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

“Basically the audience is stupid”

“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 … 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

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

What a Feature Film Editor Does

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 … 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

Film Themes

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 … Continue reading

Why we Need to Write Weaker Female Characters

Why we Struggle to Write Good Parts for Women ☛ I had a discussion online the other day with actress Alice Lowe about the portrayal of women on screen. The place of women in the film industry, on-screen and off, is something of a hot topic following the woeful under-representation of women at this year’s … Continue reading

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