Coming Soon: Your Hollywood Career (and How You Can Be a Part of It)

I often receive questions about specific careers in the industry. Sometimes these questions are basic enough that I can answer them without missing a beat. Other times, however, I have to investigate, dig around, ask a friend… Call it research, if you will, and I love doing  it! So I’m happy to announce my plans […]

What’s the Difference Between a Screenplay Outline and a Treatment

On my original introductory  post about the principles of screenwriting, I wrote that “in filmmaking, the story is first developed in the screenplay.” That is only half-true. Within the Phases of Film Production, it is true that the film only begins to exist with the screenplay (this “document” is needed for planning, casting, budgeting, scheduling, […]

7 Basic Things All Future Film Directors Should be Doing Right Now

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Last week, Hiba from Lebanon hit me up with the following question: “To become a director, should I read more or watch more?” My immediate response to her was that directing is so complex and multifaceted a career that both reading and watching should be a constant for her. A more interesting question, I proposed, […]

5 Reasons the Three-Act Structure is Stifling Your Creativity and Killing Your Screenplay

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Ah, the movies. Don’t you love how subjective they are? That action flick you love is the same one your significant other hates. That melodramatic scene that brings your mother to tears makes you laugh uncontrollably in its silliness. A field as abstract as screenwriting is an easy target for anyone who fancy themselves an expert to share […]

Canon 5D Mark III Gets Its Ass Kicked… By a Smartphone

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Remember when the Canon 5D Mark III was released and everyone was going crazy! Gosh, has it been two years already? We know that technology is evolving at an ever-so-rapid pace. Those in-the-know simply have to ask about what’s the “flavor of the month,” and everyone knows what they are talking about – cameras! Well, it looks […]

REGARDING REACTIONS: Why are Reaction Shots Important?

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By now, you probably read our article on the different kinds of shots, and stumbled upon reaction shots. In this post, I will explain why reaction shots are so important to the film language. First, a quick definition courtesy of Wikipedia: Reaction shot is a shot which cuts away from the main scene in order […]

CONFLICT: The Stuff Stories are Made of

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Conflicts are the problems and headaches we strive to avoid: a flat tire, a layoff, a break-up, and of course, Killer Klowns from Outer Space (yes, that is a real movie!).  The many instances of conflict have different names: tension,  rivalry, struggle, obstacle, clash, etc. Sadly for humans, society overflows with them.  But for filmmakers, […]

MIT Scientists Can Eavesdrop on Silent Video

This new technique reads tiny vibrations in an object to extract audio from it.

Now here’s something straight out of a sci-fi movie: scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have joined forces with researchers from Microsoft and Adobe to develop an algorithm that can analyze silent image and extract sound from it. And they developed the hell out of it! The scientists recorded a video of a plant […]

THE CINEMATOGRAPHER’S CREW: Lights, Camera, Repeat!

On most feature film sets, the cinematographer's team is the biggest crew on the production, which means that the cinematographer has to interact and delegate with many production members. Fortunately, the "division of labor" on the set makes this a manageable task.

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Because this article will present many different positions and job titles, I figured that perhaps the clearest way to present this list would be to start at the top of the food chain, and then make our way to the bottom. I hope this will make sense to you. And if not, let me know […]

What is a Montage in Films?

By definition, a montage is “a single pictorial composition made by juxtaposing or superimposing many pictures or designs.” In filmmaking, a montage is an editing technique in which shots are juxtaposed, often in a fast-paced fashion that compresses time and conveys a lot of information. Here’s when montages are a good idea: Condensing long periods […]