When you're directing the year's most moving animated feature, even you aren't immune to the tears.
The last animated film to take place in the Middle East was Disney’s Aladdin, released 25 years ago. It was a colorful, musical romp that played both on the clichés of Middle Eastern culture and of the princess who needs a man to “show her the world.” The Breadwinner, coming to theaters this week, is also an animated feature set in the Middle East, but that is just about where the similarities end. In fact, it could be argued that the distinctions between the films are markers of how far animated features have come in the last quarter century.
“The planning involved means you think quite deeply about why each scene exists in your film.”
David Fincher's soundtracks do what the best classic music videos do.
One reason members of the video essay demimonde, the population of people who make and appreciate video essays, keep coming back to David Fincher is that his films are very educative; you can, in fact, feel that you are learning something crucial about filmmaking just by sitting and watching them. And then But what great filmmaker can't you say that about? would be the obvious question, and a fair one.
The tracks Fincher deploys are crucial to their films, even if they at times seem to exist in direct reaction to them.
Learn some practical ways you can speed up your workflow with keyboard shortcuts.
We all know keyboard shortcuts can make editing a movie or video a lot quicker, but unless you've gone through the process of actually customizing your QuicKeys, you might need a few practical ideas on how to use them to speed up your workflow. In this video from Mango Street, you'll not only learn how to modify your keyboard shortcuts in Adobe Premiere Pro, but also how to use those shortcuts to become a more efficient editor.
Now, every editor has a unique workflow that is tailor-made for the types of projects they usually work on, each conforming to their particular tastes and needs. However, most if not all editors utilize keyboard shortcuts to make their process faster.
The video provides some great suggestions on how you can customize your shortcuts based on common commands you'll typically use while editing films and videos, like mark in/out, zoom in/out, and the select, razor, pen, and type tools.
Learn how to use light modifiers to achieve dynamic, professional images.
As an indie filmmaker, you may not be able to get your hands on a spendy professional light kits. However, you may not have to if you can get yourself a single source and a range of different modifiers. In this video, Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens shows you a bunch of useful techniques for shaping light with relatively inexpensive light modifiers, like Bowen's mount reflectors, grids, and umbrellas. Check it out below:
One of the first things you learn about lighting is the whole 3-point lighting setup, which is a really solid technique but can often be overwhelming for beginners. So, instead of starting out with three lights, start with one and learn how to use modifiers. Not only is this approach more manageable for those who don't have much experience, but it's also simpler, quicker, and cheaper way to learn the art of shaping light.
The USC and Local 600 bring us a study that will make you think twice about handheld filming in vehicles.
Camera operators on indie productions end up stuffing themselves into all sorts of places to try to get the shot. Most of the time there is a camera on your shoulder, you don't worry about it crushing your skull.
However, as a recent study from the International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600) and USC Keck School of Medicine demonstrates via exceptionally effective video, that camera can turn into a projectile head smasher in the event of an accident triggering your airbags.
SFFILM has announced the Westridge Grant, awarded twice annually to independent narrative features.
This morning, SFFILM announced an exciting new development resource for independent filmmakers in the U.S. The SFFILM / Westridge Grants, aimed at independent narrative feature films, will award four to five grants of $20,000–$25,000 each spring and fall. The first application period is now open through February 2018.
The new grant was created to support the screenwriting and development phases of U.S.-based films that focus on what SFFilm describes as "significant social issues and questions of our time." The inaugural winners will be announced in May 2018.
In addition to the cash grants, recipients will also receive various benefits through SFFILM's artist development program, as well as support and feedback. Grantees will also get the opportunity to spend a week in the Bay Area attending a programmed retreat geared towards honing their craft and making connections in the industry.
The Coen Brothers designed Fargo
to make the "uninteresting" interesting.
Of course, Fargo, the Coen Bros.' 1996 Minnesota noir, is anything but uninteresting, but in choosing to tell a story of the darkness of the human heart (something at which the directors excel) through the lens of proudly boring people (the film's hero, Marge Gunderson, goes through almost the entire film pregnant and happily domesticated), they faced an interesting aesthetic challenge.
"Everything we need to know about the relationships of these characters is told through the framing."
Even the man whose greed and desperation sets the whole calamity into motion, William H. Macy's Jerry Lundegaard, maintains, almost throughout the film, an unflappable cheer (at least on his face), and this emotional valence is matched by the white-out conditions of the film's locations; almost every time the camera is outside, the characters are set against a backdrop of snow, snow, snow. So how did they maintain visual interest? This video essay from Channel Criswell argues that it's all in the framing, which tells as much of the story as the dialog does.
The RED world has the popular Foolcontrol app, and now Alexa users can control their cameras with the new Pocket Control app from Pomfort.
Pomfort on-set software does a lot of different things, but one of the functions it is best known for is controlling the settings of a variety of different cameras and monitors remotely from a central station. Controlling the settings of each camera, and the look of each monitor, can be exceptionally useful when working on a complicated multi-camera show that needs to be sure a variety of cameras are in sync.
However, for the smaller productions running a single camera that might not want to invest in the full suite of remote control options, Pomfort now has Pomfort Pocket Control, a free app on iOs for remote controlling Alexa Mini and Amira cameras.
To create a three-dimensional world in the ever-tricky short format of the webisode, you need honesty.
When Terrence Nance (An Oversimplication of Her Beauty) read a rough script about young black lesbians exploring polyamory that came from two Brooklyn newcomers, a poet and a writer, he knew it was the right script for Chanelle Aponte Pearson for her directorial debut. "Which for me, was really scary because I had never directed anything before," said Bronx-bred, Brooklyn-based Pearson. Pearson, Nance, Yaani Supreme, and Rae Leone Allen reconvened at Pearson's apartment and fleshed out the series. "We use lines, not all but some, that came from our lives," laughed Pearson. "Being able to reflect on our own lives and the folks around us was really a huge influence in building the characters and the story." The result, 195 Lewis is a fresh, colorful series brimming with humor and music reflecting a world that has rarely, if ever, been seen on screen before.
Pearson sat down with No Film School to discuss her first-time directing experience, recognizing what non-filmmakers bring to the table, and the value of the webisode format.
This episode of Indie Film Weekly covers Kickstarter's bold new move for filmmakers, the best way to up-res from VHS, and America's most important doc fest.
Jon Fusco and yours truly, Liz Nord discuss Drip, Kickstarter's answer to Patreon, plus a field report from DOC NYC that reveals why it's become the American documentary festival to pay attention to. We also cover the first Oscars handed out this year, marvel at Agnes Varda's infinite wisdom, and say farewell to Oscar-winning filmmaker Debra Chasnoff, who died last week.
Charles Haine joins us for gear news, including the new Lumix G9 from Panasonic, and answers an Ask No Film School question about the best way to up-res VHS footage.
As always, the show also brings news you can use about gear, upcoming grant and festival deadlines, this week’s indie film releases, industry wisdom, and other notable things you might have missed while you were busy making films.