Safety Takes

Your B-Roll is Your A-Roll


The term “B-roll” comes from the world of film where editors used to use an “A” and a “B” roll of identical footage, before the digital age changed everything. B-roll shots are similar to cutaways in that they help break up the static interview shots, but B-roll plays a more major role in telling a…

Actor Dave Annable (“Justin Walker”) with director Bethany Rooney on the set of ABC’s Brothers & Sisters. (Brothers & Sisters trademarks and copyrighted material have been used with the permission of ABC Studios.)

Directing and Shaping a Performance on Set


The practical part of directing actors happens on set during rehearsal. This time is when you shape an actor’s performance. It should be a closed rehearsal, that is, no crew members other than the script supervisor, the director of photography, and your 1st AD invited. Your actors will have done their homework, hopefully, and they…


What’s So Good About Being a Script Supervisor?


I am a script supervisor, outside, on location. It’s 4:30 in the morning. I’ve been up for 20 hours. The sun will rise before we can finish the scene, which is making everybody grumpy. It’s so cold that my hands hurt. I’ve needed to pee for the last three hours. It starts to rain. I…


Directing the Documentary – Keys to Directing People


The word “directing” suggests ordering people around, and is particularly misleading for documentary since you guide or lead the process, rather than command it. Your job is to know what motivates people, what psychological blocs you must remove, and what subtle pressures you can exert to catalyze behavior, or uncover hidden narratives. As leadership, this…

“Hitchcock’s rule” in Wright’s Atonement . The size of the letter in the frame reflects its importance in the scene.

Directing – Shot Size and Selection


COMMON SHOT SIZES A creative variable crucial to the director’s visual vocabulary and storytelling toolbox is shot size, which refers to the size of the subject in your frame. You can alter it in two ways: by changing the proximity of the camera to your subject (moving closer or farther) or through optics (changing the…


Making the Day


In an average 12-hour single-camera production day (7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.), most television shows average about 25 setups (individual shots) per day. It takes that long because each scene must be rehearsed, blocked, and shot. There is also time allotted for things like hair and makeup touch-ups. Uncomplicated shots take a minimum of 30…

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Interviewing Celebrities for Your Documentary


I freely admit that as long as I’ve been in this business I still get excited when I interview certain celebrities. However, for the celebrities themselves, the excitement just isn’t there. Most of them have been interviewed a thousand times (some literally), especially if they’re promoting a new project. And it’s generally a tedious and…


How to Conduct a Documentary Interview


Conducting a documentary interview is not as easy as it might seem. Everything from eye contact to instructing your subject is essential in making your documentary the best it can possibly be. Anthony Q. Artis is here to make sure your interviews are top-notch. He gives his top 4 tips that he tells all subjects…

Rehearsing with Actors

Working on Scenes with Actors


One of the director’s primary responsibilities is to assist the actor in discovering and playing his role. The director accomplishes this through script and character analysis, and staging. Once casting has been completed, the character development process begins with rehearsals. During the rehearsal period, the following takes place: The director gets to know the actor….

Figure 11

How to Shoot: The Unexpected Jump


What does it look like? It’s unexpected “jump” moment or cut where the character almost gets seriously injured or killed. How’s it done? It’s done as a practical shot on the set. When should I use it? It’s best used during moments in the film where the character is off guard and vulnerable to an…

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MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Routledge 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.