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9 Cinematography Tips for Directors with No Space & No Budget

Ryan Gielen shares some low budget tips for directing with little space or money.Gielen


Over the past few years I’ve contributed articles focused on my experience independently promoting and distributing my previous two features, The Graduates and Turtle Hill, Brooklyn. But before an indie filmmaker can distribute their film, they have to shoot it, and one of the biggest challenges on features of any size is the cost of creativity — the demands of production can make it extremely challenging to take the time to visually articulate moments, scenes, sequences and themes the way you dreamed up in pre-production.

On my most recent feature, Drinking Games, we faced this challenge constantly — we made the suspense-filled drama for under $100,000 in twelve days, on location inside a real dormitory. My cinematographer Andrew “Tank” Rivara had to light tiny rooms for the RED, while the budget and the clock were working against us from the beginning! While touring the film at various colleges and film schools prior to our digital release, the audience reaction was incredibly positive, and two big questions kept popping up:

How did we create a film look on a low budget?

Was it hard to film an entire feature in such a small space?

Given the challenges we faced, the questions we received, and our success (I admit, I’m biased) in making the film work, I decided to put together a series of five to ten-minute videos focusing on the scenes that best highlighted our use of the limited tools we did have — a jib, a dolly, the RED, good lenses and creativity — to help those who may face the same challenges.

No Film School | Read the Full Article

Carroll O’Connor Once told Norman Lear he would ’Never go Near’ this one “All in the Family” scene

Norman Lear tells Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric that Carroll O’Connor, the actor who played Archie Bunker, was not a fan of a scene that ended up being one of Lear’s favorite moments from “All in the Family”.

Via Go Into The Story


25 Things Writers Should Know About Creating Mystery

Novelist and screenwriter Chuck Wendig covers a few things to keep in mind when writing a mystery.

Rear Window


A complete equation is 4 + 5 = 9. It’s simple. Clean. And it’s already resolved. Stories are not simple. They are not clean. And we most certainly don’t want to read stories that have already been resolved. We read stories that evolve and evade as we read them. Their uncertainty feels present — though we know the story will finish by its end, a good story lets us — or demands that we — forget that. A good story traps us in the moment and compels us by its incompleteness. The equation then becomes X + 5 = 9, and we are driven to solve for X. It is the X that haunts us. It is the emptiness of that variable we hope to fill.


This isn’t a list about murder mysteries. This is a list about every story out there. All stories need unanswered questions. All stories demand mysteries to engage our desperate need to know. We flip the little obsessive dipswitches in the circuit boards of our reader’s mind by presenting enigmas and perplexities. Why is our lead character so damaged? What’s in the strange mirrored box? How will they escape the den of ninja grizzlies? Storytelling is in many ways the act of positing questions and then exploring the permutations of that question before finally giving in and providing an answer.


A news story is upfront. Tells the facts. “Woman wins the Moon Lottery.” “Man sodomized by a zoo tapir.” “New Jersey smells like musty tampons, says mayor.” (Musty Tampons was my nickname in an old Steve Winwood cover band.) A journalist is tasked to answer the cardinal questions (the five W’s and the one H): who, what, where, when, why, and how. But your job as a storyteller is to make the audience ask these questions and then bark a sinister laugh as you choose not to answer them all. Oh, you answer some of them. But one or two remain open, empty. Unanswered variables. Incomplete equations.

Terrible Minds | Read the Full Article

The Clear Career Path Laid out by David Lynch’s pre-Eraserhead shorts

Mike D’Angelo examines David Lynch’s pre-Eraserhead work for clues on how the auteur’s mind works.

Til presse møde på Gammel strand, hvor han udstiller.

No masterpiece arrives completely out of nowhere. People like to point to Orson Welles as an example of someone who set the world on fire with his first film, but Welles had made his reputation as a creative genius, both in the theater and on the radio, before he exposed the first frame of Citizen Kane. Steven Spielberg spent years shooting 8mm movies in his backyard before breaking into the business. David Fincher, like many other directors who arrived in the 1990s, cut his teeth on music videos. (And the Alien franchise.) The details vary, but rest assured that a lot of gruntwork and experimentation has preceded anything capable of inspiring awe, whether or not the public ever sees the fruits of that labor.

All the same, it’s hard to imagine a film as singular as Eraserhead evolving from an artist’s discipline. It seems like something that just exploded onto the screen straight from David Lynch’s head. And while the world is definitely a better place because Lynch continued working, it’s an interesting thought experiment to imagine how Eraserhead would be perceived had he disappeared immediately afterward, never to be heard from again. As it is, he’s always been admirably closemouthed, revealing little about his creative process—no commentaries, evasive interviews—so fans have to glean what they can from the films themselves. In the case of Eraserhead, that means examining the five shorts that preceded it (four of which are included as supplements on the newly released Criterion edition) for clues about how his mind works.

The Dissolve | Read the Full Article

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