» Archive for the ‘Featured Content’ Category

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Funny or Die HUVr HoverboardRecently a video popped up on the internet featuring what claimed to be a real hoverboard from the Back to the Future films (specifically the 2nd and 3rd films), from a company called HUVr. It had celebrity endorsement after celebrity endorsement, with the likes of Tony Hawk and even Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd, making an appearance. Turns out comedy website Funny or Die was behind the whole thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s a total letdown. The response from people and how quickly the video spread can teach us a lot about these kinds of videos, how to make them (with a little bit of money), and how to keep the illusion a reality for as long as possible. More »

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Menthol World Premiere at SBIFF

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about the decisions in creating the seminal piece of marketing (the trailer) for my first narrative feature Menthol. We just had our world premiere last month at the 29th Santa Barbara International Film Fest and, being my first festival experience from the filmmaker’s side, I wanted to share a little bit about the experience and what it’s got me thinking about — the philosophical, the social, and the pragmatic. More »

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Sarah Jones with CamerasPeople may refer to the “film community” when speaking about the industry, and while on the surface it might be easily dismissed as a vague term to describe working professionals, those involved in making TV or movies in any capacity, and on any budget level, are truly a tight-knit group of like-minded people who see fellow crew members as family. Back on February 20th, one of our own, Sarah Jones, tragically lost her life doing what she loved. The film community has come out in full force, not only honoring her on film slates, but introducing a petition to have her added to the ‘In Memorium’ tribute during Sunday’s Academy Awards [See the update below in the Petition section]. While we can do everything we can to make sure she is remembered, are we doing everything we can to prevent more accidents on and off set? More »

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Shooting with Alexa

Despite the name of our website, there are many things to be learned in film school, and director Addison Mehr chose an especially interesting project for his NYU thesis film. Fort Apache is the story of small town escape, adapted from a popular short story by Alan Heathcock. Click through to watch the film and get Addison’s perspective on film school, reaching out to an established author, casting and finding stories that resonate. More »

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New Music Cities - Tokyo

What is a city without its own music scene? Well personally speaking, it’s a place I want to escape from in favour of somewhere less lacking in the essential pulse that provides a locale with its underlying vibrancy. In his ongoing documentary series New Music Cities, created in collaboration with Dazed and AllSaints, director Jamie Jessett takes a counter-cultural look at some of the world’s global music centres. No Film School caught up with Jamie to find out how he’s been tapping into and capturing the diverse musical underground and how he managed to create an engaging documentary about an anonymous drug dealer for UK TV screens. More »

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Andrew Mudge (Writer:Director) 2

Have you ever considered making a film in a country that’s not your own? How about writing and directing a script in a language you don’t speak? In the interview below, Andrew Mudge talks to No Film School about doing just that in the awarding winning film The Forgotten Kingdom and touches on anything from why he gave up on DIY dollies to the inherent love/hate relationship a director has with a film. More »

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sundance screenwriters lab fellows 2014

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 »

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15th Story Beat More Lessons Learned from CENTS Kickstarter
If my research of Kickstarter campaigns for film and video taught me anything, I learned the final days of most successful campaigns are wild rides. The Kickstarter for my upcoming feature film CENTS was no exception. Near the end of our Kickstarter, I shared lessons learned from the 15 story beats of our campaign, but since our campaign wasn’t finished, the 15th story beat had yet to be written. Now that our Kickstarter is done, allow me to take you behind the scenes of our final week to share more lessons learned from the exciting conclusion of our crowdfunding campaign. More »

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spring grants film narrative documentary screenwriters

It seems like every week a grant deadline flies by, and you find yourself looking forlornly at the expired application for free money, mumbling “coulda been a contender.” To give everyone more time to work on your films and scripts — and a little less time researching how to fund them — scroll through the list below to find relevant opportunities for your narrative films, documentaries, and screenplays with deadlines this Spring. More »

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Writer's Block Cast & Crew

While on the set of the Tze Chun/Bryan Cranston thriller Cold Comes the Night in 2012, Hurricane Sandy rolled into New York. This led to some downtime on set, and that’s when Cranston — sport that he is — came up with a short film contest: the best script submitted by a production assistant gets to produce it with Cranston in the lead role. Click through to watch the film that was born from the contest and read our interview with director Brandon Polanco. More »

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Sammy calculus in stall

For over three weeks, I have been fully immersed in one of the best adventures of my filmmaking career: the Kickstarter campaign for my first feature film, CENTS. Running this Kickstarter has been a full-time job with so many unexpected twists and turns, you wonder who exactly is writing this script. One of the best parts about running a Kickstarter campaign is reconnecting with old friends and finding out that they will not only back your project, but they will pick you up with their words of encouragement. I have really enjoyed answering all of their questions about the film and the Kickstarter in particular. So I wanted to take this moment to share with you, the NFS audience, what I have learned so far from the 15 story beats of my CENTS Kickstarter. More »

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kickstarter indiegogo films sundance 2014From projects that banked $12K to upwards of $3M, quite a few films that just premiered at Sundance Film Festival were supported by very successful, but very different, Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. (And most were launched long before the filmmakers knew they would be premiering in Park City.) In the breakdown below, check out which ones were the most successful, and pick up tips for your next crowdfunding campaign. More »

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Ford Sypher Team Rubicon

Recently, No Film School accompanied former Army Ranger and current activist, consultant, and filmmaker Ford Sypher, along with a small crew, on a 19-hour drive (through what could be described, charitably, as ‘inclement weather,’ or, less charitably, as a hellish and terrifying ice storm) from NYC to Lawrence, Kansas. Sypher is in preproduction on a documentary shooting later this year in the Upper Yagua in Peru, a region currently experiencing an unprecedented boom in coca production, making it one of the most dangerous conflict zones in the world. In Kansas, Sypher and crew interviewed Bartholomew Dean, a renowned anthropologist and professor at the University Of Kansas, and also paid a visit to the William S. Burroughs house, where the iconic writer spent the last two decades of his life. More »

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Menthol Trailer Festival Laurels

In this series of posts, I’m going to test, prod, and explore the process of releasing my first feature film almost entirely online, with no money or nepotism. As some of you know, I’ve been regularly writing about distribution on No Film School in recent months with the intention of one day putting what I’ve learned to use. That day has come with the imminent release of my narrative feature Menthol – and what better place than here to have the discussion as the process evolves? Read on for Part 1, in which I discuss decisions in cutting and releasing the all-important trailer. More »

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Tze Chun and Bryan Cranston

Director Tze Chun came up big in 2010 with his debut Sundance drama Children of Invention, which he also self-distributed. Now he’s back with his recently-released sophomore effort Cold Comes The Night, starring none other than America’s darling bad-boy Bryan Cranston. Read on for our interview with the filmmaker as he discusses what it’s like to build on his humble indie roots. More »

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nfs grants sundance documentarWhen over half of the documentaries premiering at Sundance have been backed by a handful of well-regarded granting agencies, you ought to take notice of who those grantmakers are, and start putting together your application for next year — NOW. Below is a breakdown of who supported which films, and how to tell if these agencies might support your work in the future. More »

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NFS Reviews

Last month, I had a chance to talk with Andy Waplinger, the founder of Strahlen, about his brand new LED lighting solution, the ST-100 series of lights. Since that time, I’ve had the opportunity to not only have some hands-on time with the prototype ST-100′s, but to formally review them, and shoot with them on a personal project. Needless to say, the ST-100′s and I became quite close during the few weeks that they were in my possession, and I have quite a few thoughts to share about these unique lights. So, let’s get to it. More »

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Old Super8 cam

When many of us first picked up a camera, it was whatever we had lying around. Maybe it was dad’s old Super 8 at home or the Handycam in your high school yearbook class. It was available, affordable, and convenient, so the choice was already made whether you knew it or not. Today, however, there are a lot of cameras out there so naturally beginning filmmakers will ask themselves, “How do I choose a camera?”

This is a guest post by Joyce Tsang of Stillmotion. More »

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teradek_cube_wireless_high_defintion_hd_h264_video_transmitter_stream_wifi_monitoring_ipad_mac_red_arri

Camera technology is not the only reason it’s an exciting time to be a filmmaker. Manufacturers such as AJA, Atomos, Blackmagic Design, Convergent Design and others offer increasingly inexpensive solutions for bolstering and customizing camera workflow — especially when it comes to external media recording and monitoring. Some of these devices provide functionality shooters have long sought after, and still others bring capabilities some of us may never have even dreamed of. The Teradek Cube is one such device, and here is the first part of my full review. More »

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Lighting Header Photo

Lighting on location is almost always a challenge for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s difficult or impossible to rig lights in the places you really need them. Other times, power management and distribution prove to be problematic. More often than not, however, the most irritating part of lighting on location is that there just isn’t enough space to light with traditional studio methods, which forces you to improvise. I ran into such a situation recently when shooting a screen test for an up-and-coming Denver actress named Emma Moody. With 15 square feet of space, two high-powered LED’s, a little bit of natural light, and a MacGuyver-esque mindset, we managed to get it done. Here’s how. More »