Watch an Interview with Danny Boyle, Jason Reitman, and Ed Burns on the Art of Storytelling

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 12.40.07 PMOn Story from PBS in Austin is a "new series which takes a look at the creative process of filmmaking through the eyes of some of the entertainment industry's most prolific writers, directors, and producers." Recently they had a great panel discussion with Danny Boyle, Jason Reitman, and Ed Burns at the Austin Film Festival where they discussed the challenges of finding the right story and writing to suit your budget. It's a must-see for indie filmmakers and screenwriters. Check it out below!

Thanks to Go Into The Story for posting, and for PBS On Story for putting together the video and such a fantastic panel full of invaluable knowledge for indie filmmakers. There's so much that I could go on and on, but you should really watch it for yourself. Plus, there's a pretty cool short film called The Printer from indie director Berndt Mader at the end:

Danny Boyle, whose filmography ranges from the low-budget Shallow Grave to the big-budget Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle The Beach, tells an anecdote from the writer Martin Amis, who visited one of his sets and remarked that filmmaking seemed to be, "A series of delays, interrupted by repetitions," which can certainly appear to be the case. Boyle also relates that he doesn't like to work with large budgets (he was uncomfortable on The Beach, saying of the film's big Hollywood budget, "Fifty million could move my whole town a mile down the road"), and talking about how he prefers the DIY approach, referencing a famous sequence in 28 Days Later when a drop of infected blood seals the doom of the affable cab driver. The shot was achieved with a simple hand-made wooden rig since they lacked the money for a crane:

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Ed Burns, whose first film was the ultra low-budget The Brothers McMullen, talks about how, when writing, he purposely chose locations he could get for free, like his parent's house, and the park:

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It's interesting how often the directors "quote" other films, with Boyle mentioning that one shot in Shallow Grave is a direct homage to the Coen Brother's Blood Simple, and Burns discussing how a pool scene in his film Nice Guy Johnny directly quotes the famous pool scene from The GraduateSpeaking of that film, Burns also tries to use The Graduate's technique of one musical artist for his film score, e.g. Tom Petty for She's The One

What lessons do you have you taken away from directors like Danny Boyle, Ed Burns, and Jason Reitman? How do you think you can apply some of their techniques in your own work?

Link: On Story -- KLRU -- PBS Austin

[via Go Into The Story]

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I'm just gonna be totally vulnerable here. I really love nofilmschool. I probably check this site out more than any other, even facebook. But sometimes coming here makes me feel like I've never done anything in my life. Like I don't know anyone or anything. In the end this is great, but it is a bitter pill to swallow.

June 11, 2013 at 3:43PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Just keep truckin man. Learn all you can. Shoot all you can. Get on as many sets as you can. I'd rather spend my life trying to work at something i love and fail - than spend my life not knowing what the heck i wanted to do. -- at least thats the mantra i repeat to myself over and over ; ) -- I think there are a lot of people who have NO idea what they want to do - It sounds like you know. Thats pretty cool.

June 11, 2013 at 6:12PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Yup! Same mantra here. lol. Thanks Jeremy.

June 11, 2013 at 6:36PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


If you can still post here, you have more than enough time to get things rolling. Read up on some motivational stories online and even look for motivating images. That will get your blood flowing. You can take it from there!

June 12, 2013 at 10:24AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Funny, I visit this site regularly (for the articles only) bcos theres lots of good links on here that i wouldnt otherwise be exposed to (in particular charlie kaufman interviews) and its nice to hear what cool cameras and things are being made, but i get something like the opposite of what yr talking about Jeremy: like i come here and it seems that no one here is doing anything!! i realise there are lots of people working in a professional capacity in the film industry here, but in terms of amazing films being made... not so much.
It could just be called 'No Films' due to the lack of actual movies coming out of the so-called DSLR 'Revolution' going on here. If anything the only thing that has exploded in terms of a scene is BLOGGING about it. Actually I realise that we're at the start of the DSLR film thing and there will be some amazing ones, but for the most part all ive seen are arty little indie film clips that look like someone pretending to make a movie. I also realise Koo's upcoming MASTERPIECE 'Manchildboy' will be amazing too, but sometimes i feel a little sorry for the guy having talked it up so much, blogged every aspect from what piece of equipment to buy to whatever else internet-world considers talk worthy du-jour... that it seems like people might actually be a lot better at making websites about making films than actually making films themselves. Of course this is coming from someone who hasnt actually gotten out of bed yet and it is past midday.
But yeah, there is a lot of hype online which i think you should do like the song says and 'dont believe'.
I might start a site called 'No Films Cool' about how where exactly are these amazing new No Film School films..?! If i could get out of bed. Actually i got coffee already so thats not true.
In conclusion Jeremy, I would put it to you that you are never out of your league on here, i really appreciate the site although at times it does feel a little smug its a great resource (i actually wish i went to film school, what an opportunity. seriously) and im looking forward to a time when successful film makers in the future will share stories about the websites they used to read / write, hopefully I'll be one of them.

June 11, 2013 at 8:19PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM



I couldn't disagree more. Navigate through the film sections of both Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Watch "Upstream Color" on Netflix. Run a Google search for the "Cosmonaut" movie. I could go on and on.

DSLR films are sprouting up every day, plenty of them impressive in their own way and beyond anything you can catch in the cinema. People are utilizing video in new and exciting ways to tell their stories.

I urge you to get out of bed, wash up, and do some research. There's more art happening around you every day.

June 12, 2013 at 10:29AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Hi Ben,
I'm currently in post production on my first feature film "Play It Safe" (shot on DSLRs). I don't know if I would have had the courage to make it if it weren't for websites like No Film School!

June 12, 2013 at 4:37PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Hi Ben,
I can relate completely to what you're saying here and I've noticed it myself; what I really wanted to say though was how much your post made me laugh. 'No Films Cool' - genius!
Anyway, I think you (and probably me too at some point) should go change the situation by adding a great DSLR-or-low-end-cinema-camera-shot feature into the mix. There definitely needs to be more action happening!
On another note though I do think a fair amount of features exist out there which either don't get recognition or have just taken a long time to make (I myself worked as Assistant Camera on a 7D feature for over 2 years with shoots happening as and when possible, which should finally be released in the coming months).

June 15, 2013 at 7:38AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Much prefer the stories like these to inspirational people than a link to a new piece on XY kit only to be followed by a thousand comments by very dull people on how said piece of kit isn't as good as it should be and they're going to wait another 10 years for a cheaper faster better version to come out.

Oh - and for all of us Brits Danny Boyle is still God and no other Olympic ceremony will ever be as simultaneously cool and quirky ever again. Ever. Honest!

June 13, 2013 at 1:58PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM