» Posts Tagged ‘directing’

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SuspectsAh, the 90s. Rollerblades. Bill Clinton. A time when moguls like Harvey Weinstein jetted out to Sundance and handed out fat distribution/production deals to filmmakers who were  barely able to legally buy beer. One of these lucky young tyros was Bryan Singer, whose 1988 short, Lion’s Den, led to a feature that went to Sundance, and that led to The Usual Suspects, which led to everyone losing their mind in 1995. Check out this behind the scenes documentary on that classic crime film, and see how story and filmmaking can trump budget. 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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Ingmar BergmanIngmar Bergman is one of the giants of cinema, to the point that some images from his films have become so iconic as to make up a visual shorthand, possessing an allusive quality (the Knight playing chess with Death comes to mind.) The Swedish filmmaker directed over 40 narrative features and documentaries, both for film and TV, in his 61-year career, and was also a prolific theater director. In 1975, he sat down with students from the American Film Institute, and now a 40-minute audio recording of their conversation is available online. It’s a remarkably open and candid talk from a master director, and required listening for any fan, student of cinema, or lover of movies. More »

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Paul Thomas Anderson That Moment documentary MagnoliaWhether or not it’s your cup of tea (or should I say milkshake?), Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia remains one of the defining films of the late 90s, and an important work in Anderson’s career. Director Mark Rance documented the entire production in his film That Moment: Magnolia Diarywhich, if you haven’t seen it already, is now online in all of its 72 minute glory: 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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Wes AndersonThere are no other filmmakers out there like Wes Anderson. His knack for making films that feel like they’re, both, from another time and entirely immediate, as well as his ability to have constructed an entire working cinematic universe around his personal aesthetic tastes is astounding. (Can you tell I’m a fan?) If you’ve ever wanted to dive head first into a study of this universe, then you might want to check out this video series by RogerEbert.com Editor-in-Chief Matt Zoller Seitz, based on his book The Wes Anderson Collectionthat deconstructs each one of Anderson’s films, from the cinematography to the set design. More »

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high-and-lowWhile trying to think of something germane, pertinent and well, interesting, to say about the video essay which supplies the ostensible topic for this post, I happened upon a fact, which appears at the end of what I am about to start talking about,  but which I am going to lead with, and bear with me, okay? So this is a video documentary (essay, really) which teases out the connections between Alfred Hitchcock’s work and Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 crime flick, High and Low. The connection I chose to start from (in a roundabout way) is as good a point as any, I think, for a discussion of Hitchcock’s possible influence on Kurosawa (and everyone) without sounding too, too pretentious and/or lame. Hopefully. You’ll be the judge! 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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William FriedkinOscar-winner William Friedkin, director of The French Connection and the greatest scary movie to ever grace the cinematic world (um — in my opinion), The Exorcist, has quite the reputation in the industry. Friedkin has gone to great, often shocking lengths to capture his vision, including straight up slapping actors across the chops to get a favorable reaction. And though his latest work hasn’t managed to reach the acclaim of his early films, he is still considered to be one of New Hollywood’s big contributors. In this 2012 Fade In Magazine interview, the director draws from his over 50 years of experience in film to share his thoughts on the current state of cinema, as well as the films that influenced him the most. More »

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Black Swan BTSWhen Darren Aronofsky gave the cinematic world his very cerebral feature film, Pi (1998), it was an introduction into his career-long examination of the balance between light and dark, beauty and ugliness, and living and suffering. One of his projects that truly encapsulates this balance is Black Swan, a film that overtly and purposefully teeters between simplicity and baroqueness. If you want to dive into the tormented world of Aronofsky, take a look at Niko Tavernise’s Metamorphosis, a beautifully shot, very intimate documentary that takes you behind the scenes of the production, as well as interviews with the director, DP, screenwriter, and many more. 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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godfather-0903-06By the time he made The Godfather, at the age of 33, Francis Ford Coppola had already had a decade’s experience in the movie business, co-earning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the biopic Patton. Even that, though, didn’t make getting the film greenlit an easy or sure proposition. With pressure coming from all sides (several of them armed), Coppola began the first of his epic, career-long battles against everyone and everything that would stand in the way of his vision. Time and again, the director has gambled. Sometimes, he’s won, and very big. Sometimes, not so much. But whatever it is, he gives his all (including property). Now learn some of his tricks of the trade as Coppola, (along with the recently late DP Gordon Willis, Brando, Pacino, Caan, et al.) outwits everyone to make an American classic, his way, in this 1990 doc, The Godfather Family: A Look Inside. 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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Tarkovsky waterIf you look through the books, documentaries, and websites dedicated to the legendary Russsian director Andrei Tarkovsky, you’ll quickly find out that his work is often described as poetic. There’s absolutely no doubt that his films, full of metaphysical themes and beautiful long takes, are visual poetry; they’re emotionally resounding, and film theorists, critics, and students of film have spent decades trying to decode the poetic messages believed to be in his visual motifs, like his use of water and fire for example. However, is there really something there to decode, or did Tarkovsky avoid symbolism altogether? 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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Vincent Laforet Directing Motion

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 »

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Steven SpielbergWhen you think of the most iconic long takes in cinematic history, what comes to mind? The car bomb scene in Touch of Evil? The Copacabana scene in Goodfellas? The car scene from Children of Men? There are definitely countless ones out there, and some directors have turned the long take into an art form with which to flex their cinematic muscles. One director, however, has quietly made the long take one of his signature moves, so quietly, in fact, that he may have flown under the radar to most — and he just so happens to be one of the most well-known directors of all time: Steven Spielberg. Check out this excellent video essay that studies the subtle way Spielberg approaches his “oners,” and find out how you can implement some of his techniques in your own films. 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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Directing Motion Tour 2014 Vincent LaforetAs a director or cinematographer, knowing how and when to move the camera is an extremely important skill, and it’s something that takes a lot of practice to get better at. One way to get a better sense of how camera movement can affect a scene is to dissect what the greatest directors and directors of photography have done with their films. That’s partly what commercial director Vincent Laforet is doing with his Directing Motion Tour, which starts on May 6th. He’s uploaded a snippet of some of the things he’ll be covering during the workshop — here is a coverage breakdown of a scene from Empire of the Sun, directed by Steven Spielberg and shot by Allen Daviau: More »