Structure of a Screenplay

Even if you’re experienced in writing, writing a screenplay is like entering a whole other world. Because most full-length screenplays are written so that they can be adapted into a two-hour movie, they tend to be around 110 pages long. As a result of this standard length, there is a pretty well-defined general structure for writing screenplays. While you don’t need to follow this structure exactly to write a great screenplay, it’s always helpful to know the basics before trying something more complicated. So here are some helpful tips for understanding screenplay structure: A typical screenplay is divided into three… read more

What Equipment Does an Aspiring Indie Filmmaker Need?

At KD Conservatory, we give our acting and motion picture production students access to professional, state-of-the art filmmaking equipment. We believe that sophisticated, specialized equipment gives our students the ability to take their creativity and talent to the highest level. But what if you want to try making an independent film on your own and don’t have access to this type of equipment? While your gear won’t be up to the quality of the equipment at KD, it’s possible to put together an entry-level filmmaking and film directing equipment collection with a few key pieces. Camera Let’s start with the… read more

Tips for A Great Demo Reel

Landing an acting role or a position on a film production crew is much like any other job application process; you supply those who are hiring (including potential agents) with a list of your qualifications, education, and experience. But those in charge of casting and hiring for a production don’t just want to read what you’ve done – they also want to see what you can do. A demo reel can be an excellent tool to show off your skills, whether in acting or in motion picture production, and help set you apart. Here are a few tips to keep… read more

5 Classic Films Every Aspiring Director Should Watch

With the many responsibilities that film directors shoulder, it can be hard to define what makes a great director. Pinpointing exactly what constitutes a well-directed film can sometimes be even harder. However, there are some films that were undeniably shaped and elevated by masterful directing. Whether they eschewed convention and embraced techniques that were groundbreaking for their time, beautifully and subtly told a complex story, or simply evoked passionate and connecting responses from viewers, these classic films set directing standards, and are worthy of critical viewing by any aspiring director. For the purpose of this list, “classic” films were defined… read more

How Film Editing Makes (or Breaks) a Movie

A film editor can be the difference between a cinematic disaster and a film production that is a pleasure to watch. However, many people don’t realize the impact a film editor has, or the role they can play in a movie or television show’s success. Why? Because when a talented editor does their job correctly, the outcome is barely noticeable – and that’s the goal; great editing should pull an audience into a story to the extent of feeling fully immersed, giving them the feeling of watching a story unfold in person instead of on film. Of course, an editor’s… read more

So You Want to Be a Film Director…

If movie and television portrayals are to be believed, a film director’s job consists of telling actors where to stand, demanding more emotion in dialog, and yelling, “Cut!” repeatedly. You no doubt realize that there is quite a bit more to directing than this, but what exactly is a director responsible for? The answer: a lot In essence, directors are responsible for overseeing the majority of the creative aspects of the film throughout the entirety of the production. The director is often consulted during the hiring process, and in some cases may even be directly involved. They are also responsible… read more

6 Indie Films That Made it Big

Often, independent films are automatically at a disadvantage; without the support of big-name studios, their limited budget for production and marketing can make it hard for a film to succeed. But some indie films overcome this barrier, making it big despite their restrictions. Below, in no particular order, are six independent films that went on to great commercial and critical success. 1.    Napoleon Dynamite (2004): The off-the-wall comedy that brought us the story of Napoleon, Uncle Rico, Kip, Pedro and even Tina the llama – as well as endless retellings of jokes about Chapstick and mothers attending institutes of higher… read more

Huge Roles Out of the Spotlight: Essential Motion Picture Production Careers You Might Not Have Heard Of

When many people think of the careers involved in motion picture production, it’s often the high-profile jobs that come to mind. Everyone knows about the usual suspects, such as camera operators, directors and producers. But there are many more roles in film production that are essential to the project, but don’t often get the recognition they deserve. Here are just a few behind-the-scenes careers in film production that you may be less familiar with, but that are crucial parts of the team. Special Effects Technician Many films today are renowned for their incredible special effects. They can help the movie… read more

Tips for Writing Your First Screenplay

Every movie – classics, blockbusters, indie films and box office disasters alike – is based on and built around the same structure: the screenplay. Do you think you have what it takes to write the next great movie? Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing your first screenplay. Watch Movies If you’re thinking about writing your first screenplay, chances are good that you’re already somewhat of a movie buff who has watched more than your fair share of films. That’s a great start, but now it’s time to watch more. Why? There are two big reasons: first,… read more

DIY Special Effects for Your Indie Film

The special effects used in today’s blockbuster films can create some pretty amazing visuals. From battle scenes between giant fighting robots to outer space epics to making super heroes fly and battle otherworldly monsters, the effects that film professionals can create are truly impressive. To an aspiring filmmaker, the possibilities may seem limitless. Unfortunately, your indie movie likely won’t have the benefit of state of the art technology and massive budgets. But there are still some great tricks you can use to make your own special effects, even if you don’t have access to film editing software. Here are just… read more