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Tip #1710: Tips to Avoid Filmmaker Burn-out

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Burn-out is real – but you can take steps to avoid it.

Image courtesy of Luis Quintero, of Pexels.com.

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This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

For those who have worked in film and video for an extended amount of time, eventually you’ll hit some roadblocks. Work will occasionally dry up, clients will have unreasonable deadlines and demands, and you’ll face problems that don’t always have a simple solution.

I’ve seen more than a few fellow filmmakers and video professionals drop out of the industry altogether. However, while you’ll never completely avoid feeling tired or dragged down from time to time, there are options and resources out there to help you battle burnout.

Always Be Working on a Passion Project. I don’t think I’ve met a single person working in film and video who’s simply doing it for the money. That’s why it’s important to always be working on a passion project. You don’t have to schedule shoots every weekend for your feature film, but try to stay in touch with what got you into film and video in the first place.

Vary Types of Projects. Try to find ways to vary the types of projects you work on. Logically, focusing on one type of work can be helpful for building clientele and increasing your rates and income. But, don’t let it completely burn you out!

Get Connected with a Community. Another helpful way to battle burnout is by simply connecting with a solid film or video community. They can also help you build out your own network for finding more work and other projects to collaborate on.

Experiment with New Technologies. If there’s one consistent theme in the film and video industry, it’s that there’s always going to be new cameras, drones, rigs, or gear to check out.

Keep up with Online Resources.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article contains links to more resources, and more details on how to avoid burnout in your life.


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Tip #1711: NBC Announces 7,000 Hours of Olympics

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

7,000 hours of coverage, 5,500 hours of streaming.

Olympics logo courtesy of NBCUniversal.

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This article, written by Jon Lafayette, first appeared in NextTV.com. This is an excerpt.

NBCUniversal said it will have 7,000 hours of coverage of the Tokyo Olympics this summer. The Tokyo games will include 5,550 hours of streaming, including all sports and medal events

The Olympics will appear on NBCU’s broadcast and cable networks, its digital platforms including Peacock and Telemundo Deportes. NBCU cable networks USA, CNBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel and Golf Channel will present more than 1,300 hours of Tokyo Olympic coverage. USA’s coverage starts with the USA playing Sweden in soccer.

An NBC Sports spokesperson said the organization has been doing remote production for many Games and already planned for a very significant home operation for Tokyo. “After requests by the IOC and Tokyo Organizing Committee for everyone to reduce their footprint, we moved 300 additional workers home and will now have 1,600 in Tokyo,” the spokesperson said. Asked what impact diminished live attendance might have, the spokesperson said “as we have seen over the past year, coverage of sporting events can be very successful even with reduced capacities.”

Read the full article here.


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Tip #1712: Tips on Restarting Production

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

An in-depth interview with cinematographer Ben Richardson.

Ben Richardson on the set of “Mare of Easttown.”

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This article, written by Matt Mulcahey, first appeared in FilmmakerMagazine.com. This is an excerpt.

With the entire season of “Mare of Easttown” now available on HBO Max, cinematographer Ben Richardson talks the difficulties of a six-month COVID-19 pause, the benefits of Leitz Summilux lenses and his tricks for assigning the right level of suspicion to your red herrings.

Filmmaker: Were the scripts for all seven episodes of the series completely finished when you started shooting?

Richardson: Yes. This was a somewhat unusual scenario in that we didn’t actually start shooting with the first episode. Instead, we cross-boarded the entire season, visiting many locations only once (and shooting every scene there) for all seven episodes. Because there was a single DP and a single director, there wasn’t any need to go in strict episode order. To make the logistics work with actor availability and some of the locations that were featured throughout the whole show, it made sense to block shoot everything.

Filmmaker: That plan makes a lot of sense, but it definitely complicated matters when you had to shut down halfway through the shoot because of COVID. When you went back to finish, now you still had scenes from all seven episodes to shoot.

Richardson: The challenge was that we had set out to make something not only scheduled more like a movie but also with that same sort of scale, which is something I think the story demanded. The real challenge was maintaining that scale we’d been able to establish while working within the new restrictions that COVID required.

Filmmaker: The interiors and exteriors really blend seamlessly. How much of this was shot on stage versus practical locations?

Richardson: I think it’s probably about 50/50. Though the exterior is real, the interior of Mare’s house is a build. Actually, the little stairwell [next to the split-level home’s front door] was duplicated on stage to match the one in the real exterior location, so we were able to do stairwell scenes looking out the real location’s front door to get the background, then do the reverses on the set build. Frank and Faye’s was entirely practical. Lori’s was entirely practical. It was a real hybrid and that ends up being a little bit challenging in a fun way, because there are some logistical differences between shooting location interiors versus stage interiors. You don’t want the stuff done on stage to feel much more controlled or contrived compared to the location stuff, which may have a few more rough edges. But I like the rough edges, so I’m always looking for ways to break the lighting a little bit and make it imperfect on stage.

Filmmaker: The only handheld shot I remember in the show is the episode six flashback to the suicide of Mare’s son, which tracks from outside to inside her house.

Richardson: That shot actually ended being quite a complex thing to pull off, because it’s two shots stitched together between the location and the stage set, and also there’s a speed ramp at the end. It became a very interesting technical challenge to be able to marry those shots in a way that, hopefully, nobody will ever notice and I think we pulled that off pretty well.

EXTRA CREDIT

The interview goes into much more detail. Read the full version here.


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Tip #1686: Why “IP is the New Prime Time”

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

“Ultimately, it’s about brand and content.” (Peter Csathy)

Proposed logo for WarnerMedia/Discovery.

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Angela Watercutter, of Wired, writes: “Controlling Hollywood stopped being just about who had the biggest opening weekend at the box office or a massive hit during prime time. A turf war over intellectual property became a land-grab effort to see who could bulk up their streaming service with the best library of content.”

This article, written by Adrian Pennington, first appeared in NABAmplify.com. This is a summary.

Hands up, who saw WarnerMedia’s blockbuster merger with Discovery coming? Not WarnerMedia chief Jason Kilar who was kept in the dark while three-month long negotiations carried on above his head between AT&T boss John Stankey and Discovery’s president, David Zaslav.

The deal has shaken the industry — because it’s widely considered a shrewd one in which Zaslav in particular has played especially well.

It has also put the streaming wars on a new footing. One in which scale and tentpole franchises are deemed essential if a media conglomerate is going to be one of the handful to succeed.

As WarnerMedia’s head of ad sales JP Colaco said, “We believe that IP [intellectual property] is the new prime time.”

This article starts by looking at what this merger means for AT&T and Discovery, but it goes further and looks at it’s impact on the media landscape as a whole; with stops including Amazon, MGM, Netflix and, um, everyone else.

Here’s the link.


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Tip #1689: Frame.io Announces v3.7.1 – Boosts Premiere Pro

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Frame.io beefs up its support for Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects.

Adobe Premiere Pro running the new Frame.io extension (courtesy of Frame.io).

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Last week, Frame.io announced version 3.7.1. This update features new Adobe integration extensions along with dozens of other performance improvements and enhancements that customers have asked for.

Frame.io 3.7.1 includes redesigned Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects extensions with intuitive new user interfaces. Editors and motion graphics artists will find the most commonly used controls and commands at their fingertips. Navigation controls have been moved from the bottom of the screen to the top, giving customers a larger and clearer view of assets. Switching between projects and teams has been streamlined, file path breadcrumbs have been added, and the download button now lets you import media directly into Premiere Pro or download it for later review. It’s also easier to upload active sequences into Frame.io, so sharing the latest version of a cut is faster than ever.

The new Adobe extensions are free for all Frame.io users and are available for download in the Adobe Creative Cloud Marketplace.

Frame.io 3.7.1 also adds a resizable navigation panel to the web app. Simply click and drag to show additional folders and text, or shrink it to leave more room for assets. New shortcut menus let customers quickly move assets up one folder, making it even faster to reorganize clips. Files can now be uploaded directly from Google Drive on iOS devices. This makes it easier for customers to add assets, no matter where they are.

Here’s a link to learn more.


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Tip #1690: Lights are Getting Smaller – And That’s Great!

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Advances in technology offer new options and expanded usage.

Aputure MC-4 Kit (Image credit: Julia Swain)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Julia Swain, first appeared in TVTech.com. This is a summary.

There are so many reasons why the use of larger lighting sources is preferred a lot of the time on set. The ability to cut, soften and shape a larger source tends to be much easier than a smaller one. Output is not lost as quickly as from a smaller source and these bigger lights can be used to cover a large surface area and create ambience. I have written on the versatility of smaller sources before, but technology is advancing so quickly that new options have since become available and the ways to use them have expanded.

Popular small lights that have held up include ARRI’s AX5 smaller fresnels and the Dedolight. Small tungsten units such as these for uplights or as extensions of practicals that already exist in the frame are so useful.

Other small units are panels such as Aputure’s MC-4, which can act as a replacement for a bulb in some instances. Like the AX5, the battery-powered MC-4 can be controlled via an app.

Using a large source is great but it becomes a bit of a “grip jungle”—so many stands and flags and diffusion have to surround a large source in order to focus it on a subject. Sometimes it is appropriate to downsize your key, and in my experience it’s usually when you don’t have much space.

If you have your subject close to walls or other elements in space that light would spill onto, key with something smaller.

A popular lighting approach right now is one that is minimal. Smaller units play into more specificity. When we think minimal, it’s just a couple large sources doing all the work for a space. The use of smaller lights lends itself to adding interest in the frame and creating separation.

EXTRA CREDIT

The author provides practical examples from her lighting experience, which makes the entire article worth reading.

Here’s link.


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Tip #1670: 10 Things to Know about Backlight

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

When in doubt, backlight!

Image courtesy of PremiumBeat.com.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Tanner Shinnick, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

The backlight may be the most important light on any set. A well-placed and utilized backlight can quickly elevate any production, giving it that coveted “cinematic look.”

Here are Tanner’s 10 Tips:

  1. A Backlight Is an Essential Component in 3-Point Lighting
  2. Backlighting Creates a 3D Effect in a 2D Medium
  3. Essential to Create Separation
  4. “When in Doubt, Backlight!”
  5. Quality of Light Matters
  6. Expose Properly
  7. A Backlight Has Many Names
  8. A Backlight Can Create Drama
  9. The Sun Is the Ultimate Backlight
  10. Experiment

Overall, the backlight is an essential piece of your lighting setup. It can create separation, depth, and help you achieve that cinematic look.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article provides photos that illustrate each of these ten ideas, along with provide examples and details on how to use each.


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Tip #1671: 10 Tips to High Production Value – at Low Cost

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Production value is what draws viewers in.

Image courtesy: “The Battle at Home” from John DeStefano Jr.

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This article, written by John DeStefano Jr., first appeared in NoFilmSchool.com. This is a summary.

While trying to become successful in the film industry, people will always compare your film, feature-length or short, to the best movies ever made.

So how do you create something that’s similar in quality, when those movies have multimillion-dollar budgets, A-list actors, and what seems like an army of a crew? The answer is simple—high production value.

High production value is what is going to draw viewers in and keep them there. In order to duplicate the look and feel of blockbuster hits, all you need is a little ingenuity and movie magic.

  1. The Poster, Title, and Logline
  2. Locations
  3. Story
  4. Actors
  5. Color
  6. Extras
  7. Crew
  8. Establishing and Wide Shots
  9. Time Management
  10. Post Sound Design and Music

With limited resources, you can be well on your way to a long and successful career with the help of high production value. All you need to do is create films that look great, sound great, and flow well. Oh, and create an entertaining and enticing story that audiences will love and won’t forget.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article provides personal details and images on how the author used these tips in his latest feature “The Battle at Home” – which got him a contract to a MUCH bigger feature.


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Tip #1672: Top Sources for Affordable, Royalty-Free Music

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

There are lots of good sites with great music.

RocketStock blog logo.

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This article first appeared in RocketStock.com. This is a summary.

Looking for affordable, royalty free music for your video project in 2021? These resources offer the quality tracks video editors need.

One of the realities of video editing is that you need music, and you can’t just take it from anywhere. You need legally licensed music to avoid lawsuits or other legal issues.

The problem for many video editors is cost. Most working filmmakers don’t have the money it takes to license well-known radio hits. If you fall into this category (like the overwhelming majority of us do), you might understand the challenges of finding licensing agreements for quality music you can afford. Let’s take a look at some of the best stock music resources for your next project.

Here’s their list:

Readers also suggested:


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Tip #1650: How to Make Your Script More Memorable

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The key to quotable is purpose and context.

Mad Men image courtesy of PremiumBeat.com.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

We all want to capture the zeitgeist – the imagination of the masses – with our projects. But, what exactly makes a film or TV show quotable and memorable? For many this answer will be subject to how they watch and remember their favorite shows and movies. However, there are certainly trends and techniques that make some films, shows, and specific moments and lines memorable.

With a few exceptions, most of the most quotable television shows come from standard sitcoms and other hybrid comedy shows. Whereas, interestingly enough, most of the most famous movie quotes come from dramas and romance films.

From a writing and filmmaking perspective, how does one go about coming up with great dialogue and memorable quotes? …Dialogue is all about purpose. Especially in television and shorter films, every line really needs to help advance the narrative in a significant way. Dialogue that serves no purpose is bad dialogue. Whereas, dialogue that advances the plot in a major way is good dialogue—and, more often than not, quite memorable.

Overall, creating memorable lines and quotable dialogue in your film and television projects isn’t just about the quotes themselves. Instead, it comes from the entire filmmaking process. It’s true that a good quote is only as good as it’s written. But, many famous lines and quotes have come from last minute rewrites and ad-libs.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article has three in-depth videos that discuss this in more detail, lists of famous quotes and a variety of links providing ideas on how to make your script-writing more memorable.


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