Archive for the ‘Principles & Productivity’ Category

This one’s for the graduates…

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Reader (and former student) Jonathan Poritsky writes in:

I’ve replied to enough “your-dad-said-you-work-in-film-what-should-i-do-now?” e-mails that I got tired of it and decided to write the response to end all responses. It seemed relevant to SRF, and also in part inspired by what you do on your site. So here’s the link, do with it what you will…

I will link to it. Here it is: Starting Out in Film, Now What?

Two Macintosh Productivity Apps

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Here are a couple of useful Macintosh tools to help you stay focused while working at your computer writing, editing, or doing anything else that requires concentration.

Isolator: I’ve been using this application on and off (literally) for a year. As its creator describes it, Isolator

will cover up your desktop and all the icons on it, as well as the windows of all your other applications, so you can concentrate on the task in hand.

Freedom: James M. Johnston recently tipped me off to this cool little Mac application. According to its website, Freedom

is an application that disables networking on an Apple computer for up to eight hours at a time. Freedom will free you from the distractions of the internet, allowing you time to code, write, or create. At the end of your selected offline period, Freedom re-enables your network, restoring everything as normal.

pCAM for iPhone

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

David Eubank’s pCAM and pCINE were great applications for the Palm OS. They helped you compute depth of field, hyperfocal distance, angle of view…. Together, they were like a computerized version of all those charts in the American Cinematographer’s Manual that you always referred to on set.

Now, Eubank has outdone himself with pCAM for iPhone, which combines the pCAM and pCINE applications in a new interface. If you have an iPhone and you shoot film or video, this is a supremely useful tool. At $39.99 it may seem pricey for an iPhone app, but in my opinion it’s well worth the price.

pCAM for iPhone [iTunes store link]

Back to School Textbooks

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Whether you’re a student gearing up for the start of the semester, or someone who’s just looking to develop your talents, a good textbook can come in handy. Amazon.com is running a promotion via their Textbook Store, so I thought I’d link to some of my favorite books. All of the books below are books I’ve either personally assigned as a textbook in my classes, or a book that I’ve recommended multiple times.


Please note: I do get a few pennies for the click-through if you end up purchasing something. Amazon links are my way of keeping this site advertising-free. And remember: If you’re broke you can always try to find these at your nearest public or university library.

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.