» Posts Tagged ‘tips’

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Robert RodriguezWe all know Robert Rodriguez. Not only did he make his first feature for less than $8,000 and share every step of that process in his book Rebel Without A Crew, but he’s gone on to shoot countless other features and even found his own television network. For anybody wanting to make their first film, but is not sure where to start and what steps to take, a video of one of Rodriguez’s famous 10-minute film schools has been making its way around the web, and it has the answers that you’re looking for in a way that only Rodriguez can provide. So if you’ve got a few minutes, here’s Robert Rodriguez, the man himself, to tell you exactly how to make your first film. More »

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Enrique PachecoTime-lapse photography is definitely not as cut and dry as setting your camera on a tripod and pressing record. It takes careful planning, a few pieces of essential gear, and a little bit of expertise to create those beautifully cinematic shots. If you’re interested in adding this technique to your repertoire, Spanish cinematographer and time-lapse pro Enrique Pacheco shares a bunch of invaluable tips and answers many central questions with you in this helpful Shutterstock video entitled Timelapse Wisdom. More »

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LoglineIn my experience, writing screenplays and loglines is a lot like algebra and geometry: people typically excel at one while struggling with the other. Penning a screenplay is hard enough, but writing loglines can be difficult, because you have to strip your story down to its most essential parts, while still telling it in its entirety — you’re not given the luxury of playing the long game. If you’re like me and struggle with writing up loglines, this Script Lab video explains in simple terms just how to do it. 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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Flashlight CinematographyLighting plays a huge role in making a film look aesthetically pleasing and cinematic, and though lighting kits can be expensive, there are always DIY workarounds to keep costs down. But, could you imagine if you pulled out a bunch of cheap flashlights on the first day of shooting? Your cast and crew might laugh you right off the set. However, Joey Shanks, who never fails to share his invaluable DIY film tips, shows us how these small, but increasingly powerful flashlights can be used with a few inexpensive mods to give your shots all the illumination they need. More »

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appointments-of-dennisBy 1988, Steven Wright, known for his deadpan delivery of non sequiturs, paraprosdokians, as well as all manner of logical and linguistic disjunctions, had established a unique brand of stand-up comedy. What many don’t know is that he is also an Academy Award winning filmmaker, honored for his 1988 short, The Appointments of Dennis JenningsA low-budget, half-hour, absurdist black comedy, it is must viewing for any fan of Wright, indie filmmaker, and this goes double for indie filmmakers looking to make their first shorts; it’s a clever object lesson in filmmaking economy. Dennis Jennings is a great window into filmmaking, storytelling, and an intelligent approach to both.  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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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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Fight SceneShooting a high octane, action-packed fight scene can really have an impact on your audience, but really only if it looks realistic and — well — truly painful. Tuts+ offers some excellent tips and tricks on how to achieve a believable brawl between your characters, including which lenses to use, tried and true blocking and choreography, as well as an editing trick that will speed up your strikes, making them more impactful. Check out the video after the jump. 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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Catch Light marbleThere are many factors to consider when you’re planning an outdoor shoot, one of the major ones being how you’re going to deal with natural light. One of the issues that’s bound to come up while dealing with that big key light in the sky is how to find out which direction the light is coming from, which is especially important if you’re planning on using it as a catch light. In this video from photographer Frank Donnino, we’re shown how to use an everyday marble to determine where a light source will hit your subjects’ eyes, so you can put them in the position that will give you optimal results. 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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hack 3Now that we have post production software like Photoshop, many effects processes that used to be done in-camera (or at least while shooting) are now being done after all of the shooting is over. However, photography magazine COOPH has produced a video that demonstrates 7 super cheap and easy camera hacks that will produce certain effects in-camera, helping you bypass hours of post work. Continue on for the helpful video. 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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Richard LinkaterRichard Linklater is a DIY filmmaker hero for many reasons. He’s self-taught, completely obsessed with cinema and making films, and his approach to telling stories is one that I think many can relate to. And if you were just thinking about what an experience it would be to actually be able to sit in a room and pick his brain about all of this, you’re in luck. Linklater answers a bunch of questions from a small group of folks for one of Fox Searchlight’s Searchlab lectures, which gives us an inside look into how the director goes about writing screenplays, rehearsing with actors, and working on-set. 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 »