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The Director’s Chair Issue #25 – May 26, 2002 (21st Century Black America Filmmakers)

Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

May 26, 2002          Scene 3 – Take 5

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Web Site: http://www.actioncutprint.com


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1.  Introduction
2.  Film Making Workshops with Peter D. Marshall
3.  The Busy Person’s Guide to Directing
4.  FREE Bonus for Subscribers
5.  Action-Cut-Print!
6.  Feature Article – “21st Century Black America Filmmakers”
7.  Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
8.  Directing Tip – Night Shooting
9.  Tips for Young Filmmakers
10. Film Links of Interest – StudentFilms.com
11. Film Scheduling Tip – Keep the camera rolling
12. Quote of the Month
13. Out Takes –  Movie Cliches (Chases)
14. Share This Ezine
15. Suggestions & Comments
16. Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information
17. Copyright Information


Welcome to Issue #25 of The Director’s Chair (May 26, 2002).

1) I have been contracted to do 4 Film workshops in Orlando,
Florida between August 12 and August 23, 2002. (See below for
more info)

2) THE FEATURE ARTICLE – “21st Century Black America Filmmakers
should embrace the principles of Europe’s New Wave of the 60s &
70s to escape the cinematic ghetto.” By Christopher B. Derrick

3) THE DIRECTING TIP – Night shooting

4) TIPS FOR YOUNG FILMMAKERS – “Is this (Directing) for me?”

5) VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – If you would like to contribute articles,
tips, links of interest, industry news, interviews, special event
dates or other resources to The Director’s Chair please email:



Peter D. Marshall

2. Film Making Workshops with Peter D. Marshall


Film Making Workshops with Peter D. Marshall
Orlando, Florida August 12 – August 23, 2002

I have worked in the Film and Television Industry for over 30
years – as a Film Director, Television Producer, First Assistant
Director, Series Creative Consultant and Documentary Filmmaker.

I’ve been asked many times to share my Film and TV production
knowledge with others. As a result, I developed several workshops
that I have successfully presented over the past 15 years.

Between August 12 and August 23, 2002, I will be presenting four
film workshops at Creative Stages in Orlando, Florida. To find
more information about these workshops and to learn how to
register online, just click on the links below.

The Workshops in Orlando, Florida

1) “The Art of the Film Director”
August 12 – August 14, 2002

Three day workshop for Filmmakers. Discusses Film and Television
Directing tips and techniques and answers the question, “What is
a Director?”

2) “Directing the Actor”
August 15 – August 17, 2002

Three day hands-on workshop for Directors. Concentrates on the
Film and Television Director’s main task: Directing the Actor!

3) “Designing the Film Shooting Schedule”
August 19 – August 20, 2002

Two day workshop for Producers, Production Managers, Assistant
Directors, Location Managers and Production Co-ordinators.
Focuses on the accurate preparation of the Shooting Schedule for
Television and Feature Film Productions.

4) “Acting for the Camera – A Survival Guide”
August 21 – August 23, 2002

Three day workshop for Actors. Designed to give Actors an
opportunity to learn “Film Acting Survival Tips” and help them
become successful working film Actors.

If you can’t make it to Orlando in August, but you are interested
in these workshops for yourself or your organization, please
contact me to discuss how we can bring these workshops to you.

Peter D. Marshall
(416) 280-6043


the best Film and Television Directing Websites and keep you
updated on the best Directing Websites in my weekly Directing
45-Second Newsletter.

Each issue will include more filmmaking Websites, links to film
and TV directing articles, and a weekly Film Directing Tip.


If you are a subscriber to The Director’s Chair, you are entitled
to get the first 3 chapters FREE to the eBook, �”Screenplay
Secrets – How to Create and Sell Compelling Characters in the New

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5. ACTION-CUT-PRINT! –  A Website for Filmmakers

If you are a Film or TV Director; a working professional who
wants to Direct; a film student who wants to learn more about
Directing; or a “student of film” who just wants to know more
about Filmmaking from the pros, Action-Cut-Print! is for you!

Take a moment now to visit http://www.actioncutprint.com where
you will find over 1200 Online Resources for Filmmakers, a Film
and TV Bookstore and Film Directing Workshops.

6. FEATURE ARTICLE – “21st Century Black America Filmmakers”

“21st Century Black America Filmmakers should embrace the
principles of Europe’s New Wave of the 60s & 70s to escape the
cinematic ghetto.” By Christopher B. Derrick

In the 1960s the young, hip filmmakers in Paris, Prague, London
and Berlin created groundbreaking films that made the world take
notice. Traditional cinema styles were eschewed for a more-free
flowing, energetic carefree approach created by such luminaries
as Truffaut, Forman, Richardson and Fassbinder. What marked their
early work, from a certain point of view, was their lack of a
large production budget. Without the money these filmmakers
expressed themselves in more poignant ways and means –
narratively and visually. Godard, for example, directed a string
of films that incontrovertibly changed the cinematic landscape,
and he did so by divesting himself from the traditional
storytelling that he lorded over as a critic at the seminal
Cahiers du Cinema.

You may wonder how this lends itself to a discussion about Black
filmmakers in America? Film is a universal language, a
storytelling medium that by its nature addresses a larger
audience. Black filmmakers in America feel that they have to tell
a “Black Experience” story, and there is absolutely nothing wrong
with that – in an ideal world. The commercial nature of film damn
near dictates that films have to have a broad as audience as
possible. Even films that are so-called “niche films” speak to a
wide audience, if you take the time to see them (case in point
the fascinating ’98 film “The Red Violin”), because even if the
film isn’t “marketed to you” it can still be most relevant and
enjoyable. If one looks at a film like “Jules et Jim,” one can’t
effectively argue against the universality of the story – a
tragically potent love triangle. A film such as this can be told
by a Black filmmaker, however the question to ask is, would the
filmmaker consciously not allow the hallmarks of Black cinema to
dominate the work.

Those hallmarks of Black cinema are mainly clichés that reduce
any sort of narrative originality. The problem of race
predominates far too much in Black cinema. And race will be, at
least in the foreseeable future, an unsolved equation in the
socio-political American landscape, but that doesn’t mean it has
to hold sway over the filmic stories that emerge from young Black
filmmakers. The great inter-racial love story, “Hiroshima, Mon
Amour,” doesn’t fester on the redundant (and at this point banal)
differences between a French woman and Japanese man, but more on
the troubled nature of their pasts and how it affects their
current relationship.

One would be hard pressed to see that kind of potential culture
clash put on the backburner in modern Black cinema; it would no
doubt be the story. And the decision to take that narrative point
of view is what can, on the surface, reduce the open-mindedness
of the general film audience in the seeing the film (one even
wonders if a non-black/white inter-racial love story would emerge
from the Black filmmaking community). In Claire Denis’s recent
“Trouble Every Day,” an inter-racial couple (Black man/white
woman) are at the center of the story, yet nothing is made of
their racial identities because the trouble they face (the heart
of the story) far outweighs any and all politics. Don’t think it
is an accident that the film to bestow the first Best Actress in
a Leading Role Oscar to African-American wasn’t directed by an

The techniques of the New Wave one could liken between the
difference of Classical chamber music to be-bop Jazz music. Both
musical styles require immense discipline and training, yet the
combustible highly stylized nature of jazz bestows upon the music
a formless, yet fundamental art form. One could say New Wave is
to Jazz as standard Hollywood approach is to Classical music. The
truculent camerawork of Godard, the intimate compositions of
Truffaut, the agitating story structures of Fassbinder all are,
if you can make the inference, reminiscent of Ornette Coleman,
Miles Davis and Theolonious Monk. There is a loose visual form
inherent in the New Wave regarding its approach to cinema that
Black filmmakers in America should imbue in their films.
Traditional camera work and editing (picture and sound) will not
get it done these days, if your goal is to continue to make films
with higher and higher budgets.

The New Wave filmmakers and their films have fallen out of favor
in recent years possibly because they advocate stories that have
something to say about the human condition in a way that the
adolescent fantasy films from Hollywood refuse to handle. Black
cinema doesn’t have to be about ghetto hoochies, drug dealers,
pimps and balers, nor should it be about idealized successful
Blacks in corporate America. In the early and mid 90s, crime
films and film noir were all the rage in the indie world, yet
very few if any made by Blacks had much success or a descent
distribution. Which is odd, because Hollywood is all about
demonizing Blacks as America’s criminal class. Nor should Black
cinema be predominantly relationship-based where those
relationships struggle with real-world problems; cinema begs to
show us events and moments that are life-like, yet larger than
life. Remember – the screen in 60ft across, a vista unmatched by
the naked eye. And if it isn’t what manner of films can we
expect? Today’s marketplace regulates more and more Black dramas
to Straight-To-Video or to BET, not bad venues in their own
right, but to truly foster growing talent in the Black filmmaker
community mastery of the craft is not enough.

In the world of ultra-cheap desktop editing systems and the
ubiquitousness of DV prosumer cameras, all filmmakers should
produce films that stretch the boundaries of narrative cinema.
Almost by default, if you’re working in DV, you are making a
movie that Hollywood doesn’t believe contains a successful
premise. So push the boundaries, the way Fassbinder did, demand
more from the audience the way Godard did and by all means
entertain like the best of them, the way Truffaut did.

Christopher B. Derrick lives in Hollywood and writes and directs
movies and commercials. He is presently looking into the music
video field and is also currently putting the deal together on
his first feature film at a major Hollywood studio. Christopher
graduated from the University of Michigan, and studied film at


To read back issues of The Director’s Chair, visit:

8.  DIRECTING TIP – Night Shooting

Shooting at night takes more time than shooting in the day so
make sure you are totally prepared.

It is also helpful to know how to cheat your reverses – so you
can spend less time lighting and more time shooting.



Every filmmaker during his or her career has always asked
themselves this question.  And if they haven’t, something’s very
wrong.  No matter what dream we may have, we are always asking
ourselves whether or not this is truly what we want to do with
our lives.  I know that for myself, I have always been asking
myself this question, and here are some things that I have found.

One:  Don’t corner yourself.  Don’t be saying, “All I wanna do is
direct.”  There is nothing worse than doing this.  No one can
tell your future, all you can do is live your life one moment at
a time and make the best decisions based on what knowledge you
have.  Let your life be like a river;  ever-flowing in a forward

Two:  Don’t train yourself for one specific job or career.  If
you do this, you’re doing the same thing as above:  Cornering
yourself.  Learn EVERYTHING you can, whether it has to deal with
filmmaking or not.  I myself learned this early in life, but I
was one of the lucky ones.  Most people get so solidified in
their day to day passings, that they don’t learn anything new or
gain any new skills.  Don’t be one of these people.  You won’t be
a good filmmaker if you do.

And Finally:  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  If you make a film,
and the audience hates it, don’t sweat it, learn from it.  Ask
people WHY the film was bad, and gain a general consensus on
how it could be made better.  Filmmaking is an evolutionary art
form.  You have to crawl before you can walk, plain and simple.
And learning to walk, you’re going to make mistakes along the
way.  But once you learn to walk, the sky’s the limit.

Remember, YOU are the only person who can change your destiny.
NEVER let anyone tell you otherwise.  Life is a journey, not a

Cody is a young filmmaker from Northern Wisconsin who is
presently enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
To contact Cody, email: cody.agenten@gmail.com


StudentFilms.com – http://www.studentfilms.com/

Studentfilms.com was created to provide an almost infinite
audience for budding film-makers and their films. Using QuickTime
and RealPlayer technology, Studentfilms.com gives everyone the
means to have their storytelling voice heard around the world.


What ever decision you have to make, make sure you keep the
camera rolling!


“You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.”

Ethel Barrymore

13.  OUT TAKES – Movie Cliches (Chases)

1. Woman falls to the ground whilst being chased by a bad guy,
even when running over level, unobstructed terrain. Note that
when a man and woman are being chased, usually the woman falls,
then the man pauses and helps her up.

2. Corollaries to the above: Man will then continue to run with
woman, holding her by the hand or preferably upper arm, even
though this takes them both below the speed either one could make
on their own.

3. All movie women must be pulled along by their hands, even if
the male puller is short & fat and the woman is a track star.

4. All movie women try to run in heels, never stopping to kick
them off.

5. Women not only have to be pulled along, they do not have
enough sense to run and keep running unless a man touches her
elbow, holds her hand or puts his arm around her shoulders.

6. Chasees will always stop to throw obstacles (trash cans,
lumber, chairs) in their pursuers’ way. No matter that they take
three times as long to dump the obstacles as it takes the chasers
to simply jump over them.


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Peter D. Marshall
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