How to Do a Zoom Meeting that Doesn’t Suck

Zoom meeting

Zoom meeting

While there are plenty of posts on Zoom Meeting Etiquette out there, much of that advice is painfully obvious. (Pro tip: You can tell if advice is painfully obvious 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.

We just shot a series of commercials for Saatva via Zoom Meeting. This made sense as a) there is still no actual production here in LA and b) we … Read the rest

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Do I Need to Know the Act Breaks in a Movie?

The Princess Bride

“I’m from Poland. Sorry, for my English. I read your article about Arrival after seeing the movie. I was wondering about three-act structure of this movie. Could you tell me in which minute – in your opinion – are the act breaks for act I, II and III? I’m have a trouble to do this. For me:

I act ends at 41 min – after Louise return from the spaceship – “kangaroo” scene

II act = 92 min – after they get in contact with aliens

III act is about stopping China from attack on aliens

What do you think?

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Better Call Saul: The Devil is in the Details

There is no better show on television than AMC’s Better Call Saul, from Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, ex of Breaking Bad. All four seasons are spectacular, but if you haven’t watched (or even if you have) it’s worth considering what makes it great.  Great writing and acting, sure, but for me the best part of Better Call Saul is that every shot, every sequence, every episode is about intrigue- built by lensing in to the details.

Season 1, Episode 1 doesn’t start with anything as obvious as an establishing shot of a shopping mall, or a freeway sign … Read the rest

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How to Shoot Vacation Video that Won’t Bore People to Death

How to shoot vacation video

When I was a kid, the Armbrusters had a slide projector.  Which meant that after every vacation they took, we’d troop dutifully to their house for endless carousels of badly-shot Kodachrome slides, narrated  live.  The slide show always seemed longer than the vacation itself.  Washed-out, badly composed views of Disneyland or Paris—dotted here and there with the back of the head of someone we knew.

Today technology has changed everything.  People can record hours and hours of vacation video on a single chip.  But they don’t trap you in their living rooms anymore.  Instead they email links to their hour-long … Read the rest

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