Film Directing – The Triple Take Method

Shooting With The Triple Take Method

A few weeks ago we’ve talked about the Master scene method. Now I want to teach you another film directing technique called “The Triple Take method” and sometimes also called “The Overlapping Method”. It’s a very easy method and the purpose of this directing method is to cut in action while maintaining continuity. 

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The triple take method is a great method especially when working without a script and for documentaries, but also great for scripted scenes.

How does the film directing technique works?

The main idea here is to start each shot with the last action of the shot before it, so those two actions are now overlapping. Let’s say you have a scene where the actor is opening his house door, entering his home, walking to the TV, opening it and sits on his couch. You will shoot him opening the door and getting inside the house in one angle, then you want to shoot him walking to the TV in a different angle, so you tell the actor to stop, change the angle and now you will shoot him walking towards the TV, but the actor will to go a few steps backwards and start the shot from the part of stepping inside the house, so you will have that action in both angles. Now he is walking to the TV and you want to shoot the part where he turns it on in a different angle, so again, he will take a few steps back and play the action including turning the TV on. Now we want the part of him sitting on the couch in a different angle, so we’ll tell the actor to stop, we’ll change the angle and tell him to start from the part of turning the TV on (which we already filmed in the angle before).
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As I said it’s a very simple method, but I would shoot also a master scene to make sure the editor will have somewhere to turn to if something went wrong and we didn’t notice. Also, remember it’s a very technically scene that might be hard for the actor to work with, so don’t use it on emotional scenes.

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Continuity Editing Techniques

The Continuity Techniques of Video Editing

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The art of editing is divided into 2 schools – those who claim video editing should be noticed and those who claim the complete opposite. Most film today try their best to keep continuity going and to draw less attention to the editing as possible.

Making the continuity possible is, first of all, the production’s job, but if they failed to do so, it is the editor that will have to fix it. In this article, I will introduce you to some awesome continuity editing techniques. 


continuity editing the definition

Films are rarely shot in the order of the script. Even inside the scene the order of the shooting is determent by locations limitations, actor’s schedule etc. (you can read about the factors of production schedule here) continuity is a system the filmmakers use to keep things consistent between two shots that will be edited together. The elements that usually can break continuity are such as lighting, character’s movements, sounds, backgrounds and object placements, It’s something that is very hard to pay attention to and even in blockbuster films you can see mistakes like that.

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Let’s see some continuity editing examples:

Continuity in lighting

Continuity in lighting means that the colors in the frames are the same in every shot. Sometimes the director might shoot a dialog where the close-ups in it were shot in two different places. I mean each character were shot in a different place. The element that can break our continuity here is most likely to be exposure and lighting of the shots – They should be the same. The editor’s job is to do whatever it takes, to help them look as if they are talking to each other. In this case, the editor might need to do some color correction to fix the continuity problem. That is usually done by the extremely skilled colorist.

Continuity in objects

Here is an example of a very common mistake, when one of the characters is smoking a cigar and the size of the cigar changes on the different take (first it’s long, then it’s short and then long again).
Or let’s say an actor is holding a glass on the right hand and on the next take he is holding it in the left hand. In this case, there isn’t much the editor can do to fix it but simply choosing a different shot, but if the best take is the one that the actor is holding the glass on the different hand, I would say – use that. If the actorr performance is good enough, the discontinuity would not be noticed. In the movie Pulp fiction, there is a scene where John Travolta needs to stick a needle in Uma Thurman’s chest. On the close up of the chest, there is a red mark, but when she gets up with the needle in her chest, the red mark is gone. The scene is so full of energy and actors give such a great performance that it is not noticeable. 

continuity editing techniques

The first thing you need to do before editing a scene is to go through all of the material and see if there are shot that might cause a problem. See also  if there is are a solution you can give them. For example, if a character is facing right and on the next shot it is facing left, you can fix it with a flop effect (an effect that changes a direction of the frame). If there is a discontinuity in the action of the actor or in an object in the scene, a good solution can also be putting the third shot in between the problematic two if it’s possible.

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Make it a ritual before starting to edit a scene to look for discontinuity possibilities and when you finish editing the scene, look for it again.

After all of that, I recommend watching Jean-Luc Goddard’s film, Band -a- part, Where he introduce to the world of cinema a new kind of editing possibilities by creating obvious jump cuts and discontinuity. He did that for political reasons to claim, that when you watch a movie, you should be aware that it is just a movie, so you won’t be manipulated so easy. Today jump cuts can appear in the mainstream films, but only if it serves the premise of the film.

Script Breakdown And How To Use It for Budget Planning

Using A Script Breakdown To Plan Your Budget

The script breakdown will be your first job as a producer. it will help you to be more realistic about your script and its needs. In this post, I’m going to talk first about how to do a script breakdown and then how to use it for your budget planning.

Before you start breaking down your script, I recommend reading the script once without analyzing it. On the second reading, you can start to break it down.
There are many things you need to pay attention to, but first, you need to check the basic stuff:

Make sure the script is in right format

Once you’re getting the script, you need to check if it’s formatted the right way. Read my post on script format if you are not sure. If the screenplay is not written in the right format, you won’t be able to tell how long the film is going to be, which is an important part of the film budget. If you are having problems with formatting the script, there are many script breakdown software that can help you like the Final Draft Writer

You also need to pay attention to the scene numbers and the scene locations as I will explain now:

Scene numbers

You should also check if there are numbers on the beginning of each scene. If the there are no numbers, the production manager is the usually the one who needs to fix it. The scene numbers are very important to your organized work. If there are more scenes adding during production, you simply adding a letter to the number like 23-a, 23-b, etc. Don’t change the numbers of the scenes once you start production work.

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Script breakdown for locations

The second element to check is the locations of the scenes. Where does it all happen? Is it in a movie theater? Is it in the park? The scene location should be written in the beginning of each scene (See the script format post to understand more). When you write down the name of the location on your script breakdown sheet, it should be written the same way as it is written in the script, to avoid confusion. If the location is not clear in the script, you should call the script writer to clarify it.

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You also need to pay attention to how many scenes are shot inside and how many are shot outside? This is a thing that can really affect the film budget and schedule. For example, if a scene is shot outside, we only have time to shoot until the sun goes down  (since it’s our source of light)and if it’s a night scene that happens outside, we’ll need to create electricity solutions.

Breaking the scene

Now it’s time to take some markers and start marking the script elements by categories. What you need to do is to go over the script and mark in a different color every element that needs your attention. For example, every time there is a special effect, you can mark it with blue color, every time props come up, you mark it with red, every time a stunt man is needed, mark it with a different marker, every time extras are needed, mark it with a different color (you can divide the extras into speaking roles and non-speaking roles) etc. More things you should look at are the cast of the film, special effects, any special equipment, any costumes needed.

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The script breakdown sheet

The script breakdown sheet should be a table with this information: scene number and name, the page it appears in the script, the location, interior or exterior, is it day or is it night, the characters that are needed for the scene, the extras needed, props and special notes Like wardrobe, set dressing, etc. There should also be a brief description of the scene and If there are storyboards to the scene, it should be attached.

Click here to see how a script breakdown template should look like. Also, check this link to see many script breakdown examples. I recommend to go there and choose the script breakdown example that works best for you.

Now the only thing missing from your film budget planning is the schedule:

Making the schedule

What you need to do now is group your information by elements. For example, if you have 23 scenes with the same actor – You should plan it so they are all be shot together. You don’t want to be in a place where you shoot a scene with him and then telling him to rest for 5 hours while you shoot another scene that he is not in it. The only problem now is that moving around from one location to another can be expensive and tiresome too, so you have to take that into consideration too. The main idea here is to take all the elements that you marked before and use them to plan the schedule.

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While calculating the days you should take into consideration the director’s vision and his style of work. Does he like to do a lot of takes or is he a fast worker? While working on the schedule you should also be in touch with heads of key departments, and see if they are OK with what you planned.

As you can understand the schedule and the script breakdown can and probably will change during production. The trick is to find as many elements that need your attention right at the start.  With practice, I can promise you, that you’ll be able to find more and more elements to mark and pay attention to and you’ll learn to do it more easily.

Film Directing – Auditioning Actors for Film

Auditioning Actors – Rules & Tips

Auditioning actors is a field that many beginners at film directing are taking for granted, It’s a very hard and long process that many directors choose to not be part of. I think the reason is because this is a stage where you have to make great decisions. You don’t want to do a mistake at this stage. In these days you have more options than ever, so making a mistake is even more scary.

Auditioning actors is also a great chance for the director to hear his texts being played  for the first time and it’s a great opportunity to test scenes that you weren’t sure about them. That’s why I’m going to give you some tips for setting up auditions. I think that there is nothing worse than getting stuck in production. When you find a good actor that can act and listen, you did 90 percent of your actor’s directing job.

The main idea is to play with the actor. Try different approaches to him. For example, you can let a guy play a female role in the script and vice versa and see what happens.

Casting Director

The auditioning of actors is a complete field we can talk about for hours. That’s why, if you have the option, use a casting director, It can be great. Today the casting directors, in my opinion, don’t get the respect they deserve, but I really think it’s an important role.
These are the skills needed for a casting director: good communication, better identification of talent, good management ability, the ability to direct and paying attention to detail.
The director needs to explain to the casting director what he wants what his vision for the film is and the specific role

Advertising the audition

The possibilities for advertising your auditions are diverse. You can advertise on Facebook, acting groups, industrial sites, acting schools and so on. Once you post you are looking for actors, you will probably be flooded with e-mails from dozens of actors. That’s why you should try to a specific description of the part as you can. You should describe the character name, age, important characterization points and two interesting sentences about it. If the physical description is important, you can add that one too.
Most actors will send you photos and resumes. Often there is a temptation to check only the images, but it is very important to read their resumes too.

Rent a room for auditions

Do not audition actors in your home or your friend’s home. It shows the lack of professionalism and can be a little intimidating for actresses. It is worth investing a few dollars renting rehearsal room.

Auditions forms filling

While the actors are waiting for their turn, give them to pre-fill a form that will include date, the name of the production, below that, make room for actor information: name, address, home phone and mobile, email and the role he is faced.

Schedule your auditions

All the actors auditions should be between 10 and 20 minutes, tops! You should have someone to be with the actors that are waiting in the hallway. There should also be refreshments.

What are you looking for when you cast an actor

You really should know what it is you are looking for when you are auditioning actors. Maybe the role you are casting is one that demands the actor to give parts from his life outside. Does the actor ready for that kind of  vulnerability? I will talk about it later on this post and will explain how to do that, but I will mention it now too – you need to check if your actor can listen – not only to you but also to the actor he is playing with. The important element you should check is can the actor take the lines you gave him and make them sound like they are his own.

Pay attention to the small details

When auditioning actors it’s very hard to find in a few minutes if an actor can really act, so what you have to look mainly is his charisma and screen presence. Note the actor immediately as he enters the room. Pay attention to his body language, is it conveys security or insecurity? note his walking style, the way he sits, does he talk too much? Did he come unprepared? If the actor got some information about the character he is faced, pay attention to what he wore in honor of the audition.

Audition Management

Actors audition begin with an introductory interview. The actor will talk to the camera and say his name and age and preferably also a phone number, in case the form get lost. You can ask questions like, what have you done lately? What was the most enjoyable role he played so far? What were your experiences of previous productions? and so on.

“The most important job of the director is casting. If you can cast your film in an interesting way, then you’re 50 percent there.”

Susan Seidelman

You should also tell them about yourself. Your experience and how did you get that movie. Explain how many days of filming are ahead, and how many days of rehearsals are needed. note their responses. If they are too hesitant, you might want to give them up.

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Sometimes you may prefer to do only the first reading of the text. At this time, the actor gets the text for the first time at the audition. He will probably ask questions about the text (you can learn a lot about the actors from these questions). I like to start by just telling them to just do their thing. That way I can see what they are able to bring without my direction. When they start acting, note his acting and the character he brings you. Does he have something good you have not thought of before? If something does not work for him, try to let him do the part standing up. Sometimes it is a good idea to give them a direction just to see if they can follow a direction, so it’s a good thing to bring one even if you don’t feel it is needed.  Let them read the text for themselves first, then adjust them a little in order to see how they understand what you are saying, then give them a completely different direction. What is important here than the way the actors act, is how they change their acting in accordance with your instructions.

Set a relaxed mood

Keep in mind that the actor is very tight and probably you will be stressed too. Try to calm him down with respect. If the actor does not fit, you may want to tell him gently in place, instead of having him sitting on the phone days in anticipation for your call.

Working in pairs

If there’re roles such as lovers couples, mother, and son, etc., you should invite them to audition together and see the chemistry.
Generally, you should let the actor act with another actor so that it is easy to produce emotional responses.

Shoot the audition

If it possible,
shoot the audition and if possible, let someone else do it and tell him to shoot it from several angles. On the other hand, it is advised that the camera man won’t be too noticeable because it can put pressure on the actor that way.
The camera man should take as many close-ups as he can, to see facial expressions and as many medium shots, to absorb body movements.

Sometimes it is advised to shoot actors when they are not aware of the camera. Suppose as assistant director gives the actor notes between takes, He can sit where the other actor is sitting then the camera man will take the actors reactions while he listens.

Decision-making and Last tips

If you’re debating between two actors on one character, it is better to go for the actor with more experience and talent than the one that looks better.

In low budget movies, it is very easy to find yourself compromising the process of auditions with actors you do not feel complete with them. Try not to let that happen. If the actor is not really enthusiastic about the part, the audience will feel it.

Just remember, as Jack Nicolson once said, Once you cast someone for a movie, that person is perfect for the role.

Digital video editing’s stages

The Stages of Video Editing

Digital video editing's stages
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The digital video editing process is divided into several stages. Many people considered this part as a very simple one (simply plug shots together like Lego), but this is a mistake that hurts lots of beginners filmmakers. Digital video editing is one of the most important steps in the film production. It is basically writing the final script of the film.

so here are all the stages, you need to go through when getting into the editing room:

Watching the raw material

All of the digital video editing processes starts with watching the materials from beginning to the end. This is usually done by the director, and the video editor and sometimes the producer too. While watching they will decide what the video editor should and shouldn’t sample and they will also start to have an idea as for how the film should look like. Many productions have a thing called “Dailies” which is a meeting of all the lead production members to watch the raw material of what they shot that day. Some video editor like to participate on that, so they won’t have to watch all of it together at once. Sometimes you might get notes about the shootings. 

It is advisable to watch the material by the order it was shot since it can help you to see how the scenes were developed and to understand the director mindset. At this point, you should start to have an idea as for how the film should look like. Pay attention to the shots and performances that are really doing something for you and write them down.


The next digital video editing step will be a sampling all of the selected materials. Which means capturing the material into the editing software. If you still live in the 90’s and your materials were taken from Mini DV tapes, it is customary to capture the materials with a special video for this kind of tapes. You can also capture from a mini-DV camera, but is not recommended for the camera to agree with that ;-). The sampling operation is made simpler when working with files, although sometimes your editing program will ask you to convert the files before starting.

Organize your material

The video editor has to deal with a large amount of raw material. Usually, he will make one minute of film from every few hours of material, so it’s very important to work in an orderly and organized manner. The sampling stage is the stage to organize your material. The organization of the material is very important and will help you to analyze your material and to work more effective. You can read more about it at my post on Organizing Video & Footage in Your Video Editing Software

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Connecting the best raw material segments together into one very long movie without any real editing. The video editor can work with a shooting script or a storyboard as a guideline. It is also possible to insert clips that you are unsure about them. The aim is mainly to arrange the raw materials in the chronicle order of the film while reducing them as much as possible. When you’ll finish the assembly, you might find that the pace of every scene is very different from each other. At this point it’s OK.

In most cases, you will want to start from the beginning of the film, but sometimes it might work best to start from the middle and then connect all the scenes together. 


Rough Cut

The rough cut stage is when you start thinking about the story. The director and the editor are required to make large artistic decisions for the film and to built the foundation of the director’s vision. The rough cut is shown to the producer and everyone that can contribute to the shaping of the overall editing. The cuts are still not perfect, but the general idea of how the film is going to look like is presented.

Fine Cut

At this point, the film has been shortened to a final length. The director and the video editor have been tightening all the cuts, the dialogs, the pace of the film and so on. It’s still not the final cut completely, there are still some scenes that might be deleted, but it is the closest you can get to final cut, before sending it to sound design and color correction. After these stages there are several additional steps that the film has to go through in order to reach perfection:
1. sound design – Today video editors can perform many repairs to the film’s sound, but they are still limited, so you should send the film to sound designers for best results. 2. Color-correction -The basic color corrections is increasing the contrast of the black and white colors and highlighting the image or change the dominant colors in the movie. As long as you need basic things, the video editor can help you, but it is a profession by itself and should go to someone who specializes in color correction and also has the right equipment for it.

Personally, I recommend that the video editor should also be at least in one meeting of the pre- production stage. That way he can prevent choices that might make trouble when coming to the editing room, and explain what he needs to create the atmosphere the film director needs.

The Production Film Crew Members

Main Crew Members of Film Production

In low-budget film productions, the film producer becomes a form of multimedia. To meet this mission, he needs people to help him on the job. In this article, I will review a number of key film crew members in every film production that work directly with the film producer.

As a film producer, you’ll need to work well together with them and they’ll need to understand and support your goals and all of the others. Full cooperation can lead to higher results than expected, so these are the key film crew members that the film producer needs to insist on having to make the director’s vision come to life.

The film Executive Producer

In Practical, the producer goes through the script with economic eye and apply the changes needed if there is not enough money. That’s called script breakdown (Read about working with a low budget here) The producer should sit down with the writer and figure out together how to preserve the spirit of the scene with less money. Remember! screenwriter spent a lot of effort and time to write the script, so be gentle with him. Once the script is ready the producer should obtain a copyright on it.

Production Manager

Production Manager is responsible for the logistics of all production. He needs to know every detail of the production. Because of this, he needs to have the phones and the details of all the staff. Next to each name on his list should be comments like when you should call, who to ask, what were the last call and all decisions or agreements that have reached with them. Production manager often required to plan the budget. Sometimes this demand will be even before the script was completely finished and it can be annoying. The production manager is also responsible for getting contracts with posts production offices like editing rooms, sound, music and so on. while still in pre-production (we’ll talk about this stage later , but it’s basically the period before filming).

Watch this video published by University of Derby to hear some tips about the work of the Production Manager

First assistant director

The director’s right hand. Also called 1st AD. He is connecting with the staff and the director. His job is to help the creative flow of the director by taking care of all the technical stuff.  He is responsible in part for the preparation of shooting schedule, and the shooting breakdown. Assistant director actually manages the set during shooting, he must take care of that each day of shooting will end on time and achieve its goals. Sometimes he also directs the extras and shouting for everyone to shut up.

Watch this interview posted by filmnutlive, with Gary Goldman, which is the first A.D. for HBO’s Entourage. filmnutlive‘s Youtube channel got lots of cool interviews with film industry people I recommend watching

Second assistant director

Second assistant director is working in close contact with casting agents, helps with Breakdown, making sure that all the paperwork is prepared and organized, he is responsible for the staff, the extras, making sure that everyone is going where they should be, and to they take care of all the paperwork on the set.

Production Account Manager

This is a part that many low budget films tend to ignore, but it is very important to the smooth flow of the production. The production account manager job is to open a bank account for the production, Prepare cash for shooting days, signs the final budget, taking care of everyone’s salaries, oversees the budget and the schedule, taking care of insurance matters, weekly reporting of expenditures, and other matters of such accountants.

These are some basic production film crew members. If there are more rules you want to know about or to go deeper into them, I’ll be glad to hear from you.

Documentary Filmmaking History – Part I

Documentary Filmmaking History

Documentary filmmaking history is not what I thought I’ll talk about When I started this documentary filmmaking course. I wanted to write articles without going through all the theoretical stuff. But I really feel that to teach documentary filmmaking, I have to begin with developing the documentary filmmaker’s mindset, and learning about documentary filmmaking history is a good way to start.

So here we go:

I am going to go through all the important stages of the documentary filmmaking history very fast. I recommend watching them and reading more about them. 

The first documentations

Talking about documentary filmmaking history, you have to start at the beginning.  It can be said that the first films created were the documentary kind of films. They weren’t fiction, any way. The first films were a baby’s meal, a train arrives, workers at the plant etc. They documented certain segments of life. During World War 1 in 1914 until 1918 the cameras kept filming the war area. The film has become a very important tool for the transfer of information and propaganda. These videos were delivered as “Newsreels” and they were broadcast in theaters. Since they are only segments of scenes rather than one long film with a basic idea, it is difficult to treat them as classic documentaries .

The first Documentary film

Talking about documentary filmmaking history, we have to start at the beginning. There is a debate between the Russians and Americans about what the first documentary film ever made:

Man With a Movie Camera – The official start of the documentary filmmaking (at least for the Russians) begins with Dziga Vertov, a poet and a video editor in Russia. He started his way from producing educational News reels for raising people to the revolution in 1917. He is best known because of this film, taken much later in 1929.
A film that is a something of an experimental documentary. In some ways, it is considered advanced even for today’s films. Average shot length in the film was 11.2 seconds. You can imagine what the viewers felt when they saw such rapid editing for the first time. Dziga Vertov made the film after he felt that cinema was stuck and took advantage of his abilities. The film depicts 24 hours in the life of the city of Odessa and other Soviet cities throughout the day. The film is most famous for a variety of cinematic techniques: he uses double exposure (what is now called super impose), fast motion, slow motion, freeze frame , Jump cuts, split screen and more. Because the editing and the effects are affecting the message of the film, there are those who refuse to accept it as the first documentary film.

Nanook of the North (1922 )  – Officially (at least for the Americans) This film is considered to be the first documentary. The film was directed by Robert J. Flaherty  And is a silent film which considers being an important milestone early film industry. It chronicles the struggle of Nanook and his family in the wild Eskimos. Beyond being an important film, the film is a historical document about a life form that disappeared already. As mentioned, the film is considered to be the first documentary Although Flaherty was accused of directing a lot of the scenes in the movie and even wanted the characters to recover customs they left a long time ago. You could say that this film is not only officially opens the documentary genre, but also the discussion about the genre. Is documentary represents reality or shapes it?

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If you really want to learn Documentary filmmaking, I recommend watching these films. Here are some more instresting documentaries from that preriod that I think every filmmaker that want to get in to the documentary filmmaking field, should know:

strike – 1924- Sergei Eisenstein, a director in the Soviet Russia has never qualified as a documentary director, but his movies like this one certainly embody the characteristics of a documentary films today. Strike describes the iron factory workers strike in Russia, where the workers were subjected to humiliation. Definitely one of the films most amazing period.

Battleship Potemkin from 1925 – The film contains the famous scene of “steps Odyssey” that won many gestures in films. To date, the film is considered one of the most influential film in cinema. Here, too, his definition of documentary is a bit problematic, but it is highly recommended for viewing for anyone interested in the documentary genre.

Night Mail -1936 –  Basil Wright and Harry Watt. A classic British film which follows the mail train moving at night from London to Scotland. Using this simple situation, the film certainly manages to capture the British life spirit of the time. The movie talk about the post office but ut also talk about the importance of working in harmony. Here also rise a debate about directing a documentary. In this case, the claims are that certain parts of the movie were filmed in the studio. Also in 1936 the political and economical situation wasn’t at it best in the British Empire, so the movie does not show the true feelings of the postal workers, but what the postal office vision was about that.

Olympia – 1938I – At the Nazi regime there was no shortage of films in the genre. Leni Riefenstahl directed in 1938 a movie that presented the Olympics in Germany. The aim of the film was to glorify the Olympic games in Germany and the German athletes. The movie is considered to have much innovation in the composition style, camera angles, editing and more. Using 50 camera operators Riefenstai created great slow motion shots. THere is no The best thing about this movie is that if you take the context out of it, you will never guess it was propaganda.
Listen to Britain  of Humphrey Jennings. The film came out in 1942 and it was a propaganda film designed to encourage support for the war. The film is considered to be a historical archive. There are criticizes about this movie being so strict and classic art style that it reminds fascist regimes movies, but one can not ignore the effectiveness it had during the war.

Fires Were Started from 1943  of Humphrey Jennings documented a night in London’s Fire Brigade unit.

Night & Fog directed by Alain Resnais. One of the more influential film documentary field if not the most influential. French film from 1955. The film depicts the life of prisoners in the camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek. It was the first film that dared to face the terror of the Jewish Holocaust. Alan visiting several concentration camps in Poland and Europe.

This is a very quick list of the important films during the beginning of the documentary filmmaking history. In the next article, I will review in more detail the two genres that took a very significant part in the development of documentary film: the direct cinema and the cinema verite.

How To Produce a Film – 12 Tips to The Beginner Film Producer

How to produce a film? 12 First Tips 

So you decided you want to learn how to produce a film, but you do not know exactly where and how to start. So here are some tips to guide you and will help you to get your first steps into the filmmaking business:

  • Start with the genre. They are popular, with a clear concept and have much room for creativity.
  • Be original. Tell something that has not been told or in a way not yet been told. Read the Find your own voice to learn this cool creative exercise that will help you find your own true voice.
  • Pay attention to the things that work commercially and in terms of festivals. Notice where you are in this equation.
  • Speaking of festivals, before starting to send films to the film festivals, you should have a strategy. Most festivals cost money to register and in some of them, pre-registration is cheaper. Plan ahead and think how the film festival  is going to contribute to the film, and how much you want to spend on them   
  • Remember – The better your script will be the more talents will be            attracted to it, and if your project will bring a really good script, maybe they even agree to give you a discount.
  • Create a movie web page, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. It will also help you get funding through the Internet.
  • If you are working on a budget, check first how you can cut locations. Reducing locations can lower the budget dramatically.
    (Click here to learn more about ways for lowering your budget)

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  • the sound people usually get ignored in film production, but I have seen
    productions that fell because of sound problems. Make sure to have someone who really understands the field (click here to read about sound design in films
  • Prepare the budget while maintaining fidelity to reality. Do not kid yourself.Go through all the script, do a script breakdown and realize what it is you need. If the budget is too expensive, check out what you can give up and be sure to add an unexpected 10 percent to the budget. That means after you finish calculating the budget you add 10 percent of the budget to spend on unexpected expenses (which will happen to you no matter how much you’ll plan ahead). Do not forget to also include marketing expenses, editing, sound and every post issue.
  • Do a research in all areas that you deal with them and try to do some more work on your own Pre – Production stage. 

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  •  Try to find staff that has the equipment needed. It can cost you cheaper
    (especially if they have their own insurance on the equipment) and they know
    how to use their equipment and they also keep it in good shape.
  • Learn how to work well with your director, financiers, and other important figures. Establish with all of them an honest relationship right at the start. The producer has to know how to work with people and listen to their needs. Everyone got different needs and it your job to answer them.

Film directing – Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Film Director?

The Film Director Requirements

Learning how to direct a film is kind of fun stuff, but there are a lot of responsibilities that are coming with it. Eventually, you are going to be in charge on a lot of money, so let see first if you have what it takes to become a film director.

Know the filmmaking craft

Before you start directing a film, make sure you know the film directing fundamentals and film directing techniques. It’s been known that the job of the film directing is to tell a story with pictures and sounds, but the truth is that In film directing the story is being told also through actors, art design, clothes design, dialog styles and more. You are in charge on all of that. That’s why the director must have knowledge in all the filmmaking departments like script writing, camera and lightning techniques, sound designvideo editing etc. If you’ll look at the most respectable directors, you’ll see that many of them have a gift at least in one of these departments. Find yours and develop it.

Visualizing abilities

In the article The film director’s vision I talk about how to translate the script into visual shots and concept that it unique to you. On the next articles I am planning to talk about the tools that will help you do that like storyboard and shooting script,
but the bottom line is:
While you are visualizing your movie (which is the main job of the director in In film directing), you’ll need to do it through the departments mentioned above. You will learn how to develop your visualization skills with practice.

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Film as many short films as you can

Like everything else in life, film directing is all about practice. Shoot as much as you can and offer yourself to participate in as many productions as you can. Shooting a lot of shorts will also help you to get your deepest artistic voices, out of the system until you’ll find the one that works best for you. You have to be ready to deal with the fact that most of your first shorts will be bad ones and that you can only learn In film directing by making mistakes.

Find your own true voice

As a film director and an artist, you will have to find your inner voice- the one that separates you from all the others. You’ll have to be real honest with yourself and listen to it very good. I recommend reading my article, Find your inner voice, to learn better how to do that. Understanding your true voice is not enough. you will also have to keep it as your guide through all the trip. That means to watch out from what other people say, but also to watch out for yourself. Don’t try to show out how smart and artistic you are and focus completely on what the movie really needs.

Become a leader

The different betweena In film directing and other arts like a poetry or a painter is that the film directors have to lead a big crew after him. You’ll have to be good with people and also know how to push them to their limits, so you can take out the best from each one of them. You’ll need to be able to guide them, inspire them and supervised them all at once.You’ll have to make decisions that sometimes will be against the view of your crew. You will also have to lead with confidence. There is nothing worse for actors and crew member than to follow a director that is unsure of his actions. If you don’t know what to do in certain situations, don’t be afraid to console with the right crew members and then make a confident decision. Sometimes the producers will try to change things in your script to lower the expenses. Unless you really agree with their changes, it will be your job to defend the script. With all of that, you’ll have to remember that you are working with artists, and an open mind is needed too.

Recommended books on film directing

Film making courses at film schools or by yourself


Study film at film schools or by yourself?

One of the questions that every film student deals with throughout his college years are can art e thought or am I wasting my time? There are many advantages and disadvantages to taking filmmaking courses in film schools. I will try to review here the main ones. For now, we will ignore the question of whether art can be taught, but we’ll focus on the problems that could arise from studying art. 

 “When people ask me if I went to film school
                             I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.”                                                                        Quentin Tarantino

I’ll start with the pros for taking film making courses film in film schools:

Professionalization of technical equipment

Film schools are a good way to learn all the technical issues, which sometimes can be difficult to learn by yourself. I’m talking about stuff like video editing, Cinematography, lighting and other stuff you usually learn when taking film making courses. Even if you are just thinking to direct, you have to know at least the basics of the technical world.

The society in film school

Contacts that you will make during your film making courses at the College can be such that will help you in the future in your career. In addition, you are always in a creative atmosphere.

In film schools, you can learn from the experience of others

In this industry, you can be a great filmmaker and still not make enough money. Many film makers take a second job as a lecturer. You should do a background check on the faculty members teaching the film making courses. You will find that some schools have lecturers that are currently active or at least was until recent.

The comfort of film schools

Personally, I don’t like comfort. It scares me and later on in this article, you will read why. In college, you will have access to a lot of equipment and that means you can spend more money on art, costumes, etc. 

  “filmmaking is like sex, there’s no one way to do it, and the only way to learn it is by doing it.”
Ana Lily Amirpour

Competitiveness in film schools

In most film schools, you’ll have to deal with competition. Competition can help you to take everything you have and stand out in the crowd (Later on you will read why competition can also be harmful).

Learn about cinema

If you want to get real film education and know about movies that have been made outside Hollywood, then film making courses in film school is a good tool for that (but not the only tool for that) Most film schools cover all the important films made outside Hollywood and outside the USA. It’s a good thing to expand your knowledge on films and to get know movies that are not mainstream and more artistic.


I wanted to write that in film school you can learn from the mistakes, but that’s not always the case. You should check out with the graduates of the college, what’s the policy on artistic freedom. There are many colleges that insist you do things their own way and this is very problematic in film studies. In my opinion, it is very important to get out all your crazy ideas right at the start, especially to know yourself and your style better, and also to know, what is working and what does not and why. Film making courses should be a good place to do just that. You should always go back for a moment you began to dream of making movies and remember which movies made you want to enter the field.

    “I was never interested in being powerful or famous. But once I got to film school and learned about movies, I just fell in love with it. I didn’t care what kind of movies  made.”
    George Lucas         

Now the disadvantages of film school in collage:

Film school’s Permissions

One of the biggest problems with the film schools is that you constantly need their approval. This is a very bad education for a film student. First, you need to be accepted to the school, then you need them to approve your project to start shooting. All the time you need their approval. The principle on which you as a future director should work is that once an idea came to your head, you need to just start working on it and see by your self if its working or not. But there are many film schools that might not allow you to go out and shoot a film, not necessarily because your idea was not good enough or you’re not talented enough. Sometimes it’s mainly because there is not enough budget to finance also your film. Their excuse will be that your film is not good enough.

Film schools are too expensive

Let’s face it. film Schools can be very very very expensive.It’s not popotional. Basically with this amount you pay for film schools, you can buy yourself a great camcorder with reasonable lighting equipment, sound equipment and even video editing computer.
You can also buy online courses. There are a lot of up to date online courses that are presented by professional from the industry and not only they are cheaper, but also more focusedon practical stuff that you need to learn and at your own pace. You can find some great courses on this page

The disadvantage of comfort in filmmaking classes

When you have the freedom to use whatever equipment you like, you learn to depend on it. It can be very discouraging when you go into the real world of film making and suddenly equipment costs money. Suddenly there are technical conditions that you feel you have to have them, to shoot a film. When the truth is that-and this is not taught in school film – in order to shoot a film, you just have to want to film it.

Competitiveness in film schools

One of the biggest disadvantages in filmmaking courses in film school is the constant competition. In a constant state of competition, it is difficult to make the movies you want. When you are competing for the attention of the establishment, you are forced to make films for the establishment and not necessarily those you believe in. You can get lost in it very easily, so you should watch out.
Remember that you are in total apprentices now and still does not work in production Company. The movies you make right now, are for learning and not for global success. Sometimes because of the competition, students has a tendency to get carried away with high-budget scripts. Remember you are currently studying and it is not worth investing everything in one film.
Always try to remember what made you want to take film making courses in the beginning. I think the biggest drawback to most film schools is that they prefer to teach students how to make films than to try to help them understand why they want to make movies.

Taking responsibility on yourself

In film schools, you always have someone else to blame- your teachers, your classmates, the equipment they gave you and so on…, so if things don’t work out it’s not your fault and there is nothing you can do about it. 

When you learn film by your self, it’s all about you. You have to find your disadventages and fix them. that kind of thinking gives you a lot of power and it puts you in a place where you have to improve yourself all the time.

Do you have what it takes to become a filmmaker?

What do you need to do to learn filmmaking by yourself? Pick up a camera and start shooting, read a few books or take a few online courses and watch movies. If you can’t do all that, then filmmaking might not be for you. You simply don’t love it enough at least not enough to start working in it. Filmmaking is not something you learn to make money or to become famous. There are much better ways to get these things.

So what’s the verdict?

Well, it’s up to you. Personally, I think that if you have what it takes to become a filmmaker, you don’t need film school.

Just remember one thing:
Whether you will go to film school or not, you will find yourself spending a lot of money on making films, but the movies you will make (whether in film school or by yourself), will teach you the best about this profession.