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How to Maximize Audience Engagement Consistently in Movies

Has science found the answer to maintaining audience engagement consistently during a movie, by eliminating filmmakers 'blind narrative spots?' Although a scientific approach to filmmaking can provide an evidence based framework to maintain audience engagement, many filmmakers perceive a scientific approach to filmmaking as ineffective, which limits creativity. However, scientific research studies can determine what engages audiences, by measuring viewers reactions to different story s…

The 3 Step Process to Unlock Your Creativity

One of the biggest challenges filmmakers and screenwriters face is to keep their creative energy fresh and high, while working on projects that ask years of endurance and at times don't feel creative. What often drove us toward filmmaking - the excitement of creating stories - can quickly become the thing we connect with the less as we work toward building our careers: handling deadlines, finding an agent, raising money, applying to festivals, answering casting calls and the 100 other t…

10 Secrets to Directing Your First Indie Film

So here you are - on location for your first film you're about to direct. Day one of maybe twenty. You're holding four to eight pages of the script in your hand that must be successfully 'in the can' by the end of the day. You have ten hours to accomplish this AND you need to repeat this feat for the next 19 days or so.     Ready? Scary, huh, but it doesn't have to be. There is an opportunity to create greatness with your actors and crew today and every day of the product…

Working With Actors: The Casting Conundrum

Beginning a new relationship can be both exciting and challenging. In the world of filmmaking, we directors initiate many relationships, the most vital and crucial being the ones we have with actors. Director/actor relationships are like none other in life. Their goal is to create believable characters that exist in a fictional world. These relationships are, by design, temporary and short-lived, lasting only for the span of the production. The curious thing is that these director/act…

Networking Tips from Someone Who Hates to Network

If I hate networking, how could I give you advice? I now consider myself really good at networking but I didn't used to be. I used to really hate it. It made me nervous and uncomfortable to know that I was going to have to meet new people in a full room. I didn't know how to approach a stranger and start a conversation. I wasn't good at breaking the ice and keeping a conversation going. I wasn't sure that the other people in the room would want to talk to me. I dreaded it. It took me a w…

How Stage 32 Helped Me Find Shelter When I Lost My Home

Music has always been a part of me. When I was kid, I used to get in trouble at school for banging beats on the desk, or playing rudiments with my pencil instead of taking notes. I recited every line from Nas' Illmatic and soaked in all the RPG scores/themes. My love for writing came from Soap Operas, oddly enough. I would sit in my 7th grade Literature class and writing write scripts to improve different storylines and scenes. However, despite my love for music and screenwriting, it was…

Cover Yourself First - 7 Rules Of Script Writing

FADE OUT Congratulations! You've finished your latest script. Weeks, months, even years scribbling away in a notebook and banging away on a keyboard have paid off. So what's next? Script coverage is a necessary and key element in the marketing process, but when searching for coverage, the volume of options available can overwhelm writers. Many services deliver a wide range of prices, capable of getting that script polished and ready for Hollywood. As well, several contests provide cove…

Why Filmmakers Need to Embrace Science to Create Engaging Stories for 21st Century Audiences

Today we are living in a consumer data driven society. Digital technology has enabled hi-tech companies Netflix and Amazon to revolutionise the movie industry in two main ways: Firstly, by streaming movies and television programs online across a variety of digital devices, smart televisions, laptop, tablet and smartphone. Secondly, using audience data driven content to meet consumer expectations (StarTribune 2016). This also enables Amazon and Netflix to target the most frequent movi…

Only We Can Change Our Industry

We have all done it. And we are all guilty of it. But we keep doing it. Most importantly, we hate it when it happens to us. So why do we say yes to it? Working for free is a hot topic in the industry, yet it has become almost a right of passage. And it is always what comes out of our mouths first: "I can get it for FREE. I can ask some friends to work on this for FREE. I can make this film for FREE." When we start out in this industry we are encouraged immediately to just go out and m…

Bust the Top Ten Creative Writing Myths to Become a Better Writer: Part 2

My last blog, part one, looked at five of the top ten creative writing myths responsible for much of the pain associated with failed writing and derailed storytelling . We examined, in reverse order of destructiveness, the myths ten through six: #10: Show don't tell. #9: The blank page is the enemy. #8: Write what you know. #7: Real writers write every day. #6: Storytelling and writing are the same. Now, we look at the top five myths, the worst of the worst and break down the lie a…

Busting the Top Ten Creative Writing Myths to Become a Better Writer - Part 1

We live in the age of click bait, sound bites and viral memes. On any given day, hour, minute, or second on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you can find any number of cat videos or fortune-cookie platitudes meant to bolster one or another emotional cliché or bubble-gum metaphysical insipidity. They reflect our moods and emotional states, reinforce happy thoughts, or confirm our darkest vulnerabilities. We read them, consume them, have a laugh or a wistful shrug of self-reflection…

Want To Make Your First Feature? Read This First.

There are about 34,000 films made every year worldwide. And that number is growing. Why are so many films being made these days? Well, one reason is that since the dawn of the digital revolution (about 16 years ago) anyone with an idea and an HD camera or smartphone can now make a film for about $1.25. Did you know that 13,782 films were submitted to Sundance this year? Yep. That's not a typo.   Don't get me wrong. I think this digital revolution is a great turn of events. For s…

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