The Director's Chair Issue #32 – Jan. 6, 2003 (18 Film Making Article Links )
THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors
January 6, 2003 Scene 4 – Take 1
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4. Feature Article – 18 Film Making Article Links
5. Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
6. Quote of the Month
7. Out Takes – Movie Cliches – Helicopters
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9. Suggestions & Comments
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Welcome to Issue #32 of The Director’s Chair (January 6, 2003).
1) This month’s feature are a series of 18 Film Making Article
Links that will give you a good cross section of film making
2) 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
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4. FEATURE ARTICLE – 18 Film Making Article Links
1) Motion Picture Directing — Cecil B. DeMille
This paper was originally presented before the Graduate School of
Business Administration of Harvard University, April 26, 1927, by
the famous film director, Cecil B. DeMille.
2) “The Instant Apprenticeship” — by Kenna McHugh
You may already be familiar with the old paradox about the
difficulties of breaking into the industry go: No film
experience? You can’t get an interview. No Interview? You can’t
get the job. No Job? You can’t get the experience. But you need
the experience to get the experience. Nevertheless, people do
break into the film business, and you can, too.
3) “The Movie Industry – An Overview” by 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. With the advent of the
new computer-based technologies, “cable” markets and direct
digital-delivery of motion pictures via satellite and the
Internet are expected to increase dramatically over the next five
years, creating an accelerated demand for original and re-run
4) “Adapting Shakespeare to Film” by 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 passe and old comedies full of clunkers),
there seems to be no end in sight.
5) “The Director’s Heart: Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998)” by Carmen
The essence of a director is more than the sum of his skills;
it’s in the stories he chooses to tell. Throughout 50 years of
filmmaking, Akira Kurosawa’s reputation as a superior craftsman
was never in dispute. It’s as evident in the panoramic sweep of
his battle scenes as it is in the poetic grace with which he
could denote the passage of time. But his enthusiasm for the
possibilities of his art went beyond a mastery of technique.
Kurosawa saw film as a dynamic and versatile language with which
he could praise the forces of nature, decry the evils of man,
shed light on the problems of his country, and celebrate the
resilience of the spirit.
6) “Entertainment Law Articles”.
Not every part of a Director’s life is creative – there is also
the business side of the job. Dinah Perez, an L.A. entertainment
attorney, has written a series of informative articles that are
definitely worth reviewing.
7) If you’re a Director, you’re probably also a writer. And keeping
your ideas from being stolen has to be taken seriously. This article
has some valuable information on how to enforce your copyright.
8) “Working with the Film Extra”
Film extras (atmosphere) are a very important aspect of any
motion picture. Productions may prefer to live without them, but
a film without Extras is rather sterile. How do you make the
Understanding each sides perspective and expectations provides
the key to solving problems and this article explains how to get
the best from your extras.
9) “Aesthetics of the Digital Evolution”
Is Digital Video delivering on its promise to demystify the
moviemaking process – and allow professional production on a
James Tocher, an award-winning cinematographer, discusses blowing
up Digital Video to Film.
10) “To Film School, Or Not To Film School?”
Film is a craft that requires learning and practice. Where you
want to do it is up to you. This article, by Shernold Edwards,
shows you that, no matter which route you will take, one thing is
certain: learning the basics is unavoidable.
11) “Rules of the Game; Robert Altman Returns with ‘Gosford Park’
Gosford Park” is many things: murder mystery, period piece,
social satire, but ultimately it belongs to that genre which has
been used to describe Paul Thomas Anderson’s films or Robert
Guediguian’s recent “The Town is Quiet” — the “Altman-esque
mural.” I mention this to Altman, that he has his own genre. He
snickers, says, “I have my own adjective?” indieWIRE spoke to
Robert Altman about casting, ensemble pieces and the awards
12) “Directing the X-Files”
The truth is in here as Kim Manners, Rob Bowman, Chris Carter and
others talk with Matt Hurwitz about directing the popular TV
series that will come to an end this season.
(Under SEARCH at the top of the page, type in “Directing the
X-Files” and then click on the article link.)
13) “Some Do’s and Don’ts of Fiction Filmmaking” by Michael Rabiger
Most beginners’ fiction films stink, and they do so because they
unfailingly reproduce a few basic misunderstandings — of drama,
of screen dialogue, and of what directing actors means.
If you’re making fiction films, or thinking of making them, you
want to stand out from the crowd – you want to know what goes
wrong and how to avoid it. Here area few tips.
14) “Screenwriting Success in Cyberspace”
The Internet offers a number of ways to get your script seen —
and purchased. This article gives you a look at some of the best
Online Script Services.
15) “Speaking of Film” Michael Goldman
A recent survey of six well-known cinematographers got their
thoughts about key issues, trends and recent innovations in the
world of film-based acquisition for both feature film and
16) “Sacrifice Yes, Compromise, No” by Jennifer M. Wood
David Fincher, Spike Jonze and Jonathan Glazer are just a few
directors who’ve carried their success in the world of music
videos to the big screen, with such films as Fight Club, Being
John Malkovich and Sexy Beast to their credit. The latest
director to follow that trend is England’s Peter Care, whose The
Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys made a splash at Sundance earlier
this year and is now playing in theaters across the country.
17) “Selling Your Movie: The Role of the Producer’s Representative”
by Harris E. Tulchin
The role of the Producer’s Representative or – in the ubiquitous
jargon – the producer’s rep, is not altogether easy to define,
particularly since the typical rep is involved in so many
different phases of the filmmaking and distribution process. In
the broadest sense, depending on how early in the process a
producer’s rep is engaged, producer’s reps advise and consult
with filmmakers in all phases of the development, financing,
production, marketing and distribution process of a film or
18) “The Man who Hates Film” by Michael Goldman
Robert Rodriguez admires George Lucas and credits the director
for convincing him in 2000 that there is no longer any reason to
use film to make movies. Rodriguez sees his back-to-back 24p HD
movie projects — Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams and Once
Upon a Time in Mexico – as potentially more significant in terms
of “paving the way” for the feature film industry to finally
embrace HD as its primary acquisition medium, while “abandoning
5. BACK ISSUES OF “THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR”
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6. QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“A man needs a little madness or else … he never dares to cut
the rope and be free.”
Anthony Quinn to Alan Bates in Zorba the Greek, 1964
7. OUT TAKES – Movie Cliches – HELICOPTERS
In movieland, there’s an abundance of corrupt helicopter pilots.
Villains have no problem renting a helicopter complete with pilot
who doesn’t mind shooting total strangers, or being shot at.
When a helicopter is hit by a bullet or rocket, it’ll explode
immediately if it contains a villain, but if the hero is on
board, it will loose power, smoke will come out of the doors, and
it’ll just reach the ground in time for the hero to get clear
then duck just at the moment it explodes.
People standing outside a running helicopter can always talk in
normal or just slightly louder than normal voices.
A pursued hero, with the bad guys just yards behind him, can jump
into a shutdown helicopter, run through the twenty-five item
startup checklist, engage and spin up the rotors, take off and be
out of pistol range before the bad guys catch up.
Bullets shot at a helicopter bounce off the fiberglass and
aluminum “fuselage” components but make neat little holes through
the plexiglass bubble.
When a helicopter’s engine dies, the main rotor immediately stops
and the helicopter drops straight to the ground. If a bad guy is
flying, the helicopter disappears in a ball of flame, but
good-guy pilots just get out, dust themselves off, and walk away.
When a turbine-powered Bell Jet Ranger helicopter is shot at,
it’s engine coughs and sputters, chugs along for a little while
as the helo staggers through the air uncertainly, and then
crashes using the good/bad pilot algorithm noted above.
Every helicopter shutting down emits the chirp-chirp-chirp sound
of the rubber drive belts disengaging, in spite of the fact that
only the famous Bell 47G (the Mash chopper) actually makes this
Piston helicopters always start up with screaming turbine engine
Rambo-style pilots can fly with one hand on the cyclic stick
while the other fires an automatic weapon out the door. The
helicopter automatically knows when to change altitude to fly
over obstacles without the pilot worrying about that pesky
collective pitch control.
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Copyright (c) 2000-2003
Peter D. Marshall
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