X

Looks like you are a new visitor to this site. Hello!

Welcome to Hope For Film! Come participate in the discussion, and I encourage you to enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe. It's free! And easy! If you have any suggestions on how to improve this website or suggestions for topics please don't hesitate to write in to any of the blogs.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

(If you keep getting this message, you probably have cookies turned off.)

February 14 at 8:15am

Tell Me Something: Advice from Michael Moore

Our final excerpt from Jessica Edwards’ new book Tell Me Something: Advice from Documentary Filmmakers comes  from Michael Moore: 

Photo by

Photo by Gary L Howe

Here is my advice for those who want to make a documentary film that people will flock to the movie theaters to see:

The first rule of making a documentary is, don’t make a documentary. Make a movie. Nobody wants to see a documentary. To the often-posed question “Hey, honey, what do you wanna do tonight?” nobody responds with “Let’s go see a documentary!” People do, though, want to see a movie. And when they go to the movies, they want to be entertained. I know. I said the E-word. No serious documentary filmmaker would claim to be making something “entertaining,” because that would not only pack the theaters but also diminish the Seriousness and Importance of the Message he or she is trying to impart to the audience. 

Well, guess what—nobody wants to sit in a movie theater and feel like he’s being taught a history lesson or preached to or scolded or told he must care about the plight of this or that. People don’t want the invisible wagging finger of the “documentarian” (a word invented for us because we don’t make movies) pointing at them and telling them to take their medicine. That’s why the theatrical audience for documentaries remains so low. It’s Friday night, you’ve worked hard all week, and now you want to relax and go see a movie about … Fracking! Pedophile Priests! My Father Who Deserted Me When I Was 9! Don’t get me wrong—we need to be alarmed about the first two, and the third one, well, I can’t help you with that. I got my own problems.  [...]


  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
February 7 at 2:30pm

Filmmaking with a Crew of One: Paolo Benetazzo’s Study

By Paolo Benetazzo

Push  The  Boundaries  of  Your  Creativity: How I Made the Film Study

Filmmaking  is  my  day-long  obsession,  joy  and  torment

When  you  can’t  see  the  line  between  fiction  and  reality,  filmmaking  becomes  your  lifestyle.

I  was  a  psychology  student  when  I  came  up  with  the  concept  behind  my  feature  film  directorial  debut  Study.  During  my  final   year   at   university   I   was   involved   in   a   number   of   film   projects,   including   short   films   and   documentaries.   I   didn’t   have   full   artistic  control.  I  had  to  compromise  my  vision  for  the  sake  of  the  team  and  that  was  the  only  way  to  get  it  done.

still1

When  you  don’t  want  to  share  your  vision  with  others  I  think  you’re  ready  to  make  your  full-­length  film,  no  matter  what  your   budget  is.  I  would rather  make  a  low  budget  film  instead  of  collecting  short  films  or  waiting  for  the  great  opportunity  that  might never  come.  It’s  going  to  be  risky,  painful  and  insane  but  that’s  how  real  indie  films  are  made.

I’m  a  self‐taught  filmmaker,  I’ve  never  attended  a  film  school.  Watching  films  along  with  real  life  experience  represents  the  film   school  par  excellence  in  my  opinion.  Films  are  the  greatest  teachers  of  all;  they  are  an  endless  source  of  learning.

The  Open  Screenplay     

Fascinated  by  the  study  of  psychology  and  its  impact  on  modern  life,  I  decided  to  explore  my  studies  in  a  feature  film.  Once  I graduated  in  Psychology,  I  moved  to  Ireland  where  I  started  writing  the  script  in  English.   [...]


  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
February 7 at 8:15am

Tell Me Something: Advice from DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus

Another except from the new book edited by Jessica Edwards of First Film Co. – Tell Me Something: Advice from Documentary Filmmakers. This week it’s DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus:

Photo by Gary Hustwist

Photo by Gary Hustwist

Work with someone you love. Love what you do. Listen to your partner, but stay true to the voice inside. It’s not always easy, but why easy? Take a deep breath. If you’re lucky, it’ll be the best adventure of your life. And you’ll share it with your love.    

We got a dog. A big black dog. [...]


  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
January 31 at 8:15am

Tell Me Something: Advice from Morgan Spurlock

Jessica Edwards of First Film Co. gave us some excerpts from the excellent new book she edited Tell Me Something: Advice from Documentary Filmmakers. This week’s advice is from Morgan Spurlock: 

Photo by Jon Pack

Photo by Jon Pack

I feel like it was junior high when my parents REALLY started giving me advice. Maybe it was because they thought I desperately needed it, or maybe they believed I was finally smart enough to actually absorb some of it. Whatever it was, from the moment I became a “teen,” my folks bombarded me with a deluge of southern-fried logic that helped deep-fry my brain and make me the crispy human I am today.

When I turned 13, my mother said, “You’re officially a little man today, time to start acting like one.” What exactly she meant by that, I don’t know. I mean, I’m sure I did plenty of stupid things before that, but come on, Mom, when you say something like that, you’re only setting me up to do even MORE stupid things afterwards! Parental logic is confusing to me sometimes—speak up but don’t run your mouth, do your best but don’t try too hard, have fun but not too much fun.

Is there really such a thing as “too much fun”? For my parents, that essentially meant “Don’t do anything stupid,” a.k.a. “Don’t do anything that would get you arrested.”  [...]


  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
January 24 at 9:15am

Tell Me Something: Advice from Martin Scorcese

Jessica Edwards of First Film Co. has kindly offered us some excerpts from a new book she edited Tell Me Something: Advice from Documentary Filmmakers. Look forward to more excerpts in the weeks ahead, and for now enjoy these words of wisdom from Martin Scorcese:
Photo by Brigitte Lancomb

Photo by Brigitte Lancombe

The only thing you need to make a film is to not be afraid of anybody or anything. John Cassavetes said that. John was inspiring, but he was also direct. He knew that there was no time to be indecisive, or to worry about whether the decisions you’ve already made were right or wrong, good or bad. I think that for John, there was no such thing as a “mistake”—you can only move forward, you can never move backward, and you can profit from absolutely everything.

Many times in my life, I’ve told the story of John’s advice to me after he saw a cut of Boxcar Bertha, a picture I made for Roger Corman. In essence, what he said to me was: Just concentrate on making the movies you need to make. Of course, many directors have approached this in many different ways—Claude Chabrol, for example, who never stopped working and made many, many movies, personal and impersonal. Even John made pictures like Gloria and Too Late Blues. The point is this: Protect the ones that you need to make, keep them alive for yourself, and then make them. [...]


  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
January 6 at 8:15am

Have We Forgotten How To Tap Into The Subconscious?

"Have We Forgotten How To Tap Into The Subconscious?"

“Have We Forgotten How To Tap Into The Subconscious?”

Have our filmmakers forgotten how to tap into the subconscious?

When three of the films this past year that do it best are [...]


  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
October 11 at 8:15am

First Feature Preparation? Exactly.


  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print

This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!