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Ever wonder how 3D animation rose to it’s current level of popularity? Continue reading for a deep dive into the history of 3D animation!


the history of 3D animation

By: Sophia Lin

Though 3D animation seems like a modern concept, the history of 3D animation is long and rich. Technology has allowed the genre to rise in popularity as it can be adapted for families and mature audiences. As popularity continues to rise for 3D animation, so does the need for new animators and studios. There is no greater time to be an animator in this ever-growing industry than right now!


In this blog post we’ll discuss the history of 3D animation and how the animation industry changed in just a couple of decades. We’ll tell you about the surprising involvement of the aerospace company Boeing in the beginnings of animation. Additionally, we’ll go through how Star Wars had a major hand in kicking off the feasibility of 3D animation in Hollywood. But before we get into the history of 3D animation, let’s go back to basics – what exactly is 3D animation?


Learn more about InFocus Film School's 3D Animation and Visual Effects Program

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s 3D Animation and Visual Effects Program


Defining 3D Animation

As an art form, animation is the rapid displaying of still images in sequence. Each image differs slightly from the one before, and when they appear quickly in succession, it creates movement. This movement often goes by at a rate of 24 frames per second, closely mirroring the speed of movement that we perceive in real life. By doing so, the viewer experiences a realistic scene despite the characters being animations. 


In 3D animation, specifically, characters and environments are three-dimensional. Animators use pixels and work to give objects weight and timing. And sometimes, animators scan real-world physical objects to create blueprints. In this case, instead of looking flat, 3D animation gives off the feel of realism, using the same level of depth and detail our eyes see on a daily basis.


The Birth of 3D Animation

Lets start at the beginning of the history of 3D animation. During the early 1900s, a unique and never-before-seen style of animation came into being called claymation. This style of animation consisted of the modelling of clay into objects and characters resembling that of real life. Often, people would segment the clay so that not only could characters move, but so could their limbs, heads, and torsos.


history of 3D animation


These characters inspired the method of stop-motion filmmaking. Early animations would take a photo, move one piece of a clay creation, take a photo, and repeat. One of the well-known Claymation films of the time was called The Sculptor’s Welsh Rarebit Dream, a trick film created by Edison Manufacturing in 1908. However, despite its creativity, Claymation didn’t really take off. The growth of claymation was halted by the challenges of clay sculpting and the time-consuming nature of stop motion. For now, the future of 3D animation stayed largely unknown.


The 70s Boom

It was many years before animation returned to the entertainment scene after claymation came to a close. The re-emergence of 3D animation as a popular tool all started with the “Boeing Man” or “Boeman” in the early 1960s. It was the creation of William Fetter, an employee at Boeing. His job there was to create 3D models, using computers to animate and design these models for the company. This figure was meant to simulate how a human would sit and move in the cockpit of an airplane. Fetter would go on to create short videos of these rigged pilots, using them to understand ideal methods of cockpit design. With his work known as the first form of 3D moving images, Fetter became credited as the father of computer-generated 3D animation.


Frederic Parke, a computer graphics academic, created the first 3D model of a human face. As a computer scientist at the University of Utah, he produced a short film entitled Face & Body Parts in 1974. This short film showed computer-generated expressions such as happiness and shock, and the movements from one expression to the next. This would go on to pave the way for the complex facial animations we see in film and TV today!


On the heels of Parke’s work came several other milestones. The first 3D computer-generated hand was created by Edwin Catmull was the first of many landmarks in the history of 3D animation. Catmull and Parke later came together to work on Futureworld, a major motion picture released in 1976. This set a precedent, as the first film to ever incorporate 3D computer-generated animations. 3D animation technology finally reached audiences for the very first time, marking a pivotal turning point in the history of 3D animation industry.


 Entry into Hollywood

By the 1980s, 3D animation was finally gaining momentum and finding its way into the film industry. The release of Futureworld certainly played a major part, but it was George Lucas’ Star Wars films that gave 3D animation the final push it needed to cement itself in Hollywood.


history of 3D animation


In 1977, the release of Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope changed the game. Lucas, along with the newly formed visual effects company Industrial Light and Magic, used 3D animation mostly in the realm of creating enhanced visuals for models, puppets, and sets. What Star Wars started was continued by Tron, a landmark film for 3D animation. Released in 1892, it featured computer-generated animation. This was the first time animation was at the forefront of a film, instead of incorporating bits and pieces of animation here and there.


The History of 3D Animation Technology

But what exactly allowed for this explosion of 3D animation in the 80s? The answer, simply, is that technology finally was able to catch up. From the first time 3D animation had come onto the scene until now, nearly 80 years had gone by, allowing for the rudimentary principles of animation to be refined again and again. Now, inventions in 3D animations were permitted greater complexity. For instance, recursive ray tracing, a rendering technique, was introduced by J. Turner Whitted. With this tool, animated work began to move closer and closer to realism.


Around the same time, in 1982, Autodesk released its computer-aided design software called AutoCAD. This not only widened the possibilities of software-supported 3D animation but increased the accessibility of the medium — and thereby, its popularity.


As the 80s wrapped up, 3D animation had become something Hollywood could not ignore. Its commercial success was undeniable, as was its growing viability for use in a wide range of settings and genres.


Mainstream Development

With the software and technology growing in advancements, the 1990s were a sweet spot for 3D animation. Studios, filmmakers, and animators were all ready to take a risk on this new medium — and so they did. The decade was kicked off with James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which, though it was live action, contained stunning visual effects completely foreign to audiences. Jurassic Park then took this one step further with more than realistic and larger-than-life dinosaurs.


Unsurprisingly, the realm of entirely animated works expanded too. Veggie Tales, out in 1993, marked the first fully 3D animated series. Not long ago, the iconic Toy Story came along, as the first fully 3D, computer-animated feature-length film. The success of the innovative Toy Story, both critically and commercially, placed it firmly into the limelight. Its box office gross of $363 million made it clear that 3D animation was here to stay, and so was Pixar. At the time, the company was in its early years, co-founded by the same Edwin Catmull who introduced the first 3D animated hand.


Turn of the Century

The 90s were quickly coming to an end. But, the turn of the century brought more good news and development for the 3D animation industry. For one, George Lucas was beginning to reap the rewards of his continued belief in animation. In The Phantom Menace and The Attack of the Clones, almost all the added effects used the technology of 3D animation. 


history of 3D animation


2009 saw Avatar break records for its use of 3D animation at the highest level yet.  3D animation allows us to create realistic human-like creatures, extensive world-building, and manufactured sets, making it an option that was not only preferable, but the highly-coveted ideal. By now it was clear that technology was flourishing, computers were widespread, and 3D animation was well on its way to its current-day multi-million status.


3D Animation Today

When you think of current 3D animation, images of Frozen, Zootopia, or Sing may come to mind. People often see kids’ movies as the face of animation nowadays. But, in truth, 3D animation as an art form has never been more viable or versatile. Though it may not be what first comes to mind, animation is used in media far and wide. In fact, it’ll be hard to name a recent film that doesn’t use 3D animation technology in any way, shape, or form. Even films like Tenet, Dune, and all Marvel movies utilize 3D animation technology. In these films, the seamless combination of live-action and 3D animation is apparent; another great innovation to come out of the 21st century.


With 3D animation technology frequently blurring what is animated vs. what is real, there is a distinct emphasis on realism. And more often than not, animated objects stand in for real ones without us ever noticing! Films are just the beginning. You can find 3D animation in television, but also in video games, virtual reality, advertising, and education. The presence of 3D animation is strong, and even still on the rise.


The Future of Animation

3D animation is bound to see enhancements in terms of capability and complexity because of how much technology supports it. AI and machine learning has the potential to speed up the animating workflow. This would perhaps open up the field up to a greater range of possible animation styles.


Likewise, phenomena like photorealism and 4D animation are just now taking off — and also involve 3D animation. Some of the more current trends, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, will also continue to evolve. In fact, these are two disciplines which have already proven to be promising applications of 3D animation. The mainstream quality of 3D animation will likely be amplified further. Prepare to see uses of 3D animation in business, everyday communication, and marketing. Even now, the 2D industry utilizes 3D animation software in many of their productions!


history of 3d animation


Without a doubt, aspiring 3D animations have grown exponentially since the early 21st century. Many want to get in on this fast-growing industry, and contribute to an art form that is, all things considered, still quite young. And as we move towards the future, creating high-quality 3D animation work will only get easier and easier.


It’s clear that 3D animation has come far from its humble roots. Now, the industry looks set to move in a range of exciting new directions. The history of 3D animation has made a unique and long-lasting mark on the world as we know it. There is no doubt that this industry will continue to grow and surprise us. 

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    Have you ever wanted to know what it takes to create your own romantic comedy? In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the best romantic comedies of the past 10 years and how they utilize different elements of filmmaking.


    best romantic comedies of the past 10 years

    What makes a great romantic comedy? Is it the script, the acting, the directing or the chemistry between the lead actors? In our opinion, it’s all of those things and more! While most audiences remain captivated by the developing love story on-screen, we can sometimes forget about all of the elements that shape the film. These include things like clever screenwriting and production design. In this blog post, we’ll look at 10 great romantic comedies from the past decade and how they utilize different aspects of filmmaking. These are movies that new filmmakers should watch to get a better understanding of the beloved genre.



    best romantic comedies of the past 10 years

    Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook”

    1. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

    This Oscar-winning film shows us the importance of understanding the emotional complexity of your characters and knowing how to convey those emotions through dialogue and action. Both characters of Pat and Tiffany are broken people who have experienced significant difficulties in their lives. As they come together to find love and happiness, they are also forced to confront their own personal struggles. This tough emotional journey allows the viewers to connect with the characters on a deeper level. With this in mind, Silver Linings Playbook makes an excellent film for storytellers looking to create rich characters with complex emotions.



    best romantic comedies of the past 10 years

    Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in “La La Land”

    2. La La Land (2016)

    This memorable film is a tribute to the art of filmmaking and to the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood. For starters, La La Land features some truly stunning cinematography. The film is shot in beautiful, vibrant colors that capture the magic and romance of Los Angeles. This creates a visually stunning backdrop for the film’s main characters, Mia and Sebastian. In particular, the cinematography draws on many classic techniques from classic musicals and old-school Hollywood films. For example, there are many wide shots with sweeping camera movements that give a sense of grandiosity. An example of this can be found in scenes like Sebastian’s jazz club performance. These shots help to create an immersive experience, making viewers feel like they are right there alongside Mia and Sebastian in their romantic adventures!



    best romantic comedies of the past 10 years

    Constance Wu and Henry Golding in “Crazy Rich Asians”

    3. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

    It is crucial to understand the role that production design plays in shaping the look and feel of a movie. In Crazy Rich Asians, production designers had to create a world that accurately reflected the extravagant lifestyle of its characters. In addition, they also had to set the stage for a romantic story about cultural barriers and financial inequality. Production designers on this film used a number of different techniques to achieve this goal. For example, they worked closely with costume designers to create outfits that would reflect the wealth, style and cultural background of each character. They also consulted with set designers to create lavish spaces that portrayed both the beauty and high society in Singapore.



    best romantic comedies of the past 10 years

    Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Nick Robinson, Alexandra Shipp and Katherine Langford in “Love, Simon”

    4. Love, Simon (2018) 

    Through its compelling characters and thought-provoking themes, Love, Simon pushes beyond convention and tells a story that reflects the diversity of the human experience. The film encourages aspiring filmmakers to embrace complexity in their storytelling while seeking to connect with a wide range of audiences. An example of how Love, Simon ignores conventions is the character of Simon himself! Simon’s character breaks stereotypes about what it means to be gay. He is not flamboyant or overly sexualized, and his struggles with coming out are portrayed in a nuanced way that avoids oversimplifying his experience. By challenging these conventions, the film Love, Simon inspires young creators to explore new perspectives and tell more diverse stories.



    best romantic comedies of the past 10 years

    Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon in “The Big Sick”

    5. The Big Sick (2018)

    The award-winning screenplay for The Big Sick received praise for its honest exploration of modern relationships and cross-cultural dynamics. The screenplay was written by husband and wife duo Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, which helped to elevate the overall chemistry and authenticity of the film’s main characters. The script tackles issues like family expectations, cultural clashes, and illness with a nuanced understanding that resonated with all audiences. The Big Sick went on to become a critical and commercial success, cementing the script as one of the most accomplished in recent memory. Through this tale of love, loss and perseverance, the screenplay shines a light on universal themes of family, identity, and connection.



    best romantic comedies of the past 10 years

    Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer in “Warm Bodies”

    6. Warm Bodies

    In this film we see a romantic comedy blended with a zombie flick. This unique blend of very different genres allowed the filmmakers to play with elements and events such as gory zombie transformations and romantic encounters.

    This blending of genres also offers opportunities for greater creativity on the part of both filmmakers and cinematographers. By juxtaposing the lighthearted tone of a romantic comedy with the gruesome world of zombies, cinematographers can utilize different lighting and camera angles to capture both the beauty and terror of the relationship. Additionally, the slow-moving shots of the characters help to build tension and convey an intimate connection between the zombie hero and his human love interest. These techniques evoke elements of a traditional horror movie as well as a romantic comedy. Ultimately, this allowed the director to create an intriguing blend that is both fun and engaging for audiences to watch.



    best romantic comedies of the past 10 years

    Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth in “Isn’t It Romantic”

    Isn’t It Romantic (2019)

    The casting choices in Isn’t It Romantic proved to be critical to the success of the film. When it came to the role of Sasha, the plus-size love interest in the movie, Rebel Wilson’s unique brand of humor and her relatable character was a perfect fit. As a plus-sized actress at the time of production, they were able to create an authentic representation of plus-size women in romantic comedies. Their choice helped to make Isn’t It Romantic one of the first movies to feature a plus-size woman as the lead. This step ultimately helped to pave the way for more inclusive casting decisions in Hollywood.



    best romantic comedies of the past 10 years

    Terrence Howard, Nia Long and Eddie Cibrian in “The Best Man Holiday”

    8. The Best Man Holiday

    Casting directors need to consider a number of factors when choosing the right cast members for a film. First and foremost, they must take into account the chemistry between the performers, as well as the actors’ individual strengths. Each actor should bring something unique to their role, such as comedic timing or dramatic intensity. The cast of The Best Man Holiday is an incredible mix of actors whose individual strengths lend themselves perfectly to the film. For example, Taye Diggs brings his presence and charismatic charm to his role as Harper. Secondly, Nia Long brings depth and vulnerability to her character that helps to set up one of the film’s most emotional moments. At the same time, Sanaa Lathan shines as the quick-witted and independent Robin, while Terrence Howard adds the perfect amount of intensity.



    best romantic comedies of the past 10 years

    Noah Centineo and Lana Condor in “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”

    9. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

    The cast of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is one of the many reasons why this film has become such a smash hit among viewers. Lana Condor brings a unique, nerdy energy to her role as Lara Jean, and Noah Centineo perfectly captures the cool confidence of high school heartthrob Peter Kavinsky. Together, these two leads create a dynamic on screen that is charming and relatable, making them the perfect couple for audiences to cheer on. With its engaging plot and lovable characters, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has become one of the most beloved films on Netflix, cementing its status as a modern teen rom-com classic.



    best romantic comedies of the past 10 years

    Amy Schumer and Bill Hader in “Trainwreck”

    10. Trainwreck (2015)

    One of the challenges that comes with writing a film like Trainwreck is finding ways to subvert the common tropes of mainstream cinema while staying true to Schumer’s raunchy humor. In this film, the central character pushes against gender stereotypes in a way that is both unexpected and relatable. This combination of unconventional storytelling paired with conventional subject matter is what makes Trainwreck an engaging film for aspiring screenwriters. Learning how to write for a film like Trainwreck can help you craft more eccentric stories and will develop your skills as a screenwriter.


    In order to make a great romantic comedy, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about the love story. It’s also about the different elements of filmmaking that come together to create an enjoyable and memorable experience for viewers. By studying some of the best examples of romantic comedies from recent years, we can see how the genre has changed over time. Aspiring screenwriters can watch these modern rom-coms to learn about what works for the genre and what doesn’t work, helping future filmmakers to create the next generation of beloved rom-coms for audiences to enjoy.



    InFocus Film School Film Program

    Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Film Production Program!

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      Have you been wanting to take action and find a job in the Canadian film industry? Check out these reasons why you should consider going to film school!

      By Brittany McDonald

      When it comes to working in the Canadian film industry, filmmakers will often speak to the value of film school. If you’re looking for a career in film production, then you should consider attending a film program! Film school is a great way to learn about the industry and make connections with aspiring and established filmmakers. In this blog post, we will talk about why attending film school will help you find a job in the Canadian film industry. We will also highlight some of the benefits of film school education and how it can launch your new career!


      Learn From Industry Leaders

      One of the main reasons why film school will help you find a job in Canada is because you can take advantage of learning from experienced professionals. At film school, you will have the opportunity to learn from the best about different topics of filmmaking. This insider knowledge is invaluable and can help you land your dream job in film production.

      find a job in the Canadian film industry

      Having access to insider knowledge and first-hand experience can provide you with unique insights into the filmmaking process. This will definitely help you in your pursuit of a career in this exciting and dynamic field. Having a solid understanding of the skills that are needed to succeed will give you a significant advantage over other aspiring filmmakers. Furthermore, by building relationships with filmmakers and industry professionals, you will have access to opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.


      Build Your Professional Network

      Another great reason to attend film school is because it gives you the chance to make connections. It is crucial for young filmmakers to align themselves with a mentor who can help to guide you through the more tedious parts of the filmmaker process, like how to source funding. Attending film school also gives students an opportunity to network with Canadian film producers and directors. This can be particularly beneficial when landing your first film job.

      find a job in the Canadian film industry

      After you graduate, you will have a much better chance of landing a job in film than if you had not attended film school. Film schools often have strong relationships with Canadian production companies. As a result, these relationships can give you a real advantage when it comes to finding a job. This network can be extremely helpful as it can give you access to insider information and opportunities.


      Grow Your Skillset

      Film school is a great place to establish a solid foundation in filmmaking before walking onto a professional set. From here you can continue to grow your skills and experience once you begin working on a production. By attending film school, you will develop essential skills that will help you navigate your film production career in Canada. These skills include storyboarding, directing, writing, editing, screenwriting, sound and cinematography. An understanding of all of these aspects of the filmmaking process are essential for any aspiring filmmaker.

      find a job in the Canadian film industry

      Film school will also give you the chance to practice and learn from your mistakes in a safe and supportive environment. Practicing and making mistakes in a school environment also allows you to build a stronger foundation of experience. This is essential once you start working. Having this stronger understanding enables students to think critically about their work. It allows students to communicate effectively with other crew members, and collaborate with fellow filmmakers. In short, learning how to navigate the challenges of film school helps prepare students for the demanding world of filmmaking.


      If you have a passion for film and would love to find a job in the Canadian film industry, then film school might be right for you! It’s a great way to learn about the industry and make important connections, which will be incredibly helpful after graduation. Film school provides you with the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals, make connections and build your skills. So if you want to find a job in the Canadian film industry, consider attending film school to fast-track your way to a successful career!


      InFocus Film School Film Program

      Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Film Production Program!

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      3 Essential Skills Famous Directors Learned in Film School

      After Film School: A Guide to Employment in the Film Industry



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        Curious about studying film in Canada? Keep reading for the complete run-down on what you need to know!
        studying film in canada

        So you’re thinking of studying film in Canada as an international student? Canada is home to a billion dollar TV and Film industry, with much of the action happening in Vancouver.

        Whether you’re interested in directing, producing or cinematography, Vancouver is the place to be! Are you thinking about studying film in Canada as an international student? Here is what you need to know to help organize your study plans before the first day of class.



        Because InFocus Film School programs are at least 6 months in length, students require a study permit.  Study Permits are issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

        InFocus is on the Designated Learning Institutions list, which means we are authorized to host international students. You must provide proof of your acceptance from InFocus when you apply for your study permit. You will also need to provide a bank statement or proof of loan. This is to show that you are able to support yourself while you are studying film in Canada.

        If possible, you should apply for a Study Permit as early as possible. It can take several months to process an application, depending on your home country.



        InFocus Film School does not offer post graduate work permit eligible programs. However, students may be eligible for post graduate work permits through a pathway program with a partnering institution. Currently, InFocus offers pathway programs through Capilano University and Yorkville University. With this permit, students can plan ahead to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident.

        We recommend you do your research at Immigration and Citizenship Canada or speak to a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). InFocus Film School works with a RCIC that can go over your options with you.



        Depending on your country of origin, you also may need a Temporary Resident Visa. You can find out if you need a visa here.

        *This is for informational purposes only. 



        InFocus Film School Film Program

        Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Film Production Program!

        Related Articles:

        InFocus Film School: International Students

        InFocus Film Production Program

        How to Start Learning Filmmaking For Beginners

        How to Become a Filmmaker After Film School



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          How to fund your short film in Canada

          Are you looking for ways to source funding for your Canadian short film? Check out these best funding opportunities for indie filmmakers!

          How to fund your short film in Canada


          Canada has a wealth of funding opportunities for emerging and established filmmakers. In particular, there are a group of major agencies that are commonly the go-to resources for Canadian short film creators. Are you looking to greenlight your next short dramatic or documentary project? Read about these 5 great funding resources to learn how to fund your short film in Canada.

          Read more

          How to market your documentary on social media

          How to market your documentary on social media

          Social media marketing has revolutionized the way people market their business, and documentary filmmaking is no exception. It’s true that nothing can replace the buzz created by a festival screening, but using social media can effectively create awareness around your film. Perhaps even helping you land big opportunities like those all-­important festival screenings! Failure to take advantage of these platforms in your marketing strategy can be a serious misstep. Learning how to market your documentary on social media will help to further your film’s exposure and reach a wider audience. So, where do you start when you’re ready to consider marketing your documentary film?



          1. Build A Marketing Strategy Into Your Project

          Some documentary filmmakers cringe at the idea of building a marketing strategy for the film before they even start shooting. But, considering how you’ll market your film before you start filming doesn’t have to detract from relevant social issues.

          how to market your documentary on social media

          In fact, considering how you’ll market your documentary before you start shooting can actually help increase awareness of a particular issue. By capitalizing on the social issues highlighted in your documentary, you’ll be able to build a marketing strategy that can connect with other individuals, organizations and industry professionals. Better yet, you can reach an audience already informed on your topic and let them serve as a springboard to bring more attention to your film from more uninformed audiences.



          2. Promotion via Social Media

          Most of us are familiar with social media in some form or another. We’ve likely all come across marketing campaigns in our social feeds from a range of different companies. When it comes to promoting a documentary, finding success through social media lies in creating content that is authentic. 

          Filmmakers who promote their work on social media and fail usually do so because their outreach lacks passion and authenticity. Simply repurposing a post in hopes that someone will engage with your content may not get you the results you’re looking for. Instead, opt for eye-catching, original content that peeks people’s interest and attention. 

          Documentary filmmakers can particularly take advantage of social media as a marketing tactic. By incorporating the issue at hand into your film’s marketing strategy, you’ll not only bring awareness to a wider audience, you’ll also encourage them to take action and contribute to the cause. 


          3. Sharing Work Through Social Media

          Sharing clips and snippets of your documentary is integral to building visibility. Few people are willing to go out to a theatre and buy a ticket for a film they don’t know anything about. Give them something to snack on while they wait for the main course! Posting video teasers from your documentary will likely result in more engagements and it will leave interested viewers wanting to see more.

          how to market your documentary

          When you upload clips to social media platforms, it’s important that they be as sharp as possible. Present high­-quality snippets of finished material to generate interest on any social media platform. Make sure your film has it’s own dedicated page on each social network you want to use. Remember to ensure that the page isn’t cluttered with personal or off-topic posts.

          Remember to clearly link between your film’s social media accounts. Most important above all is having a clear link to your film’s website.

          Finally, when it comes to publishing larger clips, many film industry professionals turn to Vimeo for uploading high-definition videos. These uploads could be used for publicity, for submitting work to film festivals, or even getting the attention of producers and distributors.


          GUEST BLOGGER: Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and accomplished online marketing professional in the Los Angeles area. Her writing covers everything from social media marketing, health, real estate and technology.



          Related Articles:

          How Do You Market a Film? A Guide For Each Stage of Production

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            why should new directors make horror movies

            New directors should make horror movies! Don’t believe us? Read the scary truth below!

            why should new directors make horror movies

            Written by Johnny Papan


            Horror isn’t a genre often associated with prestige. In fact, only 6 freaky films have ever been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. One of the most recent being Jordan Peele’s directorial debut: Get Out. Despite this, horror films have always been a launching pad for new directors. Renowned filmmakers like James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi, Stephen Spielberg, and even Frances Ford Coppola have all honed their craft making horror films in their early career.

            Making horror movies is a great way to develop your career as a film director. You have the freedom to experiment, there’s lower financial risk and you can turn your film into a franchise with a dedicated fanbase. Here are our top 5 reasons why new directors should make horror movies.

            Read more

            What is mise-en-scène and how do you use it in your films? See how Psycho and Dune expertly use mise-en-scène to develop the overall look and feel of each film.

            what is mise-en-scène

            by Sophia Lin

            Have you been wanting to know what is mise-en-scène and how to utilize it? A commonly used film term, on the lips of filmmakers, critics, and audiences alike, is mise-en-scène. You’ve probably heard about how a film has fantastic mise-en-scène or seen the term mixed in with other popular buzzwords like visual storytelling. And if it all seems a little wishy-washy after a while, we’re with you! As it turns out, mise-en-scène is a complex concept with more than a few layers to dig into. In fact, it covers multiple elements of filmmaking.


            So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it all. It’s one thing to grasp the definition of mise-en-scène, but entirely another to use it in your work or build it into your film analysis stratagem. To help you further understand what is mise-en-scène, we’ve included an in-depth analyses of two very different films. See how the iconic Hitchcock film Psycho and the recent Oscar-winning film Dune have both made use of mise-en-scène in some of their most pivotal scenes. How does mise-en-scène foster symbolism? In what ways do directors use mise-en-scène? And exactly how did it work together with the cinematography?


            One of the greatest instruments in a filmmaker’s toolbox is mise-en-scène. We’re here to show you how to use it to its full potential!


            What is mise-en-scène?

            Getting a good handle on the core definition is always a must. To start, mise-en-scène is a French word, literally translated into “putting on stage”. Appropriately, its definition involves the arrangement of some kind in front of the film camera.


            Mise-en-scène is composed of the following four elements:

            1. Setting
            2. Staging
            3. Lighting
            4. Costumes

            Each contains a couple more sub-elements, so to speak. Staging, for instance, encompasses actors’ performances and blocking. But we’ll be breaking all that down soon enough. For now, these four neat terms will make it easy to remember.


            1. Setting

            The first element to analyze when it comes to understanding what is mise-en-scène is setting. A film’s setting is where the story is set. In the realm of mise-en-scène, it almost always refers to the setting of a specific scene. For example, we would consider the interior of a character’s bedroom in one scene, rather than a broad setting for an entire film, like the city of New York. The setting also always includes any props or set design visible on-screen.


            Settings can be used in a variety of symbolic and figurative ways. For one, they can act as an indication of a character’s personality. Or, if the setting undergoes changes as the film progresses, it can be an outward display of a character’s interior development. In more complex cases, settings can reflect a character’s psychology or motives. 


            How Is The Setting Used In Psycho?

            what is mise-en-scène

            Norman Bates from Psycho

            Mise-en-scène is used often in horror films. When we first meet the antagonist Norman Bates from the horror film Psycho, he invites Marion Crane, the female protagonist, into his parlour. At the time, he seems charming and innocent. But look closer — in this scene, Alfred Hitchcock cleverly uses the setting to reflect Norman’s eventual villainy.


            One key example is, whenever Norman appears on camera, several taxidermy birds appear behind him. But they aren’t just any birds — they are predatory birds, from owls to eagles, showing Norman’s true nature as a predator preying on innocent victims. On the other hand, Marion is shown on-screen surrounded by small birds, sparrows and such, which points to her fate as the prey of Norman.


            2. Staging

            As we’ve mentioned, staging refers to a couple extra sub-elements as well:


            The first is performance. At the end of the day, the actors are the star of the show. As a result, the specifics of their performance help to make up the mise-en-scène. How are they delivering lines? What is their body language? This goes as far as incorporating the style of the actors’ performances, such as whether it’s naturalistic or theatrical acting.


            Second comes blocking, a term that refers to where the actors are physically placed and how they move relative to the camera. For that reason, the camera placement is often considered part of the blocking as well. One intriguing example is that a character moving from left to right past the camera is seen as a symbol of change in a positive direction.


            How Is The Staging Used In Dune?

            what is mise-en-scène

            Helicopters from Dune

            One of the most visually stunning scenes in Dune is when the protagonist Paul Atreides sees Arrakis, his new home planet, for the first time in a helicopter. Arrakis is known for its precious Spice, and the overhead view of the desert planet serves as an unforgettable introduction. But that isn’t all it is.


            During this scene, the blocking is intentional and carefully considered. Paul sits behind the glass window of the chopper, with the camera placed on the other side. This creates the unique effect of the desert reflecting off that glass, making it look like the sand dunes are overlaying or overlapping Paul’s face.


            An actor’s face is also a clear symbol of identity. Director Denis Villeneuve uses the blocking to tell us that Arrakis will become a foundational part of Paul’s identity, perhaps even to the point of inseparability.


            3. Lighting

            A third element to understanding what is mise-en-scène is how the film is lit. Lighting is one of the many parts of filmmaking that we typically don’t notice. Gaffers, who are responsible for the lighting of a scene. You can use lighting to create realism, so the shots appear natural and never tip us off to the fact that it has been fabricated. But because it is fabricated, it leaves many options for how the lighting can be used to enrich a film’s message.


            There are two main types of lighting to get to know:


            One is low-key lighting, which means the contrast is high, with the dark parts of the shot being very dark and the bright parts very bright. To no surprise, this lighting is favoured in horror, thriller, and noir films for the harsh look it creates.


            Another is high-key lighting, which is low contrast with few shadows. There won’t be much of a difference between the darker and lighter parts of the shot. This creates a brighter look overall. In contrast, this lighting is often found in rom-coms and musicals.


            How Is The Lighting Used In Psycho?

            what is mise-en-scène

            Norman Bates from Psycho

            Remember the scene in the parlour with Norman? Well, turns out the setting isn’t the only noteworthy part. Filmmakers aim for each scene to contain multitudes of meaning, and Hitchcock is no exception. Lighting-wise, Norman is lit from the side in this scene. As a result, this creates shadows on one side of his face but not the other.


            This results in a curious two-face effect. With a split down the middle, this lighting technique suggests a light half and a dark half to Norman’s character. Or in other words, a sense of duality. As the film goes on, it becomes clear that Norman is not who he appears to be. (Spoiler alert!) As we come to find out, there are, in fact, two personalities within him. This whole scene also acts as a perfect illustration of how the various pieces of mise-en-scène can work together to send multiple messages within one idea. 


            4. Costumes

            The final piece to understanding what is mise-en-scène to the costuming of the film. This aspect of mise-en-scène refers to anything the actors are wearing, including hair and makeup. Costume designers will spend their time looking over the exact details of outfits, styles, shoes, and accessories that will be true to a character. This will also convey meaning on a second level. As we know, what you wear says a lot about who you are.


            Interestingly, costumes can be another way to track a character’s development and their relationship with those around them. The lending of a jacket, for instance, can reveal much about how two characters feel about one another. Beyond that, how costumes are worn is also considered. For example, a disciplined character may have ironed clothes and tied-up shoelaces, while an absent-minded one will wear a half-tucked shirt. 


            How Are Costumes Used In Dune?

            what is mise-en-scène

            Harkonnen tribe from Dune

            Rather than observing a specific scene, costume analysis is often more overarching. Throughout its entirety, Dune is filled with elaborate and ground-breaking sci-fi costuming in nearly every scene. Some costume choices reflect the climate of a particular planet, while others were chosen for reasons of practicality. An example of this is how the stillsuits had to be able to preserve moisture.


            A true prime example of costuming being used to the peak of its creative capabilities is the costumes worn by the opposing Harkonnen tribe. Their armour is hard-shell and darkly coloured, with repetitive textures and bands that resemble those of insects. In fact, the costume designer based it specifically on the look of beetles, ants, and spiders.


            Wait a second, beetles? If that sounds familiar in any way, it should be — Dune features a one-off scene of Paul simply watching a small black beetle crawl up the sand. Beetles are pests, invading and harming any environment they intrude upon. In this case, the Harkonnen costumes create a parallel, foreshadowing their tribe as the colonizing parasites that will invade Arrakis.



            As you’ve seen by now, understanding what is mise-en-scène isn’t a quick and easy task. It’s versatile, subtle, and leans towards the abstract. But once you’ve studied and practiced it, employing it in your film will become second nature. Many refer to it as a language in and of itself – mise-en-scène conveys hidden ideas on another level working together with the dialogue and plot events.


            And so, learning a visual language like this takes time, and close film analysis is a must for understanding what is mise-en-scène. With that in mind, there are some famous examples to dig into. Some that come to mind are the use of light in Parasite, the red jacket in Rebel Without A Cause, the blocking in The Shining’s climatic scene, and the googly eyes in Everything Everywhere All At Once.


            So get into it! Before you know it, you’ll be watching films in a whole new way, seeing more with every rewatch. And if you’re a filmmaker, you’ll find yourself sprinkling fresh ideas into the mise-en-scène of your own films, making the most of what the art of filmmaking has to offer.


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              vancouver international film festival

              Vancouver International Film Festival 2022 will be taking place from September 29th to October 9th. Check out some of these great films and events at VIFF 2022!

              vancouver international film festival 2022

              By: Kennedy Randall

              One of the most recognized film festivals in British Columbia is back again. Vancouver International Film Festival continues to bring the best films and engaging public programs to the city. This year VIFF 2022 will be presenting over 130 feature films and 100 short films. With this in mind, there will be no shortage of viewing material and something for everyone. 

              Vancouver International Film Festival’s public programming is fully stacked this year with an exciting lineup of VIFF Talks. From directors to costume designers, the many panels VIFF will be presenting will paint a full picture of the film industry. These great panels help to inspire fellow creators, filmmakers, and industry professionals.


              Listen in on Clement Virgo, one of Canada’s leading film directors, working on Empire, The Wire, The L Word and The Book of Negroes. Learn about his new film and insights on his experiences being a director and writer. Those keen on costume design can also peek into an exciting conversation with Deborah L. Scott. Deborah is best known for her work in Avatar and James Cameron’s blockbuster Titanic. She was also awarded the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her work in these films. Hear about her process designing costumes for action movies verses period pieces as well. Attendees will also learn about the creative teamwork needed to pull off the director’s vision. Check out all the VIFF Talks here.

              viff 2022

              Costume designer Deborah L. Scott

              VIFF will also be partnering with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for a special musical performance. From this partnership, attendees can enjoy a performance of two-time Emmy-nominated composer Michael Abel’s music at the Vancouver Playhouse. Abel is known for the unique scores that have filled the cinematic worlds of Jordan Peele’s films Get Out, Nope, and Us. 


              After two years of the pandemic, Vancouver cinemas have returned to full capacity. Every one of the official selections for VIFF 2022 will be screened in person as a result. The festival will open with a screening of Bones of Crows by Métis filmmaker Marie Clements which follows an epic account of Cree matriarch Aline Spears life. 

              viff 2022

              “Bones of Crows” by Marie Clements

              Other anticipated films include director Kore-eda’s Broker, an entertaining crime story set in South Korea following Song Kang-ho (Parasite; The Host) who heads a half-baked baby adoption scam. Kang-Ho also took home Best Actor this year at Cannes Film Festival.

              viff 2022

              “Broker” by Kore-eda

              For local Vancouver sports fans, The Grizzlie Truth will peak their attention. In this film, director Kathleen S. Jayme sets out to solve a true crime of a different nature: who robbed Vancouver of the Grizzlies? Jayme recounts the short-lived history of the Vancouver Grizzlies and also reconnects the audience with the Grizzlies heroes and villains.

              viff 2022

              “The Grizzlie Truth” by Kathleen S. Jayme

              This year’s VIFF will also include Soviet Bus Stops, directed by Kristoffer Hegnsvad. Soviet Bus Stops follows Canadian photographer Christopher Herwig who sets out to document a piece of urban architecture in former Soviet Republics that may be considered ordinary and benign – bus stops.

              With dozens more films on their program, head over to the VIFF 2022 film program to find your niche or to learn something new at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival.


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              Coming up at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival is Soviet Bus Stops. Read more about VIFF and the film below.


              By: Kennedy Randall

              After much anticipation, the Vancouver International Film Festival is returning at the end of the month. In the past 41 years VIFF has become one of Vancouver’s most beloved film festivals will be running from September 29th to October 9th showcasing over 130 feature films and 100 short films.


              InFocus Film School has partnered with VIFF to showcase Soviet Bus Stops, one of many fantastic films screening this year. Directed by Kristoffer Hegnsvad, Soviet Bus Stops follows Canadian photographer Christopher Herwig. From Ukraine to Uzbekistan, Armenia to Far Eastern Siberia, Herwig sets out to document a piece of urban architecture in former Soviet Republics that may be considered ordinary and benign – bus stops. 

              InFocus Film School Film Program

              Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Film Production Program!

              From the 1960s and 70s, the architecture of the Soviet Regime was largely utilitarian and mass-produced. What Herwig finds on his travels is profoundly different; bus stops that are creative and whimsical. Architecture within the Soviet period was highly monitored and totalitarian following a uniform style. However, bus stops are often a negligible part of the urban landscape, and these revolutionary structures ended up being overlooked. Therefore, these roadside fixtures artistically represent a place and time in history, built as quiet acts of creativity against overwhelming state control. 

              soviet bus stops

              Although, despite their radical nature and innovation, these bus stops are seen by many as strange or embarrassing. This is, unfortunately, leading many of them to be torn down. “These bus stops are disappearing so fast. If I come back a year from now, they could be gone, demolished, or rebuilt. These pictures may be all that’s left in the end. I want to give them some kind of immorality,” Herwig reflects.


              Shot over seven years, Soviet Bus Stops follows Herwig on his journey to capture these bus stops and memorialize them through film. He meets some of the humble and eccentric bus stop creators from various former Soviet Republics to hear their stories about how these unique structures came to exist.

              soviet bus stops

              Herwig’s photography books of the bus stops have become bestsellers around the world. Hegnsvad’s documentation of this process turns this unusual journey into an engaging film about human connectivity, photography, politics, and history. In so doing, Herwig and Hegnsvad both commemorate the stories of these bus stops through their chosen medium, sharing a relatively unknown subject with wider audiences.

              The stories of individuals who created small acts of resistance are embedded in the poetry and art of the remaining bus stops and become honoured, protected, and celebrated in these mediums.

              soviet bus stops

              InFocus Film School is proud to be the community partner for such an unforgettable film. Purchase your tickets for either screening on October 2nd at The Cinematheque or October 4th at International Village 8 here.

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