Joe Grabinski has been documenting some of the most hilarious Amazon Film Reviews and tweeting them to his “Amazon Movie Reviews” account. Clearly not to be taken too seriously, the mind still boggles at how BROAD our individual views and opinions of films we know and mostly love are:
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Shining (1980)
The Force Awakens (2015)
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Die Hard (1988)
Pitch Perfect (2012)
A Bug’s Life (1998)
Star Wars (1977)
Magic Mike (2012)
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Happy Feet (2006)
Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (2011)
March of the Penguins (2005)
Your first feature will likely be made on a shoe-string budget, however, just like how some of the best meals are made in a pressure cooker, some of the best films are made under incredibly challenging circumstances – it seems to push out the best in everyone involved. Take these 10 low-budget films as an example; they pushed their directors to be smart and learn a lot from the whole process, leading them all into incredibly successful filmmaking careers.
Monsters (2010, UK)
Writer/Director: Gareth Edwards
Budget: £ 15,000 est.
With Monsters, writer and director Gareth Edwards both celebrated the forgotten film genre and created a monster movie “set years after most monster movies end”. The film follows a journalist and an American tourist as they try to make it back to safely the American border through an alien-infested Mexico. Just watching the trailer, you wouldn’t believe this film was shot on such a small budget.
Edwards demonstrates what you can achieve by being resourceful – driving your crew around different locations in a van and learning to use your laptop for editing and to create special effects. The specific budget is a rumour on the Internet: “around £15,000”. But even Edwards likely doesn’t know the exact amount. Nevertheless, it led the director to great things (we all know his latest feature is the Star Wars spin-off Rogue One).
Paranormal Activity (2009, USA)
Writer/Director: Oren Peli
When released, the film was marketed as “one of the scariest movies of all times”, and although the style has now been beaten like a dead horse, Paranormal Activity remains a fantastic film for its inventive use of two classic indie movie techniques: one location and handheld camera.
The film tells the story of a couple who move into a new suburban home only for a ‘paranormal’ presence to begin haunting their nights. Writer and director Oren Peli used his own house for this. Also eliminating the need for a camera crew by making the camera ‘diegetic’ (i.e. actually in the film), as the couple films their own hauntings and discussions – something that only increased the film’s believability. The film also focuses on the raw ‘scare factor’ rather than on gore and action. Thus working to contain the budget and establish empathy and a sense of “familiarity” with the audience.
The Blair Witch Project (1999, USA)
Writer/Director: Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez
Most low budgets gather an audience based on word of mouth, but this film used the new and emerging technology of the Internet to create a viral campaign. This led many people to believe the events in the film to be true, as they portrayed it as a true documentary. The film grossed $248 million in the end, making it one of the films with the highest ratio of box office sales to production costs. It also managed to inspire a new wave of horror films, using handheld footage.
Pi (1998, USA)
Writer/Director: Darren Aronofsky
Pi tells the story of a quest to find the meaning of God through numbers. However perplexing the film is, it is masterly crafted and wonderfully filmed by ones of today’s most prominent art house directors, Darren Aronofsky. As the paranoia and obsession of the main character takes hold, the film follow suite, surging through mind-bending metaphors and sequences. Aronofsky, determined to see the project through, sold shares to his family and friends, which managed to fund a majority of the project.
Living in Oblivion (1995, USA)
Writer/Director: Tom DiCillo
This meta-film shows filmmakers that their struggles making a low-budget film could be so much worse. The film follows a director having to deal with intoxicated actors, script changes, and just about everything going wrong. Shot in only 16 days, and completely financed by the friends and family of DiCillo, goes to show that when you have a strong enough idea, everyone is willing to help out – the actors of the film even worked for free, and some in fact contributed to it initial funding.
Clerks (1994, USA)
Writer/Director: Kevin Smith
Clerks tells the story of a group of friends, set mostly in the humble setting of a convenience store. Crafting a script full of humour and witty dialogue, Kevin Smith chose to shoot his film in black and white to bring his writing to the foreground. Young and unenchanted college students and adults were drawn to this simple slacker comedy; it being a truer reflection of their own lives than any big blockbuster. Smith did everything he could to finance his film, from maxing out all of his credit cards to selling most of his comic book collection. The risk was worth it in the end. Since its debut in 1994, Clerks has led Kevin Smith to a extensive career in writing and filmmaking.
El Mariachi (1992, Mexico/USA)
Writer/Director: Robert Roderiguez
The lowest budget of this list is Robert Roderiguez’s pinnacle of independent film, El Mariachi, famed being funded by drug trials Roderiguez went through. The film follows a mariachi band player who is mistaken for an infamous Mexican criminal. In Roderiguez’s book, “Rebel Without A Crew,” he details how he was able to produce a film ‘without a crew’, explaining that, along with Roderiguez, the other actors in the film would operate the film equipment when they were off camera. The film’s ingenuity and creativity continues to be an inspiration for independent filmmakers.
Mad Max (1979, Australia)
Writer: George Miller and James McCausland
Director: George Miller
Budget: Australian $350,000
Hearing that a film can be made for less than half a million dollars, and go on to earn $100 million world wide, and spawn two sequels, is madness (unless you’re talking about Mad Max or Paranormal Activity, or The Blair Witch Project).
Set in a post-apocalyptic Australia, and focusing on the collapse of society helped to launch the careers of both lead actor Mel Gibson and director George Miller. Also helping to open up the global market to Australian film scene.
Eraserhead (1977, USA)
Writer/Director: DAVID LYNCH!
David Lynch’s debut feature sets an appropriate tone for his oeuvre, it being perplexing and revolting and fascinating, no matter how many times it is viewed. The story behind the film almost just has surprising; because of shoddy funding the film took about 5 years to complete filming. Lynch’s friends (like actress Sissy Spacek) and family helped to finance the remaining money not covered by the American Film Institute. But the long delay was well worth the wait as the film produced remains the most iconic “midnight movie”.
Aguirre: Wrath of God (1972, Germany)
Writer/Director: Werner Herzog
Conveniently chronological order has left the most incredible film until last, also made under likely the most incredible circumstances of any film – ever!
Werner Herzog wrote the script in only two and a half days, and whilst traveling on a bus with his football team. The film depicts a Heart of Darkness-esk story of the insane ‘Aguirre’ as he travels through South America. Just as life imitates arts, so too did the filming begin to become insane; the use of stunt men and special effects not in the budget; the crew had to deal with moving all the equipment around in the extreme heat and dangerous landscape of the jungle; and the temperamental main actor Klaus Kinski actually shot off the finger of an extra.
The film later inspired Apocalypse Now, which (yet again) famously suffered many disastrous setbacks.
Tripods may not be incredibly exciting just as they are, but they can help produce incredibly exciting shots.
Do you appreciate anything near the full potential of your tripod? If not, don’t feel bad; imagining the creative and cinematic possibilities of such an unspectacular and uncinematic piece of gear is a challenge. Luckily, Film Riot and Ryan Connolly took the time to come up with eight tripod tips and tricks you can use to help your films to look smoother and more creative.
We’ve summarised Film Riot’s video below, detailing the 8 Tripod tips and techniques they recommend:
- Smoother Pans – elastic bands?
Unless you have the bottomless pocket of Hollywood, you won’t be able to invest in film equipment that produces seamless and smooth pans – but you can use rubber bands. Pulling your tripod handle with one of these acts as a shock absorber, eliminating any of the wobble of the human hand, and producing smoother pans.
- Smoother Tilts – use gravity!
Just loosen the lock on your tilt and allow Newton’s law of gravitation to do the work for you. Of course you will have to adjust you drag to get the speed you want, but this is a zero-cost way of getting super-smooth tilts.
- The Tripod Steadycam?
Just shorten the centre column of your tripod and extend out the legs perpendicular to get a pretty good steady shot. Hold the tripod column near the top and allow gravity to help you stabilise you shot.
This is also helps you steady your shot in post-production, having an initial smooth shot to work with.
- Smooth Low angles:
Just turn your tripod steadycam upside down to get some sweet low-angle shots. You’ll probably remember to rotate the footage in post, as it will be upside down!
- DIY SnorriCam:
Angle the legs of your tripod against your waist while holding the center column, and it acts as a harness similar to those used in Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream.
- The Tripod Dolly:
Shorten one leg of your tripod and tilt on the other two to create a sweet tripod dolly. Can be used to create dynamic pushes in or out, or you can pan whilst moving to create a beautiful Dutch shot.
Works best with a heavier tripod, like the Benro BV10 used in the video.
- The Tripod jib:
Turn your tripod dolly into a jib by extending the legs and stabilizing them with sandbags. This can be used to create beautiful high-to-low or low-to-high movements. Just make sure the legs are secure, otherwise they will slip.
- Top Down shots:
Strap your tripod to the top step of a ladder and point your camera down.
This creates a Birdseye view shot, which can be very difficult to do smoothly without expensive equipment.
- “Jump Over” shots:
Very common in sports films or commercials; just secure your tripod on top of a couple boxes and pan when your subject jumps over the camera. You can pan the camera in place and it will follow the subject jumping over.
So those are the top 8 (or 9) Tripod tips and techniques you can use to create smooth and dynamic shots, they are all super-cheap so you can try them all out with no more investment than your time well spent.
Thanks again to Film Riot and Ryan Connolly for providing the video.
After Effects (AE) is an immense and daunting piece of software, even for those experienced in it. Every time you use AE, it’s likely you’ll learn something new. In our experience, we’ve found that there are certainly some AE tricks that we use a lot more than others.. Whether you’re looking to become an AE master or just dabbling from time to time with your students, here are ten essential After Effects tricks you need to know:
- Render Quality
How: Select the dropdown menu at the bottom of the composition panel
Rendering is a processor intensive task, and hence it can take a lot of time, especially if you have a lot going on – effects and layers. Luckily you can cut your preview time significantly by selecting a lower render quality. By default it will be set to Full, but you don’t have time for that! Drop it to half, third, quarter or custom. When you’re ready to export your project, don’t worry; they’ll be full-res by default, no matter what your preview quality is set to.
Here’s an article from PremiumBeat on how to achieve faster render times.
- Duplicating Layers
One of the most useful shortcuts: there’s no faster way to create a layer than to duplicate one that already exists. To duplicate a layer all you need to do is hit Command+D – and this works on both layers and effects.
- Quick Pan
How: Hold down spacebar and drag
Normally if you want to pan in After Effects, you have to (hand) select the hand tool, either by clicking the hand icon or hitting the (H) key. However, instead of wasting time switching between two tools, you can simply hold down the space bar. As soon as you release the spacebar, it revert back to whatever tool you had selected before.
- RAM Preview
If you’re used to working with video editing software, than you probably already preview your video by pressing the spacebar. Unlike most video editing software where you can just press the spacebar to preview you video, AE isn’t quite that simple. This is due to the strain of the video effects on your computer; you can’t simply playback video in AE without rendering out a preview file – in a process known as a RAM preview.
Learn more about using ‘RAM preview’ to preview audio in this PremiumBeat post.
- Exporting Alpha Channels
How: RGB + Alpha in the Output Module
When exporting graphics to use in any other post-production software, you’ll want your video clips to have alpha channels – a magical 4th channel a pixel has (other than the usual red, green, and blue channels) which governs its transparency. By default, alpha channels are not included! And to make things more complicated, not all codecs will even allow you to export alpha channels.
Here’s a helpful RocketStock post that explores more Alpha Channel action.
- Saving Frames
How: Composition -> Save Frame As -> File
As we’ve discussed before, rendering can take up a lot of your time. However, if you don’t have the time to render the full video, you can just save a still of it. This is also a great way to show your work progress, especially if you work for a large company! For most circumstances, you will want to select ‘file’ and choose your desired output format, however many options exist, including photoshop layers.
- See All Keyframes
How: Hit the (U) key
When you’ve set keyframes in AE, you can quickly see them all in your timeline by simply clicking the (U) key. This is one of many motion graphics techniques that can save a lot of time, rather than clicking the small dropdown arrows in the timeline.
Note: It can also be really helpful to learn the keyboard shortcuts for individual transform properties: position (P), rotation (R), and opacity (T).
- Keyframe Scaling
How: Hold down option and drag a selection of keyframes
Animation is all about the details. So moving a keyframe over by just a single frame can dramatically change the feel of the animation. But if you have lots of keyframes, it can be a chore to change the duration of the layers – which is why keyframe scaling is used.
This allows users to scale the duration proportionately – meaning your animation style isn’t lost. Simply select two or more keyframes, hold down option, and drag.
- The Graph Editor
How: With keyframes selected, hit the small graph icon in the timeline
This is a key motion design tip: although daunting to a newbie, this is the best way to perfect your movements in After Effects. The Graph Editor gives you an precise control of the way in which your keyframes act with each other. For example, by simply adding a small curve to the graph, you can quickly and easily create cool and smooth animations.
- Wiggle Expression
How: adding the expression wiggle(10,10) into your expression editor
Leaving one of the best After Effects tricks until last: Pretty self-explanatory, the wiggle expression gives your layers a random wiggle, which can of course be adjusted. Simply place “wiggle (wiggles per second, intensity)” into the position expression editor.
There are lots of useful ways to take advantage of the wiggle expression, like linking the values to sliders and double wiggles. You can learn more about using the wiggle expression in this informative post by PremiumBeat.
With the holidays ending and students returning to school, college or university, they are likely to feel at least partially uninspired and unmotivated to learn in a classroom context again. That’s why it’s important to get students excited straight away, after a long holiday, as it will be much more difficult to do so later. This is true for any school break, whether that be half term, winter break and particular the summer holidays. There are many post-holiday classroom activities that will help your students feel inspired again and, with strategic planning and a plenty of creativity, you can ensure that holidays never upset your curriculum or students’ focus.
Here are a few tried and tested strategies to re-engage students to get you started:
- Creative filming prompts
Getting students writing again is vital; a creative and calm activity like this can get your overly energetic students back into the work. But don’t forget to make it relevant and creative – and have fun with it yourself, that’ll be infectious to the students!
If you are teaching a new cohort of pupils, this can also be a great way for you to learn what they are like, and the general dynamics in the group. For example, asking your students to really detail what they were most grateful for over the break, or to create a stylistic film montage of the images conjured up over their summer break. This can be a challenging enough task to both engage their minds and for you to get a general sense of what each student is like, and how they interact with each other.
- Start with a Clean Slate
If you are teaching the same cohort as before, then make sure any big projects were all wrapped up before the break. This is a new start for students and hence it should feel like a new start in class too, clean the slate and your students won’t feel as if they are just back to the same work as before. Also it takes time and effort revising material to continue a project from before – wasted time and effort.
- Ease into Learning
But let’s not get stuck into the notion that holidays are just a break from learning entirely, a time completely unrelated to school. Instead, let’s think of holidays as an opportunity for learners (and educators) to recharge their batteries and catch their breath. As such, it’s always tempting to go full on straight away. But students should return feeling refreshed, and therefore it’s essential that you ease them into the next phase of learning.
- Change things up?
As you are beginning new content, begin thinking outside of the box too. More of the same can damage motivation and decrease student enthusiasm, but clever new projects keep students on their toes and fend off fatigue and boredom. It’s obvious, but a great time to change is when the slate is clean.
Check out these creative teaching projects for some ideas on how to do this! Also, look to your own interests for inspiration. Consider projects with real-world applications that students will easily understand.
- Keep goals short-term
This is closely related to ‘ease into learning’; don’t go straight in with setting year-long (or even term-long) goals, that just makes going back to school/university daunting and decreases their excitement and motivation for learning. Instead set short-term goals to begin with, which will soon build into longer goals and a mutual understanding of expected year-long achievement.
- Have fun
As referenced before, make sure you enter your first lessons energised, excited and full of creative energy. This will inspire the same in your students. They’ll quickly scent if you dislike going back to school as much as some of them, so instead convince them to be excited about the new year by being excited yourself – lead by example!
The world famous and world’s LARGEST arts festival hosted in Edinburgh each August produces some cracking comedic performances. In no particular order, here are some of our favorites from 2017.
“I broke up with my first girlfriend because she didn’t believe in me. Which was ridiculous, because she was the imaginary one.” Ben Fogg
“If I had a pound for every time someone accused me of having body dysmorphia I’d have enough to buy the new nose I need.” Lauren Pattison
“I went to a really rough inner-city school. The kind where chances of being bullied grew exponentially every time you use the word ‘exponentially’”. Aatif Nawaz
“I once took to the stage as Hamlet, which really annoyed the rest of the cast of Mamma Mia.” Thunderbards
“My parents have been married 40 years. I don’t know how they do it, they make it look so hard.” Carmen Lynch
“Whenever someone says ‘I don’t believe in coincidences’. I say ‘Oh my god! Me neither!’” Alasdair Beckett-King
“My uncle told me it doesn’t matter what you achieve in life, as long as you’re happy and you can afford your own bed. That’s the last thing he told me on his deathchair.” Glenn Moore
“It’s so weird that Americans say ‘eggplant’ when they’re called chickens.” Ian Smith
“I like to think the guy who invented the umbrella was going to call it the ‘brella’ but he hesitated.” Andy Field
“I was a lazy kid. When I was twelve my parents entered me in a national apathy contest. I came second. I wasn’t that bothered. The kid that beat me didn’t even turn up.” Ben Fogg
“The key to a happy marriage is in a bowl with a bunch of other keys.” Tom Houghton
“A lot of older people wonder if there will be life after death. There is, of course – it just won’t involve them.” Lee Nelson
And finally, this year’s favorite joke of all (according to the Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fridge Award) from Ken Cheng: “I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change.”
Smartphones are incredibly useful for documentary filmmakers as they are excellent cameras for “cinema vérité”: an increasingly popular style characterised by its realistic capture of events, often as they are happening – a la improvisation. In fact, there is somewhat of a revolution happening in cinema with smartphones, as discussed in another one of our articles.
However, one major challenge faced by smartphone filmmakers is the limited hardware; how can you keep shooting with limited battery life and storage space? This may sound paradoxical, and it kind of is. If you need more battery life and storage then just use a ‘proper’ camera, right?That’s not always an option though, as those who choose smartphones often do so because of how cheap and lightweight they are – so they wouldn’t want a bigger camera anyway. Luckily, there are now plenty of accessories sold which resolve, as well as stuff to super-charge your smart-phone: rigs, apps, and lenses.
The Helium Core is one such rig; a chassis for customizing your iPhone camera rig, which when used alongside the Moondog Labs lenses, can produce a result that is visually appealing and costs only a fraction of a DSLR rig – especially if you follow our guide on how to get a cinematic look to your smartphone footage. Take a look at the results!
As far as fixing storage space and battery life, you can also follow these smartphone filmmaking tips to optimise your device:
- Use a Portable Charger
This is a necessary for everyone thinking of filming on a smartphone. You can quickly and easily pick up these, they usually charge via a USB port, and the high-end ones can actually store 5 or more of your phones full battery life.
- Clean out your Smartphone!
This is less obvious, but if you’re serious about filmmaking, then you’ll need to remove a lot of the baggage from your phone. Whether that be old iMessage conversations, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and other social media platforms which suck up your storage with their caches, games of course (apart from maybe Sudoku for your coffee break), and so many other unnecessary apps you have.
It is also a good idea to export your camera roll before each day of filming – not only freeing up space, but allowing you to better organise your dailies, and avoid the catastrophe of ever losing footage.
Nb. Also make sure your phone is updated! Sometimes there is just half GB updates sitting in your storage, taking up space, waiting to be installed.
- Bring your Laptop and External Hard Drive
This helps with both previous points, you can charge your phone off your laptop if necessary (although only as a last minute thing), and export your footage to it or your external harddrive.
If you use an android then luckily you will likely be able to use microSD cards to store everything in, although it is still advisable to bring something with TBs of memory – you don’t want to have lots of microSD cards everywhere, unorganised and easily lost.
- Record what you can ahead of time
If you are forced to record the interviews and B-roll all in one day, then you don’t always have to record the full interview. It will take up a lot of storage space on your phone.
Instead you can record just the audio of some of the interview (using the voice memo app most smartphones have) and edit your B-roll footage over it in post-production.
A good camera and a natural eye will get you somewhere, but if you really want to go far and achieve great things in filmmaking you’ll need to nurture a few keys skills.When you start filming, everyone needs to know how to do these key things: how to shoot, how to use different pieces of gear, how to edit, and (hopefully) how to write a compelling story. Beyond that (and only really gained through years of experience in the field, and years of mistakes, failures and learning from them), there are really valuable skills and mind-sets that will help you get noticed.
With the hope of passing on what he has learnt over the years, Darious Britt, who runs the YouTube channel D4Darious (which has almost 200,000 subscribers), has created a video listing the 9 skills he thinks are most essential.
Each of Darious’s points touch on a different aspect of being a filmmaker, a real filmmaker, with all the ups and downs and unglamorous failures that come with that. Here we have reviewed his list, summarising each point, into a list of Top Tips for student filmmakers.
(Also check out another of our articles “Turning Filmmaking Dreams Into Reality” where we detail a similar set of qualities which will really help you go far in the industry.)
This is really about being pragmatic. The chances of you making your debut film and it skyrocketing you into being the next Denis Villeneuve or Damien Chazelle are near-zero. You can’t rely on the luck a few others have, the meteroric success stories are like winning the lottery. You need to take the small jobs, the projects that you will need to sacrifice your precious “artistic integrity” for – whether that be commercials, training videos, adverts, wedding videos even. This point, above all, is that you can’t afford to be full of pride – as that won’t get you far.
- Business savvy
This is about economy. Don’t aim to write the biggest, most action-packed blockbuster to begin with, and certainly don’t waste your breathe trying to get a studio to pick it up. Instead write and make 5 smaller films for the price of that one. Think about what studios will actually pay for, and also what audiences will pay to see. Know your audience and again (the same as before) be pragmatic.
- Know how to learn
This just goes for life. It’s certainly not something that can be ‘taught’, as such, but instead something which you need to nurture within yourself, and that takes a good knowledge of oneself, and a lot of tenacity. It doesn’t come from filmschool, which is becoming increasingly less important (as discussed in another of our articles here). Make the most out of everything that happens to you. You succeed? Good, learn from it and move on. You fail? Too bad, but you have to be able to learn even more from it, and you have to learn to move on.
- Technical Expertise
Filmmaking is more of a technical subject that most give it credit for. There is a vast amount of not only technology you need to become acquainted with, but also huge amount of regular practices which you need to adopt – whether that be marketing, Photoshop, special effects, or even understanding the physics of a camera.
- Story Analysis
They say that some are just born with a naturally brilliant genius for voice, the written word and story – think Oscar Wilde or F. Scott Fitzgerald – and that others will never achieve the same knack for storytelling, even with all the training in the world. This is a lie (mostly). There is a science you can learn, and from that the art will come: story structure, fundamentals of drama, character development.
For this there are 3 books:
- Story by Robert Mckee
- Screenplay by Syd Field
- Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
Also read more. This will help so much more than you will think; if anything this is actually more important to making movies than even watching movies.
- Film grammar
Like all languages, film has grammar, and hence rules in place, although the rules are slightly less strict than with written language. You can subvert various rules for a desired effect, but you still need to know the rules in the first place to be able to do this.
Filmmaking is the most social artform of them all. You can’t get away with being a recluse or ‘just-not-a-people-person’. You have to learn to communicate with everyone in your crew, and work well with them. This involves management, motivation, and empathy. A huge part of empathy will be knowing what each persons jobs actually entail, and their responsibility as part of the whole working machine that makes up your crew.
- Critical thinking
This ultimately comes down to being logical about what works and not being overly sentimental about ‘your baby’. Tone and pacing a hugely important and if you find out that a whole scene doesn’t fit in your film only after you’ve started editing, you still need to chop it.
- Talent and hustle
Everyone loves talent; it’s the one skill that gets all the praise when something great is achieved. However what is forgotten are all the skills which helped talent get there – and without which, talent would have gotten nowhere.
Hustle is actually much more necessary, and will actually get you further – as Darious said “Talent rarely beats hustle when talent don’t hustle”.
As teachers, it’s our job to guide our students in every way. Of course, the first thing that means is teaching facts and theories to budding minds. But it also means being something of a life coach, too, sometimes even being a shoulder to cry on.
So to help your students, here are three things that are going to kick start their careers in the film industry.
Have them really consider whether filmmaking is the future for them
This should always be the first of many tips for growing your filmmaking career. And it’s by far the most important, because let’s face it: not every single film student is going to go on to be a professional. There are some things that we can control, like how hard we study, schmooze and work; and there are some things we can’t, like how much we really want it.
Every student has to ask themselves: do I have the patience, time and fortitude to turn my dream into a reality? If yes, then that’s fantastic, although we should all be aware that passion alone won’t make anybody stand out from the crowd. But if the desire just isn’t there, it’s better to acknowledge that before wasting too much time.
Always keep a positive attitude
The first of our tips for growing your filmmaking career is to stay positive. It’s true that it’s difficult to get a career in filmmaking, and that the hours are long, and that the slog is hard. So it can be difficult to crack a smile at the end of all that! But it’s positivity that’s absolutely necessary to keep a young filmmaker going through those hard times.
Positivity is especially helpful during that first long job search. There are probably going to be dozens of emails and applications that never even get a reply, and a few promised phone calls that you’ll never receive. Tell your students that it’s natural to feel disappointed not to get the job they were after, but that the most important thing is to pick yourself up, and get back on the horse.
Tell them that sometimes, being pushy is a good thing
Let’s go back to that unanswered email for, say, an internship. Your student could just leave it at that; if the employer doesn’t respond, it’s probably pretty clear that your student isn’t in contention for the job, right?
…Well, yeah, probably. But even so- tell them it’s always worth being a little pushy and sending a follow up email, making a follow up call, or even trying to see somebody in person. Why? Reason number one is that you can get useful information on why you didn’t get the job, be it your outlook, your experience, or your grades.
But the second reason is that maybe your pushiness might land you that job after all: it shows how much you really wanted it in the first place, which can impress an employer. That pushiness is what careers in film industry are based on… Figuring out how FAR to push without going over the edge is the talent that usually only comes through experience and learning from mistakes.
First things first, let’s just say it: we think that digital learning and teaching are here to stay. The use of digital technology in education might only be a recent phenomenon, but it’s one that’s already having profound effects on how we teach, how we learn and how students succeed.
So, rather than yet another piece on whether we should digitise our classrooms at all, let’s take a look at whether the change is likely to stick.
Digital and mobile learning is a reflection of a huge societal shift
Digital and mobile learning are, rightly or wrongly, taking over the classroom. Growing numbers of school boards and individual teachers are moving with the times and using digital sources to teach, and digital environments to work in. But this isn’t simply a change within education; it’s anything but. It’s a reflection of the way that society is heading more generally.
Smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs are a part of every home in a way that was unimaginable even just twenty years ago. They offer convenience and flexibility that was completely unheard of not just in education, but in nearly every aspect of life. As humans, we’re never ones to give up something convenient unless something more convenient comes along. We gave up fax in the 1990s, not because we didn’t want to communicate any more, but because email came along. So societal change isn’t going anywhere, its only likely to accelerate as it always has done.
Digital learning in the classroom is backed up by some big names
Since the digitisation of classrooms reflects not just a niche change, but a whole societal restructuring, it’s no surprise that some big names in business are sitting up and taking note. Hundreds of businesses just like Quickclass are moving with the times, and making VLEs and apps that can both help push this digital revolution forward, and help you to benefit from it.
And, naturally, it’s not just us. Probably the biggest name to have stepped into the market is Google, who are famous for trying to get their finger into almost every pie going. Google have created Google Classroom; while we don’t think it’s the best VLE out there, it’s a sign that the big guys are very interested for their own variety of reasons.
Digital learning and teaching benefit everybody
Allowing your students greater flexibility to do their work is only of benefit. It allows them to study and work wherever they choose, alter the pace of their learning to suit their needs, and even completely change how they learn. This sort of student led learning isn’t a new idea, but digital learning and teaching allows it to blossom like never before.
And the use of a virtual learning environment doesn’t just benefit students, it benefits teachers too. VLEs allow teachers to better organise their work load, share marks more easily with both students and parents, and find and share a wide variety of learning and support tools all through one interface. As we’ve said elsewhere, we believe that teachers and the digital classroom are the perfect match, and that this change is here to stay.