Filmmaking

Emerging Filmmakers 2014

This post is in partnership with Cadillac This summer, Cadillac and the Producers Guild of America launched Make Your Mark, a short film competition that challenged producers to create compelling content with limited resources. Contestants made a short film over a single weekend in late June, and you can watch the semi-finalists’ films at the Make Your Mark website. The 30-second Cadillac spot featuring the grand prize winner’s film will air during the 2015 Academy Awards. Luckily, we’ll be speaking with one of the semi-finalists, Alvaro Ron, whose short film To Kill or Not to Kill earned him one of the top spots and a chance to compete for the grand prize. He’ll share his experience as a filmmaker, the challenges of the competition, and how he overcame those obstacles. Plus, Geoff and I will offer up four directors, four screenwriters and four actors who broke through this year, delivering the kinds of movies and performances that get us excited about the future. As a bonus, William Fichtner drops by to add a gorgeous dose of zen to the show. You should follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. Please review us on iTunes Download Episode #79 Directly Or subscribe through iTunes

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Nightcrawler Movie

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Enlisted show

This post is in partnership with Cadillac Cadillac and the Producers Guild of America recently launched Make Your Mark, a short film competition that challenges producers to create compelling content with limited resources. Contestants will make a short film over a single weekend in late June, and the 30-second Cadillac spot featuring the grand prize winner’s film will air during the 2015 Academy Awards. As such we’ll be speaking with last year’s winner Jason Shulz, who offers his experience and some helpful lessons for those filmmakers who want to hoist the trophy for themselves this year. Plus, in a segment that tears us apart, Geoff and I will chat about the pure, accidental brilliance of The Room and what it’s like to watch an unintentionally terrible movie while sitting next to its director. Last, but definitely not least, we’ll talk to Enlisted creator Kevin Biegel about why he’s fighting so hard to promote a show that’s already been cancelled. He’ll also offer some keen advice about breaking into TV writing that you won’t want to miss. You should follow Kevin Biegel (@kbiegel), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. Please review us on iTunes Download Episode #62 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Pura Vida

This post is in partnership with Cadillac Cadillac and the Producers Guild of America recently launched Make Your Mark, a short film competition that challenges producers to create compelling content with limited resources. Contestants will make a short film over a single weekend in late June, and the 30-second Cadillac spot featuring the grand prize winner’s film will air during the 2015 Academy Awards. Your eyes are bright, your heart is full, and your optimism is high. You want to attempt to join the ranks of those creators who’ve gain notice by crafting a sensational short film. Maybe you’ve got a thousand ideas swarming your mind, or maybe you’re quietly panicking while waiting for inspiration to strike. Maybe you’ve got the camera but no crew, or the crew but no camera. Maybe your credit card is going to ache in the morning. No matter what situation you’re in, making your short film is going to have challenges — both technical and creative — and it always helps to hear from those who have come before you. Here are three producers who have all crafted uniquely excellent short films describing the biggest filmmaking problem they faced and the way they faced it.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

This post is in partnership with Cadillac Cadillac and the Producers Guild of America recently launched Make Your Mark, a short film competition with the late Oscar-winning producer Saul Zaentz as its spiritual center. In celebration of Zaentz, contestants are being asked to draw thematic inspiration from his work. Fittingly, the 30-second Cadillac spot featuring the grand prize winner’s film will air during the 2015 Academy Awards. At almost every turn in his career as a producer, Saul Zaentz tilted against convention. He wasn’t an outright rebel or provocateur (although he’d work hand in hand with some). It’s more like he was a man who saw what was popular in its time and chose to do something something else. In the 70s, it was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In the 80s, it was the weirdness of Amadeus and the mature determination of Mosquito Coast. In the 90s, it was The English Patient, and he rounded out his career with Milos Forman’s Goya’s Ghosts in the 2000s. But instead of judging each of these movies and their successes against the cinematic movements of their time, it’s more important to see them simply as projects that Zaentz felt passionate about. Not only was he not working within the framework of popularity, he wasn’t responding to it either. Some of these were movies absolutely no one else wanted to make, but they hit Zaentz hard enough in the gut to put his money, time and talent behind them. His punishment for being that independent was having to write so many Oscar acceptance […]

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Manhattan Movie

Hearts have been rapturously breaking in Woody Allen’s Manhattan for 35 years, and will likely continue to do so for as long as human beings cherish cinema. Last week marked the anniversary of the film often hailed as Allen’s masterwork. It’s easy to see why Manhattan is so beloved. The film is a perfect confluence of story, sight and sound. Gordon Willis’ stunning monochromatic Panavision tableaus, George Gershwin’s rhapsodic instrumentals and an iconic cityscape make a majestic setting for a story of reckless romance. Whatever genre you’re working in, Manhattan remains a trove of inspiration for filmmakers seeking to steal from one of American cinema’s best-loved auteurs. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from Allen’s ode to The Big Apple.

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Picnic at Hanging Rock

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david-o-russell1

When assessing what present and future filmmakers can learn from David O. Russell’s ideas and practices, it really depends on which David O. Russell we’re talking about. Is it David O. Russell the mad genius auteur, who was as notorious for insisting on his vision as he was for getting in much-publicized spats with actors on set? Or is it David O. Russell the comeback king who, with this weekend’s American Hustle, seems all but guaranteed a third critically lauded and commercially successful film in a row? In several notable ways, the themes of David O. Russell’s films haven’t changed all that much – he’s still as preoccupied as ever with depicting various types of dysfunctional, untraditional, and ultimately affirming oddball “families” – but his filmmaking has changed greatly, a switch that he chalks up to lessons learned from the troubled shoot and reception of (the still-underrated) I Heart Huckabees as well as his unfinished film Nailed. Whatever you think of Russell’s films, he’s found himself in a position to speak about filmmaking from an encyclopedia of experiences (good and bad) and attitudes (egotistical to humble). So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the guy who got Bruce Wayne and Katniss Everdeen their first Oscars.

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BrianKoppelman

It’s unlikely that you’ll see Brian Koppelman plugging a screenwriting how-to book anytime soon. The writer/director behind Ocean’s Thirteen and Solitary Man publicly denounced the hoodwinkery birthed by the cat-saving industry and felt strongly enough about the seminar culture to make it the message of his first six-second screenwriting tip. Those tips come in the form of Vines (what else?) that he produces daily. Each comes with a kind of scorched earth sincerity that you don’t often get from working filmmakers, and by next week, he’ll have amassed one hundred of them. That’s a full ten minutes of helpful jabs where his face and nearly two decades of insight fill the frame. Typically with this space we focus on 6 filmmaking tips and offer further challenges and exploration, but for Koppelman’s unique delivery, we’re making a special exception — particularly because there’s so much here (and because digging deeper would be like analyzing a punch with the person who’s on the mat). These bursts of advice easily stand alone. So here are my favorite six minutes of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a true grinder.

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Sinister

Scott Derrickson, the writer/director behind The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister, joins us this week to explain how to scare the hell out of someone at the cinema. Plus, FSR head-honcho-in-chief Neil Miller shares what movie prop he desperately wants to own, and we hear some of your responses. You should follow Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson), Neil Miller (@rejects), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #39 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Kimberly Peirce

It’s a shame that Kimberly Peirce has only made three feature films in 14 years. Boys Don’t Cry was a stunner of a debut, announcing a bold new talent to keep tabs on. Stop-Loss wasn’t quite as strong but it was still absolutely powerful enough to make her a sophomore with a bright future. For whatever reason, that future dimmed, but with Carrie coming out this weekend, it hopefully puts Peirce back on track to be artistically in our lives far more often. After all, it was her name that provided a much-needed legitimacy to a remake no one was asking for (of a De Palma film no less) and the optimism that the story could tackle difficult interpersonal drama underneath all the blood-drenched screaming. It’s fantastic to have her back, so here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a director who has been away too long.

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"A Prairie Home Companion"

It’s sort of fitting that Robert Altman was nominated 7 times for Oscars but never won. He was naturally gracious when awarded an honorary statue for a truly distinguished career, but handing him the hardware earlier might have been a bit like offering an anchor to a man as reward for clearing a new path out of the jungle. A product of the wide open mindset of the 1970s, Altman nonetheless successfully navigated decades of changing tides within the industry, carving out a career that took him from effective workman to pioneer to contemplative auteur. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the man who was always a bridesmaid and yet still a legend.

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Edgar Wright

For most of us, our perfect Sunday includes a quiet read of the paper, a piping cup of our favorite tea leaf or coffee bean-based beverage and a hundredth screening of one of Edgar Wright‘s movies. With Shaun of the Dead and everything beyond, he’s been able to blend intimate character arcs (right down to the music) with genre tropes in a way that pretty much no one else has managed. He’s lovingly subverted genres while delivering us new fence-hopping heroes and a honed sense of comedy. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a man famous for his work on Going Live!.

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Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro abides by zero perceived distinctions between high and low culture. Whether working with Hollywood popcorn properties like Blade II or Hellboy, or creating imaginative, dark arthouse fare like The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro has demonstrated a singular creative vision that stands out against an unimaginative Hollywood. That’s why this weekend’s Pacific Rim, despite being marketed as Transformers 4, promises to be a gloriously geeky respite in a summer of largely unsatisfactory blockbusters. Coupled with the recent news that del Toro might be directing a Charlie Kaufman-scripted adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, there are many reasons to celebrate the fact that the restlessly imaginative man who introduced himself with Cronos bounced from the streamlined Hobbit adaptations. Equal parts Jim Henson, Brothers Quay, and Terry Gilliam, del Toro is a visionary who also happens to be a bankable name. That’s a pretty rare commodity these days. So here’s some free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the guy who we’ve forgiven for making Mimic.

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David Slade

Editors’ Introduction: Normally this feature is created by diving into the deep end of interviews, but when David Slade agreed to write an entry himself, there was no way for us to refuse — partially because he’s a very talented filmmaker and partially because he has us tied up in his store room. Slade earned cinephile street cred with Hard Candy and then scored genre love for 30 Days of Night before doing his best to beef up the Twilight saga. Now he’s the executive producer and director of Hannibal – a cooking show, we think — whose season finale is this week. He’s opened up about the Daredevil movie that never was, waxed at length about his role as a storyteller, and now he has some tips for those of you who may want to hop behind a camera. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) directly from a man who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty in the kitchen.

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Michael J. Lerner Barton Fink

As we all know, Hollywood is imploding. Steven Spielberg is on the case, millions of angry comment section responses to remake announcements are on the case, and now producer Lynda Obst is on the case. In an excerpt from her new book, “Sleepless in Hollywood,” Obst laboriously details her drive to former Fox CEO Peter Chernin‘s house while repeating the phrases New Abnormal and Old Abnormal until they seem clever. Okay, so I didn’t like the chapter, but it did feature at least two clear insights into the current production mindset of the major studios. The New Abby Someone, if you will. First: DVD sales numbers are the real killer. According to Chernin via Obst, “The historical studio business, if you put all the studios together, runs at about a ten percent profit margin. For every billion dollars in revenue, they make a hundred million dollars in profits. That’s the business, right? . . . The DVD business represented fifty percent of their profits. Fifty percent. The decline of that business means their entire profit could come down between forty and fifty percent for new movies.”

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Shane Black

If people really pay attention to directors, a lot of them found out who Shane Black is this weekend. Iron Man 3, his second best film as a director, sees him transitioning to a phase that he’s lived in before as a screenwriter. He found success in his twenties after acting in Predator and selling his script for Lethal Weapon, following-up with even more stories about kidnapping and Christmas. He’s brash, great with a comeback, and known for inserting fourth wall-breaking jabs into his scene descriptions, but he’s also been on both sides of the studio coin. That’s given him a front row seat for great success, backlash, a re-emergence that didn’t strike it big, and now another resurrection. It was clear before that he had talent, and now he’s got wisdom. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a man who knows what you find when you look up “idiot” in the dictionary.

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Charlie Chaplin Directing

The 124th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin‘s birthday was yesterday, and the date represents both the birth of a man and the birth of a cultural icon. Perhaps the biggest of them all. Chaplin made a name for himself during the early years of cinema where silent films had a natural global appeal and became a worldwide name as an actor, producer, writer and director. He took comedy seriously, building upon silly slapstick with The Tramp and taking on Hitler with The Great Dictator. It’s more than likely that the world will never see anyone rise to his kind of prominence. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin.

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Sam Raimi Directing

Bridging two worlds, Sam Raimi has done something incredibly difficult as a filmmaker. He’s proven himself as the capable creator of massive budget spectacle with heart while remaining the cult hero that early fans continue to worship. He sold out without selling out. That in itself is a bold lesson in staying true to your own sensibilities no matter what the bottom line is, but there’s a lot more to learn from the man who grew to prominence by cutting off Bruce Campbell’s hand. The key? You can’t just take a hand; you have to replace it with a chainsaw. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a very snappy dresser who doesn’t mind getting covered in blood.

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Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper is fucking awesome. I use the present tense there because the man, though gone, is eternal. At least when it comes to his art. He definitely had some experiences. Several that no one could be proud of, but he also came to represent a free wheeling sensibility that came with defying the establishment while learning from it. The man’s resume remains formidable (and it will only continue to grow with more “Very Special Thanks” entries). So instead of listing his best movies, take your pick. You can probably name 10 you love just off the top of your head. There are a ton of them. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a real easy rider.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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