Published by Michael Wiese Productions mw@mwp.com | www.mwp.com ISBN: 9781615931170

© 2011 Michael Wiese Productions

Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Kathie Fong Yoneda Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Carole Lee Dean A Life In Film D.W.D. Kirschner Why Try To Be A Filmmaker? Howard Suber Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Write For Television Pamela Douglas Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Pen Densham It’s A Wonderful Life Michael Halperin Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Judith Weston Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Ellen Besen You Are Not Alone Linda Seger Top Ten Reasons Why It’s Great To Be A Sitcom Writer Sheldon Bull Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Michele Wallerstein .CONTENTS 7 8 12 15 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 33 34 37 39 42 4 « contents An Invitation Foreword by Ken Lee Occupy Hollywood! Michael Wiese The Inspiring Providence Of Filmmaking Stanley D. Brown Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Joshua Friedman Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Carole M. Ph. Williams.

43 46 48 49 52 55 57 59 62 65 68 70 72 74 76 78 81 84 Why It’s Great To Be A Filmmaker Eric Edson Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Launch Your Film Marcie Begleiter Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Hester Schell Misconceptions Of A Teenage Filmmaker Christina Hamlett Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Make A Film… Now! Tony Levelle Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Gael Chandler Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Monika Skerbelis Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Gil Bettman Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Rona Edwards Ten Steps To Becoming An Independent Filmmaker David Worth Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Kim Hudson Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Jennifer Grisanti Discovering The You In YouTube Jay Miles Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Christopher Riley Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Aubry Mintz R.P. Barbie Jennifer Dornbush Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Pamela Jaye Smith contents » 5 .I.

87 89 90 91 93 95 96 98 100 102 104 110 113 115 117 119 Dynamic Uncertainty: Inquiry Into Screen Story Neill D. No-Kidding-Yourself. Hicks Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Helen Jacey Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Ken Rotcop What To Subtract From Your Filmmaking Carl King Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Todd Klick Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Morrie Warshawski Secrets On An Island Christopher Kenworthy Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker LD Thompson Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Troy DeVolld The “Don’t Have To” Of Your Dreams Dale Newton Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Voiceover Artist Terri Apple Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Maureen Ryan Can You Make A Difference? Catherine Ann Jones Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Paul Chitlik Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Ross Brown The No-Excuse.B. Gilles Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Stuart Voytilla 122 6 « contents . No-More-Bullshit Cure To Finishing Your Screenplay D.

His father urges me on to tell his son why it is a good idea to attend film school. contact us at Michael Wiese Productions and we’ll be happy to share more. es” And then I add. perhaps. Well.” His slow emerging smile showed me that it was the first time he had heard that phrase. lists. “Y ou’re young. I probably would have told him that film school is a wonderful opportunity to be creative. and ideas. it’s an invitation to explore your own thoughts. I tell him to take some classes that are outside of his comfort zone. Before the economic meltdown in 2008.” I say. I ask him “What do you want to study?” He tells me that he doesn’t know. Rather. not his life. Good luck on your journey. and articles by the authors of the world’s best books on filmmaking and screenwriting is NOT a mandate for people. I meet John at a screenwriting conference. “It’s important. but the stakes are pretty high. but that he wants to take a lot of classes to see what he is drawn to.AN INVITATION FOREWORD BY KEN LEE I hold this young man’s life in my hands. feelings. but that he understood it completely. to BE A FILMMAKER. Share your favorite articles with others. I encourage you to read these articles and let your feelings wash over you. “to push yourself in your areas of weakness rather than relying on your strengths and what you know you can do. Y ou’ll learn more about yourself when you challenge yourself. And so. If you have any questions. I tell him this is an excellent strategy and then I give him something to think about. Print out your favorite ones and post them by your laptop. the game has changed and the future is anyone’s guess. expressive. The world is your oyster. young or old. But now. It would be a cool place to challenge himself in collaboration with other like-minded people. What jobs would be available to this young man after he graduated? How would he and his parents pay for the student loans they would have to get him through film school? So. instead of giving him a pat answer. And dream a little too: allow yourself to think about the possibility of what it would mean to you to be a storyteller/filmmaker and perhaps what stories you would tell. Michael Wiese Productions foreword » 7 . this compilation of essays. Ken Lee Vice President.” John seemed relieved that I didn’t give him a definitive “Y or “No” on film school.

then the result is burgeoning personal debt.TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE OCCUPY HOLLYWOOD! MICHAEL WIESE filmmaker and publisher As people all over the globe challenge the underpinnings and practices of banks. and culture (www.) If the goal is to sell us more of everything. The Shaman & Ayahuasca (Peru).000 tons of old electronics are dumped in India each year.com) and on spirit. obesity. It’s clear to those who look deeply that the very quality of human life on the planet is dependent upon storytellers (that’s right — you and me) to step up and transform the story mythos of our community. (50.” Hollywood media is one of the largest U. and politicians. exports. stock brokers. Mythos is defined as “the characteristic spirit of a culture. era. the purpose of human life would appear to be to sell things to one another. and an insatiable need to acquire more than your neighbor. Most of us accept what we are told rather than examine things through our own experience. creating alienation and competition rather than cooperation. We have been taught not to trust ourselves. It’s hard to untangle the mass of false beliefs embedded in our current culture which sadly results from a misreading of the true nature of reality.mwp. Embedded in so-called entertainment are American materialist values that are sold worldwide. More and more people fall under its spell so that now billions of people in India. those of us in media can do our part by challenging the destructive and morally vacant — almost invisible by its pervasiveness — vast meta-program that drives the Hollywood mindset and its output.S. His company publishes the world’s premiere line of books on filmmaking (www.com). Planned obsolescence creates massive landfills. 8 « michael wiese . China. and Africa have been taught to crave the consumerist lifestyle they have enjoyed for decades in American television programs and films. Michael Wiese is a filmmaker and publisher. and Talking with Spirits (Bali). Perpetual consumerism drives over consumption and over-production. or community as seen in its beliefs and aspirations. His recent feature documentaries are “personal sacred journeys” and include The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas (Tibet).divineartsmedia. • To an extraterrestrial observer. art.

cooperation. We are aware we are deep in the muck. and blind by a staggering number of poisonous messages blasted from all forms of media. new visions to put forth. and commercials are violent. Our diet of television news generates fear. • We live in a world where the dominant force is male-driven. • Humans are kept deaf. Human beings are persuaded that we are small. fish. That’s where the change must come. and sexual. None of this is news to you or me. polluted oceans. all life forms would be extinct by now. and not exploit this part of Ourselves. and vice versa). In the male-dominated media industry hierarchy. dumb. We shirk responsibility because we feel powerless to do anything. oceans. hoping and praying that there will be a technological solution. streams. diminished air quality and brought about the extinction of countless plants. to mobile phone texts and social networking. and awakened filmmakers to co-create them. (If the natural world utilized only 17% of its feminine energies. only 17% of its executives are female.” “me first” philosophies. preservation. We know it and we try to keep it at bay. and animals. news. powerless. and compassion. and ineffectual. We need new stories to tell. and clouds. someone will invent something. and generous. resource exploiting. war-mongering. we breathe in. • Understand that we are not separate beings. This is where you come in. It is really any wonder why things are as they are? What’s missing is the female-oriented mythos based on nurturing. michael wiese » 9 . Surely. competitive. It’s aggressive. What is needed is a new paradigm and a remembrance to older paradigms from the wisdom cultures of the world. The media (which is 90+% controlled by half a dozen international corporations) and governments have kept us in fear and distracted as a way to control us. We have become slaves caught in habitual behaviours linked to our electronic machines. • Understand that we depend on plants for our existence (what they breathe out. Video games teach children killing skills and disregard for life. television. Respect and cherish forests. and marginalize women in an attempt to convince us to buy more things we don’t need.” “get it while you can.• The over-exploitation of natural resources has decimated vast rainforests. The first step is to admit that the way we perceive reality (and thus the actions we take) is completely askew and has failed us completely. and based on “may the toughest guy win. Maybe there will be a new Apple App that will fix it all. compassionate. from films and televisions. Commercials and magazines have subverted sexuality (which can be a path to ecstatic divine states) into a kind of bait-andswitch game to flog their products.) It’s no surprise that most films. The new vision would: • Celebrate our capacity to be magnificent. but exist as one living entity interconnected with the planet and each other.

make offerings. • Create alternate ways of learning that lead us back to a relationship with nature and an understanding of our true place in the world. Supreme Intelligence. When the filmmaker is transformed. Its goal is a direct connection with the Divine. The standard of living could be raised worldwide for everyone. How does one do this? By having an experience of one’s own divine nature. This path is personal and private and does not follow dogma or pre-digested religious doctrine. and in turn. the Creator. paint.” Through their spiritual practices they connect with their gods and ancestors who provide the artist with taksu which gives them the creative power to deeply affect their audiences. poverty. The filmmaker needs to look to “the man in the mirror” and make a change.S. At the moment. (The $500+ billion that the U. spends annually on the defence budget would make quite a dent. the audience is transformed. and play music.The new vision would: • Understand that our link to the future is through our children and not let Hollywood corrupt innocent minds and natural knowingness with corruptive and destructive media products. government.” This is the subject of my next film. prayer. Our own beliefs have to first be examined and changed. This can be achieved in many ways: through meditation. Great Spirit. The new vision would: • Convert “weaponry” to “livingry. But this transformation cannot come about through the old world paradigm in which most of us live and breathe.” Convert national defence budgets to “plowshares” to eliminate hunger. then we are all hungry. cooperatively and in great appreciation. or plant teachers. yoga. Anyone who has been to Bali will have been amazed by the astounding creativity of the Balinese in everything they touch. expression is transformed. By realizing that we are far greater and more magnificent than we have ever believed. The new vision would: • Welcome women to fully participate in the top decision-making positions in media.) If one person is hungry. and in doing so the new mythos will arise. Mother Gaia. By knowing that we are capable of greatness. The filmmaker needs to make a commitment to transform and connect with other parts of his or her own mind in a profound way so that he or she will not just be making the same old stuff. to regain a balance in solving the great challenges before us. They live life spontaneously. 10 « michael wiese . Why? Because they have cultivated taksu. Tai-chi. or whatever you wish to call it. It appears that they can all dance. We might think of it as a kind of “spiritual X-factor. we can’t see what needs to be done because it’s all around us. and homelessness. It is the Divine Intelligence reaching through the interconnectedness of the filmmaker to the audience. and all professions. which I understand to be “divine inspiration” or “divine energy.

and plants can rejoice in our mutual dependency and interconnectedness. In Tibet. even after the invasion by China and the destruction of 90% of their monasteries. their connectedness. and the result can be a global transformation. whose goal is no less than enlightenment for everyone. one that envisions a world that works for everyone. and then return to share their discoveries about how to make the world work. Things are already headed in this direction. let’s make a new kind of film. we live in heaven here on earth — let’s not blow it. The answers and solutions to our current crisis already exists among us. I studied with a shaman and discovered his amazing work with “plant teachers” that bring healing and entry into other realms and dimensions (which quantum physics has begun to map). I’ve explored ancient wisdom cultures with lineages that go back thousands of years and are still practiced today. animals. I experienced the incredible humanity of the Balinese and their deep connection to the divine. so you will have a tidal wave of energy behind you. In my own film work. michael wiese » 11 . Remember. Filmmakers can obtain their taksu. So in Occupying Hollywood. In Amazonian Peru. Filmmakers and writers can stimulate this transformation by telling fresh stories that envision a world that works for everyone. humans. animals. the pathway to create a new world is clear. where humans. Audiences will awaken from their slumber.Once filmmakers establish a connection as co-creators with the Divine Intelligence. their natural knowing. They will find themselves aligned with the true nature of reality. realizing their own magnificence and power. through whatever practices work for them. I experienced a rejuvenation and spiritual vitality in their cultural commitment. which is that we are all connected: plants.

Do you know why? The answers all have to do with the critical importance of storytelling to a culture. When storytellers come up with a good high-concept story hook. written. The best films inspire both filmmaker and audiences Stanley D. Here are the top ten reasons why no job in the history of the world tops filmmaking. 2. Ph. Williams is an internationally award-winning filmmaker. “When I was your age. Films Elevate. to be better. “one can’t believe impossible things. The Moral Premise: Harnessing Virtue and Vice for Box Office Success available at www.” said Alice.com Even in times of recession. author. and spurs them on to greatness — to say nothing of the achievement of creating a film in the first place.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice.D. or edited over 400 projects. Films Educate. They’re only allowed one per story — it’s the lie that tells the truth. the film business soars. and why filmmaking fulfills that purpose better than anything else. WILLIAMS. The first is anchored in what Aristotle wrote about what makes a successful story: A convincing impossibility is better than an unconvincing possibility. directed. During the past 30 years. he has produced. williams . is what inspires and kicks society forward. decade-to-decade. 1. year-after-year. I always did it for half of an hour a day. Arthur Clark. But how can every- one experience everything they need to know in order to survive? 12 « stanley d. the physicists and science fiction author that inspired Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey conceived the “impossibility” of satellites decades before they changed the world.amazon. And remember this exchange from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland: “There is no use trying. and instructor. Experience is the best teacher.THE INSPIRING PROVIDENCE OF FILMMAKING TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE STANLEY D. But that “reaching” for the “impossible” and then revealing it in a reasonable and convincing way. shot. they’re conceiving an improbably juxtaposition of story plot and characters.mwp. Why.” Such elevation of the soul connects with audiences.com and www. sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There are two aspects of this inspiration.” said the Queen. writer.

Someone had to do a lot of research and the filmmaker had to employ his or her art to the n’th degree. The Perfect Storm taught us about the rigors of commercial fishing. williams » 13 . Good stories and movies reveal the truth hidden in the hearts of our audience. and that all important lawyering and financing.) In What Women Want. and arrogance. Die Hard is about a vacationing New Y cop who battles a ork team of terrorist-thieves in an L. and science. and truck drives? Y get the point.Through stories that expose us. office building on Christmas Eve. and moral “identification” techniques that put the audience inside a character’s body. Movies can. Filmmakers are able to condense into two hours what one person could never absorb in a lifetime. physical actions and ultimate consequences. history.A. of the moral premise. But the best filmmakers are also students of fine art. What disciplines? Well. trials. plumbers. emotional. In a movie we are treated to a glimpse of infinite knowledge presented as a unified whole in a manner we could never conceive on our own. Good stories and movies allow us to know what is in a person’s heart. the movie will resonate viscerally with audiences. mind and spirit. And is there room in the film business for carpenters. Films allow us to explore the heart. hears the brutally honest thoughts on the hearts of the women in his life. tutors. But what the movie is really about is how true love of a man for his wife dies hard. he learns humility. or truth. I said there were 20 some identification techniques. In this way. Research indicates that the greater the validity. regardless of the obstacles. This allows the audience to experience the physical and moral dilemmas that lead to psychological responses. In a novel the author often writes with an omniscient voice telling us what is motivating a character to do good or evil. To the extent that the filmmaker portrays this cause and effect truthfully. 3. In short. painters. theology. art direction. language. Filmmakers learn more than 20 different visual. I forgot bedtime storytellers. movies give us a preview of our destiny to know as Providence knows 5. acting. Movies do this especially well through the darkened theater and fully occupying our primary senses. 6. Good stories and movies give us a sense of Provi- dence’s infinite knowledge. along with womanizer Nick Marhsall (Mel Gibson). That’s a simple way to state Die Hard’s moral premise. If any of these ou other disciplines are important to society. Filmmaking involves every physical and mental discipline known in the history of humanity. Films allow us to explore the mind. psychologically. this is replaced with images of characters in private moments or voice-overs of their thoughts. The Green Mile enlightened us to the horror of death row. and terrors. sociology. directing. That is because what is truly right and wrong is written on our hearts. (Remember. the audience. Oh. therefore. and when our hearts resonate with the truth on the big screen. then filmmaking is the sum of the important of all the others. the greater the movie’s popularity. and simulate physically dangerous situations without every truly endangering us. reveal the good and evil at the core of a person’s heart and we see them as nature does. In a movie. word-of-mouth promotion draws large audiences. and Amadeus revealed the politics of culture in 18th century Vienna. While it is true that movies rarely get all the facts right. 4. we may think of the principal moviemaking disciplines like writing. they still tell us more than we could know otherwise. Films allow us to explore the universe. stanley d. Filmmaking Expands.

It is the ultimate high. graphic artists. and the malice aforethought. In eternity God perceives time in multiple dimensions. filmmakers must become near-experts about the subjects they tell stories about. coaches and jugglers — and merge those diverse disciplines into a work of art that will last beyond their lifetime. But to us. photographers. we can at once witness events in different places. so eternity perceives the past. Storytelling allows the filmmaker to leave their mark on the world. To people in the courtroom the scene was described with words in the past tense. everywhere. Movies access the times and events of eternity with flashbacks and flash-forwards. williams . then. we can clearly understand a person’s heart. And so.7. As we can see length. Skillfully we are treated to the convergence of the mystical Joan. Films allow us to explore time. in the theater. the scheming king. We see everything. Teachers always learn more than their students. 9. In Joan of Arc (Duguay. 8. We can sense what it is like to have all knowledge. 14 « stanley d. 1999) the filmmakers cut between five different storylines hundreds of miles apart. Just as contemplative mystics seek dark corners in which to encounter Providence’s presence. the scenes were shockingly real and very much part of the present. and landhungry dukes. Thus. lawyers. We feel privileged — even superior — as we witness the desperate struggling. a vengeful bishop. so moviegoers seek dark theaters in which to encounter eternity’s attributes and sample their divine destiny. but must nearly master everything. Filmmakers must learn to not know a little about everything. flashbacks are used with staggering clarity to reveal the atrocities that were inflicted upon the slaves months earlier. as it happens. just like God does. composers. are entertainment on a cosmic scale. and must learn what it means to live a fulfilled and purposeful life. The best moviemakers learn to be storytellers. For all the reasons above. We are like supernatural voyeurs watching displaced storylines being woven together into a tapestry of intrigue and destiny. the naive decisions. height and depth. stories and movies. In Amistad. present and future. just as we see pieces on a game board. Films Entertain. and we can experience the past and the future as if it was now. Films allow us to explore eternity. movies give us a sense of eternity’s reality. 10. our souls can resonate with moral truth. That is why movies are so popular and filmmaking is a labor of love. psychologists. during the courtroom scenes. her peasant parents.

And if you kathie fong yoneda » 15 . Improved Software Kathie Fong Yoneda has worked in film and television for more than 30 years. Paramount Pictures Television. The Script-Selling Game: A Hollywood Insider’s Look At Getting Your Script Sold and Produced — 2nd Edition available at www.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS KATHIE FONG YONEDA author. plays games. Fortunately. was a nightmare for would-be screenwriters. parentheticals. an index card feature for keeping track of changes and now you can do spell check in a language other than English. there is plenty of content to keep you entertained as well. computers. which guarantees that along with a perfect-sized gadget to keep you in touch. it looks like 2012 is the beginning of some great opportunities — take a look at the following ten reasons why it’s better than ever to be a player in “The Script-Selling Game. Another “plus” for writers is the advancement in screenwriting format software. there’s a larger marketplace as the entertainment-hungry public watches films. etc. specializing in development and story analysis of both live-action and animation projects. and Island Pictures. The thought of hand setting margins and “tabbing” over for dialogue. writing content applications or creating “mobisodes” is a creative option to consider.amazon. making scriptwriting so much easier! Improved Resources One of the challenges of good storytelling is doing research. But today’s software is light years ahead of when it was first introduced! Now you have templates for feature films and television genres.” entertainment “apps” for cell phones. the ability to easily move scenes around. Touchstone. Kathie is an internationally known seminar leader on screenwriting and development.com Some civilizations predicted 2012 as the end of the world. She has held executive positions at Disney.” Technological Advances Technology has advanced in the past decade and with these strides.com and www.mwp. as well as more classes in scriptwriting/filmmaking in most mid-sized colleges. Disney TV Animation. And while most consumers use their electronics to “communicate. Writers can thank their lucky stars for Google. if you have a creative and technical skill set. So. and tablets are a huge business. and enjoys web content on screens as large as six feet across to as compact as their cell phones.

law. Gotham Writers Workshop. and Crowdrise. With improvements in computerized animation programs. low-budget indie flicks. Ross Brown’s book Byte-Sized Television will give you the “skinny” in this expanding arena. Gus Van Sant. Web series are one of the fastest-growing ways to gain recognition as a screenwriter. articles. judicious editing and creative writing. Animation Since animated films finally got their own Oscar category. including MWP Online Film School. and columns by experts in almost any area — medicine. Scorsese. Oscar-Worthy Television In the last few years. animation can definitely be much more than just Saturday morning cartoons! Take a look at Ellen Besen’s book. And for those writers pursuing documentaries. there has been an upturn in high-caliber projects on the smaller screen. Y es.” writers can also locate consultants.are a writer holding down a job. Animation Unleashed. and Writers University. I recommend reading Troy DeVolld’s book Reality TV. but also Oscar-worthy! This could mean a larger submission pool! Reality Shows The fastest-growing segment of television is Reality Shows. I said “writing.” While most shows don’t put scripted dialogue into the mouths of contestants (or “housewives”!). or short films. IndieGoGo. quality online classes and webinars are available.” Reality shows are a rare blend of live filming. Oliver Stone. etc. — to help you with your research. Neil Jordan and Steven Speilberg are crossing over from the big screen to produce. Internet Content Screenwriters may also want to look into Internet content. obliterating the former “stigma” between film and TV Premiere filmmakers like Martin . but for those who have that vision. criminal procedure. stylistic approach to storytelling. the cost of this entertainment format is more affordable. Kate Winslet. 16 « kathie fong yoneda . you can use the Internet for fundraising with sites like Kickstarter. ratings prove this is no “passing fancy. Writing for animation requires a much more visual. animation has been a hot area for screenwriters. Blogging on various subjects with a unique point of view can serve as a launch pad for film writing careers — the most famous example being Julie & Julia. With a quick “search. And while some shows appeal to the baser aspects of human interest. direct and occasionally star in some projects that are not only Emmy-winning. there are hosts who need to ask questions or voiceovers that need to be written to bridge the ongoing action and provide the necessary structure and continuity for the unfolding story. Glenn Close. Even best-selling author Stephen King wrote a web series and over a dozen web series have been turned into TV series which have led to web writers now working on staff or developing properties for both the Web and television.

In turn. in turn. have become valued friends and colleagues to one another. Nintendo and PlayStation. many films are developing games in tandem using the same characters and same worlds. give advice. With the rise in technology and the synergistic approach to developing projects across different formats (aka Trans-media). Until recently. While writers in rural areas were restricted by distance. I now have a worldwide network. my writers also have a global community — they share their writing. With our shrinking world. but having others who help one another to move upward and forward makes it a trip worth taking! Global Network Not long ago. Through my international seminars and my global reach through online classes. Social Media Before there was “social media. Now there are thousands of them. Through the likes of Facebook and Twitter. etc. With more direct contact (via email and Skype) we gain a closer understanding of the human condition and the universal bonds that hold us together. there were very few online classes. more games are becoming the foundation for animation or film projects and. kathie fong yoneda » 17 . With the advancement of communication technology. the writer now has an opportunity for a larger outlook as well as a more intimate perspective on projects for the global marketplace. And as a result. social media has broken down that barrier. Having taught workshops worldwide. and in most cases. In addition to games for Wii. the world has gotten smaller. you’ll find that members are open to sharing work and giving constructive criticism and encouragement… and let’s face it. writing can be a lonely journey.Game Development Another expanding arena for screenwriters/creators is game development. our entertainment audience has expanded. I am constantly amazed at how much people around the world have in common.” there were not many writers groups. the arena of online and mobile gaming has shown tremendous expansion. Some writing groups are specific — only screenwriting or only romantic fiction. screenwriting meant writing more for a North American market. help one another with research. there’s an increase in writing groups. But once you find (or start) a group that focuses on screenwriting.

Y set a time limit and a dollar goal ou that you bet you can create. Y don’t have to rent expensive 35mm camou eras. She is the entrepreneurial producer of over 100 programs. It’s up to you to push on the energies available to get the requested amount of energy (money) to return to you. If you push on anything.com and www. My top 10 reasons on why it’s ou great to be a filmmaker now is because we are currently living in the time of the third greatest revolution in the history of mankind. there are a few tricks that you should know to be successful. Those who use this concept — “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” — are successful. which is another form of energy. 18 « carole lee dean . LA. Carole created an industry with film short ends and was the world’s largest tape recycling supplier in NYC.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS CAROLE LEE DEAN author. you don’t fall through it. This is your source of energy Carole Lee Dean runs one of the largest independent film grants in the U.com Y were born under a lucky star. pay developing costs and pray your cameraman filmed the bridge when it blew up. you should create a better list before you launch. creating brilliantly written newsletters. People who crowdfund by sending out scores of emails to friends. That energy comes back to them in money. Y can buy a digital camera and editing equipment for under ou $10. IndieGoGo gives you a platform to raise money. it pushes back on you. tweeting and posting on Facebook sites with similar concepts are sending out energy.amazon. Here’s how it works.S. The Art of Film Funding: Alternative Financing Concepts — 2nd Edition available at www. It’s also a basic law of successful crowdfunding. Plus you are now able to raise money online from people you don’t even know and may never meet! 2nd edition available July 2012 Crowdfunding is excellent for startup financing. the digital revolution. shoot on film. This is the third of Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of physics.000 and shoot a feature for under $50. However.. The wall pushes back on you as hard as you push on it. Y list of names in your database is your ace in the hole. That’s why if you lean against the wall. Let’s start with Sir Isaac Newton’s basic law: Every Action has an Equal and Opposite Reaction.mwp.000. and you and the wall stay in place. and Chicago. our How good is it? If it’s 300 names of friends and family. where she reads hundreds of applications a year. those who don’t are not. you still do the work.

” How you present yourself and your film is paramount to the donation. not to films.to attract your money. I always say “touch my heart and I open my pocketbook. The Art of Film Funding.” That is my 3rd law. give me heart-touching our stories on the need for the film. The biggest mistake is to think that people watch the entire trailer. why you are making the film and touch our hearts. In your online trailer. and in-depth studies of your characters. Be heartfelt in your “ask. In my book. People make ou decisions quickly based on your beginning information. each contact draws your list closer to the film. Advertising always pays off through repetition. carole lee dean » 19 . Y must put your “ask” at the beginning of the trailer. Y can be fiscally sponsored and ou give your donors a write off. Y newsletters need to tell me about the film. The statistics say that by the 7th newsletter you collect your peak dollar amount. they like to have this extra benefit. you need to tell us who you are.” People communicate from their heart chakra. I state that “people give money to people. I tell my fiscally sponsored filmmakers to create 3 to 5 before they launch so they can use their campaign time chatting on social media to drive people to the IndieGoGo platform to donate. Online statistics confirm our fears that 90% don’t see the end.

mwp. then they don’t have the necessary drive for it anyway. I was about to shoot a scene. and the only place for me on the set was in a tight space. after all. enraging. and then my wife put my personal drama into perspective by saying: “Well. Likewise. the only thing that really matters is if you yourself own the fire in the belly. Susan Saradon.W. you’re not deciding between chemo or radiation. and coached hundreds of actors and led seminars on acting with Sean Penn. directed. But. Because. At one point.com Should you be a filmmaker? Matt Damon said when someone asks him if they should go into acting he says “no” in the belief that if his discouragement is enough to stop them.TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE A LIFE IN FILM D. brown . after all. whether or not anybody encourages or discourages you from making a life in filmmaking. what are you risking? That you might get disappointed? That you could get embarrassed? It’s like the guy who said he’d want to be the kind of doctor that does autopsies because.amazon. crouched atop a file cabinet. when someone told Jeff Goldblum they were going to miss their acting class because of a social event. already jammed six ways to Sunday on the movie. 20 « d. I had a painful decision to make about whether to sacrifice one thing or another. Benicio Del Toro. Maybe even making art. Brown has trained. under tremendous pressure. born of teamwork and a sense you’re contributing something to your time.w.W. I’ll tell you one thing… having been put through hell in the making of my film On The Inside. and Sydney Pollack. and there in my contorted position I had the distinct thought: THERE IS NO PLACE I WOULD RATHER BE. tough times in filmmaking are just uptown problems. It can certainly seem at times like an ugly folly: a maddening. ou fulfilling experiences. “plastic tunnel” filled with cowards and predators. You Can Act! available at www. And. Anthony Hopkins.com and www. and both options seemed unbearable to live with. in the vast majority of cases. Dustin Hoffman.” Y can have the most amazing. BROWN author. he responded by saying: “This is fantastic! Y could ou have wasted years dabbling at this thing. what’s the worst that can happen? D.” So. but now you know you don’t have the commitment it takes for a career in show business.

John Patrick Shanley said: “Y might as well do what you love and pay the price.” Y will ou ou be betrayed. Y will be compromised. The first happens in every business and the second ou in every marriage. Usually, both in both. It will be a struggle with many tortured roads that lead to dead ends that leave you with nothing for your troubles except the experience. Y ou’ll be lied to, stonewalled, condescended to, and crapped on. But, for those times when a little bit of a vision you had comes through on screen, or when something you never conceived of appears out of the ether because you created the opportunity for it, you might then be willing to sacrifice a lot… suffer a lot. Y might be willing to call yourself a filmmaker no ou matter what anybody says.

d.w. brown » 21

JOSHUA FRIEDMAN author, Getting It Done available at www.amazon.com and www.mwp.com
In times of economic hardship, the world turns to one group of people to escape the trials of the real world… Filmmakers. Toiling day in and day out to transport the public away from their issues and into a world of their own creation. Here are 10 Reasons why it’s a great time to be a filmmaker: 1. Back in the day, camera equipment was expensive, bulky, and available only to those who could afford it. Nowadays with the addition of digital technology, anyone can create a film. Cameras are everywhere, in phones, in computers, even in pens! Lately small handi-cams that are on the market offer great alternatives to Large Panavision cameras. 2. Due to the world’s hunger for creative entertainment, there are more than 27 productions currently shooting in New Y alone. ork That’s plenty of work to go around. 3. As a filmmaker you have access to some of the coolest places in the world. I’ve sat in the UN meeting room, napped in a Riker’s jail cell, driven a subway train, and even dropped a penny from the torch of the Statue of Liberty… How awesome is that? 4. Certain locations come with certain perks; if you shoot in a shop, usually they will offer a discount to the crew. Be it a rare bookstore, a high-end shoe store, or a hot club, you get VIP access when you’re with the crew. It’s a way of giving back. 5. At this point in film history, a lot of change is about to happen. With the digital age and new forms of media being created everyday, filmmakers have opportunities to interact with their audiences in more creative ways than ever. 6. Free food! As a filmmaker you are on set roughly 60-80 hours per week. It’s nice that someone is always there with a table full of food to satisfy your belly! 7. With the new Forms of Media such as social network sites, flash players, and Y ouTube, someone in Uganda can watch something created by an amateur filmmaker in Alaska with the click of a button. 22 « joshua friedman

Joshua Friedman is a working production assistant in New York City. Over the past three years Mr. Friedman has worked on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Fringe, Gossip Girl, Royal Pains, Kings, and 30 Rock, as well as many feature films including Hancock, The Taking of Pelham 123, Salt, The Adjustment Bureau, and The Beaver.

8. Y have no time to spend the money you make! Being a filmmaker means that you will ou spend a bulk of your time on set or thinking about being on set. If this is the case, you will be too busy to spend the money you earn on the job! Who said films don’t save money? 9. When times are tough, it’s always nice to have a family to support you. Working on a set is like seeing your family every day. Y eat, sleep, and breathe with these people for the ou period of your given project. They are one of the greatest perks to the job. 10. It’s fun. Where else on earth can you go to work to legally blow something up or chase someone down the street? When is it OK to watch a fight without breaking it up? How often do you get to see people doing childish things in a comedy first hand? The experiences are always new, interesting, and incredibly fun.

joshua friedman » 23

which lucky soul they were going to give that all important break to. Y don’t need to wait to ou start making a movie and you don’t need to wait to be discovered in order to get your work seen by millions of people. Y could also use a camera that costs under $100 to make ou aY ouTube video that’s seen by millions of viewers.com and www.amazon. Moviemaking was for a rarified few. for people who “knew people. and the original La Femme Nikita series. crews. Y can find a prosumer camera starting ou at $1. Designing Women. Those two barriers were access to production and access to distribution. Regular folks with a creative vision couldn’t get their hands on the millions of dollars it took to produce a movie. lighting and sound equipment and stages were prohibitively expensive. waiting for that once in a life time opportunity of having an agent or studio boss find them and give them a chance to demonstrate their cinematic brilliance. KIRSCHNER author. who they were going to loosen them for. Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures.com Reasons one through ten are really only one reason and it’s a simple one: Today. From the early days of moviemaking there have been two main barriers keeping unknowns on the outside of the business looking in. actors.mwp. often arbitrarily. Reboot. [*Prosumer is a word often used about cameras (or other gear) that is targeted for sale to people on the borderline between being consumers and professionals.] available March 2012 As a successful senior-level Hollywood executive Carole M. kirschner . way beyond the reach of typical aspiring filmmakers. cameras. 24 « carole m.” These power players held the purse strings and decided. because of rapidly evolving technology you can give yourself your own big “show business break. Today for the price of a prosumer* camera. In terms of production. regardless of how worthy their creative vision was. Add your talented friends as actors and crew and you have the potential for a video that goes viral or a movie that takes the top prize at independent film festivals. microphone and lights you can produce a quality film.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS CAROLE M.000. Kirschner was involved in developing Murphy Brown.” If you’re a filmmaker today you don’t need to wait for anything. and now develops and runs innovative entertainment industry training programs. Hollywood Game Plan available at www.

Well maybe your family saw it if they had a private screening room… yeah right.Distribution is the other old school barrier that’s been destroyed. Without a studio or major distributor you might as well not have made a film. What are you waiting for? carole m. It used to be if your film wasn’t distributed by a studio and shown in a movie theater no one saw it. you can put your video online and if the buzz is strong enough your audience could be in the millions. If your movie grabs top honors at a prestigious film festival. And you didn’t even have to “take a meeting” to produce your film. if your talent is huge you can give yourself your own big Hollywood break. But today. kirschner » 25 . studios and distributors will come knocking. Even if you don’t know one person in Hollywood and your finances are laughably small. even if you never talk to an agent or studio executive.

I didn’t listen to my folks. I had the grades and the educational background. the odds are against success. and the competition is cutthroat. and film scholars at UCLA’s celebrated film school.000.000. For about ten minutes.amazon. or create any kind of meaningful art. filmmaking is much more rigorous and competitive than law or medicine. My parents wanted me to choose a profession — any profession — and they would have been happy. but oh.WHY TRY TO BE A FILMMAKER? TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE HOWARD SUBER author. and continue doing so for the rest of your life. Ditto for med school. The operative word here is “possible. I considered law.com Dear Howard. It’s possible to buy a $1 lottery ticket the next time you get gas and win $40. We poor day laborers in the film field are never set. 26 « howard suber . you get to practice law. medicine. If you pass the bar. no.” It’s an appropriate attitude for anyone who wants to change the world. and win $5. Dear Benjamin. I’m beginning to wonder why anyone tries. directors. discover something new. The Power of Film and Letters To Young Filmmakers available at www. Y ou’re right. It’s possible to go to Las Vegas. Mr. and no fear of failure. and his former students are today creating films and television programs and teaching film studies throughout the world. before I opted for insanity. available Feb.000 dollars. As it turns out. 2012 For 46 years. and other competitive professions. you can be sure your good fortune will be instantly reported and the entire country will become aware of it. put a dollar in a slot machine. producers. One of my favorite quotes comes from Mahatma Gandhi: “I proceed with no expectation of success.” If any of these miracles occurs.com and www. Success is so rare in our field. It’s possible to write your first screenplay in three weeks and sell it to a studio for a million bucks and live on the profit participation payments for the rest of your life. Genius here decided to write and direct films instead. you’re set for life.000.mwp. Howard Suber has taught generations of screenwriters.

I consider it one of the most admirable traits of our species. What keeps many creative people going is not just the positive feedback they receive from others but the negative feedback from within their own heads that tells them what they’ve done isn’t enough. howard suber » 27 . or did drudge work way below their capabilities while they wrote screenplays. I am also talking about that equally important idea of success in your own eyes. engage in scientific research. that they are capable of doing better. or participate in any other high-risk activity. held boring jobs. I’m not just talking about success in the eyes of the world. directed short films. and the greater the competition. that they haven’t yet fulfilled their potential. Some people consider the pursuit of nearly impossible goals to be irresponsible. But it is the same with people who train to become professional athletes. or took endless development meetings with agents. managers. producers. or the people who spent every spare dollar they had on their state lottery and got maybe $40 back during twenty years of playing. If you want something that pays great rewards. junior executives and maybe had a number of “sure things” that never actually made it onto the big screen. The odds are always against the artist. the more the odds are against any individual. Some people engaged in high-risk pursuits do manage to succeed. you can be sure that many other people want it as well. Nor will you read about the countless number of people who waited on tables.What you will not find reported as news are stories about all the people who put their mortgage money on Vegas gambling tables and lost it all. start up their own business.

mwp. E = Energized Pamela Douglas is an award-winning screenwriter with numerous credits in television drama. Writing the TV Drama Series — 3rd Edition available at www. fears. She was honored with the Humanitas Prize and won nominations for Writers Guild Awards and Emmys. Of course they’re still around. Y ou’ll also have the satisfaction of seeing your work on screen mere weeks after writing “The End. Twice her shows also won awards from American Women in Radio and Television. people want to kick back and watch effective stories told with casts they care about. and a hunger for fresh material. E = Entertaining The audience for television shows keeps growing despite doomsayers who thought new media would wipe it out. you’ll be able to deal with what’s happening in the world and on your mind right now. Greek plays that lasted for several days are what we’d call mini-series. web and other off-broadcast 28 « pamela douglas . TV series offer the largest story-telling arena in history. as are some mind-numbing series and reality shows that are “cheap” in every sense of the word.amazon. Successful shows may have 100 hours of characterization and plot development and some shows have gone on for more than a decade. Compared to TV ancient . If you’re on top of your writing craft and can deliver a script quickly. 3. gone are the days when TV was limited to 3 networks with their predictable and imitative shows. Despite the dross that also fills the airwaves. Current subjects — our hopes. Excitement and a sense of exploration infuses much of TV Long . L = Long Never mind the half hour or hour length of episodes. Internet. V = Vigorous The amount of writing and production needed each television season is difficult to grasp if you include all the venues — basic cable. At the end of a hard day or in hard times. That’s because people want to be entertained in their homes by fare they can relate to.” 2.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO WRITE FOR TELEVISION TOP TEN REASONS PAMELA DOUGLAS author. mobile. 4.com and www. But anyone entering TV today can find new outlets on cable and new media. premium cable. T = Timely TV is fast. a sense of growth abounds. and pressing issues — reach your viewers with immediacy.com Opportunity is spelled TELEVISION because today’s TV series are: 1. 5.

graphic novels. Currently. N = Now For groundbreaking. And that’s just one show. No kidding. or who have the funds to make their own movies. medical. Americans viewed the show across all platforms including on-air. Beyond the advantage of staying in touch with viewers and promoting their series. the largest reach. the general trend is towards extending and bending old franchises. So if you as a writer really want to reach people. Latin America. 9. fan-sites. AMC and elsewhere. and only on basic cable. S = Salable The market for theatrical feature scripts has shrunk and many former financial sources have backed away from independent films. TV (with its Internet apps) is the way. For everyone else. People who work in television have to work hard to keep up. a career writing TV series may not seem appealing. and mobile. That doesn’t even count subsequent DVDs or web streaming. both will continue to grow. 8. Then if you have contemporary stories to tell. creative re-interpretation is challenging prototypes on HBO. narrative style and characterization. These may include webisodes. legal and family dramas are new again in attitude. the time to go for it is now. the expanding online presence creates potential jobs: someone has to write all that. the debut of AMC’s series The Walking Dead was seen simultaneously in 120 countries in Europe. For those who approach filmmaking as a personal art form. 10. As the line between TV and computer screens continues to dissolve. Law & Order is being made in many languages throughout Europe. Around the globe. I = Innovative Any genre that has ever existed in any time or place can be found among a thousand TV channels. online. the most-watched show is House. this is the time to write for TV More opportunities exist than ever before because of the multiple outlets and the need . Though the re-hashed action-hero tropes that are familiar in big movies do still appear in places like the Syfy channel and on some network shows. polish your craft. TV is the place to work. and that’s a sign of the potency of the medium. 6. Franchises like western. pamela douglas » 29 . 7. Asia and the Middle East. First.shows. Showtime. as well as local and international projects. blogs. And behind what is visible on screens are armies supporting each venture including multiple staff writers and writers who are creating pilots for new series. and both TV and Internet delivery systems cross-pollinate. China is re-making Little House on the Prairie into Little Yurt on the Prairie. mobisodes. a social networking presence and anything else you can imagine. Meanwhile. carried in 35 languages. O = Omnipresent In 2010. and the bravest content in shows like The Wire. I = Internet-savvy All current shows have applications online. on demand. interactive games. insightful literature. the most innovative stories and characters. Beyond the plethora of choices. But excellent TV pilots that are professionally crafted are launching writing careers and occasionally being bought for new series. for product.

” With this incredible economic change in the cost of making quality film. other than your creative energy and your ability to sell your vision.com and www. Pen and Trilogy have produced 14 feature films. Pen Densham is an accomplished writerdirector-producer. I believe each of us is a unique instrument and the best goal in life is to find the tune that you’re destined to play. and people who read my book. while the corporate machines get lost in their gigantism. While the studio system is building bigger and better dinosaurs.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS PEN DENSHAM author. the truly creative ones are the mammals of the future — those smaller creatures that will grow to find new ways of entertaining human beings. Pen created the story for the revisionist Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and co-wrote and produced the screenplay with his Trilogy partner John Watson. you can probably capture it with the new technologies. If you can imagine it. as well as writing and directing Houdini for TNT. We are now seeing movies going into the theaters that have cost literally just thousands of dollars to make — and grossing tens of millions. He wrote and directed Moll Flanders for MGM. enabling you to experiment and discover the most emotionally powerful way to apply your talent.com I once had the privilege of seeing Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life) speak. that makes you happy.amazon. What struck me was his giant enthusiasm for our “young medium” (as he put it). I have always loved embracing technology and am truly excited and amazed to see the cost of making theatrical-quality imagery reduced to almost nothing. Nothing holds you back now. He said we were yet to see our Michelangelos and Leonardos grow from this art form. thanks to this change. thanks to being able to shoot on semi-pro stills cameras and being able to edit at home on professional quality systems like Final Cut Pro. know this. 30 « pen densham . Riding The Alligator. Riding the Alligator available at www.mwp. I firmly believe we are going to see those Leonardos and Michelangelos Capra spoke about. I have never been one to be bound by rules. and that we call a “voice. it is now possible to explore your filmic creativity.

My mantra is: write from the heart.Moviemaking is fast coming to a place where individuals and small groups can use the Internet to sell their vision. Joseph Campbell once said that we need new mythologies to interpret our spiritual understanding of ourselves. If what you create appeals to you. as your creativity grows. there’s a chance that you will be able to find a market of a like-minded audience somewhere out there. and revolutionary sales systems are coming that will enable individuals to sell to a world market at almost no cost. Y will also enjoy the passion that will help you overcome the obstacles to be able ou to share with others the discoveries you have made. fight to go beyond the rules that others lay. This digital age is beyond what Gutenberg’s invention of The Book did for the freedom of ideas. pen densham » 31 . by the power of thousands. and you will grow. as a human being. create what scares you. There has truly never been a time like this in humankind’s history. I believe things like Y ouTube and Kickstarter are only the primordial soup.


MICHAEL HALPERIN author, Writing the Second Act and Writing the Killer Treatment available at www.amazon.com and www.mwp.com
Starvation increases endorphins, fires adrenalin through the blood stream, and ups the creative ante. If you believe that then thrust yourself into the entertainment business/art/insane asylum. Since the birth of the motion picture industry in the latter part of the 19th century, dreamers have yearned for that moment when their names flickered briefly on the screen — screenplay by, written by. Fantasies of accolades followed only to be drowned out by reality that asks, “So what have you done lately?” Lawyers lose cases and continue working. Doctors fail to cure patients and continue to have successful practices. Writers fail and they’re out of work. The entertainment industry is obsessed by the outward nature of personalities. If someone announces that they are the greatest writer or the greatest director, agents and producers who have doubts of their own may believe, and thus other films, television programs, novels, drop off the end of the cliff into a black abyss of forgotten stories. But the magic exerts magnetic power. Evoking passion, laughs, screams of horror, or a unique emotional vision represents an ageless need to explain human nature and the world. “There is in writing the constant joy of sudden discovery, of happy accident.” — H. L. Mencken

Michael Halperin worked as an executive story consultant for 20th Century-Fox television and on staff with Universal Television. He has written and/or produced numerous television episodes.

32 « michael halperin

JUDITH WESTON author, Directing Actors and The Film Director’s Intuition available at www.amazon.com and www.mwp.com
1. The number one reason is the same now as it has always been and always will be — that you must. That you have a story to tell and you must tell it. 2. Because you are a curious person — or a person who understands pain — or a person with an infectious sense of humor. 3. Because you care enough to spend a ridiculous amount of time on the preparation of every detail, and you have the energy to commit your whole heart to every project. 4. Y have a great script. (Here I must take a little tangent with my ou concern about people who decide to write a script because they want to have something to direct. The reason to write a script is because you have a story to tell, not because you need a script to direct.) 5. Because you love the technology of filmmaking. And because you love actors. If you don’t love the technical side of filmmaking, then do theater (theater is great too). If you don’t love actors, then I think you should go into some other line of work altogether. 6. Because filmmaking and every kind of storytelling are great ways to learn about the world and other people, and about yourself. 7. Because there is so much going on in the world. We need stories — to uplift, reflect, shine a light — to see, hear, and feel alternative points of view. Movies can connect people, and help us understand someone else’s pain or struggle. 8. Audiences need drama on the screen, because ordinary day-today life can be draining and tiring. And they need comedy, because people need to laugh. 9. The current technology gives you more responsibility for your own work. Filmmaking is cheaper and easier than it ever has been. Distribution platforms are more available to everyone. Y don’t have to ou waste your time complaining that no one gave you an opportunity — you can make opportunity yourself. 10. Because you can’t do anything else. If you can think of anything else to do with your life — do that. But if, at the end of the day, there is nothing else you can stand to do except make movies, then make them. judith weston » 33

Judith Weston has taught her Acting for Directors workshop for over fifteen years throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Her best-selling book, Directing Actors, which is on the required reading lists of major film schools, is used extensively by working directors around the world..

ELLEN BESEN author, Animation Unleashed available at www.amazon.com and www.mwp.com
Reason 25:

Y ou’re never bored! There’s always another story to tell or idea to explore. And each one will give you new challenges to solve — like snowflakes, no two stories are exactly alike.
Reason 24:

It’s more fun than not being a filmmaker.
Reason 23:
Ellen Besen is a former faculty member of Sheridan College’s School of Animation and has been working in the field for over 35 years. Her career includes directing award-winning films for the National Film Board of Canada, broadcast work on the topic of animation for CBC Radio, and film curating.

The new technology makes filmmaking accessible and affordable to all, whether you want to pursue it professionally or as a hobby.
Reason 22:

The film festival system is a remarkably democratic gateway into the world of professional filmmaking. If you can get a film made (see Reason 23), you can get it out there with no need to convince a middle-man (or middle-woman) that it’s worth submitting. This doesn’t guarantee that your film will be accepted, but you have as good a shot at it as anyone.
Reason 21:

Having a life is way overrated.
Reason 20:

With a little imagination, there are no limits on what is possible to do in film, especially if you take the time to learn animation and hybrid filmmaking techniques. Film’s ability to bring even the wildest ideas to fruition has never been stronger.
Reason 19:

Even if what you really aspire to is scriptwriting, learning to actually make a film is a good idea. Gaining hands-on understanding of how film is made will only make you a better writer for this medium. And you won’t have to wait around for someone else to pick up your script to see your work on the screen.
Reason 18:

Y can work with a group and have the immense pleasure of a ou collaborative creative experience. 34 « ellen besen

music. Y ou’ll need to master some skills to make the best of it.Reason 17: Filmmaking gives you the opportunity to use a wide range of skills. Reason 9: Like alchemy. visible. film has the capacity to make the internal. Pretty good parties ou too. film takes your various talents —acting. a documentarian (animated documentary is an exciting. Reason 16: Y get to be part of a passionate community of like-minded colleagues. a producer of commercial shorts or……. but with a little effort. like good magic. Y can use very little action and lots of dialogue to tell your story or lots of action ou and almost no words at all. concrete — pretty cool. photography. ou Reason 14: The Internet is an even more democratic gateway than the festivals for getting your work seen. Just as a prism takes all the color strands of light and focuses them into one fully integrated white light. Reason 11: Film is versatile — you can make a film entirely of close ups or entirely of extreme wide shots. eh? Reason 8: Did I… Reason 7: Mention that… Reason 6: Having… Reason 5: A… ellen besen » 35 . Reason 10: Or anything in between.. directing. relatively new field). painting. a feature filmmaker. Y can tell an intimate story or give us the broad sweep of a ou war of the worlds. the abstract. opportunity and your potential audience await! Reason 13: Film is versatile — you can be an abstract or experimental filmmaker. whatever — and pulls them together into one coherent whole. the invisible. Reason 15: Y can work solo and put your personal stamp on every frame.? Reason 12: Film is versatile — you can make a film which is 16 hours long or 10 seconds long or anything in between. dance. external.

otherwise it can be tough. 36 « ellen besen . you really are never bored — and even though yes you do have to give up some social life to get your work done — there is huge satisfaction in feeling like you are using everything you’ve got to make it happen. And then when you travel you can visit all your co-workers. like making a film — even a long one — single handed — talk about personal vision… On the other hand. Computers do all the boring stuff now (we wish). Y can work with people from anywhere in the world from the comfort of your home. this can be the most fun you’ll ever have.Reason 4: Life… Reason 3: Is… Reason 2: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay… Reason 1: Overrated? (and that you never get bored…) It’s great having no life. but on the other hand. you always have something to do. The new technology has made a lot of things possible that were hard or impossible before. ou People really do this and it’s great fun. If you get the bug. Y have to learn how to check your ego ou at the door though. a lot of film work is collaborative and if you can get a good chemistry going.

A writer good at the craft of writing knows how to structure and focus the story. It’s the artistic voice. “just write and nobody knows anything anyway and there’s really nothing to know.amazon. no one seemed to know much about the art or craft of screenwriting. there were only a few colleges and universities with screenwriting classes. One statistic tells us that writers with support networks such as writers groups have more success. Thirty years ago. and it marks greatness. There are now hundreds of books on the market that serve as resources for many different aspects of screenwriting. when I entered the film industry. how to strengthen and dimensionalize the characters and make sure they have a reason to be in the story. And the Best Screenplay Goes To… and Writing Subtext available at www. From Script to Screen. Syd Field’s Screenplay. The craft side of screenwriting is the methods and techniques writers use to shape and express their art. Y either have talent or ou you don’t!” There was one book published about screenwriting. Craft can be learned.com Screenwriting.000. They aren’t working in a vacuum. like any art form. but many of them came from writers who had learned their craft through novel writing and playwriting. how to use story and character and visuals to thread a theme. is both an art and a craft. a specific perspective that defines them. When I began in the film industry in 1980. Art can be developed. . Now countries throughout the world bring in speakers to speak about the art and craft of screenwriting.mwp. When I began.TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE YOU ARE NOT ALONE LINDA SEGER author. Now there are more than 2. re-inventing and having to figure everything out from scratch every time they start a new story. Artists have a unique point of view. That was it! The screenwriter has far more help and support now.com and www. there were only a few seminars. Here’s a very linda seger » 37 Linda Seger is an internationally known story analyst with clients throughout the world. True. Her best-selling list of books include Making a Good Script Great. an original approach and slant toward their subject matter. and Creating Unforgettable Characters. Many of them are willing to support and nurture and help fellow writers. The general philosophy was. There’s a large community of writers in every city and town. there were great films.

Neil ou Hicks has a book on the Thriller and one on the Action-Adventure. Y ou’re interested in the spiritual dimension of screenwriting? Stan Williams and Derek Rydall both have books on the topic. you can read Linda Aronson’s books. and just plain hard work. 38 « linda seger . or about writing for television from Madeline DiMaggio and Pam Douglas. Of course. But there’s been no better time for emerging or experienced writers to have the resources to support and encourage their work. Screenwriting is a complex art form — neither simple to learn nor simple to maintain as a career. Rona Edwards. Or you can get an introduction to non-traditional structure from my book of Advanced Screenwriting.partial list of some of the resources writers can find — no matter whether they’re beginners or experienced writers: If you need to learn to format a script. Michele Wallerstein. Writing Subtext. so they can become a good. Making a Good Script Great. Michael Hauge. Christopher Vogler. Cynthia Whitcomb. you can buy books that will teach you the ins and outs of setting up the script page. writing the montage. you can also buy Final Draft or other formatting programs that will do it correctly for you. Writers are recognizing the necessity of learning about screenwriting. My book. If you’re struggling with dialogue. Christina Kallas. Basic screenwriting books abound including books by Syd Field. John Truby has audiotapes on writing for a number of different genres. perhaps a great writer. Pilar Alessandra. As writers have learned how to shape relatively simple stories. and Sarah Beach have all written on this topic. I’ve noticed that the quality of even first scripts is significantly higher than it was years ago. there are several books on the topic — Penny Penniston’s book on Talk the Talk and my book. seminars. which is also discussed in my books. Haag and Cole. If you wonder whether there’s an underlying myth to your story that can help strengthen it. These include books by David Trottier. Jennifer Grisanti. As a result of books. Pamela Jaye Smith. writing description and dialogue. Y want to write a Short Film? Claudia Johnson and Devorah Cutler have books on the ou subject. Robert McKee. Y want to explore specific genres? John Vorhaus and Ellen Sandler discuss comedy. Rachel Ballon has written several books on the psychology of characters and the psychology of the writer. and Monika Skerbelis can all help you. The art form of screenwriting is expanding. If you’re a more experienced writer and are delving into non-traditional structures. they are writing stories about more unusual subject matter and with more unusual structures. and Christopher Riley. were both published in the last year. Making a Good Writer Great has a chapter on spirituality. John Truby. Formatting no longer has to be a mystery. as well as works edited by Barbara Nicolosi. Y ou’re ready to market your script? Kathie Fong Y oneda. which come out of their work on award-winning shorts. If you want to create great characters. Dr. Yves Lavandier and my book. with a good and maybe a great script. Dara Marks has written a book on the Transformational Arc. Y can learn about writing for Reality TV from ou Troy DeVolld.

Have you ever made huge money? Like thirty-thousand dollars a week? If you think making all of that money sounds great. Elephant Bucks available at www. writing. mumbling incoherently to himself and looking suicidal. but they do it verbally. a mild-mannered Labrador retriever in cotton Dockers who will pick up your laundry and make dinner and give foot rubs.The Teenage Witch. A pretty girlfriend. Paid To Misbehave When you were in school. the writer is king. writing. if you couldn’t sit still or stop mouthing off to your teachers or to larger kids. abused and misused. . well. you can buy a pet husband. Think about that. Y fly first-class ou every time. producer. badly dressed man with no muscle tone waiting at the valet stand for his Maserati with a beautiful blonde on his arm. ou room and nobody sends you to detention or beats you up. The rest of the time you get to be a smart-ass all day long and studios pay you giant sums of money for it.mwp. Think about it. actors beat you up sometimes. His career has included writing for M*A*S*H. Y own a house with a swimming pool ou and more rooms than you know what to do with. Sheldon Bull has been earning Elephant Bucks as a professional television sitcom writer. and producing the hit CBS sitcom Newhart. Well. Y can buy a ou Lotus. and only want sex when you want it.amazon. not just on upgrades. you haven’t even started thinking yet. If you’re a successful female sitcom writer. and you see a gaunt. writing and producing the hit ABC sitcom Coach. sheldon bull » 39 . which is painful. Y can buy a girlfriend. bald.com and www. then you were born to write comedy for TV Y can mouth off all you want in a sitcom writers’ .com Elephant Bucks I titled my book Elephant Bucks because TV sitcom writers make huge money. Writers Rule Writers are the slumdogs of the movie world. disheveled man walking alone. and director for 30 years. and directing the hit ABC sitcom Sabrina . but not nearly as painful as getting hit in the jaw. Y stay in swanky hotels that ou have spas and doormen. In TV however. They are hated. maligned. and producing. A pretty girlou friend who will have sex with you without you begging. that man is probably a sitcom writer.WHY IT’S GREAT TO BE A SITCOM WRITER TOP TEN REASONS SHELDON BULL author. that person is undoubtedly a movie writer. If you’re in Beverly Hills. If you see a short. developing.

There are few do-overs in life. Delivery of anything in Los Angeles takes at least forty-five minutes. irreverent. Ever spend ten minutes with a lawyer? Then you know what I’m talking about. we mouth off and ruin the good times of the elite and privileged. Maybe the beautiful people who feel entitled to these perks don’t really want us there. They get your car washed. restaurant openings. They get you lunch. which is a nicesounding term that means slave. where the opportunities for mischief are endless. We show up in the wrong clothes. A clean slate every week is a much more humane way to live. A Class That Is All Clowns There are no serious. we eat and drink too much. you’ve always dreamed of having a lackey — someone who did your bidding happily and instantly without you having to do a lot of explaining or even polite asking? Sitcom writers have lackeys. Maybe there isn’t a good Chinese restaurant in your neighborhood. or almost anywhere else in the world outside of China. Y can go to New Y and drink everything. In sitcom. if you care about ou ork ou places like that. But they are not responsible adults. Y can go to Italy. buy a time-share. These lackeys are called Production Assistants. Last week’s terrible episode is forgotten and the week ahead offers the chance of total redemption. Y can go to Vegas.Life As Do-Over James L. sober. But if you’re a sitcom writer. They pick up your dry cleaning. the writer and director. but if you live in Los Angeles. After ou 40 « sheldon bull . and movie screenings. We get house tickets to shows and great seats at ball games. then hot. once said that the great thing about working in TV is that every Monday you get to start over. All they ask in return is that you read their terrible spec script. That’s three months of vacation. Chinese Food If you live in New Y ork City you can have Chinese food delivered to your apartment whenever you want it. and unpredictable. Crashing The “In” Crowd TV sitcom writers get invited to Hollywood parties. A Really Long Vacation The TV production season ends in February and doesn’t start again until June. everything starts over on Monday. witty. Y can go to Hawaii for two months and drink Mai Tais all day every ou day. grown-up people in a sitcom writer’s room. getting good Chinese food delivered can be a hassle. delicious Chinese food is brought to the Writers’ Room nearly every day. Lackeys Admit it. I love that about us. and that makes them more fun to hang out with than any other group of humans you will ever meet. Brooks. or shag the nanny and you’ll likely be paying for your mistake for years. Y might not think that having Chinese ou food available whenever you want it is important. but many of them are working for us so they have to invite us. But it is. Marry the wrong person. A small price to pay for slavery. Sitcom writers can be smart.

see you talking to the star. Y ou’re the hip guy or girl on the floor who is in charge of everything. it’s . you still have two months of vacation left to just watch TV The only down side to these three months off is if you’re dating an actress. What do you do? Y leave her to her auditions and go ou to Arizona for Spring Training. and feel really stupid for how badly they treated you. pilot season. sheldon bull » 41 . For her. Some jerk or pretty girl from your high school may show up in your audience someday. Show Time Doing a show in front of a studio audience is fun.you’ve been to all of those places. and she’ll be nervous.

6. and writers’ groups all across the United States. novel. ou Filmmakers and creative people of all arenas are blessed to be able to live a life filled with meaning. ou Y will be able to share your thoughts and feelings. Here are some more reasons that it is a wonderful and significant time to be a filmmaker now: 1. She is a guest speaker at seminars. film festivals. Y will be able to unleash the creative genie in your soul. It’s a great way to live.com Being a filmmaker is not only a great job. Y will have the time of your life. 42 « michele wallerstein . So many great films have been able to uplift the spirits of their audiences as well as enlighten them. 4. 9. 3. pitch festivals. ou Y will be able to meet and enjoy many creative people.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS MICHELE WALLERSTEIN author. 7. ou Y will be able to influence a tremendous amount of people. ou Y will be able to find out just how capable you are. Mind Your Business: A Hollywood Literary Agent’s Guide To Your Writing Career available at www. 5.com and www. ou Y will be able to continue to grow and learn. They can follow their calling instead of finding a job. She helps writers make their work marketable to the Hollywood community and/ or the publishing world. ou Y will be able to work with many intelligent and quickou witted people. but it is an important career choice.amazon. 10.mwp. and career consultant. Michele Wallerstein was a literary agent for 25 years and currently works as a screenplay. 2. ou Y will be able to share important information. ou Y will be able to entertain people whose lives are difficult. 8.

Lifetime. Showtime. And each time we open a book on filmmaking or walk in the door of a screenwriting class eager to expand our storytelling skills. Who am I? Why do I want to make films? What is it exactly that I burn so deeply to share with an audience? Am I willing to alter my daily life and that of my family in order to support the many challenging years required to pursue this dream? available Jan. eric edson » 43 . ABC Motion Pictures. then they’re back at it. we also know that the most important lessons about this passion will never be found in any book or class. Filmmakers work endless days. it’s always because somewhere deep inside there’s another movie idea about to burst forth.amazon. Stuffing life in as fast as they can. A new tale demanding to be told. The Story Solution: 23 Actions All Great Heroes Must Take available at www. this passion for filmmaking. TNT. NBC.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS ERIC EDSON author. He has also written for episodic television. 2012 Eric Edson has written seventeen feature screenplays on assignment for such companies as Sony. Shooting again. and Saban Entertainment. The most critical truths about screenwriting and moviemaking can only be discovered on a personal journey to the center of the universe. That lonely journey to the center of self. Gaylord Productions. But since all artists are condemned at birth to be honest with themselves. Shooting. grab a couple hours down time. More than a vocation. Filmmakers are driven from within. What a splendid feeling.mwp. ABC. Warner Brothers. A true way of life. Filmmakers are eternally either making movies or thinking about making movies. Cutting. Because only there will we ask the really tough questions. Skouras Pictures.com Let’s just say it ain’t for the faint of heart. 20th Century-Fox. Writing. Geffen Pictures. Rewriting. driven to learn. It’s a two-fisted job. Disney.com and www.

each in our own small way. like all artists. Moviemakers are sage explorers of complex inner worlds. And we shoot footage on the sly. But you earn the right to call yourself a screenwriter. cherish the memory of Franz and Vincent. and an important goal. too. We observe. or cinematographer. Y Franz Kafka and Vincent Van Gogh were two of the greatest et creative minds ever to walk the planet.the very first day that you set out to do the work. many of us take comfort in solitude and tend toward quiet obsessions. what we might help humanity to become.Am I tough enough to stand naked before the world asking to be judged? Filmmakers swim in a sea of questions.A. what moves ou you. Discover what it feels like to lose yourself inside a character while an audience watches your every move. We puzzle over the good and bad in our species — why we are here on Earth at all and. I’ve never known a successful filmmaker who did it just for the money. 44 « eric edson . Y still want to make films? Then write scripts about what matters to you. with our eyes. some in a cynical mood might say so. Did the lack of income from writing make Franz any less a writer? Vincent any less a painter? Always remember that the art and craft of film creation isn’t just about making money. memory. We watch. every one. or director. although you’ll never know until you try. I always recommend to new screenwriters and filmmakers that they do some acting. of course.B. We notice details about people and about everyday life that many others miss. But filmmakers. Selling a film or a script is great. Get an M. Oh. Selling brings its own kind of validation and allows you to continue your journey. then store it away in the filmmaker’s best and most sacred vault. what gets your blood up. completely unrecognized throughout their lives. or producer or all of the above . Both died broke and undiscovered. If you really care about what you’re saying with your work you can’t help but make your audience care. Both labored long and hard. In a workshop or community playhouse go learn what it takes to deliver a line of dialogue in a believable way. Often a bit guarded. Then as you work toward your next project. If it’s really only the money you find attractive there are other ways to make more bucks more quickly. Here’s the most important question to ask. Most of them can never be fully answered. but keep after them and they’ll eventually confess it isn’t true. And we are time travelers. are also those souls most in touch with their own humanity. find out how hard it is to lift words from a page and make them come alive. Doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or not. Experience first hand the ultimate end use of your own dramatic writing. And here’s the kicker. but asking them does keep us sharp.

or moon rocks. eric edson » 45 . Y It’s great to be a filmmaker. or economic theories. es. Not monuments to political power. or Paleolithic cave people. Only through art do they truly live forever. that today imparts their true hearts and souls to us? Not wealth.When an epoch passes. They left behind — to be pondered forever — the wise and insightful work of their artists. what is it that civilizations leave behind revealing to future generations who they really were? What did the Greeks leave. or the Chinese dynasties.

presenting key frames and flipping though storyboards or even showing animatics in pitch meetings have often been a key to selling Action and SciFi projects. I’ll do it’ (within ou reason.mwp. the heads of the production team chosen and then we raced against a production schedule to complete the prep work before the cameras rolled. And of these tasks. I rarely have been engaged in this aspect of production. but in recent years that has begun to change. But lately a particular request has arrived on my desktop that’s a bit different in character. 46 « marcie begleiter . The materials can also bring inspiration and an expanded avenue of communication to pitches for all manner of projects including character driven stories. What comprises a visual pitch? Marcie Begleiter is an author. when a producer or director called.amazon. As a visual artist and designer. prop design. the pre-viz work was usually developed once the financing secured. New Line. and ABC. With production financing a challenge in the best of times. of course). educator. my attitude was ‘Y need it. But don’t write off this approach if your projects are outside these genres. From Word to Image: Storyboarding and the Filmmaking Process — 2nd Edition available at www. She founded Filmboards. Tristar. Visual Pitching’s time has come. many a director and producer are looking to walk into meetings with more than a practiced verbal pitch. But first a bit of background: since the mid 1980s my film activities have covered storyboarding. Bringing in visual research that focuses on characters and settings. graphics and even gassing up cars… basically. most filmmakers will need to engage in some sort of fundraising. set decoration.com and www. and designer specializing in visualization and interdisciplinary design solutions.com Before you have the joy (and occasional heartache) of shooting your project. or indie dramas.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO LAUNCH YOUR FILM TOP TEN REASONS MARCIE BEGLEITER author. a visualization agency whose client list includes Paramount. art direction. romantic comedies.

but not so much that you ou seem to be providing the coverage of entire sequences 5. 3. There can be references to lighting. to other classic films. Remember. Some producers want the opportunity to give creative input and being presented with an over-blown visual presentation can backfire. For Everyone… 10. a visual pitch helps to convey the look and feel of the story and how it will be told in images. Enjoy the journey and I hope some of these ideas will enhance your experience. It can also provide additional opportunities for you to work on films before the films are fully financed. Be prepared with open-ended questions to follow up the imagery. an editorial storyboard functions as a ‘dry run’ for showing mastery of visual storytelling as well as. more specifically. Key frames. Choose appropriate music to accompany the images. Include a short scene with traditional storyboards. Especially with writers who want to direct their own material. Y will want to show enough to entice. And for the illustrators and designers… 7. editing. Balance is crucial. In particular. marcie begleiter » 47 . 4. not an ending point for your presentation. 2. if you are helping to construct an animatic with the images. shot selection and pacing (if you present it as an animatic). but not as tricked out as a full-blown production illustration. Some directors wish to avoid creating a presentation which conveys a sense that all the critical decisions have been made. And if your key frames and storyboards help to ‘seal the deal’ it’s a good bet that the filmmakers will be back for more once the production clock has begun to tick! 9. 8. These boards are often rendered in color with plenty of detail — quite a bit more developed than the typical editorial board. music can help to give a sense of time and place. what I sometimes think of as ‘storyboards on steroids. particularly with period pieces. Spreading the word about visual pitches can be a service that designers and artists provide to ‘above the line’ filmmakers who might not be as familiar with the practice. the visual pitch is a starting point for a conversation about your project. At the simplest level.’ are sometimes used to give a snapshot of particular moments of high action or emotion.1. to character appearance and even how the film will be shot. 6.

Michael Wiese Productions gives you all the resources you need right here. mentor and coach. (Except maybe your lunch caterer. It Takes a Village: Filmmakers “work well with others. 4. Equipment has never been more affordable. compact micro and waterproof cameras take us anywhere and everywhere. Her latest film acting role is Alice in Disclosure. and special effects programs. writer. Better actors means better movies. We are a global community of the smartest people on the planet: Visionary leaders using the moving image to shift consciousness.” Bob Dylan There is no limit to what we can do: Mobile devices. 8.com and www. 7. motion graphics. actor. We all have amazing stories to share and filmmaking is the communication/art form of our times. thanks to innovative computer hardware and software editing. Eliminating obstacles: While going to film festivals is a blast. 2. The Digital Revolution: Postproduction has never been easier or more affordable. where she pioneered the film acting and stand-up comedy programs. Casting Revealed: A Guide for Film Directors available at www. Hester Schell is a master acting teacher. “The times they are a changing. global online distribution platforms can get your content in front of audiences.com 10. And the number one reason why it is great to be a filmmaker is… 1. stage and film director. 3.” Making movies is filled with adventure and rewarding collaboration with wonderful people of varying skill sets. 9. Technology serves us: Online casting services make better actors easier to find.) So what are you waiting for? Get in here and get busy! 5.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS HESTER SCHELL author.amazon. 48 « hester schell . 6.mwp. She is a Professor of Theatre Arts: De Anza College in California. producer.

com Y don’t need to have an agent ou Or a Hollywood address. No waiting tables. Y friends will all be envious our When told about your plan. Who wouldn’t love a life in film With everyone a fan?! The lions of this industry Are turning old and grey. 4 optioned feature films. 120 plays and musicals. Y don’t need a 4-year college ou (or those resumes and stress).TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE MISCONCEPTIONS OF A TEENAGE FILMMAKER CHRISTINA HAMLETT author. If movies are your passion (or perhaps a TV show). instructor.com and www. punching clocks — Just simply go for fame. Find a script you want to make And watch excitement hatch! Entitlement is all you need To strike a star-struck claim. Christina Hamlett is an award-winning author.mwp. No better time than now exists To show ‘em what you know. and professional script coverage consultant whose credits to date include 24 books. What better time for youth and looks To rise and seize the day?! christina hamlett » 49 . and articles/ interviews that appear in trade publications throughout the world. Why strive to be an intern Or a go-fer on some crew When indie opportunities Are tailor-made for you?! Be the boss you think you are And build a team from scratch.amazon. Screenwriting for Teens available at www.

Viral’s all the rage these days In streaming stuff for kicks. A glut of nifty how-to’s serve To guide you “here” to “there. festivals On every corner lurk With scores of movie experts Who all yak about their work. Maxing out your credit cards Can back your vision quest. A studio is so passé — Why buy when you can rent? Do shoots inside an old garage Or outside in a tent. An overnight sensation. our Minions in abundance And sold-out ticket lines. remakes. there is no dress code Or rules about your hair. tripods. A CGI (or six) — Software makes it quite a snap To pull off special tricks. workshops. 50 « christina hamlett . glitzy lights. prequels. Have made this game a cinch. Cameras. Y name on billboard signs. Running low? No problem. Digital is fast and cheap To minimize each flub. Recruit your friends as actors — Repay them with some grub. too.” Mentors. Digital has paved the way To every penny pinch. In film. Distributors? Why bother When there’s Y ouTube in the mix. bro! Ask Dad to fund the rest.Sequels.

”) Even if its highest gig Is straight to video. LinkedIn finds associates To keep you in the know. Better choose your wardrobe now ‘Cause Oscar wants a date. maybe two) Cecil B’s got naught on you. Be they rants or wishful hopes. Nor Lucas. Less risk is always sure. Facebook helps you toot your horn (How did we live without?) Was there a better century To let it all hang out?! Old rules are meant for breaking. Movies make it possible To liberate your story.Twitter keeps you visible To talk about your show. Film’s an endless playground To exercise your views. Spielberg. ET’s or sharks. Oprah’s your best mate. Anyone can make a film (Don’t let ‘em tell you “no. too. Just listen to your muse. Or even something gory. Letterman is calling. Imitation rules the day. Who knew film was so easy? (a weekend. christina hamlett » 51 . What’s old is new once more — Be it cults.

smaller and more powerful than ever before. Filmmaking can give your life meaning and direction. And here’s why… 1. Should you risk it? Now? In this economy!?! I say yes. Cheap.WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE A FILM… NOW! TOP TEN REASONS TONY LEVELLE author. Here’s how to do it. Tony Levelle has over 30 years experience as a writer in the fields of technology and filmmaking. filmmakers were at the mercy of a ruthless and antiquated distribution system built to serve the needs of large studios. and is working on a film about hot-air ballooning. co-author. contacts. These days you can acquire everything you need as you go.com and www. in three simple steps: • • • Declare yourself a filmmaker. Filmmaking tools are cheaper.’ With 52 « tony levelle . Producing With Passion available at www. With perseverance. org student film festival. He launched the lake. 2. • • • 3. you can build a new life as a filmmaker. Continue with confidence while learning from your mistakes. Digital Video Secrets. Powerful editing software like Apple’s iMovie is inexpensive and easy to use. or even much money. Independent filmmaking guru Peter Broderick recently developed a unique distribution method that he calls ‘hybrid distribution. • Small. powerful tools. Inexpensive audio recorders like the Zoom H4N record highquality sound reliably and easily. Start work on a project today. Low-cost programs like Movie Magic Budgeting simplify preproduction. Y can become a filmmaker — and make good films — without ou diplomas.mwp.com Ever wonder if you should make a film? Maybe you have an idea for a documentary or you want to make a feature film. Hybrid distribution. high-performance camcorders like the Sony NEXVG20 have features that only a few years ago cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Distribution has always been the most difficult part of filmmaking. Until recently.amazon.

The forums I use most are DVinfo. Absolute Write and Indie Talk. Wiese did it by keeping his initial costs very low and using hybrid distribution techniques. Earning back the expenses of a film is doable. including travel expenses. and digital distribution. If you can’t earn back expenses you may get discouraged and quit making films. Broderick’s process is a filmmaker’s best chance to get a film out into the world and recover expenses. and need to take up non-filmmaking work part or full time. Hybrid distribution enables filmmakers to retain the right to sell DVDs. By late 2010 he had sold around 1. Listening to TED talks by filmmakers: Shekhar Kapur: We are the stories we tell ourselves Jehane Noujaim wishes for a global day of film Deborah Scranton on her “War Tapes” Jeff Skoll makes movies that matter Morgan Spurlock: The greatest TED Talk ever sold Reading how-to film books: Film books by MWP — my publisher — are written by passionate film professionals and successful filmmaking teachers. Wiese told me he spent $13. television. Digital Video Secrets. but if you can’t afford them there are other ways to learn your craft. Education is easily available. retail.000 screening the film for Tibetan groups. In my opinion. thus earning $11. Y don’t need an expensive film school to get an education. 7. Crowdfunding. Filmmakers are using crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter to fund their films and build a following at the same time.000 DVDs. (My own book. 5. Here are three: • Making films: The best way to learn how to make film is to make films. Filmmaker and publisher Michael Wiese’s recent film Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas shows how a filmmaker can earn back expenses on a micro budget film. 4. filmmakers maintain control over distribution by using a combination of new and traditional distribution methods.) • • 6.You can talk to filmmakers and experts. netting $8 each and earned another $3. ou contacts and discipline you get in film school are great.000 to complete the film. and downloads from their websites while working with partners who facilitate their theatrical. social support. The teachers. streams. Low initial cost. Forums are a great place to get advice on filmmaking problems. It is easy to talk to filmmakers. distills the essential techniques of digital video filmmaking into one short guide. and experts in online forums.000. tony levelle » 53 . Today’s inexpensive and powerful tools empower you to make as many films as you want.this method.

Consider Y ouTube creator Charlieissocoollike. Most of what we watch hear and read every day is produced by a few media giants. They can give you feedback on early versions of your films. The best books I found on the subject of talking to your audience are Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki and The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith. These giants care about one thing — the bottom line. research. and change minds.631 backers Urbanized: A Documentary Film by Gary Hustwit Pledged: $118. They have no economic reason to promote free speech. As of October 8. The Dragonfly Effect shows how to use social media to promote good causes.” 9. you have the potential to reach millions of people around the world with Y ouTube... Facebook and Google+ you can find.714 subscribers. a “twenty something Englishman. Charles Ferguson and Michael Moore. too. A need for true stories. Onward! 54 « tony levelle . Increasingly.495 backers Minecraft: The Story of Mojang by 2 Player Productions Pledged: $210. Hundreds are making six figures a year. with 1. launch products.Three successful Kickstarter films: Blue Like Jazz by Steve Taylor Pledged: $345. and even collaborate on your films. Y ouTube pays partners for high-viewership videos. As a filmmaker. 2011 his Y ouTube channel had 162.813.992 with 4. The biggest reason that now is a great time to be a filmmaker is that for the first time in history it is possible to have an ongoing conversation with your audience. journalism. 10. As a filmmaker.. the best storytelling. and talk to people who care about you and your films. Y ouTube says it “…pays out millions of dollars a year to its partners. Enchantment tells you how to win hearts.. blogs.297 with 3. reporting and analysis is coming from individual filmmakers like Robert Greenwald. engage.You can talk to your audience.505.136. Dorothy Fadiman.” Charlie has 1. or publish divergent and critical views. Jon Jost. email. And what better cause is there than your film? All that’s left to say is. twitter. Using tools like personal websites. They can help fund.814 backers 8. Y ouTube. you have the power to tell stories that the media giants will not touch. Filmmakers can earn money making Y ouTube videos.YouTube. In 2007 Y ouTube started a partners program.347 views..

but you have a passion to work with filmed words and images that communicate with an audience. 1. enrage you. fly. Meet a variety of people.amazon. “What’s the use of a liberal arts education?” Y may have ou majored in art. fly!” It makes me want to be responsible for where I’m sending fledglings off to. help you. but it will influence others and increase your skills and contacts. Cut by Cut — 2nd Edition and Film Editing available at www. When you pursue a career in film. philosophy. Chance to make a difference — leave an imprint. Y work influences viewers. 3. Band of brothers and sisters. I want to be enthusiastic and supportive yet realistic. physics. Y will interact with all sorts of sane and crazy people in the film ou biz.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS GAEL CHANDLER author. our be they students watching a training film.mwp.” So when sharing my hard earned grains of wisdom with those desiring — daring — to enter the profession. Respect yourself and pursue your choice with everything you’ve got. a family kicking back to your comedy. especially Hollywood. tape.” gael chandler » 55 . A scene from The Wizard of Oz jumps into my head — the one where the wicked witch urges the monkeys to “Fly. Not every project will be something you want to show Mom or keep on your resume. has edited every type of genre on every medium – film. or a dorm full of students hooked on your web series. film. and allow you to help others.com With four decades in and around the industry — working from projectionist to grip to electrician to craft services to editor to digital systems trainer and college editing instructor to author of three books on editing — I guess I can be lumped into the category “Old Salt. you’re joining a special group of non-conformists. an art audience changed by your documentary. 2nd edition available June 2012 Gael Chandler has been nominated twice for a Cable Emmy for comedy editing. and has trained hundreds of professionals and students to put their best cut forward. They will drive you nuts. How many will make it intact and be glad for the journey? So here’s my list of ten reasons. enrich your life. This reason is not a flight of fancy. or digital communications. Value them and know when to say “Thanks” and “Farewell. 2. This group scoffs at the question.com and www. Take it with your own shaker of salt and develop your own flight plan. and digital.

Y will play a vital role in shaping the show’s story and message and the director or client’s ou vision. contemplating a career change. Hold the heart of the film in your hands. honing your skills. work a lot. 8.4. One day you’ll be in the doldrums. the next you’ll be flying across the country on that series you just landed: Turbulence and unexpected ports are part of the profession. re-inventing. and postproduction. There is no one path to success in the film industry. but you have to pursue every lead.g. 6. Whether you work on scripted shows (e. We’re in the midst of a digital revolution in which the technological territory morphs annually. This is converging work and changing relationships between preproduction. you will be a part of this change and get to use these incredible tools — editing systems. state-of-the-art plug-ins. Travel. lunch with colleagues and new folks.g. honor. Work with cutting-edge tools. Filmmaking is both magical and mundane: One moment you’re picking up the producer’s tuxedo. 56 « gael chandler . During the 90-hour weeks with no days off. remember to breathe. production.You’re your own agent — even if you have an agent Y will always be your own pilot: forever networking. Special moments that no other industry brings. and sussing out the next job. 10. the gratification from creating on them — and keeping employed — are worth it. During your downtimes. Y may drop these topics or follow them once the show wraps. just like the work itself. the next you’re at the Academy Awards. As a filmmaker. That wedding video you edited may lead to your first feature. as you view shots and decide which frames go in out and out. Y ou’ll experience times of predictable boredom and the opposite on the job. documentaries. While they’re a lot to keep up with. Encounter a variety of subjects. on the same show. and polish your skills along with your resume. Y career will not always be in your control — you may work mondo hours and be desperour ate for time off. It will be your joy. instructional videos) you’ll learn a range of subjects you’ve never imagined. director and producers alike worked an unexpected all-nighter to re-cut the show from Frame One because the editor — not me — turned in a subpar cut. follow every highway and byway. The week before. sleep. third-party software. Time off is part of film life and brings its own set of challenges and rewards. Being a filmmaker will land you in places you’ve never dreamed — that you couldn’t possibly have put on your flight plan. then find yourself with too much time off and be desperate for work. no matter how big or small the project is. 9. that feature may go nowhere and send you on unemployment. de-stress. dramas and comedies) or non-scripted shows (e. 5. If you become an editor. reality shows. Work a little. True story: One day a producer lucky at the horse races handed $100 bills to everyone in the cutting room. kiss your beloved. self ou promoting. you will hold the film’s heart (characters and) and heartbeat (rhythm and pace) in your hands. but ou they will widen your horizon either way. and that you’re on a (hopefully) worthwhile project. go to industry events. etc. and responsibility to sculpt the best show possible from the footage. 7. and make your own way.

With blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter. The latest technology makes it easy for filmmakers to rent or buy affordable equipment and editing software. then moved over to 20th Century-Fox as an assistant story editor. filmmakers can get the word out to promote their films instantly. Today’s independent filmmakers don’t need to wait for a studio to make a movie.amazon. assembling a cast. Independent filmmakers on a tight budget are embracing the DIY (Do-it-Y ourself) model by utilizing their network of friends and contacts to help get their films made. At the same time Universal Pictures offered her the opportunity to run their story department where she worked for ten years and was promoted from an executive story editor to a vice president. There is no better way to acquire filmmaking knowledge than to get out there and shoot films. Y don’t need to ou hire a PR person necessarily if you have knowledge and the wherewithal to create your own electronic press kits (EPKs) to send to media outlets. monika skerbelis » 57 . feature films or documentaries to the big screen.com Most filmmakers have an independent spirit and look at life through a lens. Whether it is a one-minute film or two-hour film. and bringing their individual stories to life. Today’s filmmakers are more savvy about creating trailers for social media campaigns in order to promote their films.mwp. By using one of the many self promoting sites like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo for fundraising. they can raise money to cover production costs to help move their films into production or collect funds to help pay marketing expenses after the film is shot. create a buzz and develop a following.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS MONIKA SKERBELIS co-author. available April 2012 Monika Skerbelis started her industry career as an assistant in the Story Department for Paramount Pictures. crew. The Complete Filmmaker’s Guide To Film Festivals:Your All Access Pass To Launching Your Film On The Festival Circuit available at www. it is made with passion and creativity by filmmakers. later promoted to story editor.com and www. They develop stories out of situations and events using their imagination and filmmaking skills to ultimately bring short films. Today’s filmmaker has more resources and opportunities for gaining knowledge just by picking up a camera.

Festivals play an important role in a filmmaker’s career both personally and professionally with the networking opportunities available. Watching a film in a darkened theatre with an audience and hearing their reaction when they laugh at the right moment or shed a tear during a poignant scene is gratifying for the filmmaker and let’s them know they succeeded with their vision. filmmakers will have a guidepost as to how to launch their films on the festival circuit and make targeting the right festivals a much easier task.000+ film festivals in today’s marketplace can be a daunting task. Diverse audiences from around the world can watch their films and experience their vision. and the festival platform as a way to generate audience awareness before the film’s release. Maneuvering the 4. 58 « monika skerbelis . transporting them to different cultures and ways of life that are normally not available at their local theatre. This is due to the myriad of filmmakers who are driven to create their passionate ideas into accessible stories for everyone to experience. so with resources available like our upcoming book. Studios are using film festivals as a way to premiere films. The Complete Filmmaker’s Guide to Film Festivals. Film enthusiasts and audiences seek out film festivals as a way to meet filmmakers and watch appealing films.One of the strongest ways for a filmmaker to gain exposure is to enter their films in festivals.

cranes. The success of the Bourne Identity films which he directed have made the slightly shaky handheld look completely acceptable. More powerful.com and www. This is why Bob Zemeckis told me.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS GIL BETTMAN author of First Time Director available at www. and many top music videos. This means you do not need the big budget for dollies.000 cars together and ou film it from 100 cameras. all you need is a great script and great performances and you can make a breakout theatrical feature. and the huge crews needed to operate them. Gil Bettman has directed three feature films. yet are capable of producing an image as good as any mainstream feature film. but that’s not a movie. and the character is having a hell of a time getting it. But you put Thelma and Louise in one car and drive it off a cliff and gil bettman » 59 . With one of these little DSLRs and a DP who is an expert at exposure. With a Canon 7D or similar. The Canon 5D camera. Now (and forever) this is the least expensive shot you can make. all you have to do is shoot that character in a close up and you have the most powerful film moment possible.com 1. 2. If the audience knows what the character wants and wants him to get it. That’s a spectacle.999. low-cost digital camera you can generate a close-up that looks fabulous on a 40-foot-high screen.amazon. He is an associate professor in the school of Film and Television at Chapman University in Los Angeles. than any multimillion dollar CGI shot from any 200 million dollar studio tentpole movie. The Close-Up. 3. in fact.mwp. Audiences are now sufficiently familiar with this new piece of film language so it does not call attention to itself and detract from the story. These cameras completely level the playing field. dozens of primetime TV shows. The most powerful image a filmmaker can put on screen is a close up on an actor whom the audience cares about. For zero dollars you can do as Fernando Meirelles did in City of God and shoot your entire film (with a Canon 7D) handheld and give it the high-energy Paul Greengrass/ Ridley Scott/Tony Scott look which contemporary audiences crave. Paul Greengrass. And all other DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras which take prime lenses and can be purchased for about $2. Greengrass shoots almost everything handheld. “Y can smash 1.

The list of top directors who broke in via MTV starts with David Fincher. production and distribution. Social media marketing is free. Next thing you know. Film and television. Now the way to get some face time with a major player who can hire you and launch your career is by starting as an intern. Y just have to generate what I call the “je ne ou sais quo” — that special something which you alone possess. This is how I segued from an episodic TV director to a feature film director back in the Dark Ages. big and small. As always. Unknown bands still want to make music videos and will put up the money for the production. U2 — all great recording artists started as mere unknowns with a great song.” If you don’t believe this is true. Jack Nicholson. And it’s free. and then put it out there via Facebook or Twitter. watch Drive and count the number of close ups on Ryan Gosling in the opening action sequence. if you throw in your services as director for free. it’s not what you know. So go to charm school. Music Videos. Tunde is hired to write Smokin’ Aces 2 and then writes and directs his breakout feature. music videos are still a great venue to showcase your talent as a director. Using Y ouTube you can deliver the payoff and show the world you are as good as say you are. 7. The Fourth Kind. 5. agencies and managerial companies. The song is the script of a rock video. 60 « gil bettman . Randall Klieser and many others got their start. Now you can promote yourself to the world for nothing. They all hire unpaid interns. So if the song is great you can make a world-class music video. Coldplay. Thanks to Twitter. Spike Jonze and Zack Snyder and goes on forever from there. 4. This is how my former student Olantunde Osunsamni met Smokin’ Aces writer/director Joe Carnahan. With Y ouTube you can fulfill the film side of the equation for success which Kevin Smith lacked. Lady GaGa. Twenty years ago it was the mail room.YouTube. This is how Billy Friedkin. Using Twitter he managed to get a tidal wave of media buzz going about his film Red State before it premiered and fell flat at Sundance. Kevin Smith has thousands of Twitter followers. 6. Today. John Badham. Facebook/Twitter. Every office in Hollywood now has a staff of unpaid interns. but who you know. All he lacked was a good film. Using social media marketing you can generate the buzz and build up a following. provided you have talent and the band does not get in the way. The film is tight on his eyes for at least 30% of the time. Smith had the promotional part of the equation nailed. get a job as an intern and you are halfway to breaking into the business. Internships.shoot it with one camera and that’s a movie. Half of launching a career is self-promotion.

but it beats waiting tables. gil bettman » 61 . 9. download or streaming on the iTunes store. encoded and comes up to the other iTunes specs. or The Institute. they will put it up for sale. It used to be that no matter how great your little self-financed feature film was. and if it does. If you can come up with a clever way to promote a great cause and put it across visually using your directorial genius and your Canon 7D. but it could catch on. The New Y Film Academy ork makes money because they pay film school graduates survival wages to teach their courses. MJZ. Y only make ou pennies per download.8. Commercial directors make as much as feature directors for a fraction of the work. 10. it would die on the vine. Smuggler. No longer true. iTunes. and your directorial career along with it. you have launched your career. The New York Film Academy. If it’s feature length. it could lead to a pot of gold and contract with a major branding and commercial production company such as Anonymous Content. PSAs. unless you could get a distribution deal. This is how you pay the rent while you engineer your break. It ain’t Hollywood.

Academy-award winner Michael Phillips Productions (The Sting. Satisfying your Creative Soul. Fortune. where every day is pretty much the same old-same old. And. Rona Edwards was Vice President of Creative Affairs for multiple Emmywinner John Larroquette (Night Court). it feeds your soul. As a producer. Like a lover or a marriage. It feeds your ego. new territory to cover and new people to work with. lecturer. because you never know what to expect. stating the obvious and highlighting the obscure. Close Encounters of the Third Kind. feeling a comfortable yet still passionate romance with it? Filmmaking makes you feel things. The Complete Filmmaker’s Guide To Film Festivals: Your All Access Pass To Launching Your Film On The Festival Circuit available at www. How do you get over those bumps in the road and make it to the other side. I could list the obvious timeless reasons: Fame. and how many things can you say that about? It makes you feel passion. It’s good training for your brain.amazon.com and www.com The Top Ten Reasons why it’s a great time to be a filmmaker? Are there only ten? It’s hard to limit it to just ten. author. Filmmaking is never the same. 62 « rona edwards .mwp. I could say because it’s something you really love. The schedules always change depending on the project. you’ll have to know how to weather the storms and still feel the love you had at the beginning of your courtship. too. consultant and professor in the field of filmmaking. The big brass ring. and Emmywinning and Oscarnominated producer Fern Field (Monk. It’s elusive yet seductive. It satisfies something deep inside which words cannot properly elucidate. It’s always challenging and it keeps you on your toes. Taxi Driver). and you never have to take risks or cover new ground. To answer with the utmost simplicity. With each new film. Y have ou to be passionate about the films you want to make because you’ll be in bed with them for a long time. Like a beautiful woman or virile man enticing you to enter a private club. But sometimes.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS RONA EDWARDS co-author. it’s cheaper than a psychiatrist! Maybe one of the ten things that make filmmaking so great is. available April 2012 Before entering the world of independent producing. you are never bored! It’s not a nine-to-five job in a cubicle entering data into computers. it would be very easy to take an esoteric approach to the question. it’s best to be straight forward. Heartsounds). come new problems.

Y need skills to cultivate just the right taste. too. editing software and a computer — your own mini-studio. 9. Filmmaking can help build your character (no pun intended). It sucks however if they laugh at the wrong moments and cry at the jokes! Y ou’re interested in what makes people tick and get to express that through the unique characters you create. the filmmaker. Or maybe you take a step backwards sometimes. too. There is nothing routine about it. just like in the Hero’s Journey when the protagonist has a reversal of fortune. Y ou can’t live without it because you are addicted to its endorphins and it’s not always easy to find just the right combination. The technology is always changing and is therefore always exciting. filmmaking is addictive — so you have to be careful. the very thing that’s bad for you is good for you. Y become a better perou son possibly. So after expounding on the reasons why I love filmmaking and why it’s great to be a filmmaker today especially (as well as making me want to buy a ten-pound box of Valhrona or Teuscher). Sometimes. There’s an art to making good chocolate. Y have to know your limitations and yet go beyond as well. 6. When you eat it. 7. like chocolate for example. It’s fattening. and visa versa. It. . But if it’s not. making you look even cooler ou (or possibly ancient) to your peers. Chocolate and filmmaking are both paradoxes. There’s nothing like sitting in a darkened theatre and hearing strangers laugh and cry at just the right moments while watching your film. There’s always something new to learn (which is good exercise for your brain and keeps you young). But… there’s a catch. but ultimately you. for 5 grand you can have a camera. If it doesn’t kill you. It’s a fine ou line between mediocre and brilliant. Y get to work with interesting and creative people all coming together for a comou mon goal. satisfies most everyone who eats it and is supposedly great for your sex life. here’s my Top Ten reasons: 10. The end result can be exhilarating. it’s hard work. It goes well with champagne. tedious and the hours are not for the faint of heart. 5. it makes you feel euphoric. With each project. 3. Filmmaking is exactly the same.I could say it’s about the journey. Y can quote every famous film line prior to Star Wars. I couldn’t stand to be in a job that never changes. And to others…you are just a movie geek! rona edwards » 63 4. it will make you stronger. It can take away years from your life and disappoint you. Sometimes ou it takes years to create the best mixture for your confection. because you love everything about movies — and live. eat and breathe film. the right consistency. Like chocolate. you grow up. It’s unpredictable and consequently challenging. Let’s face it. or stand up against the harshest criticism or bask in the sunlight of praise. will pull yourself up by the bootstraps and tackle the hardest material yet. can be very satisfying when you work on the right project with the right combination of people. Chocolate tastes good. Anyone who has a burning desire to tell a story can make a film with limited resources. 8.

and how they react. Spending time at Film Festivals. where ou they go. enlighten and entertain audiences everywhere and anywhere.[[[drum roll]]] 1. Y get ou ou to tell stories. Y can have ou maximum impact and even influence society. What a power! What a way to make a living? Y control what your characters do. 64 « rona edwards . It’s much better than politics and almost as good as chocolate! And the number one reason why it’s great to be a filmmaker…. traveling all over the world and opening yourself up to even more possibilities and opportunities. Y are a storyteller. And you get to share that with the world. screening your films or supporting other filmmakers and making life-long friends because of it.2. That hasn’t changed since the beginning of filmmaking.

david worth » 65 . Mini Budgets.com and www. was able to make Paranormal Activity on a $15. and Reality Based Episodic Stories. Jean-Claude Van Damme. Exactly 10 years later.amazon. The Dogme Movement and Thomas Vinterberg’s The Celebration (Festen). Inexpensive Equipment. Dennis Hopper. Shelley Winters. with actors David Worth is a professional Director of Photography and Director who has garnered a resume of over thirty feature films while working with talents like Clint Eastwood. Lies. and Videotape. Both the filmmakers of the French “New Wave” of the late 1950s. and by 1999. led by John Cassavetes’ Shadows.com Let me preface these 10 easy-to-follow steps by first stating that the young filmmakers of today owe a huge debt of gratitude and the total democratization of the filmmaking process. Neil LaBute’s In The Company Of Men. By the 1990s the floodgates had opened with Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi. Available Light.000 budget entirely inside his home in San Diego. Non-Actors. the beginning of an entirely New Paradigm with the astonishing Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez film The Blair Witch Project. many Italian filmmakers got into the streets and inadvertently began the “Independent Film Movement” by utilizing: Natural Locations. These films led to the “Blaxsplotation” films of the 1970s. to the visionary filmmakers of the last century who paved the way to all of our advances by thinking very far outside the box. and Bruce Campbell. had used what they had learned from the Italian Neo-Realists to make what became templates for independent films. Kevin Smith’s Clerks. California. in 2009. faced with the devastation of their country and their studios. Small Crews. championed by Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasss Song and eventually the independent masterpieces in the 1980s like John Sayles’ Return Of The Secaucus Seven. and American independent film. with limited experience and resources. spearheaded by Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless. and Steven Soderberg’s Sex. Everything in today’s independent films can be traced back to the late 1940s and the Italian Neo-Realists who started it all with films like Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief. The Citizen Kane Crash Course in Cinematography available at www.TO BECOMING AN INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER TEN STEPS DAVID WORTH author.mwp. Oren Peli. After WWII. Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It.

Both items together should cost under $5. Today you can even be really low budget and simply invest in the next generation of iPhone or iPad. it should have. the editing system and organizing a small production. then order the DVDs and study the films.000. Actors. by the way — because it happened to be “the right film in the right place at the right time” it went on to gross more than $200. All of the films great and small are there waiting for your attention. Now. or on nearby locations. in and around your home. Directing and Filmmaking to Orson Welles during one very wild weekend way back in the day. Step 6: When you feel confident in your ability to tell a story. Props and Locations that are available for you to use for FREE. Then. Oh. are you ready to take the 10 steps and possibly make the next independent masterpiece… Step 1: Order my book: The Citizen Kane Crash Course in Cinematography. group of films or director(s). edit and deliver in HD! Step 5: Learn how to use your equipment and tell a story by going online and utilizing the MWP Online Film School or any number of other inexpensive venues and by writing. Utilize what you have and make what today is called a “Rodriguez List”! Which is a list of all of the Equipment. that you can cast and shoot with your friends in and around your home. Watch the behind the scenes. 66 « david worth .000 worldwide.that he found on Craigslist in less than 10 days.” Step 2: At the same time. your hometown or on nearby locations. listen to the commentary. join Netflix. Break them down and analyze them. which will actually allow you to shoot.000. Step 3: Browse the Netflix DVDs and pick your favorite genre. use the camera. write a simple. the writer of The Sting and the director of Major League. David Ward. shooting and editing several small short productions that you can do on your own or with your friends. In it you will find my “Wildly Fictional” account of how the world-renown Cinematographer Gregg Toland may have related all of the basics of Cinematography. Especially screen the classic low-budget independent films previously mentioned. do-able script utilizing all of those elements. said after reading this book: “If it didn’t happen this way. Step 4: Invest in a small HD or a DSLR camera and a non-linear editing system like Final Cut Pro. watch your favorite films and scenes over and over and over.

or Reshoot it! Then. screen the film for everyone and if anything needs work you have 3 choices: Cut it out. when you have it completed: Enter It Into Local. Fix it.Step 7: Take your time. & FINISH YOUR FILM! Step 8: As you are editing. Because you are a “low to no budget” film you have nobody to answer to as long as you pay your credit card bills on time.. Step 10: Use your film as a calling card for making your next film! Most Importantly: Remember to learn from your mistakes and make a better film next time! david worth » 67 . you will need to put together a Press Kit and some Delivery Items but you can cross that bridge if and when you come to it… What you can do is try to find an audience for your film by Starting a Website… TAA DAA! Now you have become an Independent Filmmaker. Nobody is looking over your shoulder. Which really means: Don’t Quit Y Day Job.. Step 9: If someone wants to distribute your film.. But now you are ready to: our PREP… SHOOT.. Genre or International Film Festivals.

com and www. Filmmakers have the opportunity to branch into this new style of storytelling as long as they are willing to leave the old rules behind. to life. Actually. The key is to recognize that the rules of storytelling for the journey to self-fulfillment are not the same as they are for self-sacrifice. The King’s Speech. Find out all you are capable of being by following the direction of your passion. An Education. The Help. it’s about coming closer to living authentically. and brave. Fight Club. Personal happiness matters more. The Virgin’s Promise available at www. Or we can tell cautionary tales like Black Swan and Virgin Suicides where the journey to be accepted for who you are fails and we are left longing for a brighter world. the first half of Avatar. There is a palpable need to go on the journey to attach to our true selves. Now audiences want to see stories of self-fulfillment.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS KIM HUDSON author. We live in a time when it is okay to branch away from the hero structure. In Moneyball the big message is money isn’t everything. Either way it is about being true to yourself. rugged. How could they be? They are opposite drives. These stories are the roots of innovation. It is a great time to be a storyteller because society is ready to move beyond the self-sacrificing hero who learns he can expand the boundaries of mortality by being strong. it is applauded. Brokeback Mountain. and a world that values unconditional love and personal freedom. They are driven to know the joy of bringing their personal gift. They are not hero stories. creativity. Over the past four years Kim has given workshops and classes in the Vancouver area on the Virgin’s Promise. The Fighter. 68 « kim hudson . Kim Hudson’s personal journey and scholarly inquiry combined to develop this theory of the Virgin’s archetypal structure. and I Am Love. their true self. These movies all have a protagonist who needs to be true to his or her self as opposed to save the world. It’s not about winning the day.amazon. and use that as your measure of success. One is pushing away from fear and the other is pulling towards what you love.mwp. Forget comfort and security and go with love and joy.com What do these 10 movies have in common? Moneyball.

This kind of creativity does not occur in an atmosphere of rising conflict. This is a great time to be a filmmaker because we can create a body of stories that leave people feeling whole. Together they form the two halves of knowing yourself as an individual: your internal as well as your external boundaries. Jake explores the Na’vi culture with a sense of wonder. Literally. We can tell a story driven to control fear (the Hero) or we can tell a story driven by passion (the Virgin). This aspect of the human condition needs to be reflected in scripts or they feel instinctively false. in the past. Billy Beene finds Peter in Moneyball and creates an inner circle of decision-making. not expecting to find a culture he will eventually call his own. It is a great time to be a filmmaker because new frontiers of storytelling are being explored. In Avatar. Neuro-scientific research shows us that the fear centers of the brain shut down for a person to be creative. the women create a supportive circle where they can share their stories and write them down. not knowing where it will take her.In this journey you start small and feel your way. It is a place where she/he can stop caring what other people think. In The King’s Speech. In The Help. This kind of protagonist needs to find a place where he or she feels safe and loved in order to grow into her best self. Y learn to follow your feelings ou from hot spot to hot spot rather than forging a path to a clearly defined goal. kim hudson » 69 . Emma follows her heart in I Am Love. He grows in this environment while. Bertie develops his voice in a secret world under the care of his therapist. the series of escalating conflicts and humiliations caused his stuttering and anxiety to grow. The protagonist may start with a goal and end up somewhere completely unexpected.

etc.You accept your role as the messenger. She started her career in television and rose through the ranks of Current Programs at Spelling Television Inc.e. you have the opportunity to deliver a strong message of hope. You get to engage your audience. you get a chance to tell your story in a way that connects your audience to your life experience and to your interpretation of the world at large. As a filmmaker. if done well. tone. In accepting your role as the messenger. Filmmaking is about tell- ing a story. When you move through life and experience it in-depth. you allow them to see themselves in your story. independent producer. visuals. make a statement through your story. As a filmmaker. and the writing instructor for NBC’s Writers on the Verge. 3. you create intimacy and connection with your audience. your gift as the filmmaker is that you get to pass your story forward. you as the creator get to craft your art in a way that leaves a lasting impression on your audience. you get to Jennifer Grisanti is a story consultant.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS JENNIFER GRISANTI author.) you have the freedom to go anywhere you want to go — to the advantage of your story. here are the top 10 reasons why I believe it’s a great time to be a filmmaker: 1. you often receive the calling to take on the role of the messenger. You have the power to stop isolation. where Aaron Spelling was her mentor for 12 years. On that note. When you engage your audi- ence and allow them to see your vision.com and www.amazon. deliver your message. I believe that we are all messengers because we all experience story on a daily basis.mwp. With filmmaking. By utilizing the platform and its tools at your disposal (i. Y allow them to see you through ou your story and. setting. If you are a filmmaker.com There is so much beauty in the expression and interpretation of our life experience. It is a spiritual and life-affirming journey to be able to tell your story. She was a television executive for 12 years at top studios.. Story Line: Finding Gold in Your Life Story available at www.Your artistic expression is vital to you. Isolation is what millions of people feel when they go through traumatic situations. 2. affecting your audience in a way that makes them feel less isolated. and leave your imprint in the minds and hearts of your audience. you get to share your life moments in a way that can empower the viewer to understand what they need to do in order to move past their own obstacles. 70 « jennifer grisanti . With filmmaking. 4.

5. Extracting the universal life mo- ments in your story is a gift that you as the filmmaker pass forward to your audience. If you do it right. We are all observers of the story that unfolds in our life. When you take steps to evolve and understand things on a more spiritual level. what we did mattered. Through processing our interpretation in a way that brings others into the emotion. greater exposure to your own life and the lives of your viewers. enlighten and inspire others. you leave an imprint that will live on. You have a need to connect with Self. 10. They just come through different channels. you connect with self and you open up the possibility to connect with the world through your story and your message. 8. When you absorb life and go through depth. your voice will live on for generations to come and you will bring about change in a positive way. It also puts a greater weight on you as the filmmaker to be responsible for the message that you are delivering. perhaps more than you ever imagined. 6.You have the freedom to process emotion. processing these emotions and understanding how to bring them to the page can give you. you are able to work through your story and see it in a new way. get to the other side of it and use your reflection in a way that can entertain. You have the ability to interpret life in a Universal Way. jennifer grisanti » 71 . What do you want your story to say about you? How does your message influence your audience in a universal way? 9. As a filmmaker. By making films and being able to elevate consciousness while revealing a message. We may all have different stories but our emotions are the same. By doing the emotional work on the page and on the screen. You want to raise consciousness. complexity and a myriad of emotions. Knowing that you have the opportunity to elevate public consciousness through the stories you tell is an enticing reason to be a filmmaker. the stronger your voice on the outside will become and you will be able to pass your truth forward. You want to leave an imprint. This is a very universal motivation to being a filmmaker. we help people to feel our story. We all want to know that our life has meaning. influence. We want to know that while we were here. you get to experience life. You have a need to tell your story. The more work you do on the inside. affect people. move through the light and dark moments. and bring about change in the future. the filmmaker. By utilizing our emotional truth we connect people on a deeper level. Think about this idea: “What’s in it for my audience?” It will allow you to affect people on an emotional level as they watch your story unfold. 7. These are the top ten reasons why now is a greater time than ever to be a filmmaker and bring your vision to greater audiences. change.

it took a huge amount of effort. How we managed to air those four shows without the aid of cell phones. Virginia. I quickly learned that producing television content was far from glamorous.com At the beginning of my senior year of high school. called “Student’s Corner. He has taught media at the college and high school levels for the past four years. Versus. airing randomly over the course of several months. challenging and difficult business for all of us. took countless hours and required the participation of numerous people. An audience. It was hard work. The Washington Post). resources and equipment needed to produce our show now literally fits in the palm of your hand. the Discovery Channel. bands (Two Man Advantage. no TiVo and if you didn’t program the VCR timer correctly (which was likely) or it didn’t work (which was also fairly common) or if your sister taped over your recording. Our stories and scripts were subject to the review of our faculty advisor. FOX. HGTV. . and it’s almost unreal to think that the technology.mwp. texting or the Internet is a total mystery. All in all.amazon. paper. film. by the way. Video and audio editing software that dwarves what we had to work with now saunters around casually with you on your laptop.com and www. this was television in the VCR-only days: no DVR. He has completed productions for businesses (The House of Blues. you were outta luck. shuttling us back and forth for the production meetings and tapings of the show. well. The show. utilities. written entirely by and for students in Fairfax County. and it gave me my first true taste of showbiz reality.DISCOVERING THE YOU IN YOUTUBE TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE JAY MILES author. I was nominated by my drama teacher to join the cast of a new television show. hoping from coffee shop to coffee 72 « jay miles Jay Miles has worked in TV. time. Remember. And our patient parents were our only lifeline to the facilities. ABC.” would air four episodes via cable access during that school year. Conquering YouTube available at www. The Afro-Semitic Experience) and blogs (On Frozen Blog. Just think about it: in the dark ages of the last century. both for their expertise and for the use of the expensive equipment. and commercial production for nearly 20 years. including shows for NBC. for a cable access only audience limited to that county. Flash forward to today. and DirecTV. that may or may not have actually watched the episodes. The six other cast members and I were totally dependent on the crew of the cable access station. Cisco/Linksys). it was an exhaustive. telephone calls (on a land line — gasp!) and gasoline to allow a total of seven students from one of the most densely populated counties in the country to produce a total of four half-hour TV shows. video.

and before we were allowed in front of the cameras. is that maybe. fantastic fonts and graphics. Maybe there is a reason that we’ve been blessed to see all of this gleaming technology. that’s just an edit away from changing an opinion. wireless. Hey. Producing video is now relatively easy. We’ve become a “Candid Camera” nation. At that time. chasing inspiration. But perhaps there’s a deeper purpose. Or one of my fellow cast members or a former instructor from good ol’ Falls Church High. Maybe there’s a video clip. After all. unrehearsed moments. we taped each show in one afternoon. Working the scripts until all the kinks and warbles had been ironed out was crucial. I mean. on one of those laptops in one of those coffee shops. what drives my curiosity and truly gives me hope and joy and wonder. But that’s a little unfair. too. what keeps me watching new Y ouTube channels day after day. right a wrong or elevate our consciousness. Y — that’s right: the PHONES. eh?” How little did I know. the Y ouTube aesthetic is driven by unprepared. we were taping in an honest to goodness TV studio! How could a relatively cheap. and we couldn’t afford to waste it (or our limited time) on material that wasn’t well crafted. entertained by so many grooms passing out at their own weddings or snowboarding squirrels. a reason why we’ve been freed from the expense and burden of cumbersome equipment and dark studios. handheld device possibly capture actual video? “What. but not inexpensive. a more significant meaning behind all the 1’s and 0’s humming away on Y ouTube’s server farms. Videotape was cheap. Too much of the video out there today suffers from poor preparation. and I suppose you can talk on it and send magic messages through the air. Maybe it comes from one of the students in the video classes that I now teach. that message will come from you. Cell phones feature lenses that generate stunning images at superior resolution. or a life. phones with lenses that amaze and affordable camcorders that shoot full HD images? What to do now that all those other barriers have come down and our every thought and forgettable gesture can basically be teleported (ok. I admit it: I love Star Trek) to a waiting world? The most important skill I learned during the production of “Student’s Corner” was the art of rewriting.shop. just maybe. If you would have told me back when eah I was tromping the halls of Fall Church High School that in my lifetime I would carry around a wireless device that took videos that would humble the segments we were making for “Student’s Corner. and perhaps a bit naïve. everyone literally had to be on the same page. jay miles » 73 . one that could change a country. and free video distribution platforms that instantly send our clips out to the entire planet? With audio samples galore. takes little time and can be completed by a single person. Maybe there is a message that’s just about to be released. maybe it’s from me! But what fascinates me. And maybe that message comes from someone who saw “Student’s Corner” all those years ago.” I would have told you to stop watching so much Star Trek. a reason why we’ve been given the opportunity to connect with more fellow human beings that at any other time in our history. So what do we make of all this blissful technology? With these virtual TV studios that sit on our desks. an unfair practice.

exploding foreign markets — all offer avenues for screen storytelling to reach its audience.amazon.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS CHRISTOPHER RILEY author. and they inspire us to hope for meaningful encounters beyond the shadows playing across our screens. live in the same neighborhood or work in the same office to create a film together. 5. This writer remembers a time when books by entertainment industry experts numbered in the zeroes. Collaboration has never been easier. fresh story well told now matters more than money. Great filmmakers tell us the secrets of our human race.mwp. in the movie biz. and cuts of films can be shared between continents. No longer does a filmmaker need permission from a studio boss or investment banker to make a film. Since then.com 1. An honest.The secrets are out. they prove to us we’re not alone. Great cinema provides encounters with characters on a level more intimate and revealing and real — even when those characters are fictions — than almost anything coming at us from Facebook and Twitter. Kathleen Riley. Together they wrote the 1999 theatrical feature After the Truth.com. Distribution channels have opened to the masses. Getting noticed amidst the clamor of your fellow filmmakers. Walmart. 4.com and www. Drafts of scripts. the husband-wife team has written scripts ranging from legal and political thrillers to action-romances. web-based series. less good for Exxon. does pose a substantial challenge. 2. We can’t bear to live and die alone.The means of production have fallen into the hands of the masses. Humans in the audience have never been hungrier to know one another. however. Not so today. insider know-how empowers best of all. No longer can a handful of gatekeepers separate a film from its audience. Y ouTube. a multipleaward-winning German language courtroom thriller. Information empowers and. No longer must collaborators Christopher Riley is a professional screenwriter working in Hollywood with his wife and writing partner. 74 « christopher riley . The Hollywood Standard — 2nd Edition available at www. Film festivals. Witness the planet-wide blizzard of social networking ac- tivity. Secret word: MWP. Brilliant. 3. Good news for electrons. especially in our yearnings and our fumblings. cable television. Enough said. audition tapes.

Tomorrow will follow today quite soon. our audiences can access instant downloads of thousands upon thousands of the best stories ever told. and Phnom Penh for a story that will tell them what it means to be human and one that will fuel their dreams of Something or Someone more than they yet imagine. 7. Our films endure beyond us in time. pushing us to do great work. allowing us to give our stories as gifts to the future. This is the year the next great film will be released. in a tiny Nordic kingdom in the dark dead of winter. at a time when stories told on the screen reach a greater fraction of that population than ever before. and our experience in a world teeming with more people than have ever before populated this planet. Once upon a time. they sat tight and they listened because he was the only game in town. Audiences have never been more sophisticated in their appreciation of great stories. No. Spec scripts might have been selling like flapjacks in the ‘80s. poorly structured tale with a weak second act. Audiences have never been bigger. hard-working dreamers who long to connect through the power of cinema with audiences waiting eagerly in Wichita. more compassionate. generous and hopeful that it would otherwise find. his listeners didn’t click over to Hulu or spin a DVD. Those times are not our times. Neveryoumind. And this is the year the next great film after that one will be conceived and birthed onto the screen by a band of gifted. the need for well-told stories from filmmakers with keen insight and fresh. And so today. and relieving us of the soul-killing option of working with only half our hearts. Even so. They’re closed to us. sharing our wisdom. Because today is also our opportunity to earn through study and diligent practice the art and the skill that make possible great filmmaking tomorrow. The great twist at the end of The Sixth Sense was still unclaimed and yours for the taking in 1994. our emotion. we can get busy making the films that will be here to welcome it to a world richer. Berlin. Since we’ve arrived before the future. 10. We won’t have to wait long for the arrival of the future. a perfectly mediocre minstrel told a derivative. Today is all we’ve got. Competition for studio jobs might have been less intense in 1952. Today is our time. courageous voices is great. Today. Today precedes tomorrow. What a time for gifted filmmakers to share their gifts. christopher riley » 75 . audiences know better. It’s chugging right down the tracks. Cinema allows us to tell stories to people we will never meet in places we will never visit. 9. 8. So we filmmakers had best get our cameras rolling soon — but not too soon. honest.6. Today represents a breathtaking opportunity. Today.

characters and storyline. I was able to gain information vital to the making of my film. I videotaped a friend’s son acting out certain scenes in my film and also observing him when he wasn’t acting. I have access to these tools to shape a world that makes sense to me.com Today is a great time to be an animation/filmmaker for many reasons. I can video references that may someday appear on my sketchpad.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS AUBRY MINTZ author. as if they were potential characters in a film. This profession requires a thorough understanding of movement. their ability for intense concentration is paramount. Animators are unique among artists of other disciplines. my focus is to note how they move as everyone has an innate method of locomotion. Similar to how painters mentally catalog colors or shapes. and General Mills. Their entire artistic focus is aimed at understanding life through movement. My camera recorded how he moved and expressed himself as he played with his toys. animator. I have built a mental library using shapes and symbols to attach to anything that moves. Aubry Mintz has worked as a director. I then transferred the files to my computer and analyzed the footage frame by frame almost as if I was viewing his physical movements and personality under a microscope. rooted in principles developed in the early 1900s. I am constantly studying people. just as doctors have to understand the entire human body. The Whole Cloth: Integrated Storytelling upcoming from www. By studying his every movement. My particular passion as an animator is pay close attention to all forms of life. and storyboard artist at several animation houses in Canada and the United States. He has also worked as a feature animator at Industrial Light and Magic (The Mummy) and Square USA (Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within) and as a freelance animation director for television and the Internet working on projects for clients such as Smirnoff. animals or objects at 24 frames per second. I am animating movements of a six-year-old boy. 76 « aubry mintz . pixels and frames. McDonalds. In my current film. Y interestingly the skills I have acquired over fifteen years are et. The mystery is that I never know when one could become a character in a future film. It is the combination of old and new technologies that give animators a plethora of choices that bring their creations to life. In order for an animator to be successful. Throughout the years. To accurately depict the movements of a child of this age. When I watch people. With a smart phone. With so much technology at my disposal I am able to produce animation from start to finish on a laptop.mwp.

aubry mintz » 77 . As I sit at my animation table. my fingers breathe life into characters or objects that almost seem to cry out to me to move them. I take note of the timing and spacing and also the in-betweens of this action. Studying this motion frame by frame. terrifying. Facing a blank canvas or an empty pad. for example. I notice things only a boy this age might do. at the same time. When I study the film clips. Or the way he carefully places his doll on the pillow next to him. In this particular scene in my film. as if not wanting to awaken his living. which means I can look at the live action video and study the movements using principles of animation. Since this is animation. how his knee and ankles turn in as he struggles to a sitting position. the possibilities for the artist are simultaneously endless and. I hope to find the key to the mechanics of my character (or object) so that I can draw them accurately. the character’s sleep is interrupted by a car horn. It is the combination of the framed images viewed quickly one after another that makes the character comes to life. such as his demeanor as he slept soundly contrasted with bolting up right as he is jolted awake. I exaggerate movements to bring more life and character than the live action reference.My training in animation was traditional. There is discipline and patience required to do the many drawings necessary for animation. but with practice the sheer number of drawings falls away. By studying these actions. The years of technical training become second nature as my character starts to climb out of the page and into the lap of the audience. breathing friend. my thumbnail drawings comfort me as they are the blueprints for the action of these characters as I begin to animate my scene. the first thing I notice is the attitude of the boy in the main poses (or key frames). I draw quick abstract lines and shapes that will rip across the screen. Miraculously. The characters begin to move so slightly that the movement is almost unintelligible on a single frame.

Here’s the message that came with the photo: Subject line: Miss Barbie found dead according to Newaygo County Medical Examiner. I received a very distressing photo and an email from the Newaygo County Medical Examiner’s office (aka: my Mom and Dad). I could tell they wanted proof. you will be notified.I. . What started as a simple quest to find the bag turned into an unorthodox correspondence. Never owned one.com It all started when I told my writing partners about a very unusual Barbie doll accessory we used to play with as kids. tenatively titled. The next day. My father was a medical examiner and my mother served as his office manager. No. If and when we get a final answer to the cause and time of death. seriously. Forensic Speak: How to Write Realistic Crime Dramas upcoming from www. I mean. If this office can be of any further help in your investigation. with Michael Wiese Productions. who “plays coroner” with their Barbies? Okay. I and my two sisters helped out. college professor. Never seen one. Forensic Speak. office from their home. Mattel does not manufacture Barbie body bags. She is currently penning a forensic science guide for writers. They had never heard of it before. Therefore the medical examiner was notified. Within a matter of minutes emails about Miss Barbie’s demise were bouncing around between us. Message: We are sorry to inform you that little Miss Barbie was found lying in her case without any obvious signs of what caused her death. and children’s book author. #2.E. 78 « jennifer dornbush Jennifer Dornbush is a film & TV writer. #1. #3. Ours was a sample from a medical supply vendor. please do not hesitate to contact us. BARBIE JENNIFER DORNBUSH author. crime scribe.P. Not being able to recall where it last ended up.TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE R. forensic science maven. first.mwp. He came to examine the scene and then packaged her up in this adorable “Barbie body bag” to be taken off to the morgue for examination and autopsy. I emailed my family to ask who was in current ownership of… the Barbie body bag. a few things you need to know about my family before you step into email chain. They ran the M.

First came denial…. “I’m tired of driving Skipper everywhere in the convertible. Records now indicate that she was “Skipper. From: Sherlock Holmes Graeser (my youngest sister): I am sorry to hear of Skipper’s death.E. From: Sherlock Holmes Graeser (my youngest sister): I disagree with your evaluation of the crime. not Barbie. From: The M.’s Office: The official autopsy report is in and the M. We will consider this case closed. jennifer dornbush » 79 . She has reason to believe Malibu poisoned Skipper at their Dreamhouse. Skipper’s best friend confided that Skipper had an acrimonious relationship with Ken’s new wife. Steven. Malibu Barbie. She had no one to play with. From: The M. Then came suspicion and blame…. Detective. From: Detective DeVries (my middle sister): Reports from witnesses state that Skipper was cat walking down the runway when her arch enemy dropped the disco ball on her. we were given answers….] Finally. She languished away from lack of attention until she just gave up the ghost. From: Reporter Dornbush (me): From the photo you sent. During a recent interview.E. no one to pay any attention to her. She was rushed to the hospital where her arch enemy switched her IV to pain meds. we arrived at acceptance….’s Office: This email is to correct a grave error on our part about the name and person of the deceased in the white body bag in the pictures that were recently sent to you. [I wonder though if this was mom’s way of telling us to get our old toys out of her house. He was overheard complaining to his spray-tanned friend.E. From: Reporter Dornbush (me): My sources familiar with the matter said Ken had a hand in her demise. that looks like Skipper. but am delighted to see how well the white body bag goes with her ‘70s style. Causing Skipper to hallucinate and stumble out into the hallway in front of the candy striper’s cart causing a fatal hematoma.” Barbie’s little sister. It has come to our attention that we were mistaken in the identity of the person in the body bag. Please confirm her identity. We do apologize for the mistaken identity and our office will do better in the future to make sure we have the correct identity of the person/s that our office is required to investigate. Doesn’t she know how much gas costs these days?!” Soon. has found that after being shut up in that case for several years Skipper died from an acute case of loneliness. From: Detective DeVries: Please pass along our condolences to the remaining family of Miss Skipper. She was well-preserved and stylish to the very end. no one to take her places. flowered halter top dress.

In the mean time. I will run a flattering obituary in this Sunday’s paper. 80 « jennifer dornbush . His name was Sam. A plaque hanging on the wall to the entrance of my office reminds me: Home is where your story begins. if sometimes.From: Reporter Dornbush: I accept your official document on this matter. in my home. But it wasn’t always so. But that’s for another story. Write from that placed you call home. gallows humor. And now.] Now. but will continue into the investigation as journalism integrity compels me to do. literally. Before I started to fictionalize the skeleton in my closet. it makes you cringe. I’ve embraced my uncanny childhood and it’s warped influence on me. It also prompted me to launch my MWP book on forensics for TV & film writers. Especially. it has become the fodder for much of my storytelling. we had a family skeleton. [And yes. I spent years trying to keep it there. Such are the antics of a coroner’s family. The world of forensic science is a familiar home to me because it was. because not everyone appreciates quirky. It’s a simple artist’s mantra.

In addition to producing documentary films. Radiance. Producing With Passion available at www. I made a film about her using oxygen in an unusually bold way. In 1977. Some of the most intimate material happens after the original questions you brought to the interview are answered. Each roll gave us ten minutes of filming time. a laptop. All you need is a video camera. The Internet provides an ease of distribution that was unheard of 35 years ago. goes to exercise class. My sister has emphysema. would cost $1. The story that Rosalie told in that second hour was riveting. It was probably what led to the film’s Oscar nomination. dorothy fadiman » 81 . Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker who has been making films since 1976. engaging stories. If we were shooting 16mm film today.amazon. She takes a whole tank with her wherever she goes. I asked my cameraman Daniel to turn the camera on again. Now.com Modern technology empowers documentary filmmakers as never before. Many people with COPD don’t go out at all. I used to carry 16 mm films on metal reels in metal cans (about ten pounds) from conference to conference to show my films in order to promote them. on 400-foot rolls of 16mm film. and shops in the supermarket with her oxygen tank. Dorothy teaches. an hour’s worth of 16mm film. Documentary Filmmaking is Affordable Documentary filmmaking is more affordable now than ever before.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS DOROTHY FADIMAN co-author. and trains interns in filmmaking. plus processing. and a strong wireless signal. 2.560. She teaches. I produced my first film. Her films have been shown on PBS and at venues throughout the world.mwp. While making the film When Abortion Was Illegal we had put the camera away when Rosalie Sorrels began to share a heart-rending story. leads workshops.com and www. 1. With these resources. Distribution Is Easy Dorothy Fadiman is an Oscar-nominated. all it takes to upload a film to the Internet is a few key strokes. you can weave the powerful moments of life into vibrant. A one-hour digital tape costs $4 — and you don’t have to process anything! I love being able to afford to shoot that second hour in a long interview.

This film was a personal love letter that I never promoted. My editor uploaded the film to several sites including Y ouTube. Breathe Easy has now had more than 22,000 viewings on one of those sites.
3. DVDs are a Filmmaker’s Dream Come True

The lowly DVD is a simple, compact and inexpensive way to package your film for sale. Filmmakers can screen their films for a group, give a talk afterward, and sell DVDs of the film in the back of the room. The film Stealing America: Vote by Vote tells how electronic voting machines can be programmed to produce a fraudulent election result. When I’ve shown it to large groups, I sell hundreds of DVDs. People say “I have got to show this to so and so…” We have sold thousands of DVDs this way to people who want to share the film with others.
4. Research at a Keystroke

Good research is the heart of a documentary. Research that used to take days, weeks, and months is now at your fingertips! I remember researching progressive education for Why Do These Kids Love School?. I wanted learn as much as I could about John Dewey’s philosophy of education. I spent months in the library reading dozens of articles, dog-eared books and old magazines. I carefully checked each reference, and Xeroxed the pages one by one. A few minutes ago, I asked Google to tell me about John Dewey, and got more than two million leads.
5. A Hunger for Meaningful Media

People are hungry for meaningful, well-researched, engaging media. With a few notable exceptions, the mainstream media is simply not providing it. A vivid example is the film Moment by Moment. After a spinal cord injury sustained in a car wreck, a woman was told she would never move again from the shoulders down. She and her husband share intimate details of her rehabilitation, including their sex life. She is making medical history as she learns to walk again. Seeing this film is uplifting; it gives people hope about their own ability to surmount obstacles.
6. The Proliferation of Media Devices

The geometric increase in the number of media devices like smart phones, iPads and lightweight computers, means that people can watch your films whenever and wherever they want. Seeds of Hope is a five film series about AIDS in Africa. It runs a total of 2½ hours. Friends and colleagues tell me they’ve taken the whole series along to watch during long plane trips.

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7. Telling The Truth

More and more, people feel that the corporate media is lying to them. They sense that what they see is being cleverly manipulated and spun. People want the real story. One of the most disenfranchised populations in the United States are Native Americans. The film Reclaiming their Voice enters the Pueblos and meets with people in their homes. Viewers can watch them speak frankly about the inequality of their voting experiences.
8. The Rise of Conscious Media

Since the 1960s, growth groups, personal development workshops, and the acceptance of psychotherapy have prepared people for films that reveal a person’s inner journey. The film Shattering the Myth of Aging begins with the story of a man in his sixties who decides to become stronger. By the time he reaches seventy, he has become a gold medalist in the Senior Olympics.
9. Finding and Creating a Community

Internet forums — like the digital video forum DVinfo — give filmmakers access to hundreds of professional filmmakers and passionate amateurs. People share ideas, solve problems, and comfort and inspire each other. In addition to forums, there is the whole world of social media and blogs where filmmakers use Facebook, Twitter, and hundreds of other services to create community.
10. Online Education

Y can get a world-class education online, and learn from the finest minds in film. The ou only price of admission is a wireless signal and a laptop. The new MWP Online Film School is an outstanding example of this. I have decided to teach classes there. I hope to see you in class one day!

dorothy fadiman » 83

PAMELA JAYE SMITH author, Inner Drives,The Power of the Dark Side, and Symbols . Images . Codes available at www.amazon.com and www.mwp.com
1. You get to play god.

Y create entirely new worlds, people, and situations and manipuou late them any way you wish. If you don’t like the way something is going, just hit “delete” and start over. Better yet, save those scenes to recycle them. Sometimes “Life Imitates Art.” Don’t just write what you know, write what you want to see and experience. It quite often comes true.
2. You can travel the world at other people’s expense.

I’ve worked in the Arctic, the Andes, and SE Asia, straddled the equator in Ecuador and received a dead-bird necklace from a (hopefully) former cannibal tribe, slept in a grass hut at the foot of a volcano, driven an Army tank as well as the largest deep-water rig in the Gulf of Mexico, met a Chinese Cultural Attaché who went on to a very high position in that country, flown first class around the Orient courtesy of Pan Am.
3. Time Travel.

Going backward or forward in time and place can be enchanting as well as difficult. Coming up with the appropriate location, sets, props, and wardrobe for an historical piece or an other-dimension sci-fi requires both imagination and good research. Writing the stories can be almost like being there as your imagination runs wild. Being on the sets is better than virtual reality because you truly are there in your full physical self.
Pamela Jaye Smith is a writer, international consultant and speaker, and award-winning producer/director, and founder of Mythworks.

4. Instant Gratification.

Though it takes a good while to write a good script the actual production of a movie, series episode, commercial, or documentary is fast compared to the rest of regular life. Some people spend months and years on a corporate or civic project without seeing solid results.

84 « pamela jaye smith

Today’s technology offers many low-budget ways to create media. and cast. how cool is it to get paid to do what you love to do and get free food on the sets all day long? 8. TV series offer solid good employment but are often sneered at for banality.Filmmakers see results the first day the cameras roll and see end results relatively quickly. and paint? How long to excavate and pave a sunken race track in the desert? Is it more efficient to build an electrical turntable for a car or just get the grips to move the stage like Egyptians building pyramids? How long do camera batteries last in eighty-below weather? (Seven minutes. The intellectual. So is the money. Though web series and blogs get a lot of attention and some actually get “picked up” by a sponsor or studio. What was the Cuban underground like in 1948? What kind of rifles would rebels in the Brazilian rain forests have used in 1907? What’s the difference between a psychopath. and of having gone “through production wars” together makes for very tight friendships and quite often. glue. physical. a sociopath. focused on a single creative vision. Good money. Y ou have to think on the fly. and a fatal plane crash during a gasoline commercial. Some challenges I’ve seen: a flooded food-prep kitchen on a fast-food commercial. and keep everything running smoothly. research leads you to fascinating information in often quite exotic places. has an emotional affect that people who haven’t done it simply cannot understand. Something unexpected is always going to happen. To quote from Apocalypse Now. The pressure of working at your best for long hours. or sometimes total strangers. be prepared to deal with consequences. 5. Similar to how warriors bond in combat. cable series are new content darlings but the pay scale is often lower. 7. Part of the magic of movies is that speedy journey from concept to creation. “Charlie’s always out there” — a military variant of Murphy’s Law. That sense of specialness. Depending on what aspect of the industry you’re working in you can make rather good money doing what you enjoy. Intellectual challenges and problem-solving. pamela jaye smith » 85 . even though they may not pay as well as commercials or some TV series. Typically commercials pay the most but don’t get a lot of respect. Increased knowledge about wide-ranging topics. and a psychotic? How can you create I-beams out of foam core. Styrofoam balls. collaborating with people you know. people on productions tend to form intense and lasting relationships. like building a plane while you’re flying it. 6. and emotional challenges called upon to save the day happen all across crew. the real professionalism is still higher up the food chain. act decisively. features are still the Mount Olympus of the media industry. staff. Intense and lasting relationships. romantic relationships. of a unique language.) Whether writing or in production. Y end each ou day knowing something substantial has been accomplished. Regardless. the location owner’s dog slain by our stunt dog.

and performance be it on the page.” Learning to deal with them gives you life skills to apply anywhere else. Toss in some movie stars. or on a set. “On a film set you can be an asshole. When it works well it’s an amazing alchemy. but rest assured they’re probably quite talented and smart. 10. über-talented creatives. especially if you move around on the food chain and learn what it’s like to work in different departments.” The smooth running of that system is exhilarating to be part of. Glamour and Magic. but you can’t be an idiot. Sometimes you’ll have to work with decidedly off-putting people. on stage. As the saying goes. clever and competent crews and you have the recipe for very rewarding experiences bringing imagination to life and inspiring the imaginations of your audiences. There’s something magical about creativity. 86 « pamela jaye smith . art. Choosing the correct writing partner is vitally important to turning out a good script and to keeping your sanity. there’s a chain of command on a film set that makes everything run efficiently.9. Certainly there can be collaboration but it’s best to have just one “decider. Develop your people skills. Just as in the military.

or topping off a skyscraper. but writing is really terrifying. Hicks is an L.TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE DYNAMIC UNCERTAINTY: INQUIRY INTO SCREEN STORY NEILL D. the skyscraper. If you’ve ever put pen to paper you know that writing is one of the most frightening professions you can undertake. the more likely you are to make big discoveries. Oh. countless research hours in the literature and history of cinema — and no clue about how to write a feature film. But the act of writing never quite lives up to that precious vision in your imagination.com and www. HICKS author. There were none of the now ubiquitous screenwriting classes.amazon. sure. I arrived in Hollywood with advanced degrees in film. where Philip Marlowe would have been right at home. working out of a second floor walk-up office at the sleazy end of Hollywood Blvd. But it was this lack of knowledge that made me dive headlong into the unknown. technique. and Writing the Action Adventure Film available at www. Rumble in the Bronx and First Strike. Nevertheless. At the time. Writing is always a go-for-broke gamble on uncertainty. or plunking down a few mil on the latest IPO may cause you to catch your breath once or twice. Syd Field hadn’t sparked the explosion of how-to books. At least with the kitten. hicks » 87 . the more comfortable you become with not knowing. neill d.com Not so long ago. based professional screenwriter whose credits include two of the biggest action-adventure films of all time. Instead of crimes.A.Writing the Thriller Film.mwp. Putting words on the page demands the compromise of creative give-and-take decisions. and raw anxiety. Screenwriting 101. rescuing a kitten from a burning building. and getting your hands on a genuine studio screenplay was practically a criminal offense. So I became a kind of detective. The breathtaking confrontation with the unknown is what makes writing a wizard’s brew of intuition. solid experience in documentary production and network broadcasting. I investigated movies in search of what makes a story resonate with the Neill D. you’ll know for sure when you’ve achieved straightforward success or failure. and the IPO.

We are the creators of something out of nothing that must be shaped to fit the patterns embedded in the human psyche. We’re creative filmmakers who just want to tell good stories that engage an audience. They provide satisfaction. Within a year of poking through the nooks and crannies. troubadours. unlike real life. Ours is an earned instinct born of the dynamic uncertainty that makes us take the risk of telling lies to reveal truth. and dramatists throughout the ages have had to sign onto the same bargain between storyteller and audience. Humans need the predictable reassurance that solid narrative creates. Of course. Exactly. This Danger. They know when something doesn’t feel right. so that in addition to my own writing. raconteurs. but that within the context of a story we can allow ourselves to experience a range of intense emotions precisely because. But writers are not social scientists or brain researchers. the attempt to objectify a process that is essentially mysterious produced even more uncertainty. Even more important. audiences have an inbred recognition for a story that is out of whack. but to justify to themselves how they operate in that world. neuroscience and social psychology are discovering increasing evidence that humans use these internal narratives not only to interpret the world.audience. my discoveries overflowed into three books published by the dynamically certain Michael Wiese Productions. shamans. The more I followed up on the clues. Naturally. Will Robinson! signal is a human evolutionary adaptation. that-will-happen mind-template allows us to predict behavior. hicks . I saw my first screenplay produced — and the experience sent me scuttling back into dynamic uncertainty to figure out why it didn’t happen the way I wanted it to. Stories are the devices that the mind uses to make sense of the world. That isn’t to say that a given story is predictable. the more I began to understand a fundamental truth about stories. We are the flip side of that human desire for wholeness. and alerts us to unfamiliar hazards. Over time. I set out to teach others. the investigation of the uncertain became a mode of working. and all the bards. we trust that the story will resolve in a satisfying way. In fact. Eventually. those books have generated even more questions for me as a story sleuth. 88 « neill d. The if-this-happens.

Anthropological Delights Helen Jacey is a professional screenwriter with over ten years experience in the UK film industry. And you’ll love yourself for no more ‘if ou’ only. at the bus top. Experts To-Go Doctors and dentists don’t bump into people who have great ideas for surgery or the latest design of implants.. our helen jacey » 89 .com 1. Making A Difference Y work will change someone’s life. 7. 9. But if you want an audiou ence you need to… 6. …Get a thick skin A tough hide keeps all manner of unwanted ills out. Test of Love Who else would chain you to a chair. Make ‘em Laugh A job where you are paid to entertain? Dream come true. your es.amazon. every time. 10. bring you coffee to alleviate your mental torture. Being a filmmaker means you’ll run into experts on the street.. Y inner artist our will be protected. By the time you’re on your third draft. Feeling the Fear Y re going to do it anyway. The Woman in the Story available at www.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS HELEN JACEY author. at the store — all who can tell your story even better than you! And giving pro bono consultancy! 8. 4. Do you mind you don’t have a choice? Not at all. 5. Third Draft Thighs Y thighs not highs.. Gaining the physique of Shrek or Fiona means you’re really making progress.mwp. Creative Freedom Y can tell any story you want. Draining. A keeper.’ 2. and listen to your mid-point dilemmas? Y our loving partner. and you can keep smiling and get ahead. Y don’t have to watch Terra Nova or Jurassic Park to see Darwin’s theou ory of ‘survival of the fittest’ in practice — just become a filmmaker. your way. She has sold or had optioned all her spec screenplays and has been commissioned to write numerous screenplays for UK and European Film Production Companies. Self-respect Filmmakers have to give it their best. thighs can be showing the strain of sitting for hours. 3.com and www. yes? Do you have a choice? No. that’s who.

.mwp. what with iPods. Ken Rotcop produces Pitchmart™. 3. Y get to write a book for Michael Wiese Publishers that goes ou on your desk next to all the overdue bills you can’t pay from making your movie! 90 « ken rotcop ..” 9. His screenwriting workshop was the subject of a feature-length documentary.amazon.. NOT! Down to your last 20 dollars.. Pitching Guru. It’s better than getting a “real job. anybody with a camera can write.com Now that there are so many avenues open to new filmmakers. Talk Fast. 1. which has won various film festival awards. and produce his own epic! Here are the top ten reasons to become a nouveau auteur: 10.. 6. direct. Y ouTubes... The Perfect Pitch — 2nd Edition available at www. Most recently STARZ network produced a two-part series on Ken Rotcop. 8. 4.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS KEN ROTCOP author. and Hulu-dot-coms.com and www.. they don’t turn down ANYBODY! Even shy guys can pick up girls with “wanna be in my movie?!” There are so many actors out of work they will PAY YOU to be in your film! Y drive hot cars. star. Girls gravitate to guys who call themselves “filmmakers. 7. AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON why you should make a film. 2. you can take your film to Sundance and rub elbows with other filmmakers down to their last 20 dollars! 5. Hollywood’s biggest screenplay pitch event. date hot starlets.” Y get to make a poster of your movie to hang on your bedou room wall! Y can always run your film on Y ou ouTube. and give dozens of interviews.” Guys gravitate to girls who call themselves “filmmakers... walk the red carpet at ou premieres.

com and www. you don’t hear the reverb and echo in the room — just their clear voice.com We tend to think of filmmaking as an additive process. producer. If we’re at all honest (and taking chances as a filmmaker) we know the truth: we might fail. We type words onto a page.mwp. animator. in honor of Seth Godin (and his evil twin. and Virgil Donati. Marco Minnemann. seemingly amplified. So we add. Fill the void. It’s really an evolutionary / survival mechanism. fill our hard drives with footage — starting with nothing. And those edits between shots will be atrocious. We know we have to prove ourselves. But. buy equipment. toilet tanks. We might suck. Magical organic devices in your skull automatically filter out static background sounds like air conditioners. the rumble of traffic — stuff in your environment that’s uninteresting or unimportant. right now. you should be aware of something called The Cocktail Party Effect. marching up and down the stairs of hiss and static: KHHH! carl king » 91 . Again.WHAT TO SUBTRACT FROM YOUR FILMMAKING TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE CARL KING author. and end with something. Under the names Sir Millard Mulch and Dr. today. Y also automatically ignore reflections from hard ou surfaces — so that when someone speaks. add. It’s the emptiness at the beginning of a project that terrifies us. It’s a good kind of auditory illusion. an ability to omit perceptual information serves you well in everyday life. and writer.You’re a Creative Genius… Now What?. add. The Sphinx from Mystery Men) we can flip it around and realize that the process is also… Subtractive. Things you didn’t notice while recording will be obnoxiously loud. Unwanted Sound When recording sound. But when you play a recording back. So here are three things you can always subtract from your filmmaking: 1. available at www. hire actors. so that you notice only the things that change or move.amazon. all of that noise and ambience will be brought to the foreground. he has recorded or performed with Creative Genius musicians such as Devin Townsend. Carl King is a director. So. Zoltan. Fill the hole.

Psychologically. Bionic Stands Against A Big. Use an external mic and get it as close as you can to the actors / action. Bionic. Bionic and the Cage Full of Green Monkeys From Venus? Then get back and include the whole Cage Full of Green Monkeys From Venus. Someone who just doesn’t prepare for life. even for a few frames. Unwanted Visuals Learn to frame your shots by trimming (or including!) background information. And if you work with them. Fade/cut while Mr. bad choices. for example.” are making excuses for their bad habits. lazy). and looking around nervously as you adjust your shaky camera. here’s one way to do it. Boring Wall. and does it not matter where he is? Then get in close and pick a background that’s neutral and vague. as if they were truly meant to succeed in spite of all their carefree. 92 « carl king . Bionic is still 100% in character. It makes them feel special. Don’t make it worse. 3. you’ll be throwing a large percentage of your time and energy into their black hole of incompetence. No one wants to see Mr. 2. Get rid of that nonsense. All it really does is sabotage their work — and yours. But your subject probably isn’t Mr. Bionic. Y have to train yourself to be aware of all sounds ou in your environment to avoid this. Is the subject Mr. And remember that when people watch your movie at home (or on a phone / laptop during a plane flight). scratching his nose. they do it because they get a rush and ego boost by narrowly escaping disasters. “I feed off the chaos. assistants you work with (we have judgment for a reason). directors. writers. Decide what your subject is. In post. potentially distracting them from your film. Don’t break the illusion of Mr. edit out the extra junk before and after The Action.Kssshhhhh… KHHHHH! Kssshhhh. That’s a person who would risk compound problems later rather than solving simple problems now. Unless you’re trying to be intentionally artsy (in other words. on a basic adult level. Running out of gas on the freeway (just because they didn’t bother to fill up). Unwanted People If you’re going to judge the actors. People who say. Be judgmental. Is it Mr. Bionic licking his lips. Notice the types of problems they choose to have in their lives. Subtract these three things and you will make remarkable improvements in the quality of any filmmaking project. they’ll have their own Cocktail Party Effect to deal with.

using this itsy-bitsy camera that didn’t require a lab and a week’s wait. who shot Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s film. the actress didn’t die that day. and for the entire shoot — a camera that was half the size of an iPhone. however. We eventually finished the film. Morgan Pierre Susser. pulled out the camera he was going to use for the scene. nor did the director’s bank account. know if it was quality or not.mwp. Now here we were. todd klick » 93 . We were able to finish the film in reasonable time for little Screenwriter. and made it into festivals.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS TODD KLICK author. expensive nightmare it was. cement channel that straddles each side of the thin L. River. A Hollywood stunt coordinator we hired for the day rigged a teenage actress so she could “safely” toe the edge of that scary railing. but I still carry the wounds from that experience. Todd (whose screenplays have earned him recognition with the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship and the PAGE International screenplay competitions) currently has three options for his latest feature-length screenplays. was the horrifying moments when the expensive film returned from the lab and we discovered we had to reshoot entire scenes because of overexposed film. safe.A. on schedule. Along those hard high banks is where Paramount filmed the famous car race for the movie Grease back in the late ‘70s. We could instantly see what we shot. Seeing that tiny camera reminded me of ten years earlier when I led a crew of twelve out into the Pennsylvania woods to film a short I had written called The Rut. and help that actress down from the railing much more quickly. directed by my 4-time Emmy-nominated friend. Far below us was the wide. What a time-consuming. on paper. and author Todd Klick is VP and Director of Story Development for White Oak Films. straddling the railing of the 6th Street Bridge near downtown Los Angeles. making it appear she was contemplating a suicide jump. As a result. That’s when the cinematographer.amazon. a decade later. We were shooting a short film at that same location.com and www. What stood out in my mind from that month.com I thought she was gonna fall to her death. producer. Matt Ogens (Confessions of a Superhero). I was still concerned for her well-being. Outside of his work with White Oak. Hesher. and the girl was. Though I knew the stunt coordinator was top-notch. There we were. We lugged a heavy 16-millimeter camera up and down rocky terrain for four weekends of grueling 15-hour days. Something Startling Happens available at www.

Free social media promotes our work. There’s great books that show us how. 5. 94 « todd klick . 10. There are no more excuses. Doesn’t matter how old we are. 7. The world is our audience (through the Internet). literally. Fun new gadgets to experiment with. We save damsels in distress. So my top 10 reasons why it’s great to be a filmmaker (especially today) are: 1. Instant email or cell phone access to crew. 2. 9. We can tell any story we want wherever we are. Tons of film festivals to choose from. 4.money. 3. We have easy access to high-quality equipment. 6. The experience made me appreciate what special times we live in as filmmakers: We have the world in our palms. and get amazing footage without reshoots. 8.

amazon.com and www. and transparency. Y ou’re Y ouTube ready. Opens doors to new worlds and interesting opportunities. 6. 8. Everyone who is not a filmmaker thinks they want to trade places with you. 7. Great conversation starter at parties. 9. facilitator. tolerance. Cost of entry has gone way down. Morrie Warshawski is a consultant. 5. It’s a visual world.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS MORRIE WARSHAWSKI author. 2. and writer who specializes in helping nonprofit organizations on issues of strategic planning. His work is characterized by a commitment to the core values of creativity. It’s sexy! 1. No dress code. Makes you popular at weddings and bar mitzvahs.com 10. morrie warshawski » 95 . Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. thoughtfulness.mwp. 4. 3. Shaking the Money Tree — 3rd Edition available at www.

and producer for the past ten years. In one case. to tell a story. could I do the same with my own camera? I found that I could. and the development of additional Master Shots applications. was tiny. once I knew the secret. but I wanted to learn. which features John Hurt and Suzanna Hamilton. so I got hold of an 8mm camera and started experimenting.mwp. even devastated. Going to other movie locations over the next twenty years or so helped me to unlock the secret code that filmmakers use. and seeing how the filmmakers captured them. They walk to the edge of a woodland and look out over a Christopher Kenworthy has worked as a writer. although beautiful. If they could turn a simple island into a place of magical adventure.com and www. I love going to places where movies were made. flatter and far less impressive than it did in the film. Current projects include screenwriting. and camera moves that enhance the meaning and emotion of a scene. 96 « christopher kenworthy . ou The secret is that you don’t just point your camera.TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE SECRETS ON AN ISLAND CHRISTOPHER KENWORTHY author. This is why being a filmmaker is magical. though. In the film it seemed enormous and spacious. is that the general public are often disappointed. you take a real place (or a set) and make it as impressive as a dream.amazon. when they discovered that a movie location looks duller. which I’d seen a couple of weeks before. When you imagine a scene clearly. director. directing several assignments. Y make it hyper-real. Wild Cat Island. This is what I’ve tried to show in the Master Shots books. it takes a few simple choices and techniques to create the exact effect you want. It was a thrill to stand in the place where such a joyous film had been made. careful positioning of camera and actors. the search for a location took me over 25 years. One thing I’ve noticed. Master Shots Vol 1 and Master Shots Vol 2 available at www. capture the scene and hope for the best. but I was instantly aware that filmmakers had powers that were almost magical. in the English Lake District. He directed the feature film The Sculptor. which played to sold-out screenings in Australia and received strong reviews.com At the age of nine I stumbled across an island used in the film Swallows and Amazons. There’s a scene in Nineteen Eighty-Four. How had they achieved this illusion? 2nd edition available April 2012 At the time I had no idea how it was done. Filmmakers transform the world through clever lens choice.

My search was fruitless for decades. Although I found hills and valleys that were good candidates. is magic. and then whether you build a set. What’s more. the film that got me started. It’s a simple trick that you can do on any budget. Without this exaggeration the world is diminished and flattened by the time it reaches the screen. There never was a woodland there.strange hill. This discovery was just as exciting as the one I’d made as a child. we exaggerate images and emotions. The joy of film-making is that you start with a script. by anybody’s standards. To tell a story with any degree of truth. none of them had forests or woods in the right place. A lesser filmmaker might never have thought to raise the actors a few feet off the gourd. or just raise your actors off the ground a few feet. with a few apple crates if that’s the only option. the crew have positioned a few branches around them to create the illusion of trees. Eventually I saw what should have been obvious from the beginning. But it works. which gives a slightly better angle on the view behind them. And that. only small adjustments are needed to make an image perfect. you reveal the world in a way that it has never been seen before. and it’s worth the effort. The ordinary was changed into the extraordinary by looking at it from a slightly different angle. and when they walk out onto the hill. modify a location. I wanted to find the location because it is a stunning scene and because Suzanna Hamilton was also in Swallows and Amazons. This is why I love filmmaking. It made me see that when a filmmaker has an extremely clear vision. The scene in the woods was shot somewhere else. they aren’t walking out on the hill itself but are standing on a raised platform. christopher kenworthy » 97 .

and counselor. 98 « ld thompson . a tendency to scout about on the edge of the known culture for new trends and the great stories that illustrate how we. as a teacher. he dedicated his life to deepening the transformation that he experienced. as a species. are evolving. she had gone to visit her parents and knowing their political predilections had asked them how they had voted on Prop 8.com After the Proposition 8 debacle in California when voters were allowed to legislate against the rights of same sex couples to marry. after the Prop 8 vote. As a result.amazon. we are privileged enough to come back and report. advisor.S. gay. The trip challenged my mind and my body and demanded of me that I remain open and curious. and England. I’m es. There was an uncomfortable silence. LD travels the world working with individuals. In her introduction she related how. tolerant and flexible. The amount of learning that took place in that journey could not be duplicated in any classroom. Then. A film that I began working on in 2006 (and am still working on!).’ Both of her parents then said. There is often. Australia. in a filmmaker.com and www. ‘Y mom.mwp. groups. a profoundly mystical experience initiated LD Thompson’s spiritual journey. As filmmakers we have an opportunity to function as ‘consciousness scouts. Veils: Islam Through Women’s Eyes. what we discovered out there on that edge. The organizer of the screening was a beautiful young woman who introduced the mayor of Los Angeles that evening. ‘Of course it would have made a difference..WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS LD THOMPSON author. It also illustrates handily one of the other great reasons to be a filmmaker. through the medium of film. We traveled to Afghanistan to shoot several of the stories that we are telling in the film. and corporations in the U. She then said to them. That little domestic scene sums up for me one of the most compelling reasons to be a filmmaker — being a part of the cultural dialogue in a unique and affecting way. The Message: A Guide to Being Human available at www. the documentary on marriage equality that I produced in 2010. The film was a call to action that this woman took into a most personal act — coming out to her parents. reveals many of the reasons why being a filmmaker is compelling to me. Germany. there was a screening in Hollywood of for my wife…. ‘would it have made any difference to your vote if you knew someone who was gay?’ After another silence her mother said ‘are you trying to tell us something?’ And she said. Japan..’ In his twenties. I have always felt a participant in a global community — another benefit of being a filmmaker — but after that trip my global awareness grew by light years. and to integrating the knowledge and wisdom he received.

3.. it doesn’t get better than this. This. dream and awaken again and through it all. Y become a part of a global community. Films mimic dreams in many ways and so you become more aware of the illusion of life. here they are: MY TOP TEN REASONS WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER… 1. To contribute to that dialogue in a meaningful way. Y have to remain curious. Naturally. ou 7. ou 2. scores of people adopt it and begin to innovate from it. Y explore consciousness in a way that is very palpable. 8. is the highest and best use of the medium. ld thompson » 99 . Y teach … you share your findings from out on the edge of cultural consciousness with ou your audience. that filmmakers are involved in an art that has a highly technical component and the speed at which the technology evolves increases every day. to connect with others and. It is a profound privilege and it is an enormous responsibility. but not the least. The process of taking on a new project and exploring the nuances of human consciousness in that new project often reflects the philosophy that ‘life is but a dream’ and reveals the illusion of life at the same moment as it lays bare the basic truths of human nature. hopefully. So you dream and awaken and take into your own life the things you’ve learned from that project. ou 4. for me. 10. 9. ou 6. As soon as an innovation has been implemented in the industry. tangible whether you’re working ou with actors or subjects (as in documentaries). I feel. you have to pick yourself ou up and move onto the next. Filmmakers have a stellar opportunity to teach… to lead the consciousness of the culture in a very visceral way. films are at the very core of our cultural dialogue. So. When one project is ‘in the can’ the process begins all over again and diving into a new project requires entering a unique and often dream-like world. We live in a culture in which. Which brings me to the last. help make the world a better place. Once a film is done. to grow and change in the process. Y have to continually reinvent yourself.. Y challenge your brain to keep up with all the innovations in technology and storytellou ing techniques. Let’s not forget as well. great thing about being a filmmaker.One of the most noticeable things about the filmmakers is that they continually have to reinvent themselves. Y become more tolerant. by prompting profound new awareness. Frankly. the illusionary nature of life becomes more apparent. The result is a dizzying speed of evolution that requires that the brain be nimble and capable of adapting. I believe that even in horror films or gross-out comedy there are ‘teaching moments’ but most certainly each one of us can reflect back on significant films that have changed our lives and changed our minds. Y enter the cultural dialogue in a very unique and active way. ou 5. the exercise pays dividends by building new pathways in the brain making it healthier. Y learn.

and he’s not making anything either. If you’re making something on your own dime. but it’s your crapshoot. with an eye toward the new folks: 10. The first day of shooting sucked.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS TROY DEVOLLD author. and I’ve always come away from the experience with something. so what are you out? Twenty.com and www. Here’s a quick rundown of my top ten reasons it’s great to be filmmaker. as well as multiple seasons with MTV’s Fear.com I know. ABC’s Dancing With The Stars. Totally worth it. 8. 7. I know. But this is the age of digital. only learning. fifty. It’s a crapshoot. The knowledge that your boorish detractor has been neutralized. there are some amazing people out there who can help you translate your vision more articulately and to a more nuanced end.mwp. Okay.The light bulb moment when you understand the value of collaboration. Y know the guy who overhears you talking about movies with ou your friends and gives you the never-ending razz about how all you do is talk about making something? That guy’s a putz. okay. The Surreal Life. All you have to do is make one thing. Troy DeVolld has been working fulltime in the reality television arena for more than a decade. 100 « troy devolld .amazon. and Flipping Out. He shared an “Outstanding Special Class Series” Daytime Emmy nomination for his work on Style Network’s Split Ends and counts among his credits turns on The Osbournes. you and your team of friends (who are also most likely your fellow investors) are only responsible to each other when it comes to the final product. you’d be hailed as a genius to realizing that wow. There is a magical thing that happens to you when you go from thinking that if you could just do everything the way you wanted to. hoping you’ll get into some festivals and get noticed. 9. or a hundred bucks and some time? Did you learn anything? Of course you did. and VH1’s Basketball Wives. I’ve also pitched in with friends and fellow filmmakers on their pet projects and my own microbudget efforts just for fun. The realization that there is no failure. Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market available at www. What does the Reality TV guy have to say about filmmaking? In addition to the hundreds of hours of reality content I’ve helped along over the years.

A little planning ahead of time goes a long way toward keeping everyone happy. for the first time.6. Understanding yourself. 4. the value of preproduction. like. 2. Finally knowing what people really think of your work. or interactive media. Work toward that. 3. By the eighteenth hour. you guys. Experiencing. that is. Did I mention that it beats working in a bank? Seriously. It beats working in a bank. Experiencing a sense of community among other filmmakers. you’re practically war buddies. react to what scares you. television programs. alert. you now have something to talk about. Also. 1. or cry at the things that move you? Do you simply have an addiction to Dutch angles for which you should seek professional help? Most importantly: finally knowing that you keep a viewer engaged is tremendously empowering. and creative. Y ou’re part of a creative universe that contains everyone from Diablo Cody to David Lynch to Mona May to Mo Henry. Y really get to know your friends around the twelfth hour of a poorly planned first day of ou shooting. and a lousy first assistant director. It would have to be a bank with. a solid writer. a so-so director. Unless you work in a really fun bank. troy devolld » 101 . Is your writing too precious? Does anyone else share your sense of humor. And if you ever run into them or any of the other thousands of people who make films. 5. a water slide in it to be worth it. Y know what I learned about myself during the time I helped friends with their films? ou I’m a great producer. there’s a shot of me from the back in LolliLove that first revealed to me that I had a majorly funky bald spot. games.

They willingly endured the hardships because their dream was worth it. Y don’t have to: ou • When it comes to producing successful movies on a shoestring. see previous entry. Y can tell tales of avoiding military police while ou shooting without permits. Allow me to share a list of the best things you don’t have to do if you’re an indie filmmaker.com The independent filmmakers whom I’ve met and spoken with didn’t start making movies to earn big money. and the conversation launches from there. Grown Men. Instead.amazon. While they may have thought about these possible fringe benefits. (“I’ll be working on my movie.THE “DON’T HAVE TO” OF YOUR DREAMS TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE DALE NEWTON co-author. you’ve spent it taking the next step toward finishing your movie… or selling your movie… or promoting your movie. to hobnob with glamorous people. spend time planning your weekends. and putting out a flaming cabana after a special effect goes wrong. Unexpectedly. or to garner a star on the sidewalk.”) • • • • • 102 « dale newton . two critically acclaimed ultra-lowbudget feature films. Dale Newton and John Gaspard know of what they speak. bother arguing with your spouse about the household budget because you’ll never win that argument again once you’ve spent money making a movie.) go out for drinks with your day-job co-workers. and there are plenty of great things that have come my way as a result. fill your Christmas letters with cute stories about your child or your cat.mwp. a dream to tell a story the way they wanted to tell it… even if it meant working on a beg-and-borrow budget. some of the best things are what I don’t have to do. tell co-workers at your day job that you played video games all weekend. as well as Resident Alien and Beyond Bob. That’s my own story as well. squeezing six people in a Cooper Mini to get a traveling dialogue scene. Digital Filmmaking 101 — 2nd Edition available at www. what really motivated them was a dream. Together they created the awardwinning digital feature.com and www. make small talk at parties. (For the reason. Mention your movie.

They call you to find out when they can see their appearance as extras in your movie. The book and my movies were in my portfolio. contend with a girlfriend who thinks you’re cheating on her. prop handlers. Y ou’re making a movie.”) list boring work experience on your resume. enjoy being unique. explain why you’ve missed family gatherings. set builders. Y ou’re already locked into your choice of format. I was offered my current video-production job in part because I literally wrote the book on low-budget filmmaking.) worry about your weight because you have spent your food money on equipment rentals and food for the cast. read up on the latest video technology. especially not a feature-length movie. clean your apartment since you never leave the edit room long enough to get it dirty. If you’ve paid the hefty membership fee to join this exclusive club. Y ou’ve dragged half the clan along with you to be caterers. location providers. too. ou miss seeing your favorite TV show because you haven’t had time to watch TV since it went digital. be ordinary when you meet new people. call your friends. dale newton » 103 . She knows that all you ever think about anymore is your movie. tonight. and no other candidate had anything close to them for credentials. Even with the arrival of simpler digital production tools.• • go to the cabin/beach/hunting lodge/Hamptons with your neighbors. have a boyfriend. and anything else you could convince them to do. reach old age regretting you didn’t take a shot at your dream. • • • • • • • • • • • Enjoy chasing your dream. Y are so sleep deprived you can fall asleep walking the dog. you can’t afford anything new anyway. (“I’ll be working on my movie. few people have actually completed a movie. Indie filmmaking is a comprehensive life experience. struggle with insomnia. and besides. (Maybe you should pick up some flowers for her on the way home. The cousins and aunts who show up for Thanksgiving will be brainstorming how they can help.

but.amazon. okay. is one of the top voiceover actresses in the country. “How do I break in?” and “It seems so competitive” or even “It looks easy. The voiceover business has not only been extremely lucrative. Google some names. at the same time. “Who does those?” And most importantly. ask around.com and www. I know that I was only 15 years old and living in Kansas City. Making Money in Voiceovers. it was easier to break in ‘locally’ because there were way less actors wanting or knowing about that aspect of the voiceover business. Voiceovers available at www. Today’s market has changed vastly from previous years and times within the voiceover world. Back then actors could make a homemade demo (With the help of a local sound engineer and provided they have an objective idea of how to ‘sell’ and creating ‘mood’ to create different vocal qualities while still being ‘themselves’). sarcastically telling me. I can do that. check out Y ouTube and you come away thinking. I didn’t know at the time that there was only one agent in town and he. the harder you work (In the right way) and the more you work on your ‘tool’ (Learning the craft of the business) the closer you can be to achieving your goal. She is the author of the #1 book in its field.com So you want to do voiceovers? Everyone tells you. “Y have a great ou Voice?” so. It’s also ‘easy’ once you’re working in the business and start to develop relationships and it’s also ‘hard’ to establish those same relationships. to a certain degree. scout the Internet. “Y ou ought to become a secretary!” I walked straight out that door and right into a local production company and asked around. I wondered to myself. you start to do some research. competitive.mwp. although like everything else in life. with thousands of voiceovers recorded over her 30-year career.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A VOICEOVER ARTIST TOP TEN REASONS TERRI APPLE author. “How do I get into voiceovers?” Back then. “How do I break into that!” Okay. had no idea what or how I’d pursue voiceovers. actress and writer. easy to be led down a ‘wrong’ path of the ‘right’ way to do this business. It’s easy to get ripped off. . Assuming you know what that goal is and work with a reputable coach that can guide you down the right path to a successful career in voiceovers! The voiceover business has changed dramatically over the last 30 years! I remember when I started and heard those voices on television. In the ‘old days’ (Ahem.” I’ll bet most of you are thinking the latter and it’s true. himself. when I was in my 20s) the voiceover business was strictly 104 « terri apple Terri Apple. read a few books on the subject.

This means you’re voiceover animation terri apple » 105 . what kind of voiceovers would be best suited for you. People are wondering. just like an actor needs a professional headshot. and has a demo produced. there are ways to go about them to best achieve the goal. I did several non-union voiceover jobs and that eventually led to union voiceover jobs. You can work where you live. agents. but all you do are character voices. Because the business has expanded so dramatically. A lot of companies like to hire LOCALLY and that means that you will be hired simply because you’re THERE and available. You can choose your genre. Once an actors’ gone down the proper road. Really? How can I turn my voice into profit? Today’s economy creates quite a bit of tension and exasperation. your sell and what the market has to offer where you are. but whose counting! Bring ‘em on!) 1. (Actually. even though you’ve booked it living in Cincinnati. unless you work with a coach or class to learn how to do commercial (TV and RADIO) reads. Today the business works a bit differently. This may be a small account or a large campaign that runs throughout the country. where I only make a certain amount of money and barely get by? I understand the frustration of being ‘stuck’ in a job or career that you may not love and yet always had this desire to pursue the voiceover business. they’re ready to pursue the business.UNION and that meant that unless you (The voiceover artist) are in the union (Member of Aftra or SAG) you could not work in the voiceover business. one needs a professional demo produced. you’re best off not spending the money (Or letting someone take the money from you and talk you into it) for an animation demo if there’s no place to pursue the work. Now that the Internet is so vast. you can. without the structured 9 to 5 dog-eat-dog job market. 2. I can’t believe I’m doing this!’ Like every other business or hobby a person starts. This means if you live in a small town outside of New Orleans and there’s no agent for animation and no production or video game companies in New Orleans. I did not get an agent right away. there are jobs for voiceover actors. Once an actor learns the proper tools and ways to break into this business. although I had several years of experience under my belt. understanding all the genres of voiceovers. or any other business for that matter. a few more than 10. which area to pursue. Because there are so many people across the country wanting to be a part of this exciting business. The good news is. learning to cold reading. Coaching. how can I make money in a different sort of way. Ohio. When I first started voiceovers in 1979. marketing. This will be based on your voice. there wasn’t a union in Kansas City. Below are the top 10 reasons why now is a great time to break into the voiceover business. a voiceover actor can live anywhere in the country and go after LOCAL jobs (Without ever working in any other market) LOCAL market means local businesses. based on what type of voice you have and where you live throughout the county. When I moved to Los Angeles in 1987. Remember this. This means that you can decide. The only alternative to that was doing a PSA (Public Service Announcement) which unions allow. This does not mean that there wouldn’t be a local agency in or around New Orleans (And surrounding states) that would represent animation actors. the world of voiceover is endless! I’ve helped many people turn an idea or core of ‘How do I do this?’ to ‘Wow. where there are ADVERTISING AGENCIES. etc. casting directors. the need for a range of voiceover actors across the country has also expanded.

otherwise you should pursue the commercial. When you know what that job-Union would normally pay. if you live in Oregon and you are with an agent. Voice bank is an online website that all aspects of voiceover is used for. Voicebank resources allow you the ability to pull the legitimate so that you know the proper places to send your demo. managers. There’s voice123 and voices. you would need to do the proper research to make sure it’s worth you’re while and there are at least a few production/video game houses to send your voiceover demo to. but still want to pursue animation. a casting director can call you in or send you scripts to read. Voicebank (Although you cannot be on the site without agency representation) is a great tool to use so that you can email. or were ‘in’ with the casting houses. If you don’t have an agent and you do live in a smaller market. and where you live. Voicebank is here to stay. Today. Even without an agent. production companies. drop off. they see a lot more actors for any given job. if the ad agency has sent it to your agent and your agent gives it to you. it’s also a terrific resource guide that means you can access the site without having an agent.demo would be added to their voice bank site (More on that later) and you would be able to audition or be considered for animation jobs that were sent to that particular agent. Voicebank is a wonderful tool to not only look for agents across the country. you can have a very successful and lucrative career working non-union. mp3 or communicate to send your demo out. Save time and money to learn your craft in the right way! 3. casting directors. Although. no matter where you live.com. as well as several other ‘paying’ sites (And some non-paying) which. you may never work in the UNION industry. The trick is to know what ‘scale’ for any union job-pays. This allows you the ability to book some jobs and get in with companies across the country. audio book or promo/affiliate market. Today. directly to agencies for actors to audition for. casting directors. As long as you have a proper demo. Dave and Dave and voiceover resource guide (Online) are also and excellent place to find agents. union and non-union managers/agents wherever you live and even where you don’t live. Work with someone who knows the business (BEFORE YOU START) so that you know what you’re getting into. coaches and so on. This means that you can access agents. Today. you can go after any job that you want 4. the right marketing tools. you don’t have to ‘know someone’ to get into a great agency and you don’t necessarily have to have things ‘running’ on air to get hired for a job. at any given agency. but there are a lot more jobs across the country and a lot more access in receiving them than waiting around for an agent to put you on something. It was harder for ‘newbies’ to break into the business when you had to have your agent request that you audition for something. That means. cost of classes and demos involved and how to pursue business where you live and across the country. you can use that as a 106 « terri apple . once you have your voiceover demo professionally produced. Ad agencies and casting directors used to only submit five to ten people on any given job. you can sign up on any one (Or all) of these sites and receive auditions. auditions are sent directly from the advertising agencies and clients. you can still audition for something that came from New Y ork. AFTRA and SAG are great to use for guides for payment scale.

COM or SAG. As a voiceover actor.COM or in my book Voiceovers! 5. take the right classes. Local companies are often okay with you sending in ‘dry’ reads. It makes it easy. negotiate pay scale. Wanting to change careers can be daunting. Y also can do voiceover jobs at the comfort of a local ou studio and sometimes-even send them in from home. Trying something from home is a great way to see if you can do this for a living. casting directors. Even if you work non-union. but other than that.guide to know what you should be getting paid as a buy-out and residual scale. 7. you have to know how to nail a read regardless of where you are and you must learn the tricks of the trade BEFORE you enter into the booth. other actors. terri apple » 107 . Knowing what you are doing BEFORE you decide to make it a hobby or a career adds self-confidence and esteem as well as a complete understanding of what working voiceover actors go through in their everyday life. unions or non-union. which opens the doors for the non-union actor (Or newbie). Even union actors that want to do non-union work can go ‘fi-core’ which allows them to pursue jobs outside of the union rules. Today. Affiliate work is a wonderful job to chase-Y can go after the jobs online (Without an agent) secure the ou job. ad agencies) makes you turning this idea into a career-a lot smarter and easier. so going after your own local voiceover pool is the best place to start. it is not fair that you work for close to nothing or way under scale simply because you’re happy to have any work at all. The business used to be limited to 9 to 5 only to send in and be available to audition. depending on the job. Because there are so many ‘on-line’ auditions. you can negotiate (Or your non union agent or manager) something that is fair for all parties. The Non-Union market means more jobs across the country. make sure you’re demo is professionally produced in the genre you want to pursue (The right coach and producer will guide you in the right way) and you will be well on your way to understanding how to create a career instead of jumping right in. Understand what you are doing. Y want to grow in the business ou while maintaining it like a business. Know what union rules are. Several local companies love hiring local talent. You can make a career. A non-union actor can work their entire career and never join the union. The only negative is that they cannot vote in the union. understand what it takes and having a complete understanding of the business (Marketing. If a non union actor books a union job (Y you can still read for union jobs if your agent or a es. Moving in the right direction. Today 68% percent of jobs in the voiceover business are non-union. casting director thinks you’re right for something) 6. they will then add sound effects and music bed and cut directly to air. That means work smart! Y can find all union scale ou rules on any given job at AFTRA. non-union work (Although can pay less than union work) is quickly taking over the market. Although it is common to be paid less when you work non-union. The markets changed drastically. study with the right person. This means that you can pursue the business without ever getting into the union. this means you have your own free time to turn something around and send it in. via mp3. book the job and turn it around in your own home. You can do this part-time. agents. I coach on-line and on the phone.

Y must have differou ent moods (Vocal quality=sell) on your demo to showcase range to the casting directors and agents. in house. Once you have a demo. Promo’s. Industrials and in-house videos often hire talent and work weekends. there are several tools and tips you can use to go after the work and get it! Once again. get your demo out. nights and on your own schedule. should be able to guide you in the right way. spend a few hours recording and send it in. Once you have a demo and have started to actually pursue the business. so get going with that demo as ou soon as you learn how to read! 11. get familiar with local and other ad agencies.8. You can decide which are to go after — and go after it! Once you’ve decided which genre to go into (Commercial. Y ou’ll start to be called in by casting directors (Even if you don’t have an agent). You can make a living. 9. Narration. In-house voiceover ads are created locally (Most of the time) and can have you come in when convenient for you to an inhouse studio or send in clean reads. Today’s market is great because you no longer have to be ‘in’ with the hottest agent. You can create your own hours. Retail (Car. you’ll start to make connections. Auditions that are sent to you directly can be sent back within a certain time as long as you return by due date. will benefit you greatly on your road to success. Voicebank. Audio Books. The second mistake is making a demo too soon and having it be lousy or not representing their vocal range and sell. Animation. you can get in with several agents that may have the same 108 « terri apple . two into ten. The biggest mistake is voiceover actors sitting on their demos and doing nothing with them. Audio books are jobs you go after. get acquainted. ten into a campaign or regular voiceover jobs and you’ll have a career before you know it. rent studio space (Or use your own space) record and send in. Set six-month goals and stick with them. On-Hold messaging. It’s that simple! Y can get work even without a voiceover agent. Affiliate. Trailers.net and Voiceover resource guide (Online) are great tools to find ad agencies and companies that hire talent. Y ou’ll lock into on-line companies. Once you’re auditioning. Affiliate work is something you do once a day. Working with the right coach that knows everyone and the business. Send to the places that hire the talent. 10. you should hopefully start to book jobs. working with a great coach that is there to help you. Sending the proper genre of demo to the proper company is mandatory for helping you achieve success. You can set goals and attain them. E learning. donuts). Work in the right way and you can turn one job into two. On-hold messaging is quick and easy non-union work.

Why? More scripts! The more auditions you receive. 12. understand the art of cold reading in every genre you wish to pursue. Being good at your craft and working in the business is not defined by union status. market and meet all the people in the business that can help you land a job and go for your new life in voiceovers! terri apple » 109 .scripts and you can work independently within the non-union market. There are tons of casting directors and ad agencies across the country that prefers to work with non-union talent. You can have more than one agent across the country. make a demo. This means more potential jobs. Today’s market allows you to work with as many agents who will take you. the better chance you have of booking jobs! Good luck and move forward in the RIGHT direction! Learn how to read scripts.

books. videos. Other films she produced have won a BAFTA Award. It doesn’t matter if you mom loves it (she loves that finger painting you did in 1st grade too.com and www. Put in money to pay for everything first and get to a number. Then go line by line through a budget and estimate how much it will REALLY cost. Having been a filmmaker and teacher for the last two decades. commercials.) Or an actor that your want to star in it thinks it’s the best thing you have ever written (he just wants to star in a film. 2. Y need to get ou good. Maureen Ryan has been a film producer for over 20 years with experience in narrative film. Once you have a great script that is close to what the film will be — locations. 1. documentary. magazines. If you 110 « maureen ryan . blogs. Take the script breakdown and create an overall schedule. production and costume design and characters will not change — you need to do a detailed script breakdown. and an Emmy nomination. Remember to use a good scheduling software to do the breakdown. I feel there are a few things that matter most when making your first feature film. 3. any film). Producer To Producer available at www. She has taught film producing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts Graduate Film Program since 1999 and also teaches producing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Y ou’re dying to shoot your first feature but don’t start prepping until your script is READY to be shot. and industrials.mwp. film festivals are all dedicated to giving you more opportunities to learn and exhibit your work than ever before. It’s the only way you will know what you’ll need to plan and budget for. detailed notes from professionals that know what makes a good script. And don’t assume you will get a free camera and everyone will work for free.amazon. Don’t shoot before you have the best script possible. It will be the blueprint (along with the budget) to guide you through the rest of your plans to make the film a reality. short film.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS MAUREEN RYAN author. Don’t rush into preproduction without creating a thorough script breakdown. Don’t fail to create a realistic budget. music videos. Don’t try to make your film based on how much money you think you can raise or the maximum limit on your credit cards.com Now is the best time to be an independent filmmaker because your access to equipment AND information today is the cheapest and easiest it has ever been! Websites. a Peabody Award. Do script readings and invite professionals to give feedback so you can rewrite it to make it the best it can be.

Don’t start preproduction until you can get the director to lock the script. Too many filmmakers fail to raise the full amount to finish the film all the way through postproduction and final master. That way you protect yourself and the production. Once you have raised ALL the money for your budget and you begin official preproduction (casting. Do the research for each hire so you know you have a talented and dedicated crew. Make sure you go around the location with the owner before the cast/crew arrives and make a note and take a picture of all prior damage. 5. only worse. It’s imperative that you check out two references for every person you plan to hire for the film. in the edit room and in the finished film for the rest of your life. 7. Don’t shoot until you have the full budget or reduce your budget for production so you have enough to finish the film entirely. location scouting and hiring of crew) you need to be working off a script that is LOCKED. If you don’t have enough money for music. you’ll be in “limbo” — so close and yet so far away from your world premiere. If you have a script that is still changing those elements you are working with a moving target. The corollary to this is if you do make a hiring mistake and you end up in production with the wrong person. if you are using SAG actors. Y need to finish the film ou completely to a final master before you can get it to film festivals or send it out to distributors for a possible sale. Those who fail to take “before and after” pictures of every location they shoot in open themselves up to lawsuits. Don’t settle for an actor or actress who is not perfect for the role. Don’t run out of time and give up looking for the right actor for each role. They don’t get better as time goes by. 4. security deposit losses and insurance claims. 6. Raise enough money to get the film shot AND finished. Y will be wasting time and money because the department heads don’t know ou what to be prepping. Bad idea. audio mix and color correct. Do a “walk-through” before AND after filming in each location. you can always lower the budget. They think they will shoot the film with all the money they have and then worry about the rest while they are editing.end up getting free equipment later. 8. Request and contact two references on every crew/cast member that you plan to hire. Lastly. Keep casting and searching until you find the right talent. make sure you replace them before they “infect” the rest of the crew. Everything needs to be as it will be in the final shooting script except for dialogue changes. Have the two of you sign a sheet that agrees to those notes and then do it again at the end of the day. If you cast the wrong person you will have to live with that performance on set. Lock the script far enough in advance. “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch” and on an indie film it’s imperative that each person is excellent at what they do and has the right attitude to make the production a good experience for everyone. remember to budget for the actor salaries based on the SAGIndie contract you qualify for. maureen ryan » 111 . Then it’s time to start final preproduction.

10 A. Don’t forget that it’s just a movie and you are not curing cancer. friends. copyright. you’ll be glad you did. Or you pick a producer because she went to a top film school but she doesn’t treat people with respect and gets into a fight with one of the location owners while you are shooting. E&O insurance. you won’t be able to take the distribution deal. Congratulations! But before you get the check for the minimum guarantee and start paying back your investors you need to send the distributor copies of all your signed legal paperwork (release forms. equipment. It is very easy and relatively inexpensive to create a corporate entity online.9. Set up a legal entity and get insurance to make the film. Keep backup copies and have it all ready for when you get the big offer! 10 B.). music licensing agreements. Y family. 10 C. etc. cast and crew will thank you — and want to work with you again! our 112 « maureen ryan . Get signed releases. SAG contracts. But it turns out he isn’t a good collaborator and terrorizes the rest of the crew. premiered at a great film festival and now a distributor wants to release your film. Also remember to purchase production insurance (general liability. Make sure you pick collaborators based on the same values and ethics that you believe in. auto and worker’s compensation) to protect you and the film from the liability factors that come with producing a film. When things get tough. Y don’t want a lawou suit from an indie film to jeopardize your personal assets like a car or a house. Make sure you have all this paperwork before you start preproduction and get it signed before you begin production and throughout the process of finishing the film. deal memos and legal paperwork for the film’s deliverables Y ou’ve completed your film. Don’t collaborate with people for the wrong reasons. Creating an LLC or corporation that will protect you from certain liability factors. written transcripts. Hire a lawyer and do your research about what legal entity you need to produce your film. It may feel like the most important thing you have ever done and that may be the case for you. But keep a good perspective and a healthy sense of balance throughout the process of producing your film. If you don’t have it. crew deal memos. There’s a DP that has his own camera and will work for free so you pick him to shoot your film.

mwp. Y might ou say I was the flavor of the month writer in Hollywood. I heard a Bill Moyer’s interview with David Putnam on NPR radio. producer for The Christmas Wife. “If movies could be what they might be. Best Actress. Among the fan mail one day. for those of us committed to socially-responsible media. Best Actor. After earning a living from acting in NY I grew disenchanted . For instance. He wrote to us and thanked us for making a difference in his life. The Way of Story available at www. and then decided to give life another chance. there’d be no need to go to church. television movies (when they had them!). I was wooed by Hollywood after writing an awardwinning play. he wept. earning a co-producer credit. turning down a more lucrative contract with the networks. It’s a little easier in television as writers more often move on to producing. then why are we getting the films we are? Because.both features and television movies. a movie I wrote for HBO. Best Writer.com After writing ten produced plays in New Y City.” As you know. Touched by an Angel. I wrote for a popular television series called Touched by an Angel. catherine ann jones » 113 . we heard from one viewer. If this is so. Moved by the story. Driving on the Hollywood freeway. with Jason Robards and Julie Harris. as a rule. optioned by MGM. the creative people rarely have the power in Hollywood. sometimes we lose. and producer of Chariots of Fire and The Mission. This man had decided to kill himself. David Putnam was for a year head of Columbia Pictures.com and www.amazon. I was wooed ork by Hollywood and began to write feature films. It was a Sunday night and he happened to have the television on CBS where he watched an episode of Touched by an Angel. I cast the film myself. many seem to want more from today’s films and television. I began also to be offered writing assignments. and the popular television series. and television series. Catherine Ann Jones is an awardwinning playwright and screenwriter whose films include The Christmas Wife (Jason Robards) which garnered Emmy nominations for Best Picture. We received 4 Emmy nominations including best film and best writing. Putnam said something which stayed with me. so decided to write my own. I was assoc. He said. Though I have been fortunate and sold nine scripts. I opted for less money and more creative control. In 1989.CAN YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE? TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE CATHERINE ANN JONES author. with the roles of women in new plays.

including New Y University. The book is also a memoir where I make use of my personal and professional journey to illustrate story. I quit teaching graduate school and later launched “The Way of Story: the craft & soul of writing” workshops first at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. I was invited to teach graduate screenwriting at USC Graduate Film School. Story provides both identity and standards to live by and is thus essential to our well-being.” ork The Way of Story is for all forms of narrative writing with a special focus on dramatic writing. Craft alone is vital but not enough. “If you’re not going to write original stories in your twenties and thirties. It serves as a mirror reflecting who we are and what we believe in. the students would be writing derivative spin-offs of the latest blockbuster thrillers.” — Mahatma Gandhi 114 « catherine ann jones .However. It is the integration of solid storytelling technique with experiential inner discovery that delivers a great story. Parallel with writing films and television. an opening for consciousness-raising films. I wrote The Way of Story book — which ironically is now required at several schools. then movies would indeed rise to what they might be. there is a new pulse in Hollywood. then when?” So after seven years. I’m sure you’ll agree that it is soul which gives meaning to both life and art. I pondered. If we could infuse filmmaking with even a portion of the vision and value we possess.” There’s been a shift. where you bring all of yourself to the table — not just the left brain. then elsewhere in the U. the #1 film school in America. it is time to reach deep into the creative psyche and offer something of true value to our world. Now more than ever before. “times they are a changing. I believe it is important to support your vision. I guess the moral is “Follow your own star. After a few years. Story has been the foundation of rituals that empower both individual and collective values since society began. What story would you choose to live by? The answer offers a clue to your soul. The idea is to teach an integrative approach to writing.A. not mine. If not now then when? “Become the change you want to happen. As a teacher and writing consultant.S. committed to such films.. a group of filmmakers in L. Last week I was guest speaker for ISLEE. Europe and Asia. However. and though it’s only the beginning. your deepest self. more and more.

Amen. Mainline. so resolution quality doesn’t have to be perfect. Y it may be crude — and you can upgrade the es. MOWs for Showtime. No. Characters. but it does need to be in focus and easy to listen to). Small Wonder. and the cards they record on less than you spend on lattes in a week. Think of how much you forgive in production value on a funny or touching Y ouTube video. supplemented by a Twitter account. Good enough is really good enough. a Plaxo account. Y don’t need stars. and the set — but it doesn’t have to be projected on a giant screen. a LinkedIn account. camera. Brothers. Promark. paul chitlik » 115 . as well as teleplays for all the major networks. and the cost of advertising and promotion even greater.com and www.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS PAUL CHITLIK author. But now anyone with a website and a Facebook account.amazon. He also wrote Bike Squad and The Kids Who Saved Summer. and whatever social networking site is hot right now. not everyone can succeed in that. anyone with a few friends and a less money than they’d spend on a new couch is able to produce a movie. His MOW. Perfect Strangers. ou either. and Drama in Your Screenplay available at www. The cost of setting up a distribution network was enormous. All you need is a great story. Alien Abduction. ou Y don’t even need great actors or directing (though it does help). and NuImage. the sound (and this you should upgrade first). It depends on how well you can use the media and how good your story is. Paul Chitlik has written screenplays for Rysher Entertainment. Dick Clark productions. Distribution used to be controlled very carefully by the major studios. Once you’ve got your movie together — and editing on a Mac or even a PC is now within reach of everyone with free editing programs now available on the web — distribution is the only barrier to your career as a filmmaker. a Haro account. Rewrite: a Step-by-Step Guide to Strengthen Structure. and Los Beltran for Telemundo.mwp. the lights (you can start with construction lights from Home Depot if you need to). can create a demand for their product. ou Y don’t need Oscar-quality cinematography or sound (doesn’t hurt. as well as episodes for Who’s the Boss?.000. which can go viral in an amazingly short time.com There really are only two reasons why it’s great to be a filmmaker today: access to the production process and access to the distribution of films. was UPN’s first movie for television. With HD video cameras available for under $1. But why call them films? No film need be used to make a movie.

you’re a lot closer to making a movie that people will want to watch. and does not pay them off. 116 « paul chitlik . you’ll soon understand why this is a great time to be a filmmaker. that’s the hard part. It does no good to be a social media maven if you send people to a movie that’s not interesting. If you help them find it. If you’ve got the story and at least fair to middling production values. It’s still all about the story. you’ve got something that people are looking for.Of course. does not engage the emotions. But if you have a great story to start with.

which would have required hiring a second union animal handler.mwp. run around helping the ADs any way I can. face hovering above a bowl of tasty kibble with the cameraman saying. than my “Top Ten” memories from my career: 10. “Could you move your snout a bit closer to the bowl?” Why me? Well. and the WB. “Seriously. the TV predecessor to the Naked Gun movies. 8. CBS. low-budget movies. sitcoms.amazon.. I’m 23 and had moved up from dog food commercials to a PA gig on a real movie. My first day on a big movie set. Scott. Ross Brown has written and produced some of the most successful TV series of all time including The Cosby Show. since I was a teenager. you’ve got talent. “Go fuck yourself!” Welcome to showbiz. one of my first jobs was down on my hands and knees. kid. Gotta start somewhere. and hiring me was cheaper than hiring a second dog. long since forgotten. I’ve worked on commercials. Chevy read it. Mr. with a full page of comments… then signed it “Mel Brooks. a writer and a producer.” I can’t tell you what that meant to me. Scott!” — to which the unmistakable voice of General Patton thunders back. ross brown » 117 .WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS ROSS BROWN author. Byte-Sized Television: Create Your Own TV Series for the Internet available at www. was called Movie Movie and starred George C. The picture. ready for first team. Who’s the Boss? and Step By Step. knock on the door and chirp “We’re ready for you. I gave him my spec Police Squad!. But my “Top Ten” list is less about reasons why it’s great to be a filmmaker. right? 9. Even greater.com I’ve worked in the film industry for nearly forty years. “Okay. I’ve seen a lot.m. That’s right.” But after kidding around about how I might someday be an unemployed comedy writer. he said. He has created primetime series for ABC. then hear over my walkie-talkie. I show up at 6 a.” I bounce up to his trailer. working on a comedy classic. bring in George. Keep writing. Gave me a B+. Chevy Chase heard I was an aspiring writer and offered to read one of my scripts. been a PA. an assistant director.com and www. they didn’t want to wear out the “star” dog before the actual shoot. and graded it. Standing in for a dog in a dog food commercial. big studio movies. A few years later I was the 2nd AD on the first National Lampoon’s V acation movie — kind of great all by itself.

“One catch… the job’s in New Y ork. So I turned down the job. Not one memory. just part of the job. Jane is not only spectacular. said. nods and says. she dabs her tears. we’ve had some more time together. and the ou baby’s not so little.” I scoffed… like they’d still have openings now that the show was a huge hit. Halle Berry… I’ve even seen Kate Hudson naked. Mel Brooks. they read your material and want to hire you as a staff writer. P . It wasn’t the funniest joke in the world. So now I teach. “This is a really good play… kind of like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf meets Our Town. “I’m the king of the world!” 4. The first time they used one of my jokes in a Cosby episode.” I’d just finished an AD gig where I was out of town for 4 months while my wife was home pregnant and taking care of our 8-year-old. no doubt about it. I’d had my name on movie and TV screens for decades. and probably won’t last more than 13 weeks. The Pasadena Playhouse put up a couple of staged readings.” OMG!!!!!! But the agent added. Ava Gardner. but she’s so committed to the part that she actually sobs (as her character) at the climax. But this was a book! 1. I wrote a largely autobiographical play called Hindsight. not good for the marriage. with the hugely talented Jane Kaczmarek playing the pivotal role of my mother.” The Cosby Show premiered 2 weeks later and was the hit of the century. Six months later my wife said. it was on the movie where I worked with Goldie Hawn. The show’s in a terrible time slot up against Magnum. My first stage play. DiCaprio in Titanic. And I got hired. Having my book Byte-Sized Television: Create Your Own TV Series for the Internet published. Oops. “Y know. Recently.” Having my work compared to those timeless classics… does it get any better for a writer? I don’t think so. 2. 5. and how lucky I am now to be able to help the next generation reach for their own dreams. My wife’s uncle. but a string of them — all the people I admired. and Kate was an infant and Goldie was changing Kate’s diaper. We finish the reading. “Y ou’re better off.7. it was an absurd question. Of course I met him. to dream of getting to write for movies or TV someday but have no idea of how to accomplish that. Sheldon Leonard. But they did. Chevy Chase. who I’ve gotten the chance to work with over the years. 118 « ross brown . A few months later the agent called: “NBC is doing this new comedy with Bill Cosby. My wife gently let me know that if I kept leaving town…well. Kharmic payback for having to stand in for the dog. Goldie Hawn. a CBS exec. The other day when I told my TV writing students I began my writing career on The Cosby Show they asked with wide-eyed wonder. even idolized. And it reminded me of how blessed I’ve been to be able to live that dream. maybe you should see if they still want you on Cosby. “Did you ever meet Bill Cosby?” To a professional. But – 6.I. Sure. Okay. but it was worthy enough to make it into the #1 show on TV I felt like Leonardo . The writers worked with him every day. director and I gather for a rehearsal read-through for the first time. Bill Cosby. I kept writing spec sitcoms and eventually got an agent. I was still happily married and got to start my writing career on a huge hit show starring one of my childhood comedy heroes. The cast. but still… 3. But it reminded me of what it was like for me all those many years ago.

GILLES author. you knew the obstacles he would face in his attempt to get and you knew the consequences if she didn’t get it.amazon.B. ou ou you knew why she wanted it. bad — bordering on evil. Y sometimes wonder why you ever got inou volved with it in the first place.B. breaking down the Acts and you ou were ready to start the script. NO-KIDDINGYOURSELF. Y know what he wanted. Y want to kill it. Somewhere.com and www. ou Or at least delete it.mwp. It knows that you’re in love with it. It knows that you spend most of your time thinking about it. And the thoughts that run through your mind are nasty.com It stares back at you like a petulant monster. A clear premise. d. Y knew who your protagonist was. somehow an idea popped into your head. it started out so promising. Like all relationships. You’re Funny! and The Screenwriter Within — 2nd Edition available at www. Y even knew how it was going to end. Or you once were.b. Maybe it was even high concept. NO-MOREBULLSHIT CURE TO FINISHING YOUR SCREENPLAY TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE D.THE NO-EXCUSE. Gilles has taught comedy writing and screenwriting in the Undergraduate Film & Television Department at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for nearly 20 years. It was as if the structure found itself.B. ou Y banged out a short outline. He writes the popular blog Screenwriters Rehab: For Screenwriters Who Can’t Get Their Acts Together. Before you wrote one word the structure fell into place. D. is also a script consultant and writing coach. D. His new play Sparkling Object opened last year in New York. gilles » 119 .

But you were getting scared. Maybe it ran a few pages short or a little long. what you thought was your fantastic end of Act 2 event.. Y spent a frustrating week figuring out how to fix the problem and you were ou back on track. Despite your solid outline. gilles . So you do what most screenwriters do. but it was ou there and you knew you could fix it in the rewrite. Then you go into a funk and creative downturn that can last a long time until you either figure out a solution to the problems of the script or you find a new idea to fall in love with. well.b. And. So you made some adjustments and kept going. Like your first marriage or your last relationship.. you know how it can go. Or to look closely at what you’ve written with objectivity and fresh eyes. But you pressed on. And to make things even worse the person you thought was your protagonist wasn’t nearly as interesting as the person you thought was her best friend. But you still kept rowing the boat that you knew had sprung about seven leaks. you won’t get anywhere. By page 45 you know knew for sure that those plot points definitely had to go. falling in love with that new girl or new guy will be all kinds of fun at the beginning. Only the thing is. just as in life. for awhile. There’s no secret formula to finishing that first draft other than to bounce whatever pages you have off of a friend or two and get some feedback. Y were nearing the end of Act 2 and you knew from past experience that if you could ou get to the end of the second Act it was a moral victory. which deep in your heart you knew was a mistake. no matter where you are in your career. get it to a point where you’re happy with it and ready to get it out into the marketplace. Y ou’d be surprised at how productive it can be to put what you’ve written away for a month or longer and then go back to it. What you thought was going to be the big middle of Act 2 event no longer seemed big enough. but then. Y sailed through the first Act. no longer worked because you finally realized you have the wrong protagonist. But if you’re held back by the inability to complete a first draft (or a even a rough draft with scenes and lines missing). Then came Page 55. as you got into Act 2 a couple of plot points no longer felt right. Or all your relationships. to succeed as a screenwriter you must finish your script. Except possibly more depressed.This was going to be the most satisfying screenwriting experience you’ve ever had. 120 « d. you stop working on it. Y were starting to be overcome by that feeling ou you’ve had before when you started to suspect that this wonderful relationship you had with your new screenplay was starting to crumbled.. Y could regroup and move ou headlong into Act 3. Ultimately. And it was..

gilles » 121 .b. d. “But if it’s driving me crazy. But if you’re well into Act 2 and certainly if you’re in Act 3. it fizzled out. And you can go into the rewrite with confidence and clarity of what needs to be fixed and improved plus the knowledge that you accomplished the most difficult part of the screenwriting process. If it’s pretty bad or really bad or simply that it doesn’t work. then you can decide whether or not to go forward with it. Or very good. On the other hand. Finishing that first draft. Like that real-life relationship you tried so hard to make work. That’s your reward. The reasons you must complete that first draft are as basic as can be. if when you complete it. but despite everything. then decide if it’s time to walk away. Finish it. To find out how good it is or how bad it is. you realize that it’s good. maybe it’s worth walking away from the script. If you decide not to do so you’ll at least know why: that great story you had that sounded so good or that lead character who was going to be so fascinating or that incredibly funny concept turned out not to be all that funny or whatever the reason. but you’ll never know if you’re only halfway or two thirds of the way through. Not completing a first draft is the biggest mistake you can make. to abandon it is a major strategic error.If you’ve written 18 pages or even a first Act. why should I finish it?” you might be saying. Or kick ass. Some screenplays fizzle out.

com and www.mwp. the sculptor. disturb. teacher. but film art cannot be realized until it is shared and experienced by others. Myth and the Movies available at www. shared by millions. and to find a way through inspiration. seduce. move. and author. agitate. determination and invention to say it. To capture a character’s tear and allow the audience to vicariously experience the sorrow… or laughter. Stuart Voytilla is a screenwriter. To entertain. To transform our characters. 3. To dip into the pool of darkest desires and empathize with our demons – and reach for our most fanciful dreams and take flight amongst angels. collaboration. the composer. To chose whether to turn our camera onto the crowd or focus that camera into the mirror. 5. Because our film art is personal. 4.WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER TOP TEN REASONS STUART VOYTILLA author. 8. 7. and the painter of shadows and light and sound. To use reality and fantasy to reveal truth. 9. perspiration. and that is our choice. our audience. 6. and ourselves. literary consultant. shock. delight.amazon. excite. To accidentally capture the unstaged or painstakingly create the illusory that can be experienced a thousand times over. terrify. To borrow and steal from other arts. compel. 122 « stuart voytilla . 2. inspire… 10. and become the poet.com 1. To use film to reveal and express what we need to say. thrill.

acting.mwp. a light bringer came along. leading the curious and the frustrated to clarity and empowerment. MWP has built a storehouse of knowledge unequaled in the world. it aims to be healing both for those who make the art and those who encounter it. freedom. and built a storehouse of knowledge dedicated to the betterment of the arts. Sign up and become part of the wider creative community! Onward and upward. self-empowerment. We help them realize their dreams by putting the tools in their hands. Grounded in the deep roots of myth. The essence of the Michael Wiese Productions (MWP) is empowering people who have the burning desire to express themselves creatively. we hope to bring forth a realization of ‘conscious media’ which we define as being positively charged. producing. and other media crafts. It spread a spirit of openness and creative freedom. It hopes to be transformative for people. Please visit www. for no other publisher has so many titles on the media arts. and love.{ THE MYTH OF MWP } In a dark time. directing. film financing. It took the well-guarded secrets out of the hands of the few and made them available to all. cooperation. We demystify the sometimes secretive worlds of screenwriting.com where you will find many free resources and a 25% discount on our books. emphasizing hope and affirming positive values like trust. By doing so. Michael Wiese Publisher/Filmmaker . opening doors to new possibilities and pulling back veils to reveal hidden worlds.


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