Categories
film history

How do you measure the quality of a “classic” film?

Last year, I was doing a comparison of the films on the WJEC French curriculum. There were four films on the A-level curriculum, La Raffle (the Round Up), (A very Long Engagement), La Classe, and Le Havre.  Which of those four would I recommend? Well, for learning French, La Raffle had a huge weakness.  In […]

Categories
education film screenplay writing

Screenwriting is the most competitive profession in the film industry

Reading the trades, I discovered that only about 1100 writers worked on films in Hollywood last year.  Sure, more than that worked on TV, but most elite members of the WGA only work about one year in three (if at all).  And, when they do find work, their pay is still less than many less […]

Categories
editorial writing

Consensus or Group Think?

Usually, when people talk about “group think” they are condemning bad decisions. Yet when they talk about “consensus” they are implying that the group or crowd must be right. When good leaders make bad decisions because advisers not only fail to speak up, but fail to even consider that better options may be available, that’s […]

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Uncategorized

The one reel rule

If you ask us the price of producing a one minute film, sorry, you can’t multiply that by 100 to make a hundred minute film.  As the project gets bigger, things get more complicated.  It’s like comparing a shed and a skyscraper. You have to take into account the one reel rule. So, what is […]

Categories
history review

“A short course of nothing” review of “Las Maestras de la República”

I hate to start a review with a spoiler, but knowing your history is always a spoiler.  And, if you don’t know your history, historical films often lack interest. Spain was backward during Franco’s dictatorship, just as fundamentalists in the middle east are making their own countries backward.  Much of Europe only truly emerged from […]

Categories
writing

What is a genre? (film, theatre, music)

Aristotle spoke of a certain number of arts, but it’s not like he invented the “muses.”  To him, theatre had two main “genres”, comedy and tragedy.  There were similar arts, such as “epics”, which also told stories. To summarize, a tragedy had a great man falling from a great height, and a sad ending, and […]

Categories
education

Our favorite online film schools

There’s a lot of misinformation online.  And, a lot of false things have been said about the film industry, many of which were being said even before the Internet. It seems like some of the worst advice has found its way to top of the search results. But, among all the misinformation (some of which you […]

Categories
screenplay

Why screenwriters should grow spines

William Goldman shares two important lessons in Adventures of the Screen Trade.  First, he claims that Nobody Knows Anything.  Then, he contradicts himself with his strongest piece of advice : Protect Your Story’s Spine To The Death. Yes, Goldman whines and whinges melodramatically about how screenwriters are on the bottom of the power ladder, how […]

Categories
history

Why watching movies can teach us history.

From the plays of the early 19th century to the movies of the present, spectators have seen things that were never in the script. Avengers Assemble, Independence Day, Monsters Vs. Aliens and a forgotten play which Washington Irving disliked illustrate how the audience sees what the critics don’t.

Categories
screenplay

Should screenwriters use camera directions?

Conventional wisdom* among amateur directors and beginning film lecturers is that camera directions should “never” appear in a film script.  Yet, the camera is probably the one thing that separates a screenplay from a stage-play.  (Okay, so there’s CGI, logos and subtitles, as well as editing overlays, but the stage can have its own version […]