5 Gifts Filmmakers Should Treat Themselves to Now

'Pulp Fiction'Credit: Miramax Films
It's been a hard year. Treat yourself.

Sometimes, you just want to get yourself something nice. And why not? You work really hard. 2020 was basically a continuous disaster, and 2021 has had its own low points too. But film and TV are finally starting to get back on their feet, and we at No Film School hope you are stoking your creative fires however you can.

We have always put together holiday gift guides as well as an extensive series of gear guides for filmmakers who need the latest and greatest in cameras, audio equipment, software, and more. But what about a quick list for those days you just want to treat yourself? What if you just want an instant burst of inspiration? This list is for you.

If you're not a filmmaker, maybe just a hardcore film fan, don't worry. You can still find something here.

And if you need an event to excuse a purchase, the year's halfway point is July 2. Congratulations on surviving 2021 thus far.

Let's dive in!

Plot Devices

Plot Devices - Storyboard Notebook, $12.99

Hopefully you're getting back into the projects that you had to put on hold in 2020. If so, don't forget the value of pre-production!

This storyboard notebook from Plot Devices is simple and easy to use with a grid of blank boxes and notation areas. It just needs your ideas.

And if you're not up to snuff on all the film lingo, the notebook has a handy glossary of film terms and camera shots you can include in your work. But you might also check out our guide to camera angles and movements.

Plan out your shot list and angles, and arrive on set prepared to get back to work.

Credit: Legion M

AUTOFOCUS/Legion M - Fade to Black Tee, $19.98

The fan-owned production company that brought you Mandy, the Jay & Silent Bob Reboot, and the 2020 Sundance film Save Yourselves wants to outfit you in insider gear that nods to different industry positions.

They cover a few roles that tend to get less attention with their "AUTOFOCUS" line.

Are you with craft services? You'll love the "I'm Crafty" shirt.

Best boys, there's a shirt for you, too. (Don't know what a best boy is? Educate yourself.)

As a writer, I love the simple "Fade to Black" T-shirt. Those are the words we all want to reach as filmmakers, after all.

Credit: Criterion Channel

The Criterion Channel, $10.99 per month

The Criterion Channel is a streaming service that offers a mix of classic and contemporary films from Hollywood and around the world, many not available anywhere else.

I know what you're thinking. Another streaming service? I actually held off subscribing myself until the pandemic hit, and it's been worth every penny.

It's basically a must if you're a cinephile and want to continue learning about important films and filmmakers. You won't find all the same movies on any other platform, and you won't find them curated in the way Criterion does it—by theme, by stars, by directors, by era. Even kids will find their own movies in the "Saturday matinee" section.

Criterion also offers a platform for short films and music films, which is incredibly unique, as well as several big films with commentary tracks.

If you're not sure if you want to commit, the channel gives you a 14-day trial before you sign up.

Credit: A24

A24 x Joya Genre Candles - Fantasy, $48

A24 knows how to hook me, not only with their film and TV projects, but with their shop as well. I'm always getting their targeted ads, and I always want everything I see.

The company has just released a new genre candle in honor of The Green Knight, a movie I've been waiting to see for over a year now. I guess while I continue to anticipate Dev Patel as a handsome knight, this candle will have to do.

This candle is gorgeous. It smells like hiking in the woods.

"Fantasy" features notes of armoise, birch tar, Virginia cedarwood, clove bud, gurjun balsam, lily of the valley, Canadian fir needle, tonka, and vanilla beans.

Credit: Peter Diamond/MONDO

Peter Diamond/Mondo - The Thin Red Line poster, $50

The Mondo art gallery, based in Austin, has been such a mainstay in my life and in the movie world for years, I'm always surprised when a friend doesn't know them. On a recent Zoom interview with Malcolm Ingram, the first thing he asked about was The Birds poster by Ken Taylor I have hanging in my office. I've been to two—yes, two—MondoCons. Don't ask how much of my money has gone to Mondo.

Basically, if you're a film fan, and you want cool art to hang in your home or office, you need to know Mondo. They are constantly doing new releases and supporting new artists. Their art covers both classic and new films, TV shows, music, and video games. There's something for everyone. If posters aren't your thing, they also do shirts, tiki mugs, figurines, record pressings, and games.

It's hard to recommend just one thing from the shop, especially since most of their prints sell out in under a minute on a part of the site called The Drop. But this piece for The Thin Red Line by Peter Diamond is available now, hand-numbered in an edition of 225.

The 101 Coffee Shop in 'Swingers' (1996)Credit: Miramax Films

Bonus: Caffeine

If there's one thing filmmakers need, it's caffeine to fuel all those rewrites, all-night edit sessions, overnight shoots, energetic performances, movie marathons, and more.

My first recommendation is always going to be that you find a local coffee roaster or cafe and support them. You might not be able to dine in everywhere yet, but you can still get to-go drinks or purchase gift cards. That way, we hopefully don't lose any more of my favorite Hollywood hangouts like the 101 Coffee Shop.

If you prefer to brew at home, Brandywine Coffee Roasters has put out some of my favorite coffee over the last year. Sip & Sonder is doing great work, too, and they have tea!

Don't like bean water? If you're a fan of the soda-style energy drinks, you might give MNT DEW RISE a try. They taste pretty good and are low-calorie.     

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