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Poll: What Do You Want to See in the Next Version of NoFilmSchool?

10.10.11 @ 5:21PM Tags : , ,

I launched the current version of NoFilmSchool in January of last year, which makes this design 20 months old. It was the best I could do while living out of a suitcase and devoting a maximum of one week to the photoshopping of this design (I didn’t want to spend any longer launching the site, given I had no guarantees anyone was actually going to read it). But NFS could be so much more! However, it’s less about what I want to see here and more about what you would like to see. So please take this quick poll so I can build a better, more helpful site for you all going forward! You can select multiple answers — all of these things are possibilities, but I’m trying to figure out which ones should be highest priority. Here’s the poll:

Thanks for taking the poll and also feel free to leave any other suggestions in the comments!


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

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  • You should have had a ‘all of the above’ options as I’m sure that is what most people will select. All great ideas, making this place a great resource. That said there are a load of tutorial sites out there now, leading to a raft of similar looking stuff. Perhaps you should focus less on technical aspect of any particular software package and more on the creative process, of coming up with and then developing ideas. The more touchie feelie stuff like, story development, story boarding, working with people not software, logistics, planning and tieing everything together etc.


    • I’d say that when there are as many options as that, “all of the above” isn’t a good idea. Not to underestimate Koo, but if he truly went all-out on all of that stuff he’d be spending all his time writing a blog, and none of it actually making films!

  • It would be helpful if there was an easier way to browse older posts. Maybe a category system or something.

  • Good to hear you’re updating! I’m not sure where you’ll find the time with when you have a movie to make ;-)

    Just some thoughts….
    - A job board can go in a forum.
    - Your current commenting system works, but using the Facebook comment plug-in will help increase readership via social promotions
    - stick to film and leave the photo, design, web jib-jab to other sites
    - you readers knowledge has gown because of this site and your content should be growing with them. More advance tutorials, ideas, solutions whether it’s production, creative story telling or equipment based would be appropriate.
    - keep posting “beginner” stuff for readers who are new to film/video making

    Good luck with the re-work of the website!

  • Focus on the things that your blog is already the best at: career strategy, finding inspiration, DEALS, some gear reviews.

    Tutorials & advanced content would be nice, but there are already so many other sites doing that stuff. I find your writing about non-technical subjects to be the most interesting of your work.

    A networking system for nofilmschoolers, or job postings or whatever would be sweet too. It would be interesting to meetup with other folks who read this blog.

  • I like the current comment system, it doesn’t require a log in, you can reply to other comments and they work. Only issue is sometimes they can get a bit messy – maybe a way to condense the replies until you hit a “View Replies” button.

  • As Jmac also mentioned, an easier way to browse older posts would be good, a category system is a good idea.
    I find most of the posts on this site to be interesting, so more of all would be welcome however I wouldn’t want the site to move too far away from the low budget side.
    It would also be nice to see more about the theoretical sides of film making, story structure, character development etc. Sometimes I feel like the site is too much about gear and software.
    Thanks for all your hard work, you could also leave the site as is and I’d still visit daily.

  • I personally like the site as it is. If there is anything I would like to see more of, it would be things like “The DSLR Cinematography Guide” and “How to Build a Hackintosh”.

    Those guides have been really useful to me and is what makes this blog different from similar blogs.

  • +1 on a better search function

    Any chance to have say maybe once a month a story/interview from filmakers/web series creators – info such as about how they created/sold their film/web series… not big budget guys, but the little people, who just went out there and took a chance.

    but above all this blog is very indie focused, I don’t think that should change…. or should it???

  • I disagree with a weekly video. It is a lot of work that might dilute the overall quality of this site. However, I believe that a forum and better content for high end filmmakers (which really means not much -sorry about that-) and “amateur” filmmaker / hobbyist would better serve this community of film lovers. In so many ways, I am looking for contents (books, videos, films) that explains the process of filmmaking, from writing, to post, to prod, and this task is really hard. It would be great to have and share our own source for knowledge, light, sound, editing…

  • Well I don’t think a weekly video would come at the expense of the rest of the content… that’s the beauty of a front page, you only click on the stories you want to read!

    Thanks for the suggestions so far… hear you loud and clear.

    As for how I’ll find the time to redesign the site when I have a movie to make… I’m planning on hiring a designer and bringing in some outside help. Only so much you can do as one person!

    • I think Franklin means that he’s afraid of you putting a lot of work in de weekly video at cost of your usual written content. As you said it yourself: Only so much you can do as one person. I have to agree with him, I like your content a lot, and the medium used for your content (eg written, video or just audio) doesn’t matter to me to be honest. So I’d say keep it as simple and fast for you as possible.
      A forum would be great by the way, some articles are getting a lot of comments and discussion, so I think a dedicated place for discussion and sharing knowledge is a very good idea.
      Thanks and good luck with the site update and of course your feature!

    • i think a weekly video is a great idea. haven’t read through all the comments, so i’m not sure if someone has already suggested this. i think it would be great to showcase other’s works. perhaps commission some of the active members of the site to create 1 video a month. you would only need a few people, and if you did one yourself you could keep it focused on what exactly you want. i know there are plenty of people out there who would love to have something they created featured on here.

      i think every filmmaker has something specific to what they do that they can share. for example, i do mainly travel videography and work with ngo’s. a lot of my friends are baffled at how i am able to “afford” it and i have to answer so many questions. others may have a sincere passion for horror, or westerns, or sports cars. they can share things that i would never even consider. just a thought.

      thanks for the great site!

  • A Big No Vote to Disqus. It collects too much personal info.

    • I second the “no” to a new commenting system. The current system is great, you can just write your comments without having to log in to anything, why complicate it?

      • Interesting, glad to hear your thoughts. If there is a forum, it’d be nice to have one login for both the forum and commenting, but that doesn’t need to be Disqus.

  • Like to see more production focused content- higher end techniques as well as DSLR based.

    +++Manchild production updates, thoughts on the process as it happens, like the book “Rebel without a Crew, only hopefully with a good crew behind you and real time thoughts

    NOT a fan of weekly vlog.

  • I’m happy with it as is – don’t go for forums, there are plenty around already if people want that sort of thing (imho).

    What I will humbly ask is to document man-child in a way that we can learn from you as go through the process – all aspects of production, pre to post. I’d happily give up everything else on this site for a really good weekly diary of what you’re going through.

    • ^^what he said. No need for big changes, just keep on keepin’ on, and I’d also love to hear Man-child BTS stuff when you can share it.

      • A Man-child “diary” would be great. And, as others have stated, please keep the current comment system. It works great! I dislike Disqus/Facebook.

  • I like the site as it is, I don’t see any need for change

    in particularl, the comments work quite well as they are; please no forum and no facebook thingie

    in general, design and layout are fine; I think any efforts should be devoted to content (which is also great, but, whereas design doesn’t get any better than “this is nice”, on content I’m always glad to get more and better)

  • Generally speaking I think you’ve done an outstanding job on this blog. This blog is one of the best curated DIY filmmaking blogs out there. You always pick the best combination of news, tutorials and tips and tricks of your own. One thing that I’d like to see added is at least one post a week, that you post the behind the scenes or production diary notes. Even if you have to curate less, I would find this very interesting. And especially once the film is done and you begin to market it, whether or not you get a distribution deal. BTW, I hear great things about Film Stacey Parks, author of The Insider’s Guide to Independent Film Distribution created it.

    And please, please, please, when the film is finished, do a Director’s Commentary. So many great indie films don’t do this and they should. It doesn’t even have to be on the DVD. Just make an MP3 and we can play it along with the film.

  • I would really appreciate something like a link collection directing to other usefull blogs, websites etcpp.

  • First of all, THANKS FOR ASKING!
    Second, I hope that you keep us updated with what is going on with Man-Child and everything that you are learning along the way! I hope that you continue to approach all the information that you share with the DIY community in mind. I realize that things are changing rapidly for you at this time but I also know that you have been there before and you realize that everything could evaporate at any time so it is important to remember the hard lessons of the past to keep everything from “going to your head”. I remember when you first asked for help to raise the funds for your project.

    1. I knew that you would succeed!
    2. I knew that it would be the hardest thing that you have ever done!
    3. I knew that you had a very solid plan!
    4. I knew that you would need lots of help with the sound!
    5. I knew that you would want to edit the movie yourself, but I pray that you turn that part of the project over to someone who is not in love with the footage, never been on the set and never met any of the actors.

    The only thing the editor should have is your footage that you shot to tell the story and an absolute love of film making! Of course you know these things but I can understand your wanting to edit your own movie, I am the same way myself, but as with all editing decisions your mind will be clouded by what you have seen rather than what you have captured. Just my two cents.

    • Thanks guys! A couple more thoughts:

      Garth, I’ll only edit Man-child myself if there is no budget for an editor. I’d rather work with an experienced editor than doing it myself, to be certain.

      As for a forum — it would not take away from the blog. As far as the homepage experience goes it would simply be a link in the navigation and maybe a sidebar element.

      And of course I’m going to share a lot of Man-child BTS — still working on the script, looking for the right producer, and following up with Kickstarter backers at this point, however, so there’s not much to share… yet!

  • Same as everybody. Please no forums, we have creative cow and DVuser. But if you can add a way to look at older posts in a more organized way, as well more technical questions (always linked to deep analysis as you do) would make me happy…
    For me, your website is ressource for whoever wants to make his own movies, so updates about Man-child production, and any lessons you’re learning from it would really interest me.

    • agreed. please no forums for job postings or where people can pose questions about problems they’re having – we have too much of that already. i check this site because of valuable insight you offer – message boards, to me, would take a lot away from what i like about this site. better search for older posts – and if you have the time, i think a weekly video would be awesome. i know one of the sites main things is DSLR film making – but i love the RED, ALEXA, F3 posts too…

  • Please, please continue the Director’s Chair Series and start others like it. Having guests that are in the industry come and do a short series about their profession would help me immensely.

  • More non-technical Filmschool stuff.
    It seems tha largest percentage of your post are about the (technical) tools and not about actual filmmaking.

  • The site is pretty damn good as it is. I love the comment system – the very fact that it isn’t Disqus (or similar) powered is utterly fantastic in my eyes. It just streamlines everything, does everything needed of such a system anyway – namely it makes it quick to leave a comment, and is dead easy to reply to another one.

    As far as changes to the content, I’d love to see more short films and the like – it’s what got me interested in the site in the first place (alongside all the interesting tips), and what really earned this site’s place in my bookmarks bar. My 2c.

  • RevBenjamin on 10.12.11 @ 9:24AM

    I just hope you don’t re-design the comments or the site itself… it’s one of the more readable/friendly on the eyes sites out here.

    Perhaps a user-submitted short films section, and you choose a few every month for a community showcase or something?

    And I would like to 2nd Heuf… perhaps more film theory type of stuff. I LOVED the directing series (picture of the ornate armchair) a while back.


  • How about marketing your services and how to price the right way?

  • Thanks even more, guys.

    Glad to hear you like the design/comments as is, given I did all of that myself in Photoshop… however, when there is a new design I will be overseeing it to ensure we keep the same clarity while also hopefully bringing more functionality to the table. For example, how do you guys see if someone has responded to your comment? Just come back to the same page to check it out? Hopefully we’ll have a better centralized way of seeing “discussions.”

    I’ve let Raafi know that you want more of his Director’s Chair (sounds like a euphemism)?

    Also, NFS’s technical posts will continue, but there should be more non-technical content going forward. I haven’t felt where I am in my career that I’m entirely qualified to talk about other elements (I haven’t made a feature yet, after all), but there should be a plurality of opinions on the site going forward that will help bring different areas of expertise to the table.

  • As others have said, I look forward to you writing about making Man-Child. You’ve got a solid perspective and an audience that appreciates it.

    Echoing what others have said, I’d like to see a better-executed use of categories for logical sorting. You’re using tags a bit more broadly, which is okay I guess if you’re going to use them, but using categories to give the site some superstructure would be useful to some of us. Tags like nov3 are pretty well useless, though.

    The sidebar above the fold could be more useful than it currently is, like having links to the 10 most recent headlines and, depending on how it goes, possibly a set of categories that are most active/popular. Or related posts/related categories. Marketing people love that sort of click-through, but more importantly it gives users access to the rest of the site and sorts it for them in ways that I might not find on my own. People like to explore content-rich sites as much or more than they like to “keep up” with them, and while I’m looking forward to keeping up with the Man-Child saga, I do refer back here now and again.

    Your top nav could use some updating, too. Not sure how much I care about “disclosures”, and subscribe could easily sit in the sidebar. The last 2 items are probably the most interesting, and if there’s a Man-Child category of posts it could sit well with those. I would make those 3 items the first links – the other stuff isn’t of much concern to most people, and if they want it they will look for it. You could even move much of that down to the bottom.

    I’ve used WPSearch for a while now (including the wp 3.0 v2 of it), and am quite satisfied that it fixes what’s wrong with the original search function. Easy to install and no conflicts that I’ve discovered. Also, it’s generally understood that search boxes will be in the upper right – sort of like having the exit sign clearly lit, it gives people a clear bit of info that is reassuring. Especially if the search function is solid.

    Design-wise, I’d prefer comments not white text on warm grey, as it’s harder to read. I often subtly alternate the colors on comments so that it’s a bit easier to read them, and there are enough comments here that it would be a useful tool.

    There is other design stuff (the color scheme/s, the borders, the logo) that clearly needs addressing, but you’re obviously a capable designer, so I have no doubt you’re already on that.

    Good luck – and please don’t let the site distract you from making Man-Child. I think most of us are far more interested in that than your site changing.

  • Why not have “Less of” selections?

    Less brand specific devotion would be great. Apple and RED spring to mind. When there are similar or better products available from other companies for less money, they are ignored for the Apple and RED versions.

    Less pop over advertising of the DSLR guide. Hey, it is great for beginners, but it was of absolutely no use to me. Why do I get the annoying download nag screen every time I visit NFS? I downloaded it, and did not find it useful.

    Less self commentary. Most sites/blogs about film making seem to have running commentary of where the owner is going o holiday, what their current pet project is etc. It would be wonderful if there were a site on moviemaking that concentrated on moviemaking for people interested in making movies. I am not so interested in what other people are doing, the aid they are getting from friends or even discussions about Kickstarter are useless for everyone outside USA. If you are not American, Kickstarter will not run your campaign. Not to mention campaigns like this favour the well connected bloggers out there… not the people working hard at creating a great concept, script, design, crew etc. Koo has had a running self commentary here, and has become a single brand zealot for one of many crowdfunding sites.

  • i want to see you shirtless…. wait….huh?

  • Hey man,

    Only came accross your site recently but I love the free guide, some very nice tips in there. I’m a graphic designer who is looking to move into film making in the future.

    Having checked out your bio I see you have been quite successful in this medium and what I would like to see more of would be tips on how to make a career out of film making. Perhaps how to impress tv/film companies, what kind of style/subject matter would make you stand out from the millions of other indie filmmakers out there. Having being following the dslr filmmaking movement now for 12 months or so I have noticed that there is no shortage of technically stunning work, but yet again it is often hard to find.

    Also tips on how to make good contacts in this business would be good also.

    Thanks a mil,


  • HI Dear,

    Thanks for all your tips on fim making in general, they are very useful, You are a role model in fim making indeed.

    Please have a look at my site and please advise me on how to take it further.

    Raphael in London

  • I’d like to see the Hackintosh section get continued love. I’m not sure how much revenue it brings in through amazon, but make it THE go to resource, updated every month or so, so we know the latest in builds, etc…

    A forum dedicated to this would be helpful as well.

  • I’d like to see a sorted, occasionally updated list of “Koo favorite gear”. I’m kicking around looking at lights, sound equipment, and yes, DSLR’s, wanting to upgrade my work, and could use a bit of guidance for the ‘good’ vs. ‘lousy’ bargains out there.

    Enjoying the site, keep it up!

    Annihalator James

  • I don’t really have any issues with the current commenting system except that there’s no option to get notified of follow up replies or comments. Please include this for nofilmschool 2.0!