Photographer/Director Chase Jarvis shares his bombproof workflow and backup for every image he shoots, stills and video alike. This in-depth look includes all the steps from capture to archive and gives you a method to ensure that you’ll never lose a single image.
Organizing the Business of the Film Company
By Jon M. Garon
Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell, PC
For many independent filmmakers, the LLC is the best choice for forming a film production company. It can be taxed as either a corporation or a partnership, and its operating agreement is more flexible than corporate bylaws for structuring the film company’s operations, but it limits personal liability as effectively as a corporation. Another advantage of the LLC and partnership forms is the ability to allocate gain, loss, deductions, and credits to participants in a way that maximizes their value to investors.
Nonetheless, a different structure may be preferred, depending on the particular makeup of filmmakers and investors. For films heavily financed by outside investors, the traditional corporate form may be best. Some investors may be reluctant to participate in an LLC, a relatively new business form, and may prefer the more traditional corporate structure. An S corporation combines this familiarity with the tax benefits of a partnership.
C corporations may serve the interests of the investors most effectively. The filmmaker can issue multiple classes of stock and draft different shareholders’ agreements to achieve the same results as with an LLC’s operating agreement. The company will lose the tax advantages of a partnership, but for some investors they will have little value, particularly if the investors are more interested in the long-term growth of their investments than in deducting short-term losses. Corporations are strongly favored for investments such as technology firms that have the possibility of expanding into the public markets. While going public is not a significant possibility for most film companies, the structure may further encourage investors.
Limited partnerships are well suited to individual filmmakers who need to raise capital but want to retain sole operational control over most aspects of the film company. The limited partners participate by contributing the necessary capital for the business, but they do not interfere with its operations. The filmmaker is not protected by limited liability, but since it only shields the filmmaker from liability as an officer or director of the business, and most risk of tort liability will arise from activities in which the filmmaker is personally involved, that protection would be of little value.
If an individual filmmaker is not seeking investment financing, there may not be any benefit to forming a corporation, an LLC, or a limited partnership. Not only is the value of limited liability negligible, but most debt will come from personal loans or unsecured personal credit cards, and the financial risk associated with these obligations will not be changed by using a formal business structure. If the filmmaker is a guerrilla artist, or if she is shooting a short project with a small cast and crew, then she may be best advised to remain a sole proprietor.
On the other hand, if the size of the project increases or if investors are brought in, it is very important that the filmmaker switch to a formal business entity. The worst choice is to ignore the problem and have the law treat the project as a general partnership. The decision to switch need not be made immediately. Tax laws allow the sole proprietor to exchange the business for the assets of a new entity without paying a tax penalty.2 But from the outset of the film project, the filmmaker should have the business management in mind, and she should work with a lawyer and accountant as early as possible so that the necessary business entity can be created when the filmmaker is ready.
The Nested-LLC Model for Continuity and Protection
Many filmmakers hope to launch an ongoing film company with the creation of their first film. At the same time, they need to keep the investments of each film project separate in order to ensure that the profits from each film are distributed to the investors of the particular project. To accomplish both goals, a popular structure calls for the creation of two limited liability companies, one to serve as the ongoing film business and the other to serve as the fundraising vehicle for the particular project.
1. The Umbrella Company Organized for Multiple Projects
The umbrella company is formed as an LLC owned and operated by the production team. The team may be organized in many different ways: it may consist of a group of producers; a team of writer, director, and producer; a director and actors; or any other possible combination. This company generally has only limited financial needs, and any investors are investing in the overall success of the business, not a particular project. The structure provides for limited liability for all participants and the taxation benefits of a partnership.
The umbrella LLC then serves as the sole manager of a second LLC formed to finance, develop, and distribute a particular motion picture. The investors in the movie are members of the second LLC. This maximizes the control that the filmmakers have over the project while allowing the relationship among the filmmaking team to be carefully crafted to reflect the rights and interests of each of its members.
In the operating agreement of the umbrella LLC, each member of the filmmaking team will negotiate the appropriate arrangement for compensation, responsibility, and control. If the team is composed solely of producers, the arrangements may be very similar for each member of the team. If the team is organized more like a rock band, with a writer, director, actor, and producer each contributing different talents and financial resources, the operating agreement can be drafted to reflect those differences. In addition, these terms may be modified without having to be ratified by the film’s investors, since they are members of the other LLC, not this one.
The umbrella company is only necessary when a team of people are working together to create the movie, but given the highly collaborative nature of filmmaking, these projects have a much greater chance of success than projects attempted by a single filmmaker.
2. The Subsidiary Company Organized as an Investment Vehicle for the Film
The terms of the film project LLC should establish that the company’s activities are limited to the particular motion picture. The company is managed by the umbrella LLC, so the operating agreement should be very clear regarding the authority of the manager—the managing company must have sufficient latitude to make the movie and clear direction regarding its authority to operate, and the role of the investor-members should generally be limited. This does not mean that the filmmakers are not obliged to update investors regarding finances, production, or distribution plans.
Most film investment companies are organized to make a single motion picture. But if the filmmakers know they are making a tent pole project— involving, for instance, a film, sequels, and video game tie-ins—the operating agreement can indicate that the manager has authority to retain earnings to invest in these additional projects. Such authority should be very clearly specified.
It is also important that the investment LLC’s operating agreement grant the filmmakers latitude to be involved in other projects while making the film. In the film industry, filmmakers typically work on multiple projects simultaneously, but this creates a situation in which these projects may be competing for investor dollars, time, and attention, or even film festival admission. To ensure that the investors are fully aware of this reality, the operating agreement should specify that the services of the umbrella LLC and its members are provided on a nonexclusive basis.
Finally, the operating agreement should set forth all the structures for recoupment of investments and profit participation, as well as the fees paid to the umbrella LLC for the management of the film project. While the operating agreement does not take the place of financial disclosure documentation, the two documents will closely resemble each other in many regards. This should allow the attorney to draft the two documents together, saving time and money. And since the operating agreement works as a blueprint for the operations of the company, it should also make it easier for the filmmakers to meet their obligations to their investors.
Technically, the managers of the umbrella LLC have no direct relation to the investors in the film project LLC, but the parties should not rely on this legal fiction; each filmmaker should treat his duties to the investors as if he were a personal manager of the film project LLC. The two-LLC structure is not likely to immunize the filmmakers from their ethical and fiduciary obligations, described in chapter 3, and should not be used for that purpose.
Additional Details for Forming the LLC
The required filings—the Articles of Organization—are often one-page fill-in-the-blank forms that must be submitted, along with a tax payment, to the secretary of state in the state in which the film company will be located. While simple to fill out, the Articles of Organization provide no information about how the business should be run. So in addition to this certificate, a film company LLC should have a written, signed operating agreement that serves as the articles and bylaws of the organization.
The operating agreement establishes the rules for managing and operating the business. Many of its provisions are common to every LLC, and these provisions will be found in virtually every form book. They establish the name and place of business of the LLC, regulate the admission and removal of participants, and provide for maintenance of capital accounts, terminations, and transfers of interest. Nonetheless, there are a few additional issues of particular concern for the filmmaker.
In many states, the operating agreement may simply indicate that the manager—the filmmaker—has sole management authority, that there will be no meetings, and that the profits and losses will be shared in a specified manner between the manager and the other members of the LLC. Investors in the film company, however, may not wish to give such unbridled discretion to the filmmaker, particularly over the raising of capital or other financial decisions. One of the primary benefits of the LLC is the opportunity to shape the business entity to reflect the nature of the investors’ interests and the filmmaker’s needs. Because the filmmaker needs to encourage investment in the film—a very risky investment—the filmmaker should provide operational protections for the investor as a way of encouraging investment and demonstrating responsibility regarding the enterprise.
The greatest drawback to the limited liability company is that the business and investment community has had limited experience with this organizational structure. Investors may be more willing to purchase shares of a corporation than to invest in an LLC, because they are used to financing businesses that use the more traditional form.
A second risk flows from the need to draft an operating agreement for each LLC. As with a corporation, standardized LLC operating agreements found in form books may not be appropriate for independent filmmakers. Each company will have its own investment strategies, distribution plans, and expectations regarding sequels and other projects, and these specifics should be reflected in the operating agreement. Some productions, for example, will restrict the movement of additional capital into the LLC to protect the original investors. (More often, however, film investors are not concerned about the size of other parties’ investments, as long as all the funds raised are used exclusively to make the film.)
The LLC has become a favorite vehicle for small business planners because it gives the owners maximum flexibility regarding the structuring of control and financing while reducing not only liability but also tax obligations. The owners of the LLC have the option to be treated as a partnership for tax purposes. In 1997, the Internal Revenue Service adopted rules that allow the LLC to elect whether to be taxed as a C corporation or as a partnership. By default, LLC entities are taxed as partnerships.
This is part of a series of book excerpts from Independent Filmmaking, The Law & Business Guide for Financing, Shooting & Distributing Independent & Digital Films designed as an introduction to the many legal issues involved in the filmmaking process.
By Jen Grisanti
How can you write a memorable spec script that helps get you staffed? Why is it so hard to write a TV pilot script that not only gets you noticed, but could sell?
I believe that strong writing will rise. In helping to launch countless careers, I’ve noticed some commonalities in the writers who make it. The strongest trait is belief in self and a burning desire to make it happen.
If a writer starts her career with purpose, puts the work into writing the strongest scripts possible, learns the craft of storytelling and envisions success, it will happen. Learning the craft is the part that takes time and dedication. A large part of what I teach is getting a writer to draw from her truth and fictionalize it into her writing.
I like to have writers begin by writing what I refer to as a “Log Line for your Life.” This is a way to start identifying universal life moments and themes in your own life. I believe that your well of experience is where the gold for your writing lives. When crafting a log line, you want to think “who – set-up, dilemma, action and goal.”
Log Line for your Life
To help you understand how to write log lines for your life, let’s dissect a log line from the movie, Pretty Woman: “A cutthroat businessman who wants to remain detached needs a date for some social engagements, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets… only to fall in love.”
This log line sets up the dilemma while making us feel empathy for the central character with the words, “A cutthroat businessman who wants to remain detached needs a date for some social engagements.” Then, it gives us the action that he takes, “and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets.” The irony is the goal: “fall in love” is completely the opposite of what he set out to do.
One log line for my life is, “When a work-obsessed corporate executive experiences a perceived fall from grace when told her contract is not being renewed, she is forced to turn her plan B into plan A and discovers that her plan B was plan A all along.” The set up of the central character is, “When a work obsessed corporate executive.” The dilemma is, “experiences a perceived fall from grace when told her contract is not being renewed.” This is becoming a life experience for millions. The dilemma is prevalent. What do we do when our “moment,” which we’ve worked for all of our life, ends? The action is represented with “She is forced to turn her plan B into her plan A.” Many of us can connect with the idea that life takes a turn and we are forced to design a new plan. After this happens, many of us discover that the universe nudged us because it was our time. The goal is, “and discovers that her plan B was her plan A all along.” This is utilizing irony as well. This is very universal. We can go back to our core and figure out what made us happy about doing our jobs in the first place. Then, we can design a new plan.
By writing these types of log lines, you can find your truth. By finding your truth, you can write story from an authentic place. This will help you to identify your voice.
Next, I believe that writing a strong log line for your script, creating a powerful dilemma and having it stem into a clear goal will make your story work in the best way possible.
Writing a Log Line for your Script
Writing a log line is something that most writers do after they’ve written their script, but I encourage writers to write their log line before writing their script. Your log line is your story. It is your roadmap. It tells you where you are going and how you plan to get there. It also tells you if you are taking a wrong turn. If your log line doesn’t work, more often than not, something about your story is not working. As discussed earlier, when you’re thinking of your log line, you want to think, “who, dilemma, action, and goal.” When describing your dilemma, draw a picture that makes us feel empathy for your central character. Next, include the action that he or she takes as a result of the dilemma and, finally, include your character’s goal. Very often, your central character’s goal at the end of the story winds up being the opposite of what it was at the start. This is where irony comes into play. Irony is a key part of a successful log line and, therefore, a key part of a successful story.
What is a dilemma? Wikipedia offers this definition, “A dilemma is a problem offering at least two solutions or possibilities, of which none are practically acceptable; one in this position has been traditionally described as ‘being on the horns of a dilemma,’ neither horn being comfortable; or ‘being between a rock and a hard place,’ since both objects or metaphorical choices are rough.” Dilemmas provide tremendous opportunity for drama. If you add dilemma to your stories or strengthen your existing dilemmas, it will elevate your writing. We’ve all been through dilemmas. Start to be conscious of the dilemmas you have faced and are facing in your life.
In my experience, I have come to view the set up of the central character’s goal and/or dilemma as the most important component of story. I believe that it is the key to the success or failure of your story. When a goal and dilemma are clear, your story has a much stronger chance of working because your obstacle, your escalating obstacle, your mid-point and your “all is lost” moment will all need to reflect back to your goal. If your goal and dilemma are unclear, then you will be unable to structure your story in the best way possible. When I see films that slightly miss the mark, I can almost always pinpoint a lack of clarity in the set up of the goal and strength of the dilemma of the central character as the major offending factor. If the goal and dilemma are not properly established, your audience won’t know what they’re rooting for.
Goals and Dilemmas
When you’re thinking about your goal, think, “What does your character want to achieve?”
It wasn’t until these last few years of analyzing story that I really recognized the power of the goal and dilemma. If the goal and dilemma are clear, the story has a much better chance of working because your audience understands what your central character wants and is able to root for him to achieve his goal. All the pivotal moments in your story — your obstacle, your escalating obstacle, your turning point and your “all is lost moment” — should reflect back to your goal and escalate your character’s journey to achieving it. If you don’t clearly set up the goal, these moments will lose the impact they could have.
When a writer has really mastered the use of goal and dilemma, it resonates in every scene, building, escalating, twisting, and truly feeling the all-is-lost moment before the writer leads her reader to the resolution of the goal.
I believe that if you learn to fictionalize your truth by writing “Log Lines for your Life” and you create powerful dilemmas that lead to clear goals, you will elevate the chance of your story working in the best way possible.
Jen Grisanti is a Story Consultant, Independent Producer, Writing Instructor for NBC’s Writers on the Verge, Blogger for The Huffington Post and author of the upcoming book, Story Line: Finding the Gold In Your Life Story.
Grisanti started her career as an assistant to Aaron Spelling 15 years ago. Aaron was her mentor for the next 12 years as she climbed the ranks and eventually ran Current Programs at Spelling Television Inc., covering all of Spelling’s shows including Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place and Charmed. In 20…
Source with permission: The Writers Store
Adobe After Effects Plugins can add even more capability to your AE software. In this feature we bring you 55 plug-ins that along with their cool enhancements, ability to extend your creativity and productivity the have one other great feature, THEY ARE ALL FREE!
AlphaPlugins FirTree is additional module for Adobe After Effects. This plug-in allows create animated fir tree branches. You can use these elements for decorate your Merry Christmas and Happy New Years videos.
New Year Toy is a very simple and helpful plug-in for Adobe After Effects. This filter allows you to create different kinds of New Year toys for decorating of New Year tree. It creates beautiful toy balls which are hanging on amazing pendants. You can use it for decorating of your Merry Christmas and Happy New Year videos.
Free open source plugin for creating abstract fractal images in After Effects. Buena Software helped update the plug-in to work with After Effects on Mac OS X. There is also a Windows version available for download, as well as the full source code to the plug-in.
Conoa FreeStreak is free! Completely Free! Streak any row or column in your image or animation to the top, bottom, left or right sides.
XMult is a freeware plug in for Adobe After Effects. XMult creates an alpha channel based on the highest luminance value of each pixel. A compensation is made to the RGB channels due to the attenuation of the applied alpha channel. It has 8 or 16 BPC
A free plug-in for After Effects to adjust for switching between standard linear gamma displays and OpenEXR formats; a floating point file format developed by ILM and used by products such as Autodesk’s Inferno for working with 32-bit HDR (high-dyamic-range) imagery.
J2k is a free Photoshop and After Effects plug-in set for reading and writing the JPEG 2000 file format, the successor to JPEG.
SuperPNG is a free Adobe Photoshop plug-in for using PNG (“ping”) files. It is faster than Adobe’s own PNG plug-in and saves considerably smaller PNGs.
SuperTIFF is a free plug-in for Adobe After Effects that provides more complete support for TIFF than AE does natively.
Allows the user to correct field problems manually by selecting upper and lower field for the current frame.
Is a stand alone version of the selection method found in Flair and Lenscare. Usage is obvious, hopefully.
The Matrox WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) plug-in for After Effects optimizes the workflow of professional compositors, allowing the user to view the compositing window on a video monitor or TV in both DV and D1 resolution.
GridIron X-Factor is an extension for digital video production software that uses the power of grid computing technology to significantly improve productivity and streamline your creative workflow. X-Factor enhances the performance of Adobe After Effects.
Normality 3 is a powerful plug-in that allows CG Artists to light 3D objects and scenes directly within the familiar Adobe After Effects environment through the use of normal passes and advanced relighting techniques.
Atlas is a port of the pfstmo tone mapping operators to the Adobe After Effects plugin format. This plugin is free open source software licensed under the GPL.
Celulight is my tool designed to automatically generate normal maps from simple outlines or cel drawings. The resulting normal map can then be used by Normality to create realistic or toon shading effects.
This Adobe After Effects plugin is designed to work in combination with Normality and generates squeaky clean cartoon outlines. Edgar uses a novel, proprietary algorithm developed specifically for the purpose of converting normal passes into line art for use in cartoon and anime productions.
Floodgate can be considered an advanced paint bucket or fill tool specifically designed to work efficiently with cel animation.
Generator is a simple and free plugin for Adobe After Effects which can be used to create normal maps from alpha mattes, such as text and shape layers.
The Occlusionist is a spinoff of my Adobe After Effects plugin Normality and is used to generate screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO) and global illumination effects.
This FREE collection of scripts is used to transfer 3D motion to and from After Effects, Maya, Nuke, SynthEyes and Electric Image. Cameras (Orientation and Reference), Objects, Camera Rigs and 3D stabilization, Pan/Tilt, 3D to 2D. (Req: AE 6.5 +, Maya 6.5+, Nuke 4.6+, SynthEyes 2007+, EI 5.0+).
The Star Titler generator lets you reproduce the look of the opening titles first used by the Star Wars movie in 1977. This is a Noise Industries FxPack. It therefore requires the following free download to be installed: Free FxFactory Engine
Free plug-ins with source code.
FreeFrame is the open-source cross-platform real-time video effects plug-in system designed for use in VJing applications. There are over 150 FreeFrame plug-ins available from a diverse range of developers.
CoreMelt VeeYou is a completely free set of four plugins for After Effects and Final Cut Studio which generate Volume Unit level and EQ animations based on the audio in your project.
The Pan and Zoom plug-ins let you create the photo animation style made popular by Ken Burns with intuitive controls and automatic motion control that achieves stunning results without a single keyframe.
The first Spanish-language plug-in by SUGARfx lets you animate a still picture or media using a Pan & Scan effect with drop shadow and customizable interpolation curve.
This plug-in lets you loop through a folder of pictures to create a photo montage Mondrian-style.
Four fun, useful and absolutely free plug-ins: MultiSpace, iSight Live!, Rack Focus and Opposites. Multispace gives you 3D intersecting planes with anti-aliasing in Final Cut Pro.
The iTunes-style scrolling image generator plug-in for Final Cut Pro, Motion, Final Cut Express and Adobe After Effects.
A simple utility that copies the current composition image to the Windows Clipboard, allowing easy pasting into other image applications (such as Adobe Photoshop). It bypasses the task of saving the current frame to an image file and then reopening.
Erodilation is an effect plug-in that erodes or dilates an image, to produce blocky, glowing or hollow effects.
I’ve always thought halftoning was interesting. It is surprising it works at all, of course in this day and age of 128-bits per pixel who needs it. Unless you just like that sort of thing, use any layer as the halftone reference.
This filter was originally intended to help with distant starfields but there are numerous other applications for using spherical projection (sometimes known as a panosphere). Also lots of fun for less optically correct applications via the repeats parameters.
A friendly agreeable geometrical modulation, in which small squares assemble to resemble your source image. What could be finer, for is not the pixel square? As it is in the small, so shall it be writ large. New in this release: special wibble parameter added to the futz section.
A simple rendition of the classic video feedback. similar to echo in some ways, but with scaling and centering. Animate the parameters with bumps and jostles to create wonderful rippling cadences.
An error diffusion applied for the worse. Choose which colors are available and the filter tries possibly in vain to march the image. March up, left, down, or right. Specify fat stripes and exaggerated error propagation. A nice effect is to eyedropper up a few colors from the source image.
This filter merely applies a color across the entire frame. This turns out to be astonishingly useful. But it does a little more, with settings for additive (light) or subtractive (ink), has parameter to choose to draw the result in all remaining colors, just the colorizing color, or greys.
This filter models a kaleidoscope whose mirrors are in any shape you like. Built-ins provide square, triangle, and a few others. but you can also use any mask as the mirror shape.
This plugin RGB? adjust the percentage of the image display.
Plug-odd lines and even lines swap RGB? image.
The image RGB? X plug lines and even lines swap the odd coordinates.
To plug the channel at regular intervals specified by ? horizontal image.
To plug the channel at regular intervals specified by the vertical image ?.
This plugin generates a color gradient relative to the four corners.
This plugin generates a gradient value relative to the ?-? channel four corners.
William Christenson came up with the idea for this nice little filter. This plug-in was originally developed for Photoshop.
What this effect does is a simple ‘shear’ Effect. It’s not just performed horinzontal or vertical as usually but along a selected line.
Sinedot was originally developed as a Photoshop Filter then converted to AE.
This is a slightly more advanced version of Sinedots. It’s basically it’s the same effect with a few extensions.
eLin addresseschallenges such as motion blur, depth of field, glows, and basic transformations that appear when you combine 2D and 3D imagery.
A free Standalone that will help Stylize looks to still pictures.
Recreates the opacity or alpha channel of a layer based on luminance also called brightness of the lens flare. Unmult assumes that the lens flare is rendered against black. The image is also adjusted to compensate for the new alpha channel.
Scott is a great broadcast designer working for the Cartoon Network, TNT, and Discovery Channel. Scott developed Quaker as a plugin to simulate earthquake effects.
Customize the look of the reflection in 3D space.
We are happy to announce today, on our second anniversary the release of FilmmakerIQ.com v4! It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but two years ago today IQ was born. We want to thank everyone that has stuck with us and welcome all of the new members that have discovered our little home. Maybe it’s not so little anymore. Millions have passed through; and now hundreds each month are putting down roots and becoming members.
We have added several new features and enhancements to v4.
Forums are now called Discussions
There seemed to be a lot of confusion on what a forum was and how they related to Groups. Groups and Forums sounded like two different things. Forums where just a feature of a Group. We decided the calling them Discussions made more sense. Along with the name change we made the Discussions tab the default tab when visiting the Group Page. Hopefully this will cut down on questions being posted and lost in the Activity Stream.
One thing that needed to be vastly improved was site navigation. It doesn’t matter how many cool features you have if members can’t find them or know how to use them. (State how navigation has been improved.)
The first thing we added was a large search box that lets you find what you are looking for. You can search via Articles, Members, Groups and Discussions. The default search setting of Articles can be change by selecting Members, Groups and Discussions via the drop-down menu on the right side in the search field.
Header Navigation Menu
In the past, the article categories were below the pages in the header menu. We have now moved the article categories to a drop-down menu below the Articles icon. This should cut down on confusion and make for better navigation.
We have made vast improvements to the sidebar. (Such as…)
Ask a Question
The first thing you notice is a big “Ask a Question” button that will direct members to the Discussion Index where they can ask their questions. This should cut down on confusion on where they should post.
When logged in your Messages will be displayed below your avatar for quick scanning.
We have created a accordion menu in the sidebar to allow for quick navigation of site content. You can now quickly scan Recent Posts, Popular Posts, Recent Comments, Member Submitted Links, Discussion Topics, Groups, Members, IQ Point Leaders and Featured Articles.
Video Library (Beta)
The IQ Video Library is your ultimate source for filmmaking videos. We put the Web’s best filmmaking content all in one place presented in a library that lets you surf hundreds of videos that are updated often.
At the time I’m writing this the Video Library is still being built. Over the next days and week we will be adding hundreds more. We will also be doing more filtering so only the most relevant and highest quality videos will be shown.
IQ Points (Beta)
IQ Points is currently in Beta testing. Once we have fine tuned the point values and analyzed usage we will be able to setup a rewards system. We have some ideas, but all we can say for now is it will be cool.
Where can I see my point totals?
There are several paces to view your totals. They are displayed in the sidebar next to your name and avatar. You can view the total at the top of this page (must be logged in). For a in depth view and a point log you can go to: My Account > Points > My Points.
Where can a view a list of the IQ Point Leaders?
Below you can view a list of the Top 100 IQ Point Leaders. In the sidebar there is also a list of the Top 20 IQ Point Leaders. (Some IQ Staff are not included on the list.)
Here are some of the things you can do to earn IQ Points:
- Daily Login
- Commenting on a Article
- Group Creation
- Joining a Group
- Posting a Update
- Replying to a Update
- Completed Friend Request
- New Discussion Topic
- Discussion Post/Reply
- Submitting a Link
- Voting for a Link
- Commenting on a Link
- Uploading Avatar
- Sending a Message
New Help & FAQ Page
We created a new FAQ for our help Page. You can now quickly scan question, search the help categories and if you still can’t find a answer to your question there is a quick form where you can submit a question directly to us via email. We will be updating this page often.
IQ v3 was rushed into service to help us test and analyze a new generation of features. Some of you loved it some of you didn’t, but the one thing everyone agreed on is that it was too damn slow!
What does all that mumbo-jumbo mean? It means a much faster IQ, and all you people stuck using IE won’t pull near as much hair out waiting for it to load.
IQ v4 fixes over 300 bugs. Some of them big and many of them small. These fixes should result in far fewer crashes, better overall speed and performance and a overall better experience.
Fixing bugs is a never ending task. With every new version there will be more. If you should find a bug please report it in either the comment section of this post or in our Support and Announcements Group.
We would like to thank everyone for their help and feedback. We ask that you continue to offer suggestions, because the next version of IQ is already being worked on.
Vincent Laforet, one of the pioneers of the HD-DSLR revolution, shows us some of the latest toys from Cinegear 2010.
It’s easy to feel intimidated by the thought of writing your first screenplay. The rules! The formatting! The binding! Don’t let the seemingly endless parade of screenwriting elements scare you away from writing your first script. Since a familiarity with the basics of the craft is half the battle, The Writers Store has created this handy overview to help you get up to speed on screenwriting fundamentals.
What is a Screenplay?
In the most basic terms, a screenplay is a 90-120 page document written in Courier 12pt font on 8 1/2″ x 11″ bright white three-hole punched paper. Wondering why Courier font is used? It’s a timing issue. One formatted script page in Courier font equals roughly one minute of screen time. That’s why the average page count of a screenplay should come in between 90 and 120 pages. Comedies tend to be on the shorter side (90 pages, or 1 ½ hours) while Dramas run longer (120 pages, or 2 hours).
A screenplay can be an original piece, or based on a true story or previously written piece, like a novel, stage play or newspaper article. At its heart, a screenplay is a blueprint for the film it will one day become. Professionals on the set including the producer, director, set designer and actors all translate the screenwriter’s vision using their individual talents. Since the creation of a film is ultimately a collaborative art, the screenwriter must be aware of each person’s role and as such, the script should reflect the writer’s knowledge.
For example, it’s crucial to remember that film is primarily a visual medium. As a screenwriter, you must show what’s happening in a story, rather than tell. A 2-page inner monologue may work well for a novel, but is the kiss of death in a script. The very nature of screenwriting is based on how to show a story on a screen, and pivotal moments can be conveyed through something as simple as a look on an actor’s face.
The First Page of a Screenplay
While screenplay formatting software such as Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, Movie Outline and Montage frees you from having to learn the nitty-gritty of margins and indents, it’s good to have a grasp of the general spacing standards.
The top, bottom and right margins of a screenplay are 1″. The left margin is 1.5″. The extra half-inch of white space to the left of a script page allows for binding with brads, yet still imparts a feeling of vertical balance of the text on the page. The entire document should be single-spaced.
The very first item on the first page should be the words FADE IN:. Note: the first page is never numbered. Subsequent page numbers appear in the upper right hand corner, 0.5″ from the top of the page, flush right to the margin.
Below is a list of items (with definitions) that make up the format of a screenplay, along with indenting information. Again, screenplay software will automatically format all these elements, but a screenwriter must have a working knowledge of the definitions to know when to use each one.
Indent: Left: 0.0″ Right: 0.0″ Width: 6.0″
A scene heading is a one-line description of the location and time of day of a scene, also known as a “slugline.” It should always be in CAPS.
Example: EXT. WRITERS STORE – DAY reveals that the action takes place outside The Writers Store during the daytime.
Indent: Left: 0.0″ Right: 0.0″ Width: 6.0″
When a new scene heading is not necessary, but some distinction needs to be made in the action, you can use a subheader. But be sure to use these sparingly, as a script full of subheaders is generally frowned upon. A good example is when there are a series of quick cuts between two locations, you would use the term INTERCUT and the scene locations.
Indent: Left: 0.0″ Right: 0.0″ Width: 6.0″
The narrative description of the events of a scene, written in the present tense. Also less commonly known as direction, visual exposition, blackstuff, description or scene direction.
Remember – only things that can be seen and heard should be included in the action.
Indent: Left: 2.0″ Right: 0.0″ Width: 4.0″
When a character is introduced, his name should be capitalized within the action. For example: The door opens and in walks LIAM, a thirty-something hipster with attitude to spare.
A character’s name is CAPPED and always listed above his lines of dialogue. Minor characters may be listed without names, for example “TAXI DRIVER” or “CUSTOMER.”
Indent: Left: 1.0″ Right: 1.5″ Width: 3.5″
Lines of speech for each character. Dialogue format is used anytime a character is heard speaking, even for off-screen and voice-overs.
Indent: Left: 1.5″ Right: 2.0″ Width: 2.5″
A parenthetical is direction for the character, that is either attitude or action-oriented. With roots in the playwriting genre, today, parentheticals are used very rarely, and only if absolutely necessary. Why? Two reasons. First, if you need to use a parenthetical to convey what’s going on with your dialogue, then it probably just needs a good re-write. Second, it’s the director’s job to instruct an actor on how to deliver a line, and everyone knows not to encroach on the director’s turf!
Placed after the character’s name, in parentheses
An abbreviated technical note placed after the character’s name to indicate how the voice will be heard onscreen, for example, if the character is speaking as a voice-over, it would appear as LIAM (V.O.).
Indent: Left: 4.0″ Right: 0.0″ Width: 2.0″
Transitions are film editing instructions, and generally only appear in a shooting script. Transition verbiage includes:
- CUT TO:
- DISSOLVE TO:
- SMASH CUT:
- QUICK CUT:
- FADE TO:
As a spec script writer, you should avoid using a transition unless there is no other way to indicate a story element. For example, you might need to use DISSOLVE TO: to indicate that a large amount of time has passed.
Indent: Left: 0.0″ Right: 0.0″ Width: 6.0″
A shot tells the reader the focal point within a scene has changed. Like a transition, there’s rarely a time when a spec screenwriter should insert shot directions. Once again, that’s the director’s job.
Examples of Shots:
- ANGLE ON –
- EXTREME CLOSE UP –
- PAN TO –
- LIAM’S POV —
Spec Script vs. Shooting Script
A “spec script” literally means that you are writing a screenplay on speculation. That is, no one is paying you to write the script. You are penning it in hopes of selling the script to a buyer. Spec scripts should stick stringently to established screenwriting rules.
Once a script is purchased, it becomes a shooting script, also called a production script. This is a version of the screenplay created for film production. It will include technical instructions, like film editing notes, shots, cuts and the like. All the scenes are numbered, and revisions are marked with a color-coded system. This is done so that the production assistants and director can then arrange the order in which the scenes will be shot for the most efficient use of stage, cast, and location resources.
A spec script should NEVER contain the elements of shooting script. The biggest mistake any new screenwriter can make is to submit a script full of production language, including camera angles and editing transitions. It can be very difficult to resist putting this type of language in your script. After all, it’s your story and you see it in a very specific way. However, facts are facts. If you want to direct your script, then try to go the independent filmmaker route. But if you want to sell your script, then stick to the accepted spec screenplay format.
Screenplay Formatting Software
Screenwriting software makes producing an Industry-standard script simple and straightforward. Programs like Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter put your words into proper screenplay format as you type, letting you focus on a well-told story rather than the chore of margins and spacing.
There’s also a wide spectrum of outlining and development software at the ready to help you get your thoughts together before you begin writing. Popular story development software includes Dramatica Pro, a step-by-step guide to the storytelling process, Contour, a character-based structuring system, and Save the Cat!, a program centered on successful screenwriter Blake Snyder’s own proven methods.
And if you want a program that combines story development and formatting? Check out Movie Outline, an all-in-one development package that uses step outlining to build your story, scene-by-scene, and Montage, which includes both outline and submission tracking functions.
Script Presentation and Binding
Just like the format of a script, there are very specific rules for binding and presenting your script. The first page is the title page, which should also be written in Courier 12pt font. No graphics, no fancy pictures, only the title of your script, with “written by” and your name in the center of the page. In the lower left-hand or right-hand corner, enter your contact information. In the lower left-hand or right-hand corner you can put Registered, WGA or a copyright notification, though this is generally not a requirement.
Sample Title Page
Below is a list of items you need to prepare your script to be sent out:
- Script Covers, either linen or standard card stock
- Three-Hole Punched Paper
- Screenplay Brass Fasteners (also called Brads), Acco number 5 size 1 1/4-inch for scripts up to 120 pages; Acco number 6 size 2-inch for larger scripts
- Script Binding Mallet (optional)
- Screenplay Brass Washers
- Script Mailers
Follow these directions to properly bind your script:
- Print your title page and script on bright white three-hole punched paper.
- Insert the title page and the script into the script cover. The front and back covers remain blank. They are just there to protect your script. And remember: pictures and text on script covers scream amateur.
- Insert two brass fasteners in the first and third holes. Do NOT put a fastener in the middle hole.
- Flip the script over, and slide the brass washers over the arms of the fasteners. Spread the arms of the fasteners flat against the script. Use a Script Binding Mallet to ensure a tight, flat fit.
- Use the flat, self-seal script mailers to send your scripts out to buyers.
Materials for Further Exploration
Now that you understand screenplay basics, you’re no doubt ready to continue your exploration of the craft. The books listed below are some of our favorite guides to screenwriting.
The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script
A first-rate screenwriting primer that provides a concise presentation of screenwriting basics, along with query letters, useful worksheets, checklists, sample scenes and more.
From Script to Screen
What goes into the making of Hollywood’s greatest motion pictures? Join Linda Seger and Edward Whetmore as they examine recent screenplays on their journey from script to screen.
Movie Sets 101: The Definitive Survivor’s Guide
From learning the proper etiquette, to being well-versed on what everyone does, this book will take you from newbie to pro in no time flat.
Save the Cat!
This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can Save the Cat.
Source with permission: The Writers Store
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Release Date: December 22
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