» Archive for the ‘Featured Content’ Category
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 »
In part two of our interview with the directing duo DANIELS, we talk about forging careers as music video directors, film school, storyboarding, writing treatments, and moving onto feature films. We’ll even share their original treatment for their music video for DJ Snake and Lil’ Jon’s “Turn Down for What,” which has gotten eight million views… since I published part one of our interview last week (bringing the total number of views close to fifty million, a mark it will surely surpass shortly.). More »
Budgets are rapidly coming down for music videos, but some directors still manage to execute their visions on a budget. Tyler T. Williams is perhaps one of the best at this, always putting together interesting images with great music. With his latest video for “Curtains!?” by Timber Timbre, Tyler displays a growing confidence in storytelling and a welcome throwback to the film noir grunge of the 40s and 50s. Hit the jump to watch the new video and for our interview with the director. More »
Three years ago I posted one of my favorite music videos of all time, created by the directing duo DANIELS, who’ve since racked up many more awards for their terrific music videos and short films. I was excited when I found out they would be at this year’s Sundance Screenwriters Lab with me with their feature film project, but little did I know they’d be releasing a viral sensation shortly thereafter. Their music video for DJ Snake and Lil’ Jon’s “Turn Down for What” has crossed 35 million views as I write this, thanks to its absurd hilarity, excellent direction, and infectious energy. In part one of our Q&A with directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan — the latter of whom is in fact the main performer in the video — we address the expected (how they made the video, the cinematography and visual effects) and also the unexpected (dancing sex organs, crotch bruising, Asian masculinity). More »
The Directing Motion Tour workshop, hosted by award-winning commercial director Vincent Laforet, goes in-depth with some of the most famous films in history, analyzing why and when the camera was moved or placed in a certain way, and how sequences are constructed from those shots. Not only that, but attendees actually get to work on a scene themselves where they put all of this theory into practice. I recently attended the DM tour, and I was able to sit down with Vincent and ask a few questions about camera movement, being a director, and what really matters when it comes to storytelling. More »
Being a director requires a certain persistent stubbornness to get a film made the way you want it. In the case of Ben Knight and Travis Rummel, this meant saving money for six years to buy the RED EPIC, having strict rules about shooting on tripods (even underwater), camouflaging oneself to film unnoticed at demolish sites, and editing every frame of the film in unadulterated 4K. The payoff? A breathtaking film that won the SXSW Audience Award and is opening on the big screen this weekend. In the No Film School interview below, find out how the filmmakers of DamNation made their cinematic doc, and where you can catch it in theaters. More »
The process of releasing and distributing my first film has been a challenge, and as we enter the last month or so of pre-release work I will be sharing more a long the way. In the previous two posts in this series I talked about cutting a trailer and shared philosophical ramblings after our world premiere. In this post, I’m gonna talk about our international premiere experience, putting on our own screenings and preparing for the next steps before release. Hit the jump to read more. More »
Have you ever thought of turning the camera around on yourself to tell a personal story? What about a personal story that involved outing yourself as an undocumented immigrant and exploring the relationship with your mother you haven’t seen in about 20 years? That’s what Pulitzer Prize winning author and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas did in his latest film, and it wasn’t easy. In the NFS interview below, Vargas talks about anything from writing first-person narration, to earning the right to be on camera, to achieving that delicate balance needed for a successful first-person story in his film Documented, which opens in theaters this weekend. More »
How many dimensions do you need to tell a story about the most potentially life-altering breakthroughs of the future — science that might let you live forever? After shooting about a third of production in 3D, the filmmakers behind The Immortalists decided to scrap a stereoscopic shoot and opt instead for the intimacy of DSLR, a cerebral world of animation, and an experimental sound design based on water, clocks, and the internal organs of a fish. Below we interview co-directors David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg, along with their sound designer Peter Albrechtsen about their film that premiered at SXSW and is showing next week at HotDocs. Hit the jump to hear about anything from the schizophrenic nature of editing to recording bugs in windowsills. More »
For the last two years, Brooklyn-based filmmaker Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt has been directing a documentary called Havana Motor Club, which explores Cuba’s underground drag-racing community and their quest to hold the first official car race in Cuba since the Revolution. He learned quite a bit about filming in the country, and in the final days of his Kickstarter campaign to raise post-production funds, is sharing with us what you need to know if you want to shoot there (some of which can apply to other countries you might shoot in).
Have you ever wanted to just make a “quick and easy” film? That was filmmaker Joey Ciccoline’s intention for his first narrative short, a sci-fi film entitled 88:88, which has now gone on to win a handful of awards (including a Vimeo Staff Pick) and screened at festivals all around the world. But his idea for a “simple short film” turned into an exercise in creating stunning and clever practical effects without a small crew and an even smaller budget. Now Ciccoline wants to let you in on how he captured (almost) all of those effects in-camera.
After months of busting your hump making pitch videos, coming up with rewards, and tweeting like there was no tomorrow, (hopefully) you’ve found yourself celebrating a fully funded crowdfunding campaign. However, before you start reveling in your success, you might want to figure out just how much of those funds will make it into your production’s budget not only after you pay your platform’s fees, but after you pay the taxman as well. Yes, taxes can take a pretty substantial bite out of your funds, but here are a few ideas on how to run your Kickstarter campaign to make the bite less severe come Tax Day next year.
The No Film School crew is here in Las Vegas for NAB 2014, along with an estimated 90,000 other content creators (!). Every year at NAB there’s an overwhelming amount of new filmmaking gear unveiled, so we’ll be keeping track of all the breaking news over the next several days and posting the stories here in one central place. Watch the playlist above or check out all of our stories below. More »
If you’re involved with the dark arts of video in any way, there’s a good chance at some point that you’ve created, or at least come across, a demo reel. While traditional demo reels are usually your best video pieces cut to music, how can you really stand out from the crowd in any meaningful way if they’re all pretty much the same? Nora De tackles that very subject and shows off her “remixed” demo reel, talking about how it landed her a job, and how rethinking your reel could help you land your own dream job.
John Cassavetes once said, “Anyone who can make a film, I already love.” The decision to make any movie is a leap of faith, and more so when you’re a trained physicist who emigrated from the former Soviet Union and gives up a steady paycheck on Wall Street to follow your artistic, cinematic dreams. Such is the case with unlikely filmmaker Gleb Osatinski, whose new short is gaining him a lot of attention for its otherworldly appeal. We talk to him about life and film in the former USSR, the beauty of the open-ending, and risking everything for a dream. More »
Back in 2012, we covered the Kickstarter for a short film called Prospect, which would eventually go on to premiere at this year’s SXSW film festival. Besides using relatively inexpensive gear to create some fantastic visuals, the directing duo of Zeek Earl & Christopher Caldwell had quite a bit of help from enthusiastic volunteers who found out about the project after the Kickstarter campaign. The short film has finally been released to the public, and you can watch it below, and read about some of the lessons the team learned throughout the entire project. More »
For me, Donnie Darko is one of those films that needs to be found. Its Sundance premiere didn’t exactly set off fireworks and its subsequent theatrical release in the U.S. in the fall of 2001 was quiet. Thanks to DVD (and a healthy theatrical debut in the UK), though, many people did eventually find this debut feature film from writer/director Richard Kelly, turning it into a cult classic. But even after watching the film, you feel like you are still discovering exactly what Donnie Darko is. So, you turn to the Director’s Cut to find more. For me, I did find more — more questions and even more intriguing themes. Thankfully, all these years later, I had the good fortune to spend almost two hours in conversation with Kelly, watching clips from both the original and director’s cut of Donnie Darko, in front of a live audience during a Script-to-Screen panel at the 20th Austin Film Festival & Conference. Here are just a few of the lessons we learned from Kelly about his experiences with his enigmatic first feature. More »
Shooting a film on Super 16 is about as rare these days as, I don’t know, spotting a unicorn. So when Fuji shipped out some of the last of their stocks for production of her first film, Leah Meyerhoff didn’t know it would be one of the last features shot on Super 16. Just after the SXSW Film Festival premiere of I Believe in Unicorns, Meyerhoff sat down along with her two lead actors, Natalia Dyer and Peter Vack, to talk to No Film School about anything from intentionally fogging film green, to the surprising freedom that using a restrictive medium like 16mm can offer. Check out the full interview, as well as a behind-the-scenes clip, below. More »
Sure, we’re all a bunch of gear junkies, but in some ways we know, a camera is a camera is a camera. It’s just as important for every production to have a good (or at least decent) concept, and therefore, a good reason to use one camera over the other! From scrapping a 3D production to saving up for six years to buy a RED EPIC, the excerpts below from a handful of different, but very talented, SXSW filmmakers are centered around one question: what did you shoot on and why? More »
I have a confession to make. I am not, nor am ever likely to be a dog lover. OK, I know most of you are about to click away in disgust but stick with me for just a moment. My dislike of man’s best friend may be lifelong, but it stood not one wag of a tail’s chance of surviving the gut punch of feelings I experienced watching the deeply emotional bond captured in Jonna McIver’s kindred spirits documentary A Boy and His Dog. The film depicts the transformative relationship between a rescue dog called Haatchi and Owen Howkins, a boy suffering from the rare genetic disorder Schwartz Jampel Syndrome.
See just how far a little bit of three-legged love can go after the jump: More »