Director Seoro Oh from South Korea beautifully captures and takes to a new level the struggle to stay awake that many of us have suffered in our time, and have watched students in our classes struggle with as well… or maybe not!
Beyond the wonderfully imaginative ways fatigue is animated and brought so cleverly to life – enough to inspire any young animator… we DO have to ask why the class in this film is so traditional? Haven’t they heard of the flipped classroom and filling class time with group work? Hopefully this short acts as a double inspiration for how we can avoid creating the circumstances for students to ever fall asleep in our classrooms at all?!?!
What is cinema if not those moments of career defining brilliance delivered by actors at the top of their game, inspiring delight in audiences worldwide? Well… its still cinema, but without the Icing, the Cherry, the Sparkle that keeps us coming back for more.
To celebrate some of the best cinematic lines in history, here are a few of our favourites – see if you and your students can match the quote to the character/actor who delivered the line with such aplomb.
Answers at the very bottom.
- “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”.
- “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
- “We’ll always have Paris.”
- “Get busy living or get busy dying.”
- “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. ”
- “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.”
- “Try not. Do—or do not. There is no try.”
- “As my plastic surgeon always said, if you gotta go, go with a smile.”
- “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”
- “I ate his liver with some favs beans and a nice chianti.”
- “I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really really ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out that that is.”
- “Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.”
- “These go to 11.”
- “Here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”
- “The Dude abides.”
- “All those moments will be lost int time, like tears.. in.. rain. Time to die.”
a) Bill Murry as Phil Connors in Groundhog Day
b) Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
c) Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption
d) Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty in Blade Runner
e) Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather: Part II
f) Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown in Back to the Future
g) Chistopher Guest as Nigel Tufnell in This is Spinal Tap
h) Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander
i) Anthony Hopkins as Dr Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs
j) Frank Oz as Yoda in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
k) Jack Nicholson as The Joker in Batman
l) Kathleen Turner as Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit
m) Oliver Hardy as Ollie in Sons of the Desert
n) Jeff Bridges as the Dude in The Big Lebowski
o) Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca
p) Peter Sellers as President Merkin Muffley in Dr Strangelove
1f, 2b, 3o, 4c, 5e, 6l, 7j, 8k, 9p, 10i, 11h, 12a, 13g, 14m, 15n, 16d
It’s no secret that cameras are central to filmmaking. No matter your genre, budget or narrative, every filmmaker wants to tell a story. The difficulty is, choosing which camera is best for you can sometimes seem near impossible! We’ve compiled the following short guide to help all limited-budget filmmakers get the best shooting bang for their buck!
1 – DSLRs and mirrorless cameras
Still cameras with interchangeable lenses like the Canon 80D SLR are the best bet for quality footage on a budget. The super-versatile cameras are great for beginner filmmakers as they can also shoot still photography and will likely get a lot of use. For super tight budgets, check out the Canon 700D or the EOS M3.
Best for: creative projects on a budget
2 – Basic Camcorders
DSLRs can be cumbersome and camcorders are much lighter and easier to carry around. Their built in microphones also tend to be superior to those on still cameras with video modes. There’s a seemingly endless range of models you can find for a similar variety of prices. Cheaper options like the Panasonic V180 have great built in microphones while more expensive models like the Panasonic V770 give you the option to attach an external mic. The Canon LEGRIA G40 will provide you with a rich array of manual controls to help ensure you get the shot you want.
Best for: News, documentaries and events as well as videos for online use
3 – Prosumer Camcorders
While more basic camcorders may not give you the best image result, professional models like the Canon XA30 will give you amazing quality while also allowing more creative control.
Best for: News and documentaries
4 – Professional Camcorders
Professional camcorders offer incredible creative controls which are quick and easy to use once you’re familiar with the camera. The creative controls allow your shots to be more precise and finished which helps in post-production. The Canon XC10 is a great starting point if you have the budget to go upmarket with professional camcorders.
Best for: Documentaries and events such as weddings where you need to set up and make adjustments quickly.
5 – Interchangeable lens video cameras
These sensor cameras have the advantages of both pro camcorders and still cameras. The interchangeable lenses give you a range of opportunities for footage finish and many of them offer pro sound features that give better results in post. The Canon EOS C100 records up to 1080p HD while the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera offers users both 2.5K and 4K quality options at a good price.
Best for: Serious filmmakers, news and documentary filmmakers with larger budgets
6 – Smartphones and Tablets
Smartphones and tablets give you the opportunity to shoot and edit on the same device. With the right accessories, most modern mobile devices can make great cameras. iPads and iPhones are not only amongst the most used cameras worldwide in everyday life, but are also able to record feature film quality footage which make mobile devices some of the best cameras to learn on.
Best for: Home video and schools
7 – Compact Still Cameras
Lots of compact cameras like the Panasonic ZS60 can shoot HD footage. These cameras are ideal for filmmakers on the go as their size allows them to travel anywhere. Like DSLRs, you’ll get a lot of use from a compact still camera but invest in a camcorder or video DSLR if the main pupose of your camera is for filmmaking.
Best for: Journalists and documentary makers who need discreet cameras.
8 – Action cameras
Cameras like the GoPro HERO4 will let you monitor the image with a wireless monitor to get the best action shots. For a more affordable option try the GoPro Hero Session.
Best for: sports and action shots; news and documentaries
Features to look for when buying a camera
When buying any camera, it’s important to research the functions on offer. Is it easy to use and compact? How many features does it let you adjust whilst filming? How is the sound and can you attach an external mic? How is the image quality? A plethora of review websites will give specs and the low-down of each model and we insist you use the camera before you buy one! Borrow from a friend or colleague if on offer or even have a thorough in-store play. Finally, YouTube naturally offers a variety of channels dedicated to camera reviews so there’s nothing you CAN’T learn before investing in the right camera to take your filmmaking to the next level.
If you ask any freelancer in the industry, every single one”; ‘it’s a struggle at times. Freelancing on the side while maintaining a full or even part time job is naturally harder, but we maintain that with the proper approach, juggling freelance filmmaking projects while teaching is not only possible, but incredibly beneficial to you and your students. We include here our top four tips to succeed as a freelance filmmaker whilst still teaching.
1 – Budget and Savings
If teaching is one thing, it’s a calling. We dedicate our lives and efforts to educating others and a passion for filmmaking shouldn’t encumber this. Sadly, filmmaking for the majority who try, is not an assured pathway to wealth.
Starting out in the film business is never easy, and it’ll often cost money to advance to where you’re aiming for next. With courses, equipment and travel expenses, you may find that you need to spend more money than you initially anticipated when you decided to try your hand at freelance filmmaking. By budgeting you’ll ensure that you have a decent amount to spend on your hobby as you try to grow that into a second career. Whether you plan to save enough to one day dedicate 100% of your time to filmmaking or not, saving in preparation will allow you to pursue your ambitions outside the classroom and become the best filmmaker you can be!
2 – Give Yourself 110%
Just because you’re balancing your time in the field with time in the classroom doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dedicate yourself 110% in both pursuits. Not only is it unfair to you, to only invest in yourself half-heartedly, but it’ll also negatively affect your students if they feel you’re not dedicating yourself to their learning. By using what you’ve learned as a teacher in filmmaking, whilst also taking your freelance experience into the classroom, you’re ensuring that you’re giving your students and your co-filmmakers a broader overall range of knowledge and potentially greater dedication to both jobs at once.
3 – Network, network, network
We’ve discussed the importance of networking for aspiring filmmakers before, but this industry necessity is even more important if you’re just breaking into the business. By seeking out local networking events during term time, and venturing out to bigger events like festivals and even film markets during school holidays, not only are you able to give your students an insider’s view on how to successfully network, but you’re making the most out of your busy schedule.
4 – Diversity
As a part-time filmmaker, you can’t be too picky about which jobs come your way. Learn to adapt to your surroundings and take every opportunity available. Your income as a teacher will allow you to go after jobs you’re passionate about even though they may not pay much, and your experience collaborating with students will give you a step-up when working with others. Although your term-time schedule may not allow you to find weekday filmmaking opportunities, there are plenty of other streams of revenue encouraging use of your filmmaking chops and getting your name out there. Find as many ways to create and own content as you can, a great approach is by filming stock footage that you can sell for extra revenue as well as promoting yourself as a filmmaker even whilst you might be otherwise preoccupied as an educator.
By using on set what you’ve learned in the classroom, as well as adapting your filmmaking experience for your classes, you’re guaranteeing you’ll become a more well-rounded filmmaker and also educator. Use yourself as a real-life example for your students on how to achieve their filmmaking aspirations as you pursue yours!
It can be hard for film students to grasp and understand just how much meaning and complexity images hold, particularly when they are only beginning to use filmmaking techniques themselves. This following exercise will help them start to fathom the phenomenal amount of meaning they’re able to convey through film.
Before you start:
The central focus of this exercise is image. Before taking this to your class, find an image which features more than one person. The more dynamic the shot, the more inspired your students will be to write a compelling narrative to go with it. You can either ask your students to write about the same image or have them choose individually between a variety of images. Here’s an example.
1 – Description
After you’ve selected the image(s) for your class, divide the image into vignettes according to how many people are in the image (you can include couples or people in conversation within the same vignette).
Have your students answer the following questions for each vignette:
- What do you see?
- What feelings, memories or meanings does each image evoke? (Use your personal experience or cultural background to inform a unique view of each image).
2 – Narrative
Once your students have completed the description of each vignette have them develop a narrative around each image by answering the following questions:
- What is each person thinking and feeling?
- Describe the relationship between people. Are they strangers? Friends? Neighbours?
- Write a sentence describing what just happened, what is happening, and what is about to happen.
This exercise is perfect to break into two parts. Have your students complete the first half of the task in class with you to answer any questions. Provide them with an example you’ve completed yourself (preferably with a different image) before letting them take a stab at the first half of the exercise towards the end of a lesson. Ask them to complete the second portion of the exercise at home, giving them more time to flesh out their narratives before presenting them to the class next time you convene.
This exercise will help your students hone their creativity and access their storytelling skills by finding their imagination inspired by a visual stimulus.
For a bonus exercise, ask your students to write a short screenplay (three to five pages for beginner writers; six to ten pages for more experienced writing classes) on the narrative they have written around the image. Ask them to include what happened to bring the characters to the events of the image as well as what they do immediately after, utilising all aspects of the second half of the exercise to their advantage when fleshing out their narrative. You can even have students swap worksheets and write a short film based on the completed exercise of another student.
Check our blog for more exercises to bring into the classroom including an introduction to three-point editing; four exercises to prepare your students for university and how to boost any filmmaking career.
Film is a gruelling business that requires a lot of energy, passion and time, so it is only fair that you’re compensated for all you put into your job. It might not surprise you to learn that some are rewarded more than others for the energy they put into their work. Here’s a look at the top five highest paying positions in the film industry.
1 – Producer
As the producer, it’s probable you’re behind the scenes for the entirety of a film’s production: helping finance the film, shoot it and ensure its distribution. Not only do producers know how to spot great talent, they also have the business savvy to ensure that everything runs smoothly, helping everyone on the production stay sane.
The average annual salary of a film producer clocks in at a whopping $109,000! That’s over $50 an hour and the average Los Angeles producer can even make $66 an hour! Of course, producers’ salaries rely on the film’s budget. So although Scott Rudin made $2.5 million on Fast & Furious 7, very few producers will receive that hefty a pay check.
2 – Director
If you’re interested in a career in film, directing has probably crossed your mind. Dictating the artistic vision of a film, the director is core to ensuring words in the script make it to the big screen. On average, directors earn about $106,000 a year thanks to the vision and creativity they bring to each project. Like producers, a director’s salary is dependant on the film’s production budget. Low-budget feature directors earn about $7,608 a week while big budget and blockbuster film directors can rake in over $12,000 dollars on a Friday! Christopher Nolan for example earned an incredible $20 million for directing Interstellar.
3 – Screenwriter
As crucial as a director is, a film is nothing without a script! Screenwriters are entrusted with being able to bring a story and characters to life, and, although many screenwriters don’t see the majority of their work produced, they are paid handsomely when their creativity is a success.
Screenwriters make an average of $78,860 a year, earning over $37 an hour. While some directors like Quentin Tarantino direct their own screenplays, many screenwriters put their scripts into the agile hands of other directors which can win them big bucks! Joe Eszterhas earned $3 million for penning Basic Instinct. A handsome reward, right?.
4 – Editor
Responsible for piecing together the final film, editors are crucial to making a film screen ready. We’ve discussed before how film editors aren’t always the most employed professionals in film, but when they are, they are paid handsomely for it.
Editors can make an average of $66,690 a year, with the top 10% of editors raking in over $100,000. Freelance editors can also make $61,270 a year while the bottom 10% of film editors make $26,350 a year. Still not too shoddy.
5 – Actor
Unquestionably the most public figure of a movie, actors not only help bring a director and screenwriter’s vision to life, but are largely responsible for how much box office business a film will attract. Actors however aren’t always paid the most, and it isn’t uncommon to hear of an actor doing a film ‘for love.’ It’s therefore difficult to come up with a precise salary range for actors, but we’ve done our best.
The average annual salary of a SAG accredited actor is $5,000, meaning they’re earning under London living wage. However, SAG has a whopping 100,000 members, so defining just how many of them are working consistently is difficult to ascertain. If a SAG actor is hired for a film, they are guaranteed to earn no less than $782 a day thanks to union legisation. Many actors earn less than that, but with experience, passion, and luck maybe you’ll be raking in the $75 million Robert Downey Jr. earned for Iron Man 3 (though I wouldn’t turn down Barkhad Abdi’s $65,000 Captain Philips pay check either.)
Filmmaking is an art, and although many get massive payouts for the work they do, most in the industry do it to pursue their creative dream. Although you may know of a handful of names, the stars are just the lucky 1% in a business supported by armies of artists trying to tell the world their story.
The Game to Movie Curse may have been a supernatural jinx on any attempt to turn a video game into a feature film… OR maybe it was just the result of game-to-movie productions never stopping to pick up a STORY along the way. In either case, from Mario Bros to Assassin’s Creed via Angry Birds, the genre is littered with less than critically acclaimed cinematic outings. (despite Resident Evil delighting Zombie fans everywhere…)
This recent Onion piece offers us light-hearted insight into how some screenwriters must struggle with the next Game Adaptation request
Most university students today have grown up in a multimedia society unparalleled in the past. Thanks to the internet and the tools it’s offered, both in terms of entertainment and education, the traditional styles of lecturing and educating students no longer offer the impact they once did. Students are easily distracted and distant in lessons, and pedagogy will have to evolve to create new frameworks in which students are able to connect with their lessons and subjects. Jessie Daniels at the City University of New York found the use of documentaries the perfect tool to boost her students’ engagement.
Documentary’s digital renaissance
Documentary filmmaking is going through it’s own renaissance. The rise of digital filmmaking and crowdfunding aiding many documentarians’ productions. Because of the breadth of this genre, Daniels believes that documentaries are the perfect digital tool to incorporate into the classroom. In her lessons, Daniels has seen an increase in student engagement and critical thinking thanks to the introduction of a multimedia form they are familiar with.
The internet has provided a home for documentaries, whether through online subscription services like Netflix, via independent filmmakers on YouTube or through mainstream media sites like the BBC. The ease of access that is now available to documentaries only helps the genre envelop itself into popular culture and become a constant in the lives of many current and future students. For decades, scholars and educators have used popular culture to base a framework and present examples to their classes. Their students’ ready grasp of current events and the world around them helps cement concepts in which a larger academic sphere can be tethered. Documentaries are that next frontier.
Revolutionising the classroom
Daniels believes the best way to incorporate documentaries into a curriculum is by using them as a supplementary resource. By combining documentaries with academic studies and texts, Daniels is able to offer students a visual representation of the theoretical framework behind her lessons. By using worksheets and giving her students a basic and fundamental grasp of filmmaking and digital media, Daniels can have engaged class discussions in which the students, having not only read the same materials but also having seen the same experience on screen, are able to exchange an informed and free flow of ideas.
Daniels also uses worksheets to increase the student’s critical media skills, allowing them to conceptualise the entire process that would go into a documentary after viewing the final product. When used alongside traditional pedagogical venues, documentaries can only help to increase student engagement in the classroom.
With the breadth and variety of documentaries today, particularly in genre, it is fair to assume that every educator can find a documentary that will help engage their students and further develop their critical skills. By applying documentary films as a supplementary resource in the classroom, teachers and professors like Daniels inspire increased student engagement thanks to their dedication to connecting with and understanding their students’ educational needs.
Every editor will tell you that efficiency is what they strive for in post-production. Getting a film to look perfect is a gruelling and difficult task which all editors go through daily. Three-point editing makes editing a rough cut easier and faster! The following exercise will help teach your students how to use this simple yet effective technique.
What is three-point editing?
The main idea behind three-point editing is that your footage will be roughly edited before you set to work on the actual cut of the film. With every edit you will use three points of in and out placement: an in and out-point on your source footage and an in-point along your editing timeline. This will allow you to choose which clips of footage to use and your editing software will automatically place it on the timeline.
1 – Out in the field
Instruct your students to go out and film a variety of clips between 10-15 seconds. Ensure that they’re filming footage that would work together in a rough cut, for example shots of a garden or even the goings on of their own homes. Keep in mind that more footage equals more options but also more time spent at the editing desk. Between three and six clips is a good starting point.
2 – Set a time
Tell your students to edit their footage into a particular time constraint: perhaps twenty seconds. This will encourage them to use a more critical approach when selecting which segments of their footage to use in the rough cut.
3 – Tell a story
Even if the footage your students have brought in is simple, instruct them to find a narrative within their clips. This doesn’t need to mean telling a complete story or ensuring that dialogue and sound is matched up, but will help them analyse which footage to use as they edit.
4 – Revise
Make sure your students have a rough idea of which footage they want to use before they sit down to edit. This will save time and energy as they piece their images together. Tell them to jot down potential in and out points of each source clip to make sure they know all their options.
5 – Time to edit
Supervise your students as they use the three-point editing system. Start by having them include the footage sequentially, placing the first clip first and adding further footage after. Once they’re comfortable with the basics, instruct your students to backfill by placing a middle or last clip first.
By the end of this exercise your students should feel comfortable using three-point editing when making rough cuts. Encourage them to make mistakes and learn from them, potentially doing this exercise again either at home or during free time with editing software. As an added bonus you can even group students together and have them work with each other’s footage, presenting it to the class at a later date. By using footage they haven’t shot themselves, they will employ a more critical eye as they’ll be prepared to feel less attached to the material.
Whether or not your students are accomplished editors who prefer a particular method, three-point editing is a great tool to add to their arsenal and boost their editing confidence.
Short films are often undervalued and overlooked within the film industry. Sure, they can represent the first shaky steps of a filmmaker but they can also show the magnitude and versatility the medium has to offer. Short films can play a huge hand in launching careers, much like they launched film as a whole back when the Lumiere brothers screened their first creations. Many of today’s most acclaimed directors first dug their nails into film through shorts and a few found those efforts lead directly to some hugely successful feature films.
1 – Whiplash
Despite having worked in Hollywood before, in 2014 Damien Chazelle was relatively unknown. His film Whiplash turned out to be a critical and commercial success, winning three Academy Awards. Three years later, Chazelle has a Best Director Oscar under his belt for La La Land, the most nominated film in Golden Globes history.
Whiplash was the film that launched Chazelle on to everyone’s radar but the journey to making the film was rocky. Despite having connections in the industry, Chazelle found difficulty gaining the right financial support to produce his breakthrough film. It was then that Chazelle decided to take a scene from his screenplay and produce it, entering it into short film competitions and presenting it to producers for financial backing. The short ended up winning Sundance’s Jury Award for Best Short Film in 2013 and the rest is history.
2 – The Babadook (Monster)
Although Australian director Jennifer Kent had experience in the film industry, she normally found herself in front of the camera. After being particularly struck by Dancer in the Dark, Kent took a chance and wrote to Lars von Trier asking to shadow him during the production of Dogville. Her experience with von Trier inspired her to make her own short film, Monster: a black and white supernatural horror film that would later find wide critical acclaim as The Babadook.
Although not a direct adaptation, Monster served as the conceptual brainchild for Kent’s debut feature, helping raise $30,000 for additional sets on Kickstarter.
3 – Saw (Saw 0.5)
Whether a fan of the franchise or not, one can not deny that the Saw films revolutionised the horror genre. In an attempt to find producers, Australian director James Wan filmed a scene from what would be the first film showing the intricacies and depth behind the life-and-death game so central to the franchise’s narrative. Wan used the short, cleverly titled Saw 0.5, to pitch the films to Lionsgate. Almost a decade and a half later Wan’s short has spun into a seven-part film franchise with one of the most dedicated cult followings.
Although there are many short films that have either been adapted for a feature or given inspiration to a big screen film, the three listed here show the importance short films serve in the film industry. A beautiful tool for helping students grasp filmmaking’s basics, short films are also an incredible medium for inciting inspiration and passion into all filmmakers with eyes on bigger prizes.