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Attention, Filmmakers: Here’s 12 Tips for Directing Your First Feature Film

Thinking of making your first feature film? You must read this advice from Justin Schwarz, writer-director of “The Discoverers” starring Griffin Dunne, out on VOD, DVD and iTunes today.

12tips

Making my first feature was one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of my life. It was honor and privilege to work with an all-star cast and crew of 200+ creative collaborators who helped me learn these lessons that I hope will inspire other first-timers to realize their vision.

Here are 12 things i learned along the way:

1. Feel it.

“Ultimately, as the director, your job is to become the emotional truth barometer on set.” – Justin Schwarz
Ultimately, as the director, your job is to become the emotional truth barometer on set. So when the camera starts rolling, forget about everything else and just try to feel the performance on each take. I liked to stand as close to the lens as our AC would let me to feel what the camera is recording. From editing to finding music to color correct and the mix, feel the movie you want the audience to experience.

2. Find your key frames.

Prepping “The Discoverers,” I shotlisted and storyboarded, but I knew we wouldn’t have time to do everything I imagined on paper. I developed a key frame system, which became extremely helpful on set. The idea is to try to distill each scene down to a single image that represents what the scene must achieve dramatically. It may be an extreme wide shot that acts like a punch in the gut, a lyrical tracking shot, or the close up you’re saving for emotional impact. When you have to start combining shots on set, you’ll know the essential image you’ll need for each scene to serve its dramatic function.

IndieWire | Read the Full Article

Short Film Woes and Worries

Entertainment lawyer Christopher Schiller takes a legal look at the trials and pitfalls of making short films.

Short Film

Short films are easy, right? I mean, they’re just like the real thing only shorter, cheaper. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, short films can be seen as a concentrated concoction of every problem and concern that a full length feature has to deal with, just in a compact size and budget. And I should know. I’m in the midst of production for another short film of my own. So I’m taking this opportunity to address some of the business and legal aspects of producing a short film to help you over the woes and through the worries we’ll likely encounter along the way.

Begin before you begin

A tendency of short filmmakers is to not put much thought and effort into the early stages of development, especially if they have knowledge or experience of longer form works. That’s a mistake. The realities of short films are that there are a lot of them out there. It’s hard to get noticed among the sea of choices and it’s incredibly hard to make money (it is possible) or bolster your reputation if you can’t differentiate your short film from all the rest. Putting deliberate thought into the planning of any film activity regardless of the length will always pay off as a worthwhile effort.

Script Mag | Read the Full Article

How Mister Rogers Saved the VCR

In 1984, a landmark case laid down a controversial law regarding technology and copyright infringement. Here’s a look back at the “Betamax Case,” including the role Mister Rogers played in the Supreme Court’s decision.

Mr Rogers

For many years in the pre-DVD, pre-streaming era, the Betamax, Sony’s prototype videotape player-recorder, was a punch line. A piece of technology that was quickly superseded by the VCR VHS, it limped along in the shadows for two decades. And yet, it was the Betamax that gave name to a court case that has played a pivotal role in both technological progress and copyright law over the last thirty years.

Like many other cool electronic products, the Betamax came from Japan. In late 1975, it was introduced to the U.S. by Sony, who touted its ability to “time-shift” television programming. In an era when most viewers still had to get up off the couch to change channels manually, this innovation was as futuristic as it sounded. Record a TV show right off the air? Are you kidding?

If the public was wowed by the idea, the major entertainment corporations were not. Universal Studios and Walt Disney Productions filed a lawsuit in 1976 to halt the sale of the Betamax, claiming that film and TV producers would lose millions of dollars from unauthorized duplication and distribution of their copyrighted content.

Mental Floss | Read the Full Article

Revisiting the Case of the Wedding Photographer Threatened with a $300,000 Lawsuit

What happened to the case where an angry client sued the wedding photographer for $300,000? Robert Schenk takes a look at the case.

Nuclear

A couple years ago, I read a story about a Washington wedding photographer that was threatened with a $300,000 lawsuit by an ex-client. The story then seemed to drop out of sight. Sometime thereafter, I decided to put on my investigative reporter mustache and do some sleuthing. Was the threat real? Did a lawsuit actually get filed? If so, what was the result?

The Contract and the Aftermath

Karen Poon and her Dude hired Dream Production Studio to photograph their Vegas wedding in the Fall of 2011. Nelson Tang is the principal of Dream Production Studio, located in King County, WA, and operates his business as a sole proprietorship.

The parties agreed on a price of $3,800.00 for professional photography services covering the ceremony, reception, and some unspecified “pre-wedding” events. Guess what? There was no written contract. Needle skip! Tang needs to read this. But, let’s not hammer Tang too hard. He’s going to end up paying for it later on.

The wedding came and went. Sometime later, Tang delivered the images to the newlyweds. Not several hundred edited images that are typical for wedding photography agreements, but ALL OF THE RAW IMAGES. The good. The bad. The ‘I’m not a machine, they can’t all be winners.’

PetaPixel | Read the Full Article

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