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The Problem with CGI in Modern Cinema

I am not fond of CGI. It has gone from helping filmmakers tell their story to invading cinema with its sterile, implausible fakery. For the avoidance of doubt, by CGI I mean images that are created ex novo with a computer, not the compositing of multiple layers to create the illusion of a seamless scene. […] Continue reading →

Professional Development and Self-Improvement for Filmmakers

This article deals with professional development for filmmakers: activities that will add value to your employability and effectiveness as a director. Find a good 1st AD, build a solid working relationship and learn as much as you can Low-budget independent filmmaking is famously tiring and stressful, but it wouldn’t be so ridiculously exhausting if filmmakers […] Continue reading →

The Short Film Production Strategy for Ambitious Filmmakers

This post is about planning and directing short films in such a way as to extract maximum career benefit from them. I wrote it specifically for filmmakers who are ambitious and strategic in their approach; everyone else will probably find it very calculating and career-driven, which is totally okay with me. The premise here is […] Continue reading →

20 Fascinating Filmmaking Facts

1. James Cameron’s contempt for studio executives While shooting “The Abyss,” James Cameron became very irritated when a studio executive showed up in his suit and limousine, expecting to boss James Cameron around. Cameron smoothly slipped a diving helmet on the executive’s head and closed the seal, letting the executive flail around for a bit, […] Continue reading →

Your Film’s Flavour: the Importance of Tone in Filmmaking

Have you ever wondered why some films gel together so well while others go horribly wrong after a promising start? Mistakes made in the management of tone in filmmaking often cause the spectacular failure of films at the box office. This article is about the importance of your film’s tone. If you don’t get this […] Continue reading →

The Big Camera Question for Independent Filmmakers

“Which camera should I use?” This is one of the questions I am asked most frequently, and the time has come to address this issue once and for all. First things first: camera shopping has nothing to do with being a filmmaker. In this post I will write about why you need to start shooting […] Continue reading →

The Film Marketability Reality Check

Before you pour your heart and soul into your next film, make sure that you will be able to convince people to watch it when it’s finished! Filmmakers tend to be very bitter about the concept of film marketability – the result of repeated rejections from sleazy distributors and similar characters. That is a shame, […] Continue reading →

6 Lessons I Learned on the “Harry Potter” Film Set

In October 2000 I was in my final year at Oxford University and before I had even finished settling into my room for Michaelmas Term I was eagerly informed by friends that the “Harry Potter” film crew was going to spend several weeks shooting in our College (Christ Church). I had never heard of Harry […] Continue reading →

The Top Three Skills that a Film Director Must Have

“What are the top three qualities that a director must have?” A reader asked me this question yesterday on Twitter and it made the wheels turn inside my head – even better than coffee! I always tell people that filmmaking is a sublimely difficult art at which to excel, because it encompasses many art forms, […] Continue reading →

10 Lessons I Learned in 10 Years as a Filmmaker

June 17th, 2012 – Today is exactly 10 years since the first day of principal photography on the first project I directed. I will celebrate by sharing 10 lessons I learned in 10 years as a filmmaker. 1. The director’s reel is king The one thing I am glad about is that I started on […] Continue reading →

How to Become a Film Director: a Sharp Reality Check

This topic has been clouded by wishful thinking and pernicious misinformation for too long. Time to clean up! 1. Directors are hired on the strength of their reel A director’s reel is simply a collection of the best work done in the past — the 6-9 best TV spots for a commercial director or a […] Continue reading →

Directing, shooting and editing projects for the web vs. the big screen

Reader’s question: Thanks for your email and invitation to pose questions. From a technical standpoint, how does web-based format influence camerawork, editing, etc.?  Does the shorter length of a web-based episode influence technique? My answer: Great question!  In my experience directing for the web does not necessarily call for changes to be made to one’s […] Continue reading →