Wednesday, April 6, 2016

5 Steps to Writing a Good Beginning

Here are five steps to writing a good beginning to your screenplay from Michael Arndt, a screenwriter for Pixar. Below are excerpts from the video:

Step 1: Show Your Hero Doing What They Love Most

“Usually what you do when you’re introducing your main character is that you show them doing what they love most. This is their grand passion, it’s their defining trait, it’s the center of their whole universe.
So you start with your main character, you introduce the universe they live in, and you show your hero doing the thing they love to do most.”

Step 2: Add a Flaw

“But then your character needs one more thing. He needs a flaw. Now what’s key here is that the character’s flaw actually comes out of her grand passion. It’s a good thing that’s just been taken too far.”

Step 3: Add a Storm

“And then you want to establish storm clouds on the horizon, which is your character is walking down the road of life, it’s a nice bright sunny day, but off on the horizon, there are some dark clouds gathering. And then… BABOOM! Something comes in and totally blows apart your joyous life and turns it upside down.”

Step 4: Add Insult to Injury

“But that bolt from the blue, BABOOM, isn’t enough on its own. It’s not enough just to ruin your character’s life and take away their grand passion and change their whole sense of what their future is going to be, you got to add insult to injury. You gotta have something that’s going to make the whole world seem a little bit unfair.”

Step 5: Make Your Character Pick the Unhealthy Choice

“So now, your main character’s life has changed, her grand passion has been taken away, the world has revealed itself to be unfair, and she comes to a fork in the road, and she gotta have to make a choice on how to deal with her new reality.
There’s a high road to take, a healthy responsible choice, or a low road to take, and make an unhealthy, irresponsible choice.
And remember, if your character choses to do the right thing you really don’t have a story.
The key thing here is that we are rooting for the character to do the unhealthy irresponsible thing because we feel her pain.”

Bring It Home

So your story is coming out of your character’s deepest desire, and darkest fear.
The thing they love gets stolen away from them, and the world is revealed to be unfair.
To put things right, they have the make the journey that is the rest of the film, and by the end of the journey, hopefully, not only will they get back what they lost, but they’ll be forced to fix that little flaw they had when we first met them.

So that’s what I learned at Pixar, and I’m not saying that all stories need to start this way, but if you’re writing a script and you’re having a hard time getting started, I hope these ideas are helpful.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Free Cartoon Software OpenToonz

OpenToonz was just released as a free open source 2D animation software package. This looks like a great option to dive into some professional level animation software.
You can check it out here.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Public Domain Footage

Here is a link to public domain footage websites: Click Here

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Free Video Editing Software

Hey all, there are some great options out there for free editing apps.  PVC recently posted an article, The Best and Free Video Editing Software, listing some new options.

HitFilm 3 Express
Looks like a great option to learn the ropes.  Has all the basic functionality that you need.  Even has some great compositing options.
 HitFilm 3

Fusion 7
VFX and motion graphics.

DaVinci Resolve Lite
Color correction and editing.

There was a followup article with some more VFX and animation options here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

The DollyCrane

DollyCrane Demo from Andrzej Dybowski on Vimeo.

This looks to be a pretty cool new product for us cinematographers. In my spare time I tinker around with ideas about new camera support tools. Here is someone who took my idea (Well, came up with on their own) and developed the crane idea I attempted. But they didn't just stop with the crane aspect. It is also a jib and a slider. I think I need to get one of these.
You can find out more at their website. Click here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Plug-ins Won't Save You

Here is a link to a great presentation by fimmaker Eric Escobar as he expounds upon the notion that you can't (or shouldn't) fix it in post. Eric is a producer, director, and vfx artist.

One of the really interesting things he does is demonstrate how to break down techniques filmmakers use in their projects. Once you know the "rules" of the show, you can replicate them. He takes a scene from the NBC show "Heroes" to explain his process. Cool stuff...

Here is the video. Click Here