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
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
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 […]Read More Does your lens policy need renewing?
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
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
An Editor’s Guide to Working with a Director ☛ Last time I wrote about how directors should approach working with an editor, this time the shoe is on the other foot. A lot is written online about how editors should work with their editing software – hints and tips. Books on editing have much to […]Read More Inspiring Belief
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
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