So you want to make a movie…

I occasionally come across someone who wants to make a movie but has never done it. Here’s my advice. Know your goals. People can have many goals, but I’ve seen the following two. You want to make the best movie you can.  So you need to recruit the best...

Plot sequencing

There’s some spoilers here for the last film I worked on, “Pangs.” I’d recommend you watch the film before reading this. You can do so here. I had an interesting moment working as editor on the film “Pangs.” This is the first time I’ve edited a 48 Hour Film...

The Snowzilla Diary

Julie and I went for a walk on Friday, January 22, just as the first flakes of winter storm Jonas started to fall. It was expected to be historic, and the Washington Post had already dubbed it “Snowzilla.” We were contemplating how to spend a snowed-in...

Playing with key and fill

I spent some time today running a set of experiments for lighting.  Before I dive into describing them, here’s a few terms for those who haven’t spent much time on photographic or cinematographic lighting. The key light is the primary light used to light a...

The joy of traveling matte

Take a look at this video, then read further for some discussion. Hats in the Ring editing demo from Joe Dzikiewicz on Vimeo. In my latest film, “Hats in the Ring,” we had a scene where there were photos displayed on a computer. To do this, we put a green...

Slow FPS camera test

Another camera technique experiment!  First, take a look: This is testing something I saw on one of the many how-to videos out there.  The basic idea is that you can get a ghost look by playing with shutter speeds and frame rates. That turned out to be a bit harder...

Year-end reflections

It’s the end of the year, and time to reflect on the year gone by. 2014 goals in review I entered 2014 with one major filmmaking goal: be a major contributor on six short films.  How did I do? March, “Better Days.”  In March, I was DP for a short...

On escalations and “Flowers for Daniel”

Last summer I took a class in screenwriting taught by Corey Mandell, who makes his living teaching folks how to write movies.  As I’ve written, I had mixed feelings about the class, but one of the things I liked about it was Mandell’s approach to story...

The Shutter Speed test

Starting with “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Bourne Identity,” having jumpy action scenes has been one way to make action stand out. This can be effective when going for a hyper-realistic effect, as in those movies. It can also have a real...

The Alex ad

About a month ago, Alex Bond, the son of a good friend, asked for some help making a video.  He was applying to a scholarship competition run by Dr Pepper and one of the requirements was to make a short video showing what he would do with the scholarship money.  The...