Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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On Section 9006

OK, you can probably guess that I’m a fan of health care reform. What I’m not a fan of, though, is putting an unreasonable paperwork burden on small businesses and small corporations, and exposing those entities to identity theft.

Here is the CNN article on the health care bill’s Section 9006. In essence: a little-known addition to the health care bill did two things, and they are major: If you spend more than $600 at any vendor for anything (goods or services– doesn’t matter if the vendor is a corporation like Kinko’s or an individual freelancer), you will issue a 1099 to that vendor.

Most of the coverage for small businesses has been about how this means small businesses will have to issue hundreds of 1099s to entities, like corporations, which are already obligated to report their taxes anyway.

But the coverage doesn’t discuss how this essentially removes all advantages to having an S-Corporation. An S-Corp is a corporation in which there is only one shareholder. Mortaine Publications is an S-Corp. Although corporations enjoy some liability protection, the reality is that if the shareholder of an S-Corp screws up, they’re going to be held personally liable. How do I know this? I know this because if I apply for any credit or open a bank account under my corporate name, the bank demands my personal information, social security number, etc. They wouldn’t need that if I weren’t on the line.

But I have always said that one advantage to a client considering hiring me is that, at the end of the year, they don’t have to file a 1099 because I’m a corporation. I’ve paid handsomely in corporate taxes and filing fees for that privilege. And now, in addition to giving me the added burden of having to issue a 1099 to Apple the next time I replace my computer, I will also no longer have that little bit of advantage in saying “and if you hire me, you won’t have any extra paperwork to do!”

The identity theft issue comes in with the fact that, when you issue a 1099 to a vendor, you have to have their Tax ID #. Now, a tax ID is a number the government gives you so you don’t have to give out your social security number to clients. However, the reality of the situation is that your Tax ID is tied to your SSN, and if someone has one, they can probably find out the other.

Way to go, Washington. You just exposed every small business owner to identity theft.

There is no longer any advantage or protection for freelancers. Quick, everyone– find a corporate job (perhaps filling out tax forms)…. oh, wait. There are none.

Some notes on videoblogging for Windows users

I want to share with you an interesting bit of knowledge about Windows Vista. The base Vista versions, Vista Home Basic and Vista Business, do not come with Windows Movie Maker. This is important if you’re a videoblogger who hasn’t shelled out $300 for professional video editing software, or if you’re following the instructions in Videoblogging for Dummies and elsewhere.

If you upgrade to Windows Vista and you want Windows Movie Maker, you need to get Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate.

Ok? Are we clear? Good.

This is, to my mind, not such a great choice on the part of Microsoft. In today’s world, Windows Business should have video editing software. It makes sense. How else do you want people to edit short videos to plunk into PowerPoint presentations, or to post into their Help files? Obviously, this decision gives another “win” to Apple. Not because iMovie is free (it’s not), but because QuickTime Pro, while a bit clunky to use as an editor, is only $30, and is available for both Windows and Macintosh users.

And a bonus:
From LifeHacker, Alpha Geek: Video Editing 101: by Rick Broida discusses how to edit video in Windows.

DV Rebel’s Guide

Nifty! From Boingboing:

DV Rebel’s Guide:
Mark Frauenfelder:

I’m looking into making some videos, and I just heard about this book: The DV Rebel’s Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap. It sounds great.

200612111131Written by Stu Maschwitz, co-founder of the Orphanage (the legendary guerrilla visual effects studio responsible for amazing and award-winning effects in such movies as Sin City, The Day After Tomorrow, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), this book is a must-have for all those budding filmmakers and students who want to produce action movies with visual effects but don’t have Hollywood budgets.

The Orphanage was created by three twenty-something visual effects veterans who wanted to make their own feature films and discovered they could do this by utilizing home computers, off the shelf software, and approaching things artistically. This guide details exactly how to do this: from planning and selecting the necessary cameras, software, and equipment, to creating specific special effects (including gunfire, Kung Fu fighting, car chases, dismemberment, and more) to editing and mixing sound and music. Its mantra is that the best, low-budget action moviemakers must visualize the end product first in order to reverse-engineer the least expensive way to get there.

Readers will learn how to integrate visual effects into every aspect of filmmaking–before filming, during filming and with “in camera” shots, and with computers in postproduction. Throughout the book, the author makes specific references to and uses popular action movies (both low and big-budget) as detailed examples–including El Mariachi, La Femme Nikita, Die Hard, and Terminator 3.


XL-1 table dolly

XL-1 table dolly:
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MAKE Flickr photo pool member Tekisui made a homemade table top dolly for a XL-1… – Link.

  • DIY rail based linear dolly – Link.

Img M502
From the pages of MAKE:

  • $14 Video Camera Stabilizer. You don’t have $10,000 to spend on a Steadicam? Make this ultra-low-cost video camera stabilizer and see how much better your video shots turn out. MAKE 01 – Page 84. Subscribers–read this article now in your digital edition.

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