5 Painful Steps To Your First Movie

Of all the painful steps in the movie business, probably the most painful is the last one. Playing your film for the very first time to an empty room. Unless of course, it’s screening to a roomful of people who laugh in the wrong places. Or shaking hands with well-wishers who avoid direct eye-contact as they mumble ‘great’ and try to sidestep you.

I know all about that – and I’ve had every single one of them. I can even go one further: What could be more painful than explaining to a roomful of investors how they’ve just lost every single penny?


5 Painful Steps To Making Your First Movie

1.Making sure you have marketing assets

How I wish I followed my own advice. Marketing assets are probably the single most important thing you need to do. It’s usually the last thing on the list, but the first you need to use. Do I need to list these marketing assets?

First and foremost are production stills – as many as you can get. MAke sure you have wide shots, medium shots and lots of closeups. If you don’t get them you’ll have to hire the actors to come back for a special still shoot day.

Second is a good campaign image. Or poster if you prefer. This becomes part of your one-sheet.

If you are looking for a top designer to get you some terrific one sheet designed look no further than Robyn Larkin’s Whatisbobo.com

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: The film industry is all about marketing. Creating your hook and logline are probably the two most important things you need to do to ensure your film gets out there.

2.Making sure you have social media organised

You haven’t even had time to don your cool filmmaker outerwear and shoot a single frame and yet I’m telling you to launch your social media?

Painful I know! It’s much more entertaining to be shooting your film. With no social media, however, no one is going to know you’ve done it!

Here’s a tip to learn from my own painful and embarrassingly naive past:

Check out your proposed movie title on IMDB and Google BEFORE you start planning and starting your social media. And if you find a similar name, change your title! And once you have a clear title register it everywhere you can think of.

3.Learning that your friends can’t act

I know, I know. You’ve been telling all your friends for ages that you really want to make a film. And now you’re actually doing it. And your best friend from high school or uni is now a banker and has bags of cash. and you’re broke. But your mate wants to act. after all s/he had a lead in the end-of-year musical and was pretty good. so the trade off is – much need cash for a role in your film.

Don’t. Your friends can’t act. and they won’t listen to you and your film will be hijacked.

4. Learning how to say ‘No’

Being direct is something creatives seem to shy away from. I mean a ‘No; is a ‘No’ right? I mean correct me if I am wrong when I tell you their’s no more money. Or that your work is substandard. Or if you find my creative decisions lousy.

During production everyone gets over-tired. Couple fatigue with passion and you have a potentially explosive situation. Especially when honesty breaks out.

I’ve learned the hard way in times like this. I try to stay calm and listen. If there is a decision that needs to be made and if I’m not feeling it, I try and calmly say ‘Thank you for sharing with me.’ And I walk away. People normally calm down.

5. Learning what the industry calls talent

The film industry is a business. It’s why we call it the movie business. And it’s all about money.
It’s this simple: MAke a low budget film that makes money, and perhaps you’ll get big money to make another film.

Take Garreth Edward’s first film Monsters. When he pitched it to London based Vertigo, he was told to look at the Raindance classic In Search Of A Midnight Kiss. With that low budget film and a few dollars, Gareth shot Monsters in three hectic weeks in six countries with a seven-man crew including actor Scoot McNairy.

Following the films successful release in America Gareth then directed a series of high profile films like Godzilla and Star Wars. Why? Because it was deemed he had talent.

Fade Out

What was your idea for a movie again? Can you think of something you can make low budget, something that tells a story? And remember the secret to a great new movie: All you need to do is create something impossibly bold, fresh and dynamic – something that everyone wants and something that no one else has. Do that and they will send the limos.

And if you’re really brave, why not take this health check?

Or take the Lo-To-No Budget weekend masterclass presented in London and Toronto.

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13 Steps To Making A Horror Film

Hallowe’en always brings the horror genre into focus. Horror films always have a certain audience, as we are captivated by misfortune that happens to our fellows.

Horror films are a great place to launch a career because they can be made without the huge financial resources other genres can demand.

With us battening down the hatches against trick or treaters, and with hurricanes and tropical storms battering different parts of the world, we thought we’d put together a how-to list about horror filmmaking:

1. Pick a main character – hero

Your hero should be an average person but part of a typical social group. The typical hero is a college student (Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream). They usually work on their own, like a babysitter (Hallowe’en).

2. Pick a sidekick and make them bicker and compete

A good story has a hero (the main character) and a sidekick. The sidekick starts the story as the heroes best friend, but part way through the story they betray their best friend and oppose the hero and what they want. Horror films also have creepy children (Children of the corn), or children who are corrupted by creepy characters (Mama).

3. Pick a universal moment

A universal moment is an event that many of us will have experienced and when in a story becomes something your audience can relate to. For example, being alone in a house (Paranormal Activity, Night of the Living Dead)

4. Pick a location

Cheap movies are shot in one location. Pick a big house, ore factory, or any building you can get hold of cheap. Black out all the windows so it’s dark and evil looking. For added effect water down the floorboards so they glisten in the candlelight. Another advantage of the single location is you can block the exits so the hero can’t escape.

5. Pick an inciting incident

An inciting incident is an event near the beginning of the story that creates the drama and kicks off the story. Inciting incidents can be macro (like an epidemic in Shaun of the Dead) or micro, like the death of a daughter (Don’t Look Now).

6. Pick a ghost

Good stories need to have a ghost. Ghost is an event in the past that the hero still fears or is ashamed of.

Each genre treats ghost differently. In crime stories, ghost is referred to as ‘personal crime’ – something the main character did that was wrong, and which still causes them embarrassment and pain. In horror stories the ghost takes on a physical shape and must be overcome by the hero.

Make sure the ghost is painful to the main character and not easily overcome.

7. Pick a nightmare

Nightmare is that thing in the future that the hero is afraid of, and it is so powerful that it prevents them from getting what they really want.

8. Pick a trap

Many horror films are filled with traps. Saw, Buried, Phone Booth, and the first Evil Dead are all stories with traps where the unwary perish.

9. Pick the moment the sidekick dies

In horror movies, the hero confronts the physical ghost and in the confrontation there is a struggle which causes the death of the sidekick. Pick this moment for maximum dramatic effect, and the moment that cause the most guilt and remorse in the main character.

10. Pick the confrontation

The confrontation that causes the death of the sidekick is the climax of the movie. it is a do-or-die confrontation, in which the hero must overcome the ghost or else suffer the direct consequences. There are three different types of consequences: Physical (the hero could lose their life); social (they could lose their place in society; or psychological (they have their core beliefs challenged to the point where they can no longer function as normal and healthy human beings).

11. Pick the right fake blood formula

A horror movie needs lots and lots of fake blood, right? Make sure you pick the right fake blood recipe. You  can learn to make your own fake blood at a special evening class in London, or follow one of these fake blood recipes.

12. Pick the right music

Horror film scores seems to feature low stings, children singing or amplified heart beats as in The Blair Witch Project.

13. Pick the film festival that debuts horror

Film festivals provide the ideal route to start publicising your film, whatever the genre. festivals tend to specialise in different sorts of genres. London has the world-famous Frightfest. Here’s a list of the top horror and fantasy genre film festivals in the world.

Fade Out

Armed with this simple list go make a movie.

Yours in filmmaking,

Elliot Grove

Find Out How You Can Enter Our Halloween Horror Competition Here:

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8 Essential Steps to Unblocking Creativity

All of us have creative slumps. The question is what do we do with artistic impasses and how do we avoid eternal inertia? Is there any benefit to a slow period or is it indicative of self-sabotage and stagnation? How do we self-correct and get back on course?

Creativity has its ebbs and flows. That is its nature. Yet when this vital force becomes inhibited, we lose traction in our work. We then squander our creative energy and impede productivity. To get back on course, it can be helpful to diagnose the issue and take action.

Usually, there is a combination of inner and outer factors- some minor, some major- that all contribute to resistance. We may be battling powerful inner demons or more insidious things like multi-tasking, lack of focus, and spending too much time doing things we don’t want to do. Here are eight essentials for getting back on course to pursuing your dreams:


  1. Invite Curiosity and Compassion

Beating ourselves up about being blocked will never solve the problem. It will just leave us feeling more defeated. Instead we can invite curiosity and compassion into what is going on. This provides invaluable information that we can leverage.

Sometimes we get blocked because we’re going through a hard time emotionally and have personal issues in our lives that need to be addressed. It’s wonderful when we can channel our immediate feelings into our art but sometimes we need to focus on the problem at hand and to heal. This allows some perspective and distance we can later incorporate back into our work. Regardless, our very “stuck-ness” might be rooted in issues that could be mined for gold.

Compassion invites ease into the creative process because we’re no longer trying to strangle things with our efforts and frustrations. Instead, we’re problem solving.


  1. Distinguish the Business Side of Things from the Creative

When creativity is our vocation this creates tension between creative tasks and administrative ones. We can’t abandon our craft, nor neglect the business aspects required to get our work out into the world. We must do both.

Clarity on how to strike this balance creates more space for creative execution. Marking, raising funds, and tending to details are paramount but they need to be treated as separate from raw creative output. Otherwise, we’ll feel frustrated and unfulfilled when we get too sucked into the business side of things. We need time for the muse as well.

And yes, social media is good for self-promotion but it can also deprive us of precious creative time. Consider only using social media at specific periods during the day or hiring an assistant to help manage it.


  1. Seek Mentors

When it comes to mastering a craft, we want to learn from the best. Seek out professionals whose work you admire when it comes to learning your specific art form. There is always something to learn, no matter where we are on the path. When Jane Fonda was hired on “Grace and Frankie”, she immediately started working with an acting coach despite being a veteran in the field.

Mentorship helps us stay accountable to our goals and saves us time. Why reinvent the wheel if someone who has paved the way before can give us some tips? Not only that, art is collaborative and based on relationships. Mentorship helps foster the relational aspects of the industry that are so vital to success.


  1. Let the Field Lie Fallow

In farming there is the tradition of letting fields lie fallow so the soil can replenish itself before planting crops again. For those of us running on empty, burnt out from work and responsibilities that have left us bone tired, we need periods of inactivity. Without pause, it is difficult to get in touch with our creative impulses, particularly when our lives are moving at such a fast pace that we can barely keep up. Creativity demands periods of down time. This allows us to refill the well and fosters dreamtime. Some of the most innovative ideas come when lounging on the couch, washing the dishes, going for a walk, or reading a novel for pleasure.

There is a story about a goose that laid a golden egg a day. Her owner became greedy and forced her to produce more. Eventually, she stopped laying any eggs.


  1. Explore the Tension Between Surrender and Will

Creating is a weird balance of surrender and will. We need to take action. For instance, a screenplay doesn’t write itself. We have to turn on the computer and type. On the other hand the real magic lies in being receptive to ideas that emerge when we aren’t necessarily “trying” so hard to create. When we push too hard for an outcome, we can strangle the moment- on the page and on the stage.

If you’ve ever surfed, you know that catching a wave requires being out there in the water. You have to suit up, show up, and paddle. However, you actually catch the wave by sensing its momentum and allowing it to propel you. The wave takes you just at the moment when you are in the right position. Then you pop up on the board. Creating is like that. It’s a tension between exerting effort and then letting go.

We work through blocks when we practice “being” in the midst of doing.


  1. Go Where the Juice is!

Sometimes we’re blocked because we’ve lost our passion for a project. When this happens, it can be helpful to explore something that excites us instead. This doesn’t mean that we’ll never complete what we start. We need to finish projects even when the going gets tough and tedious. However, sometimes we need a shot of vitamin B. Moving in a different direction might supply this boost.

Tracking where there is artistic desire and pleasure is helpful. We don’t need to know why we’re drawn to certain projects. Sometimes our most creative ideas come out of left field. Be open to surprises! This is the beauty of the Mystery.


  1. Keep the Train Moving

I’m a huge fan of the Nike commercial, “Just do it!” Often what we most need to do is to lace up our sneakers and get our butts out the door. Momentum is essential for moving through creative blocks. No matter how much we might be prone to procrastinating, we must keep the train moving. If this is as struggle for you, have an accountability partner. Schedule tasks and times to do things. Despite the block, keep moving. Even if you have to take a break from one project, work on another one. Or, if you’re super stuck, try creating in a different medium for a while. Just keep doing something. This primes the pump.

It can also be helpful to note that the root word of discipline is “disciple.” Instead of viewing discipline as drudgery and rigidity, think of it as sacred. We when our devoted to our craft we engage with the Divine.


  1. Conceptualize Your Life as a Work of Art

Even though we all might dream about Oscars and fame, creativity is a process, not a product. Furthermore, creativity is inherent in all aspects of our lives: building and maintaining relationships, raising children, making meals, growing a garden, even getting dressed! Keeping this perspective reminds us of how vital creativity is to our wellbeing. It is our life force.

Not only that, creativity allows us to organize the chaos of our lives- and to make something of beauty from it.

Our lives are works of art. We get to call the shots- if we maintain this perspective. As Albert Einstein once said, “Logic will take me from A to B– imagination will take me anywhere.”



Ready to unblock your creativity? Join Lise Porter at her “Unblocking Creativity” Panel (followed by a tea party) for Raindance LA!



Lise Porter is an actor, writer, speaker, and licensed psychotherapist living in Los Angeles. She has contributed extensively to the mental health field and speaks nation-wide. She has been published twice in the International Journal for the Arts in Psychotherapy, writing on the topic of drama therapy. Her book, Own Your Life: How Our Wounds Become Our Gifts is available on Amazon. You can learn more about her at www.liseporter.com.











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Guillermo del Toro’s 4 Steps to Creating Memorable Movie Monsters

Learn from creature king Guillermo del Toro’s Twitter film school.

Director Guillermo del Toro’s name has become synonymous with his trademark monsters, from the wild but lovable comic book creature Hellboy to the terrifying, eyeball-palmed pale faces of the dark fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth. Del Toro has even published a book celebrating this work, aptly titled Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters, and there’s an exhibit of the same name at the Minneapolis Institute of Art through the end of May.

What is del Toro’s philosophy of monster creation? How has he brought such memorable creatures to life on screen? The director admits that “monster creation, to me, is one of the hardest forms of creation,” but he recently took to Twitter to try to share his process.

Read More

No Film School

Prometheus is 10 Steps Ahead in Arrow Checkmate Trailer

Prometheus is 10 Steps Ahead in Arrow Checkmate Trailer

Prometheus is 10 Steps Ahead in Arrow Checkmate Trailer

The CW has released the first promo for the next episode of Arrow, and the now unmasked Prometheus is ten steps ahead of Oliver as he puts Susan Williams in his crosshairs. Check it out in the player below!

Titled “Checkmate,” episode 5.16 is set to air Wednesday, March 15 and is officially described as follows:

“Oliver (Stephen Amell) gets closer to the truth about Prometheus. Meanwhile, Helix refuses to continue helping Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) until she does a favor for them.”

Ken Shane directed the episode which was written by Beth Schwartz & Sarah Tarkoff.

Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Willa Holland as Thea Queen, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, John Barrowman as Malcom Merlyn, with Paul Blackthorne as Detective Lance. The series is executive produced by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg and Sarah Schechter.

The post Prometheus is 10 Steps Ahead in Arrow Checkmate Trailer appeared first on ComingSoon.net.