InFocus Film School Blog

 

“The creative producer is inherently a filmmaker who also wants to write and direct,” Paulsson says. “They wear many hats but truly have an interest in telling and finding great stories through the language of film.”

What is a Creative Producer? InFocus Film School

By Ryan Uytdewilligen

 

For most movie goers, when the credits roll, the producer names are unrecognizable and their overall duty on the picture isn’t quite clear. But their involvement must be integrally important seeing as how they tend to be Hollywood’s richest and take home top prize at the Oscars, right?

 

The stereotypical image for many might be a tightly wound fat man in a suit, chomping down on a cigar and barking orders at frightened malnourished writers. But nothing could be further from the truth.

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UNDERSTANDING HOW TO LIGHT WINDOWS IS AN IMPORTANT SKILL FOR EVERY FILMMAKER. READ OUR COMPREHENSIVE INDIE-FILMMAKER’S GUIDE FOR WINDOW-LIGHTING TIPS THAT CAN BRIGHTEN UP YOUR GAME.

InFocus Film School - How to Use Lenses in Film

Written by Devan Scott

 

It’s the first day of your shoot. You arrive on location; it’s an interior. Daytime. You need to figure out how the heck you’re going to light this blank canvass of a room. Those of us tasked with shooting independent films have all been there, and those of you who want to shoot independent films will just as inevitably encounter this situation. Yet despite its commonality, this is one of the trickier situations you’ll be asked to shoot in.

Rooms are dark, surprisingly so! On film, an unlit room photographs much like a cave: mostly dark, with some bright points of light. In most rooms, these bright points are windows. They cut and control the real source of light: the sun.

How can we corral and enhance the sun to render rooms less cave-like, and more suitable to our storytelling needs? Here are some simple principles.

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Getting into a film festival is both the most beautiful and most intimidating experience for a filmmaker. Even the simple act of submitting is enough to strike one with anxiety, wondering if their work will be “accepted” in both a physical and emotional sense. Film festivals are the breaking ground for filmmakers, giving them the opportunity to launch a highly successful career. However, you are bestowed the task of outshining hundreds to thousands of talented filmmakers to catch the attention of festival organizers, producers, and an audience.

To maximize your chances of success, we have prepared a quick list of tips to help you navigate your way into the film festival circuit.

 

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Assistant Director / Assistant Directors on a film production set

By Johnny Papan

 

If films were the human body, you could deliberate that producers are the brains, writers and directors are the heart, cinematographers are the eyes, sound designers are the ears, and production designers are the lips that tell a story with decoration. These key creatives are the head of the anatomy that is a film crew.

 

But every well-functioning anatomy needs that core piece that connects and communicates with the entire nervous system. When it comes to filmmaking, this piece is the Assistant Director (A.D.), the spine of the production team.

 

“Without a good first A.D., your movie falls to pieces. I feel like you could
probably run a set better with a good first A.D. and no director
than a good director and no A.D.”

Natalie Portman, indiewire.com

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Sex, drugs, murder, profanity. You’ll see these elements play a part in films, sometimes all within a few moments. Aside from making points of reference for a drinking game, there are legitimate reasons that filmmakers are attracted to R-rated material. When done correctly, it can demonstrate the competence that comes from successfully navigating a creative challenge.

 

Today we’re going to focus on the sensitive subject of nudity and sex scenes, and how to handle them professionally on set.

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Introduction to Script Supvervising Script Supervisors

By Johnny Papan

 

Continuity is a vast valley that requires precise attention to detail and spawns through many departments. To save time and money, films are shot out of sequence. It is up to the script supervisor to make sure props, costumes, makeup and things of the like are exactly how they should be in order to look continuous on screen, despite being filmed separately.

 

A key part of being a script supervisor (commonly referred to as “scripty”) is paying attention to actors and their performance on set. It’s not uncommon for actors to go off-script, forget their lines and change movements between takes. Without proper attention, this can prove to be disastrous in post-production, as the editor may not have the right footage to cut things together seamlessly or cinematically. In essence, the supervisor serves as both the eyes and ears for the director and editor.

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Coffee shops are a hot spot for writers. There is just something about the environment, the atmosphere and the smell that get the creative juices flowing. Ample seating, plentiful outlets, and an exceptional hot brew are all key qualities in choosing the perfect writing cafe. Struggling to resist the constant distractions in your home? Keep reading to discover some of Vancouver’s finest coffee shops. Find your new favourite home-away-from-home in these rain city gems.

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Written by Breanne Pitt

There is no way to guarantee a video will go viral. You may spend hours on end editing, filming, and researching every blog or article about creating viral videos to no avail. Even though we can’t break the YouTube algorithm mystery, there are still several ways to groom your short film for viral infamy. When the YouTube algorithm strikes, your video should be prepared to capitalize on the opportunity. By following these simple techniques, you can optimize your short film’s chance of going viral.

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How to Make an Amazing Demo Reel

 

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a demo reel is worth a million. An expertly crafted demo reel can quite literally kickstart your career if your resume is less than prolific. On the flip side, all it takes is a few seconds of poorly assembled footage for a producer to make a snap judgement and move on to other applicants. So what does it take to make a demo reel that will sell your skill?

PICK A SKILL TO FEATURE

You may be a jack-of-all-trades on set, but when it comes to your demo reel you should choose only one or two skills to focus on. Consider what sort of gigs you are hoping to gain with your reel, and what kind of footage you have on hand.

InFocus Film School instructor Devan Scott’s reel. 

IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS
Take some time to really think about what kind of jobs you want to apply for. If you are trying to get hired as a extreme sports cinematographer, a reel that is composed entirely of subdued dramatic scenes may not be the best choice. That said, it doesn’t hurt to show versatility, so if you want to keep your options open, put together a sample platter of the different genres that you have worked in.

CONSIDER YOUR CONTENT

If you find yourself with more ambition than useable footage, then it may be time to get out there and get working. It might seem counterproductive to ask friends if you can volunteer on their indie projects when you’re trying to get paid work, but the truth is that you need good content to populate your reel. Another option is to make your own material, specifically for the reel. Good footage is good footage, and the most important thing is that you created it yourself.

KEEP IT TIGHT

When you have enough material to start your editing process, it can be very difficult to choose exactly what you should use and what you should cut. If you find yourself with a seven minute mega-reel it may be a smart move to get someone else to edit for you. The truth is that many producers may only make it fifteen seconds into your reel before they decide to consider you for a job. With that in mind, a minute to a minute and a half is a great length for your reel.

https://vimeo.com/247242689

InFocus Film School instructor Jeremy Klassen’s reel. 

ASSEMBLE A FOCUS GROUP

Once you’ve got the initial cut of your reel together then it’s time to assemble your most honest friends and family members, and get them to give you some feedback. Ask them to specifically note which parts jumped out at them, and which they could have done without. Compare their notes, watch your reel again and re-edit. Repeat the process with some new participants, and then go tweak it a little more. Sit back at your computer and take a moment to celebrate your killer demo reel.

This process can seem a little daunting at first, but in order for you to establish yourself as a professional you have to make some pretty big strides. The film industry is extremely competitive, but if you’re willing to put in the extra effort to make your demo reel shine, then you are already on the right track to having a long and prosperous career.  

 

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InFocus Film School Film Production Program

Why Should Filmmakers Shoot Commercials?

Five Films That Use VFX in Super Subtle Ways

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.

 

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