Christmas time again. The grey skies are beating down on our heads. Here are some gift ideas that can bring seasonal cheer to the filmmaker in your life.
Or, if you like, each of these items make great self-gifts!
Stocking stuffers: How about FREE stuff?1. The Zero-Budget Software Suite
Just because something is completely free doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. Give someone the gift of knowing how to save on software for their filmmaking career. The Zero Budget Software Suite
2. Christopher Nolan Script Suite
Download a dozen of Christopher Nolan’s screenplays – put them onto a pen drive or print them out into a big, thick and very heavy package.
A handy stocking stuffer for that favourite film fanatic friend of yours.
Invite someone to our Open House event on the 13th January 2018. Free to everyone, it’s the chance to informally meet and network with Raindance filmmakers, tutors, and, last but not least, the Raindance team! Admission is £19.99 – but it’s refundable from any Raindance course.
Deal or what? And there’s free networking drinks!
When: Saturday 12 January 2019 11:00-15:00 followed by networking drinks Where: Raindance Film Centre, 10A Craven Street, London WC2N 5PE
Get your friend on the Guest List here
Gift ideas £10 and Under1. Raindance buttons
A really distinctive stocking stuffer
A collection of Raindance buttons with fun taglines
Ideal for budding screenwriters interested how how the professionals open their screenplays
Get the first ten pages of ten commercially successful films
Printed and bound on A4 paper Get your 10×10
No need to get soaked!
Stay dry and look sharp with a Raindance Umbrella Just £15
4. Raindance T-Shirts
Support Raindance and look cool at the same time!
Wear the Raindance crest proudly on your chest with these 100% cotton tees
Only £12 Choose your size here
Gift ideas £25 and Under1. Screenplay USB
Get over 100 screenplays of PDF + copies of:
Raindance Writers’ Lab
Raindance Producers’ Lab Get yours here: just £20
2. 26th Raindance Festival poster
Here’s a real collectors item, the 26th Raindance Film Festival poster
Do you know someone who’s interested in filmmaking, but doesn’t know where to begin?
Give them the chance to learn the basics and find out how to kickstart their dream career, in just 99 minutes!
When? Tuesday 15 January 2018 18:30-20:30 Where? Central London How much? Just £25.00 including handout and refreshments
*This class is FREE for members of Raindance. Join HERE and start saving immediately
Everyone loves a book. These brilliant filmmaking books are all industry standard. Have a browse and choose your poison:
If you cannot see the above books, please disable your adblocker.
Gift ideas £50 and underRaindance Premium Membership
The ultimate gift for the film fanatic: One Year’s Premium Membership.
– free script registration
– free events like 99 Minutes Film School and Directing Essentials
– 20% discount on Raindance evening and weekend courses
– special offers
– access to the exclusive online resources
Give Raindance Premium Membership online here or call 0207 930 3412
Gift ideas £100 and underGift Certificates
Some people might be more difficult to buy presents for than others. If you are in doubt as to what they could like, we have the solution: a Raindance Gift Certificate.
Let them choose, and you can’t go wrong! They’re available in £50 units ie £50/100/150/200
Gift ideas £150 and underLo To No Budget Filmmaking
In this economy, often the biggest obstacle in an aspiring filmmaker’s path is money (or better, the lack of it).
Giving this inspirational course as a present could be the perfect way to encourage the friend/family member who has the perfect idea for a film, but no budget. Who knows? They could be the next Guy ritchie, Christopher Nolan or Edgar Wright – all of whom took this inspiration and fact-filled weekend.
Lo-to-No Budget Filmmaking 2-Day Weekend Masterclass: When? 16/17 February 2019 10:00-17:00 Where? Raindance Film Centre 10A Craven Street, London WC2N 5PE How Much? £209.95 (RRP £299.94)
Book this information packed and inspiring gift here
Gift ideas £300 and under
VR Camera Kit
Why not tool up your favourite filmmaker with a load of state-of-the-art VR filmmaking kit?
Hands-on Virtual Reality Weekend
Know a filmmaker that want to know how to us VR?
How about this hands-on weekend masterclass?
Not only will they learn how to use all their Christmas kit, but they’ll make two VR shorts! When? 6th / 7th April 2019, 10:00-17:00 Where? Raindance Film Centre 10A Craven Street, London WC2N 5PE How Much? £209.95 (RRP £299.94) Book Online Here
Why not sink your teeth into a three month training and mentoring session – part-time of course. No need to give up the day job.
Have a look at Fast Track Here, and if you fancy it, call us for a 1-1 info session.
With major film festivals being extremely competitive, you might think that after getting in a selection of festivals, the hardest job is done – your film will get seen and hopefully that will bring all the indie film buzz you wish for. But how do you know that people will watch your film?
I’ll use Raindance as an example. As an independent film festival, the majority of the audience won’t know about the existence of most of the films in advance of the festival. With 247 films in programme, our main goal is to increase people’s awareness of the festival, while giving every film a fair chance at having a successful screening. Your marketing efforts as a filmmaker, however, are crucial in ensuring that your screening gets filled. Here are 6 steps to take to avoid your festival nightmare – an empty World Premiere screening.
1) Have your assets ready
When promoting the films screened at Raindance, I sometimes struggled to find the trailers online, which is a big drawback. One of the attendees even told me that they avoided films that didn’t have a trailer as they felt like they couldn’t decide whether they wanted to watch the film or not! Not only you should make sure that the festival you’re submitting to has your trailer, you should also make it your most important asset when you’re promoting your film, together with promotional and behind the scenes stills. A film website is also a great to redirect people to during your festival run, as well as social media accounts for the film.
2) Have a Facebook event for the screening(s)
Creating your own Facebook event is the crucial to give visibility to your film. When creating the event, make sure to:
Add the festival’s Facebook page as co-host, so that it will appear on their page, too, once they accept the co-hosting request
Include the laurel from the festival in the event image. You can also choose your trailer as event banner instead of an image
Include the name of the festival and the premiere status of the film in the title (World Premiere, European Premiere, UK Premiere, etc) ex: “[film] [premiere status] at [festival]”
Add info about any Q+As in the title (“+Q&A”) as well as in the event description – do you know who will be in attendance?
In the case of multiple screenings, add the time of both
Link the event to the page where people can book tickets on the festival’s website (if available) in the tickets section
Include any already existing review snippets in the event description
Post updates about the event (trailers, reviews, behind the scenes, bios) using your film’s Facebook account
Post a thank-you note after the screening, with any images from the screening (do the same on Twitter/Instagram) as well as info about any additional screenings or newsletter signups.
3) Promote the screening before the festival
Use Facebook Ads from your film’s Facebook page to promote the event to targeted people (geographical location, gender, age, specific interests). You don’t need a huge budget for this – anything from £10 onwards helps! To increase engagement, you can include the trailer in the ad. If you’re working with a larger budget, you can retarget the users who have already watched the trailer on the page, as they’re more likely to get tickets. Facebook has some useful guidelines on how to create ads.
Share the event with any relevant groups and associations via Facebook, Meetup, email, etc (ex: Italians living in London if your film is Italian, feminist groups if it tackles feminist topics, etc), and invite them to the screening after-party if you’re organising one.
4) Create a ticket competition
Buy a few tickets to your screening and give them out in a competition on social media. Competitions are great to create buzz around your film, but you might want to make sure that they result in actual ticket sales. An example could be to give out a free ticket to people who have purchased one already, to bring a friend. Do ticket competitions only if the festival gives out e-tickets, as it will otherwise be difficult to give the ticket to the winner(s).
5) Be there!
There are many reasons (including budget!) why you might not be able to attend your film screening, and that’s ok. If you’re going to attend, make sure to arrive to the festival in advance (if possible) to spread the word about your film.
Have some promotional material. Postcards are quite common but they can be effective, especially if you include the screening times for the specific festival you’re at, as well as eye-catching visuals and review snippets, if available. You’re generally allowed to distribute flyers and postcards within the premises of the cinema (including the entrance of the venue), but not out on the streets. Some venues might allow posters, but you should always check with the festival in advance of the screening. In any case, aim to have something that people can take home before the day of your screening.
If you have the budget, look for more creative materials such as badges, stickers, film strips, or any object that can be related to the film. We might make the example of The Blair Witch Project too often, but an element of their innovative marketing campaign was that during the festival run, the filmmakers distributed flyers asking viewers to come forward with any information about the “missing” students. If your film focuses on a wider issue, you could create informational brochures to increase awareness, while linking them to the film. For example, the promotional material for 120 BPM included flyers with an overview of the history of AIDS activism, plus a poster of the film.
Don’t miss out on networking events, whether they’re organised by the festival directly, or they’re after-parties of specific screenings. Don’t be too pushy about promoting your film – just have some postcards ready if anyone is interested in the film, or exchange business cards.
Many festivals will screen each film more than once, and you want to make the most of this opportunity, for example by being available for a Q&A at both screenings (if possible), or just by continuing your marketing efforts (social media, flyering, networking) after the first screening. Share any feedback, reviews or photos from the first screening to attract any followers who might have missed it, and don’t forget that word of mouth is crucial.
For your next festival, make sure to go through each of these steps while making any changes based on the feedback from the previous festival. Use any materials (photos, videos, reviews) from the previous festival screening to promote your next one. Finally, don’t forget that your festival marketing is just a part of your general marketing campaign!
The end of the year has, yet again, arrived at a terrifying pace. 2018 has come and almost gone. It is time to do an appraisal of the year. Spotify has already let us know what we listened to all year and newspapers are letting us know what a terrible year it has been in politics. So, the usual. Every year, JWT puts together a list of the trends coming in the new year, so that we can know what direction the world is heading into. Most of their 2018 predictions came true, when it came to filmmaking. Let’s see what 2019 holds for filmmaking.
“Real and raw portrayals of motherhood are rejecting the reductive notion of mothers as passive caregivers.” Following in the footsteps of the #TimesUp movement, which beyond addressing sexual harassment and misconduct sends a message of empowerment of women, 2018 has also been the year of new depictions of motherhood all across society, whether it is about juggling motherhood and ambitious careers, or mothers in entertainment. Mothers are using their voice to affirm their multifaceted character. This year, we saw a beautiful depiction of a mother in Lady Bird… and we can’t wait to see more of them.
4. Reframing masculinity
The social movements of women’s empowerment have also tackled an important part of the imbalance issues, that is how much toxic masculinity still rules the world. Part of the conversation should be -and to some extent, has been- the depiction of men in film and television. Will & Grace, a landmark show when it first came out, is enjoying a revival. Beyond the depictions of men as savers of the world (looking at you, Ethan Hunt), let us not forget that 2018 has also been the year of Love, Simon, the first studio release with a clearly identified gay leading man going through his coming out. This was to be followed by the controversial Bohemian Rhapsody later in the year, also brought into this world by 20th Century Fox. (For an analysis of the reasons why the Freddie Mercury biopic may be doing more harm than good, read this piece.) At any rate, the door has been opened for more complex, diverse portrayals of men, beyond the usual archetypes. Deconstructing the standard that both men and women are measured against can only do good, and a more diverse representation of it can only accelerate the debates.
20. Unexpected formats
2018 has been the year of VR, AR, MR. (Virtual, augmented, and mixed realities, respectively.) 2019 is bound to entrench those mediums even further into our cultural landscapes. Brands are seizing them an putting a lot of money in those directions. If you mix in the gamification of, well, everything that has happened, this means a lot of opportunities for storytellers and world-builders. Never has there been more licence to be experimental, and never has being experimental been more acceptable and encouraged.
37. Women and money
One part of the conversation around #TimesUp inevitably revolves around money, and the gender pay gap that needs to be addressed. It has been interesting to see that women who have earned a certain status of recognition are helping others up the ladder. 2018 was the epic awards season of Frances McDormand who advocated for inclusion riders on the Oscars stage, and Octavia Spencer multiplying her salary by five when Jessica Chastain realised that her castmate and friend was paid less than she was, and negotiated a better salary for the both of them. Great examples that, as such vital conversations as the gender pay gap go, solidarity and teamwork are values to hold on to.
91. New sustainability
A UN report recently found that humankind has just a decade to rein in climate change before we get to the point of no return. Every single one of us has a responsibility to make that happen. Some brands have embedded sustainability in their very DNA, by using renewable materials for instance. Given its size, the film business has a major role to play. The BFI realised this and now takes into account whether a film is going to reduce its environmental impact when looking at applications for funding. This is never not relevant, and here are a few ways that you can make your film production green.
94. Camp’s new exhibitionism
Camp has always had an undefinable quality which is embedded in its very DNA. Camp can be best qualified by what it is not, and what it avoids. In her seminal essay Notes on Camp, Susan Sontag defined it as follows: “Camp involves a new, more complex relation to “the serious.” One can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious.” With cultural events such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the overall subversion of gender norms by way of Robert Mapplethopre biopics, camp is having its moment in the limelight, and is an unavoidable aesthetic. You only have to look at the Mamma Mia! sequel to see that camp is in the mainstream.
Hopefully it is here to stay and keep on subverting the culture from the inside.
Here’s to 2019!
Here’s to more films, better films, more diverse films, films that are stories told in VR, for which women are paid as much as men, and films that we can’t yet imagine -but perhaps you can imagine them, and make them.
Why do we need film critics? Film reviews are hugely important to the film industry. People make decisions whether they see a film based on reviews – they provide the image of the film. A good film review analyses what the film does as a medium that makes it worth your watch. You could discuss the punchy dialogue, rich sound design, clever editing, the way the film handles certain issues. You could even compare it to another film, maybe by the same director, and highlight how they tick in the same way. Knowing how to talk about films in an engaging way determines how your readers approach a film.
Film reviewing is about constantly writing. Practice makes perfect, eh? Here are a few tips of how to write a first-rate review:
1. You have to draw in your readers from the beginning.
Face it. People have a short attention span; this means that, especially with the longer film reviews, if you don’t hook readers in from the opening line, they won’t continue with the rest. The opening and closing of your film review should be the most stimulating.
2. Make it personal.
Reviewing might be a hobby you take on the side and for which you won’t have a lot of time. Still, you won’t be able to pull off writing a film review by quickly reading what has already been written about it and winging it. A review has to start with you watching the film, and preferably knowing as little extra about it as possible. If you can, watch it on the big screen and several times. Make notes about what you found fascinating, questionable, uneasy, soul-searching and use that as your analytical starting point. You’ll be surprised how a good review becomes a great one depending on how much it engages with the film.
3. Understanding Context
That being said, it is important to understand the film’s context. Knowing how to write about a film should come hand-in-hand with the knowledge of where it is coming from, who is making it, who it’s targeting and where you stand as a person who is writing a criticism of it. This is possibly the most important and yet trivialised aspect of reviewing. A film made by a female director or with a strong female cast is not going to be fairly represented if it’s predominantly reviewed by male critics. Undervaluing the importance of context can not only be disrespectful but also detrimental in representing a film.
4. Be Fair
Whilst film reviews are meant to be subjective, it’s not cool to say you don’t like something if you don’t explain your reasons why! Support your opinions with specific examples. There’s another simple reason for doing this: people look for different reasons why to go see a film. If you didn’t like the film because it contained too much violence and action, your readers who like war or crime films might have a different take.
5. Spoiler Alert!
And please, No spoilers. Revealing a very important part of the plot will annoy readers and filmmakers alike – describe whatever parts of the plot you need to for your own purposes but know where to draw the line.
6. Read, Read, Read
Finally, read lots of reviews – you will learn the craft of writing reviews by reading a lot of them on films you’ve both seen and haven’t seen. Find your favourite reviewers whose writing style you like and follow them on Twitter – if you fell in love with a film, check whether another reviewer has picked up on the same aspects as you have, and if not, try to figure out why. Writing well is not as easy as you think – it takes time to adjust to a certain style and vocabulary; to develop your personal voice: this can be achieved by continuously watching films, reading reviews and writing them continuously. So remember – practice makes perfect.
There is a universal assumption, albeit falsehood, that a film can only look cinematic if backed by a large budget. In his Master Shots books, Christopher Kenworthy exposes the inaccuracy of this bogus pool of thought – the cinematic look, in reality, doesn’t have to be a costly enterprise.
Kenworthy is back in business with another literary gem; Master Shots Volume 2. Following the same structure as the previous hit, Volume 2 is jam-packed with juicy gobbets of cinematography wisdom. Whilst the original Master Shots provides an extensive list of basic, building-block camera techniques for any filmmaking novice, Volume 2 expands on this by offering 100 distinctive ways of shooting an epic dialogue scene.
Volume 2 begins with a succinct guide on how to effectively use the book. It is not an academic read – the book, by definition, is a practical, hands-on manual for filmmakers at any level. Fortunately, the reader is not required to diligently study each page in order to understand the content. Here lies the beauty of the book. It is designed like a pick a mix; the reader can dip in and out rather than reading the chapters successively. And the best bit? The reader has the autonomy to decide which bits are relevant to them.
Throughout the book, Kenworthy acknowledges that a carefully considered dialogue scene is an essential prerequisite for any successful shoot. He presents a variety of practical camera techniques to help vivify dialogue scenes, whilst preserving their emotion and tension. This book is a filmmaker’s first aid kit; it will resuscitate any dying dialogue-heavy scene and rejuvenate it with some desperately needed pizazz.
The format mirrors that of the original Master Shots, establishing a slick continuity between both books; the description of each technique is closely followed by a step-by-step photographic tutorial. Kenworthy reiterates that the book is not just for filmmakers with a big budget – the techniques can be employed using the most basic equipment. Alas, the cheers from impoverished filmmakers can be heard for miles!
Although the book’s techniques are designed to cover the essentials, they are not the be-all-end-all. Kenworthy wants us to be our own pioneers; he celebrates the old, but encourages innovation. In a final comment, he leaves us with a lasting bit of genius;
‘Take the shots from this book, adapt them, mix them, invent your own and use them in your films. When you make them your own and invent new ways of using them, you become the real director.’
When the original Master Shots was first published, it was an instantaneous bestseller. No doubt, Volume 2 will follow the same triumphant path.
This holiday season we’re thrilled to announce a 12-day giveaway!
Every day from December 3rd to 18th, anyone who purchases a Raindance course or workshop will automatically be entered in a festive raffle. Stay tuned on our blog, Twitter, and Facebook pages for the great reveal of the daily winner!
Prizes will be drawn from our pool of fantastic Raindance courses. Book your place in one and win the opportunity to learn a whole new skill in filmmaking – on us. Stay tuned on this blog and on our social media to find out the daily prize!
December 3rd: Raindance Membership
December 4th: TBA
December 5th: TBA
December 6th: TBA
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Fresh out of school/uni/a wildly different career? It’s hard getting onto the lower rungs of the film/TV ladder, and it can be difficult to know where to look for jobs. Well, worry no more, we have a near comprehensive list of the best starting out filmmaker websites to get you started.
1) So You Want to Work in TV
Siubhan Richmond’s really useful website. Don’t know who Siubhan Richmond is? You will soon enough. Alongside great advice from pitching to running to acting, this site features a useful links page with career portals and more for all the big names in television.
One of the main media job-posting boards. Check it out for all your cast and crew needs.
4) Production Hub
This hub allows you to create and explore profiles whether you want to offer up your production skills or scout people for your own project.
Despite its shady reputation, Craigslist has loads of independent film-related posts on here, with good genuine people and cool projects. Just don’t get lost in its antiques section or the fascinating depths of its missed connections page.
Another “everything” website like Craigslist. You can find anything on here from cheap film equipment to a desperately hiring director looking for someone just like you!
7) BBC Careers
The Beeb is always hiring. Experience is, of course, required for the more high-end jobs, but they also offer paid work experience and apprenticeships.
This website, founded by a group of independent filmmakers, offers connections for cast and crew, funding, scripts and more. They also host a short film competition which could give your career a nice kick-start.
The UK Screen Alliance is a nationwide resource for your post-production needs. Its job hub offers various film and television job vacancies, plus events and training.
10) The British Council
The British Council’s film page offers news, events, and festivals that can inform your career choices.
This website mainly offers film news and reviews of new releases, but also features a film industry jobs hub.
ScreenSkills has loads of advice on those wanting to start out in the (creative media) industry, plus plenty of job opportunities and learning courses.
13) Creative England
Formerly known as South West Screen, this website offers databases, funding, career listings, film festivals and general info for the South West of England.
KFTV is a great international search engine and forum hub for finding fellow creatives, equipment rental, pre and post-production services, broadcasting facilities and anything else you can think of.
Broadcast posts industry news and also features information on jobs, freelancing, and the latest tech. It has links with ITV, BBC and Channels 4 and 5.
17) Launching Films (Film Distributors’ Association)
Film Distributors’ Association, knowledge of more business-focused aspects of film, and includes job listings. https://www.launchingfilms.com/
18) The White Book
The White Book is a giant database/directory for all your film industry needs. Search on it for employers or employees, or get listed yourself.
A UK-wide network of professionals, offering jobs for freelancers and companies. Once you’ve registered, you’re out there!
20) Arts Hub
Arts Hub is a rolling database of jobs and events in the arts world. It also regularly publishes articles with careers news and advice.
21) The Knowledge
The Knowledge is a database of over 20,000 production suppliers within and outside of the UK. It doesn’t require registration, but if you do you get freebies!
22) Talent Circle
Talent Circle is a popular site that offers film training, events, and workshops, as well as Talent Search and Talent Share services for networking and project finding.
23) Film4, 4Talent and 4Jobs (Channel 4)
Channel 4 offers a number of pathways into the film and broadcasting industry. Film4 is the film branch specifically, but 4Talent and 4Jobs are fantastic portals for work experience, apprenticeships and full-time careers in film and journalism.
24) Freelance Video Collective
A film, TV and video network based in the UK. It’s full of graduates and freelancers who apply for jobs or post resumes on our website (everything is free!).