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Please Welcome New Writers Justin Minich, Christopher Boone, and MarBelle!

05.4.12 @ 2:34PM Tags : , ,

NoFilmSchool is written by filmmakers, for filmmakers, and the upside of that is we bring real-world knowledge and experience to our daily writing. The downside, as far as the “daily” part is concerned, is that we are sometimes off working on projects and unable to blog (this is where that real-world experience comes from, though). So when I go AWOL for a couple of weeks (as I just did during the Tribeca Film Festival, as one of the Tribeca grantees), that means it’s up to another writer to pick up the slack. The same goes for Joe and E.M., who also have real-world projects and responsibilities. While I want to make sure we’re always covering the news, I also want the site to start focusing more on issues of art and craft — as well as sharing short films and other content from around the web — which requires more bandwidth. With this in mind, please give a warm welcome to our new writers, Justin Minich, Christopher Moore, and MarBelle!

First of all, apologies to the fairer sex — this is so far a dude-only writer’s guild. This is not by design at all — in fact, the application process was entirely blind to name, sex, age, race, and location, as the very last thing I looked at was who the applicant actually was (this way I wouldn’t be tempted to just hire the people I already know… and it’s worked, as MarBelle is the first writer I knew of previously). At some point in the future there will be another call for writers, so ladies: please apply!

Finally, before we introduce the new writers, please feel free to let us know in the comments what you would like to see covered more on this site! This site is still fairly young (two years and change — of which the first two years were just me), and we’re always trying to improve.

Welcome, guys!

Justin Minich

Hi, I’m Justin Minich and I suppose my story starts just after I graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2003 with a BA in Film & Video with a concentration in computer animation. I had come out of film school with some essential knowledge and skills, but most importantly a realization that a prescribed curriculum isn’t always the best path. I continued learning my craft and pursuing my projects until the glacial pace and isolating nature of solo animation production started getting to me. I wanted to tell stories through a versatile medium, but for me, this wasn’t it.

I thought back to the best times I had in film school, and they were inevitably the ones where I collaborated with people on various film projects. We worked hard on our creative efforts and we loved doing it. So in 2005 I set myself to the task of teaching myself the in and outs of video production. I started out as a PA on a cheesy horror production and have since made films that have been accepted into various film festivals, worked on a web series which is currently going into its 2nd season, and have taken on multiple roles in all areas of video production.

And as my process of constant learning continues I look forward to sharing things that will inform and inspire you, as well as learning and drawing inspiration from all of you in the NFS community.

Christopher Boone

I’m Christopher Boone and I write screenplays. To become a screenwriter, or more specifically, a professional screenwriter, I’ll need to get paid for my screenplays. When that day comes, I’ll let you know.

I currently live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a great place to live as an independent filmmaker. And while my passion is to be a writer/director, I mainly focus on the writing at this point in my life (two young kids will do that to you).

I’ve had the good fortune to work on several film projects from no-budget indies up to bona fide features, wearing virtually every hat there is in the filmmaking world. I won’t bore you with the details. I’ll let you browse IMDb and mock my credits.

I’m excited to join the NoFilmSchool team and talk about screenwriting. I don’t plan on giving advice on screenwriting. I’m not a professional screenwriter, so why would you want my advice? But I will write about what I find useful for screenwriters like myself and listen to the NFS community to learn from your collective experiences as we work on our craft. One day, I hope several of us can consider ourselves professionals.


Once upon a time I lived in a world free from the knowledge of that addictive thing known as “independent film.” Then one night I stumbled upon Portishead’s To Kill a Dead Man on Channel 4′s late night short film showcase The Shooting Gallery and fell in love with these miniature narratives. Years later, a lone trip to see Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo 66 had me in awe and addicted to the notion that directors were free to make their own rules when it came to filmmaking.

Since those early days I’ve steeped myself in film, working as Features Editor of Showreel magazine, editor of Shooting People’s Filmmakers Bulletin and Editor in Chief of Directors Notes. It’s never been enough for me to just watch great work, a good film has to be shared, dissected and discussed. I’ve been doing that on Directors Notes for the past 6 years, through screenings, across 300+ director interviews, and more posts than I can remember. It’s a compulsion I’m looking forward to sharing with you all on NoFilmSchool.


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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  • Welcome!

  • Andreas Lange on 05.4.12 @ 2:53PM

    Been followoing this site everyday for 1 year now, first of all this has been a fantastic inspiration and learning curve for me. Thanks !

    Would like to see more examples of new thinking within film making. More short films with some new concepts, another type of camerawork etc.
    Also I would like to read about special type of camerahandling, other things than just followfocus with shoulder mount/tripod.

    What about working with a crane and when to use for different shots, same goes with the legendary steadicam. wich is a unique artform.

    Sorry my bad English. I am 18 years old from Norway

  • Welcome to the site, guys! I really look forward to the boost in content that adding new writers inherently provides.

    As for what I’d like to see more of on the site, I’d love to see more articles with practical advice on how to tell unique and innovative stories on a shoestring budget. Perhaps more content that emphasizes the fact that new and exciting gear is not the “be-all-end-all” of filmmaking; content that’s all about actually going out and making films with an independent mindset.

    • Welcome, new writers! I like what Robert requested above. The technical parts of the equation are fairly easy to figure out and find info on nowadays. I think that what still holds some (many?) of us back are two things: the financial barriers to making films (which are being lowered every day with less expensive tools), but mainly the psychological barriers to writing, planning, casting, scouting, shooting, finishing, and selling/marketing a film, as well as to convincing others to help us in all the phases of these crazy endeavors. Even a lot of the remaining financial barriers may also be largely psychological as well. I hope what I’m saying makes sense.

  • Will Gilbey on 05.4.12 @ 3:49PM

    Welcome guys. Hope you build on the great work. Love this site.

  • Scott David Martin on 05.4.12 @ 3:59PM

    Welcome to the site fellas. Looking forward to your input.

  • Welcome! Love this site and appreciate the work you all put in to democratize the creative playing field. Would love to see the NFS frat house gain a female voice or two.

    (It may be that none have applied. But I’m just sayin.)

  • “I continued learning my craft and pursuing my projects until the glacial pace and isolating nature of solo animation production started getting to me.”

    Preach it brother!

  • Portishead! MarBelle you my friend have good taste.

  • So far all topics are covered nicely but by expanding the site you probably should consider redesigning the page to help organzinig all the posts

    • It’s coming eventually – just hang in there with the current format. Best way to stay current is to subscribe to our RSS feed or follow the twitter feed @NoFilmSchool – you can also check out our facebook page for all the newest articles organized in a slightly easier format.

      • Just wanna say I appreciate how consistently you respond post by post / article by article. Makes the site feel very accessible and allows us the readers to connect more. Keep up the great work!

        As for the new members Welcome! I look forward to reading and learning from all of your varied insights! This site has been absolutely essential to my team and I’s development in film and I’m happy to see it doing so well and expanding! Thanks to all.

        • Well I’m still one of you guys – still trying to learn and grow as a filmmaker, so I really like being part of the conversation. If I can help educate someone who is looking for information – that makes my day. If they can educate me, even better.

          But one of the other reasons is that I really want to know how we’re doing – what we’re getting right, and what we’re getting wrong, and the comments section is a great indicator of that. I don’t always have the time (or energy in some cases) to respond to all of them, but I certainly read all of them.

          • shaun wilson on 05.5.12 @ 4:10AM

            No complaints here, maybe just keep it to posts; podcasts are too time consuming unless you have a lot of time on your hands which Im assuming you don’t, articles are just fine, keep on going. They’re great. Like I said, 60 minutes…

          • Keep up the great work. You guys are all doing great. I definitely visit the site daily and use it as a main source of news and information regarding new technology and trends etc.

    • john jeffreys on 05.4.12 @ 10:12PM

      Regarding site design, I’d like to say that my ghostery tells me that this website has 13 (!!) advertising/traffic tracking bugs. You should get rid of at least half of those, if you care about the privacy of the readers here.

      • Get of the internet if you’re worried. Everything tracks you here. And your browser tells sites a lot more info then you’d like to think.

      • Those should just be from Google AdSense and the like; we’re not doing any tracking ourselves (nor are our sponsors). We also use services like Quantcast to deliver traffic reports. None of this is any different from any other website, and if we didn’t have ads I couldn’t hire writers! So, small price to pay (none, that is) in my book!

  • Welcome guys.

    That said — and nothing against these new gents — but could we get some non-fiction/documentary people up in here? Narrative filmmaking isn’t the only kind of filmmaking, you know…and there’s plenty of creative stuff to discuss related to it, but I almost never see anything like that here. Which is a shame, because it’s also hard to find elsewhere.

    • And as long as I’m making management suggestions, have you thought at all about doing a podcast?

      • I’m a big fan of the documentary, as you can see on DN, so I’m pretty confident that a fair few will be finding their way into my contributions here at NFS along with more experimental work; hell they all require the same tools and skill sets to get made so why not! As for podcasts? Well that’s a word very close to my heart…

        • shaun wilson on 05.6.12 @ 3:45AM

          Seriously, speaking of documentaries, there should be a feature doco about how this site started, would be an interesting story about Koo, the early rejection from studios then the path to now, the jubilation of the Kickstarter campaign and beyond. Another interesting one would be the story of Andrew Kramer starting Video Copilot and Final Image from his bedroom, if we have had the story of Facebook hit cinemas, its about time we look at equally good success stories. All good things happen from bedrooms and garages, look what happened to Apple in the early 1970s…

  • MarBelle… got the ill communication?

  • A big welcome to the new writers! I’m definitely looking forward to additional perspectives.
    As far as content, I would love to read some post on post production topics. Indie no/low budget productions don’t always have good cameras at our disposal, so getting a good look requires more post production work. I would love to see posts on effects (computer and practical), color grading/correction tips/do’s and dont’s, achieving different looks (grainy film, noir).
    Love the site! Keep the posts coming!

  • I’ve come to feel that every person I meet is a window.
    Now, we have three new windows to look out of.

  • Welcome Justin, Christopher and MarBelle. Been a long time reader, looking forward to reading what you guys bring to the blog!

    I agree that more content on non-fiction/documentary would be welcome. Also, bringing back some content on the business of being a multi-hyphenate (time management, finding gigs, building an audience, the struggles of earning money while pursuing your own projects) Koo had a bunch of great articles on these things before, you know, he got busy : )

    Would also be interested in learning how to integrate computer generated animations with live action footage.

  • I just wanted to let you know guys that I am reading you everyday and night. I really like what you do in this blogosphere and hope that one day, API, libraries, SDKs certain chips (Tegra 3 anyone?) would be so cheap and so easy to implement that we could have a possible open source full frame 2k camera. I am close enough from the silicon valley to tell you guys that Android Tablet with a APS-c, micro 4/3rd or even full frame is such a possibility in a very close future but because to all the thankfull asxxxxxx from stupid marketing department over the fear of cannibalization of their own line of product, they just don’t release it. LG and SAMSUNG more importantly are really to blame in this lack of innovation this year.

  • Lighting, BTS, interviews with directors, DPs, screenwriters, all these kinds of things. Not saying theyre not already here but more would be awesome. Love this site! Keep up the good work Koo and company

  • worked with Chris Boone on the set of his original, Preschool’s a Bitch, great writer and director!

  • I love Director’s Notes; have followed it for a very, very long time. It makes me happy that MarBelle will be writing here at NoFilmSchool :)

  • Hope you guys keep up the quality which we receive constantly from our buddy Koo. Welcome on board….!

  • Big welcome to Marvin!
    Very supportive to me a few years back with Showreel and Directors Notes. A top man and great asset to

  • Looks like a great new crop! As a new academic filmmaker and long-time photographer, this site has been clutch in helping me to get the lay of the land in moving towards motion media. Thanks also, Ko, for the shout out to the ladies. It’s nice to know that the gender imbalance was recognized, even if there was nothing to be done about it. You’re keeping the door open, and making it a friendlier place for technically inclined women like myself. We’re out here, even if we are sometimes a bit too quiet. Thanks for the recognition.