FilmSkills is an innovative website that aims to “provide a real-world education of the complex world of motion picture production through a series of easy-to-understand, yet comprehensive videos, workbooks and resources.”
Jason J.Tomaric, a multiple Emmy, Telly and CINE Award-winning director and cinematographer, has partnered with Focal Press to create the site. The scope is broad, covering all aspects of the filmmaking process from Development to Pre-Production, Crew, Production, Post-Production, Marketing and Distribution.
Video Modules provide insight and knowledge of the intricacies of the film industry. Subjects covered in the individual Video Modules include Packaging Your Movie, The Three Act Structure, Treatments and Outlines, Creating Characters, Dialogue and Backstory, Budgeting, Rehearsing Actors, Analog vs. Digital, Basic Shooting Techniques, Lighting People, Studio Facilities Safety, Domestic and Internet Distribution. These titles are just a small sample of the depth and complexity of the site.
Finding Actors is a video module with commentary from independent casting director Billy DeMota among others. It includes extensive text to supplement the video including the following excerpts :
“If you have to hire SAG actors, try to hire actors who are Financial Core, a status that allows union workers to work on non-union projects. This will help you avoid the pitfalls of the SAG low budget process and free you to screen and market your film any way you wish. Name actors can certainly help increase the value of your movie in the eyes of distributors. Unfortunately, they can be both cost-prohibitive and a scheduling challenge.”
“Avoid casting friends and family. Although your close acquaintances may be ready and willing, the quality of your movie will undoubtedly suffer. Acting is a skill that requires years of training and mastery to be effective, invisible and moving. Unless your family or friends are professional actors, avoid the potential for damaging performances.”
“If your budget doesn’t allow the hiring of a casting director, you can cast the movie yourself using one of two approaches. The first is to post a general audition notice in newspapers, acting magazines like “Backstage West,” classified ads in the newspaper, web sites and announcements on the local news. Casting a wide net will collect a lot of fish both talented and untalented. The second approach to finding qualified actors is to use online casting resources like http://www.actorsaccess.com, http://www.nowcasting.com and www.LAcasting.com.”
FilmSkills is a site that offers essential advice for people active in the film industry and students of film. Unlike complex text books that can be hard to digest the mixture of video interviews and easy to read text creates the desire to learn more. This is a site created by professionals with down-to-earth commentary based on actual work experience. Whatever your interest in film – be it writing, production, art direction, cinematography, music, sound, editing, direction or marketing and distribution this site is highly recommended. And like all good websites it’s an evolving site that is adding new modules each month.
With thanks to Becky Sahm at Big Picture Media.
Review copyright Paul Green 2012. All rights reserved.