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directing

The Top 3 Qualities that a 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 →

Stanley Kubrick’s Legendary Film Techniques

Following my hugely popular post on Steven Spielberg’s film techniques, here are my thoughts on Stanley Kubrick’s film techniques.The same disclaimer applies: one cannot do justice to any decent artist in writing, but at the same time I cannot help spotting trends, and I enjoy writing about them. 1. Slow, protracted scenes One of the […] Continue reading →

Long uncut master shots in films

Reader’s question: As a fan of Andrei Tarkovsky I really love long takes with few changes of angle. I believe that with the utmost balanced use of track shots, composition, lightning, foreground and action within a frame, an audience won’t be bored even without sudden changes in camera placement. I understand that this isn’t the […] Continue reading →

Steven Spielberg film techniques – With pretty pictures!

I have been admiring and studying Steven Spielberg’s filmmaking techniques for some years now and in this post I will share some of my findings. No written description can ever do justice to an artist of Steven Spielberg’s magnitude, but I do hope that you will find this post inspiring and instructive. 1. Track-in shots […] Continue reading →

How to Make a Music Video: Planning, Shooting and Editing

Shooting the music video 1. Record the track that you are playing back on set as you shoot. This scratch track will help you synchronize the shots with the clean track in post-production. 2. Instruct the singer to sing properly – no half-hearted singing or, worse, miming. If they mumble or mime, it will not […] Continue reading →

Movie editing techniques – With pretty pictures!

Hone your understanding of film editing until you are dazzlingly brilliant at it. The very best directors have a comprehensive understanding of film editing. They plan and direct shots in such a way that they can be cut together smoothly and coherently. Ambitious filmmakers would therefore be well advised to learn film editing. You should […] Continue reading →

Filmmaking Tips and Advice for Ambitious Filmmakers

“A free online film school summary for aspiring filmmakers” Jump to a section: Screenwriting Lighting Camerawork Camera movement Zooming Sound Casting Continuity Production Design Film editing 1st AD Directing   1. Write or obtain an awesome screenplay Without a dazzlingly awesome screenplay you are dead in the water. Beautiful lighting, creative camerawork and smooth editing […] Continue reading →

James Cameron’s short film “Xenogenesis”

In the late seventies James Cameron was told by a friend that a consortium of investors was interested in financing a movie for tax-shelter purposes. James Cameron shot a quick 16mm teaser and the investors liked it, giving him a further $20,000 to produce a short demo in order to raise money from a group […] Continue reading →