Archive for the ‘For Students’ Category

The Election: How Filmmakers Can Help

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a filmmaker with access to a video camera. Video The Vote needs people like you and me on Election Day.

What’s Video the Vote? From their website:

Video the Vote is a national initiative to protect voting rights by monitoring the electoral process. We organize citizen journalists—ordinary folks like you and me—to document election problems as they occur. And then we distribute their footage to the mainstream media and online to make sure the full story of Election Day gets told. Watch our 2006 highlights and join us as we Video the Vote this November.

If, like me, you find yourself in a swing state this year, you might feel like it’s especially important to be a part of this.

It takes less than a minute to sign up, and you can volunteer for just part or all of Election Day. So get involved. And spread the word to your filmmaker friends.

Finally, if you’re not sure why such an organization even exists, check out this interview between Bill Moyers and NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller. Warning: Viewing this will keep you up at night.



True Story (for those suffering from writer’s block)

Friday, October 10th, 2008

From an email that I recently wrote to a student suffering from writer’s block:

Have I told you my story about William Stafford, the poet? He made it a habit to write a poem every day. (A great poet, he won the National Book Award, etc.) Anyway, I saw him read his poetry shortly before his death. A budding writer stood up after his reading, during the Q+A and asked, “You said you write a poem every day. What happens on the days when you’re not feeling inspired?”

Stafford replied, “I lower my standards.”

I think that about sums it up.

Rest in Peace, Paul Newman

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Paul Newman died today. He was 83.

He leaves behind an incredible body of work, as both an actor and humanitarian. He will be missed.

That Newman was one of the greatest — and best-loved — actors this country has ever produced is not a subject for debate. Here is a quintessential late-career Newman moment, a nearly four-minute long take from The Verdict. Astonishing stuff.

202 DIY Filmmaking Tutorials

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Filmmaker IQ has a fairly well-organized list of DIY filmaking tutorials.

Some of these overlap the list I’ve been keeping for two years on this page, but there’s some new stuff as well.

UFVA 2008: Those Who Teach, Make

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

As you probably guessed, I’ve taken a little break from SRF. I wish I could say that it was a planned vacation, but a combination of travel, work on my own projects, the beginning of the school year and some crazy good life stuff meant the blogging got pushed aside.

One thing I did mean to write about was my experience at the University Film and Video Association Conference in August. For those of you that don’t know, UFVA is the professional association for professors of filmmaking, screenwriting, and film studies. This was my first time attending the conference, and it was a lot of fun. I had the chance to meet up with some old film school friends who, like me, are now teachers, and I met lots of new folks who encounter the same sorts of challenges to filmmaking that I do (among them, living in so-called flyover territory).

The conference features a mix of screenings and panels. Among my favorite panel presentations: Jennifer Proctor (Grand Valley State) who talked about teaching creativity; John O’Leary (Villanova), who discussed the practicalities of running a university-supported film lecture series; JJ Murphy, who discussed non-traditional screenwriting approaches (drawing on films like Ronnie Bronstein’s Frownland); and Seth Mulliken, who gave an awesome talk on film sound.

Of the screenings, probably my favorite film was Irinia Patkanian‘s Second Egyptian, a story of two immigrants in New York that has an amazing sense of poetic realism. For my part, I screened Quick Feet, Soft Hands, which was honored with the Jury Prize in Narrative Film. Needless to say, getting this award from my peers was a great honor.

Note: The title to this blog post is cribbed from a Scribe Video Center screening. I’ll discuss Scribe in a future post.