By Christopher McKittrick

 

Like nearly all film school students, you probably dream of helming a multi-million dollar Hollywood blockbuster… except at the moment you’re finding it difficult to come up with those millions to spend on your vision.

 

In the film industry (as in any industry), working your way up to the top is a time-honoured tradition. However, you can display your talent with some of the shortest narrative films there are: commercials.

 

Many successful filmmakers like David Fincher, Zack Snyder, Michael Bay, and Ridley Scott and entire animation studios like Pixar spent their earliest years making commercials, which soon led to more exposure and greater opportunities. In fact, two of the estimated 2000 commercials that Scott directed – his 1973 spot for Hovis bread and his 1984 Super Bowl spot for Apple – have been cited by many in the industry as two of the most influential television commercials in advertising history.

 

Read more

Written by Mark Shelling

Why don’t we ever care much about the characters in disaster movies? By any estimation, they’re dealing with a conflict that has the absolute highest stakes. Because these characters aren’t always well defined, an audience won’t invest in their survival. This can cause a movie’s sense of conflict to be dead in the water. Characters must make decisions with repercussions and learn from mistakes.

Conflict is anything that will push against your hero, preventing them from getting what they want or need. Just like clearly defined characters, for a story to be successful, it needs a well-identified conflict. Something that will test your character’s limits and ultimately, teach them something at the end of the film.

Conflict can be broken down into two categories: internal and external.

Read more