BIG BRAINS - small budgets


BIG BRAINS – small budgets: Jon Reiss (Bomb It, Better Living Through Circuitry, Cleopatra’s Second Husband)

by Andy Siege (Series Editor)

Jon Reiss is an author and media strategist who helps filmmakers and companies navigate the new distribution and marketing landscape.  He has worked with and consulted for Paramount Pictures, Screen Australia, Film Independent, Creative Scotland, The South Australian Film Corporation and numerous film schools and festivals to devise ways to educate and help independent filmmakers…


Photo by Kristaps B.

The Basics of Lighting

by Cathrine Kellison, Dustin Morrow & Kacey Morrow

Lighting is an essential tool for enhancing the video image. The subtle use of light creates atmosphere and mood, dimension, and texture. It can help to convey a plot line, enhance key elements such as set color or skin tone, and signals the difference between comedy and drama, reality and fantasy. Hard versus Soft All…


Photo by Danielle A. Davey

Directing: The Similarities and Differences between Film and Theatre

by Lenore DeKoven

The general misconception held by most laypeople and some professionals seems to be that there must be a difference between the crafts of directing and acting in theatre and those in film. The belief is that there are stage actors and screen actors, film directors and theatre directors. I don’t agree with this. It is…

Post Production


Cinema 4D Apprentice Video Tutorial: Overview of Primitives

by Kent McQuilkin

Below is a video tutorial by Kent McQuilkin on working with the basic building blocks – an Overview of Primitives. This video is only one component of the companion material for the book Cinema 4D Apprentice: Real-World Skills for the Aspiring Motion Graphics Artist by Kent McQuilkin. Cinema 4D Apprentice Real-World Skills for the Aspiring…



Green Screen on a Budget – DIY Light Kits on the Cheap

by Jeff Foster

I’ve seen dozens of strange lighting setups over the years, where people have had to cut corners and use what they had available (or what they could afford)—everything from clamp-on desk lamps to standing work lights and fluorescent light fixtures designed for a garage or workshop. Sure, you may be able to get away with…



FREE eBook Excerpt – Character Development: What They Don’t Teach You

by Jeff Lyons

An e-book excerpt from the soon to be published book Anatomy of a Premise Line: How to Master Premise and Story Development for Writing Success by Jeff Lyons. Character Development: What They Don’t Teach You All fictional supporting characters fall into three basic categories, and writers need to understand these categories BEFORE they start writing….

The Film Business


Understanding the Business of Entertainment – Some Thoughts About Development Hell

by Gregory Bernstein

Once a project finds its way to a studio, network, cable channel or other major production company, the development process moves forward as scripts are written, analyzed, commented on (called notes) and rewritten. Executives give notes and either the original writer or a new writer continues work on the script. These days in film, it’s…

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MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Focal Press authors and industry experts, features tips, advice, articles, video tutorials, interviews, and other resources for aspiring and current filmmakers. No matter what your filmmaking interest is, including directing, screenwriting, postproduction, cinematography, producing, or the film business, MasteringFilm has you covered. You’ll learn from professionals at the forefront of filmmaking, allowing you to take your skills to the next level.