We’ll bet most of you can relate to the protagonists of ‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’.
Noah Baumbach returns to a familiar familial territory with his latest movie The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), and we certainly haven’t grown bored of his work with the theme. The prolific director’s career really took off after 2005’s The Squid and the Whale, a film whose dark humor made even the legendary Mike Nichols gush.
In a talkback after Meyerowitz’s screening at the New York Film Festival last week, Baumbach recalled an interaction he had with Nichols upon their first meeting. Nichols had remarked of Squid, “It reminded me of why I got into movies to begin with, which was revenge.”
Want to give your shots some interesting in-camera looks? Here are a few hacks you can pull off with stuff you probably have at home.
It can be tough giving your footage the look you want, especially when that look is distorted in some way. You can head into post and try your luck there, but you might end up spending more time and money than you anticipated. If you have a few lens tricks up your sleeve, though, you can tailor-make some really impressive effects in-camera in a fraction of the time for free. If that approach seems more up your alley, Ted Sim of Aputure’s A-Team provides a bunch of great ideas for creating interesting effects using free or cheap materials in the video below.
These tricks are great and can help you create some really cool effects, but I do have one word of caution: use a filter. I’m not a fan of putting substances directly on my lens, so if you’re going to use water, fog, or tape to create an effect, I highly recommend putting a filter on your lens first, because, you know, it’s cheaper to replace a filter with sticky tape adhesive all over it.
Pulling off long exposure photos is relatively easy, but doing so with video is another story.
One of the first still camera “tricks” you learn as a photographer is how to create light trails using long exposures. All you do is crank up your shutter speed to five or six seconds (or whatever works), adjust your aperture accordingly, and boom, you’ve got some nice light trails streaking all along some random freeway. But can you achieve the same effect with video? Totally, but you’ll need to head into post to do it.
Photographer/cinematographer Dan Marker-Moore, known for his iconic time-slices, created a video for Toyota that employs this interesting long exposure video effect, and in the tutorial below, he shows you how he did it using nothing more than standard Adobe After Effects tools—no plug-ins required.
And here is the completed ad for Toyota so you can see the effect in real-time:
He has grown his email subscriber base from zero to over 200,000 people in the past two years.He attributes much of his success from a single idea he learned from Tim Ferriss: Rather than setting long-term goals, pursue short-term experiments.
Here’s what Hardy learned from Ferriss and how he applied it:
As Tim Ferriss explained in his wildly popular best seller , he pursues excitement rather than happiness. Instead of chasing long-term goals, Ferriss performs short-term “experiments” which last a few weeks. He puts all of his energy into these experiments and has no clue what opportunities may arise from such experiments. Instead of making long term plans, he waits to respond to the brilliant and best opportunities that arise from his short-term experiments. Read more…
There’s a reason why Pixar characters stay with you long after the end credits roll.
We all have a favorite Pixar character. You’re probably thinking of them right now, hearing their best lines and replaying the scene in your head that made you an instant fan. And how could you not be? Pixar’s characters, from Woody to Sadness Mike Wazowski have a unique way of sticking with you, whether it’s due to their hilarious banter or heartbreaking humanity. But what is it that Pixar does to make them so memorable? Well, StudioBinder offers up an explanation in this interesting video.
We could all make reasonable arguments as to how Pixar manages to develop such memorable, multi-dimensional characters, but here are the ones StudioBinder comes up, some of which are based on what Pixar alums have said about the process.
They all have spines
According to Pixar screenwriter Andrew Stanto, all well-drawn characters “have a spine,” and that their “inner motor,” whether it’s Marlin’s desire to prevent harm or Wall-E’s desire to find beauty, is the goal that subconsciously drives them throughout their entire journey.
Under Armour’s viral ‘Rule Yourself’ campaign was created using state-of-the-art technology and old-fashioned ingenuity.
Under Armour’s inspiring ‘Rule Yourself’ campaign, featuring Misty Copeland, Stephen Curry, and Jordan Spieth, and produced in collaboration with Droga5 and director Wally Pfister, features an army of athletes training. But there wasn’t enough time or resources to film hundreds of people. So how did they pull it off?
In a new video, production company The Mill shows how its employees cloned the athletes with plates, clever camera usage, and VFX.
To create the crowd of people, the company first rigged a five-camera array that maximized the number of plates they could shoot. While setting up, they had to ensure the cameras were evenly spaced and that the plates didn’t overlap. Once they had cast extras who could perform the athletic drills necessary for the shoot, The Mill matched the extras’ skin tone and hair to the athlete they wanted to duplicate.
Bokeh is beautiful, especially when it’s exploding.
If you’re a fan of interesting looking bokeh, then you’ll want to check out the latest video from Mathieu Stern, the Master of Weird Lenses. In it, he creates a reverse globular lens out of cheap Russian glass to create some stunning bokeh effects that are pretty amazing in the day, but like most things in life, get way better at night.
This video might be more helpful if you’re trying to get step-by-step instructions on how to do this to your own lens:
Stern uses a Mir 1B 37mm f2.8, an inexpensive Russian lens. To achieve the effect, all you really have to do is remove the front of the lens and turn it around before reattaching it. This creates an interesting look; the center will be the only thing in focus, much like a tilt shift lens, except the bokeh will look as though they’re “exploding.”
If you’ve got an empty box of Saltines, you can make some pro-level lighting effects.
It’s the greatest time of year, you guys—flu season is almost over. If you managed to barricade your door well enough to avoid catching the demon bug from hell, 1.) congrats, and 2.) I want you on my zombie apocalypse team. But for the rest of us who puked our guts out or had to hold a child’s face over a toilet bowl while they puked their guts out, we unwitting stockpiled on a really helpful DIY light modifier that will help you create some really cool lighting effects: Saltine boxes. In this video tutorial from the Academy of Photography, find out how to turn a regular ol’ cracker box into a nifty modifier for your lighting setup.
Though the tutorial is geared toward photographers, this easily translates over to filmmakers. You won’t need the external flash and trigger/receiver, but you will need a light that can fit inside of your cardboard cracker box.
Here are some cheap/free ways of creating custom-made lens effects with DIY filters.
Lens filters, like ND filters, polarizers, or Black Pro-Mist, can be really expensive, so if you want to get your hands on a few that create interesting lens effects, you might want to go the DIY route to save a little cash. Luckily, there are many ways to not only make your own filters from inexpensive or free household items, but to also customize them to get the exact look you want. In this video, the team over at Film Riot share 4 dirt cheap DIY lens filters that will give your shots a unique look. Check it out below:
Host Ryan Connolly talks about 4 ways that you can add cool effects to your shots:
Put colored gels in front of your lens
Put Vaseline on your lens
Draw on your lens with a highlighter
Cut out a custom bokeh filter
There are some serious benefits to using these techniques. For one, the materials are either free or cheap to purchase. Most of us have Vaseline and and highlighters lying around, but if not, grab a fin and go to the nearest discount store and get you some.
Go beyond writing a ‘sympathetic’ Protagonist. Dig deeper than giving your Protagonist a ‘flaw.’ That is surface level writing. In this class, you will learn an approach that will help you immerse yourself into this key character, and craft a Protagonist worth writing… and reading.
This class not only explores proven ways to help you create a compelling character, it also lays out an approach you can use as the groundwork for developing the rest of your story.
Seven lectures, 24/7 forum feedback, insider tips, 90-minute teleconference, and the opportunity to workshop your story’s Protagonist [or Protagonists].
Plus if you’re a fan of the movies Bridesmaids, The Social Network and Up, we’ll be using those as our study scripts. They offer a diverse set of Protagonists and yet the approach we will study next week shows how a writer can craft such compelling and different lead characters.
It all starts Monday, March 27. You can learn more and sign up here.
Here are some observations from writers who have taken the class with me:
“One week of Creating a Compelling Protagonist challenged me in ways I couldn’t challenge myself. If you want to develop your ideas, this is a rare opportunity at great value. Thank you, Scott!” — Brianna Garber
“I’ve taken a ton of classes, both inside and outside film school, and this was one of the best. The material provided a ton of inventive ways to approach the development of a solid, three-dimensional protagonist, and helped me dig deeper into the character’s internal world — forcing me to reject easy solutions, the first ideas that came to mind.” — Jason Young, 2016 Black List Feature Writer Lab selectee
“Scott generously offers up his knowledge, insight, time and resources, so that in just one week a fully formed character can begin to lead you into your story.” — Ellen Musikant
“A class that is perfect for anyone looking to learn the primary character archetypes, their psychology, and how they relate to the protagonist. The lectures provide thorough examples of these character archetypes in modern and classic movies, and the online forums were a hotspot to ask questions about the material or anything related to screenwriting. Scott’s style of teaching is highly accessible to anyone, as he creates an environment of easy, open discussion on the subject of character and welcomes any other questions you may have along the way.” — Kristen Vincent, sold spec script “Fetch”
This 1-week Craft course is coupled with another class: Write A Worthy Nemesis. That begins Monday, April 10. For information on that session, go here.
This is the only time I will be offering these Craft classes in 2017, so take this opportunity and sign up now!