Film and Television Articles, Essays, Speeches and Technical Reports

by Peter D Marshall

This section contains links to Reports, Articles, Essay’s and Speeches designed to help Filmmakers become more informed about the creative and technical aspects of Film and TV Production.

Motion Picture Directing – Cecil B. DeMille
This paper was originally presented before the Graduate School of Business Administration of Harvard University, April 26, 1927 (www.cinemaweb.com)

The Movie Industry – An Overview – James R. Jaeger II
The Movie Industry is one of most exciting and informative businesses in the world, a business where the revenue of a single feature film (such as Titanic), can approach or exceed $1 billion. In 1998, worldwide gross revenues generated by motion pictures in all territories and media (including music and ancillaries) amounted to over $40 billion. Over 70% of the population rents or goes to movies regularly, thus accounting for over 1.5 billion movie attendances each year in the U.S. (www.mecfilms.com)

A Brief, Early History of Computer Graphics in Film
The first feature film to use digital image processing was Westworld, in 1973–the same year as the first SIGGRAPH conference. John Whitney Jr. and Gary Demos at Information International Inc. (III; aka “Triple I”) provided digitally processed, pixellated versions of motion photography to portray an android point of view. The same group used digital compositing to materialize characters over a background in the 1976 sequel, Futureworld. These efforts were recognized with a Scientific & Engineering Academy Award in 1994.(www.beanblossom.in.us)

Adapting Shakespeare to Film – Gail M. Feldman
For the last 400 years there’s been a whole lot o’ Shakespeare goin’ on, and despite a few minor wars, an industrial revolution, the doubling of the average human lifespan, the explosion/expansion of the English language and, most recently, a century full of “crimes of the century” (which you’d think would render old melodramas passé and old comedies full of clunkers), there seems to be no end in sight. (www.insidefilm.com)

Analyzing the Reality Effect in Dogma Films – Peter Wuss
A certain challenge for contemporary film theory is presented by the fact that recent Scandinavian film production, especially the works of those Danish filmmakers associated with the well-known Dogma ’95 manifesto, has attracted considerable attention among cineastes. The fascination with these films cannot be explained simply by their contents, for instance that they show contradictory and often emotional forms of spontaneous behavior. Instead, it seems to rest in the particular appeal, as difficult as it is to define, that emanates from the discovery or renewal of specific cinematic forms that are being used in these films to portray fine nuances in human emotions and actions. Certain distinctive forms of cinematic representation that had long been neglected are now suddenly in the center of attention and demand a more exact explanation. (www.uca.edu)

Edward Dmytryk’s Rules of Film Editing – Edward Dmytryk
Edward Dmytryk, film industry legend in the directorial and editorial fields, enumerates seven rules to follow in his text On Film Editing. They have since been upheld as the standard for film editing technique. These rules are broad guidelines and are very much comprised of common sense; however, cinematic editing is so counter-intuitive and convoluted on so many levels that oftentimes common sense is not convenient or doesn’t even seem logical at the time. The following rules are backed by over five decades of experience in an industry that is little older than ten decades: (www.everything2.com)

Film Editing – A Hidden Art? – Vinca Wiedemann
When we watch a film, most of us have great difficulty in consciously perceiving the editing. Of course we know that every time there is a shift from one image to another, it is an edit, and we know that editing in general has to do with the establishing of rhythm in film. But we are often not sure of the concrete function of editing, and likewise of the contribution the editing process makes to the final film. (http://imv.au.dk)

Movies & the Media – Distributors continue to throw money at marketing but hold conservative on where to toss the cash. – Stephen Galloway
Imagine this: You’re about to launch a major summer movie, and you have to decide where to spend your money. Do you buy a 30-second commercial on Fox’s “American Idol” for some $500,000-plus? Do you purchase several spreads in the Sunday New York Times for $100,000-plus apiece? Or do you spread the wealth over a host of prominent billboards, each costing $10,000 and up per month? Such are the daily decisions facing studio marketing presidents. The problem: They can’t limit themselves to just one choice — they have to buy whole swaths of different media in order to spread the word about their product amid an increasingly competitive environment. (www.hollywoodreporter.com)

Shot Lists: From Pre-Production Through Post Production – Peter John Ross
Like so many of us with a desire to eventually make movies for a living, I like to view my little DV shorts (aka Microcinema) as a training ground. Even when making a 5 minute camcorder short, the kind where you are the writer/director/producer/cameraman/editor, you can still prep for bigger shoots, and develop good habits. One of these habits is creating and maintaining a shot list. (www.indietalk.com)

Silent Films – Are They Worth the Watching? – Peter Reiher
The silent movie is, for the vast majority of audiences, even those that have serious interests in films, the pariah of the movie world. They are commonly viewed as quaint, old-fashioned, melodramatic, and technically immature. Worst of all, there’s no sound, unless you happen to have an organ and a capable organist handy. (And how many of us do?) Those with serious interests in film are often willing to grant that certain silent movies are seminal works, films of importance that everyone should know, but they treat them about the same way that readers treat Moby Dick and Silas Marner. (http://ficus-www.cs.ucla.edu)

So You Wanna Make a Low-Budget Movie?
You’ve got a movie to make. You’re busy! So before we waste any of your time, let us tell you whether or not we can help you produce the next Brothers McMullen or Blair Witch Project. First, we’re assuming that you’ve written or obtained a screenplay. Secondly, we’re assuming that you will be able to procure (from parents, friends, credit cards, theft, etc.) at least $15,000. If you don’t have $15,000 or more . . . sorry, but miracle workers we’re not. (www.soyouwanna.com)

Suiting Up to Storyboard Your Film
Before you create your storyboards, you have to perform certain tasks and make certain decisions. First, begin by evaluating your screenplay and picturing it in terms of separate shots that can be visually translated into individual storyboard panels. Then you determine what makes up each shot and also which images need to be storyboarded and which ones don’t. After you start storyboarding, you’ll need to determine whether you’re shooting for a TV movie or a theatrical release, which will ultimately affect the frame dimensions of your panels. (www.dummies.com)

The Distribution of Black Films – Lynne D. Johnson
Since the popularity and commercial success of films by both Spike Lee (She’s Gotta Have It, 1986) and John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood, 1991), Hollywood has viewed the black film as a viable commodity. Nonetheless, finances allocated to black film projects are significantly lower than those allocated to other feature-length films. And although, as this article will highlight, independent black filmmakers tend to operate outside of Hollywood, a host of festivals, markets, and exhibition vehicles – specifically for black filmmakers – have cropped up in recent years to foster the necessary business relationships to obtain a studio deal. An overview of some of the outlets is presented, along with key organizations that assist black filmmakers with understanding the business of cinema. (www.brightlightsfilm.com)

Copyright (c) 2000-2012  Peter D. Marshall / All Rights Reserved

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