Monday, March 30, 2009

World's Greatest Critic Reviews 'Night Before the Wedding'

I have slowly begun to receive feedback on my just completed first feature film, Night Before the Wedding. It has gone out to selected industry folks and the initial response has been positive and supportive.

With some of the feedback, I am trying to figure out the best way to making it public. Just know that we have some very encouraging feedback that will be making it's way to your eyes soon.

I can say that I am thrilled to share this 1st review of Night Before the Wedding from J.C. Macek III otherwise known as the World's Greatest Critic. I still remember our exchange from a few years ago when I submitted my short film, Shoot-Out, to him for his feedback. His reply was essentially, if your film is no good, I am not afraid to tell you so. Send your film at your own risk. Needless to say, he loved Shoot-Out and provided me an amazing review. He also loved my short film, Honey I'm Home.

As I mailed off a copy of Night Before the Wedding, I really had no gauge how he would respond to this latest effort. I figured with how he responded to my two previous films, the odds were in my favor, but you never know. I was nervous. Even as some positive feedback has come in, I still get nervous each time I send the DVD off to someone new.

I believe that is all the suspense I would like to build in this post. I can say that J.C. had some very strong things to say about NBTW. He was quite complimentary. Here are two snippets.

"The truth is that, ultra-indie or not, Branin's third film (and first full-length feature) is a complex and deep work that easily transcends any initial impressions its subject matter might give."

"Branin has written and directed a very smart and subtle film that shows he can make an engrossing and memorable movie."

I certainly encourage you to read the full review. If you do, know that it does contain a few spoilers. Overall the film received 4/5 Stars and J.C. was impressed yet again.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Power of Attraction

In my previous blog, I asked, "Can your life change in one night?"

And exactly one night later, a great change has occurred in my life that has me charged. After months and months of 'wanting' a web designer to come in and revamp, I made it my top priority.

I had to step up my efforts, get more aggressive, and get the word out. And of course, nothing happened. Well, that's not totally true, but I still had no web designer. Then my mind began drifting back to...can I really turn this thing around. It wasn't just about going out and bringing in any web designer, it was also about finding the right match.

I was stubborn, yet determined to not give in. I decided to hold true to my belief that what we focus on expands. That we can use the Law of Attraction (from Wikipedia - A more modern consensus among New Thought thinkers is that the Law of Attraction says people's thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) dictate the reality of their lives, whether or not they're aware of it. Essentially "if you really want something and truly believe it's possible, you'll get it", but putting a lot of attention and thought onto something you don't want means you'll probably get that too.) to manifest what we are committed to in our lives.

And just like a character from a Darrell Womack screenplay, I used my superpowers because obviously this idea of attracting what we want into our lives is something that ordinary folk do not have the ability to do.

Or maybe there is something to it, because literally the night after I posted my blog (Can you change your life in one night?) I got a message from David Cosgrove (David Cosgrove Los Angeles Web Design) that he is going to redesign our Night Before the Wedding Website.

I am thrilled and at the same time stunned by the correlation of these events. What do you think? Is there such thing as this 'Law of Attraction?' Do you have any stories like this that you can share?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Can Your Life Change In One Night?

Or should I say, can my life change in one night? That is a question that has emerged in my head as I return home this evening from a night out at the movies. I imagine this idea has been floating around in my head for some while, and now it rises to the top of my consciousness.

Today wasn't the easiest of days for me. Spent most of my time trying to focus on preparing my taxes. I say to myself one of these days I will truly have a grasp of the most important things I need to know regarding taxes. I tell myself that I will one day have my own tax people who will handle these affairs for me. Or maybe it is just one person, regardless it will be someone I can trust.

Another portion of my day was emptiness. To understand this portion of my day is to understand the previous day where I spent hours in attack mode. Emailing and on the phone. Yesterday was one of those days where on the next day, I expect results to varying degrees. And instead today I got silence. A mostly quiet day where nothing was generated from all the energy I expended yesterday.

Usually on days like today, I will double on my efforts. If I am not getting results, I stay at it until I do. No such luxury today as my taxes have taken precedence. Yet is on days like this where I certainly question whether I can change my life. When it takes extraordinary efforts to achieve below ordinary results. I question what I am doing and why I am doing this? How has life brought me to Los Angeles pursuing a film career? Do I really have what it takes to break through?

I think of the interview I held with fellow Filmmaker Jamin Winans over at FilmSynergy. Let me pull the question and answer right now.

(My question) Often times in the independent movie world, we see a filmmaker make his first feature film, then we never hear from him again. What is your reaction to that?

(Jamin's response) More power to them. Filmmaking is a horrible endeavor with varying degrees of pain and humiliation. The glamorous perception of filmmaking is nothing like reality, especially indie filmmaking. It requires unreal perseverance and huge sacrifices. I think a lot of filmmakers just realize they would rather actually live life than go through that process again. If I didn’t feel so compelled to keep going no matter what the cost, I would easily walk away and do something else.

Jamin sums it up wonderfully here. His answer here has stuck with me for months. Jamin has begun to break through some walls in his life (LA, UTA and the NRA) and I could not be happier for him. It is the result of years of dedication, determination and perserverance.

This idea of life changing in one night or in one day is actually one of the theme's in my film Night Before the Wedding. It is a powerful concept. It is at the backbone of that story and it is certainly not the first time nor the last that I will use it.

I do not have a declaration or answer at this time. It is just something that is on my mind. Can we change our life in one night?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hunting for a Web Designer

For a few months now I have made substandard attempts to find a new Web Designer for

Well, now it has gotten more urgent, so as in basketball...I am putting on the Full Court Press. Looking to turn momentum in our favor.

I have to find someone who is a talented Web Designer that is willing to work in a barter arrangement where me and my team promote the heck out of their services and they provide us a sleek, attractive, functional website.

We have a filmmaker now working on the Official Trailer. (More to come on him soon) We also have our fair share of press that is soon going to be making it's way back to us.

With that, we are actively hunting for a Web Designer. I am certainly amping up my efforts. I have been in contact with a few in the past couple of months who have flaked on me. So now I am going to stay on it until this comes to fruition. Will keep you posted on my progress.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Night Before the Wedding Official Trailer Coming Soon!

My day today included meeting with a Filmmaker who has agreed to cut the Official Trailer for Night Before the Wedding.

This is something I am certainly excited about. The 'Teaser Trailer' we have online was something I wanted to do because it was off the beaten path, was inexpensive to shoot and could be done quickly. I will admit though that it does not fully reflect at all what has become of the final film. I was told today that the Teaser Trailer plays more like Best in Show or Waiting for Guffman. If that is the kind of film you have been anticipating, you are going to be disappointed.

Night Before the Wedding is a full fledged scripted feature that is a great blend of comedy and drama. (And in the not too distant future I should have some reviews that back up that sentiment.)

Movie Trailers are incredibly exciting vehicles in the movie business. To know that within the next few weeks the NBTW Trailer is being worked on gets me pretty pumped up. Trailers are vital to any film's success. No tool is a greater selling instrument. I am excited because many of you who may have been following this film, really haven't been able to gauge what this film is all about. Like I said, the 'Teaser Trailer' doesn't quite do it. Maybe you have seen the Screenshots I have just added online but though they bring you closer, they still not tell the whole story.

I cannot wait!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Go Out and Fight For It

It is late now as I begin this post. I will be awake at 5 in the morning for work, yet I choose to go without sleep to see if I can crystalize some thoughts that are bubbling inside of my head. If I do not write this now, it may never be written...

This is tough. I have literally started six different thoughts, erased them and I am instead choosing to make you aware of me starting and stopping.

I want to share with you a younger, much more naive David Branin. Though at the same time driven, ambitious and a quietly confident. I want to share with you a goal of mine that is now more secret than it is public. And in my younger days it is possible that the reverse was true.

Life has it's ways of humbling us all. If you are undecided on what you aim to do with your life, that can be a miserable place to be. Especially if you strive to make a difference in this world. And at the same time, just because you believe you know what you want and you commit to it, doesn't mean what you want is going to come easy. That kind of reiterates what I wrote about in my post about Wanting Vs. Committing. It's so easy to want something. It is in that transition to fully committing to something where we discover how challenging life can be. And as we are tested what emerges is how bad do we really want it. Of course most will stop themselves.

Writing this makes me think of a saying I acquired from Les Brown that I had memorized for years. I may not have it word for word, but this is pretty close.

If you want something bad enough to go out and fight for it. To work day and night for it. To give up your time, your peace and sleep for it. And all that you dream and scheme is about it. And life seems useless and worthless without it. And if you gladly sweat for it and fret for it and plan for it. And lose all your terror of the opposition for it. And if you simply go after that thing that you want with all of your capacity, strength and sagacity. Faith, hope, and confidence and stern for tenacity. If neither cold poverty, famish, or cold sickness or pain of body and brain can keep you away from that thing that you want!!! If darker than grim, you besiege and beset it, with the help of God you’ll get it!!!!

You read that and you clearly get that he isn't just speaking about wanting something, he is talking about tenacious commitment. I am very likely going to have to print this out and have this on my wall. What I love about Les Brown is that he delivers the above passage with such force. All these years later, I can still hear his voice booming inside my head.

Now are you ready for my secret? Or what has become my secret. When I started out on this journey to pursue a film career, it wasn't purely for money or for fame. At my core my goal was to impact millions upon millions of people. I wanted to positively impact the lives of more than a million people. This goal of mine is still inside my heart though I am not as verbal about it anymore. As I wrote above, life has it's ways of humbling us all.

The optimist I have trained myself to be believes this goal can come to pass in my lifetime. Even if it doesn't (as I write this I have 6 'Followers', so there is much work to be done) it provides me the ultimate goal to shoot for.

I see how precious life is. I see how fragile and vulnerable it can be. And as I do, it charges me to do more. To live and love courageously.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Night Before the Wedding SCREENSHOTS

Tequila shots (screenshot from Night Before the Wedding)

Have your first look at Night Before the Wedding.

I finally had the chance to pull various screenshots. Didn't want to do this before Color Correction had occurred. Though I must admit, somehow in the transition, these photos are slightly darker than what you will see in the film.

The full Gallery of photos are available on our Facebook Fan Page. You do not have to be a member of Facebook to view the photos. Though if you are a member of Facebook, please take the extra moment and 'Become a Fan.'

Direct link -

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Radio Appearance on LA Talk Radio!

I had a Call-In Talk Radio Show for 3 years when I was in college. And for the first time since I did my last show, I once again appeared on the promote Night Before the Wedding.

I wasn't alone. Also appearing with me were my fiance Karen Worden and Actor/Producer Gregor Collins. We had a blast. The show is called In the Can hosted by Kip Brown on LA Talk Radio.

Kip was positive in his reaction to the film. As a matter of fact, he sent us this quote today.

"Night Before the Wedding is a funny film with a great cast and a storyline that is FULL of surprises"
Kip Brown, Radio Host LA Talk Radio's In the Can

I didn't quite say everything I wanted to say and I certainly stumbled here and there. I still loved it though. There is a part of me that would love to be back hosting a radio show. If I could find some sponsors to help support my show, it is something I would definitely do.

In the meantime, hope you enjoy listening to this interview and finding out a little more about my story and hearing about Night Before the Wedding.

Here is the link -
(Click on the show from March 14th, 2009)

Would love to hear what you think.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wanting VS Committing

If you have a few minutes, what I am going to write in this post CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE. It is not usually my approach to say such things but this is a very powerful concept. I have a clarity I wish I had years ago. I am going to share it with you now as long as you are willing to read this all the way through.

Understanding the difference between WANTING something and COMMITTING to something will take you to a higher level of enlightenment. With such knowledge you can transform your life in ways you have yet to imagine. Or you can choose to stay exactly where you are at.

I am not proclaiming to be a self-help guru. You may be reading this with your defenses all the way up. I cannot blame you. I am not here to trick you in any way or sell you something you do not need. This blog is all about me sharing openly what I am learning on my journey. So with that, please breathe patiently and allow me to share some of my story, some of my experience as it relates to this idea of WANTING VS COMMITTING.

We all WANT things don't we? A new car, a house, to make a feature film, to having a million dollars... Think about the things you WANT in your life. I am sure you can come up with a grand list of things you WANT. Seriously, I want you to really think about the things you WANT in your life. Take as long as you need. It is important for you to at think of at least one thing that you WANT.

Hold that image in your head of that thing you WANT.

Let me tell you about something I WANTED since the year 1998. My WANT was to make a feature film. Out of nowhere I came up with an idea for a feature film. I shared this idea with 3 of my closest friends and with their help began writing a screenplay. The four of us even moved to Los Angeles to see through this dream of making that feature film...

Now let's go back to that thing that you WANT. How do you feel about it? Can you visualize it? How bad do you WANT it? Bad enough you can taste it? Do you WANT it more than anything in the world?

Now let me tell you the truth, whatever this thing is that you WANT, so bad that you can taste it...YOU WILL NEVER HAVE IN YOUR LIFE.

Let me say it again, you will never have that thing you WANT in your life. You will go on WANTING that thing forever. WANTING something is exactly that...the state of dreaming or wishing for something. When you WANT something that is exactly what you get, the force of WANTING it.

Wait a minute, what about that WANT that I had, that feature film that I moved to Los Angeles to make. To date, it has never come to pass. Eleven years later and it still has not been made. It was something I conceived. And I believed I could achieve it. But that was not enough.

In the Fall of 2007 I was tired of another year passing without me making my first feature film. Why couldn't I get over the hump? The good news was I closer than I had ever been, having finally getting over a personal hurdle to complete a feature screenplay on my own. My story took a couple of unusual twists (summed up in my second blog post ever here on Film Courage) and then the most extraordinary thing happened.

It's the decision that changed my life and by grasping this wisdom, it can positively affect your life. I decided I was going to make my first feature film.

But we all make decision don't we? People decide to quit smoking, to lose weight, to become millionaires. How effective are these decisions we make?

A decision by itself is important but it is not enough. You must COMMIT to the decisions you make. You must COMMIT to those things you truly want to bring into your life.

In the Fall of 2007 when I made the decision to make my first feature film, it was different than the decisions I made before that. With that decision, I COMMITTED to seeing my film through no matter what.

You want to know something, if I didn't make that COMMITMENT I would never have completed, Night Before the Wedding. Again, I would not have completed my first feature film if I did not COMMIT to completing it.

I took absolute responsibility for this project. When I decided I was going to make 'Night', I made it very clear with myself that I was going to see it through no matter what obstacles presented themselves to me. And no matter how many people I got involved in this project, I wasn't going to rely on anyone else to make this film for me. Though I couldn't make my movie alone, I certainly couldn't make it without COMMITTING.

No longer was WANTING to make a feature film acceptable for me. I COMMITTED to making Night Before the Wedding. Believe me it has not been easy. At no point have things really gone easily or smoothly. Throughout the entire process it has been putting out one fire or another. One defeat or another. There seems to be a never ending assortment of complications. All in all it has been the most consuming and challenging endeavor I have ever taken on. And just because it is now completed, doesn't mean the obstacles have gone away.

To COMMIT to something is to do whatever it takes, to devote yourself entirely until it comes to pass. That's what it takes. I know it is not an easy thing to do. When you truly want something you will COMMIT to it.

So if you are wondering why you cannot bring into your life the things that you WANT, ask yourself if you are fully COMMITTED.

Welcome to my newest 'Followers'

To Ambrebalte, HollyShorts, and Susan Boughton, I welcome you to my Film Courage Blog! Thank you for your interest and support. May our lives be enriched in this process. I always welcome your commentary and/or feedback.

If you are not yet a 'Follower' and would like to be one, you can find the sign in area by scrolling down just a bit. You will see the space in the right hand column.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jamin Winans INK set to Open in Denver 3/13/09

For those of you who 'Follow' this blog, you are aware of Jamin Winans INK. If you are new allow me to recap by saying that INK is a must see film. Here is the full review I wrote not too long ago,

This magnificent film is now poised to open in two days in Denver, CO. My encouragement to anyone reading this who is going to be anywhere near Denver from 3/13/09 to 3/27/09 is you have to get out and see this film in the theater. It will be well worth your time. This film is building positive reviews across the board and is destined to gather a huge cult following.

INK premieres in Denver, CO this Friday, March 13th at the Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli and will play through March 27th.

For further ticket info, please visit

For more on INK you can visit the official site,

If for various reasons you cannot see this film during it's premiere run, yet are still interested in seeing this film, you can join the mailing list from the Official Site above and/or sign up as a Fan on INK's brand new Facebook Fan Page, That way you can stay up to date on when it becomes available in your area.

And just for good measure, here is the latest trailer if you have not seen it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My short film "Shoot-Out" now available in it's entirety

At the persuasion of close friend Brian Erzen, I have decided to release the full version of my short film Shoot-Out online.

This film represents a lot to me. It is my first scripted effort. Every film I did before Shoot-Out didn't have an exact script. They were outlined improv pieces. And other than Night Before the Wedding, this is the only other film that we had a production budget for. It's also my first film to be accepted into a Film Festival and win an award. All told it was accepted into over 20 International Film Festivals.

The film stars Tyshawn Bryant and Daniel Sol. These guys put a lot of work in with me making this film. I don't know how many days it was, but there was quite a bit of rehearsal for this little short film. Including at least two days of choreographing parts of the basketball action. Not to mention that the filming of this short took place during extremely hot days in July and August in Porter Ranch, CA which has it's share of brush fires.

Allow me once again to thank my extraordinary crew on this one, Ivan Vatez Rodriguez the Cinematographer. Andy Brennan the 1st AD for holding things together. Jesse Pinder for Production Sound Mixer and Boom Mic Operator. Key Make-Up Artist, Keith Beck. Editor and Sound Designer Damon Stout. Kevin Deen for doing everything from Stand-In, to Second Boom to Key Production Assistant. Mike Gin, Production Assistant. Karen Worden our Still Photographer and Script Supervisor. To Michael Shaun Sandy my Creative Basketball Consultant. And additionally behind the scenes to Janna Magnusson our Graphic Designer, Alex Schwartz our Foley Recording Artist, Jean-Pierre LeFlore After Effects Artist and Andy Ta our DVD Author.

With that, here it is for your viewing pleasure. I am not sure how much promotion I will do. Hoping this can find an audience with it's own legs, but just in case, would be great to have you pass it on to anyone you would like.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Challenging Times

Though things seem to be reaching a pinnacle with me finally completing my film (it's 99% done), under the surface that is certainly not the case.

Simply said, life has not been kind. It has been unrelenting. Days like these make it hard to dig down deep and find the courage to stay on the golden path. I know I am not the only one suffering right now, so I am doing my best to keep my chin up high. I am am turning to my inner resolve to keep putting one foot in front of me.

Truth be told, I have been in a rut. I have that awareness. I am working hard to change it, and it doesn't change. Life can be stubborn. Of course I can be quite stubborn myself. My aim is to break through this plateau I find myself in. Ideally to one that improves my life.

A source of strength to me as I write this blog is a passage that a close friend shared with me not too long ago. I am unaware of who the author is, yet I want to pass it on to you. May it be a source of strength for you.


Filmmakers are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth.
They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime.
Every day, filmmakers face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get "real" jobs, and their own fear that they'll never work again.
Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream.
With every film, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment.
With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life - the car, the family, the house, the nest egg.

But they stay true to their dream, in spite of the sacrifices. Why?

Because Filmmakers are willing to give their entire lives to a moment - to that line, that laugh, that gesture, or that interpretation that will stir the audience's soul.
Filmmakers are beings who have tasted life's nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another's heart.
In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be.
And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

CineCore, A Pitch Worth Supporting

This came my way via an email from an industry contact. Josh Ritcher has spent the past 5 years pushing CineCore into reality. Rather than me explaining it, I encourage you to click on this link and support the project yourself.

My Twitter Life...

My life on Twitter has now begun.

For those of you who prefer bite-size headlines to digest rather than entire blogs, you can now follow me at

Going to experiment with it for a little while before I get used to it. Will figure out ways to share useful and pertinent information with you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My First Feature Film Completed!

I've reached the turning point in my film career. When I began this blog back in December I was at the crossroads. Now with mainly polish left on my first feature, Night Before the Wedding, I have reached a new turning point in my life. My ultimate aim is to reach a 'Tipping Point' but to better understand that you would have to read the phenomenal book by Malcolm Gladwell.

For the moment I am going to celebrate this special achievement in my life. This has been the most consuming endeavor I have ever taken on. It blows my mind to think about all the work that has already been put in and even more so how much work is to come.

See what I mean, it is hard for me to take a breath and celebrate this moment. My mind is already drifting ahead. There are several blogs I haven't even typed up yet.

Well, maybe you can help me? If you are reading this blog and you want to help me enjoy this moment, please take a few seconds and offer your words of encouragement and celebration. As part of my celebration I offer up this unreleased photo from the set of Night Before the Wedding.