Advice for a Filmmaker Approaching a Sales Agent

Creating a documentary film, whether a short film, television broadcast, or theatrical feature is no small accomplishment.  But, as we have covered in past columns and in interviews with filmmakers, this is only half the battle. In this series, I am reporting from IDFA – International Documentary Festival Amsterdam to investigate the state of the documentary film industry and provide some helpful advice for selling your documentary film to distributors.

-Make a spreadsheet with potential sales agents.

-Make a budget Read the rest

6 Things to Do Before Writing Your Screenplay

Every great screenwriter in film history started somewhere, tapping away on her or his very first screenplay. If you’re preparing to embark on your own screenwriting journey for the first time, congratulations! It’s an exciting (and frustrating) adventure, but if you stick with it, you’ll learn more about writing and storytelling than you would ever get from a class or book.

Before you type FADE IN, take a look at these six preparatory steps. They’ll help you make sure you Read the rest

Keys to Writing the Perfect Movie Character

Your film’s main character is arguably the most important part of your story. She or he is the one that each person in your audience will identify with — and root for — on the adventure that makes up your plot. It’s vital that your protagonist is strong-willed, courageous, and active in every decision along the way, but most important is that they change over the course of your film. That arc of change is the key to creating a Read the rest

Essential Tactics for Inspiring New Screenplay Ideas

Professional screenwriters are not in the business of waiting around for great ideas to appear out of thin air. The ability to generate new story concepts on-demand is an essential skill that must be practiced and perfected in order for a writer to be successful — and if you know the right places to look, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Here are few tips to help you come up with story ideas without depending on divine inspiration.Read the rest

How to Start Your Screenplay the Pixar Way

Pixar is known for giving the world some of the best stories ever told, starting with 1995’s Toy Story — currently boasting a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2017, when it came time for Pixar to create the highly-anticipated third installment of the Toy Story franchise, executives tapped screenwriter Michael Arndt after reading his very first submission to the film world, an original script titled Little Miss Sunshine.

Arndt would end up winning an Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine, Read the rest

6 Essential Cinematography Tips in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon


For those just getting into the oeuvre of Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon can seem like the redheaded stepchild in his body of work. It lacks the groundbreaking psychedelic effects of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the sleek brutalist ultra violence of A Clockwork Orange, and the dread-inducing Grand Guignol soul horror of The Shining. In fact, on paper, Barry Lyndon kinda sounds like the cinematic equivalent of
homework: a three hour 18th century costume drama starring one of the most derided … Read the rest

Screenwriting: A Guide To The Hero’s Journey

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” This is how Joseph Campbell described the narrative pattern he called the monomyth in his 1949 book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Today, the monomyth is more commonly known as the hero’s journey, and Read the rest