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This is the strongest way you can convey an audience for your film. There needs to be regular updates. Posts two to three times a week seems like the sweet spot. You can easily create a website on Wix that looks professional while also serving as a virtual pitching resource. You can get an idea by checking out our website. If possible, use your subjects to your advantage. For us, this was particularly useful, as we invited potential producers to join us in Solvang to meet Fidencio personally. And as the gracious host he is, Fidencio offered wine along with enjoyable anecdotes.

There was no definitive pitching time for us. In fact, we were pitching Esfuerzo before, during, and after production. For us, we never had any single producer, rather a combination of hands and resources that made it all possible. From Hurlbut Visuals donating cameras and equipment to our director Alana Maiello investing thousands of dollars of her own money, and even to the Flores family assisting us with food and lodging, we were able to make production happen.

During production, we were constantly pitching to other filmmakers who donated their time and energy to make this film possible. This saved us hundreds and, most likely, even thousands of dollars in the long run. By the time we had a finished product, we again found ourselves pitching to key contacts. This included our network of Mexican-American wine enthusiasts, Hispanic media conglomerates, and even Univision. Materials such as the sizzle reel helped garner attention and compliment the many, many emails to potential producers.

Since sizzle materials are only for pitching, you can also use copyrighted materials like music and imagery. However, you give yourself the best advantage by making your sizzle come off as professional as possible. The sizzle can have a duration of 2 minutes on the short end and 10 on the long end of the spectrum. Even sometimes after production you might be lacking in some form of footage.

Filmsupply was a great resource for us. To fill in some atmospheric space between talking heads, we needed powerful and engaging shots that matched the imagery we already had. Filmsupply has partnered with teams of amazing filmmakers from all over the world that provide amazing photography to their highly curated catalog.

This was especially useful for conveying the natural allure for the film. We were attracted to large, limitless spaces, nostalgic textures, and pristine production quality. This was not only useful for our sizzle but for our film as well. Do you need someone who is going to provide a name or finances? Are you in need of resources in the form of equipment or production space? Do you need someone who has an agent or can get you into the room of, say, Netflix? You need to know exactly what you want in order to choose the right producer, because once you bring them on, you need to know if and when they can deliver.

For us, we thought it best to rely on multiple producers rather than just one. This helped elevate our network for when the film was ready to show. Also, in our case, we considered ourselves producers because we were, well, producing the film at our own time and expense. Esfuerzo is a short film that we hoped to adapt into a feature, so the ROI was minimal. In many ways, we considered the short film itself as a pitching material. So, when we brought others on to our team, we wanted to make sure they understood and believed in that material.

This would become especially important later when deciding on the best producer to adapt the short film into a feature documentary. But that comes much later in our process. At least right away. You want to be extremely sensitive to the quality of person you are going to be working with through many pressures and anxieties. You want to be able to depend on them, not struggle for a phone call or find they have some wiley pitching strategy that goes nowhere. Do your homework and be careful not to let your ambition cause you to jump the gun.

This was a learning experience for us. We interviewed quite a few candidates for the job and this process truly opened our eyes. There were producers who we later found never produced a project before, there were others who were more concerned with the glamour of the Almighty Dollar than the subject of the project. But as we met, vetted, and combed through candidates, we were able to bring on like-minded individuals to compliment our team. When it was all said and done, the best kind of a producer for our short documentary was to bring on many.

In the end, this caused us to also have more of a sense of ownership to the film. One major takeaway was we benefited greatly by constantly updating our concept and pitching materials. That was one of the defining factors that created a future for our project. And as far as finding one producer — if you can, great! It takes many hands to effectively complete a film.

Some of my favorite setups throughout my career have been trying to emulate fire and lamp light. In terms of complexity and logistics, this has to be one of the hardest setups to execute. Fire is such an organic and spontaneous source to replicate and it takes time to figure out how to get it right. This tool is simply a panel cut out from a 30 gallon steel trash can, add 1 Mole Richardson Molette and 1 Two-Light Fay. We rig them to the interiors and then control each individual source via Magic Gadget Gag Controller. This rig for me creates the perfect source to emulate that flame-like quality.

Aramis Knight in torch light interiors. I want to immerse the audience in an environment that felt limiting and intimate…. Utilizing this fixture helped speed up the process and dial in the look that I was going for. The Magic Gadget is the key to making this whole fire effect work. Essentially it comes with 3 20 amp circuits which will let you control the intensity in the highs vs.

With the right combination in the settings, you can create that perfect flame-like source to trick the audience. For this scene I wanted to focus on lighting the characters solely with the firelight and accenting the architecture with that source as well. I deployed my trash can light for Sonny and MK, then each arch is lit by its own trash can light.

This location had a series of archways and I came up with the idea of illuminating each one to accent the interiors. With this concept in mind, we went ahead and placed a trash can light hidden from the perspective of the camera. Understanding how to shoot and emulate fire is all about trial and error. This small rectangular box is a very impressive light. When you take off the sides and slide the light open, it reveals a 2k bulb. What this is cool for is creating very hard shadows. I actually turned this into a microphone where the guy was singing and the light was piercing out of this and it created these hard little circles when the protective shield was on there.

You could do it just bare bulb, which creates a very very sharp source. Now why would I need sharp sources and bright lights? What am I doing? Into the Badlands was all about gas, torches, and fire. So, this creates my fire effect. It starts, once again, with a 30 gallon trash can. This is the pro model of the trash can light. This is a Mole 2-light Fay in here. It has FCX globes in it, each one Watts. Then we have the Molettes that are mounted to the top. They are actually 1k Molettes. You can decide to do 1k or 2k, depending on how bright your fire is.

There are individuals. This whole fire effect is put onto a magic gadget, which has 3 circuits. So we are going to have these two bottom 2-light MoleFay W FCX globes going on one channel of the magic gadget and each of the Molettes on individual channels. Now as I said before the fire is the hottest at the bottom and the flames wick off to the top. This baby, as you can see, is going to be a liquid inferno, being a metal trash can.

You do a lot of things to kind of help you with that situation. Once this thing has been on for about 20 minutes, it gets pretty hot. We designed it with a nice oven mitt pot holder on the top in conjunction with your oven mitt on the side so that it can be handled. You can move it with normal gloves and not oven mitts.

On the back side we have our hot water heater vent. The way we affix them is by magnetic tape. We cut pieces of it and the piece of gel fits around the sides and top and bottom of the cutout in our trashcan. Now why a trash can?

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The trash can is designed so that all of these lights can work as one individual source. It allows you to move it and pan it as one source and be able to bottom it, be able to top it, and be able to put a left and right sider on it. Now with a trash can, it contains the light beautifully.

It kind of bounces around in there too, so you use the metal and the silver element to intensify your flame effect. A lot of the times in Into the Badlands, I would be mixing gels. You can consider it the end-all, be-all as far as production documents are concerned, as it covers key information that cast and crew need heading into the day. The most important information consists of the call time, parking instructions, number of locations and moves, brief schedule, as well as identifying what talent are on for the day and times they will be arriving, and much, much more.

It sounds like a ton of information and a lot of work, but the truth is making call sheets can be simple — and with technology from the likes of StudioBinder , creating call sheets will only get easier! You can find the link to creating a call sheet here. The top of the page will include who and what your project is — meaning title of the project and the production company.

You want to make it known what the project is and what company is producing it. You would be surprised how many times on smaller productions you will be asked to show proof of a production. And sometimes even a well-executed call sheet will serve to prove that. A friend of mine working as a Production Assistant told me one day he was working on a smaller production for a notable subscription based network, meaning it was a bare bones crew.

The location was residential and so a neighbor called a local film office to investigate. A member of the film office drove by as my friend was road side. They asked for proof of the production and he simply showed the representative the call sheet and that was enough to appease the film office. But, this also conveys the importance of a professional call sheet. Next, is perhaps the most obvious feature; make sure your general crew call time is LARGE and easy to see. The call time is typically housed in a box in the center of the document. To the top right hand side of the document, you want to include the date followed by the day of the production out of the projected amount of days scheduled.

Beneath the time for breakfast you can restate the general call time, followed by the shooting call time underneath. After that, you want to list your time for lunch. There are apps that you can use to figure out the weather specifics, but you can literally Google anything nowadays. So, Google will easily suffice. Below the top row, either on the left or right side of the document, you want to include the nearest hospital, address, and phone number. If anything goes wrong, this is where everyone will turn. If you have multiple moves to different locations, make sure you have the nearest hospital per location listed clearly for each one.

Consider this a location to also make general announcements. I like to consider the middle part of the call sheet the bread and butter of the document. This is where you get a good idea of what your day is going to look like. This section works like a schedule, and can work in association with your sides.

The header of this section will state the Set and Scene descriptions, as well as scene numbers, cast in the scene, number of pages of the scene, and the location. For example, if you are filming the Vice President in their office having an ill-fated conversation with the head of the CIA, it might look a little something like this:. If you look above at the diagram, you can see quite a bit of information at once. The middle section of your call sheet is constructed of the aforementioned information. In the Set and Scene description, we have a clear scene heading, which should match the scene heading of the script.

The brief description should be concise and to the point. In the next section you will list cast members, assigning them each a number. Their identifiable number will be populated in the cast section. Now, I have it filled out as N2, which means second Night. For the page number, you usually just need to use your best judgement.

How long is the scene on the page? Is it more than half a page? A little under? Finally, location.

Taking the Rope Apart:

Just fill out where the location is your filming the scene. You just filled out a line. To continue, you just repeat the process for the rest of the scenes. At the end, calculate the amount of pages, and that will be your challenge for the day. Just like the rest of the document, the layout can differ from call sheet to call sheet, but no matter what, each call sheet still presents the following information in a similar order.

The first column starts with the pound sign, or number sign. This is where we number our talent. Not because of some Orwellian stage of events that left us to merely identifying ourselves by cold, emotionless numbers. The cast and character names are pretty self explanatory, as well as the call time for the talent to arrive for hair and makeup, and set time for them to physically be ready for set. Status stands for where the talent is in the production. Below your main talent section, you create a section for background extras. This is best done if separated by departments, starting with department heads and then descending in rank.

This is where most crew members, especially in production, gravitate towards to confirm their exact call times for the day. I have also seen call sheets with phone information in this area, though it is not necessary as the production office should already have that information. NOTE: Before this section, you can make room for department specific requirements. This area can include special props needed for the day, stunts and effects, if you have any, special makeup, or anything that departments need to be reminded of that is particularly special for the day.

Last and final, when sending your completed call sheet, you need to put the key information into the body of the email. This is most effective because if crewmembers have trouble opening the attachment, they can at least fall back on the email itself. You can first state a general greeting as well as what is included in the email as far as maps, instructions, and the call sheet itself.

Next, you can add in important information, for example, a crew shuttle or parking directions. Now, the information you need to ensure you include is the address, time for breakfast, general call, and a list of other production notes. I personally find this most effective if listed as bullet points. So, make sure your email is clean and easy on the eyes. You never know when the internet will be down in a certain locale, or if the planet is invaded by spacefaring squids from the X9I Dimension.

So, take your newfound knowledge of call sheets into the world and make something of yourself! The production department is your lifeblood to any production. The production department is essential to any film crew. They are the oil between the figurative gears that keeps the whole production moving. This vital department ensures your production stays afloat and running smoothly. These are a few of the key roles that are responsible for organization, preparation, coordinating and maintaining talent, producers, directors, and financiers. The role of a production manager is all encompassing.

Production managers ensure the production runs essentially for the line producer and producer. In pre-production, the production manager must also go through the script with the First Assistant Director, Producers, Line Producers page by page to break it down. After they go through the script, they will reach out to the Department Heads to determine their budgets as well as salaries for the project. They will also manage all rentals, supplies, and additional equipment.

At the end of production, the Production Manager will also need to make sure equipment and rentals are returned, invoices fulfilled, and any loose ends of that nature. Never lose sight of a good production manager, because they are worth more than gold. If your skill set includes amazing communication skills, then this job is for you! This job will keep you on your toes, putting out fires left, right, up and down. This is a job that involves you on your phone all day, and on bigger productions you will probably be in the office the entire time.

Their job from pre-production to wrap can be very taxing. This job is built for good team players and the highly computer literate. In pre-production the Production Coordinators are in charge of setting up the Production Office and making sure equipment and supplies are ordered. This also includes obtaining and filing paperwork related to insurance cover for rental cars to office equipment. Production Coordinators must also make the proper arrangements to move props and costumes along with other key equipment.

They will also ensure shooting schedules are distributed as well as cast and crew lists, and script revisions. In production, Production Coordinators will also make sure transportation is communicated to the proper channels. And say the production is working with film, the Production Coordinator must organize a way to have the film shipped and received for dailies. To put it simply, the Production Coordinator needs to be a master of organization. You always hear how working as a Production Assistant is a gateway into the industry. PAs are used in any and every way.

Sometimes for the better, and more times for the worst. But that said, it really is a great way to learn the ins and outs of the industry. There are typically office PAs and on set PAs. The best feature for PAs to have is the willingness to learn while on set. The tasks of the PA can range from working with crowds to assisting with Extras and even cleaning up the locations.

On set can be extremely stressful and PAs must be able to take orders, while keeping an even temper and maintaining a positive attitude. The Location Manager is responsible for the locations from point A to B. That means the Location Manager gets together with the Director to understand a common vision so they can find the most ideal location. The greatest challenge for the Location Manager is finding a location that meets all the criteria while also keeping to a specified budget. A Location Manager needs to be a gifted negotiator and have an ability to work with paperwork and permits.

The Location Manager works with the location owner to determine location rules, crew and talent access, parking situation, noise reduction and anything else that deals with the location. The Location Manager is also responsible for being the first on location and the last to leave while ensuring the rules of the location are met and the location is left in the same condition it was when entered. Location Managers also make the arrangements for parking facilities, catering requirements, available power sources, and alerting the appropriate authorities if necessary.

The Unit Manager works closely with the Location Manager. The Unit Manager is usually the one who handles the impossible situations. This includes handling upset tenants or neighbors if, say, a generator is running loud at night. The Unit Manager is also responsible for handling the parking situation at the locations, while igniting a positive relationship with location owners and landlords.

During pre-production the Unit Manager accompanies all Heads of Departments to the locations to determine the needs and rules. This is a great opportunity for the Unit Manager to meet with owners and take technical notes of the property. This can be a pretty demanding job, especially physically. Unit Managers are also in charge of disposing of trash, maintaining the Honey Wagons, and parking vehicles. The Catering Crew is essential to the overall mood and tempo of production.

Typically, catering is hired as an outside company by the Production Manager to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the crew. Catering also can provide snacks and additional meals if production runs into additional hours. Catering is also determined by a specified budget and samples of the menus for the production.

The hours, like most, are long and demanding. The Transportation Department is important because they are the unsung heroes who ensure the cast, crew, and equipment make it to location safe and sound. This means working with complex itineraries, potentially working with travel permits, and allocate vehicles like the Production Office, Honey Wagons, and Artist caravans. Time is of the essence while working with the Transportation Department. Once I had a driver tell me he shows up two hours early to work and sleeps in his car until his time to start. His reasoning was it was better to be early and sleep in his car rather than get held up in traffic and be late.

That same driver knew every road and highway in LA and knew every clearance of every bridge. Another piece of advice he said was never take a chance, no matter what it is. Sound advice. The Production Department is often considered the supply line of every production. A good one will thrive and flourish, and a poor one could leave the production susceptible to failure. Knowing and understanding the key roles of the Production Department is imperative to working effectively in the industry.

All hail to the Production Department for keeping us all glued together! As a screenwriter, there are many ways you can break into the industry. Competitions, agents, and self-funding your own project are among the most common. That said, agents are simply inaccessible for many writers, competitions are repetitious and a gamble, and self-funding can be strenuous on your wallet. There is another way!

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That way is through an effective producer. I say this not to degrade, but to inform those who are in the search of a good producer. Producers come in all shapes and sizes. If you sign with a producer who plans on financing your screenplay through crowd-sourcing or some wild scheme like tweeting at a famous filmmaker, you might have made a horrible mistake. Or nepotism. Now, what? A good way to build your network is by attending events. So, check out the best platforms and other resources for screenwriters!

Some are free, others require a paid membership. These are often good investments. You can research events on social media or online forums. There, you can learn from industry veterans and start swapping business cards. As a screenwriter, try to have a handful of scripts at the ready. And know your loglines. If you work in the industry, like taking up a job as a personal assistant or working on set, you will have an opportunity to enhance your network. This is another reason why living in one of the hotspots matters.

Get to know your potential producers, take them for lunch or coffee, follow up on emails, and stay persistent. Try to walk the line with tact. I highly recommend reaching out to an entertainment lawyer rather than settling for a friend who practices Maritime Law or something. It will cost you, but it might very well save you in the long run.

Legal advice that comes from outside the industry may not understand the nuances. In my experience, there are two separate scenarios for contracts. So, we take care of contracts up front. Always according to the WGA guidelines. If sold or finds a financier, I receive percentages as stated on the WGA website, and I also negotiate an upfront fee for writing the first draft and one rewrite. For me, starting out, it was valuable enough to have a solid library of specs that were current.

Keep in mind, my turnaround time for a first draft is anywhere from two weeks to a month. If you drag your feet, you will earn a bad reputation. I like to look at every draft as a battle. A hard truth to learn is that screenwriting is a collaborative art. Then, otherwise — Hi Shane! The journey to bring your screenplay to the big screen requires lots of edits. And early on in your writing career, you should expect that. Right from the start.

Play the game and you might just be rewarded. A lot goes into lifting a project off the ground, and much of that weight is getting your script to where it needs to be. As you kick your screenplay back and forth, you will wait. Then, wait some more. Trust me, you will be pulling your phone out during random points in the day, trying to will it to generate an email.

As you wait, you might even read and re-read old emails, imagining what is going on. The best advice I can give is start on another script. Or, if you have another script ready to go, try and start the process with another producer or director. You want as many irons in the fire as possible. I try to have three projects going with different producers or directors to keep my attention occupied.

Communication is everything. You need to talk before signing any contract about your modes of communication. Get it all out in the beginning, because once you sign and things are moving, or not moving, then setting those rules becomes much trickier. As we previously covered, a good producer is busy. But you need to figure out early on how much your producers are willing, or able, to give you. How important is this project on their list? There will be times in the process where you may not hear from your producer for a month.

You will need to accept that. On the other hand, they should be upfront and provide a reasonable excuse. A friend of mine was recently working on getting a wine series off the ground. No easy feat. The demand for another project was far greater. Always keep a good attitude. You might become upset with how one project is going, but you want to make a career out of screenwriting. There will be other projects, so always stay professional.

The last thing you want is a bad reputation. Remember, switch your sights to another project, or take part in a healthy hobby. Once you say the wrong thing, or make a big stink, that stench will follow you for a long time. But to make a career of it — that takes time and patience. If you have any advice you think I missed, or flat out disagree with me, share in the comments below.

Your role in the process will change as you grow and progress in the industry, so take this advice with a grain of salt! For many writers, especially those young in their careers, working with directors is a real curiosity. There are many nuances and little intricacies that you need to keep in mind. More on that later. That freedom from control allows them to truly be artists. That said, I will stress the idea of actually having a contract. This may depend on a variety of factors. You may be considering: Is this director close to you, or is this a director you met professionally?

In my opinion, I would make sure the idea is clearly thought out before going into any screenwriting contract. If not, you may find yourself with a director who changes the idea for the project weekly. You create the blueprint in which to build the vision. We can see it in our heads.

Screenwriting is supposed to be fundamentally concise and direct. Then, the director will take those words and construct the imagery with the director of photography.

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And having too many differing visions is the same as having no vision. And if you do decide to change your vision, it should feel like a big deal. The director can share their vision with you in a variety of ways. One of the most common is through showing comparable works, or something that inspires them. This is usually other movies. Directors may also share books or other forms of literature with you. Paintings and photography are common also. Filmmaking, and especially screenwriting, is a collaborative effort. Take ideas, delete others, and make sure your screenplay is in its best form possible.

I typically have director clients I works with over the phone because they are in different regions, and others I work with in person here in LA. I like to think my ideas out, type them, make a mistake, fix it, and with each readthrough, finesse, finesse, finesse. I find my process extremely difficult to do when collaborating in real time. So, I set my boundaries. Part of my process is going away, taking a week or two, and writing the first draft. That way, I can have the time and confidence in writing the screenplay to the best of my ability.

You might be more inclined to collaborate more directly. The point is, communicate your process clearly and make sure there is respect for your process. You may each need to concede a little and come to some form of an understanding, but make sure this is done in a respectful way. When you take work at this level, often times you can work on more creative ideas and with fascinating talent. But this can also lead to misunderstandings at times. I have a specific example of this happening a little while back. I was working on a screenplay for a director who was new to film, and they wanted me to write in the shots into the screenplay.

Now, there were no shots provided to me from a DP, or even the director. I was asked to imagine the shot list myself and work it into the screenplay. So, naturally, I had to explain that the shot list is not my jurisdiction. Just make sure to be friendly and do it with a smile. No one appreciates someone talking down to them. Now, working directly with directors to realize their vision can be an extremely rewarding experience. Creating and collaborating with talented directors brings a sincere appreciation to the work of others, and yourself.

There will be give and take, but if you suspend the ego, the ideas will flow! Remember, the screenplay is the blueprint for the film, so you want it to be lean, mean, and the ultimate version of itself. Do you have any interesting or just plain crazy experiences while screenwriting with directors? The story goes that in the year he moved the company to an abandoned Del Monte canning factory where there were separate offices for computer scientists, animators, and executives.

Jobs scrapped it, made it one vast space and put a cafeteria, coffee bar and mailboxes at the centre of the building. Because he knew that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen. Putting yourself out there, recutting your reel, calling around to see if someone knows of any job possibilities? I was there. I was exactly there. That left me to shoulder the responsibilities of two parents. Inside, I was maxed out, or at least I thought I was. And then it occurred to me that it was not going to get any easier through me doing the same thing every day and hoping for a better outcome.

You might not have kids, you might not have that same lifestyle, but you know what, I bet you have chosen to fight on alone, like me, like a brave soldier, a John Mcclane rather than allowing anyone else into your world. Filmmakers are renowned for it — not wanting to share their ideas in case someone else steals them. I totally get it! I made this my utmost priority. I made it to that meeting and it changed my life. The Star-preneur group that I was invited to be part of. From that moment, I was no longer an isolated, movie widow, mother of two working on a new business that could have crippled myself and my family financially.

I was part of a team. However, your skillset and your imagination make you unique and in the same way, if you have accepted that inalienable truth then you have to accept that you have shortcomings, right?


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Why would you hold all of that talent inside and deny yourself the opportunity to develop and improve, to build and to create, to learn and to grow? None of us can. The second that you become conscious of that fact your eyes and mind will open, your work will go from insular and one dimensional to something stratospherically better. The Avengers showing that even if you are a superhero, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

These groups are not likely going to listen to your creative ideas. They are not going to proffer opinions and ideas that will take your spark and make it into a raging inferno that encapsulates all that you are and all that you can be. In two words, they are short term. Collaboration should make you breathless with excitement and make you feel that everything is possible — it should grab you and catapult you, unflinchingly, into a whole new galaxy of opportunities.

Avoid it like you avoid a fender bender on the freeway. Our world is full of sycophants — every walk of life is, but the film world…packed full to the brim of them. Why would you do that to yourself? This will sound like it came off a bumper sticker on the back of a Toyota Corolla, but it is imperative that if you want to make your dream work, you embrace the ethos of teamwork, you surround yourself with people who will motivate you, inspire you and will lift you onto a higher plain; dreamers, believers and people who have become successful through pushing themselves as hard as you want and need to be pushed.

Be part of it! For just a few examples of some good filmmaking community websites whose members have a tried and tested history of collaboration and good advice for each other take a look below:. The members share good practice that saves money for smaller, independent filmmakers. Here you can submit questions and get feedback from a working professional. Not just that, these are Hurlbut Academy members — each and every one having a profile that shows their credits, their showreels, their specialty.

You are now effectively vetting who is going to be part of the team and the collaboration that you are setting up. A collaboration with some of the Hurlbut Academy members. This is the social network that the film industry has pined for since social networking began. It exists because we built it, we built it for you and we built it because we want people to see how wonderful the world can be when we let people in and work together.

Josh Ausley — one of our Academy members. It demands an understanding of universal truths and possessing a well-anchored self-awareness. This translates to numerous drafts, collaborations, and a proven toolkit of resources. Every aspiring writer should eventually bring their own background and experiences to their work, rather than miming the direction of others.

The key is finding your own process. What works for you? From online libraries of screenplays to legal advice for screenwriters, the internet is full of resources to elevate your process. One of my favorite resources for screenwriting articles is The Script Lab. I really like this series because it takes a magnifying glass and identifies the elementary particles of any screenplay. The First Ten Pages is exactly what it sounds like. It breaks down the first ten pages of popular screenplays. This is a fun, simple way to learn how to approach a screenplay. This is also a great resource for finding the latest screenwriting news, events, and competitions.

On top of that, TSL also offers a script coverage service. With this service, you can choose to either have your first 20 pages, first draft, or final draft covered by professional readers. The Black List is one of the most popular online resources for screenwriters. Not only does The Black List have the financial numbers to back up their credibility, but also the accolades. A lot of them. Movies from screenplays that appeared on the site have won 53 Academy Awards from nominations. TBL uses a grading system — 1 being the worst, 10 the best.

This ranges from agency assistants to studio and network presidents to A-list actors and directors.


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The feedback provided is usually pretty good. I received my first evaluation back after a few days had passed from my submission. It accompanied reasonable feedback explaining the score, offering suggestions, and overall thoughts. But a month later, after putting together another draft, I used the evaluation service again. This time, I received the evaluation just after an hour of my submission. Notes were scant. And evidence pointed in all directions of the reader not actually reading it. Luckily, that same script eventually found a pair of producers who have made it their mission to sell.

So, things work out. From contracts to writers room podcasts and top news and events, this is a resource I like to visit often. The WGA is serious about protecting screenwriters of all ranges. One of the resources that most writers visit the website for are its legal contracts. This is especially useful for those who still work at an indie or micro level where legal advice is only sought from a keyboard, rather than face to face with a professional. Very useful for most writers. For me, I use the WGA website to register every draft of every screenplay. So, use common sense and copyright your work, folks!

No need to take an unnecessary chance. This is another thing every screenwriter should be familiar with. So, my advice, peruse the WGA website from time to time! As a writer you should always be reading. Absorb how they write and what they write.

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You want to know the difference between good and bad writing, and easily identify what makes a good script good, and bad script, well, bad. IMSDb is the perfect resource for finding most of the screenplays you would ever want to read. You want Dog Day Afternoon? You got it! More current? Get Out. Stay golden, Ponyboy.

You can say I saved the best for last, because out of all your resources as a writer, the most important is always going to be other scripts. Nothing is going to make you a better writer than reading. End of story. Stephen King said it. You might not utilize the following with every project moving forward, but these resources work great for finding competitions, general knowledge of screenwriting, workshops and more.

From getting notes on your screenplay from Bulletproof Script Coverage to the Bulletproof Screenplay Podcast, this is an online resource I still like to visit from time to time. Created by Alex Ferrari, he offers years of industry experience, resources, and advice. This is a perfect online resource for beginners. Every writer needs readers. To grow as a writer you need real coverage.

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It will cost you, but the script coverage service is worth it. Now, this is just my comprehensive list of writing resources that have found a way into my toolkit. Some of these resources may work for some of you, but only you can decide what resources make it into your kit. Did I miss something? Is there an online resource you think I should check out? Please let me know in the comment section below! Thanks, Rod in Australia. A rule of thumb that we generally adhere to is that every page of the script counts as one minute. If a script is pages, then that will be a two hour screenplay.

Timing is everything. Everything had to be cuts. When they have to meet that 42 minute window, they will cut like Edward Scissorhands. Some people go with the tried and tested recommendation to get all the coverage in a more classic approach, going from a wide to a medium to a medium-closeup and a closeup. Wide shot — Can you younger subscribers name the movie though?

Medium Close-ups can capture happy people and men of constant sorrow. You work with all different styles of directors — I worked with Gabriele Muccino on Fathers and Daughters, and the script was the bible. The script not only had the words on the page, it also had the look, it described each scene and the lighting within it as well as having a complete and accurate shot list of what Gabriele was going to do on that scene.

What this does is really shows you immediately the pacing of the film, you start to see it all on the pages in the script, he puts the different shots even within the words on that page and everything. I felt we did not over-cover at all on that film. It was really a wonderful learning experience for me, because I had come up the ladder with a lot of directors that did the wide, the medium, the medium-closeup, and the extreme closeup. That was what I had learned. A shot from another Gabriele film — The Pursuit of Happiness. Working with Gabriele, who is much more European.

It was very important for me to immediately get into his style and understand his approach so I could really create the best suggestions and light the scenes so he could get that immersive camera that he was so longing to deliver. On Need for Speed, we did a lot of coverage. We went in for closeups, we went in for extreme closeups.

We did it with five, six, seven cameras a lot of times. There was a lot of coverage for Scotty Waugh to be able to cinch, expand and do whatever he would like to do. With McG, same thing. The process of taking the shot list and embedding it in the script is very important for you to really see the tone and the style. It starts to evolve right in front of you as you see it on the page next to the words, and the description of the shot.

Budgeting for your latest project can prove to be tricky business. You must try to find a happy medium between quality and cost-effectiveness. For most film budgets, they want to make sure all the costs of pre-production to post-production are covered, so the budget breakdown will break line items down specifically to prep, shoot, and wrap.

These terms come from the top sheet which at first glance details information in this fashion. Above-the-Line is the part of a budget that lists the salaries for those who have creative dominion of the project, like screenwriters, the director, producers, and actors. These are costs that are determined separately from production costs.

Below-the-Line is a list of costs that list and specify salaries for anyone that is not in the Above-the-Line budget. This also includes the salaries of the non-starring talent, use of film studio, equipment, rentals, travel, lodging, etc. Unlike the Above-the-Line, the Below-the-Line budget is usually unchanging. Production budgets can differ greatly pending on variables like the size of production, length of timeline, and amount of starpower.

Just like we previously talked about in Breaking Down the Production Department , the production manager will breakdown the script page by page with the Assistant Director and producers. They determine the amount of pages to be shot per day. When digesting the number of pages for each day, also remember to break the scenes down carefully. Is there a lot of action or more dialogue? This matters. More dialogue means you can typically accomplish more material quicker than a page full of action. You must also look into the possible nuances of each scene.

Does the screenwriter write what is happening in a detailed way? Overall, experience in the industry or a background working with scripts gives way to a more accurate Guesstimation. We really begin digging into our budget with the talent. That way you have a nice, conservative number to wiggle with. Then, to determine the cost, you simply multiply by their day rate. Calculating your crew seems a lot tougher than it actually is. The film is based on the book by William L. While a work of fiction, the book was based on actual events and people.

Bulkeley Medal of Honor recipient and Robert Kelly , respectively.

In December , a squadron of U. Navy PT Boats under the command of Lt. However, upon their arrival, instead of a welcome, they are ridiculed by the local military commanders. One of Brick's men, Lt. Ryan and Brickley's demands for combat assignments for their squadron are frustrated for a time as they are assigned to messenger duty, but when the Japanese launch a surprise attack with warplanes, they are hastily pressed into combat duty.

They are again subjected to messenger duty, infuriating Ryan who continually requests transfer to a destroyer. Eventually, the local command recognizes the effectiveness of the small boats and use them for intercepting and sinking larger Japanese vessels. As they are about to leave on a mission to sink a Japanese cruiser , Brick orders Rusty to the hospital, where it is discovered that he has blood poisoning. Brick's boats sink the cruiser, after which the squadron meets with more and more success, even as they suffer the loss of both boats and men.

During this time, "Dad" Knowland repairs the boats in order that they can continue the fight; though when American forces withdraw, his fate is unclear as he decides to stay behind to fight the Japanese. However, the American forces are vastly outgunned and outnumbered by the Japanese forces, and it is only a matter of time before the islands are lost. This done, they resume their attacks against the Japanese, who gradually whittle down the squadron. As boats are lost, their crews are sent to fight as infantry.

Finally, the last boat is turned over to the Army for messenger duty. Brickley, Ryan and two ensigns are airlifted out on the last plane because the PT boats have proved their worth and they are needed stateside to train replacement PT boat officers and crews. The remaining enlisted men, led by Chief Mulcahey, are left behind to continue the fight with remnants of the U. Army and Filipino guerrillas. Since the acquisition of the film rights of William L.

During this time Ford met Lieutenant John D. According to Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz , during filming, director John Ford, a notoriously hard taskmaster, was especially hard on Wayne, who did not serve in the armed forces.