BIG BRAINS - small budgets: DIY Filmmaking Advice


BIG BRAINS – small budgets: MJ Dixon (Creepsville, Slasher House, Legacy of Thorn)


MJ Dixon was born in Sunderland, North East England. He started his career in film working as a PA on local low budget indie productions and soon grew to have aspiration of creating his own feature length films. Studying a degree in both filmmaking and screenwriting at the University Of Central Lancashire, as well as…


screen direction

How Does the 180° Rule Work, anyway?


The Purpose of Screen Direction Screen direction serves two important purposes: it gives the audience clues about the story and it helps keep the audience from getting confused about where someone is or what they are doing. Avoiding confusion is the fundamental reason for all film continuity. Directional Conventions The classic example of this is…


Figure 3-1  “Irish” Micky Ward’s (Mark Wahlberg) boxing opponents are nothing compared to the battles his family puts him through.

Defining Conflict


Conflict is essential to drama, but can be defined in different ways and take many different forms. Conflict can come from external factors, from within a character, or arise from a combination of forces. Person versus person (external conflict) Person versus environment or social institution (external conflict) Person versus a task they are compelled to…

Post Production

Photo by Rosmary

Walter Murch’s Simple Approach to the Rule of Six


Born in 1943 in New York City, Walter Murch is widely recognized as one of the leading authorities in the field of film editing, as well as one of the few editors equally active in both picture and sound. A graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television, he received his early sound…



How to Run an Efficient Film Production Meeting
and other Production Preparation Tips!


Intangible managerial skills are as important as technical know-how in preparing successfully for production. The following are some general guidelines to help with the intangibles of preproduction. Keep a Positive Attitude. Lack of experience makes it difficult for beginning filmmakers to assess their day-to-day preproduction progress. There are so many elements (cast, crew, locations) that…



You Need a Logline


Screenwriting Tip #12: If you don’t know your own logline, you probably don’t know what your script is about. Some writers will tell you they don’t have a logline. Their screenplay is “too complex” or “too character-driven,” or they just didn’t bother to think of one before they started writing. These writers are either idiots…

The Film Business

Photo by Tax Credit

How to Approach a Film Budget


I always make at least a simple budget to forecast expected expenses, no matter what size the project is. The more complicated the project, the greater the detail I put into the budget. This also helps tremendously when you are working with a partner or outside funding source. All parties can then see what needs…

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about MasteringFilm

MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Focal Press authors and industry experts, features tips, advice, articles, video tutorials, interviews, and other resources for aspiring and current filmmakers. No matter what your filmmaking interest is, including directing, screenwriting, postproduction, cinematography, producing, or the film business, MasteringFilm has you covered. You’ll learn from professionals at the forefront of filmmaking, allowing you to take your skills to the next level.