‘You Were Never Really Here’ Trailer: Joaquin Phoenix Has His Own Particular Set of Skills

You Were Never Really Here trailer

After a six year break from features, director Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) is back with You Were Never Really Here, a film that looks to be a cross between Taken and Taxi Driver. This violent drama debuted at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and earned high praise from those who caught it, and it’s easy to see why: this movie looks like it rules. Check out a new UK trailer for the film below.

You Were Never Really Here trailer

Based on a 2013 novella from Bored to Death creator Jonathan Ames (side note: this movie could not look more different than Bored to Death), the story follows a veteran (Phoenix) who uses his own particular set of skills to find girls who have gone missing. As the violence and intensity ratchets up, things start to spin out of control for him.

If that stylish trailer – with its Taken-esque foray into the sex trade and an overt nod to Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle during the mirror interaction at the end – isn’t enough to get you fully on board, maybe you’ll be interested to hear from those who have seen the full film already. The Guardian says it “teeters perpetually on the verge of hallucination, with hideous images and horrible moments looming suddenly through the fog,” Vulture says that “visually and stylistically, Ramsay has never been more assured,” and The Film Stage calls it “one of the most ferocious indictments of systematic abuse of power and gender violence ever projected on a screen.”

The movie’s score from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is getting some high praise, too, with Birth.Movies.Death referring to it as “possibly [his] best score to date” and “a real scorcher.” That’s especially impressive, considering Greenwood provided the scores for movies like There Will Be Blood, The Master, and Phantom Thread. Ekaterina SamsonovAlex ManetteJohn Doman, and Judith Roberts co-star.

And if all that somehow still isn’t enough to sway you, Ramsay won the Best Screenplay award and Phoenix won the Best Actor award at Cannes for his haunted, physical performance, so it seems like there’s actually some real meat to this movie beyond just a well-cut trailer.

You Were Never Really Here plays at the Sundance Film Festival later this month (where I’m hoping to catch a screening and report back to you all), and Amazon Studios will release it wider on April 6, 2018.

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25 Takumi Life Skills Filmmakers Need

The Takumi craftsmen in Japan are guardians of an ancient artisan philosophy. A Takumi craftsman applies a subtle human touch to every aspect of design and development of the objects they create. It takes at least 25 years of experience to be considered a Takumi.

I learned about Takumi from the Japanese car-maker Lexus. Of their 7,900 technicians and craftsmen working at the Lexus car plant, only 19 are Takumi. It’s considered the highest honour on the production side of the car manufacturing process. They exercise their amazing skill at detecting the tiniest imperfections. Glide your eyes and hands over the precision-machined aluminium audio controls or beautifully stitched leather work. Their cars’ gleaming paintwork is painstakingly wet sanded by hand to ensure a perfect finish.

So too, a filmmaker gains skills and knowledge over years of experience. I thought I’d research the Takumi philosophy and see what we as screenwriters, directors and filmmakers can learn from Takumi.

25 Takumi Life Skills Filmmakers Need

I first thought it strange that a filmmaker could learn anything from a Japanese car maker until I was shown that the philosophy they employ is very similar to what I have been preaching for the past quarter century. The ancient Japanese concept of ‘Takumi’ is essential to all that we do. Takumi means a highly skilled person. It symbolizes not only excellent skill but also devotion to object creation and thorough pursuit of perfection in its creation. With respect, we call such high-minded creators behind excellent Japanese products

25. Empathy

1. The ability to identify with or understand the perspective, experiences, or motivations, of another individual and to comprehend and share another individual’s emotional state.
2. The projection of one’s own feelings or thoughts onto something else, such as an object in a work of art or a character in a novel or film. The Free Dictionary

“Empathy” — the ability to feel what others feel — is what makes good filmmakers and great storytellers. This is one of the great traits of a Takumi: the ability to relate to what others feel.

24. Mastering your sleep

Sharp hands, a quick eye, and a smart mind demand a rested body. Are you sleeping wel enoughl?

If you are having trouble sleeping, there are literally dozens of ‘sleep well’ blog posts.

Or perhaps you’d like to reduce the amount of sleep you need to give you more spare time. Leonardo da Vinci would be considered a Takumi. His sleep patterns are studied today. His sleep patterns are called the ‘sleep of genius’ or polyphasic sleep.

23. Time management

I don’t care who you are or what you do. Your ability to manage your time effectively is what is going to predetermine a large part of your success. If you were a Takumi craftsman working on one of those high-quality consumer goods we associate with Japan you would know how to create an efficient workflow that would not only employ your creativity but be able to adjust to commercial challenges.

American filmmaker Ken Burns has amassed a fantastic career. In this short video he talks about his workflow and how he multitasks.

22. Asking for help

Way back when I applied for a job for the sculptor Henry Moore I was asked if I had any problems asking for help. It made me think how hard it was to admit I didn’t understand something. I later found out that the previous technician had been sacked because they never asked for help and continually screwed up.
I can only imagine that a Takumi master, like a filmmaker, earns their credentials by never being afraid to ask for help.

21. Positive self-talk

Did you know that scientific studies have shown that positive self-talk can enhance performance?

Little Buddha.com has a great article on how to develop P.M.A. – Postive Mental Attitude.

Atheletes like Mo Farah manefest success by positive thought. Be you Takumi or filmmaker don’t be afraid to give yourself this subtle edge.

20. Consistency

By consistency I mean two things:
Firstly, in your daily routine, and secondly in your work ethic and your approach to daily challenges. Remember both Takumi master craftsmen and filmmakers share a common approach to creativity. Basically, creativity is how you solve a problem; be it a story glitch, an edit point, or how to smooth paintwork till it glistens.

19. Role models

There is no better way to improve your skills than to watch the work of past masters.
If you want to direct, here are ten cult directors to watch.
If you want to make short films – possibly to enter the Lexus Short Film Competition – here are 28 shorts you can watch in your lunchtime.

Watch. Listen. Learn.


18. Minding your business

There will be many times when your fellow workers and collaborators will be getting the stick from someone higher up the food chain. Learning when to keep to yourself, and when to leap to your colleagues’ defense is a fine art.

17. Listening

One of the easiest ways to earn Takumi cred as a filmmaker is to listen to people talking to you. It makes them feel like you care (creates empathy) and makes you fun to be around.

16. Knowing when to shut up — and actually doing it

Enough said.


The Takumi masters forge car parts by hand.

15. Resisting gossip

There’s no quicker way to reduce team spirit than to engage in gossip. Don’t fall into this trap. If you do you will seriously damage your reputation and your personal branding. If you hear gossip ask the instigator why they are saying it – it might make them think.

14. Staying present in the moment

Happiness researcher Matt Killingsworth has found most people are thinking about something else when they are trying to get something done. Nearly half of people studied fall into this category. This hurts your happiness and affects your success and productivity. The trick is to stay on topic. To stay on the tasks at hand. Without distractions. Watch his terrific TED Talk.

13. Mastering your thoughts

To do what you want to do and accomplish what you want to accomplish, you need to consciously direct your thinking, Mark Givert writes:

The challenge is that we are the product of our past experience and all of our thinking is the result of this. However, the past does not equal the future.
Mark Givert

What great advice for us, be it Takumi, or filmmaker, or master filmmaker and visual storyteller! We are what we think. Focus.

12. Learning a new language

What a random thought, and how strange to think of our Japanese Takumi craftsmen learning another language. Balázs Csigi found that learning English opened up a new mindset, a new set of emotions, and a new way of thinking. He adds that the key to learning another language is to master every single aspect of the culture. Imagine that!

11. Speaking up

Speaking up and letting everyone know your opinion, in a tactful way, is an important life skill.

10. Honesty with others

Staring the truth straight in the face and being totally upfront and transparent will make you stronger. And transparency is such a great asset.

9. Honesty with yourself

WOW! Admitting you are wrong is painful indeed. When you do it, it clears the air and somehow things start to go a bit better. Here are the six painful mistakes I’ve made.

8. Methods and work flow

A master craftsman understands the process. A Takumi is a master at managing his time as well as understanding the impact of his work within the production chain. Just like a filmmaker who is part of a collaborative process

7. Discipline

The old adage is ‘The seat of the pants to the seat of the chair’. No one can agree who first started using this saying. But it’s true.

Remember this too: A daily routine of a few minutes or few hours per day is better than a Bank Holiday blowout. The trick is to decide if you want to be an amateur or professional filmmaker. And to set yourself a realistic daily commitment of time.

6. Persistence and stamina

One thing successful people have is persistence. If you really want something you will keep going after it again and again.

I grew up with my cousin, a pianist. I listened to him playing the same scale, or the same Chopin interlude over and over again until it was note perfect.

So too, the Takumi master craftsman is seen rehearsing, repeating, reforming, over and over again until the craft is mastered.

5. Truth to materials

Another thing I learned from Henry Moore was the value of truth to materials. Until he came along, sculptors in Europe tried to make bronze look like stone or wood. Henry Moore carved wood so it looked like wood, marble so it looked like stone and his monumental bronze sculptures used the material for what it is.

There is debate amongst filmmakers about using celluloid or digital. Digital equipment manufacturers market “digital as film” technology. Filmmakers make narratives as “fake-documentaries” and brag how their micro-budget films look like millions. Perhaps we should use the ‘truth to materials’ and use whatever it is we have to make films that don’t try to disguise their materials.

4. Understanding story

Story is everything. I don’t care if you are making a car or a poster. It matters not if you are writing a TV advert or a novel. There has to be a story. When you have the story the rest is easy.

3. Visual store

The look of your finished film is very important. Just as the Takumi craftsmen pay enormous attention to the detail of their work, so too we as filmmakers must make sure the details are burnished if not polished! And don’t forget another tenant of the Takumi craftsman: respect from brilliant design.

2. Mastering craft

A Takumi craftsman studies and works for years – twenty-five of them – until they are considered masterful enough to wear the Takumi label.

As filmmakers, we need to learn the basics: reading books and taking classes. Takumi is the founding philosophy of the Raindance Further Education programme where you can earn an MA in Independent Film in a year. Not that anyone can become Takumi status in the creative industries in a year – but you can form a great strategy to become one. Over time of course.

1. Intuition

There are certain things you can’t learn. There are times when a Takumi craftsman has to trust their intuition along with their coordination in order to be able to bring a result. This intuition can’t be measured either. This special life skill comes from years of experience.

So too we as filmmakers need to trust our intuitive storytelling and filmmaking skills. To doubt oneself causes one to lose confidence. Of course, disappointments abound in the creative industry. And as Tukumi craftsmen know:

Quitters never win
Winners never quit.

Aspire to be a Takumi in youyr screenwriting and filmmaking

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6 Producing Skills That Saved Directors

Producing is the toughest job in the film industry, alongside directing and producing and all the others. No, filmmaking is not easy. Directors tend to get all the credit for the artistic integrity of the project. Actors will get all the attention. And producers? They’re easy to overlook, even though they are the ones who give the final speech of the night at the Academy Awards. A producer who knows their job will make all the difference on a project. The director may be steering the wheel and pointing to the horizon, guess who’s in the engines room? The producer, and the most successful ones know when a director needs them.

Betting on first-time directors

A director who is not established and is looking for a producer will have a hard time convincing anyone to take a gamble on them. That’s especially true in the studio system. In the world of independent film, you’ll need to prove yourself. The industry is, after all, terribly risk-adverse.

Before she became one of the most successful indie producers in the business, Christine Vachon was just someone who was willing to take a gamble. She and her business partner at Killer Films, Pamela Koffler, made a name for themselves when they decided to gamble on first-time directors such as Todd Haynes. In her own words: “I believe in first-time directors. They have a story in them that they have desperately wanted to tell for years.” Could it be that this is the only résumé a first-time director needs?

Running a tight ship

Producing an independent film is an arduous task. When you don’t have the marketing horsepower of Disney or any other international studio, breaking even is the best you can hope for. A master at running a tight ship and bringing it home is the emperor and godfather of American independent film: Roger Corman.

He established a solid business model in which he would make the most of whatever resources he was given and optimised anything he could muster. This way, Corman managed to produce tens and tens of films for very small budgets. He churned them out at an industrial pace and, in the process, gave their first break to the likes of Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, James Cameron, Jonathan Demme and Martin Scorsese.

Finding your audience

Producing means carrying out the project from beginning to end. That may make sense theoretically, that means finding funding as well as finding your audience. It’s generally a safe bet to think that the funds and the audience are in the same place. (Crowdfunding is just that: finding your audience, and engaging with them throughout the entire production process, not just in the end.) Rebecca O’Brien, Ken Loach’s longtime producer, figures this out a long time ago. The director believes that a big budget would compromise the aesthetic of the working class he is depicting, as he expressed when he picked up the Raindance Auteur Award.

Yet the small budgets still need to be found. It turns out that the French have long had a thing for socially-minded films in general. They have managed to overcome their natural aversion for the Brits and taken a liking to Ken Loach’s independent work. Therefore finding financiers there is a logical starting point and has proven to be successful.

Not relenting to outside pressure

Today, it seems inconceivable that Back to the Future films should bear any other name. However, the head of Universal was really worried. While Steven Spielberg, who produced the franchise that his protege Robert Zemeckis co-wrote and directed, enjoyed a good personal relationship with the head of Universal, Sid Sheinberg, the latter was worried about the title. So much so that he once sent a memo to Spielberg and Zemeckis suggesting that they change the title to Spaceman from Pluto, as a reference to the nuclear protection Marty wears.

Zemeckis was worried as he didn’t think the new title did as good a job at conveying the genre (or blend of multiple genres) the film belonged to. Spielberg decided to handle it himself and advised the director not to worry. In a gutsy move, the legendary filmmaker replied to the memo as though it had been a joke, saying “thank you for the humorous note, keep them coming”. Sheinberg was so embarrassed he never brought up a change of title ever again and Zemeckis achieved his vision. That move was equal parts sheer nerve and an outlandish level of confidence — something we should all aspire to.

Thinking outside the box

What makes the difference in a production is not always the budget. Granted, it helps. But a producer’s magic touch when we go beyond budget. The joy of filmmaking is that, whether you’re an independent producer on a £5,000 budget or a veteran on a studio budget, your will face constraints and have problems to solve. Being a Hollywood producer with incredible projects under his belt, Brian Grazer surely knows this all too well.

When producing Ron Howard’s How the Grinch stole Christmas, one of the challenges beyond managing a film that spread to eleven sets, was helping lead actor Jim Carrey. He was wearing extremely heavy makeup which impeded his work and which he compared to torture. Normally, the producer-director team would have had a sit down with their lead (and his agent) and talked him through it. But Carrey was beyond this, so it was time to go further. Being the Hollywood veteran with connection that he is, he simply called up the CIA, who sent his way someone who was a specialist of surviving torture. Even big fans of thinking outside the box could say that this was going too far, but it certainly did the job and Jim Carrey powered through till the end of production.

Producing is about people

Producing is about using the rational part of the brain that the director doesn’t use first and foremost. Therefore the best productions should be about a symbiotic relationship between a director and their producer. Raindance alumni Edgar Wright has been consistently working with Nira Park at Big Talk. That collaboration has recently culminated in the hit Baby Driver.

When asked what her job is about, Park doesn’t reply that it’s about logistics or budgetting first. It’s about variety of material, developing projects but mostly attention to people. She was known on the set of Shaun of the Dead as “the producer who knows the name of all of the 1111 zombies”. Perhaps it is hyperbolic, but being on a set where everyone feels valued by the captain is certainly a substantial addition to resources that no budget can buy.

What are you going to do about it?

There are a lot of skills a producer needs to develop. Why not consider these two Raindance producing classes:
Producers’ Foundation Certificate – five Tuesday nights with a collection of industry professionals delivering top-notch information.
Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking weekend masterclass with Elliot Grove

Both classes are available Live!Online! if you are unable to make our Central London venue.
Call us on 0207 930 3412 or email courses@raindance.co.uk


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Watch: 8 Skills You’ll Need to Have Throughout Your Filmmaking Career

A nice camera and talent is great, but if you really want to take your filmmaking career to the next level you’ll need a few other things.

When you first start out in filmmaking, the skills that you decide to hone first are—what—the essentials: how to shoot a film, how to use different pieces of gear, how to edit, and hopefully how to write a decent story. The skills you’ll need beyond that point are things you typically don’t know about until you’ve experienced years and years of mistakes and failure. In hopes of helping you avoid countless missed opportunities and a lifetime of regret, Darious Britt of D4Darious lists eight essential skills you’ll want to develop if you want to have a successful filmmaking career. Check out his video below:

The world is a big, beautiful place that is full of opportunities to discover, grow, and completely crash and burn until you’re a heaping pile of ash and broken dreams. This is why it’s nice when those who have experienced the pang of failure, or at least narrowly escaped it, share with you want to expect and what to avoid while on your journey.

Read More

No Film School

Watch: 5 Skills That Can Help Make You a More Successful Film and Video Editor

There are a lot of skills that all good editors seem to have, but here are 5 you can focus on.

What does it take to be a good editor? It’s difficult to determine simply by observing their work, because 1.) edits are largely supposed to be invisible, and 2.) the brilliance is in what’s not there as opposed to what is. So, if you’re just starting out and aren’t really sure which skills you need to work on to get to the next level of your career, editor Justin Odisho names five in this informative video that you can get started on right away.

The job of an editor is rough. Not only do you have to hole up in a tiny room and stare at a timeline for days, weeks, or months, but you also have to have proficiency in both creative and technical skills. You have to know how to tell a story visually and know how to set keyframes in an NLE. You have to know how different edits affect audiences psychologically and know how to establish an efficient workflow.

Read More

No Film School

Russia adds gun slinging to its humanoid space robot’s list of helpful skills


Just in time for the rise in global military tensions, Russian officials have released video that’s sure to calm fears all around: a death dealing humanoid robot that shoots handguns. 

Posted to Twitter on Friday by Russia’s deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, the video shows the country’s space robot FEDOR (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research) accurately shooting twin pistols in a scene chillingly similar to images from The Terminator. 

But rather than being displayed as a not-so-subtle warning to the entire human population of the planet, Rogozin instead claims via Facebook that it’s just a demonstration of the robot’s dexterity and use of algorithms to execute tasks. Read more…

More about Guns, International Space Station, Iss, Russia, and Robots

Brilliant cat shows off its ball-finding skills, proving it’s smarter than us all


Cats are mysterious creatures. You think they just lie around and don’t know anything, but that’s all just a facade. They know what’s up.

Youtube user AJIL AJIL K J posted this compilation of a brilliant cat named Snow outsmarting his human and putting our intelligence to shame.

Snow’s favorite game is is the cup-and-ball game and he’s clearly the champ. Watch as his owner hides a ball under a cup, switch the cups around and Snow find the hidden ball every time. And though we’re all impressed by Snow’s skills, Snow looks like he couldn’t care less. Cats, am I right?

Bonus cute fact about Snow: he has ears that look like they’re inside out, making him look kind of like a mouse. Check out more of his greatness on his InstagramRead more…

More about Ball, Cup, Smart, Game, and Cat

9 Career-Boosting Skills Filmmakers Need

Career Skills For Filmmakers

Career boosting skills might sound like a clickbait title – but really – unlike a clickbait title, this is exactly what’s inside the tin. I decided to call it exactly that.

There is no denying that the creative industries are fiercely competitive. It’s also a fact that most so-called educations is stuck in the 20th century mindset. Unlike other films schools we embrace students who have no film school. We also pride ourselves in demonstrating that the way for a successful career in film is to become multi-skilled and aware of all formats. It’s this attitude that attracts so many to our Postgraduate, our Fast Track and our Accelerated HND BTEC classes.

1.Content strategy

Of all the career boosting skills a filmmaker needs is the ability to source, identify and/or create content. I like to look at it like this: Pop stars get famous by singing great songs. They either write them like one of my favourite British bands, Alt-J or they perform other peoples’ great song lyrics like Elton John does.

Why not learn the essence of great storytelling for the visual medium by taking one of our excellent screenwriting classes? Then you too can position yourself as the ‘rock star’ of story. Filmmakers of all shapes and sizes will beat a path to your door.

2.Project Management

A filmmaker runs a business with a series of projects. When you get a project together you need to manage the project in the same way that entrepreneurs in other industries do.

A filmmaker needs to know how to create a budget, which is the list of all the people and things you need to make a film and how much it will cost. Then, a schedule is a list of the times and places you need  to make the movie happen.

You have two choices: either pay someone thousands to budget and schedule your feature, or take the single evening budgeting and scheduling class for less than half the price of a monthly Oyster.

3.Fundamentals of accounting

When Michaelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel he made a budget and scheduled (above) and then over the course of seven long years he painted it. He always knew if he was spending too much time (and money) and also if he was ahead of the game.

Filmmakers too can learn from creative entrepreneurs in the past. The modern day creative creators understand how money flows. They know how to utilise tax deals and to raise money by derisking investors finance.

It might sound complicated, but the basic pricipals are explained in the single evening Movie Money class, which is part of our popular Producers’ Foundation Certificate where you learn essential skills needed to manage all the legal contracts, business plan and other essential paperwork you will need to make your film.

9 Career boosting skills
4.Essentials of film finance

Of the essential career boosting skills a filmmaker needs to acquire is understanding how money flows. It is really useful to spend some time researching different routes to financing your film or project.

Part of the skill development plan is to really understand the entire filmmaking process: from script to shoot to sale and distribution.

I do a weekend masterclass Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking in which the production process is outlined in detail on Saturday, and the marketing, finance and distribution process is outlined on Sunday. This class is illustrated with about 25 short films and video clips and actual marketing materials made for films that have debuted at the Raindance Film Festival since 1993.

5.Presentation skills

“In the beginning was the word and nothing but the word” the ancient prophets wrote in the Bible thousands of years ago. Movies start with a verbal pitch. Of all the career boosting skills this one is the one often overlooked by filmmakers.

Take our Pitching Skills Workshop – online or inperson – and discover the techniques used by filmmakers and screenwriters to sell their projects to cast, crew and investors.

6.The career boosting skills of public relations

Mark Borkowski is one of the nation’s top publicists who specialises in creating stunts for his clients. He has an informative and entertaining blog you should read. As Mark tells it, filmmakers do not have the budget for expensive advertising and marketing campaigns. However, the tool of publicity is cheap and relies on your own creativity. Go for it!

While you are at it, learn the basics of creating your press kit.

7. Social media

You either have it or you don’t. If you don’t have a strong social media you are going to lose out.
Here’s some blog posts that might help you sort out a strong social media presence:

Ten Essential Elements of a Filmmakers Website
How Filmmakers Build Social Media Authority On 18 Minutes Per Day
Why Indie Filmmakers Are Missing Out On Social Media

8.Personal branding

As a filmmaker you have two branding challenges. Firstly to create the brand for your film or screenplay. The second is to create your own personal brand.

Let me explain.

Branding has nothing to do with your logo or website. It has everything to do with what people think or when they think of you. As your career skills increase and as you gain more and more experience you will have more and more to talk about.

I wrote a blog post you might find useful: 7 Ways To Create A Film Career Brand Strategy

9. Networking (for the shy and introverted)

The film industry is a people industry. It’s not what you know but who you know.

I was once asked if you could still be a hip and cool filmmaker whilst leading a humdrum life. In response, I mentioned the Bronte sisters who created some pretty amazing novels despite living secluded lifestyles.

Networking is an essential (and time-consuming) skill. Don’t worry if you are an introvert. Introverts have much to offer and have an unique skillset.

Have you ever been at a film networking event and not known how to break the ice?
Here’s a handy Raindance Networking eBook.
Here’s some ice-breaking tips that I use.

Fade Out

These career skills are exactly the sorts of things we work with our full-time students, our intensive 6 months, one and two year programmes:
Fast Track, the Accelerated BTEC HND film programme and our excellent Postgraduate Film Degree (in association with Staffordshire University).

Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments!

Let’s make movies!


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