» Posts Tagged ‘advice’

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Jack Plotnik at Outfest 2014To follow-up from last week’s 2014 Outfest kickoff, the festival has released a few more interviews from their Meet the Filmmakers series. Outfest asked me to conduct some interviews with some of this year’s filmmakers, allowing a glimpse into the minds of some really interesting directors working today. Including interviews with Marina Rice Bader, Jack Plotnik and Desiree Akhavan, and a compilation video of all their advice for other independent filmmakers. More »

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Mike WhiteWhat does screenwriting look like? Waking up at 6am, pouring a cup of coffee — black, sitting down at a desk with last night’s Chinese take out strewn about, turning on your computer, going over notes, and finally, typing away for hours and hours until you remember that humans need food and sleep to survive. Now, raise your hand if that’s what screenwriting looks like in your own life. If you didn’t raise yours, you wouldn’t be the only one. In fact, screenwriter Mike White (Nacho LibreSchool of Rock, Orange County) details what the whole process entails for him, which actually includes a whole lot of not writing a screenplay. More »

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TypewriterA screenplay is made up of a lot of different pieces: acts, sequences, scenes, etc. Think of them as multi-sized blocks that you must stack, tear down, rearrange, and throw away until what you have before you looks something like a story. But before you can enjoy the tedious task of formation, you have to create these pieces, or blocks, from scratch. To help with this, screenwriter and frequent Tim Burton collaborator, John August (Big Fish, Corpse Bride), whose blog you should be reading religiously, released a handy infographic/PDF of his popular post “How to Write a Scene” that gives screenwriters an easy checklist of 11 bullet points that helps guide them through the process. More »

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Wim WendersThere isn’t a movie in all of cinematic history that can truly be called perfect, but there are certainly some steps we as filmmakers can take to make the process of making one a little bit more so. In this TV spot for the fancy-ish non-domestic Stella Artois, renowned director Wim Wenders shares a bunch of advice on how to approach filmmaking — if your goal is to make cinematic perfection, of course. More »

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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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Room 666If you could get a large group of some of cinema’s greatest directors in one room, what would you ask them? Well, director Wim Wenders got that opportunity while at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, and subsequently made a documentary about it. 16 iconic directors, including Jean-Luc Godard, Steven Spielberg, Werner Herzog, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, were asked a series of questions about the future of the film industry, as well as the art form itself, and their answers became an incredible 44-minute video compendium of cinematic knowledge. Check it Wenders’ Room 666 after the break. More »

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Video thumbnail for youtube video Kevin Smith Talks About the Things You Can't Learn in Film School - No Film SchoolWhile this website might be called No Film School, we have always acknowledged that there are positives and negatives for attending or not attending film school. The mission that hasn’t changed since the site was created is to provide as much daily inspiration, knowledge, and news as possible on all sorts of topics related to filmmaking and shooting video, and this next clip is no different. Writer/director Kevin Smith, a film school dropout himself, talked during a Q&A about whether going to film school is worth it, and the skills that really can’t be taught in school. More »

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Cheap ThrillsFilmmaking is a lot like being in a serious relationship: it requires all of your time, focus, and love, it requires an insane amount of patience, and you’ll probably spend most of your time pulling your hair out and crying. For those approaching their first films and are looking for a little guidance before jumping headlong into it all, the director of the black comedy Cheap ThrillsE.L. Katz, offers first-time filmmakers 12 pieces of advice in this great article from Indiewire. We’ve shared a few tips from the list, so continue on to check them out! More »

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Thelma SchoonmakerLegendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker has collaborated with Martin Scorsese for essentially the entire length of both of their careers, starting with Scorsese’s feature Who’s That Knocking at My Door?. Needless to say, this 3-time Oscar winner, with nearly a half a century of filmmaking experience, has insight into the craft that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, and fortunately for us, Schoonmaker has shared 8 Golden Rules of filmmaking with MovieMaker Magazine, and we’ve selected a few to share with you. More »

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HitchcockIf you’re looking at your project right now — maybe you’re going over the footage you shot today or are editing all of your raw material — and you’re feeling like it’s falling a bit flat, it might be time to take some notes from the master. Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t just the Master of Suspense; he was the master of capturing and eliciting powerful emotions from his actors and audiences through several cinematic techniques — ones that every filmmaker should learn at some point in their career. This video essay breaks down many of Hitch’s chosen methods of storytelling, from using the MacGuffin to training his camera to the faces of his actors, so continue on to check it out. More »

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FilmmakersAs filmmakers, we do quite a bit of research and study. We read a vast number of tutorials, and articles texts; we watch classic films and go to countless first showings. We do so much to fill our brains with all of the information we think will prepare us for making films and seeing our craft from a new perspective. However, sometimes all we need is a simple quote. Tumblr blog A-BitterSweet-Life (which you should religiously follow) has shared a spiffy interactive Prezi presentation that highlights some truly inspiring quotes about filmmaking and style from 12 filmmakers from all different countries and all different eras including Andrei Tarkovsky, Maya Deren, and Steven Soderbergh. More »

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Roger DeakinsRoger Deakins is one of the most highly regarded cinematographers living today (which is probably why we like to talk about him here at NFS). He has photographed  aesthetically breathtaking films such as The Shawshank RedemptionFargo, and No Country for Old Men (he has been nominated for 11 Oscars, but he has yet to win a single one), and has always been very open and willing to share the wisdom he has picked up throughout his almost 40-year career. In a very helpful, very inspiring BBC News article, Deakins shares his top 10 tips for young cinematographers, and we’ve chosen a few gems to share with you. More »

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LockeI was in 8th grade when Cast Away came out, and I remember thinking, “How can you make a movie with only one character?” “One-man” shows can be supremely engrossing pieces of cinema, full of rich explorations into the human condition, as well as debilitating human struggle. However, from a filmmaking standpoint, there are plenty of pitfalls that a director must navigate and maneuver around in order to avoid a flat, undecipherable, and ultimately uninteresting film. Directors Steven Knight (Locke) and Rodrigo Cortés (Buried) offer some insight into how they approached their one-man films, as well as some excellent advice on how you can approach yours. More »

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TypewriterA screenplay is a puzzle made up of pieces you cut yourself that you fit together to form a picture you make up as you go. And if a screenplay is a puzzle, think of genre as the box it came in. It has to be accommodating and accurate to the structure and picture of the story, otherwise, you make it hard on your audience. In an enlightening article, Raindance lists 10 techniques that sell scripts, 8 of which has something to do with genre. So, let’s take a look at genre from the perspective of both a buyer and a screenwriter, figure out how it can help or hinder your story, and finally, ways to add or change characteristics of your chosen genre in order to not only write a story that is fresh and original, but one that works well with audiences. More »

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Boy AGetting your start in cinematography may feel like getting dropped in the middle of nowhere without a compass, which is why advice from those who have found their way out is so invaluable. DP Rob Hardy, who has worked on films like Boy A and Red Riding: In the year of Our Lord 1974 offers some great advice, as well as some valuable words of encouragement, to beginning cinematographers in this BAFTA video. Continue on to check it out.

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Lol CrawleyCinematographer Lol Crawley, who has shot such films as Ballast, which won for Best Cinematography at Sundance in 2008, and last year’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, has a true knack for capturing painfully personal and intimate images. He took some time to share some cinematography advice back in 2012 for his BAFTA Cinematography Masterclass in Bristol, and Anna Hoghton highlights and paraphrases the key ideas he shared, including how to light and finding your voice as a DP. (And we’ve taken a few of our favorites to share with you!) More »

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Lena DunhamSXSW saw tons of great minds — filmmakers, executives, and creatives — come through and participate in panel discussions (some of which we had the pleasure of attending). Indiewire has compiled some great filmmaking advice shared at several of these panels by some incredibly talented and influential industry professionals, including producer (now Fandor CEO) Ted Hope and filmmaker Lena Dunham. Continue on to check out what they said. More »

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Darius KhondjiAfter one glance at Darius Khondji’s IMDb page it’s easy to see that the famed French cinematographer is a living legend. From his work with David Fincher (Se7en, Panic Room), to Michael Haneke (Funny Games, Amour), to Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris, To Rome With Love), and my personal favorite, Jean Pierre Jeunet/Marc Caro (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children), it’s safe to say the Khondji has had a storied career as a cinematographer. IndieWire recently talked with Khodji about his advice for low-budget cinematographers who are shooting on location, and needless to say, the man had some invaluable tips. Here are a few of my favorites. More »