How to Travel in Time

The Art of the Flashback   Flashbacks are on my mind at the moment. I’m currently working on two feature projects – one as writer, the other as editor – which are structured around multiple time periods, so my brain has got well-used to jumping around in time. Flashbacks are pretty common these days, but […]

Read More How to Travel in Time

“One for Lloyds”?

How many takes to shoot   “One for Lloyds…” is a phrase often heard on movie sets in the UK. It means shooting a second take, even if take one was perfect; y’know, just in case. Lloyds is the centre of the British insurance market – I believe their policies once demanded that a minimum of […]

Read More “One for Lloyds”?

How Long You’ll Need to Edit…

…and When You Should Stop.   One question that I’m often asked when interviewing for a low-budget feature is: “how long do you think you’ll need?” The answer is… it’s complicated. There used to be a rule of thumb for feature films: 1.5 times the length of the shoot. This was based on the assumption […]

Read More How Long You’ll Need to Edit…

Brando recognition

When is a good actor not a good actor?   A weird thing sometimes happens when two or more people sit down in a cutting room and look through takes. They will agree on which take has the smoothest camera move or focus pull, there’ll be little disagreement about whether the shoot looks better with […]

Read More Brando recognition

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 […]

Read More The Root of Rootability

Conversations with the Invisible Man

Writing Movies Within Your Means, pt. 3 ☛ Previously I’ve looked at how locations can bring down your budget and how to justify shooting on cheaper cameras, but you can also save money through clever use of writing itself. Dialogue When asked why his movies were so dialogue–heavy, indie auteur Hal Hartley quipped “Talk’s cheap”. […]

Read More Conversations with the Invisible Man

The Way of the Scissor People

How to Work with an Editor ☛ I wrote some time back encouraging directors to work with editors, rather than cutting their own material. My colleagues in the cutting room report that they are working with an increasing number of directors who are using an editor for the first time. Needless to say these first […]

Read More The Way of the Scissor People