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The Director's Chair Issue #88 – July 25, 2008 (50 Things to Know About Film Production)

Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

July 25, 2008                  Scene 9 – Take 7

Published once a month.

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


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You are receiving The Director’s Chair because you (or
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1. Introduction
2. “Directing Artistes Workshop” in Singapore
3. BLOG – Film Directing Tips
4. Filmmaking Tip – How to Create your Own Dolly
5. Wannabe Studios Film Networking Group
6. The Director’s Chair Filmmakers Discussion Forum
7. FEATURE ARTICLE – 50 Things to Know About Film Production
8. Write an Article for The Director’s Chair
9. Filmmaking News, Websites, Articles and Events
10. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
11. Subscriber Links of Interest
12. Filmmaking Workshops
13. Make a Living Directing Music Videos
14. Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
15. Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information
16. Copyright Information


Welcome to Issue #88 of The Director’s Chair (July 25/08)


Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas,
Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Botswana, Brazil, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China,
Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican
Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Finland,
France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland,
India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica,
Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon,
Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico,
Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal,
Puerto Rico, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia,
Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri
Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania,
Thailand, Trinidad and Tabago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda,
United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States,
Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

NOTE: If your country is not represented here, please let me
know and I will add it to this ever growing list.

2) SPECIAL FEATURE ARTICLE – This month’s Feature Article is
called “50 Things to Know About Film Production.” Everything
about filmmaking is extremely easy to learn. Anyone can do
it if they wish. The challenge is that filmmaking requires
learning a huge number of skills. Each skill is easy to
learn but the number of things you must learn is huge. If
you want to be an independent filmmaker, you must learn the
equivalent of 20 different careers. (see below to read
entire article…)

3) FACEBOOK – The Director’s Chair has it’s own page on
Facebook. If you haven’t signed up to Facebook yet, I
sincerely recommend you think about doing it. Facebook is a
fabulous place to meet people who share your passions and it
is one of the top Social Networking sites on the Internet.
Here’s the Facebook home page: http://www.facebook.com

Once you are signed up, type in “The Directors Chair” and
the page should come up. Sign up as a fan and then start to
join the discussion forums, post photos, videos and write on
the Walls. If you are already a member of Facebook, here is
the direct link to the page:

From time to time I will contact you by email to inform you
of certain filmmaking workshops or film products 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

5) SHARE THIS EZINE – Share this Ezine by email and forward
it to your friends and associates.

6) SUGGESTIONS & COMMENTS – Send any comments, suggestions,
questions or advice to: mailto:comments@actioncutprint.com

7) REPRINT THIS EZINE – This Ezine may be reprinted with
permission. Email me at: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com



Peter D. Marshall

2. “Directing Artistes Workshop” – Singapore

Trilby Jeeves and myself will be giving a 3 day “Directing
the Artiste” workshop in Singapore on August 27, 28, 29,

This 3 day workshop concentrates on the filmmaker’s main
task of directing the actor, and was designed for filmmakers
who want to understand the acting process and learn the
techniques of how to get the best results from actors.

You can have a look at the course outline here:

This is an intense hands-on workshop and space will be
limited to no more than 20 filmmakers.

If you are interested in coming to Singapore on August 27,
28, 29 for this 3 day “Directing the Artiste” workshop,
please contact me at mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com or visit
the website of the Singapore Media Academy at:

3. BLOG – Film Directing Tips

Take a look at my Film Directing Blog and post some
filmmaking tips or add some resources. And please, make some
comments on the posts – your feedback is important to me
because they will help me decide on the content I will add
to this blog.

Blog – http://filmdirectingtips.com
RSS – http://filmdirectingtips.com/wp-rss.php

Here are some of the latest blog entries I have made:

– The Film Director’s Creative Script Analysis
– The Traditional Three Act Structure of any Story?
– Film Director as Story Teller
– Director’s Script Readthrough – Back Story
– Director’s Script Readthrough – Script Beats & Events

4. FILMMAKING TIP – How to Build Your Own Dolly

Here is an email I received from a subscriber on how to
build your own dolly.

Hey Peter I would like to contribute to the ezine with a
tip that I’m sure many independent film makers know all too
well: the pros and cons of building your own dolly versus
renting one.

Attached (see link below) you’ll see my homemade dolly that
cost me least than $100 (US) and has been one of the most
valued pieces of equipment I use today!


All you need is 3 steel plates welded together to create the
wheel base (4) some pile wood (3) nuts and bolts (8 each) and
a shovel handle to push and pull the dolly. You can use PVC
piles as tracks and if the surface is really lumpy, I use
steel piles, shims and a Stanley torpedo level.

– Easy to build
– Easy to operate
– Very smooth
– cost less than 100$
– PVC pipes (track) are readily available in any hardware
store, so I can expand the tracks to any distance.

– One set of wheels on each corner is not enough to avoid
little bumps at the joint point. You should add one more
– Hard to pan for more than 120 degrees. The plate doesn’t
allow the operator to turn with the camera.

Overall, a homemade dolly will save you tons of money and
can be replaced easily if broken, unlike a rental.

D. Miles
M Squad Entertainment

5. The Director’s Chair Filmmakers Discussion Forum

The Director’s Chair Filmmakers Discussion Forum.

Ask film directing questions, submit your website for
review, post film and television directing links, share film
making tips and special events or just keep in touch with
other filmmakers from “The Director’s Chair.”

This forum is for subscribers of “The Director’s Chair”
only, so you will have to register in order to post
questions, give answers or add links. All you can do without
registering is read the posts.

Please visit this new forum now, sign up and take a look
around. http://www.actioncutprint.com/smf/index.php

6. Wannabe Studios Film Networking Group

Is films your thing? Then do something about it. Wannabe
Studios is the place for independent filmmakers and film
lovers to hang around.

I have been a member of this film networking group since
January 2008. Wannabe Studios was started by Shyam Madhavan
Sarada who is also a subscriber to The Director’s Chair.

So come and join me and other filmmakers from around the
world. Share Ideas. Write. Produce. Direct. Act. Edit.
Score. Exhibit. Talk. View. Review. Rate. Encourage.
Critique. Wannabe Studios – http://wannabestudios.ning.com

7. FEATURE ARTICLE – 50 Things to Know About Film Production

This article is based on articles created by Tisch School of
the Arts (NYU) Professor Maureen Ryan, Chelsea Blacker and

Anyone can learn to be a filmmaker. Everything about
filmmaking is extremely easy to learn. Anyone can do it if
they wish. The challenge is that filmmaking requires
learning a huge number of skills. Each skill is easy to
learn but the number of things you must learn is huge.

If you want to be an independent filmmaker, you must learn
the equivalent of 20 different careers. Even if you are a
fast learner, it can take you years to learn everything.

In a dramatic motion picture, the story is told by many
people. The cinematographer tells the story with the camera.
The lighting person tells the story with lighting.

The film composer tells the story with music. The actors
tell the story with action and dialog. The editor tells the
story with editing. The sound designer tells the story with

And as an independent filmmaker, you have to learn to all of
these skills. If you fail to learn even one of these skills,
people will notice and be turned off by your movie. You must
learn everything!!!!

Here are 50 Things to Know About Film Production.

1. Feed your crew every 6 hours.

2. Never assume anything.

3. Always hire the best crew you can afford.

4. Everyone wants to be a part of something. This is often
more important than money to the right person.

5. Leave the Attitude at home.

6. If you don’t know something, ask.

7. There are only so many hours of daylight in a given day.
Plan accordingly.

8. Delegate to competent people.

9. Work hard on set. Work harder off the set to create a
balanced life.

10. When everyone is doing their job and working towards the
same goal, anything is possible.

11. Love what you do, it’s too hard otherwise.

12. Explaining what you have planned to all the crew
members. They’ll buy into it at the beginning of the day and
everything will be easier, better, smoother.

13. Be curious. You can’t know everything, so ask for

14. Treat your crews well and they’ll recommend you for

15. Talk to your crew if you might have to delay lunch, or
else face meal penalties.

16. Gaffer’s tape can repair anything. (cars, appliances,
rental equipment, but not a broken heart)

17. Negotiation is a conversation. Everyone needs to keep
their self-respect and feel they are being considered.

18. Always record 60 seconds of Room Tone before moving to
the next set.

19. Pre-production is everything.

20. No yelling! Ever!

21. Mutual respect is the only way.

22. Decency trumps talent every time.

23. Return phone calls within 24 hours.

24. Email whenever possible or you don’t need an answer

25. No animals or children on set – if at all possible.

26. It always takes longer than you think. Schedule

27. Craft service is the last bastion of civility.

28. Every action has a consequence that affects so many

29. The Golden Rule rules!

30. If you get behind in the schedule, figure out what you
can lose, or find more money for overtime.

31. Figure out the director’s “through line” – it will make
your life a lot easier.

32. Pad your budget.

33. Never say “no” to the director or a crew person. Always
say “let’s see”; this way, they know they’ve been heard and
never feel shut down.

34. Listen AND look.

35. Build it all up. Wait for it to fall apart. Then build
it all up again.

36. Do what’s best for the project, not your ego or some
other agenda. It keeps it all simple and “clean”.

37. Don’t put the chocolate out on the craft service table
until after lunch.

38. Hang out at the back of the Grip Truck if you want to
know what really is happening on set.

39. Casting is 90% of the work.

40. Change your shoes after lunch. Your feet will thank you.

41. Figure out your own strengths and weaknesses and then
hire others to fill out your areas of weakness.

42. Always watch and listen to audio playback a few takes
into the shoot.

43. If there is one bad apple, get rid of it.

44. There are no problems, only solutions.

45. Always actualize the budget after it’s complete. It
gives you a wealth of information.

46. Pay all outstanding invoices in less than 30 days.

47. Don’t always go with the lower price – there’s more than
just money to consider.

48. Get a good caterer. it makes for a happy and productive

49. Inspire others to join the cause by your own example.

50. You can only have 2 out of the 3, pick which ones you
need: FAST, CHEAP, or GOOD.

50 Things to Know About Film Production

8. Want to Write an Article for The Director’s Chair?

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 me at:

9. Filmmaking News, Websites, Articles and Events

1) Music Request Pro – Finding the right production music
has never been easier. Submit a simple Music Request and
alert thousands of artists, bands, and composers to help you
find the perfect music. We’ll filter the music and deliver
it for free! Our composers will even create new music to
match your Music Request. http://www.mymusicsource.com

2) 2nd International Short Film Festival of L’Aquila – The
Cultural Association “L’Idea di Clèves” was born and
developed in the provincial reality of L’Aquila (Abruzzo –
Italy). It’s ultimate purpose is to help the proliferation of
audio-visual arts, and to generate associationism among
newcomers in order to develop collaboration among common
fine interest. http://www.cleves.it

3) 8th Annual 2008 New York International Film & TV Finance
Summit – This long running event brings together a senior
roster of film finance professionals, commercial investment
bankers, independent producers, studio executives and legal
and tax accounting advisors to share practical experience
and technical knowledge on the complex issues involved in
financing film and television productions.

4) Cine en Corto ’08 – Dear filmmaker, we are glad to invite
you to participate in our IV Tamaulipas International Short
Film  Festival Cine en Corto ’08. This year we have more
than $6,000 Dollars in prizes. You can also win our innovator
prize NICE TRY, this award is for the short film who doesn’t
win but was close. http://www.cineencorto.com

5) East Speaks Here Film Festival 08 – Asia & Middle East ‘s
first online film festival. The hearts & minds of
storytellers, from various countries, are unveiled at this
open film festival presented by Culture Unplugged Studios in
partnership with you and all the film-makers participating.

6) The Second Annual B Movie Celebration – Franklin Indiana
will be hosting the Second Annual B Movie Celebration
September 26th thru 28th, 2008. The Celebration will feature
screenings of over 50 classic B movies, 20 Educational
seminars and the World’s Largest Beach Party, featuring the
music of The Moon-Rays.

7) Film Location Store – is a web page in which location
managers have an unlimited and free space to organize,
manage and promote their locations. Filmlocationstore makes
also available to production managers a space where they can
contact with location managers around the world, acquire
locations and manage them through projects on-line,
accessible to the crew members from any computer with
Internet connection, anywhere in the world.

8) Pitch TV Shows Like a Pro – Our next Hit Makers Summit is
scheduled for September 2008. We’ve created a three day TV
pitch crash course called the Hit Makers Summit in Orlando,
FL. Our next Summit promises to have an incredible line up
of speakers and even more time to work with industry
professionals one-on-one.

9) Who Gets IT in Hollywood? – AlwaysOn is rolling out its
second annual “Hollywood IT List”. This industry insider
list will feature the 50 top entertainment executives and
Hollywood dealmakers who really get “IT” — that is,
information technology and its growing impact on the
entertainment and media economy.

10) What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Movies –
Armond White takes aim at the critics who write with their
thumbs. “There’s more writing about movies these days than
ever before. In print and online, it’s never been
worse—especially on the Internet where film buffs emulating
the Vachel Lindsay-Manny Farber tradition are no longer
isolated nerds but an opinionated throng, united in their
sarcasm and intense pretense at intellectualizing what is
basically a hobby.”


Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this
section. If you are interested, send your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to less than 200 words. I also
reserve the right to edit the promotion for length, spelling
and formatting.

1) Amandy Video Productions
Cameroon, Africa


“Subscriber Links of Interest” is where you can further
promote yourself, your company or your productions by having
your information displayed on a special links page at:

If you are a subscriber to this ezine and you want me to put
your self-promotion on this page, just send an email to:

Again, I also reserve the right to edit the promotion for
length and formatting.

12. FILMMAKING WORKSHOPS – Peter D. Marshall

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

To find out more about these workshops, just click on the
link below. If you are interested in any of these four
workshops for yourself or your organization, please contact
me to discuss how we can bring these workshops to you.

13. Make a Living Directing Music Videos

Jamal “Jag” Johnson, whose work has been seen on MTV, MTV2
and BET, has a series of DVD’s that shows you how to make
money shooting music videos for indie and major music
artists.  It’s called the “Music Video Development Training
System” featuring Skillz.

I don’t endorse many products, but after reviewing Jamal’s
product (I was very impressed with the valuable content and
the production quality) I thought you might be interested in
his offer.

The “Music Video Development Training System” is designed
with the beginner and expert in mind. It doesn’t matter if
you’ve never touched a camera in your life or if you’re
already in the music video industry full time! And the best
part is, the same techniques you’ll discover in Jamal’s
training system will work for any genre of music.

So if you’ve EVER thought about making money shooting music
videos or want to improve your own techniques, I highly
recommend this training system.

For more information on my step-by-step guide to launching a
successful music video production business, please visit


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Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved


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