Archives For Filmmaking

Our thoughts on the craft and practice of making movie magic.

As I was growing up, Hollywood was the place every aspiring young filmmaker hoped to end up. I certainly spent hours daydreaming about what it would be like to work on a Hollywood set. However for me, independent film soon after became the next “cool” thing, at least for a teenager interested in film. I used to look for the Sundance laurels on every film I rented at Blockbuster and thought that a movie had to be good if it played at Sundance, and I soon began believing that film festivals would be the ticket to making it as a filmmaker.

However, times have changed and so has the film industry, and it would appear that the future of successful filmmaking might not be at film festivals but instead at comic conventions. If you’re a filmmaker, here are some reasons to check out comic conventions for your screenings.

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The best part of owning a DVD or Blu-Ray is the behind the scenes featurettes that most of them include. Besides being just plain interesting, some of them can offer some very useful tips as a filmmaker.

Some of them will break down how they accomplished a certain effect while others simply film a tiny interview and call it a behind the scenes. So if you’re looking for something educational, definitely pick up the ones that break things down and explore new frontiers in filmmaking.

Here are 3 DVD extras chosen at random with information about what/if you can learn from them and apply the information to your own filmmaking. (Also, the rating is based on a scale of 1-5). Continue Reading…

I like Japanese food. I read once that one of its main tenants is to highlight a food’s natural texture and flavor in it’s most pure form. If a dish is to feature mushrooms, then it’s flavor must be unmistakably mushroom; all seasonings and garnishes must work to accentuate and compliment the mushroom.

I don’t know if anonymous Vimeo user kogonada is Japanese or not (British maybe?), but kogonada has done for film what Japan did for the mushroom. In the following four “supercut” video essays, kogonada boils down Stanley Kubrick, Darren Aronofsky, Quentin Tarantino, and Wes Anderson into their cinematic essence.

While the video essays are a work of art in their own right, they open up and explore the habits of these four directors in a way that leaves you pondering their choices.

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The way of the future!

A couple of associate professors and a grad student at Cornell University have developed a clever way of simulating the sound of cloth moving within 3D software.

Foley artists normally record these necessary sounds separately in a sound booth and painstakingly line them up with an on-screen character’s movements. Having been knee-deep in this process on Avarice, I’d welcome a little computer help!

What do you think? Could this someday replace the need for foley artists? What about computer generated foot passes?

Read more on Engadget.

It’s been months (maybe years) of filming, editing, shooting pickups, re-editing, ect. The film is finally cut to perfection, and it’s time to sit down with a composer. You might find that talking to other film geeks is easy, but talking to a composer is a different ball game. Not all filmmakers speak “music talk.” So what do you do? Check out these tips and find out!

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As of right now, it is six weeks until the completion of the first short film that I wrote and directed, entitled AvariceIt has been a project that has taken 2 and a half years to complete, and it will only be about 15 minutes in its entirety. It’s crazy to think that 2 and a half years of a person’s life could be defined by 15 minutes, but that’s kind of how it feels.

It has been the most challenging thing I have done, which I’m sure will be followed by even greater challenges. It’s been a long journey, and I walk away with so much more than I had ever expected to. My only hope is that I can pass on valuable information to other first time filmmakers.

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I’ve been on a bit of a journey lately. My life as a storyteller continues to be stretched, challenged, toughened, and reshaped. I’ve written before about how my attitude as a writer can either sweeten or spoil my stories, but today I want to share how I learned to love my audience.

That’s a hugely important lesson to learn, too. Between social media, crowdsourcing, new technology, and shifts in the industry, the gap between artist and audience is quickly closing (and in some cases, it’s even closed entirely). If you’re going to do business in 5-10 years you need to learn how to not just connect with your audience, but love them as well.

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Working with a Visual Effects Supervisor can be tough if it’s your first time doing it, especially in independent film. You only have one shot to get it right because there isn’t time or money for re-shoots.

I learned a lot of lessons while directing Avarice and working with Visual Effects Supervisor Dan Baker. Here are some great tips for driving your Visual Effects Supervisor to insanity:

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I daydream about giving acceptance speeches at film festivals. I try to sound grateful and surprised even though I’ve rehearsed the speech 50 times. Should I wear a suit and tie? Or maybe that cool hoodie that makes me look skinny?

Those days may be coming to an end, however. The times, they are a changing. Festivals won’t disappear overnight, but I foresee some big changes coming in the independent world that will at least make hauling your film to festivals unnecessary.

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Have you ever worked and worked and worked on a project, only to hit a dead-end? I have. More than once. There’s nothing more frustrating than  investing huge amounts of time and effort into an idea, only to discover you don’t know what the characters and plot want.

There’s a million tips and tricks out there, but what I’ve discovered recently addresses the problem at its root: often the quality of your writing is negatively affected by your attitude. That’s not a major revelation, sure, but I think you’ll be surprised at how I learned this.

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