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How do I make it as a Hollywood Screenwriter?

By If you’re new to video, Feature Film, Television, For Pros Leave a comment

I just finished my first screenplay, and I know it is really good. I just need a chance to get in front of someone to prove it. I’ve tried to contact agencies, but got no response. I don’t want to give up my dream of being a Hollywood screenwriter! Any advice? –Jim S., New York The stock answers to the career screenwriter question tend to be variations on “you have to pay your dues” or “you have to know someone.” I’m not a fan of either piece of advice, so let’s start by reframing those two old bromides into solid…

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Wonder Woman 1984

Why You Were Disappointed in “Wonder Woman 1984”

By Feature Film, For Pros Leave a comment

**Spoilers here** There are many reasons to be disappointed in Wonder Woman 1984. To name a few: The rules of the no-good-very-bad wishing stone are, shall we say, fluid, and seem to change scene by scene. Anachronisms abound (Starbucks-style coffee sleeves! Full-color CRT monitors!) The bad guy looks much better when he’s wearing a suit of armor, but they don’t give him one. The hero does not, but they do. And worst of all: the filmmakers saw Cats and thought “Purr-fect! We must have those special effects for our next blockbuster!” None of these disappointments would have mattered nearly as much if the movie didn’t…

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Zoom meeting

How to Do a Zoom Meeting that Doesn’t Suck

By Tips and Tricks, Video Marketing Leave a comment

While there are plenty of posts on Video Meeting Etiquette out there, much of that advice is painfully obvious. (Pro tip: It’s painfully obvious advice if the words “you moron” perfectly complete the sentence. Like this one: “Unmute before you talk.” See what I mean?) As the pandemic wears on and it’s clear that Zoom meetings are here to stay, it’s time to go a little deeper.

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Adding a Story After the Shoot

By Tips and Tricks, For Pros, Your Questions Answered Leave a comment

I bought your book last Saturday and have already read most of it!  I have a question about creating a story for a book-signing that I shot on Saturday to promote my friend’s new book. Using your story formula, I know my hero is the author. But what’s the story? Should the video tell the story of how she breaks into a new genre of writing?  Or should it focus on the story of her book?  I’m confused. Can you help me get to step two with my video? Babs Hogan Arlington, TX Thanks for reading the book, Babs. Great…

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Shooting ratios are different for different productions.

Shooting Ratio: How Much is Enough Footage?

By Video Marketing, Feature Film, Television, For Pros, Your Questions Answered Leave a comment

How do I know if I’ve shot enough footage? I hate to waste money and time, but I’m nervous I won’t get what I need for the edit. PS: Absolutely love your book! I’ve read it cover-to-cover twice now and starting my third time through. –Jamal Directors always shoot more than they think they need. Which means some of it will always be wasted. That’s how it’s supposed to work. It’s so normal that there’s even a name for this waste. It’s called the “shooting ratio” and it simply means the ratio between how much footage goes on screen, and how…

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Summer Stars campers perform live August 2019

Teaching Video: Summer Stars Foundation

By Tips and Tricks, Video Marketing, Teaching and Training, Press Leave a comment

I do a lot of speaking and consulting on video, but by far the most rewarding is teaching I’ve done almost every year since 2000 at Summer Stars Camp for the Performing Arts. This is the camp’s 20th Anniversary and I’ve managed to attend 17 sessions, teaching music video classes to 12-17 year-old disadvantaged kids from New York and Boston who pay nothing to attend. Much of my book comes out of my work teaching those kids. (I’m also on the camp board, so now must suggest that you donate at www.summerstars.org) The first step in creating a music video: immersing yourself…

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How to Shoot Video… Now in Korean & Spanish!

By Press Leave a comment

How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck is now out in both Korean and Spanish versions. You can also find it in Chinese (two versions), Russian, Polish and Bahasa Indonesian. Japanese coming soon! Check out these posts for more: The Book … Do I Need to Know the Act Breaks in a Movie? “I’m from Poland. Sorry, for my English. I read your article about Arrival after seeing… Video is Never finished… “Video is never finished.  It’s just taken away.”  I don’t remember where I first heard…

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Still from the Abyss

There are No Fish in “The Abyss”

By Tips and Tricks, Feature Film, For Pros Leave a comment

My writing partner and I were arguing about a scene in a new screenplay. It’s a time-travel piece, and he wanted to explain all the technical steps that lead a character to have a conversation with someone from his distant past. The reason? So the audience would believe their meeting could plausibly happen. Makes sense. If we don’t show how the machinery works, and explain exactly how the two accidentally meet over miles and eons, who will believe it? Credibility comes from detail, right? It makes sense, but it’s totally wrong. Extreme explanatory detail in a movie is death. We…

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