Here are 10 tips for screenwriting by one of the masters.
Even as Hollywood changes most of his tips for telling a good story are relevant today. Wilder worked with the greatest actors of his generation, constantly won awards, and never tired of his craft. Even when he “retired” in 1981 he was actively working to develop new ideas and mentor others.
You’re never going to make a movie based on a “sure thing” or something that everyone loves. The existence of Armond White is enough to prove that there’s always a contrarian waiting to be heard. Make movies about things YOU care about. Write things that matter on a personal level and people will pick up on that and it will never seem like work.
You need to win the battle in the opening scene so craft something that will stick with the reader for all 120 pages. An opening they’ll never forget. Think about your favorite opening scenes – one of mine is from the first Harry Potter. An old Wizard on a suburban lane, waiting for a magical motorcycle. The rest of the story begs to be told!
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What is “Popular Culture”? Despite what the term may lead you to think, it is NOT just media that is numerically popular! Tom Waits most certainly is part of popular culture, regardless of his ZERO billboard hits. So what are the qualifications for “Pop Culture”? And where the heck does the internet come into play in all this? Watch the episode and find out!!
Bobby Marko explains how better preparation will lead to better on set execution.
Problems always occur in video and film production. It’s the nature of the work we do. There are always outside forces beyond our control and no matter what we do to prepare for them, we are always faced with a problem to solve that we didn’t count on or didn’t foresee. Knowing this, why would we not prepare ourselves as much as possible before entering production? I believe that if not 100%, 99% of the time how you effectively plan, execute and follow through your pre-production results in the success of your project.
Many times I scour the forums on Stage32, LinkedIn Filmmaking groups and Reddit and constantly see people asking questions, almost in a panic, about what to do because they are stuck in production not knowing how to proceed. And many of those times I can point back to the fact that they did not effectively plan, execute or carry out their pre-production. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m perfect and I have flawless productions. Of course not, like many of you, problems always arise on set and I’ve had to make some serious calls in the moment. As creatives, somehow we have this notion that we rise to the occasion when problems occur. But the truth is we simply default to the level of training we have allowed ourselves. I have learned over the years how important that training is. And in film and video production that training starts in the pre-production process.
Now please understand, I’m talking from a mechanics standpoint, not a creative one. Sure, in the moment you will always have creative inspiration that turns on that imagenary light bulb in your head when you need or want it. But most problems that arise (schedules, weather, talent, crew, gear, etc) are mechanics that can be sorted out in pre-production long before you step foot on location. And in some instances, solving these mechanical problems ahead of time frees your mind to dedicate more of your efforts towards the creative part of your production.
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Richard Linklater is the filmmaker behind some of indie film’s preeminent classics. His early break throughs, Slacker (1991) and Dazed and Confused (1993), captured and defined our generation more genuinely than had been done before, and perhaps since.
Boyhood, out in theaters July 11, is true to Linklater form in its exploration of the nuances of youth and life. It was ambitiously shot over 12 years, following the upbringing of a boy from the age of six until his high school graduation.
In this episode of VICE Meets, Reihan Salam and Linklater discuss the inspiration behind the film and his career. It also includes behind-the-scenes footage from throughout the film’s production. Via GoIntoTheStory
Check out these 10 useful apps for keeping track of your set.
Winner: Most Comprehensive Camera Department App
Why Download? Depth of field calculator, digital runtime calculator, camera specs reference, film stocks reference, exposure, field of view calculator, focus chart, inset slate. and more.
SSN Insight: Shockingly, there isn’t a version of this unbelievably comprehensive app for the iPhone. Bar-none the best camera department app, its standout feature is the Camera Log, which allows you to organize camera reports, and includes T-stop presets and ISO steps to quickly record info into the report. Best of all, when you want to add another take, just select “Use Info from Previous Shot.”
DSLR Filmmaker Toolkit (iPhone)
Winner: The Apple of My Eye Cinematography App
Why Download? Features include a slate, shot log, viewfinder, depth-of-field calculator, sunrise/sunset tables, and a leveler.
SSN Insight: Don’t let the name fool you, this comprehensive app can be leveraged for much more than a DSLR camera. Yes, you can find these features elsewhere, but this toolkit wraps it up in a beautiful bow with crisp, clean lines, and textures like traces of chalk on the slate. You know it’s for pros because instead of a clapping slate animation, it displays meta-data and flashes the screen with a
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Aaron Cutler looks at the life and times of cinema’s key pioneers – the German-Austrian filmmaker Fritz Lang.
Film history frequently offers two versions of Fritz Lang: A maker of epic German tragedies and melodramas prior to Nazism’s rise, and a creator of lean, tight Hollywood noir films after leaving Germany in 1933. Yet this division placed within the great Austrian director’s half-century-long film career should be challenged. One reason why is that it overlooks the outliers, such as Lang’s lone film made in France, the splendidly gentle and sad supernatural romance Liliom (1934); his nineteenth-century adventure tale Moonfleet (1955), a CinemaScope work shot on the MGM backlot with an almost entirely British cast; and his final films, realized after he left Hollywood and returned to Germany. Another is that it ignores other major binaries and shifts in Lang’s practice.
For instance, major differences could easily be seen between silent Lang and sound Lang. The filmmaker was born in 1890, saw his first film when he was nearly thirty years old and worked at the forefront of the late silent period. He stated in interviews that, as sound films first arrived, he believed that they should utilize all kinds of noise, and not simply dialogue. Accordingly, we can balance the meticulously detailed and opulent visuals of silent films as diverse as 1919’s Harakiri (an adaptation of the Japan-set play Madame Butterfly that used period structures and costumes made with materials from the Hamburg Anthropological Museum) and 1929’s Woman in the Moon (a journey into the stratosphere that includes full, imaginative renderings both of a large spaceship and of a lunar landscape) with the plainer, barer settings of sound films ranging from M (1931) to his final film, The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960), in which characters walk along city streets while sounds point to possible offscreen dangers that fill both their imaginations and ours.
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