Winter’s making its move. There was FROST on the ground yesterday morning… Frost! To help counter darkening and cooling days and nights, let’s remember that the cinema and sofa are 2 great places to spend more time over the winter.
Tim Dirk’s Filmsite.org offers us an inspired list of some of the funniest film quotes from the last 50 years. Here’s a selection to wet your appetite for more:
“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.”
Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
“I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.”
– “Is there someone else up there we could talk to?”
– “No, now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time.”
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
“What? Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”
Animal House (1978)
“…My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin’ on the porch with my family, singin’ and dancin’ down in Mississippi…”
The Jerk (1979)
“Surely you can’t be serious.”
– “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”
“They’re not gonna catch us. We’re on a mission from God.”
The Blues Brothers (1980)
“Thank you for a memorable afternoon. Usually one must go to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature.”
“Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?”
– “These go to eleven.”
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
“Ned, I would love to stand here and talk with you – but I’m not going to.”
Groundhog Day (1993)
“…Nobody calls me Lebowski. You got the wrong guy. I’m the Dude, man.”
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Check out the rest (with a few potentially not-safe-for-school entries, be warned!) on filmsite.org – and let’s embrace the season with catching up on and rewatching some old favorites to help us laugh our way through to Spring!
We know music can make a movie. You can hear a piece of music and instantly link it to a film. Those iconic pieces of music make a film memorable, but how do you get that music into your film? There are lots of things to be considered when it comes to music licensing for film, and selecting your music is the tip of the iceberg.
There are some really important things you need to know when you’re choosing your film’s soundtrack. You need to be aware there are two rights for every song. There are “publisher rights” and these are held by the person who wrote the song. There are also “master rights” and these are held by the person who recorded the song. For instance, Justin Bieber sang Love Yourself, but did you know it was written by Ed Sheeran? In this case, Ed Sheeran holds the publisher rights and Justin Bieber holds the master rights.
If you’ve found a song or a piece of music you want to use, you need to figure out who owns the publishing and master rights. Once you have found out who they are, you need to contact each of them and ask for permission to use the song in your film. The more people you have involved at this point, the longer it will take and the more difficult it can be. If you’ve selected a song which has four publishers, you’ll need approval from all four writers and the musician.
You can’t use the music until everyone has said yes, if one person says no, or if they don’t respond, you can’t use the song. One of our top filmmaking tips is to select a piece of music where the publishing and master rights are held by the same person. This not only saves you a load of time, but saves you a load of money too.
That brings us nicely on to the monetary aspect of music licensing for film. How much do music rights cost? Excellent question, and a hard one to answer! It depends on the kind of music you’re after and what you are going to be doing with it. Some songs used in advertisements can cost well in excess of $200,000, but there are also times where music is free to use. If you have music in a scene – let’s say you are in a coffee shop and a tune is playing in the background and no one is paying it any attention – this could cost you nothing.
As a standard, you can purchase the rights for a song for around $1500; that’s $750 for the master and $750 for the publishing rights. It’s worth remembering that these fees can be negotiated. If the artist you are talking to likes your film, or wants their music to be in it, you might be able to negotiate a better rate (and you know we love to cost-save).
Now you’re well on your way to securing music rights for your film, it’s time to start thinking about sound mixing and editing. Take a look at our article on Sound Mixing Vs Sound Editing to brush up your skills, and remind yourself of Filmmaking Trends of 2017 whilst you’re there too.
So, what’s is a micro documentary anyway? It’s a short film in documentary style, which is anything from a couple of minutes in length, up to ten minutes. They get to the point quickly and are impactful, making them a great way for documentary filmmakers to quickly and effectively communicate with their audience.
How are they changing the face of digital documentary filmmaking?
Gone are the days where consumers have time to sit and watch hours of documentary on one subject. Granted, feature length documentaries still have their place, but watching one is a big investment of time, and people don’t have that time anymore. Micro docs are taking over when it comes to information delivery; they give you what you want in five minutes. People have five minutes – they don’t have an hour. They are used to consuming information in short, snappy packages. They can be watched over a tea break, on a train or on the toilet. In this day and age, where we are so time poor, being able to get the information you need in your five minutes of dead time, is important and critical to understand if you have a story to tell.
Micro-docs probably feature more in your life than you’ve realised. If you scroll through your feeds on Facebook and Instagram, I guarantee you will come across one. They are becoming more and more prevalent as a tool for marketing as well. Consumers in 2017 don’t respond to direct and aggressive marketing. We no longer want to be told to buy something. We want to be given information; to be informed and excited about a product, so we can make our own decisions. Micro documentaries are an excellent way of marketing products, marketing brands and marketing lifestyles, and more and more organisations are using them as a tool. They give you the information, and you make the decisions.
How do they grab our attention?
How many times have you started watching a video on Facebook and then scrolled past it because it didn’t get to the point quickly enough? Yeah, we do it all the time too. If you’re going to dedicate minutes of your life watching a video, you need to suspect it’s going to be worth it. Micro-docs grab our attention right away. Within the first few moments, they’ve given us enough information to decide whether we want to keep watching. They pump you with information right from the get go, so you are hooked and you carry on viewing. They pique our interest. Because of their nature, they make excellent learning materials. Take a look at our post on Introducing Documentaries In The Classroom.
What does this mean for documentary filmmakers?
This new way of digital documentary filmmaking gives greater freedom to filmmakers. It means a film can be as long as it needs to be. There is no need to flesh out a short documentary to make it up to feature film length, and this new way is giving the green light to filmmakers to produce films at their natural length. It also means documentary filmmakers need to think more carefully about their content. It needs to be engaging, it needs to move fast and it needs to deliver. Just as much thought will go into producing a six-minute documentary, as goes into a sixty minute documentary. Remind yourself of our top Documentary Tips if you are feeling a bit rusty, or are thinking about your next documentary project.
Loglines are born simply from the necessity to be economic. They are how you sell your film, to friends, viewers and producers – think of it as an elevator pitch, but you’re only going up one floor!
We normally think of just movie loglines when discussing the subject, however loglines for short films and documentaries play just as vital a role!
It should essentially be a one-to-two sentence summary of the plot of your film first, and if possible, the main characters and themes second.
Let’s take a look at some great examples from famous films and TV shows:
Nine noble families fight for control over the mythical lands of Westeros, while a forgotten race returns after being dormant for thousands of years.
Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.
These are two fantastic examples in two very different styles, showing the variety with which you can write a logline, the former being plot focussed, and the latter being character focussed.
We’ll share one more example which we find particularly potent and interesting, from the film In the Mood for Love;
Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.
This is dramatically different from the other two in that, whilst it essentially explains the plot, it is theme-focussed.
Also check out Five Modern Filmmaking Techniques To Use With Your Students?
Making just any logline is easy; however making a great logline is very hard. So let us dissect how to best approach it in these 10 easy tips for writing loglines:
- The protagonist, their goal, and the antagonist.
A logline doesn’t need have these things; however starting with them can make it easier for you to progress with writing,
- Consider carefully if you want to use a character’s name!
Few films can really pull off this: Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Back to the Future (as mentioned earlier), Die Hard.
However if your film really just follows one character’s journey, and you believe their name helps cement the tone of your film with the reader, then why not try?
- Descriptors that add to the story!
Using a strong, specific adjective to describe the main character can help show their wants and desires, and how it fits in the plot.
- Make sure you show your character’s goals early on.
This drives your story and it will drive your logline too.
- Describe the Antagonist
Using the antagonist and (more importantly) their place in stopping the main character’s journey to their goal adds substance to your logline and script, making readers want to find out how it ends!
- Active protagonists
As the centre of your plot, a protagonist should be pro-active, as their actions are ultimately what drives the films.
Some films interestingly make the protagonist reactive, in order to explore a particular problem, place or theme (however this is really just a different means of being active).
- Include the stakes at hand and/or the “ticking time-bomb” restraints on the story.
This is a very useful narrative device that adds urgency and drive to your film, without which, why does this story exist and how is it worth telling?
Depending on your script, you may need a brief setup in order to explain how the world operates and whether it has different rules to our own, for example, in most science-fiction stories.
This can be physical laws of the world or a personal or psychological history of the driving character, depending on whether it is crucial to the story.
- The End
Obviously don’t include the ending or any surprise twists. Any surprise should be a lovely bonus to the reader.
Note: Plot twists should be explained in the treatment.
- Don’t tell. Sell.
All selling is about creating a desire. In this case it is to see the script or watch the film. Loglines are like poetry in that every word counts and that there aren’t any rules. There are many ways to do it, it’s just about taking your time and trying lots of different things until you find what works best for you and your film.
Over the last few decades we have seen our world and our human experience rapidly transform thanks to technology. This unstoppable shift to ‘digital’ comes with some threats, from hacking to data security. Whilst increasing technology in the classroom comes with many benefits, from online teaching software to virtual learning environments for teachers, just like any change, it also brings some risks.
There is little we can do to completely stop the downsides, as they simply come inherently with many of the benefits, However, we can work to better understand them as teachers, and hence minimise their negative effects.
Here are just a few ways that teachers can better understand and adapt to the importance of technology in education:
- Keeping up with new tech and new skills:
Rapid technological change increases the need for consistent professional development, as new skills need to be learnt and new jobs need to be filled. However, the inertia of many institutions (especially large and traditional colleges and universities) against change keeps them from being able to keep up.
Many of the measures taken (such as ‘technology policies’, ‘teacher growth plans’, and ‘department restructuring’) are ineffective and don’t create the rate of change necessary. This means the change must really start on a classroom-to-classroom basis, with each teacher personally adjusting the way they teach. This takes a lot of effort on each teachers’ part, because they have to be educated in new skills before passing that knowledge on. This is why true top-down professional development is the way forward for many institutions.
- Finding the perfect balance:
All change creates a false dichotomy between traditionalists, who stick to tried-and-tested ways, and progressives, who pick up on new methods despite a lack of proof of their efficacy. This is never more so than with technology.
Both sides have their fair arguments, however as society progresses so too must the way we teach. So surely the best way of moving forward in education is by having a clever balance between tradition and progress. In these situations is it pertinent to ask ourselves ‘How can we use technology in the classroom in a planned and consistent way?’
- Technology costs, so how can we make it affordable?
With changing classrooms comes increasing overhead costs – both financial and intellectual.
From a financial point of view, the only way that educational institutions will be able to afford the capital investment that technology requires is through ongoing planning and preparation for it. This can either come from cutting back from other areas, although why risk being understaffed, or reaching out to external means, through part privatisation or ‘academisation’ (turning into academies), which is also something many schools and parents don’t really want.
From the intellectual point of view, educators are increasingly required to be many things: experts in teaching, technology experts, pioneering early adopters, and finally, master managers of the entire process. Surely that is too much for one teacher!
Ultimately the only thing that can help alleviate both these costs will be increased funding and support from the government.
- Function > Form
Technology is always aging and fragmenting across hardware generations (for example, iPhone 7 vs. 8 vs. X). Whilst this can be frustrating, it isn’t always a bad thing either.
If technology were the same across the board, just as notepads and pens are, then they’d become just as ubiquitous as notepads and pens are. But technology remains first a consumer industry, so its evolution isn’t going to slow down or homogenise anytime soon – at least not whilst there are crowds of people queuing to buy the latest version!
However this ever-changing landscape, whilst disorientating, should encourage a re-focus on the learner: such rapid progress and change can have the effect of de-emphasizing technology entirely, so instead of focusing on ‘what’ and ‘which’, we can focus more on ‘why’ and ‘how’.
- Change requires our best thinking
Just like all times of change, this one requires a clever approach and collective good thinking. This involves avoiding jumping to conclusions, or drawing erratic extrapolations on too little data, or expanding biases, or refusing to consider alternative solutions.
Rapid change, and in particular rapid technological change, creates constantly new circumstances – which require a smart approach to ensure that the technology is serving us and not the other way around.
Also check out our article: Is Digital Technology Changing Learning And Teaching?
Occasionally, we’re invited to challenge how we think about film narrative structures, and might just never think about plot and character interaction the same way again. Cult website XKCD manage this with aplomb – and manage to make us laugh out loud while they’re at it.
Halloween is fast approaching, and this might have started your creative juices flowing. No good horror film is complete without a good dose of gore special effects. So, here are some filmmaking tips and techniques to help you create practical gore effects, without breaking the bank. If you’re on a budget or are just a bit of a DIY’er, then you’ll have a great time with these.
If you’re creating the next Saw movie on a budget, you are going to need fake blood. There’s no better way to get exactly what you want than by making it yourself. You can make as much or as little as you want, and exactly how you want it. Here’s a great recipe for fake blood we found; it’s not harmful at all and you can tweak the recipe as you need!
If anyone is going to be wielding an axe in your horror film, open wounds are a must. You can fashion your very own open wounds with things you can find around the home. You can do this using toilet paper, glue and some makeup products. You use toilet paper and glue to create your wound shape and make it look realistic with makeup and some of the fake blood you made. Here’s a handy YouTube video which demonstrates how to do it. These wounds look great, and pretty realistic considering they’re effectively made out of loo roll.
Is it even a horror film if there isn’t an exploding head? I think not. This probably sounds like it’s going to be really difficult, but it’s actually one of those things that’s way easier than you might think. Thanks to a little bit of digital trickery, you can create an exploding head scene which would fool anyone. Take a look at this tutorial to see how it’s done, it’s got some great filmmaking tips and techniques. You’ll need a load of fake blood and a little bit of time to get that perfect blood spattered, horrified look from your actors.
If you want to ramp up the DIY and you are in need of a severed limb for your project, this tutorial shows you exactly how to create one. Beware: this is going to be time consuming, but it will be worth it as you horrify everyone with a super realistic severed hand. These filmmaking tricks will help you create some amazing effects.
Squibs and gunshots
You can’t give up easily when making a horror film, and if we’ve learned anything from spending hours and hours on zombie films (albeit often through fingers), it’s that the best way to protect yourself from an attack, is with a gun. To make your gunshot look effective, you’ll need to use a squib. This video shows you how to do this all yourself, in a relatively easy and very cheap way. It’s also really safe, meaning your actors aren’t going to get more than they bargained for.
If you have enjoyed reading this, take a look at our article on Breakthrough Technologies of 2017 which are set to Reshape Filmmaking.
Film animation technology began simply with pen and paper, that’s all. Over the years we’ve come a long way, now countless TV shows and films are made with either 2D or 3D animation, all aided by computers. In fact, Pixar was the first to create a feature-length computer-generated animated film, with Toy Story in 1995. This was not only a milestone in cinema but in technology. That is a common thread through a lot of filmmaking, although in particular with animation.
To predict the future of animation we have too look back on how it has changed with technology. From basic flipbooks, to computer aided 2D animation, to 3D computer generated animation, now to using CGI and data from the real world to create the most realistic and emotive animation yet!
Looking forward, to the future of animation technology, here are 4 new emerging ways animation could be ready for another revolution:
- Merging the real film with animation
This is no new technique, seen most famously in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but using real footage alongside animation has recently been a great space for innovation. This is most notably so with the recent film Kubo and the Two Strings, a 3D stop-motion animation with such ambitious set-pieces that the result is a beautiful example of the merging of the old and new techniques of animation – using both computer effects and traditional stop-motion animation techniques.
- Virtual Reality
A buzzword of the new age, virtual reality is still taking its baby steps and the applications for filmmaking are still being explored. VR offers exciting innovation opportunities including practical, timesaving preproduction, a rich narrative device for conventional film and dynamic storytelling medium. This extends to animated films – just imagine a VR 3D animation movie, putting you inside the CG rendered environment.
- 3D-Printing and scanning
From a production perspective, 3D printing could really revolutionise large parts of filmmaking, and animation is no different. Imagine designing a character out of clay and them importing a 3D scan of it into your CG world, or of course scanning a room and then using your data to create a full photo-realistic environment for your animation. This works in reverse too, stop-motion could be revolutionised by simply 3D printing your entire environment.
This kind of work has been done before, in Avatar for example, where large parts of the film are basically entirely 3D animated, but where real life images and scans have been cleverly and beautifully merged with the animation.
- Collaborative cloud drives
Teamwork is required for all film, but nothing more so than in animation. It used to be a hassle moving assets like character or motion data from one animator to another, but now the whole process is becoming streamlined by using collaborative cloud workplaces. With this new technology the access and sharing of content and assets has become incredibly easy, speeding up the whole animation process.
Also now filmmakers can work with production teams from different parts of the world. So lets say you need a small amount of animation for your indie film, now you can find just the right person from anywhere in the world and collaborate through the web to complete it.
Go back even 30 years and the idea or concept of low-budget (or no-budget) filmmaking was kind of unheard of, revolutionary even. Yet now it has become very common in the indie filmmaking community – in fact, it may even be the best way of making a statement and launch your career!
Diamonds can only be made under extreme pressure, so whether it is out of choice or necessity, here are 7 low budget filmmaking tips for turning your compromises into ways of making the most of your situation:
- Story first, everything else second:
Before you even start production, you have a story. With a low-budget film, there are three things to consider about the script before starting; firstly, the story needs to not only be feasible on a small budget but also suit the budget, there is no point in trying to create a blockbuster on just £3000; secondly, the story needs to be optimised for your budget, you can always change scenes to reduce the budget but preserve its essence; thirdly, the story needs to be good, unlike huge big-budget films, it can’t hide behind special effects and an elaborate production design, doubly so because the audiences which watch low-budget films are usually more astute about films generally.
- Find cameras for cheap:
The cameras used by big studios are expensive. For example, the cost of the 8K RED Weapon, which has been used for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Gone Girl, can range from $49.500 to $79,500, with options of leasing it for less.
However, it is highly likely that you or someone you know owns a DSLR or mirrorless camera capable of shooting HD or even 4K. If not, the app and site Fat Lama allows you or others to rent their valuables for a nominal fee, allowing you to rent out a camera for the duration of the shoot, rather than splashing out and buying one.
Of course you main focus should be on how to best use the equipment you have, as no expensive camera can replace talent. Here are some of our articles with filmmaking tips and tricks to help:
- Choose to shoot in free locations
A key part of pre-production is in location scouting. If you’re restricted by cost, then you can adjust your script to be in free locations. Also, use your network! It is highly likely that someone may own just the right kind of house or land to shoot your scene. If outside, consider public locations.
- Use Natural Lighting
Lighting can get expensive, so you can cut costs, save time and reduce equipment needs by simply using natural light – whether that be the sun, moon, or streetlights. Look for locations outside, choose sunny days, and consider using darkness – it’s always cheaper to create darkness than to avoid it.
This is a classic among low budget filmmaking tips, and that is evident in the overall style of indie cinema – where there is an abundance of using natural soft light, and if done well it can look even better than studio lighting.
- Be over-prepared:
A very detailed production script and schedule will help cut costs by helping you foresee and avoid unnecessary costs. However, as with any film, there will be unforeseeable setbacks you can’t prepare for, and will undoubtedly face. Which is why the right approach is so important and will help you cut-down costs in the face of dilemmas; this can be fostered along by over-preparing for the project and by having the right emotional intelligence to make flexible decision-making.
- Share ‘your baby’ to cut costs
With personnel costs being the largest costs for indie film productions, this is where it may be best to cut costs. This isn’t to say sacrifice the quality of your film for the sake of money, but working on favours, goodwill, and mutual benefits, (i.e. making it a collaborative process) can be the best way of dramatically reducing your overhead costs.
If this is the route your go, put your pride to one side, whilst this film might be “your” baby, there is no shame in sharing as much credit as possible. This can even create a much greater sense of ownership for everyone involved, increasing the quality of the work produced.
- Don’t lose sight of why you are a filmmaker
And finally, this shouldn’t need reiterating, but in this incredibly tough industry, we often lose sight of why we even do it. You can have all the filmmaking tips and tricks in the world but get lost in it all and don’t forget to make your project fun, honest, and significant. You’re creating art, and it’s either a break from reality or a reflection of it. If you can keep that idea running through your production then it’ll make the entire collaborative process much more enjoyable, as well as help your crew give their 100%.
Bournemouth University’s Film team are in some ways victims of their own success. In the last 2 years, word of their excellent BA (Hons) Film course has doubled fresher intake to 120 students.
One major challenge in this situation becomes: how can faculty staff continue to offer highly personalised and appropriate tuition for each and every undergraduate? How can they ensure students find the curriculum demanding and engaging when many come from different educational backgrounds?
And how can they make each interaction with every student more valuable, at a time when students face increasing sensitivity to the fees that they pay for tuition?
Many of Bournemouth’s intake, surprisingly, might not have taken a Film and Media A-level or BTEC. A non-vocational subject like film means creative spirits from all backgrounds are welcome as long as they produce a highly-convincing argument for being admitted, and have decent A-levels from a whole range of subjects.
Working closely with the Film Programme Leader, Dr James Fair, Quickclass has created a Quiz tool which allows faculty members to put together ad-hoc short tests of student knowledge of their subject in less than a minute in what they have described as ‘the easiest VLE they have ever used’. Student’s receive the quizzes through a dedicated, ad-free, privacy-assured personal learning app on their iOS or Android Smartphones and can be quizzed anytime, anywhere.
This ‘pre-assessment’ Quiz helps on multiple fronts. Firstly it helps the students recognise what they do and don’t know. Scoring poorly on the test highlights that they need to put a little more time into their studies. Secondly, it helps the staff shape the curriculum to devote time on the weaker areas of knowledge.
Flexibility is the key. A lecturer can decide to create a 30 minute Quiz testing everything about Practical Filmmaking, or a 3 minute Quiz on French New Wave. They can ask their students to complete the Quiz together simultaneously in class or independently over the weekend. The App ensures all students received the same questions but in a random order, so attempting collusion is pointless. Quizzes are set a time limit as well, so whether a weekend Quiz is taken Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, everyone has exactly the same amount of time to be Quizzed.
Results are delivered to lecturers instantaneously as soon as the Quiz’s end time expires, and not only can the entire spectrum of results for each student be examined but also areas that the entire group might be struggling with can be quickly highlighted.
The real beauty is not only that Quizzes can be deployed frequently without requiring more than a minute’s preparation for teachers, but also that long term improvements in results can be monitored and provide clear evidence of learning and a steadily rising grasp of the subject throughout a student group of any size.
Bournemouth’s Film team and Quickclass will work closely to refine this new hyper-convenient and useful Quiz tool. We’ll together update you monthly on progress throughout this academic year, not only on Quizzes, but also other uses that Bournemouth finds for the steadily growing range of tools Quickclass can offer for all their teaching challenges and their student’s learning needs.