“Most movies are about plot, and chug from one stop to the next. Stephen King, whose book, On Writing, contains a lot of good sense, argues for situation over plot; he suggests that if you do a good job of visualizing your characters, it is best to put them into a situation and see what happens, instead of chaining them to a plot structure. Todd Field and Andre Dubus use the elements of plot, but only on the surface, and the movie’s title refers not to sex but to the secrets, spoken, unspoken and dreamed, that are shared at night when two people close the door after themselves.”
- Roger Ebert 
CTG: The film that changed everything for me as a filmmaker.

Most movies are about plot, and chug from one stop to the next. Stephen King, whose book, On Writing, contains a lot of good sense, argues for situation over plot; he suggests that if you do a good job of visualizing your characters, it is best to put them into a situation and see what happens, instead of chaining them to a plot structure. Todd Field and Andre Dubus use the elements of plot, but only on the surface, and the movie’s title refers not to sex but to the secrets, spoken, unspoken and dreamed, that are shared at night when two people close the door after themselves.”

- Roger Ebert 

CTG: The film that changed everything for me as a filmmaker.

Why You Need An Editor

The rapid Digital Revolution in film has brought with it many terrific things, but it has also created a few nasty trends as well (one of which is that short films are becoming far too long, but I will address that in another post). Today’s post is regarding one trend that has been driving me absolutely nuts. Lately, I have noticed a pattern of more and more young directors editing their own films.

With things becoming cheaper and more available and viable at home, youngsters are starting to view themselves as a proverbial one-stop-shop. “Look at me, I can direct, DP, and edit this whole thing by myself.”

I could spend hours upon hours explaining my detest for this approach, but I will try and hone my focus deliberately on editing. As the Systems Admin of an editing lab, nothing troubles me more then seeing these young student filmmakers sitting at a station, slaving away, editing a film they, themselves directed. Filmmaking is a collaborative art form. Yet more and more people are losing sight of that these days. Why that is, I am unsure, but I know it is happening. 

When directing a film, you live and breathe the material from the ground up. You breakdown every scene, every word, every moment. But as they say, filming is the battle, but the editing room is the war. And like a good General, why attack without an army? Taking a step back from the material and handing it off to an editor is vital to the success of a film. It does not matter if the film is five minutes or three hours. 

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The Right Way to End a Film

directingfilm:

I wrote a post on my favorite endings in cinema a couple of weeks ago.  The ending is the last chance we get to say something to the audience.  In the future of socially-integrated film, it will be our last chance to inspire conversation online.  It’s terribly important.

I regularly do script coverage for different directors and production companies in Chicago.  One such relationship has grown tremendously and I’ve been ask to come on board full time.  Everyone spear-heading the project has agreed that the script is in great shape.  Only one topic of contention remains: the ending.

I, of course, want the ending to say something (as you can tell from my previous post).  The writer wants the ending to be ambiguous.  I contend that ambiguity in an ending works if that is part of the movie’s fabric.  I don’t believe that this is true in this particular case; this is a marketable thriller with clear chains of causality.  

I suspect that the answer, in the end, is somewhere in the middle.  If what he’s looking for is tangibly in the script, it will work it’s way in to the ending.  The fact that I’m not seeing it doesn’t mean it’s not there, it may mean that I have just not seen it yet.