There are any number of things you can do to make your work commute more interesting.
You could stare blankly at the person sitting across from you on the train. You could listen to your iPod (probably the same playlist over and over again). You could pay attention to the road (if you drive, definitely choose this option). Or you could actually further your film career by listening to a movie-centric podcast.
Whether you’re into screenwriting, cinematography or special effects (or all three), there’s a podcast suited to your interests. So look upon this list of 10 great podcasts—all of which are available on iTunes—as a starting place. After all, it’s better than sleeping on the subway. People could steal your shoes.
www.slashfilm.com/filmcast • /Filmcast snags some pretty big-name directors as guests, including recent episodes with Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) and James Cameron (do we really need to list his filmography?). In addition to /Filmcast is /Filmcast: After Dark, where the hosts discuss totally unique film-related issues, such as whether DVD special features can be too good and the ethics of theater seat-saving.
www.battleshippretension.com • In addition to having arguably the best name of any film podcast out there, Battleship Pretension hosts Tyler Smith and David Bax really know their movies. In a far-reaching discussion of Shakespeare film adaptations they easily move from voicing controversial opinions on Laurence Olivier to the Macbeth adaptation Scotland, Pa., in which the characters fight over a fast food restaurant. The tone of the podcast makes it a really fun listen, too; put perfectly by the podcast’s press kit, BP “approximates the type of laid-back, free-flowing conversation had by lovers of film around the world.”
www.creativescreenwriting.com/podcasts/main.html • This companion podcast to Creative Screenwriting sees senior editor Jeff Goldsmith interviewing such scribes as Oscar-winner Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) and Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon). Gain insight into how some of the most successful screenwriters of today tackle their assignments—whether it’s adapting an existing work (as in the case of Joe Penhall and John Hillcoat, the respective writer and director of The Road) or coming up with new material.
www.directorsnotes.com • With the tagline “The What, How & Why of Independent Filmmaking,” Directors Notes doesn’t focus on huge Hollywood blockbusters. Nope, there’s no talk of the latest Michael Bay actionfest here. Instead, independent moviemakers are interviewed about their craft and how they saw their ideas through from conception to production. What makes this podcast unique is that while one episode may feature an interview with a moviemaker, another could feature clips from the film being discussed, so the audience won’t be in the dark if they haven’t seen the film in question.
www.film-method.com • Film Method’s first season was devoted to all things development, from networking to financing to cultivating the director-producer relationship. Now it’s well into season two: Pre-production. Featuring interviews with production designers, script supervisors, assistant directors and cinematographers about what their jobs entail and how pre-production should go, Film Method is a valuable resource for moviemakers who want to jump into the moviemaking business with some idea of how to actually, you know, make a movie.
www.revision3.com/filmriot • Okay, so I’m kind of cheating on this one: Film Riot is as much a sketch comedy show as it is a lesson in moviemaking—an unlikely combination, true, but one that totally works. As funny as the podcast is, it actually does have useful information for aspiring auteurs, including tips on how to make a believable alien hand and how to make it look like it’s snowing. Another episode offers reviews on cameras that cost under $1,000. Each podcast is relatively short (even with the commercials), making it ideal for a quick lunch break fix.
www.filmspotting.net • Each edition of Filmspotting is full of film reviews that really make you think. It doesn’t hurt that hosts Adam Kempenaar and Matty Robinson make the podcast fun to listen to—after all, what’s the point of listening to a podcast if it makes your mind go numb? Top five lists cooked up by the hosts include “Worst Date Movies” (Adam: The White Ribbon; Matty: Antichrist) and “Most Overrated Movie of 2009” (Both: Avatar).
www.ifc.com/news/podcast • Hosts Alison Willmore and Matt Singer know a little something about film. They compile lists of films that fall into certain, uber-specific categories. For example, one episode sees Willmore and Singer discussing “Evil Twins, Doubles and Doppelgangers” (the title of the episode), including examples from films as diverse as Mulholland Dr., Psycho II and Spider-Man 3. Other episodes cover subjects like stop motion animation and guilty pleasure movies from the past decade (just to relieve the suspense, yes, American Dreamz does make the cut).
On the Page
www.onthepage.tv • As the host of On the Page, screenwriting consultant Pilar Alessandra brings in a variety of writers and screenwriting instructors to give useful tips on how to get your ideas… wait for it… on the page. The guests offer suggestions on how to set up a writing space, what makes a good logline, the art of rewriting and how to cure even the most crippling cases of writer’s block.
Rotten Tomatoes Show
www.rottentomatoes.com • Have you been slaving over your screenplay, storyboards or shot list? Is your brain starting to fry? Do you really, really need a break? Then hop on over to iTunes and download The Rotten Tomatoes Show video podcast to see hosts Brett Erlich and Ellen Fox take on new releases in a way that will have you laughing out loud. Would we call it “intellectually stimulating?” Not necessarily. But it is fun, and don’t all moviemakers need a bit of that when your actor is having a fit and your most important location has fallen though at the last minute? MM
Don’t see your favorite podcast on the list? Let us know what you like to listen to in the comments.