InFocus Film School Blog

 

Director Stanley Kubrick grew out of the Auteur Theory

by Ryan Uytdewilligen

 

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

 

You know when you’re watching a Wes Anderson movie because he has his team of regulars (like Owen Wilson and Bill Murray) on display while his wild pallet of bright colours easily identifies it as a wacky, almost surreal, universe only he could create. Because 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.

Read more

the fifth movie of the Transformers franchise - Transformers 5 The Last KnightBy Henry Kulick

 

The reboot “boom” is headed towards a crash but original scripts aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 

As Hollywood sinks its teeth into the early weeks of the 2017 summer box-office barrage, they do so with some apprehension. Insiders in the industry predict that this summer’s ticket sales (bookending around Labor Day) could be the lowest it’s been in a decade.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to many. Looking back, and then ahead, 2017 is filled with instalments to franchises that have existed for decades. In April, we saw the release of the eighth Fast and the Furious movie, which claimed to be the final title in the series but only time will tell.

With nothing but adaptations and sequels taking center stage and garnering less than years past, it seems that trusted franchises, once capable of driving people to the theatre, may beginning to go a bit stale.

Read more

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

Read more

film school students working a camera

If you’ve made the decision to pursue a career in the film industry, you have a lot of interesting years ahead of you. But before you can jump into award-winning positions on set, you need to start with a film school.

Choosing the best film school for you can be a daunting process, but if you can find one that gives you the most experience and education for your dollar and time, then it’s worth the investment in your future as a filmmaker.

Read more

Drones, aka Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), are an increasingly integral part of film. Filmmakers are exploring the possibilities of this new, game changing technology and shooting scenes in ways never done before.

As film gear has gotten lighter, more compact, and more sophisticated, filming with drones has become, not only feasible, but often the right tool for the job. More than that, the tech has become more accessible to filmmakers of all levels, breeding new perspectives and dynamism from diverse sources.

This is a huge deal for the indie film community, where money and resources are often tight. Even our own InFocus Film School students have used drones in their student films!

 

Read more

Chris Pratt in front of a green screen for Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) VFX breakdown

By Renée Sutton

 

From creating fantastical landscapes to trapping a boy in a boat with a tiger (Life of Pi), Visual Effects (VFX) have expanded the possibilities in film and television and made it cheaper to fulfill them. But visual effects are more ubiquitous than you think. For every alien planet or flashy explosion, there are many “invisible effects” you don’t spot. Consider the beachside mansions in Wolf of Wall Street or any car in a car commercial—all of these are the work of VFX artists.

 

With the pervasive integration of VFX in both the entertainment and advertising industries, it’s not surprising that the demand for VFX artists is only growing. Vancouver is a major VFX hub in North America, and you can quickly begin working in the local industry with InFocus Film School’s new 3-month Compositing Program and 10-month Visual Effects (VFX) Diploma Program.

 

According to curriculum developer and instructor Amir Jahanlou, these courses were developed after seeing a demand in the local industry. Vancouver is home to many of the major VFX companies, and the 3-month Compositing program was specifically designed as a fast track into the industry. “The Compositing Program is for someone who wants to find a job right away,” said Jahanlou.

 

Read more

Bruce Willis fires a weapon in Die Hard

Though we’re no longer building Colosseums to watch people die gruesomely, violence is still a fan favourite on the big screen. But just because the fights aren’t real doesn’t mean filming them isn’t dangerous. Having violence and weapons on set means you must follow strict rules and guidelines to ensure everyone walks away intact.

Note: Much of this advice is from a Vancouver perspective. However, these are still solid guidelines for anywhere.

 

Read more

Filmmaker working a camera

So you’ve graduated film school and the future is exciting but intimidating. You’re not sure where to start. What’s next? What’s the job market like? How do you find work in the film industry?

 

Optimizing Your Resume & Portfolio

Before you start sending out your resume and demo reel, consider tailoring your portfolio to reflect a specialization. Ideally, you’ll have gravitated towards a certain field during your time in school. By tailoring your portfolio, you’ll be cutting out irrelevancies and emphasizing your expertise in your chosen specialization.

 

The Job Market

British Columbia is one of the top places to be for anyone looking to work in the film industry.

The Vancouver Economic Commission estimates over 40,000 people work in film, full and part-time, in BC. Known as Hollywood North, BC is the third largest production centre in North America, with a constant flow of work from American studios and networks due to tax credits and the favourable Canadian dollar.

 

Where to Look

If BC is a film production haven, where do you find work? Some production jobs are listed, but many aren’t. Here are some places to look:

  1. Facebook pages
    • There are many Facebook pages dedicated to hiring independent filmmakers. Filmmakers will create their own community for hiring purposes.
  2. Networking
    • Introverts, strap on your social face! Filmmakers network intensely. Take a look at Women in Film and Television in Vancouver, DOC BC, Celluloid Social Club, Cold Reading Club, etc. Projects often arise from like minds finding a mutual passion. These jobs may never be advertised.
  3. Craigslist
    • Check out the Gigs and Production Jobs sections on Craigslist. These jobs are well paid, but beware of listings that ask if you are “adventurous”—it might be the porn industry!
  4. Job Boards
    • One search on job boards like Indeed.com will bring up many listings for compositors and other VFX positions.
  5. The Union Department
    • The Union department is the pool of eligible labour that big feature films and TV series will pull from. The unions control access to these jobs to ensure large producers have trained and qualified crew members. Once a student has met the union criteria, they’re often placed in a “hiring hall system.” This is why you don’t see these jobs advertised.

Read more

Is there a good reason to invest time and money into film school or can it all be learned on the job?

 

On-set learning is better suited for those who are happy to stay in one department with one specific skill set. Those who desire to move up in the industry and have greater control over the creative process should be equipped with a wide, practical understanding of the entire production process. Having gone through the full production process already, film school graduates are well-rounded filmmakers who will already have the skills needed when promoted.

Read more

by Renee Sutton

 

At the mercy of the world economy and great forces of nature, Julia Ivanova’s latest NFB documentary was a story that just wouldn’t stop unfolding. While no filmmaker can be entirely sure where they will end up when they begin the process of making a documentary, Ivanova’s Limit is the Sky (2016) was pulled from the editing stage back into production, three times.

 

This non-traditional environmental film follows how the rise and demise of Fort McMurray has affected some of the younger residents. “It’s a portrait of Fort McMurray, and of Canadian millennials searching for money, identity and success in the heart of the Alberta oil sands,” Ivanova said. She said her focus was not on the shifting political landscape, but instead on the stories of the people that it affected. What Ivanova didn’t anticipate was that it would take four years to complete the film, as new events and tragedies important to the story occurred in the process of editing.

Read more