THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
Free Monthly Ezine for Independent Filmmakers
January 7, 2014 Scene 15 – Take 1
Published once a month.
Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
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2. Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. My 2014 Film Workshop Schedule
4. FEATURE ARTICLE: Push the Boundaries of Your Creativity
5. Film Directing Coach Services
6. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
7. Filmmaking Links of Interest
8. Product Promotion and Film Workshops
9. Copyright Information
Welcome to Issue #149 of The Director’s Chair, Jan. 7, 2014
1. The Feature Article this month is called: Push the boundaries
of your creativity: STUDY, a film by Paolo Benetazzo. Filmmaking
is my day-long obsession, joy and torment When you can‚Äôt see the
line between fiction and reality, filmmaking becomes your
lifestyle. I was a psychology student when I came up with the
concept behind my feature film directorial debut Study. During
the final year at university I was involved in a number of film
projects, including short films and documentaries. I didn‚Äôt have
full artistic control. I had to compromise my vision for the sake
of the team and that was the only way to get it done. (Read full
2. Please send any comments, suggestions, questions or advice to:
2. Two Bonuses For Subscribing To The Director’s Chair
Thank you very much for subscribing to this ezine.
BONUS #1 – Here is the link to download Day One (41 pages) of
“The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”
BONUS #2 – Here is the link to download the first 30 pages of the
“Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course.”
IMPORTANT: Once the pdf file has opened on your browser, go to
File, “Save Page As” and save the file to your desktop. All links
will now work in the pdf file.
3. My 2014 Film Workshop Schedule (January, February, March)
I have four 2-day filmmaking workshops booked in January,
February and March in Vancouver and Toronto. If you are
interested in participating in any of these workshops, please
email the contact person I have included with the workshop link
1. January 18 & 19 – Vancouver, Canada
“Essentials of Film Directing”
Shoreline Actor’s Lab
Contact: Tami Kersh
2. February 8 & 9 – Vancouver, Canada
“Chemistry Behind the Camera: The Director/DOP Relationship”
Contact: Karen Margolese
3. February 15 & 16 – Vancouver, Canada
Shoreline Actor’s Lab
Contact: Tami Kersh
4. March 8 & 9 – Toronto, Canada
Contact: Jaimy Warner
4. Feature Article: Push the Boundaries of your Creativity
Push the Boundaries of Your Creativity: STUDY, a film by Paolo Benetazzo.
Filmmaking is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
When you can’t see the line between fiction and reality,
filmmaking becomes your lifestyle.
I was a psychology student when I came up with the concept behind
my feature film directorial debut Study. During the final year at
university I was involved in a number of film projects, including
short films and documentaries. I didn’t have full artistic
control. I had to compromise my vision for the sake of the team
and that was the only way to get it done.
When you don’t want to share your vision with others I think
you’re ready to make your full-length film, no matter what your
budget is. I rather make a low budget film instead of collecting
short films or waiting for the great opportunity that maybe will
never come. It’s going to be risky, painful and insane but that’s
how real indie films are made.
I’m a self-taught filmmaker, I’ve never attended a film school.
Watching films along with real life experience represent the film
school par excellence in my opinion. Films are the greatest
teachers of all; they are an endless source of learning.
The open screenplay.
Fascinated by the study of psychology and its impact on modern
life, I decided to explore my studies in a feature film. Once
graduated in Psychology, I moved to Ireland where I started
writing the script in English. I was discouraged by the Italian
film industry. There’s no such a thing as independent cinema in
Italy. All you can see is just the same old industry made by the
same filmmakers and actors. With the exception of a few rare
cases, Italian producers don’t usually invest in new ideas and
don’t really believe in new ways of making cinema.
I left the screenplay open for the entire production. That was
essential for my film. It gave me the chance to improvise during
the shots, fix bad acting and re-write scenes that would have
been too expensive to film.
Scientific journals, experiments and researches used in the film
are all fictional. I created them from scratch to avoid copyright
issues. The story and the characters are also original. It’s
getting really tough these days for an indie filmmaker, the
competition is just shocking, so writing something original was
extremely important to me. I don’t know if I did, but I badly
wanted to make a film distinguished by a unique expression of
Study is a psychological thriller drama film, which follows a
psychology student in the last week before his final exam,
discovering his life and exploring his mind. Starting on Monday,
in the middle of his room, the student tries to study surrounded
by his past and his present, obsessed by the concept of life and
death, and tortured by the eternal struggle between science and
religion. As the days go by, unexpected characters and situations
interfere with the student, turning what was meant to be a
regular week of study into a complete nightmare.
Shooting without a film crew.
I worked in a clothing store at the time I was writing the
script. Working full time and writing during the night was ok,
but when it came to shooting I had to quit my job and invest all
my savings. The film was produced on a budget of approximately
$10,000. Since rent and bills were the first obstacles, I got all
the shots I needed in Ireland and right after I moved back to my
house in Italy.
It took me almost a year to build the main set in the mansard
roof. It was the study room in the film. Most shots were taken
there. I literally lived, slept and created on that set. Even the
film score was composed there. I made two wall paintings
symbolizing two eyes. They appear in several scenes, including
the theatrical trailer. The study room was big enough for
steadicam and dolly shots.
The film was entirely shot without any film crew. When I really
needed someone behind the camera I called my mother or a friend,
otherwise I was always on my own. The standard procedure included
countless tests with me in the frame. I performed in front of the
camera and right away I checked the shot behind the camera. I
didn’t have a monitor on the set; I could properly view the
footage only in my editing suite. Many times I had to reshoot the
whole scene because of the blur or problems that I couldn‚Äôt
notice during the shot. That was extremely painful and
You spend a large amount of time shooting a scene, you’re
satisfied with performance and camera angle, but when you watch
it on a 23″ screen you discover things that ruin the shot. As it
wasn’t enough, at that time I was shooting in HD on an 8 minutes
P2 card with the Panasonic AG-HVX200. I was forced to stop
filming and downloading the card every 8 minutes of footage.
I shot my extreme close ups and body movements wearing a
steadicam vest, while I used a wheelchair for the dolly shots.
The camera was mounted on the wheelchair and was usually pushed
by my mother. She was in her 60’s, but she achieved some really
smooth shots at the end. When you can’t afford professionals,
it’s all about keep trying until you get the good shot. You need
time though, you can’t think of making a feature film in a few
months under these circumstances. Study comes from a long
introspective and experimental work developed over a period of
five years (development-post-production).
Influenced by unconventional filmmaking techniques, I used
unknown actors, friends and family in the cast. I found great
outdoor locations such as Trinity College and Garden of
Remembrance in Dublin, where I shot with a film permit at zero
Making this movie was like living a dream in hell: the budget was
ridiculous, the film crew was nonexistent and I had no connections
whatsoever. The experience was so extreme that I thought about
quitting on several occasions. However, in an era of independent
films made on high budgets with hundreds of people, my film is
distinguished by a profound cinematic individualism with one
person behind it. Study is a true independent film.
Music plays a vital role in Study.
Study does not rely on traditional techniques of narrative
cinema. I wanted the film to be a primarily visual and sound
experience in which music plays a vital role in evoking specific
I spent a year composing the music and searching for the right
sound. At first I wanted to use famous modern songs, but the cost
was unaffordable. It was actually insane, minimum $60,000 for
less than a minute. At that point I decided to compose an
original score with two friends of mine. They were both musicians
and one of them owned a recording studio.
Since composing the music in the studio was too expensive,
initially we played and recorded in the film’s main set. My
friend played a Gibson Les Paul using a vintage Marshall amp plus
multi-effect pedal and I recorded into my laptop through a cheap
mixer. I was interested in a variety of music genres including
hard rock, psychedelic rock, new age, funk rock, gothic rock,
trash metal. We later added bass, Rhodes piano and a number of
sound effects in the studio.
The film also features several famous pieces of classical music
including Un Sospiro and Piano Concerto No. 2 by Liszt, Funeral
March and Nocturne in E Minor, Op. 72 by Chopin, Prelude a
l’apres-midi d’un faune and Arabesque No. 1 by Debussy,
L’usignuolo by Respighi, Prelude to Act 1 Lohengrin by Wagner.
Some pieces were as usual too expensive, so I hired two pianists
and recorded the versions I needed. That way I owned the rights,
I could publish the music and it was still much cheaper than
buying a synchronization license for each track.
The soundtrack album was released on iTunes on October 1, 2013.
Study premiered in London on September 1, 2012. The film has been
screened and awarded at several international film festivals
including the California Film Awards, Portobello Film Festival,
Indie Fest, Accolade Competition, Los Angeles Movie Awards, SoCal
Film Festival. Study has since developed a cult following, due to
underground popularity (over 16k fans on Facebook and Twitter).
As of 2014, the film is still screening at film festivals worldwide.
Movie Site, Trailer and Awards
Film Facebook page
Film Twitter page
Soundtrack album on iTunes:
Film production company and filmmaker site:
5. Film Directing Coach – Peter D. Marshall
Actors, Singers and Athletes Have Private Coaches. So Why Not
Film and TV Directors? http://actioncutprint.com/filmdirectingcoach/
Hilary Swank used an acting coach to prepare for her role in Boys
Don’t Cry. She won her first Academy Award.
Singer Renee Fleming has always used a vocal coach. She has won
several Grammy Awards.
Rafael Nadal’s coach urged him on from the sidelines during his
Wimbledon tennis tournament win in 2010.
Arnold Palmer improved his game with the help of a coach. Even
Tiger Woods has had several coaches.
As a matter of fact, winners in nearly every profession
(athletes, actors, singers, business executives) know that
without the right coach, they won’t perform at their peak.
They know that without the support of an experienced and
qualified coach, they would constantly struggle to achieve
So if these top professionals in their respective fields use
coaches, why not film directors?
So why hire me as your film directing coach?
Along with my international teaching experiences and my 39 years
of professional filmmaking experience (as a TV Director and
Feature 1st AD), I feel I have the necessary qualifications to
help you achieve your dreams of being a creative and successful
independent film director.
With that in mind, I would like to introduce you to my Film
Directing Coaching services via Skype:
6. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion (Free Advertising)
The Director’s Chair gives you an incredible opportunity to get
Free Advertising for your services and your films.
Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this section.
So if you want over 6000 filmmakers around the world to know
about you and your films, please send me your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:email@example.com.
Please limit your promotion to 300 words. I reserve the right to
edit the promotion for length, spelling and formatting.
1. My name is Vlasto Peyitch from Germany. I am an actor and
screenwriter. “In the Clinch of Old Lies” is my first script
where I show uncommon pictures about human behavior and the alpha
wolfs of the world who focus on making money – but are destroying
the livelihood of others!
To me, our minds are not functioning in a logic way and the
spirit is being guided by something very evil. Nevertheless, the
heroes are blessed with humor and humanity. This film will touch
John, a family man, through an encounter with the wolf leader and
his pack, discovers that we are connected to a higher meaning
than the nonsense we live and call economics. He kidnaps a banker
and asks them both the questions and provides the answers that
ruthlessly confront a new era, the Survival-Sapiens. This story
is not entirely fictional and has much in common with current
If you want to support this project, be a part of it and donate! God bless.
7. Filmmaking Links of Interest
1. Business in Tinseltown is as unpredictable as it was 30 years
2. I Am No Longer Going To Produce Films For My Living
3. 88 Cinematographers Share the Best Professional Advice They’ve
Ever Received http://bit.ly/1bC9fc7
4. 6 Filmmaking Tips from David O. Russell
5. The Top 10 Documentaries Released in 2013
6. A Comprehensive List of the Top Tools in Documentary
7. The Revolution Won’t Be Televised ‚Äì 4 Reasons the Future of
Filmmaking is Online http://bit.ly/1c2UXkw
8. Danny Boyle’s 15 Golden Rules of Moviemaking
9. Directing with Structure, Passion and Lots of Food
10. Infographic: He covered 300 spec scripts for 5 different
8. Product Promotion And Film Workshops
From time to time, I will contact you to inform you of film
workshops, filmmaking products or Online courses that I feel are
beneficial to filmmakers like yourself. Of course, you are under
no obligation to purchase anything – I only offer this
information as a service to subscribers of this free ezine.
9. Copyright Information
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