The Return of the Reel

In Which the Writer has a Kodak Moment Film is dead. It was coming for a time: when I left film school I got a lot of work as a 1st assistant editor because I was good at hand-holding editors who were being forced to stop cutting on 35mm. That was the late 90s. The … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

The Hateful One

How Did Harvey Happen? It should go without saying that I deplore those incidents of abuse against women that Harvey Weinstein’s admitted to, and those of which he’s been accused, but it’s gone without saying by too many people for too long, so I feel the need to add my voice. What does it say … Continue reading

The Invisible Art of Editing?

Invisible vs. high-profile editing   I started in the cutting room at an exciting time for editing. The high-octane style popularised by music videos shown on MTV and made possible by editing on computer rather than on celluloid, was starting to filter through to feature films. In some cases it led to the sort of … Continue reading

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

Can movies cause political change?

Covering how to found a country and the devastating power of the ordinary. In the light of recent and possible future events I have been doing some soul-searching about my filmmaking. The not-so-gradual rise of the far right, both in Europe and America, has lead me to question whether there’s more I could be doing … 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

Looking After the Little Fella

A guide to writing walk-on roles for the screen

Coming Soon, part II

How to make an industry trailer ☛ My last piece was about the trailers that show in cinemas, the ones the public gets to see. However, before a movie’s theatrical trailer or even its teaser has hit the big screen, there may have been a couple of promos already cut for that film. Indeed new … Continue reading

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