Werner Herzog’s No-Bullshit Advice to Aspiring Filmmakers and Creative Entrepreneurs

Maria Popova digs into Herzog’s book “A Guide for the Perplexed” for gems of wisdom and advice for the creative.


The best advice I can offer to those heading into the world of film is not to wait for the system to finance your projects and for others to decide your fate. If you can’t afford to make a million-dollar film, raise $10,000 and produce it yourself. That’s all you need to make a feature film these days. Beware of useless, bottom-rung secretarial jobs in film-production companies. Instead, so long as you are able-bodied, head out to where the real world is. Roll up your sleeves and work as a bouncer in a sex club or a warden in a lunatic asylum or a machine operator in a slaughterhouse. Drive a taxi for six months and you’ll have enough money to make a film. Walk on foot, learn languages and a craft or trade that has nothing to do with cinema. Filmmaking — like great literature — must have experience of life at its foundation. Read Conrad or Hemingway and you can tell how much real life is in those books. A lot of what you see in my films isn’t invention; it’s very much life itself, my own life. If you have an image in your head, hold on to it because — as remote as it might seem — at some point you might be able to use it in a film. I have always sought to transform my own experiences and fantasies into cinema.

Brain Pickings | Read the Full Article

Sarah Polley and Greta Gerwig on “Frances Ha” – Conversations Inside The Criterion Collection

‘Frances Ha’ is a magnificent, updated French New Wave film by way of America (even though the character does go to France). Poignant, humorous, heartbreaking, and extremely relatable, Greta Gerwig gives a career-defining performance as the titular character in a role she co-wrote with director Noah Baumbach. In this short doc about Frances Ha, acclaimed actress and director Sarah Polley gets real with Gerwig on the penetrating loneliness of New York City and how shitty it is to live an unstable life in your late 20s.


‘The Shawshank Redemption’ at 20: How It Went From Bomb to Beloved

When it premiered on September 23, 1994, “The Shawshank Redemption” barely registered at the box office. The prison drama opened at No. 9, below the odious sex comedy “Exit to Eden” and just above Robert Redford’s “Quiz Show,” already in its fifth week. Though nominated for seven Academy Awards, the film failed to connect with audiences and vanished from theaters with little fanfare. And then, slowly but surely, its fortunes began to change. On its 20th anniversary, here’s how “The Shawshank Redemption” beat the odds and became a beloved classic.


Stephen King

Prior to 1982, most readers thought of King as an author who wrote only horror, but the publication of “Different Seasons” changed all that. A critically acclaimed bestseller, this beautifully crafted collection of four dramatic novellas introduced King to an even broader audience. The book’s first story, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” remains one of his most deeply humane and hopeful works of fiction.

Frank Darabont

In an interview with Creative Screenwriting, Frank Darabont praised King as “a very old-fashioned storyteller, in the best sense of being old-fashioned,” and the same can be said about “The Shawshank Redemption.” Darabont, who also adapted the Oscar nominated screenplay, imbued the film with a timeless quality that recalls the classic cinema of Capra and Sturges. As such, it’s a movie that generously rewards repeated viewings.

Variety | Read the Full Article

Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters

Sandro Miller pays tribute to some of the most iconic portraits ever taken with the help of actor John Malkovich.

See more at the Catherine Edelman Gallery

Miller tells Chicago’s Catherine Edelman Gallery that,

John is the most brilliant, prolific person I know. His genius is unparalleled. I can suggest a mood or an idea and within moments, he literally morphs into the character right in front of my eyes. He is so trusting of my work and our process… I’m truly blessed to have him as my friend and collaborator.

PetaPixel | Read the Full Article

Big Eyes Official Trailer

Finally a movie from Tim Burton that doesn’t star Johnny Depp and doesn’t center around something weird… well almost…

A drama centered on the awakening of the painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s. Big Eyes is set to open Christmas, 2014

Big Eyes

An Argument Against Screenplay Formulas

In a 5-part series of essays, Scott Myers goes into detail on why screenplay formulas are really formulas for disasters.

Save the Cat

There is a burgeoning cottage industry of ‘screenwriting gurus’ selling what some call The Hope Machine. The Hollywood mansion. Tesla Roadster. Movie premieres. Write a script… strike it rich!

How to get there? If you’ve spent any amount of time clicking through the online screenwriting universe, you doubtless have seen ads with messages like these:

The secret to a million dollar spec script! How to write a screenplay that agents will want and studios will buy! Your bulletproof path to screenwriting success!

What many of these folks are selling — and that is their bottom line, to get you to buy their product — is a screenplay formula. To convince you they have some unique insight into screenplay structure that can somehow magically translate into a script Hollywood would feel compelled to acquire.

The assumption is that there is some right way to write a script. Their way.

I am here to tell you this: They are selling you a lie.

The truth? There is no ‘right’ way to write a script. Every story is different. Every writer is different.

Worse, the increased presence of these progenitors of screenplay formulas is having a negative effect, both with individual writers as they strive to learn the ins and outs of screenwriting, and the perception and practice of the craft of screenwriting in Hollywood.

As a screenwriter, teacher, and blogger, I intersect with hundreds of aspiring writers every year, and they convey to me two general complaints over and over again.

Go Into the Story | Read the Full Article

Part 1: They are selling you a lie

Part 2: Formula leads to formulaic writing

Part 3:They diminish the craft of screenwriting

Part 4: They make the job of a screenwriter more difficult

Part 5: Times have changed and so have expectations

10 Forgotten Inventors Who Created Film As We Know It


Dustin Koski lists 10 innovators of film that shaped the medium’s beginnings and forged the look of modern cinema.

Jack Foley

Daring movies delight audiences, so we applaud filmmakers who do new things with the medium. Despite this, and despite how fanatically some of us study movies, many of the people most responsible for today’s filmic wonders are forgotten or overshadowed by a few famous figures. Let’s give a handful of these innovators their due.

Jack Foley

Although Jack Foley didn’t invent sound effects, he definitely helped codify the form. With the success of The Jazz Singer in 1927, the former director and stunt performer found a new calling. The rush was on to add sound to silent movies as fast as possible. Foley added a particularly rich soundtrack on the 1929 film Show Boat.

Foley was very precise and attentive at his job. In describing adding sounds of footsteps for stars of the time, he said, “Rock Hudson is a solid stepper; Tony Curtis has a brisk foot; Audie Murphy is springy; James Cagney is clipped.”

Probably his finest hour is alleged to have occurred during the shoot for his last picture, the 1960 classic Spartacus. Stanley Kubrick wanted to do two days of reshoots with countless extras on a project that was already immensely expensive—because he was unhappy with the live sound recording. Foley solved the issue by getting his car keys, jingling them into a microphone, and creating the metallic sound effect used in the film.

Listverse | Read the Full Article

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