The Spielberg Supremacy ☛ Last week Steven Spielberg called for a tightening of the rules of the American Academy, which awards the Oscars, to prevent films like Roma, which is backed by Netflix, being eligible in future. Now BAFTA is also feeling the pressure, with two cinema chains – VUE and Cineworld – protesting over the eligibility […]Read More When is a Movie not a Movie?
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. […]Read More The Return of the Reel
…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…
“You and I know that basically the audience is stupid” these were the words of a client I once worked with. It was not the only time I’d heard this sentiment; I don’t get to hear it much, but when I do it usually comes from someone who’s been in the film industry for thirty […]Read More “Basically the audience is stupid”
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 […]Read More The Hateful One
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 […]Read More Can movies cause political change?
Apart From, y’know, Edit ☛ I’ve written much in the past about the art and craft of narrative editing, so I thought I’d focus for a change on the parts of the job that aren’t putting shots together. What follows applies specifically to drama feature film editors. I’m also assuming that the feature film editor […]Read More What a Feature Film Editor Does
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 […]Read More Writing Movies Within Your Means, pt. 2
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 […]Read More Writing Movies Within Your Means, pt. 1
The importance of theme ☛ I wrote a piece a little time back about the essential elements of any cinematic story, where I claimed that one of the basic building blocks is ‘theme’. At the time discussion of theme got drowned out by arguments about act structure, but I think that there’s more to say […]Read More Film Themes