You Need a Logline


Screenwriting Tip #12: If you don’t know your own logline, you probably don’t know what your script is about. Some writers will tell you they don’t have a logline. Their screenplay is “too complex” or “too character-driven,” or they just didn’t bother to think of one before they started writing. These writers are either idiots…

Figure 3-1  “Irish” Micky Ward’s (Mark Wahlberg) boxing opponents are nothing compared to the battles his family puts him through.

Defining Conflict


Conflict is essential to drama, but can be defined in different ways and take many different forms. Conflict can come from external factors, from within a character, or arise from a combination of forces. Person versus person (external conflict) Person versus environment or social institution (external conflict) Person versus a task they are compelled to…


BIG BRAINS – small budgets: MJ Dixon (Creepsville, Slasher House, Legacy of Thorn)


MJ Dixon was born in Sunderland, North East England. He started his career in film working as a PA on local low budget indie productions and soon grew to have aspiration of creating his own feature length films. Studying a degree in both filmmaking and screenwriting at the University Of Central Lancashire, as well as…


How to Run an Efficient Film Production Meeting
and other Production Preparation Tips!


Intangible managerial skills are as important as technical know-how in preparing successfully for production. The following are some general guidelines to help with the intangibles of preproduction. Keep a Positive Attitude. Lack of experience makes it difficult for beginning filmmakers to assess their day-to-day preproduction progress. There are so many elements (cast, crew, locations) that…

Shooting Tactics

Guerilla filmmaking – What to do when you don’t have a permit


It’s always less hassle to do things by the book, but as many broke documentary filmmakers will tell you… it ain’t always possible. At the end of the day, there’s only one golden rule when making a Down and Dirty documentary—get the shot. Here are some of my stealth strategies for overcoming common shooting obstacles….

screen direction

How Does the 180° Rule Work, anyway?


The Purpose of Screen Direction Screen direction serves two important purposes: it gives the audience clues about the story and it helps keep the audience from getting confused about where someone is or what they are doing. Avoiding confusion is the fundamental reason for all film continuity. Directional Conventions The classic example of this is…

Photo by Rosmary

Walter Murch’s Simple Approach to the Rule of Six


Born in 1943 in New York City, Walter Murch is widely recognized as one of the leading authorities in the field of film editing, as well as one of the few editors equally active in both picture and sound. A graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television, he received his early sound…


Writing for the Green Light – Hollywood’s Biggest Secret


The big secret that almost never gets told to anyone outside Hollywood’s professional walls: Most films are green-lit before a final script exists. Think this is crazy? It’s not; it’s absolutely the truth. If a studio or an independent production company knows who their audience is, knows what channels and platforms will showcase their finished…


The Director’s Point of View: From Concerned Observer to Storyteller


The kindly angels in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire (1987, below) keep Berliners under empathic observation. Cinema itself is like one of these angels, following and observing characters as it does while they live their lives. Let’s call this perspective that of the Concerned Observer because he is involved, invisible, and weightless like a spirit….


BIG BRAINS – small budgets: Anamitra Roy (Diamonds in the Sky, Five No Budget Films, Memories…of a Dead Township)


Anamitra Roy was born in 1988 in Bandel, West Bengal, India. Roy obtained his MA in Film Studies from Jadavpur University in 2010. He published one of his several alternative literary bulletin’s named ‘Byas’ in 2007. In 2008, Roy developed his collection of poems named ‘Shabdoprokriyakoron’. The format of this book is a benchmark of…

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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.