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directing

Essential Camerawork Exercises for Aspiring Filmmakers

Improving your camerawork skills and, as an indirect benefit, sharpening your ability to get the results you want from your crew quickly — that is what this post is about. I will describe some exercises that you can do to move towards those goals. As with my editing exercises, all you will need is a […] Continue reading →

Essential Editing Techniques and Exercises for Filmmakers

Quality filmmaking is first and foremost about skills. It is the development of those skills that adds value to a filmmaker; technical skills, aesthetic skills, communication skills. The pursuit of these skills is the intelligent filmmaker’s foremost priority. This article describes a number of editing exercises that you can do with equipment you already have […] 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; everyone else will probably find it very calculating and career-driven, which is totally okay with me. The premise here is that filmmakers make […] 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 Flavor: 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 →

How to Direct Actors and Get Amazing Performances in Your Film

This post will cover some advanced tips on working with actors: casting them, directing them and managing them. As always, these tips are based on my own hard-earned practical experience. Casting: go for the absolute best (and learn to recognize it) I have already shared some basic tips on the process of casting actors on […] Continue reading →

Directing TV Commercials: Practical Tips and Advice

Directing TV commercials involves more than just shooting a 30-second movie: there are some critically important issues that normally do not arise in feature films. In this post I will share some tips that are specific to shooting 30-second commercials or any film/video project that must have a short and very specific length. You must […] 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 →

6 Great Spielberg Shots

“Munich” (2005) (Dir. S. Spielberg; DP J. Kaminski) The color scheme in this shot is absolutely gorgeous.  The warm/cold combination of color temperatures is nothing new, but the blue hue of the light in the background is particularly beautiful and delicate. The colorist undoubtedly deserves some credit. Classic foreground texture by Steven Spielberg and exquisite […] 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 →