» Archive for the ‘Featured Content’ Category

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Random Stop Still Image

Shooting something entirely from a first person POV may not be new, but every once in a while an exceptionally well-done shot or scene (or even an entire short) makes you step back and appreciate what can be done with the technique and how difficult it is to pull off, especially when you need to cleverly hide cuts. That’s the case with Random Stop, a short film based on the tragic real-life shooting of Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Dinkheller after a routine traffic stop. We’ve also got a behind the scenes video that is launching first on No Film School, so be sure to check that out after watching the short. More »

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Anomaly Kickstarter w jts

Here at No Film School, we focus a whole lot on the process of making feature films. However, long-form storytelling like television narratives and web series are entering a golden age in which in-depth character development is key and content and structure can be as creative as ever. For independent and low-budget filmmakers looking to take advantage of the creative freedoms of long-form storytelling, while simultaneously working on honing their craft, web series are definitely a great way to go (just ask our fearless leader, Ryan Koo, whose series The West Side won critical acclaim). But how does one go about getting started with creating a dramatic web series? It’s certainly not easy, but today’s interviewee, Terrell Lamont, has some answers. More »

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Carsten Kurpanek Editor of Earth to Echo
Have you ever had that particular project come along that completely turned your career around — a break-out job after lots of hard work, that lead to more projects you loved working on? I FaceTimed recently with editor Carsten Kurpanek, who just edited his first wide-released feature Earth to Echo (in theaters now). Carsten was kind enough to provide some keen perspective from his own career thus far, some insights into the future of NLE technology, and even some recommendations and advice to those new to editing. More »

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A short film can be just that: a short glimpse into a world of the filmmaker’s creation. But then there are those short films that come with a medium-spanning world for audiences to explore far longer than the last frame of the film. One such successful transmedia project is Nathan Punwar’s Loves of a Cyclops, where the viewer can enter a nonsensical world with enough supporting material (film strips, recordings, and photographs) to make you wonder if Cycloptics might just be possible. No Film School sat down with Punwar to talk about anything from the rewards of transmedia to how Pixar just might look into multidimensional cycloptic viewing. More »

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It’s clear that cinematography is changing, both from technological and aesthetic perspectives. Images are being created in new, oftentimes fascinating ways, and the role of the cinematographer is evolving at a rapid pace. Cinematographers are now being included in the extensive visual effects processes that dominate contemporary Hollywood — although the extent to which some cinematographers are actually involved is hotly debated. All of this means that the future of cinematography as we know it today is an exciting, albeit uncertain one. However, there’s one area that might provide a new outlet for the cinematographers of tomorrow: video games. More »

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ciff pitch points north

Some film projects seem like they effortlessly raise budgets from grants and funding agencies, while others get quagmired in development hell when the people with the money decide to pass. What’s the difference? Well, it could be how you are pitching your film! No Film School sat down with Camden International Film Festival’s Sean Flynn to talk about important aspects of pitches, ten years of CIFF, and how to apply for the brand new Points North Fellowship — which not only helps you perfect your pitch, but has you deliver it in front of the Industry’s top funders! More »

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Rian Johnson Brick Script to Screen Austin Film Festival
If you saw the Internet in passing last week, you just might have caught wind of a small story about Rian Johnson joining a modestly successful sci-fi franchise to write and direct a future episode. For his sake, I certainly hope the first movie in the announced trilogy doesn’t tank, or Johnson may be out of a job. As I read that story, I was reminded of the Austin Film Festival Script-to-Screen panel I moderated with Johnson this past October to discuss his first feature film, the high school film noir Brick. Now only days away from principal photography on my first feature film, this feels like the perfect time to revisit our conversation to learn from Johnson and his experiences making this original take on the film noir genre. More »

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Blackmagic URSA 4K with PL MountA little over two years ago, Blackmagic Design completely disrupted the cinema camera market, and changed expectations about how much we should be paying for excellent image quality. Their goal with the first 2.5K Cinema Camera was to make something with as much flexibility in post as possible, and would be a companion to cameras like the Canon 5D Mark II — which is why they chose the Canon EF mount. They haven’t stopped with just one camera model, as they have since introduced the Pocket Cinema Camera, Production Camera 4K, and the URSA 4K Digital Cinema Camera, which features interchangeable sensors. At the recent NAB show, I interviewed Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty and asked him all sorts of questions about their camera line, firmware updates, and what he thought about the image issues some people have experienced with the Production Camera 4K. More »

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Bastards of Young Taking a break on set

Through film history, there are those films we qualify as good “party movies” (Sixteen Candles and Dazed and Confused come to mind). But on the low-budget end of the spectrum, scenes taking place at a party can sometimes be the surest way for a film to scream “amateur”. Is it the garish lighting that accompanies party scenes, or the awkward clusters of bored friends posing as background actors? Josiah Signor tackled the party genre with much success in Bastards of Young, and in this No Film School interview, he explains how he created his well acted, well paced, nuanced feature debut — a micro budget “party movie” that’s actually pretty damned good. More »

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TFS

I’ve written previously about my experience producing, distributing and promoting my feature films The Graduates, Turtle Hill, Brooklyn and Drinking Games, and written about the emerging digital landscape for indie filmmakers. One thing I haven’t covered, however, are some of the super-specific, yet far-reaching promotions we undertook to bring new eyeballs to these films, and the net results of that work. So, I decided to put the five best promotions we did for my debut feature, The Graduates into a clear, concise eBook entitled The Free Soundtrack: The Top Five Ways To Sell Your Film On A $0 Marketing Budget, for you, my fellow filmmakers, to download for free. More »

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Film Director

The other day, I overheard someone say that Steve McQueen’s cinematography in 12 Years A Slave was brilliant. As a huge fan of Sean Bobbitt (the actual cinematographer of that film), I wanted to say something, but held my tongue because avoiding the argument that would have ensued seemed like a better option. Despite my inaction, this instance got me thinking about our shared cultural view of film directors, and about whether or not that view needs to change. More »

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hellion cat kandler on set

What’s the most important aspect of a film? Acting? Cinematography? Plot? To some, these are all crucial components that lead into the most important expression of a film: tone. However, setting the tone of a film is one of the most difficult things to do. Kat Candler’s Hellion, starring Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, and a handful of emerging young actors, is a film that’s all about tone — the 13-year-old, heavy metal, motocross kind. Read our interview with Kat Candler, where she talks about anything from the dance of shooting handheld on the ALEXA, starting Hellion as a short, and the current heyday of independent film in Texas. More »

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no film school summer films grants deadlines screenwriting documentary narrative

Our massive list of grants is back, and for summer it’s bigger than ever — more grants, more markets, and more opportunities for both US-based and International filmmakers to get funding! Looking to finance your next 3D feature? Develop your humanities documentary? Get your script picked up by a top agency? Yup, there’s an app for that. If granting puns don’t get you excited, this list of relevant opportunities with deadlines this summer just might. More »

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Adam Epstein

Frequent readers of our site are likely familiar with the work of the Film Unit over at Saturday Night Live. On multiple occasions, we’ve covered the work of the Film Unit DP Alex Buono, most recently as he talked us through his work on the Wes Anderson parody, The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders. As we know from Buono’s posts, the pre-production and production of these pieces are done on extremely tight deadlines due to the fact that SNL is a weekly show with multiple “shorts” per episode. However, for those of you who thought that those processes were as stressful and hectic as it gets, wait until you hear about (and watch) the post production of a few recent SNL shorts.

I recently talked with Saturday Night Live Film Unit editor Adam Epstein about some of his recent work for the storied television show. We chat about everything from how he landed at SNL to the technical aspects of his work as an editor for the show. More »

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Stripped

Direct distribution platforms have made finding an audience for independent, no budget movies a real possibility. And though much of your effort might be focused on just getting your film online and monetized, there is a whole area of distribution that could provide potential profits that may be slipping past your attention: bonus content. VHX, a direct-to-fan distribution platform, has crunched the numbers on which content options are the most popular for the documentary STRIPPED – a project that has harnessed the power of bonus content to appeal to their fan base, and has put more money into the pockets of the film’s creators.

This is a guest post by VHX. More »

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Layover 1

It’s easy to become despondent when approaching (or thinking about approaching) the uphill battle that is making a film. And although it is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do, it can be done — regardless of how little experience, money, or equipment you have at your disposal. Filmmaker Joshua Caldwell made his feature film Layover for just $6000; he cast his friends, borrowed a Canon 5D, and now it’s competing for the New American Cinema award at SIFF, and he has decided to share what he has learned about maintaining high production value while keeping costs down.

This is a guest post by Joshua Caldwell. More »

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Though it has been made much more doable thanks to crowdfunding platforms, securing funding and navigating the process to maximize your return can be tricky. DP Katie Maul and the team of filmmakers working on the indie doc Trichster, have run a total of 3 successful crowdfunding campaigns for the film, and Maul has shared some tips on how you could approach your next fundraising efforts.

This is a guest post by Katie Maul. More »

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Leaving your home to shoot a movie in different country is certainly not for the faint of heart, something cinematographer Richard Patterson knows all too well. When he traveled to Haiti from the U.S. to shoot a short documentary entitled Papa Machete about the slowly vanishing martial art of Haitian Machete Fencing, he was met with many different types of issues concerning gear, media management, you name it. Thankfully, Patterson decided to share what he learned with all of us.

This is a guest post by Richard Patterson. More »

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Our festival run is almost complete and we’re preparing for our imminent online launch. Direct distribution is a moving target, and we’re constantly shifting our release strategy and making adaptations we feel are necessary. Our latest adaptation is going to be making the film available on more than one platform when we release. For this post I’ve also put together the first of three videos from hours of interview footage on the cast & crew’s experience of making Menthol. Click through to keep following along and to watch the video. More »

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Heaven Adores You a film about Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith is one of the most prolific and authentic figures in the contemporary singer/songwriter era and is synonymous with intimate, honest folk music. His songs are cinematic in the sense that they are character studies, “little pictures made of words” that capture a certain person, time or place. Many documentaries have tried to have been made over the years, but Nickolas Rossi has succeeded in making the first feature-length Elliott documentary with permission to use his music. Read on for our interview with the director Nickolas Rossi on constructing a portrait of Elliott’s life and work. More »