» Posts Tagged ‘story’

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There are many ways for filmmakers to use their skills to generate income. You can move to a major filmmaking hub like New York, Los Angles, or Atlanta and cut your teeth in the world of features and television. You can shoot commercials and web videos for local businesses. You can shoot and edit weddings. You can even use your own short films and features and generate income through various online distribution outlets. And last but not least, you can sell stock footage. The only problem with the latter option is that most stock footage houses these days aren’t built with filmmakers in mind. Today marks the launch of Story & Heart, a new story-driven stock footage licensing hub and filmmaking community that tackles many of the issues with modern footage licensing head on. The result is a stock footage service that is unlike any other to come before it. More »

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MartyWhat is story? What is plot? What is the sound of one hand clapping? Who knows? While story and plot might seem, at first, to be synonymous, in fact they are two different things entirely, and if you’re a beginning screenwriter or filmmaker, it can be tough to sift through all of the contradictory information that’s out there in the ten billion screenwriting books to figure out which is which and why. It’s a tricky question, but never fear, because that cinephile unrivaled, Martin Scorsese, is here to straighten matters out. In this video, he breaks down the difference, and we give some helpful (hopefully) background info to help you create your next masterpiece. More »

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cageIt is a truism that, “we tell ourselves stories in order to live.” But, it is remarkable what a human characteristic the drive for narrative is. What purpose does it serve? No matter, it’s pretty much like the opposable thumb at this point, and we’ve been telling stories since we learned how to communicate; the weirdest thing, perhaps, is that the experiences of everyone who has ever lived and died in the history of the world are both altogether unique and so similar that we can have stories to begin with; to a degree, then, we all must live the same story (that’s deep.) And the way we’ve been telling stories in the West still owes much to the work of Aristotle. We’ve shared a rundown of the evolution of narrative, its study, and how both can help you become a more successful screenwriter, so continue on to find out more.  More »

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Pixar ebookWhen Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats tweeted out 22 storytelling tips, something interesting happened. It was as if the curtain was lifted to reveal the heart of a mysterious, magical, and inspiring player in filmmaking, and many screenwriters (I was one of them), treated this small collection of advice as a lost book of the storytelling bible. Stephan Vladimir Bugaj, who has spent 12 years writing and developing stories at Pixar, has now shared his eBook in which he expounds on each tip. Continue on for the link to the free download. More »

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The Future of StorytellingHere at nofilmschool, we focus a lot of our time and efforts on writing about the many technical aspects of filmmaking. Admittedly, we love writing about new cameras, cool pieces of software, and almost all other products that serve to make the filmmaking process easier and more fun. However, narrative filmmaking, despite all of its technical processes, is inherently a medium for telling stories. Plainly and simply, filmmaking is storytelling. And ultimately, it’s storytelling, and not technical mastery, that indicates whether a film is good or not. Luckily, for those of us who aren’t storytelling inclined, iversity, a leading provider of free online courses, has introduced a brand new course called “The Future of Storytelling.” Check out the details below. More »

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writers-blockOf all the parts of a movie, from cinematography, to editing, and everything in between, writing is perhaps the most (what with all the books, classes, weekend seminars), and least (at the end of the day it’s just you and the page), understood. The art of crafting stories and creating indelible characters that will make an unforgettable film is a real gift, though it can and must be developed through careful, patient work. The Guardian has a great piece about a new book that explores creativity, and they’ve come up with six habits of highly successful writers. Check out the tips below as well as more advice from the masters. More »

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Raiders-of-the-Lost-ArkA few weeks ago, we shared a great Austin Film Festival On Story podcast with Lawrence Kasdan, which gave us insights not just into Kasdan’s views on screenwriting, but also little anecdotes about his screenwriting adventures on such classics as The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Listening to AFF’s Kasdan podcast reminded me of the extensive transcripts of the story meetings that George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Kasdan had in 1978 to flesh out the character of Indiana Jones and beat out the story of Raiders. These transcripts provide fascinating and valuable lessons for screenwriters on how much time, thought and energy goes into creating characters and story before a single page of a screenplay is written. More »

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Save the Cat Blake Snyder story structureThanks to the wisdom of puppets, we recently learned how the hero’s journey is a quite prevalent story structure in many successful films. But does the hero’s journey story structure always work in movies? With the recent spate of summer blockbusters falling far short of expectations, pundits have searched for a common trend for their failure. A recent article from Slate has determined the repeated story structure of Hollywood films makes them all feel the same. More specifically, the article contends that Hollywood relies too heavily on the beat sheet from Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat screenwriting book to tell its stories. Screenplays require structure, but are screenwriters relying too much on that structure to tell their stories? To make an original film today, maybe we shouldn’t save the cat. More »

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The Hero's Journey glove and boots puppets Joseph CampbellScreenplays are structured stories, pure and simple. Most screenwriting books will essentially tell you the same things about structure, putting their own unique nomenclature on the common story beats found in screenplays. One structure referenced frequently in screenplays is Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, more commonly known as “the hero’s journey”. Not familiar with the hero’s journey? Nonsense. You’ve seen Star Wars, right? Then you’re familiar with the hero’s journey. To learn about it in relation to your screenwriting, you could read Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. But it’s summertime. So why not watch a 6-minute YouTube video with puppets explaining the hero’s journey instead? More »

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The Pixar storytelling rules that Emma Coats tweeted have gone viral — she even has a session at the Austin Film Festival this fall to discuss them in more detail. Perhaps to illustrate her points, Ms. Coats will use LEGOs. Because LEGOs are awesome. And visual. And guys can relate to LEGOs in ways they may have difficulty relating to Ms. Coats. Thanks to Redditor ICanLegoThat (Alex Eylar) and SlackStory, Ms. Coats has a headstart. Check out a few examples of Pixar’s storytelling rules in LEGO form. More »

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Pixar’s relentless success at the box office with truly original tales has convinced screenwriters the world over that the animation studio holds the secret to amazing storytelling. In all honesty, hyperbole aside, Pixar does hold the secret to amazing storytelling, but they are more than willing to share it with the rest of us. Pixar’s Brave writer/director Mark Andrews took a moment to describe the studio’s story process in a phone interview podcast with ScreenwritingU’s Jenna Milly. More »

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Director and Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats (@lawnrocket) recently tweeted out 22 tips for storytelling, one of which ends with “Endings are hard, get yours working up front.” From day one I always knew how I wanted Manchild to end — and throughout a year and a half of writing, the ending has never changed. Perhaps that’s why, while it is not the first feature I’ve written, it will be the first feature I actually make (more news on the project when I have some… soon). Here are the tips, handily compiled in list form: More »

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Austin Film Festival recently kicked off the second season of On Story, its PBS series with directors and screenwriters curated from interviews from the festival. In the season premiere, the legendary late Sydney Pollack identifies the moments in the development of his classic films Tootsie, The Way We Were, and Jeremiah Johnson, when he discovered the keys to making his characters work in the context of the stories he was trying to tell, and how those discoveries were translated into the scripts and the final films. In this same episode, David Milch, creator of NYPD Blue and Deadwood, also describes how he created the character of Andy Sipowicz and how he channeled his frustration of not being able to tell the biblical tale of Paul into a storyline for Deadwood. You can check out the full episode here: More »

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Speaking of Scott Myers and the Go Into The Story blog, Scott (writer of K-9, Alaska, and Trojan War) is doing something that I’ve never really seen done before at this scale, and with no entry fee. Starting today, he’s going to give four screenwriters the chance to write a screenplay and be mentored by him for a total of 24 weeks. I’ve been following this for the past week, but Scott has been writing posts describing the foundations of screenwriting and what he expects from those who submit — and they are very important to increase your odds of being picked. So what is the contest, that Scott is calling “The Quest”? I’ll let him explain in his own words below: More »

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Getting a producer to read your script can be almost as daunting a challenge as getting beyond the blank page. But before you even think about a producer reading your script, you need to get your script past the script readers. Contrary to what you may believe, script readers want your script to be good because they want to read good scripts. Recently, Scott Myers of the Go Into the Story blog on The Black List stumbled into a late night Twitter conversation with The Bitter Script Reader, Nate Winslow, and Amanda Pendolino, three Hollywood script readers, and he captured their conversation for our educational purposes. Here are some of the highlights: More »