Software for professional editing: the pros, the cons and where to start from.
There are many alternatives on the market, but just a few are used by professionals and learning all the tricks of the trade takes time and experience. So what are your options?
Avid Media Composer
The undisputed industry standard for feature films and big productions, which is equipped with the most stable platform for the most complex workflows. Plus, with a complete set of tools to make the most of shared storage and multiple operators working on the same project, it is the go-to choice for post-production companies and editing studios dealing with large teams and complicated setups.
It takes a lot of time and work to shoot a feature film. But even when all the filming is done, the movie is only half-way through its path to be a finished product. The other half usually happens inside a post production house, where different departments work in synergy to put video and sound together into a blockbuster.
If you think post-production is the right path for you, here are the first steps to make your way into this world.
Figure out which department you want to work in
Most post-production companies structure their organisations (hence, human resources) along three main departments: Production, Editing and Sound. The first step, which you’ve probably already taken, is deciding which one of these is the right fit for you, depending on what you want your daily job to be like. Here’s an idea:
No matter what they achieve in their career, every director was once a runner, a film student or a production assistant… So they are often keen on giving advice to young filmmakers. Here are our top picks:
Wes Anderson – Always start with your characters
During the 10th Rome Film Fest in 2015, the director from Houston, Texas, met the audience and, in a Q&A session, he shared several directorial tips like this one:
“For me a movie, the project usually begins almost always with a character or a group of characters. Usually there’s a sort of world… that’s tied in. But, for instance, the last film that I did, The Grand Budapest Hotel, there was a person we were modelling this role, this character who Ralph Fiennes plays in the film. There’s a real inspiration for him, and he was someone my co-writer Hugo Guinness [and I] were close to. In that case, if we put a style to it, it could be a literary style because of the way he talks. We wanted to write the way he talks to create a character in that way. But in that case it’s really the character that comes first.”
Being the dream of plenty of film students, writers and even movie-enthusiasts, becoming a screenwriter can be one of the most competitive and frustrating journeys through the industry. Here are some tips aimed at those who are taking the first steps on this journey.
1. Read plenty of scripts
This should hopefully be obvious, but you can’t learn how to craft a successful screenplay just by yourself. You will need to read a lot of screenplays, from a lot of different screenwriters and across many different genres, from the classics to the latest hits, in order to get a full picture of the different techniques at your disposal, along with examples of good writing that works for the audience as well.
As spring term approaches, you are probably getting ready to kick-start your career. Here’s some advice that might help you make your way out there in the “real world”.
As people more experienced than you have already told you, getting your first job can be very hard, and starting to progress further in the industry can be even harder. Film and television are networking-based industries and as, presumably, you don’t have many connections yet, prepare for a slow and often tedious start.
Most industry professionals will advise you to find some work experience as quickly as possible, in order to start creating your network and putting some credits on your CV. Many say that it should not matter if your first experience is an entry level role at minimum wage. However, having your mind set on what you aspire to and what specific path you want to follow should help you select only the opportunities that are right for you.
Be on time
Always plan to be on set 15 minutes before you are actually supposed to be there, so that, worst case scenario, you will end up being delayed by something unexpected but still be on time to start working. Remember that by being late, you slow down the whole production process, and especially for small productions, seizing every hour of shooting is crucial.
Bring your own tools
A lot of inexperienced ACs spend their whole first job asking other assistants to borrow gear and tools. While obviously it will take you a few years of practice (and savings) to put together a complete toolset, starting with bringing the basics with you will make you look reliable and committed. These basics may include screwdrivers, pliers, scissors, wrenches, hex keys, markers, measuring tape, a flashlight, along with all the gear to keep cameras and lenses clean.
Always take care of the equipment on set
Whether it’s about lowering the camera on the tripod while it’s not being used, or covering the gear from the rain as the sky gets cloudy, doing everything in your power to make sure all of the equipment gets to the end of the day in perfect condition is your main responsibility. By doing so, not only will you help the production save money by avoiding expensive repairs, but you also show your professionalism and trustworthiness.
Always carefully select the festivals
Applying to festivals is time-consuming and expensive. They all have different requirements in terms of paperwork, cover letters, synopses… but most of all, every festival programmer has different tastes and ideas about which films to screen.
It is therefore in your own interests to do some research and make sure you’re picking the right ones for your film. When you contact the festival to send them your work, always try to include the particular reason why you want it screen at that particular event. At the end of the day, programmers are trying to give your film good exposure through their own audience, so obviously the two have to match.
Complete all the details
Application forms are often long and detailed, but it is massively important to fill them in properly. Even if they ask about some technical details you’re not entirely sure of, it’s worth it to check online what they are asking for. You don’t want to be remembered as the filmmaker that wasted their staff’s time as they had to email you back asking for missing details.
With distribution in film theatres often infeasible for independent features and DVD sales plummeting, all in combination with a general oversupply of content, the thought of a deal with Netflix seems like the Holy Grail of distribution.
Aside from the money (although in fact, the streaming service does not usually pay more than four figure sums in licensing fees) the really alluring prospect is getting your film delivered to more than 100 million potential viewers worldwide. Obviously, though, it is not easy to obtain such a deal. Netflix usually request films they’re interested in, but if your film has not been screened at major festivals or if it didn’t go viral, you will be better off going through a distributor or aggregator.
The first step is getting your film into the Netflix Database, which is basically a list of potential additions to the Netflix library. In order to do that, you have to either get a distributor on board with your project who can leverage connections within the company, or go through an aggregator.
A good option for independent filmmakers with few connections or who don’t want to share their revenue with third parties, is indie distribution company Distribber. It is owned by IndieGoGo and deals with distribution on Netflix and other major streaming platforms in exchange for a single fee (up to $1600), and you get to keep all of the revenues.
Being a Production Assistant is often the first step you take in the film industry. It can take you far, but it can also be hard. Here’s what you should avoid at all costs:
1. Showing up late
PAs are supposed to be the first ones on set, ready to get help (or breakfast) for whoever is in need. Moreover, this is your chance to show that you are a hard worker and slowing down the whole working day because you slept through your alarm is a really bad first impression. However, accidents can happen and if you have a good reason for being late and cannot possibly avoid it, then call and let them know.
2. Disappearing on set
Whether you need a smoke break or a quick run to the loo, the ADs and the rest of the crew is counting on your presence and help on set, so if you need to leave for a couple of minutes it is absolutely necessary to communicate it. Just make sure it’s not a time where you are needed and say you are going on a quick break on the walkie. Carry the walkie with you at all times and always let others know you got their message.
A lot of us have found ourselves dreaming about producing their own movie, short, documentary or any other video project. However, making a movie from scratch is a very expensive process which usually requires professional equipment, talented staff and promotional efforts.
Because of this, independent film makers usually cannot afford to finance the production out of their own pocket. However, there are a few ways to obtain enough funds to realize your project.
Before even starting to look for investors, there are two inescapable requirements that every aspiring film producer has to fulfil:
Having a good script, which may sound obvious and is often taken for granted, but a good screenplay is actually very hard to find/write. It is essential to seek feedback on the film’s script, both from industry professionals who can provide an experienced and valuable judgement on the screenwriter’s work, and from friends and family who can represent a rough sample of the public’s reception of the movie.
Developing an effective business plan, including a realistic budget and a marketing strategy. A detailed business plan ensures the profitability of the project, guaranteeing that investors will be paid back of their economic effort.