film making


Really great piece on doing action comedy by studying the master, Jackie Chan.

Action board artists, you should really watch this!


New Camera Stabilizer Could Change Cinematography Forever

Not really future, more likely tomorrow, but add this gimbal to a drone and welcome 1984. Only 15k plus the price of a drone. From Gizmodo:

A new piece of filmmaking gear was just announced that could completely re-invent the complex process of camera stabilization. It’s currently being tested and endorsed by Vincent LaForet, who’s given us a little taste of what it’s capable of.

The product is called MōVI, created by Freefly, longtime maker of crazy camera-drone equipment and stabilizers. LaForet is presenting a short film and behind-the-scenes video to illustrate its abilities, which consists of a completely custom-made gimbal and 3-axis gyroscope that digitally stabilizes the camera (a Canon 1DC in this case). It looks to be very light and portable, a far cry from giant metal arms, vests, and weights that almost the entire camera support world is based on.


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Haunted Film. This movie is said to have real paranormal phenomena occurring right before your eyes. The ghosts of dead actors or demons can be seen morphing in the film! “Return To Babylon” a silent film by Alex Monty Canawati is gaining interest among paranormal researchers as well as cinema experts for its spontaneous morphing of the actors into hideous monstrosities.

Here’s a great behind the scenes shot from the film Mad Max. The photo shows one of the many chase scenes from the film being shot by Director of Photography David Eggby. This sort of thing would probably never be permitted to occur today, what with unions and safety standards and all, but 1970’s Australia was a bit of a wild west when it came to filming. Photo credit goes to Chic Stringer, stills photographer for the film.

The Film Making Process

1. Getting Inspiration

2. writing an outline

3. creating a first draft

4. rewriting your script

5. losing your favorite parts to meet a page deadline

6. starting preproduction

7. casting

8. getting a budget

9. hiring your crew

10. starting to shoot

11. rewrites and reshoots

12. wrap on production

13. editing

14. scoring

15. sound design

16. seeing your finished film

17. world premiere

18. seeing your critic’s reviews

monoradtastic somecontentunderpressure skylar102 la-petite-mort-du-bonheur


David Fincher - And the Other Way is Wrong

For sheer directorial craft, there are few people working today who can match David Fincher. And yet he describes his own process as “not what I do, but what I don’t do.” 

“That’s Entertainment: Storyboarding”  I’ll be on a storyboarding panel with the talented Justin Ridge, Anson Jew, and Steve Ahn this weekend for the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.  We’ll be discussing our experience in live action and animation projects, and our perspective on the future of storyboarding. So if you’re dying to spend your Saturday night listening to 4 grown men talk about potentially very geeky stuff, c'mon over!

Here’s a link to the event: (link)


A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film

Last October I wrote on the problem of how to represent digital life in film. In this video essay, Tony Zhou takes a survey of some of the solutions that have been offered up thus far.

Representing texting is relatively easy, and Zhou has his own preferences for the approaches he likes best. Representing the internet, he agrees, is trickier, but Zhou takes a more optimistic view than I did in my essay - the fact that it’s yet to be done well means that it’s a tough problem, sure, but it also means that the field is wide open for filmmakers to experiment.

It’s absurd to me that this kind of salary [millions of dollars] is paid to any actor,” Lange says. “As far as I’m concerned, there’s not an actor on the face of the earth that’s worth that kind of money. It certainly is not a measure of talent–it’s a measure of financial viability. And I’ve never done films just because they’ll make money.” - Jessica Lange

This week I had a group of film students in to visit, I gave them a tour of my projection room in groups and enthusiastically demonstrated how to ‘properly exhibit a film’. I had no technical training before I got this job, and  I had come straight from a degree in Art History.

The second group of students had a careers talk before I showed them around, and I stood there and listened to the same old advice given to film students of any age (this group was probably aged 17-19) about how you need to be a runner, about studying film at University.

There was never a mention of anything outside of this, or any practical advice on how actual, well-respected film makers break through. In the case of programming films for exhibition in cinema and generally in making them, I strongly believe that you have to understand society. In the same way that a writer really needs to know the world in their own convictions before expressing anything on paper. To programme films, you need to analyse your audience and really know people, to make films… to make strong, substantial work, you need to know so much more than just film.

After they had finished asking questions to the woman running the session, I came forward and asked if they were ready to see the cinema. But I also asked whether they would be interested in hearing my point of view on film making. And so I told them about what University really is, about how you use your bachelors degree as a starting point and you build up a career around it in your spare time, maybe not even in the same subject (rarely ever in the same subject). But University offers you the chance for debate, it broadens your mind and academia really helps you understand society (at least in the humanities and arts).

My basic point is this, if you want to make film, yes… you can get work experience in the technical side (but you do not need a degree for that) or you can be a runner. But if you go to University, unless you really want to be an academic in film theory as a career, pick something else. Pick history, philosophy, literature, art history… because if you want to write screenplays or direct, you need to be able to analyse life. I really do think that a subject like art history sets a great backdrop for any director. And the work up to that point comes alongside the studies and afterwards. Yes, you’ll be a runner, but you’ll be a runner that knows something more than film, you’ll be a runner that has something in common with the director, the producer (because it is unlikely that any great would have studied film at university!)

If you study film, you are just studying film, upon film, upon film. And then how will you craft your identity? I know that there is theory attached, I have studied film myself in the past, but it never opens up the world as much as history might.

I also think this is important for British film makers, because as an industry we sometimes lack identity. Because young film makers today base everything on Hollywood or otherwise. And I don’t blame them, how can you really know if all you have ever studied is film?

I have been criticised for being idealist, but I could honestly give an entire lecture on the important of academia in film. This post probably doesn’t express it well enough.. but this comes from the fact I watch films all weekend, every weekend. And run an Art History blog at the same time. It opens your mind up! I can barely describe it, because I am bursting with ideas.

(And hey, maybe if more film makers got themselves a degree in classics, we’d have a *good* film about the Ancient Greeks by now…)