

               or filmmaker, as producer who hires

               a writer, is to get the script

               written and kept in one location.

               Hong Kong & China have many many

               amazingly visual and interesting

               sites/locations that the rest of

               the world, especially America,

               wants to see. All that is needed to

               get them seen is to obtain the,

               what I teach, 90-page, 1-location,

               script and shoot in your visually

               interesting locations, and with

               HK$10,000-HK$100,00, rent

               inexpensive Digital, HD or HDV

               cameras and shoot the movie, with a

               minimal crew and a 1-week to 2-week



               How much filmmaking knowledge do

               attendees need prior to coming to

               your class in order to take full

               advantage of your teaching?


               The answer is simple…NONE! Actually

               the less one thinks they know the

               easier it will be form me to teach

               them how to make and sell their

               first independent feature film. No

               knowledge is needed, for my job as

               "Hollywood's #1 Film Instructor" is

               to give you that knowledge in just

               one-weekend in a manner that is

               very understandable. My course is

               for three classes of students.

               First is the mature adult who has

               no knowledge if the film business

               at all. Second is for Writers, who

               haven't sold their scripts, or

               Directors & Actors, who have yet to

               star, with an opening title credit,

               in a feature film that has been


               Third is for professionals in the

               HK & China film industries who,

               although understand technique and

               craft, still have not made a

               feature film that has been selected

               for Cannes, Sundance or Berlin Film

               festivals and been bought and

               distributed throughout America and

               Europe.. For the first-timers they

               will quickly understand the film

               business. For the Writers,

               Directors & Actors they will learn

               how to make their first feature

               film starring themselves. And, for

               HK professionals they will learn

               how to be more efficient and the

               secrets and tricks needed to get to

               Cannes & Sundance and secure



               Can you give us an overview of the

               topics you will be discussing in

               the 2 days?


               On Day-1 (Saturday, January 7) the

               course focuses on "Making Your

               First Feature" and I assume that I

               have access to HK$10,000 to

               HK$3,000,000 to spend. Then I take

               an hour explaining Budgeting &

               Planning, then a 2-hour crash

               course on Screenwriting, then Pre

               Production, Organization,

               Scheduling Crewing, Vendors,

               Directing, Casting, Shooting,

               Lighting, Editing, Scoring, etc.,

               and in one day everyone will walk

               away knowing how to make their

               first low-budget independent

               feature film. Then on Day-2

               (Sunday, January 8) I now focus on

               "Selling Your First Feature Film"

               and show everyone how to take the

               feature film that we step-by-step,

               bank check-by-bank check, made on

               Saturday and now sell and

               distribute it around the world and


               First I teach how to market to Hong

               Kong & Chinese Distributors during

               pre-production, production and post

               production so that they are

               contacting you requesting

               screenings. Then I teach how to set

               up the screenings at Asian Film

               Festivals (Hong Kong, Shanghai,

               Singapore, Tokyo, etc) and foreign

               Film festivals (Sundance, Cannes,

               Toronto, Berlin, etc) and what,

               more importantly film festivals

               cost. Then I teach, now that you've

               attracted distributors, at a film

               festival, how to negotiate

               distribution deals. How to do

               Foreign Sales (Japan, Korea,

               Germany, Australia, Brazil, India,

               etc.) and maximize revenues from

               TV, Cable, Gaming, On-Demand, Pay

               Per-View plus 8 other revenue

               sources. Then, on Sunday, after I

               have taught on Saturday how to make

               a-film and then, on Sunday, how to

               sell-a-film, I will now teach how

               to Finance your first feature film.

               And, I will make it so easy to

               finance that students always ask me

               "What if they give me too much

               money?" Which of course is a

               problem that every filmmaker wishes

               they had. In a nutshell my "2-Day

               Film School" is WRITE, DIRECT,

               SHOOT & EDIT on Saturday (January

               7) and PRODUCE, FINANCE, DISTRIBUTE

               & PROFIT on Sunday (January 8).


               Well, that just about says it all

               and then some! Thank you so much

               Dov for taking time out to answer

               these questions! It was your class

               that gave me the encouragement to

               just go ahead and make a feature

               film! http://facebook.com/game.on.movie


               Thank you for the opportunity to

               bringing the real Hollywood

               filmmaking business information to

               Hong Kong & Chinese filmmakers, who

               absolutely have talent, but simply

               needed the basics nuts-and-bolts of

               the global film business. As Hong

               Kong & China build more multiplexes

               and the On-Demand broadband market

               expands to the 5 billion

               smartphones projected by 2016 the

               revenues are about to be massive

               for Asian filmmakers who get

               started with a foundation of 2-3

               low-budget or no-budget feature

               films. Happy Filmmaking & I hope to

               see you January 7-8 in Hong Kong.

     Register now for Dov's class with the code "overglobe" and

     you'll get your ticket for $2795! http://www.hollywoodinasia.com

     Date: Sat & Sun - Jan 7 & 8, 2012

     Venue: Hong Kong Film Archive Cinema

over 7 years ago 0 likes  3 comments  0 shares
Rottendoubt a4 patrick
i read his book a few years ago. great stuff! glad he is coming to hong kong.
over 7 years ago
45862083 0af2fd4d5d
Thanks for sharing! Interesting read!
over 7 years ago
Photo 505164
I took his class a few years ago when I was still in NY. Great inspirational stuff. Eventually used what he taught me to write, produce and shoot my first feature film. :)
over 7 years ago


Check out my new feature film! http://facebook.com/game.on.movie My Channel: http://www.youtube.com/overglobe

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Languages Spoken
english, mandarin
Location (City, Country)
Hong Kong
Member Since
July 9, 2008