InFocus Film School Blog

 

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.

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Written by Breanne Pitt

 

Anyone can make a video. The 21st century smartphone provides nearly everyone with access to high quality video cameras in their pocket. The difference between amateur and artist, however, is the successful use of perspective. Filmmaking is an art. Every shot should be captured with purpose. The real filmmakers are not people on sidewalks filming the statue across the street. The real filmmakers are the people lying on the ground, holding their camera sideways, and waiting for the light hit the statue just right. These artists understand how to capture unique perspective.  Perspective, for the purpose of this article, is capturing “viewpoints that communicate a subject to an audience in a unique way.” If you want to elevate your video skill from beginner to artist, here are suggestions on how to make a good video better with 7 simple techniques.

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How Do You Market A Film?

How Do You Sell Your Film?

Written by Tae Haahr

Marketing is the most underrated aspect of the filmmaking process. It comes from a combination of wanting to get the film right, having a ton of things to consider and the fact that most people don’t know how to put together an impactful campaign.

But in filmmaking, marketing is a crucial component. With hundreds of thousands of films created each year—in all shapes, sizes and genres, if you want to get your film seen, marketing needs to be a priority.

So, when do you need to start thinking about marketing? The answer is simple: during the entire process. But there are five specific times that marketing needs to be in the forefront of your mind.

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How to Work as an Extra In Film

By Julia Courtenay

 

It’s been a blockbuster year for film in Vancouver, providing a slew of opportunities for Background Performers (a.k.a Extras) to be anything from zombies, to German officers, FBI agents, bikers, baristas or nuns—and get paid!

 

Want to get in on the action? Read on to find out how to work as a Background Performer on set.

 

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3 Sci Fi Films with Perfect F/X - Monsters - InFocus Film School

1. MONSTERS (2010)

Before Gareth Edwards was behind the helm of the reboot of Godzilla (2014) and the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) he directed, wrote, shot and created the visual effects for his breakout sci-fi indie film Monsters.

With a production budget of just under $15,000 the film was shot in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Texas with a crew so small that they were all able to drive together in a seven-passenger van. After picture lock Edwards spent five months working out of his studio apartment, where he created all 250 of the visual f/x shots using Adobe software, Autodesk 3ds Max and ZBrush.

2. Primer (2004)

When the topic of low budget sci-fi indie films comes up, it’s hard not to mention the absolute powerhouse that is Primer, a movie that Shane Carruth directed, produced, wrote, scored and starred in. During its 2004 debut it won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, alongside the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation prize.

With a shooting budget of $7,000, Carruth’s film tackled the notoriously difficult topic of time travel. While this concept is absolutely within the realm of science fiction, this portrayal has been praised for being represented in a down-to-earth manner that enforces a kind of realism that is not commonly seen in this genre.

3. The One I Love (2014)

Directed by Charlie McDowell (the son of Malcolm McDowell) and produced by mumblecore giants Jay and Mark Duplass, The One That I Love is a welcome homage to the classic sci-fi television series The Twilight Zone (1959–1964), taking an ordinary couple and dropping them into a bizarre ethical quandary.

With an estimated budget of $100,000 (aided perhaps by the fact that filming took place at the home of McDowell’s parents), this film is a reminder that sci-fi isn’t necessarily synonymous with battle in space, or giant monsters. A speculative concept can stay true to it’s science fiction heritage and be an incredibly powerful tool to understand human behavior.

What is Auteur Theory in Filmmaking?

by Ryan Uytdewilligen

 

In short, an Auteur is an artist who applies a high amount of stylistic control over their craft. In the case of Auture Filmmaking, this would be the director.

 

In the history of cinema, most cinema buffs point to auteur filmmakers as a source of inspiration. Scorsese, Kubrick, Lynch, Burton, Kurosawa, Mallick, the same names pop up over and over again for a reason. They have a cinematic identity that radiates through their work, whether it’s a repetitive setting or a reoccurring theme.

 

It’s easy to identify a Wes Anderson movie because he has his team of regulars (like Owen Wilson and Bill Murray) on display. His wild pallet of bright colours easily identifies it as a wacky, almost surreal, universe only he could create. He’s so good at getting his vision across, people keep coming back for more.

 

That is the sign of the auteur filmmaker: creative control for a personal end product that resonates with the zeitgeist.

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What Makes Vancouver So Good for Movies?

InFocus Film School - Filming in Vancouver: A Cinematographers Guide

Written by Freddie Kim

 

Shooting in Vancouver has become a haven for film and television. Vancouver is considered a premier location, and was affectionately given the nickname “Hollywood North.” But what artistic edge does it have over other major cities? Here are 5 factors that differentiate shooting in Vancouver.

High Latitude For More Sun

Vancouver’s higher latitude means extended daytime shooting hours during summer–­ a huge boon for productions shooting on a tight timeline. During peak filming season, Vancouver gets up to 16 hours of daylight, two hours more than Los Angeles, yet avoids the southern California heat during summer.

Extended “Golden” Hours

With softer light, ideal lighting ratios and a warmer colour, the “golden” or “magic” hour after sunrise and before sunset is often the best time to shoot. In any given season, the sun in Vancouver remains lower on the horizon than in most US cities, giving Vancouver a magic hour that is actually way longer than one hour, and often spectacular for more than two.

InFocus Film School - Film Production Program

Cloudy Weather Means Great Diffusion

Vancouver often has a thick cloud cover that diffuses light. Harsh sunlight pouring above your subjects is complicated to control and a sky sprinkled with clouds is a nightmare due to constantly changing light. Cloudy grey skies make for constant lighting conditions and a much easier shoot.

Mild Winters Allow Year-Round Shooting

Although Vancouverites love to complain about it, rain isn’t always a bad thing. Our mild winters and lack of snow allow for a nearly year-round shooting window. Although uncomfortable to hold a shoot in the rain, it often doesn’t read on camera and can easily look moody, arty, and unlike anything that LA can offer.

Clean Air and Unfiltered Sunlight

Compared to popular American film locations, Vancouver’s air pollution is low. Cleaner air means a larger spectrum of unfiltered sunlight. In places with heavy pollution, sunlight may come pre­filtered and muted, negating much of its artistic usefulness. The lack of pollution during sunrise or sunset provides a gorgeous broad spectrum in Vancouver­ and exquisite backdrops.

Why Should New Directors Make Horror Films?

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, the most recent being Jordan Peele’s directorial debut: Get Out. Despite this, as was the case with Peele, horror films have proven to be a launching pad for many of the world’s most renowned filmmakers. 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.

There are a multitude of reasons why this genre is a great place to develop your career as a film director. From the freedom to experiment, to lower financial risk, to a dedicated fanbase and beyond, here are our top 5 reasons why new directors should begin their career in horror.

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Written by Clarence Sponagle

Martha; A Picture Story is a documentary reminding us that one passion can lead to others, one person’s drive can be addictive and that some of the best storytelling is through art.

 

Martha Cooper is a photographer whose pictures of hip-hop graffiti helped share the art-form all over the world. What started off as a conventional hobby turned into a revolutionary career that is still going today, at her age of 75. In the 1970s Martha discovered graffiti art in the Bronx and began taking photos, turning her collection into a book entitled Subway Art. Though the book sold few copies in the 1970s, some were shoplifted and photocopied. Pirated copies of the book were circulated internationally and turned the art-form into a worldwide phenomena.

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AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HEAVY HITTING HORRORFEST’S FUNNY AND UNPREDICTABLE FESTIVAL DIRECTOR: FEET BANKS

Written by Johnny Papan

 

Whistler’s Heavy Hitting HorrorFest describes itself as a “one night, balls to the wall orgy of horrific, hilarious, and very independent short films.” Their website cautions attendees to “tell your brain to stock up on diapers.”

This now 13-year-old festival has grown into one of the largest and longest running horror festivals in Western Canada. This years festival aims for a more “intimate vibe,” screening at a 300 person theatre, as opposed to multiple theatres hosting 1200 attendees as seen in the past. Event organizer Feet Banks says this will not stop the festival from being “bigger, bloodier, and even more badass than ever before.” The even will feature a Red Carpet pre-party and costumes are encouraged.

The festival accepts film from around the world, and the deadline is September 15. Feet spoke with InFocus Film School about the festival, its origins, and some wild tidbits. Read the EXCLUSIVE Q&A below.

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