“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 … Continue reading

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”. … 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

Jump Around!

Editing tip # 1: Jump cuts Regular readers may be wondering about the recent silence from the Cutting Room Floor: I can report that an exceptional run of work has stopped play. I’m working hard editing a feature film called We Still Kill the Old Way directed by my friend and colleague Sacha Bennett. In … Continue reading

Signal to Noise

How filmmakers throw emphasis on what’s essential ☛ Cinema is one of the most naturalistic of the arts: it’s often shot in the real world and we expect movie characters to behave pretty much as people do in reality. This naturalism can make our stories all the more compelling; the audience love to come out … Continue reading

Cast Away!

Some thoughts on audition technique ☛ Casting can make or kill your film. Get the wrong actors for the roles and your audience will be watching the lighting. Even if you get the right actors for each part, but they don’t gel with each other: the audience will start planning their weekend shop.  It’s vital … Continue reading

The Midas Touch

How and why directors make their presence felt ☛ Watch a film by many celebrated filmmakers and, even if you missed the opening titles, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to name the director. You don’t have to do the sort of word-by-word analysis needed to work out whether or not a play is … Continue reading


Why we want to like a film ☛ Not long back I was working on a film which had received the sort of notes you dread: notes from someone who just doesn’t like the movie. Sadly these notes were from someone we were not at liberty to ignore. Many of his thoughts fell into the … Continue reading

The Lot of the Stay-at-home Editor

As I write, I’ve just had my first day’s work outside my flat in about four months (thank you to the good people of I-Motus). It’s not that I’ve been idle during these months: I’ve just had an unusually long run of jobs where I’ve been cutting from home on my trusty iMac. I’d joined … Continue reading

Save Twickenham Film Studios

News broke last week that justified my skepticism about the recent claim that we are in a golden era for British film – London’s Twickenham Film Studios has gone into administration and is up for sale. After 99 years making movies, it looks likely that it will be knocked down and the site redeveloped into … Continue reading

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