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It takes a village to make an independent film, and there are few villages as important and supportive as the Sundance Institute. If you don’t know the institute and its programs, you certainly know the films that exist because of the Institute’s immeasurable support. Previously I shared how I got into the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and speculated about why I was fortunate enough to be selected this year after not making it in the past (hint: make a short – regardless of the labs, so many of this year’s festival features were adapted from shorts). Now that the lab and the festival are over, I’d like to share some things I learned at the life-changing (and I don’t use that term lightly) Sundance Screenwriters Lab. More »
This is part of our behind-the-scenes series on a slow-motion, live-burn fire shoot shot on a Phantom Flex4K.
Nothing in the room above is actually on fire. Nor is there any CGI. Nor was there a big budget or a huge team — just a few filmmakers with a prototype Phantom Flex 4K camera and a goal of filming a tracking shot through a room on fire… without actually setting it on fire. Here’s how director Brendan Bellomo and DP Greg Wilson set a room ablaze virtually using The Foundry Nuke in the Flex4K promo Let Me Know When You See Fire. More »
Dream come true!
I’m not sure if it’s possible to look forward to something more than going to the Screenwriters Lab and my first Sundance.
Here was my step-by-step approach to getting selected for the lab: More »
This is part of our behind-the-scenes series on a slow-motion, live-burn fire shoot shot on a Phantom Flex4K.
If there’s one indelible image from 1991′s firefighting actioner Backdraft, it’s the sight of flames licking out menacingly from underneath a door. It may be that the folks on Backdraft staged and filmed the effect as it happened for real, but on the short Phantom Flex4K promo Let Me Know When You See Fire, director Brendan Bellomo and DP Greg Wilson came up with a creative way of achieving the same effect without actually setting a room on fire — or being in a room at all. Check out this ingenious way of achieving the effect: More »
When you’re recording 16GB a second — yes, I said sixteen gigabytes — you’re only going to be able to capture a few sections of action at a time. This is the price we pay for having amazing cameras like the Phantom Flex4K, which shoots 1,000 FPS at full 4K resolution. You’d better get your staging, choreography, and framing right at these data rates! More »
Hot on the heels of a long overdue update about my feature MANCHILD, I’m happy to share that the production company I co-founded with Zack Lieberman, EXIT STRATEGY, is one of eight companies selected for the inaugural class of the Dogfish Accelerator program (that’s our ridiculous team photo at left). Dogfish Accelerator is the first seed accelerator for film production companies, modeled on startup incubators like TechStars, and is co-founded by producer James Belfer (Like Crazy, Compliance, Prince Avalanche). We publicized the program here on No Film School, as that is one of our missions with this site — to share opportunities that may be potentially career-changing for filmmakers — and Zack and I felt it represented such an opportunity for us and our long-germinating interactive project, 3RD RAIL. This post is long overdue, as we’re already two months into the three-month accelerator, but that’s what happens when you juggle projects and responsibilities — something that is a must in the film industry. Ridley Scott, for example, currently has 11 projects announced, in pre-production, filming, or in post-production. This is a good opportunity to talk about Dogfish and how MANCHILD and 3RD RAIL relate to the art of stacking projects, otherwise known as having an answer to the question every filmmaker is asked when a project garners recognition: “what’s next?” More »
The last time I posted about my MANCHILD prequel AMATEUR, I was asking for help and releasing a teaser trailer to help the short get picked up by sports and film websites. By releasing a short film directly online instead of waiting to get into festivals, I was accelerating the release schedule and — at least in theory — finding an audience everywhere, instead of just in a few select theaters. I’m glad to say that AMATEUR has now been featured on a lot of prominent websites and has enjoyed a lot of festival play as well — despite being free online. Let’s take a look at how we achieved this, the lessons I learned, and the status and schedule of the long-delayed but better-than-ever feature MANCHILD. More »
Doin’ It In the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC is an unabashed success story for first-time feature directors Bobbito García and Kevin Couliau, who filmed basketball on 180 courts across New York City’s five boroughs. They shot the feature on the Godfather of DSLR cinematography, the Canon 5D Mark II, and took advantage of being a mobile production unit by biking to the majority of their locations. Following a theatrical tour the world over and a successful direct digital release using VHX, DIITP is available today on iTunes, Amazon.com, VUDU, Google Play, PlayStation, Xbox, and cable VOD everywhere. As a basketball player who’s spent plenty of time on outdoor NYC courts, and as a Kickstarter backer of the project, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit down with the filmmakers to ask them how they did it. More »
I’ll be moderating a panel on the future of distribution and content creation here in NYC on November 6th, featuring a number of heavy-hitters at prominent film companies. The panel will be presented by our friends at ScreenCraft, in association with WGA East and Hello World. We’ve got an exclusive discount for NFS readers (note: we are not profiting on this event, and will be releasing some free video of it as well). Read on to find out
where to watch the livestream UPDATE: the venue’s internet connection isn’t robust enough to host a livestream, but we will release video of the event later. Here are the details: More »
If you’re at all curious as to how this site came about, why it exists, and what the early days were like, here’s an interview our friends at Film Courage did with me about the origins of No Film School. I suppose this post could be construed as self-serving, but hey — as the guy who started this site and ran it single-handedly for the first two years, I’m proud of what we’ve managed to build. We also talk about how I lied my way into MTV, as well as some strategies for growing a website that will hopefully be of interest to anyone launching a web presence. More »
Filmmaker Paul Trillo (full disclosure: a fellow Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective member, and also my former roommate) used chromakey suits to novel effect in his music video Lonely, and now he’s back with a new experimental short that finds clever uses for chromakey suits — as well as a high-speed Phantom Miro camera. Check out SALIENCE, an experimental short: More »
[UPDATE: the giveaway is complete, and the lucky winner is @JMoFilm!] I met my producer at an IFP event, and also I’m going to be at their Filmmaker Conference this year with my feature MANCHILD (which was previously selected for the Emerging Narrative program, and this year will be part of the international co-production market No Borders) — so obviously I’m a big believer in IFP’s programs. They’ll open the exciting Made in NY Media Center by IFP in October, but first up is Independent Film Week in New York, which is chock full of workshops, networking opportunities, readings, and pitches. If you’re not in NYC, this is a good reason to come, and we’re giving away the best pass to the Filmmaker Conference money can buy here on nofilmschool. More »
My Q&A about MANCHILD (and its prequel short AMATEUR) just went live on my favorite sports/movie website, Grantland (if you like it, please click “Recommend”at the bottom of their article!). Grantland is ESPN’s in-depth, long-form journalism spin-off that features movies alongside sports coverage, which made it my #1 target for AMATEUR. Most sports websites, however, are accustomed to posting a quick highlight clip or an animated .gif. Thus, to spread the short to other sports sites, we’re doing a couple of things: one, releasing the short on YouTube, and two, cutting a 15-second teaser that (hopefully) whets the appetite. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again (with a different strategy). Here’s the new teaser: More »
Thanks to David Branin and Karen Worden of the great indie film show Film Courage for having me on recently. Given this website covers a lot of the “latest, greatest tools” in filmmaking, this particular interview question was a perfect chance for me to make it abundantly clear what my stance — and by extension the stance of nofilmschool — is when it comes to “gear addiction” and what tools filmmakers “need to have right now.” More »
The new versions of Adobe’s creative apps are now live on Creative Cloud, including video-relevant apps like Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, Photoshop CC, SpeedGrade CC, Audition CC, and more. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge and switched to Adobe’s new subscription-based service, they’re adding a 40% discount to entice you (which brings the $50/month subscription for the entire suite down to $30/month). Here are videos spotlighting new features for every updated video program: More »
Perhaps the biggest story at NAB this year was Freefly Systems’ steadicam-esque gyro gimbal MōVI, which we’ve covered several times. The Vincent Laforet-directed debut film was DP’d by nofilmschool friend Timur Civan, and at NAB I had a chance to sit down with Timur briefly to chat about how they shot the debut video, how the Canon 1D C behaved, how the MōVI might affect the steadicam market, and what impact it might have on filmmaking in general. More »
Last week I posted AMATEUR, the prequel to my forthcoming feature MANCHILD, and the response to the short has been downright amazing. Thank you to everyone who has watched it! If you haven’t seen it yet, it is embedded below, and if you have seen it, here’s how two seconds of your time can make a big difference for the project: More »
AMATEUR is a short prequel demonstrating my vision for MANCHILD, the feature film we’re making next. I’ve never been so excited to release something, so I hope you like it! If you like the short and want to see the feature, please head over to our just-launched website for MANCHILD and share it. I’m releasing this directly online, and that’s how this short will spread — every tweet, facebook like, and share makes a BIG difference. Thank you! More »
Reading through the comments on our post about the innovative new camera stabilizer MōVi, I was reminded of something I saw recently at LACMA’s amazing Stanley Kubrick exhibit. It is a 1976 letter from producer Jan Harlan to Kubrick himself, in which Harlan talks about a new device he’d just discovered: the Steadicam. More »
The Phantom Flex4K is the upgraded version of Vision Research’s Flex high-speed monster, designed to be production-ready with form factor improvements, audio options, and the ability to record to compressed formats. Check out the pyromaniac-friendly debut short and our interview, co-presented with FreshDV: More »