White Knuckles was born out of a deep desire to explore a story with a group of artists through the collaborative medium of film – and to explore it as much as possible while the story is happening – while it’s on its feet in production – while the characters fully inhabit the actors.

The means of accomplishing this would be a team of artists that could invest themselves personally in the shared vision of the project, and could work as a unified whole that could shift, adapt and adjust whenever the story changed based on the flexible nature of capturing dramatic improvisation. This could only be accomplished by maintaining a collective atmosphere of safety and trust with the crew, filmmakers and the cast. An atmosphere where the actors could feel like they can fully explore their characters without any judgments or self-direction. A creative space where the actors can go deeper in the improvisational present moment, and the filmmakers and the crew can support and guide them along. A truly interdependent process where there are no idle hands on set – a place where everyone is involved, and each member on the production is truly critical.

With White Knuckles, we wanted to see what would happen if we wrote a script and then took it away at some point during production – when the film begins to breathe on its own. We wanted to see “what happens with the characters” and we wanted to see “where will the story go?” It was in a large part about curiousity. Though we had a screenplay that would be great to shoot – we thought that perhaps guiding the improvisation initially, we could fully let go later and produce real surprises and true-to-life dialogue and moments that could not have otherwise been planned.

To do this in a drama that goes to the places White Knuckles does – it took the safety net of the rest of the cast and crew to make this work. Really, it took each other – and every individual working together as a unified whole to make this real “Interdependent” film happen.

There is a point in every soulful, artful film production where the actors seem to fully inhabit the characters, sooner or later. On set, sometimes this happens early – other times certain key aspects of the character emerge later depending on the circumstance. But ultimately – there is a collaborative search for truth that makes ‘a film by Sabi Pictures’ – and if the film is honest (as I believe White Knuckles is) than perhaps it will be blessed to find its audience.

It is a rare group of talented filmmakers that converged to create White Knuckles. And what we have in this film, is in my humble opinion, a true example of interdependent filmmaking. As filmmakers – we all simply wanted to be able to let go of pages and pre-conceived notions and rather listen very closely to what comes out of (and what comes from within the soul) of the character. We wanted to hear an authentic voice, and wanted to see the story that was the deeper, more meaningful, more real version (than the duplication of the intentions on the page). We want to see the sum that is greater than it’s parts – a piece of real art emerging from our collective creative contributions together.

This is ultimately the collective desire of a collaborative group of artists working on an Interdependent Film. Interdependent Filmmaking is the kind of filmmaking where one uses “us” and “we” and “our” more often than they use “I” when describing the process of making that film. We think that White Knuckles is unique because of the interdependent nature of the shoot. The WK website’s “Creative” section details examples of how many of us together collaborated on this film, and there will also be some behind the scenes posted to get a look at the faces that made it happen.

As with every interdependent film, there are so many hands on the work that it is hard to summarize or describe the process of each member that took part – but each person’s contribution made the film possible. And though the credits on the film will generally reveal every person’s name that contributed – there are so many more roles that were filled by each member than can possibly be listed.

Calling White Knuckles and interdependent film is a way to say Thank You – to acknowledge that the film could not be possible without the entire interwoven web of creative contributions, a network of interdependent people, that all get behind one idea. It’s a beautiful thing when it works, and it is the most fulfilling kind of filmmaking. And Interdependent Filmmaking is the evolution of the art form, in my humble opinion.

I’m honored to have been a part of this process at Sabi Pictures. Sure it is an ever-changing and an ever-evolving process with each new story – but the unique way of making each film bears one thing in common between everything we’ve made: there is simply no room and no time for inflated egos when a group of artists want to venture into the great unknown of making a film together. There is only room to learn from one another, for true collaboration, for support of each other under any circumstance, and for the collective desire to see the story through to the end no matter what.

We had a very talented group of individuals that came together to bring you the interdependent film White Knuckles – as well as Heart of Now. We guided the stories to the end rather than pushed them, and what resulted from the process thus far may move you, and perhaps even surprise you.

Kevin K. Shah Interdependent Filmmaker from White Knuckles

Let’s get this started at the top…

Here’s a recent development (there’s been a lot lately – has everyone noticed?)

Google vs … Microsoft?

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer

Unable to topple Google Inc. on its own, Microsoft Corp. is trying to force crippled rival Yahoo Inc. into a shotgun marriage, with a wager worth nearly $42 billion that the two companies together will have a better chance of tackling the Internet search leader. Microsoft’s audacious attempt to buy Yahoo, spelled out in an unsolicited offer announced Friday, shows just how much Google threatens the world’s largest software maker’s grip on how people interact with computers.

For Yahoo, the bid represents another painful reminder of how missed opportunities and mismanagement combined to open the door for Google to supplant it as the Internet’s main gateway, decimating its stock price in the process.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft is trying to avoid a similar fate at Google’s hands as more people access services and computer programs online instead of relying on packaged software applications. Although Microsoft remains the world’s most valuable technology company, its position will become more precarious unless it can cultivate a more loyal Internet audience and generate more online ad revenue to subsidize the free services taken for granted on the Internet.

Microsoft is acutely aware of the upheaval that can be caused by a pivotal shift in technology, having been the biggest beneficiary during the 1980s and 1990s of a transition from mainframe computers to personal computers that knocked IBM Corp. off its pedestal.

“Microsoft has to do this deal. It’s a battle that Microsoft needs to win,” said AMR Research analyst Jonathan Yarmis.

But there’s no guarantee that Yahoo will be willing to sell to Microsoft — or that the deal will win the necessary approvals from antitrust regulators in the United States and Europe if Yahoo capitulates. Sunnyvale-based Yahoo had little to say Friday beyond a terse statement assuring its shareholders that its board will “carefully and promptly” study the bid.

In a conference call Friday, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer indicated he won’t take no for an answer after Yahoo rebuffed takeover overtures a year ago.

“This is a decision we have — and I have — thought long and hard about,” Ballmer said. “We are confident it’s the right path for Microsoft and Yahoo.”

Yahoo will likely face intense pressure to accept, given its steadily sliding profits and a murky 2008 outlook that caused its stock price to drop to a four-year low earlier this week.

Microsoft’s $31-per-share offer — originally valued at $44.6 billion — represented a 62 percent premium to Yahoo’s closing price late Thursday, although it’s below Yahoo’s 52-week high of $34.08 reached less than four months ago. On Friday, the total value of the cash-and-stock deal fell to $41.7 billion, or $28.95 per share, because Microsoft’s shares declined on the news.

Yahoo shares soared to a split-adjusted high of $118.75 in 2000 before the dot-com bust. That peak coincidentally also was just before Yahoo gave Google its first big break by hiring it to run its search engine.

Search engines are crucial tools because they have become a central hub in hugely profitable ad networks.

Advertisers around the world are expected to double their spending on the Internet during the next three years as more people get their news and entertainment on the Web instead of television, radio, newspapers and magazines. The trend is expected to create an $80 billion online ad market in 2010, up from an estimated $40 billion last year.

After realizing how much money Google was making from search, Yahoo introduced its own technology in 2004, but by then it was too little, too late.

Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li expects Yahoo to resist, predicting the company “will do everything possible to stay independent,” even if it means swallowing its pride and rehiring Google to run its search engine and sell ads on its site.

Other analysts still think Yahoo might try to line up a white knight rather than fall into Microsoft’s clutches. Analysts mentioned several other potential suitors, including News Corp. and InterActiveCorp.

Dinosaur Securities analyst David Garrity even thinks it’s possible that China’s search leader, Baidu.com Inc., or Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba.com Inc. might bid for Yahoo. Alibaba.com is 40 percent owned by Yahoo.

In what most analysts regard as a long shot, there was even some chatter that longtime Microsoft rival Apple Inc. and its CEO, Steve Jobs, might come to Yahoo’s rescue.

If push comes to shove, most analysts believe Microsoft will raise its cash-and-stock bid. Investors appear confident an agreement eventually will be reached. Yahoo shares climbed $9.20, or nearly 48 percent, to $28.38 while Microsoft shares fell $2.15, or 6.6 percent, to $30.45 — a sign that Wall Street is skeptical about whether the acquisition makes sense.

“It’s a classic case of a buyer overbidding to blow any potential competitors out of the water,” said James Owers, a Georgia State University professor of corporate finance.

Shortly after Microsoft disclosed its intentions, the U.S. Justice Department said it is “interested” in reviewing antitrust issues. European Union officials declined to comment, but analysts said Microsoft probably will face more challenges getting a Yahoo acquisition approved in Europe than the United States.

Microsoft made its offer a few hours after Yahoo’s chairman, Terry Semel, stepped down, removing a potential stumbling block. Semel had rejected Microsoft’s takeover overtures a year ago while he was still Yahoo’s chief executive, according to a letter released Friday.

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang replaced Semel as CEO nearly eight months ago while another Yahoo director, Roy Bostock, is now chairman.

Yang, a billionaire who is one of Yahoo’s largest shareholders, isn’t believed to have warm and fuzzy feelings about Microsoft. He has openly expressed his admiration for Jobs and last year even invited the Apple CEO to Yahoo’s headquarters for a pep talk with employees.

Microsoft believes its technological expertise will be a good fit with Yahoo’s knack for providing content and services that keep people coming back to its site. Combined, the two companies would reach a U.S. online audience of 142 million compared with 124 million for Google, according to Nielsen Online.

But Yahoo and Microsoft are so far behind Google in the lucrative search market that they still will have a lot of ground to make up even if they joined forces.

Google already controls 62 percent of the worldwide search market, and has been widening its lead, according to the latest data from comScore Media Metrix. By combining, Microsoft and Yahoo would have a 16 percent share of the worldwide search market, the Web traffic tracking company said. Google shares fell $48.40, or 8.6 percent, to close at $515.90 Friday, but the downturn appeared to be driven more by a disappointing fourth-quarter earnings report than by Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo. Besides helping to boost its online ad revenue, Microsoft believes it could mine more profit from Yahoo by jettisoning workers and eliminating overlapping operations.

Microsoft said it sees at least $1 billion in cost savings if it buys Yahoo. Microsoft executives deflected questions about how many jobs might be lost, but the company emphasized retention packages will be offered to Yahoo engineers and other key employees, including some executives. The fate of Yahoo’s brand also is unclear if Microsoft takes over. Both Ballmer and Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft’s platforms and services division, hailed Yahoo’s strong brand value but did not commit to keeping the name alive.

AP Business Writer Jennifer Malloy in New York and AP Business Writer Jessica Mintz in Seattle contributed to this story.

Every Producer, Director, Crew member, Actor and artist has their own rules for how they make a film, whether it’s a short, music video, or indie feature film. In an effort to compile and share these snack-sized tidbits of Wisdom, please respond with your own tips for other Filmmakers like you that are simply trying to tell the story they have in their head.

Excerpted from my evolving journal:

FIRST A.D. COMES FIRST:

1. Be selective in who you Crew. Make sure all that come in for the interview or second interview understand what you are trying to do and have a legit reason for wanting to contribute to the show. Do not hire any crew that “want to be an actor” unless of course they lie to you and don’t tell you right away, which happens.

CATERING AND CRAFTY:

2. They are your family. Pay them first with money. They are your crew, pay them second with amazing Food – as much as the budget might allow. Good food and snacks, meat but mostly vegetarian if possible until the point of rebellion, healthy high energy snacks and popcorn always available. Popcorn every day. The smell alone is worth a thousand words and this is the movies.

MAKE-UP:

3. If they look good they way they look & the director is happy – have the Actors do their own make-up. The time it saves, saves a production and make-up can get complicated. Natural is a better look in general esp. with HD

PRODUCING:

4. Have a full CREW read-thru of the script the week before production. Have the crew play the different roles (Crew only, no cast). This way the Crew has gone through the whole story together at least once. A discussion should follow led by the producer(s). A crew read through is also a lot of fun. Make sure there’s food there…