Focal Lengths Used by Famous Directors

I found this great video about the favorite lenses of famous directors. I find this subject very fascinating because by knowing a director’s lens choice, you can a peek into how they view the world.

This video is on Wolfcrow’s awesome YouTube channel, he has other great videos as well, so SUBSCRIBE to him if you like the video.

CNN #FakeNews Protest Video (7/22/17)

Here is the video of the CNN #FakeNews protest that happened yesterday. I tried to remain objective, even though it isn’t an issue that I am particularly passionate about.

I have created another blog to discuss history, philosophy, and politics. It is called Socratic Youth, and I want it to be a place to discuss ideas in a civil environment.

Sorry about the poor audio quality, we didn’t have a mic available so you do what you gotta do.

It was shot on a Canon 70D and a Canon Rebel T6I.

 

Lessons From Editing a Documentary Short

In September of 2016, I shot a documentary short about bird banding. A whopping NINE months later, I now have a cut that I like.

When I completed the production of the film, I had a Dell laptop with an Intel i7 processor, 8gb of RAM, and a subpar graphics card. The screen couldn’t even do 1080p. Fast forward to the present and I’m writing this on an iMac with 12gb of RAM, a Radeon HD graphics card, and a screen that can display a little over 2K resolution.  I also didn’t have the full Creative Cloud either.

Equipment doesn’t make films, people do. However, equipment does dictate when your film is going to come out.

I shot the b-roll for the film on the Canon C100 Mark I and the interview portion on my trusty Nikon D3100. My little laptop can handle my Nikon and most DSLRs more than adequately, but the C100 shoots in AVCHD which is larger than the MP4 files of standard DSLRs.

Editing a documentary is difficult. Everyone says that, but until you’re in the trenches, you don’t quite believe it. I didn’t believe it. I had a vision for what I wanted, but the film itself, had different ideas.

You are trying to represent these people’s lives as accurately as possible. It is an immense responsibility. For me, since I was so close to the subject, I tried to view it as an outsider and just show it objectively. As humans, we are innately biased, so being truly objective is pretty much impossible. What I did to combat this, was assemble a focus group of sorts. I got someone who was there to view it to see if it was a fair representation of the events, someone who helped me develop the idea to see if I was conveying what I was trying to convey, and someone who knows nothing about it to see what I was actually conveying. The most important question to ask each individual you show your film is, simply, “What is wrong with it?”, or, “What didn’t you like?”.  We all appreciate praise, but it is rarely constructive.

I think I’ve grown a lot as a filmmaker and a person since the production of this short. The most important lesson I’ve learned through all of this, is to never give up. Thoughts of all of this footage on my hard drive would keep me up at night. Not only for my own sake, but for the subjects too. When I locked the cut into something decent after all this time, it was like a gigantic weight had been lifted off my shoulders. All the the doubt, anxiety, frustration, and work paid off into something. It was tangible.

I will keep you all updated on the film as it progresses. I wanted to share my excitement with you and let you know what I have been doing. Also, there should be a new video next week about a certain political event happening in my state. I will be filming it tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Gray Catbird (Still from A Bird Hand)
A still of a Gray Catbird from, “A Bird in Hand.”

 

 

Kaufman Kounselling

Charlie Kaufman is my favorite screenwriter and his lecture at BAFTA is something I like to listen to periodically. I think applies to artists of any medium and contains some of the most potent universal truths about life in general. I highly recommend listening to it.

What did you think of the lecture? Let me know in the comments and stay connected with me on social media!

Anatomy of A Screenplay

The formatting of your screenplay will determine the fate of your screenplay, No one will take you seriously with a script that does not look professional.

Script1

On your title page, you should have a title, who wrote it, and which version of the draft it is currently. Additionally, if it is based on something else, you should put that under the authorship.

Note: Only state it is based on a book, comic, etc., if it is published.

Script2

The meat of the screenplay is the slugline, character, dialogue, and action.

The slugline is essentially a short description of the scene. INT (Interior) and/or EXT (Exterior), the location (i.e. THE MALL), and time (i.e. DAY or NIGHT) are mandatory for a complete slugline.

The character is the person in the scene. The character’s name is capitalized over the dialogue and it is also capitalized in the action line when the character first appears.

Dialogue is simply what character speaks in the scene. It is located under the character’s name.

The action line describes the action in the scene (i.e. The wind was blowing, John runs, etc.).

Here are some screenwriting resources that have helped me:

John August

Good in a Room

The Script Lab

ScreenCraft

Mastery by Robert Greene

The Art of Dramatic Wrting by Lajos Egri 

Internet Movie Screenplay Database (IMSD)

Formatting your screenplay can get complicated, but luckily you can use software to minimize to effort.

Final Draft is the industry standard software for screenwriting and, as I write this, Final Draft 10 is $249.

Celtx is a popular alternative to Final Draft. It is a free, browser-based program that a lot of people (including me), swear by.

Note: There are different subscription tiers you can get with Celtx that include shot lists, scheduling, and more, but the free version is great also.

I hope this was helpful!

Slide Whistle Wellness

How To Play the Slide Whistle,  is my most viewed video that I have ever made. It was released on January 3rd, 2011 when I was 11 years old. At that time I lived in Jackson and had a lot free time (obviously).

I was homeschooled at the point, and I was just learning to grapple with my nemesis, Boredom,  I made videos every day back then. They were unpolished, barely edited, and very strange.

Despite the lack of quality of the videos, they were well received by the small few who watched them. If I didn’t make all those videos, then I wouldn’t have learned the basic skills that I rely on everyday.

As a child, I would draw, write,  make videos, sing songs, and do whatever creative thing I wanted to do despite not knowing anything about those mediums. It just felt good to express myself.

Fast forward 8 years later, and I still like to be creative, but with some reluctance. I am now concerned with budgets, schedules, and equipment. I hunger for day when I can make something everyday once again, but at a “respectable quality.” Looking back, I am envious of that child’s “blissful ignorance.”

But, in reality, it is the adult who is truly ignorant. Films are not made by budgets and equipment, they are made by people. Schedules can always be altered to make time . for anything. These things are just excuses being used to cover up the true problem. The adult is afraid of rejection.

The child wasn’t dumped by his girlfriend, denied selection in this or that film festival, or not hired by this or that employer. The child still has the fire in him, but somewhere along the line, the adult had his flame smothered.

The reality hasn’t changed though. I could film anytime I want with my DSLR. No one is stopping me, but me. That may sound perilous, but by the same token I had hold the power to change.

In the end, we’re all fearful, but what makes us brave is acting in spite of that fear.

Below, I have compiled some of my favorite videos from, “The EMagnusTV Era.” I hope you enjoy their ridiculousness.