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Podcasts: Shows that Can Help Your Filmmaking

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Podcasts have become a pretty big part of the mobile entertainment generation. Instead of being pinned to radio stations, we can now listen to shows on a subject of our choosing. This, of course, includes the world of filmmaking.

There are several podcasts that are worth listening to, but these are the select few that I never miss to keep me up on the filmmaking world.

The Business Side

A weekly breakdown of what’s new in the world of entertainment, Showbiz Sandbox covers everything from film to broadway. Check this one out for some interesting insights into the most up-to-date entertainment information.

http://www.showbizsandbox.com/

Writing

The official podcast of screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin, Scriptnotes offers a fantastic insight into the business of screenwriting. Not only that, it offers practical advice on how to write, and how to work inside the Hollywood system. This is a must listen for writers.

http://feeds.feedburner.com/scriptnotespodcast

General Filmmaking

There is probably no more comprehensive filmmaking podcast than the Digital Filmmakers Podcast. Featuring interviews with professionals from the industry, the podcast teaches editing, storytelling, cinematography, and every other aspect of the industry. Best of all, it hails from FilmmakingWebinars.com, home of great free webinars for filmmakers.

http://www.filmmakingwebinars.com/digital-filmmakers-podcast/

Movie Reviews

Sometimes you just want to hear people review some of the biggest movies in Hollywood. For this, look no further than Now Playing, the movie review podcast. The fun repor makes this an entertaining podcast regardless of if you’ve seen the movie or not.

http://nowplayingpodcast.com/

Honorable Mention

While Scriptnotes may be the most relevant business oriented podcast for writers, there is no more intriguing than The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith. Goldsmith is the former editor of Creative Screenwriting Magazine, and has interviewed some of the most legendary writers in film. Check out his back catalogue for several episodes you won’t want to miss.

http://www.theqandapodcast.com/

What are some of your favorite filmmaking podcasts that I may have missed? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments! In another article I’ll cover some of the best podcasts overall you should be listening to.

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

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Take a Break: Rest Even for the Wicked

August 30, 2011 Leave a comment

As I get back from my wedding, and a mini-honeymoon after, I thought I would take a few minutes to expound the virtues of one of the most overlooked rules in the industry. It is important to work hard, and to turn down as little work as possible when you’re starting out. But equally as important is to take a break.

It can be a scary thing when you’re breaking in, especially if you have some momentum going. But it’s important to realize that, as long as you leave everything in good standing, work will always be there for you when you get back. A break can be just as important to your career as work can be, so there are a few things to remember:

1) Don’t Think About Work

This is your first and foremost rule, and it can be a tough one. Try to seclude yourself as much as possible from things that make you think about work. Maybe that means you don’t watch TV or see a movie for a week, or maybe you have the ability to turn off your brain when you’re not working. Either way, don’t think about work.

2) Stay Away from Technology

I’m as much of a tech geek as anyone but when it comes to getting a real break, technology is the enemy. Turn off anything that is going to be receiving work emails or calls so you can give you brain a real break.

3) Stay Away from Work Folk

They may be some of your best friends, but the point of this break is to get away from the industry. You can still get a decent break with work friends, but inevitably the conversation will turn to work, and that is not what you want. For a total recharge live in seclusion with people that aren’t in the industry.

Obviously these rules are guidelines as much as anything, but if you try to follow them you should come back refreshed and ready to tackle all the challenges the industry offers. You’ll be better off, as will the people hiring you, for you having taken the break.

One more important note: while I’m condoning severing ties for your break, I’m not condoning letting commitments slide. Be sure that everything is in good order before you take your break, and that everyone that needs to know is aware you will be out of the loop. If you just up and disappear, you’ll come back relaxed and you’ll stay that way since you’ll have nothing to work on.

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

Categories: Breaking In, Industry

Breaking In: Perfect to the Letter

June 19, 2011 Leave a comment

A short blog topic today, but one that apparently needs to be written. I can’t say the number of applicants I’ve dealt with that should have read this blog, but there are a lot.

When you are trying to break into the industry, I’m dealing with film and television even though this rule applies to every industry, you only have one chance to make a first impression. Thanks to this, most people will show up for their interview in clothes far nicer than they would normally wear, and on far better behavior than they would normally display. That’s all fine and good, but that is not your first impression.

Trust me, your first impression is far before that and, if you mess that up, you’ll never get to the interview stage. Your first impression comes when you submit your resume, spec script, treatment, or anything to your potential employer. But that’s not even the document that makes your first impression! The first impression comes directly from your cover letter.

Because of this, there are a few rules you need to follow when writing a cover letter. They are as follows:

1) When talking about yourself, even if your cover letter is an email, the correct spelling is ‘I’ and not ‘i.’

This seems to be a growing concern in cover letters I read. Communication is becoming more casual as it becomes more accessible, and I’m fine with that. But if you are submitting a professional portfolio, this is the first sign that I shouldn’t call you back.

2) Every word needs to have a space before and after it.

I recently read a letter with not one, not two, but three instances of this. Seriously, you need to make sure to space your letter properly, which leads to…

3) Proof read your letter.

Sounds simple? It is? After you write your letter, put it aside for a while and then come back to it. Depending on the timelines, you could put it aside for 10 minutes, or 10 days. Just be sure to put it aside so you can come back and edit it with fresh eyes. If you don’t, you’ll fall prey to the grammatical and spelling errors that companies looking to hire don’t like.

That’s it. It’s short and it’s sweet. These rules apply everywhere, but I hold writers to a higher standard than most. If you are claiming to be a professional writer, then you should never give me a reason to critique your writing in a cover letter. Your letter doesn’t have to blow my mind, but it does have to show me that you are competent in your chosen profession.

What do you think? What are some of the best cover letters you’ve read? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

Categories: Breaking In, Writing
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