The Root of Rootability

How to Make your Protagonist Engaging I don’t think I’m the only screenwriter to be frustrated when I’m given the note “Couldn’t the main character be… just a bit more likeable?” My frustration comes partly from the fact that a lot of my protagonists are intentionally not conventionally likeable, and partly from the note having … Continue reading

Does your lens policy need renewing?

Which lens to use? The internet is full of advice about which lens is the sharpest or the fastest or the best value for money. Less is said, however, about which focal length to use and when; most people simply adjust the zoom until the shot feels right. A valid approach if time is tight … Continue reading

Writing Movies Within Your Means, pt. 2

Writing Lighting ☛   In my previous piece I discussed how decisions about the location of your screenplay can help bring the budget down. This time I’ll focus on how your general approach to story can save you money on camera and lighting. Time was that picture quality was the first thing that would tell … Continue reading

Writing Movies Within Your Means, pt. 1

Forget Set and Go ☛ Film is one of the most expensive art-forms, which means getting films made is hard. One way for screenwriters to get their scripts noticed, and for writer/directors to get their first feature made, is to build affordability into the script. The challenge is that with each element you remove from … Continue reading

Looking After the Little Fella

A guide to writing walk-on roles for the screen

Jump Around!

Editing tip # 1: Jump cuts Regular readers may be wondering about the recent silence from the Cutting Room Floor: I can report that an exceptional run of work has stopped play. I’m working hard editing a feature film called We Still Kill the Old Way directed by my friend and colleague Sacha Bennett. In … Continue reading

Coming Soon…

The art of the trailer ☛ I’ve always been a sucker for trailers. They invite you to experience all the excitement of a feature film in a couple of minutes, and you get to fill in the gaps with your imagination. As a kid I often found them more fulfilling than the film I’d come … Continue reading

Snakes, funerals and Clint Eastwood

Deciding on the shape of the frame ☛ Last time I wrote about the shape of movies in terms of story; today I want to discuss a different sort of shape: that of the screen itself. Aspect ratio. Not long ago, Vincent Laforet brought to my attention a very good video examining the history of … Continue reading

Secrets of the Scissor People

Conversations with Leading Film Editors, pt.1 ☛ Compared with other elements of filmmaking, editing is a solitary art. We might have an assistant to help with cutting room admin, and will certainly be sitting with a director at some point, but most of the actual work is done alone. Given that an increasing number of … Continue reading

Anyone for revolution?

Whatever happened to the DSLR Spring? ☛ 1960: a film called Breathless was released that revolutionised cinema. It was shot on 16mm film, a technology previously only used for newsreels.  The French New Wave that followed inspired the counter-culture movies of the next decade, and left a mark still visible in the films we make … Continue reading

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