Filmmaker and editor Dean Pollack’s work has appeared everywhere from Bravo and Hulu to Adult Swim. He just completed his second directorial effort, the feature film Audrey, which traces a single hour in a woman’s day. He discusses the advantages and disadvantages encountered shooting a film set in real time on a single location. Not […]

Gathr Feature

Even low-budget indie films funded on Kickstarter will have a shot at theatrical distribution. Demand-based theatrical screening organizer, Gathr, is specifically targeting crowd-funded films via a new acquisitions fund. By advancing $20,000 to up to 25 completed crowd-funded films (with a minimum of 1,000 backers) each year, in return for theatrical distribution rights, Gathr is […]

It's Gawd Featured

This Wisdom Wednesday, producer Randy Bobbitt (It’s Gawd) shares invaluable lessons he’s learned about the SAG signatory process. Engaging SAG can be a tricky process, but here, Bobbitt provides the necessary nuts and bolts. “I don’t know the name of the document! There are too many documents! I can’t deal with this anymore. I have […]

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What’s the difference between making a short film versus a feature film versus an episode of television? For David Greenspan – director of the Palme d’Or-winning short “Beancake,” the upcoming feature 51-50 Mall Cop, and 53 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy – the two biggest differences are time and creative control. In film, your budget and […]


Complete Works, produced by Kingdom for a Horse Productions, is a web series that recently premiered on Hulu. Here, producer Giancarlo Balarezo talks about how the team pitched, cold-called and networked their way into the right VOD distribution deal for their show. The five-part comedy series follows Hal, a naïve, Shakespeare-obsessed community college student from […]

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You just got a great concept for a short film. It moves you. It excites you. It scares you because it’s too good not to make, and now that responsibility rests on your shoulders. Take a deep breath. Right now it’s just a concept and any concept can be molded into a form you can […]


Director-producer Vlad Yudin’s documentary, Generation Iron (narrated by Mickey Rourke), follows the top seven professional bodybuilders in the world, training and competing to win the sport’s coveted title, Mr. Olympia. The film, which Yudin self-distributed through his own Vladar Company in the fall of 2013, earned $850,000 stateside and over $1 million overseas—not shabby at […]


Lucky Bastard, directed by Robert Nathan and co-written with Lukas Kendall, brings new life to the faux-doc genre in this fast-paced porn-thriller. We got Nathan and Kendall to recount the creation of their smart, uniquely updated, genre-bending film. Lucky Bastard is an NC-17 “porn thriller” about an adult entertainment shoot gone wrong. A website gives a regular […]


Securing distribution is that final nail in the construction project of making a movie—but it’s so hard to tell what exactly goes through the minds of a potential buyer. We Make Movies actor/writer/producer Andrea Dolbec (Hot Zombie Crush) sat down with film distributor Precious Hilton, CEO of Hilton Entertainment Group, to get the dish on […]


The Youtube era has undoubtedly ushered in a new generation of storytellers. Timothy Rhys explores the vision of  WeVideo, an affordable new cloud-based editing program, by speaking to CEO Jostein Svendsen — a man who believes his company is revolutionizing the way this generation will tell and share its stories. While wandering around the San Jose […]

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A working cinematographer puts Blackmagic’s Cinema Camera through its paces, finding it a superb deal for less than $2,000. This article appears in our upcoming Winter 2014 issue of MovieMaker, hitting stands late this January. In the last five years or so, nothing has changed the capturing of motion picture images more than the introduction […]


Fact or fiction? For this week’s DIY Monday MovieMaker is exploring how to limit your liability when adapting a true story for film, which as history tells us can be a long and arduous process. This article appears in the Fall 2013 issue of MovieMaker, on stands now. Adapting a true story for film can be […]

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This article by Vince Lynch, founder of online music community Synkio, appeared in our 2013 Complete Guide to Making Movies special issue earlier this year. In monastic life, silence is golden. In the film world, silence is golden, too—though its value has a converse relationship to money. Licensing music for a scene can cost a […]

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Everyone knows a good marketing campaign needs a social media component, but are you really using it to its maximum potential? Two weeks ago, Sheri Candler taught us how to ramp up the impact of your film and your brand on Facebook and YouTube. Today she follows up with the other biggies, Twitter, Pinterest and […]


We Make Movies’ Sam Mestman reviews the iZotope RX 3 for this week’s DIY Monday blog post. Okay, so full disclosure here: I’m not really an audio guy. I’ve watched a couple of tutorials, and I kind of know how to EQ and apply a compressor here and there. I’m consistently amazed by audio professionals—how […]

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Everyone knows a good marketing campaign needs a social media component, but are you really using it to its maximum potential? For the latest installment of her DIY blog, Sheri Candler spells out exactly how to best optimize each platform – in Part One this week, Facebook and YouTube. Look for Part Two (Twitter, Pinterest […]


Bill Kinder, indie moviemaker, reflects on the value of “Do It Ourselves” collaboration as he heads to AFM with his newly-completed feature, White Rabbit. A few years back, I sensed, almost in a daydream, that the means to make a high-quality low-budget feature film were coming into my reach. In a way that would have […]

TM & Copyright © 2002 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Blood, gore, monsters (and more blood).  It is Halloween season so pick your poison and get settled in, because MovieMaker is here to teach you all about the effects that heighten the scare factor in some of this season’s most cringe-worthy, scream-inducing and blood-curdling movies (Carrie anyone?). This article appears in MovieMaker‘s 2014 Guide to Making […]


Every great moviemaker knows that what is heard (and not heard) can affect the entire mood of a scene. This week’s DIY Monday focuses on ADR (additional dialogue replacement) with seven tips to creating the perfect background sound for your film. This article is featured in MovieMaker’s 2014 Guide to Making Movies, on stands now. Indie […]


In this month’s DIY Monday blog installment, Sheri Candler finds that digital distribution success doesn’t grow on trees, with her conversation with the minds behind VOD aggregator The Orchard. Swimming through the tides of new digital tools and distribution entities has become something of a pastime for me. Something new happens in the world of […]


Emily Best, founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, explains why crowdfunding is more about the crowd than the funding, especially if you want to build a moviemaking career – with a strategy timeline for a successful campaign.  This article appears in MovieMaker‘s 2014 Guide to Making Movies, on stands now. Great crowdfunding is the efficient frontier between belief in […]


MovieMaker is reintroducing the We Makes Movies (Better) blog from our friends over at We Make Movies! Look for their brilliant, practical advice straight from the front lines of film – now coming at you every other Monday (all DIY, all day). In this first installment, Ethan Kogan builds his own computer. You know, just […]


This week’s DIY Monday is Basil Shadid’s The Screenwriter’s Toolkit -  18 exercises to combat writer’s block, two-dimensional characters, inert scenes, and everything else plaguing your script –  taken from MovieMaker‘s 2014 Complete Guide to Making Movies, on stands now. Before I got into screenwriting, I was in a poetry group (don’t snark; some of us […]


This week we are continuing with  the second part of our guide to DIY Digital Distribution, featured in full in our 2014 Guide to Making Movies, on stands now. Read part one here. Aggregators Here are a few things you should know about aggregators, the companies that negotiate the placement of films onto major destination […]


This week’s Wisdom Wednesday brings you into the rambunctious mind of Emmy Award winning director/writer/animator Seth MacFarlane, as he gives us his 17 golden rules of filmmaking. Famous for creating the oft-controversial animated series Family Guy in 1999, MacFarlane has already proven himself as a force within comedy—and then some: with two more adult comedy […]


This week’s DIY is part one of MovieMaker‘s Guide to VOD, featured in full in our 2014 Guide to Making Movies, on stands now. Part two will be published Monday, September 30. At a panel at the USC School of Cinematic Arts this June, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas sounded a death knell for the dominance […]


While I am all for learning the art of filmmaking on the job, there are instances where prior formal education and training would save some big hassles in seeing the film out to market. One big oversight that I see within in the DIY filmmaking movement is in music licensing. Without the proper music clearances, a […]

Billy Bob Thornton

Experience begets wisdom, and this week’s featured advice-dispenser is none other than Billy Bob Thornton, a man who has lived many lives throughout his long, consistently intriguing career. The star of A Simple Plan, Monster’s Ball, The Man Who Wasn’t There, and, how could we forget, Bad Santa, Thornton has won an Academy Award for Best […]

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This week on MovieMaker, crowdfunding authority John T. Trigonis, Category Marketing Manager of Film, Web and Video at Indiegogo, takes an instructional look at five success stories from his time at the popular funding platform. The question scrolling down every filmmaker’s mind shouldn’t be how much money a campaign can raise on crowdfunding sites like […]


As you probably know, finishing (or finding) a script is only the beginning of any moviemaker’s odyssey from page to screen. With so many different funding paths and workflows once you are in production, every moviemaker’s odyssey is different. But it all starts with the script, and there are things that many financiers look for […]


This week, our Wednesday Words of Wisdom come from the Hollywood jack-of-all-trades that is Chris Weitz. The consummate professional reminds fellow moviemakers to avoid clichés and always mind their manners on set. Writer. Director. Producer. Actor. Chris Weitz has done it all. The New York-born, Cambridge-educated Weitz started his career working alongside his brother, Paul, […]

beasts of the southern wild

To the fledgling filmmaker, any kind of award from a jury of their peers or an enthusiastic audience matters a great deal. Being presented with a festival award gives a sense of validation that the work is worthy of praise, worthy of the time spent making it. But in the marketplace, do such awards transcend […]

film reels

For this week’s Trailblazer Tuesday we’re changing things up! MovieMaker wants to know your favorite trailblazing, worth-your-wallet, indie-friendly businesses. Nominate your favorite film businesses below! Are you an independent film company willing to go to the ends of the Earth for your customers? Or, have you, as a customer, had a wonderful experience with an […]

money tree

MovieMaker reached back into the vaults to bring you this piece on nonprofit financing for this week’s DIY Monday. Though this article was written in 2010, the information is as pertinent as ever. In a moviemaker’s perfect world, the creative landscape would be peopled with investors who understand your vision and are eager to fund […]

McDonough Feature

This week’s Wednesday Words of Wisdom are from actor Neal McDonough, who has come a long way since his debut film role as Dockworker #2 in Sam Raimi’s 1990 comic book adaptation Darkman. After brief appearances on a bevy of television shows, including “Murphy Brown,” “NYPD Blue” and “Murder One,” McDonough landed a starring role […]

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Veteran cinematographer Sol Negrin, ASC understands the challenges of bringing cinematography from the set to the classroom. Now a professor at New York’s Five Towns College, Negrin’s six-decade-long career—during which he worked on projects like Coming to America and Superman—led to him being handed the 2010 President’s Award by the American Society of Cinematographers and, […]

2 Guns

Born and raised in Miami, Randall Emmett started his long and prolific producing career in the unlikely position of Mark Wahlberg’s assistant. Since then, he has produced, amongst countless others, films like Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans, End of Watch, Wicker Man, The Amityville Horror, Righteous Kill, 88 Minutes, King of California, 16 Blocks, Lay the Favorite, 2008’s Rambo and The Contract ­— a list […]

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How to build sliders and jibs: building two moviemaker must-haves in one easy project. When MovieMaker’s managing editor, James Kaelan, challenged me to create a piece of gear using stuff from a hardware store, I immediately had two questions: Does it have to be just one piece of gear? And what would be most useful […]


Today it’s Film Financing 101 at MovieMaker. As part of our continuing DIY Monday series, we are sharing an excerpt from the 7th edition of Louise Levison’s book Filmmakers & Financing: Business Plans for Independents. Louise is regarded throughout the industry as the guru of film business plans; her clients have raised money for low-budget […]

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Storm Surfers 3D delivers big wave-riding experience for moviegoers!  This week’s MovieMaker Editor’s Weekend Pick is the Australian big wave surfing documentary, Storm Surfers 3D, directed by Justin McMillan and Christopher Nelius. While a lot of you might be rolling your eyes about another 3D movie, this epic uses the technology as far more than […]

food, inc

Our new monthly DIY Monday feature is a column on distribution and marketing fundamentals by Sheri Candler, the Director of Digital Marketing Strategy at LA-based non-profit organization The Film Collaborative. In the following weeks, Sheri will advise independent filmmakers on how to build an artistic brand and formulate marketing strategies for their work that can […]


Like everyone else trying to forecast the economic landscape of independent film, over here at the MovieMaker offices, we think a lot about innovations in the VOD marketplace. The future of distribution and investment recoupment is probably rooted in digital sales. Netflix is the next generation television network. iTunes is the new Landmark Cinemas. But those companies—Netflic […]

how to make a movie

In this installment of DIY Monday, moviemaker Eric Kochmer explains how to make a movie for less than $10,000. I’m an actor who decided three years ago that I wanted to direct a feature film. To that end, I started hanging out with film collective, We Make Movies, which helped me gain insight and advice […]

screenwriting tips

As part of MovieMaker’s DIY Monday, we are excited to provide some helpful screenwriting tips from writer Todd Klick. The old adage is that a screenwriter needs to capture a reader’s attention in the first 10 pages. Wrong. It needs to happen on page one and build from there. In the documentary Bring on the […]


A relatively large 3rd party ecosystem has sprung up around Final Cut Pro X (FCPX). Here are some of the programs, apps and FCPX plugins I really enjoy. With’s new DIY Monday series, we’ll teach you how to take your film into your own hands, literally. Our week starts off with a set of no-nonsense instructions […]

ATTENTION! Create and enter a film in “On Location: The Los Angeles Video Project” and have a shot at winning over $50,000 in prizes! The Los Angeles Video Project is a community outreach multimedia program that celebrates and enlists LA’s remarkable pool of filmmakers. By engaging these creative members of the Los Angeles community to […]

Crowdfunding Guide

Indiegogo’s Crowdfunding Guide is a must-read for moviemakers looking to self-finance their masterpieces. Jason Brubaker wrote this post originally for his helpful how-to website, but he has graciously allowed MovieMaker Magazine to repost the content for our readers’ benefit. Crowdfunding is a great way to get word out about your project, test your marketing […]


If you happened to be walking around the floor this year at NAB, you probably noticed that 4K was everywhere. Whether it was Blackmagic’s 4K Production Camera, Sony’s 4K cameras and projectors, or RED’s DRAGON (which shoots in 6K), this increasingly ubiquitous resolution is on everyone’s minds. And it’s not going away. Within the next couple […]

California state parks

When we found out that a quarter of California state parks were closing due to a $22 million budget cut, we thought we must have been missing something. It is a nearly insignificant amount of money in state budget terms, and what was being put on the line seemed so severe. We thought there must […]


Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), Sean Durkin’s directorial debut makes extensive use of two locations: A farmhouse, where Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) lives before running away, and a lake house, where she stays with her sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and her sister’s husband Ted (Hugh Dancy). In an exclusive interview with Interiors, Durkin spoke with Interiors […]


Equal Writes, a screenwriting challenge founded by Duly Noted, Inc. and We Make Movies (and supported in part by MovieMaker) has closed the call for entries seeking, “intelligent, courageous stories forged on the intersections of race, religion and gender with voices that shape the new discussion on diversity.” The 22 semi-finalists have been announced at […]


Have you read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art? If you have, spread the word. If you haven’t yet, here’s the gist of it: The world will be saved when we all make what we are supposed to be making. There is an idea in your head that fills you with joy. This idea is tapping on your […]


On a Saturday afternoon at AFI Fest last November, I walked into a 4:15 PM screening of a Serbian film called Clip by first-time director, Maja Milos. I knew from the press images that it was at least potentially provocative; the poster features a girl in a leopard-print dress, wet with sweat, dancing madly. But […]


Back in 2005, Paul Graham and Trevor Blackwell, two tech pioneers who’d made fortunes in Silicon Valley, founded a company called Y Combinator. The business model was based on publicly funded business incubators, where the government gives research and development grants to private companies in order to facilitate research and innovation in a given field […]


Finishing your RED movie using Final Cut Pro X, Redcine-X, and DaVinci Resolve In Parts 1 and 2, I showed you how to properly set up your project, as well as some ways Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) can make your editing life a little bit easier. This final installment is going to be all […]


I have a confession to make: I’m a bit of an interloper in the film world. I was an actress for 15 years, having done my first Equity show at 16, but realized when I got to Los Angeles that my meritocratic beliefs don’t necessarily meld well with the realities of “showbiz.” I’ve written about my experiences here, so no need to wax poetic about the one-sided structure […]


Attention all Screenwriters, Graphic Novelists, Novelists-Afraid-Of-Screenwriting, and Waiters, Bankers, Accountants, Teachers, Custodians, Firefighters, Cashiers and Parking Lot Attendants who Dream of Being Screenwriters: You already know how to tell a great story. Quit worrying. Worrying is not your job. Writing is your job. Start writing. Don’t even read this article. Begin writing your story right […]


In Part 1, I dealt with how to properly prep your RED project for long-term feature film success in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX). Now we’ll get to the fun part: Editing. I’m going to go in depth with a ton of tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your cutting […]


Whether you’re crafting a documentary, a non-fiction drama, or a fictional narrative feature, the potential to change the world is one of the most important driving forces behind any moviemaking. From Battleship Potemkin (1925) to Gandhi (1982), An Inconvenient Truth (2006) to Taxi to the Dark Side (2007), moviemaking activism can center on a wide […]

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Part 01: Project Prep – How to properly bring in your RED footage and build your project in FCP X. It’s literally shocking that a product from Apple happens to be the best kept secret in post. Pretty much everyone I come across is dumbfounded when I tell them that Final Cut Pro X (FCP […]


While I have fond memories of film school, I also remember immense feelings of frustration. Why did I have to spend all of this damn time doing stuff that had nothing to do with filmmaking? Why did I have to go to classes I didn’t want to be in? Why did I have to wait […]


Prologue This is the article you’ve been waiting for. You have a movie that you’re aching to make but you can’t, because you have no money. This is nonsense. I’m here to tell you that actually, you can. Read this article, then go make your movie. “Pft.” “Shaa.” “Whatever.” I can hear you. “Come on, […]


If the rules don’t make sense, a hustler (and every independent moviemaker must be a hustler) knows to disregard the rulebook. The film industry stacks the odds against you, especially if you’re working outside of the system. So if you want to get your film made and then distributed with modest resources, you’re going to […]


by Antonino D’Ambrosio | Published January 17, 2013   Twenty-five hundred days. The number feels heavy, eternal. If I divide it into years—seven—it becomes plainer still that the journey to transform the essays from my book Let Fury Have the Hour into a feature length, non-fiction film took nearly a quarter of my life. The world premiere was […]


by Christopher Robinson and Carmiel Banasky | Published December 18, 2012 You’ve been working on your first script for a year and a half. Maybe you got a lukewarm reception at your first staged reading last month, or maybe that .FDX file is still languishing half written on your desktop. Either way, you feel like the […]


It’s become one of the film world’s great pastimes to sit around and hate on what Apple did with Final Cut Pro X. Upon its launch, you would have thought Apple had come in and kidnapped every editor’s first born child. And, let’s be honest, the FCPX launch was not Apple’s finest moment. I still […]


As far as fundraising for your film goes, we all know that a decade ago you couldn’t reach a woman in Calgary who had some retirement money laying around that she just felt like giving to a struggling artist. You used to have to go door-to-door and beg money from heart surgeons and dentists. Now […]