Watch: How Martin Scorsese Proves Pop Music Can Help Enhance Your Story

This video looks at Martin Scorsese's extensive use of popular music and how the songs function as a storytelling device.

Martin Scorsese is justifiably renowned for his use of music, and not merely orchestral scores by some of Hollywood's leading composers (think Bernard Herrmann's moody jazz from Taxi Driver), but also popular music, like his frequent use of the The Rolling Stones (here's a link to a Spotify playlist of every song Scorsese has ever used.)

But, as Jack from Jack's Movie Reviews says in the video below, Scorsese doesn't just make use of music that he personally likes: rather, his "musical choices helped to enhance the narrative and tell us a lot about his characters."

In the same way that Stanley Kubrick was the first director to eschew Hollywood scores for existing classical pieces, Scorsese was a pioneer of the pop hit in film. Here's a look at three times Scorsese used pop music to enhance a film's narrative.

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Here’s What It’s Like to Be in the Cutting Room with Alexander Payne

Editor Kevin Tent discussed his career and long-collaboration with Alexander Payne during an event at this year's Sight, Sound & Story.

Editors frequently share long and fruitful collaborations with their directors, and one of the most fruitful in recent years would have to be the one between writer/director Alexander Payne and his Oscar nominated-editor Kevin Tent, ACE. The two recently sat down for a wide-ranging conversation and discussion of his career during an "Inside the Cutting Room with Bobbie O’Steen" event at this year's Sight, Sound & Story in New York City.

O'Steen and Tent went over highlights from Tent's career, from his beginnings with B-movie king Roger Corman to his work on Girl, Interrupted and his several-decade collaboration with Payne.

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‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Billions’ Editors Share the Pros and Cons of Entering the Post Field Today

Top editors discuss their craft and give their thoughts on the state of cinematic TV.

According to the editors behind some of the biggest shows on TV, this is indeed a golden age for television...and especially for editors. During a panel moderated by Michael Berenbaum (Sex and the City) at this year's Sight, Sound & Story Post-Production Summit in New York, editors Naomi Geraghty (Billions, Bloodline, Treme) and Lynne Willingham, ACE (Breaking Bad, Ray Donovan, X-Files) talked about how they got their start in the industry, gave advice for those looking to break in, and shared clips from shows they've worked on.

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The Specific Methods Every Director Should Understand When Working with Actors

These simple concepts can make one of a director's hardest jobs that much easier.

Nine times out of ten, the most unforgettable moments in a movie come from a human face, rather than an impressive set-up or thrilling effects sequence. And yet, many directors are relatively clueless as to how to communicate with their actors (this is partly why the club of "actors' directors" is so small).

While there are a few main schools of modern acting, there is scant information out there for the beginning filmmaker on one of the most important tasks: how to direct an actor toward the performance a movie needs.

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Watch: Take a Crash Course in Motion Picture Film Gauge

Let's give 16mm, 35mm, and 65mm its proper due.

When we discuss film gauge, we're specifically speaking about the width of the frame itself, that is, the available space that is exposed to light when run through a movie camera, measured in millimeters. As Jacob T. Swinney says in his video on Fandor, film gauge "heavily affects the look...mood and tone" of a movie.

Below, Swinney looks at three film gauges: two that you've probably run across (or are at least familiar with) and one that's comparatively rarer, but which you've probably seen at the movie theater at least once.


16mm (and Super 16) are indie favorites, having been the film stock of choice for a huge number of films, including Pi, Clerks, The Hurt Locker, and Junebug. Because it has much less exposure area than the more common 35mm, 16mm provides a grainier look and has a "somewhat dirty texture." It has a gritty feel, due mostly to the larger grain, a physical property of the film being developed, although there are digital plug-ins that can emulate this look.

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HBO’s ‘The Tale’: Director Jennifer Fox on Why ‘There is Nothing in Documentary Like Directing Fiction’

Jennifer Fox reveals how her doc film career did—and didn't—prepare her for her feature debut.

Jennifer Fox, director of the much-buzzed about The Tale, is used to taking risks. At the age of 21, the director left film school at New York University after one year, in order to follow the story of an aristocratic family living in a two hundred year old mansion amidst the destruction of a civil war. In a conversation with filmmaker Kitty Green at the Australian Screen Forum in New York, she revealed, "When I went to Lebanon, everyone thought I was completely crazy....I'd never made a documentary before. The little I'd studied was about how to make fiction films."

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What Exactly Does an Agent Do For You?

During a panel at Cannes, four talent agents discussed their evolving role in an increasingly diverse industry.

For those filmmakers and other creatives who are on the outside and looking to get in, talent agents have traditionally been thought of as the gatekeepers to the kingdom, the ones who, with a word, can deliver a career. Of course, it's not that simple, and while they're becoming increasingly more influential in the film business, many people still don't have a great idea of what an agent's role actually is.

During a panel sponsored by The UK Film Centre, as part of the International Pavilion at Cannes, four talent agents, three from Hollywood and one from the U.K., gathered with journalist Matt Mueller from Screen International to discuss the nature of their jobs (everything from representing talent, to creating packages, and beyond) as well as the changes brought on by global box office demands, drives for increased diversity in the film industry as a whole, and more.

"We have to think outside the box to get outside-the-box movies financed."

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‘Revolutionizes the Film Industry and Our Lives’: Here’s How to Benefit from the Blockchain

A panel addressing the blockchain and its revolutionary possibilities for independent film took place in Cannes.

Unless you're this guy, you've probably heard of Bitcoin, the crypto-currency currently revolutionizing the way people look at money. Bitcoin, though, only works because of something called the blockchain, which several companies are trying to turn into the next big thing in film production

What is the blockchain? The UK Film Centre, as part of the International Pavilion at Cannes, attempted to answer that question during a panel called Blockchain 101, moderated by Emma Jones from the BBC and featuring Dan Hyman, VP of Finance at SingularDTV and Ashley Turing, CEO of LiveTree.

What is the blockchain?

According to Hyman, "the blockchain is nothing more than a decentralized shared database of information." It could be anything from transactions to payments, transfers of value, secure identities, or medical records. it is information which is shared instantaneously across all parties in any given process.

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Watch: Why the Midway Point of a Screenplay is So Important

Michael Mann's Collateral demonstrates how a story's midway point is the key to characterization.

Having seen Michael Mann's thriller Collateral a few times now, I've always remembered how tight the movie seemed the first time I saw it, especially considering how big the production is. What I didn't remember was who directed the film (because with the exception, I guess, of Eyes Wide Shut and maybe The Color of Money, Tom Cruise movies always seem like, well, Tom Cruise movies.)

Of course, the director was none other than Michael Mann, which becomes super obvious once you realize that his restrained, stylized symmetry is all over this movie, accompanied by a terrific screenplay by Stuart Beattie.

In this video, Michael Tucker looks at how the film's midpoint (literally, the halfway mark of the film) functions as the hinge point where the film's plot and characters converge. In doing so, Tucker shows an elemental piece of storytelling wisdom neatly illustrated within this taut thriller.

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Watch: How to Create a New Language for Your Film

If you're looking to create the next Dothraki or Shivaisith, this video looks at how some of the most famous fictional movie languages were created.

According to The Economist, the number of people who've heard Dothraki or Valyrian, the two constructed languages (or conlangs) on Game of Thrones, is more than the number of speakers of Welsh, Irish Gaelic, and Scots Gaelic, combined.

From Game of Thrones to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, conlangs are bigger than ever, and audiences have come to expect further attention to detail. Check out this video from Academy Originals for some tips from the minds behind the words of Thor, Avatar, Game of Thrones (and more).

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