Martin Scorsese Loves Horror Films

Source: The Daily Beast

A Long Slow Finish

by Josh Golding

...A film poses a question with the first big twist in Act 1. It creates a problem that must be solved, or a question that must be answered, by the end of the film. If it hasn’t been, then your story hasn’t delivered.

But a good ‘hook’ does more than that. It makes inevitable a climax in which the forces that have just gotten entangled must fight it out to the finish.

In Vertigo, when James Stewart’s character unwittingly pulls a policemen off a rooftop to his death after an attack of vertigo, we know what’s got to happen by the end of the film. This defeated, devastated man is going to have another opportunity of saving a life – and to do it, he’s going to have to overcome his vertigo and climb.

In The Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis is just celebrating an award for his achievements in the field of child psychology, when he gets confronted by an enraged former patient, and shot. But we know Willis is going to get a second chance. He’ll be offered a new patient, a boy who also says he sees ghosts. And this time, he’ll have to take him seriously.

A good ending should feel inevitable; but perversely, remain in doubt right up to the finish. The audience may despair of ever achieving the right outcome – but they’ll be so relieved when it comes.

That doesn’t mean all endings have to be neatly resolved. In fact, audiences are inclined to be disbelieving of such neat endings...

Read the article in its entirety

Just for fun the trailer from 1958 Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo

The Hero vs The Opponent

A segment of my article on the relationship between the hero and the opponent.

by Charlie Burroughs

There are a few ways you can show the hero and opponent are similar. One way is subtle visual cues. On the night of District Attorney Harvey Dent’s fundraiser Bruce Wayne gives a heartfelt toast to the “white knight.” Wayne is distraught and before drinking the glass of champagne he exits the pent house for some air. Outside Wayne tosses the champagne over the balcony without taking a sip. Moments later the Joker crashes the party looking for Harvey Dent, “You seen Harvey Dent?” The Joker explains he is the night’s entertainment and grabs a glass of champagne. He tosses the beverage over his shoulder and takes a drink from the empty glass. Why would the director want to waste alcohol like this unless he wanted to point out these characters are similar. Of course you don’t have to be so subtle the opponent can come right out and say he is similar to the hero. “I don’t want to kill you,” The Joker says when being interrogated by the Batman. “You complete me.”

Visually Dirty Harry does something similar to The Dark Knight. This visual cue is a little more harmful than wasting alcohol. In Harry’s first dirty job he cleans up on a failed bank robbery. He snaps off six shots leveling the get-away car and crippling the bad guys. However, Harry didn’t leave unscathed after getting shot in the leg by a robber. The placement of this shot on Harry’s leg is the same spot Scorpio is stabbed at by Harry later in the movie. This is a physical weakness both characters share.

Side Note: Make the opponent impervious to physical pain. In Dirty Harry Scorpio pays a man to beat him to a bloody pulp. Then Scorpio tells the media it was Harry who beat him up. Harry’s response to the police chief? “He looks to good for me to have done that.” In The Dark Knight the Joker is physically abused by Batman, but for all his strength Batman can do nothing to crack him.

What about the structure of these movies? I already noted the introductions were similar, that isn’t all these two movies share structurally. The Hero has to overcome a societal problem...

Read the article in its entirety

A little about the hero and opponent.

10 Tips For Viral Shorts

by Sarah Romeo

Viral shorts have taken the web by storm! It’s a tough game with its own rules—here are some ways you can keep your viral short up to speed with the Internet traffic.

1) Make it something you want people to see:

There are millions—if not trillions—of viral videos all over the web. Why should browsers click on your short over anyone else’s? Are you offering important information? Or a profound message? Have you captured the most hilarious human belly flop of all time? Whatever it is, identify the reason why people want to watch your short.

2) Make it fun:

The vast majority of people who get on a kick of watching viral short after viral short are BORED. Ok, maybe that’s just me. But either way, those seeking their online quick fix are looking for something entertaining. Have fun with your videos and other people will too!

3) Post it everywhere:

After uploading your viral vid on a site like YouTube or Vimeo, don’t just let it sit. We have tons of options to seamlessly post videos. Facebook or MySpace will allow you an interface for your video to show right on your profile. Twitter is also a great forum for links, and all your followers will be interested in clicking. The more spaces you post, the more hits your short will get.

4) Tag, tag, tag:

Another way people will stumble across your video is through search engines. Look up the top 100 most popular search words on Google and eBay, and apply as many of those as you can to your video.

5) Give it an interesting title:

Treat your video’s title like a headline on a magazine cover. Since viewers have a lot to choose from on the net, they’ll be drawn to the most attractive heading. Strong adjectives like, hysterical, unbelievable, exclusive, leaked, or important can convey specific, compelling feelings.

Tips 6-10

10 Things New Filmmakers Needs Every Day

1. A good mobile telephone

A good telephone will become your mobile office.

Get the best phone you can, one that can allow you to surf and accept and write emails, and take location pictures.

An invaluable tool that lets you stay connected even when you are on the fly.

A good website to find the best deals

2. A good email address and website

Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail might be free and easy to access, but getting your own domain name means you can have an individual and bespoke email address.

Register a domain at, and get a basic package that allows you to create your own email address, like, and join the professionals!

To build a website, use a programme like Apple's iWeb and DIY. Doesn't need to be fancy, include a section About You, Contact Details, Current Projects and your Showreel.

The 7 Steps to Building Your Own Website

Get a good service package from as little as £3.18 + VAT per month with Nativespace (the hosts of Raindance Film Festival)

5 Tips On Building A Filmmaker's Website

3. A good laptop with a good battery

And load it up with a useful editing programme like Final Cut Pro, an office admin programme, like Word, and something you can make good presentations with. It is also really useful to have a software package that will let you resize and optimise pictures for the web.

Here's the computer I use: Apple laptop

4. FLIP Camera

At £145, 720 HD, and an 8 gig hard drive, this little beauty is a must.

- See the review video from Computer Now
- See a camera test
- How one blogger got over $20,000 of free publicity using a FLIP

You can get your FLIP HD on Amazon for just £139.99 inc VAT

Perfect for getting those spur-of-the moment interviews to add to your DVD extras.

Order online here

For the rest of the list

Top 10 Tips For Guerilla Filmmaking

by Dan Rahmel

  • Turn the camera sideways or upside down – This technique has been used in more movies than you can imagine and still works as well or better than many CGI simulations. Need an actor to walk across the ceiling? Build a floor that looks like a ceiling and turn the camera upside down. Need a creature scuttling across the wall in defiance of gravity? Construct a floor that looks like a wall and turn the camera on its side.

  • Realize that different angles of the same scene don’t have to be shot in the same place – A very common film technique that is often overlooked by beginning filmmakers using different locations for the same scene. For example, say a character just got out of prison and is met outside by a criminal buddy and they discuss a new criminal endeavor. As a guerilla filmmaker, sets are hard to come by and they tend to be expensive. However, filming a long scene outside a prison without the proper permits might get you thrown in one! This scene could be done by parking a car (with the film crew inside) across the street from a prison. After your actor stands by the entrance for a moment, he begins to walk beside the prison wall. Now you have the setup. Find a readily accessible wall that visually matches that of the prison (maybe even make one) and film the entire dialogue scene there. If done properly, when cut together in editing, the audience won’t be able to tell the difference. This technique is especially useful if you are a writer/director. You can script scenes for this technique to add scope to your film that your budget could never afford.

  • Water the streets – An old cinematographer’s trick for filming exteriors on asphalt or concrete (especially at night with street lights around) is to water road surface. The reflections and street glow add a lot of depth and character to a scene.

  • Fake sweat with petroleum jelly – If you need your actor to appear to be sweating, spread petroleum jelly lightly over the area to be photographed and spritz with water. The general shine plus the beading of the water will pickup very well on film. Note that you should find another technique for lengthy shoots. For one, the actor will become uncomfortable under the hot lights when sealed under a layer of jelly. Also, since the jelly will seal the pores, long scenes with it on will cause acne and other undesirable skin effects over a several day shoot. It takes a lot of extra makeup to disguise the blemishes you created in the first place (as I found out on a shoot).

  • Use preplanning and holidays to maximize your budget – If you are a guerilla filmmaker, you probably have more time and inventiveness than money. Be sure to take advantages of the various holidays (particularly the day-after-holiday sales) to maximize your film budget dollars. Halloween is the best filmmaker’s holiday with inexpensive fog machines, costumes, wigs, and make-up (although most Halloween make-up isn’t good enough for film work, you can always use some extra spirit gum). The fluorescent orange plastic jack-o-lanterns are perfect for making no-budget road pylons. Christmas is excellent for cheap lighting (background cinematography effects, set decoration), reflectors of all sorts, electrical equipment, and sales on camera equipment. Thanksgiving provides table clothes (backdrops, simulated drapes) and kitchen equipment (timers, barbeque paint, heat-resistant items for use with lights). Easter has numerous inexpensive dyes (great for the Art Department for everything from fabric to aging/distressing work) and other useful items such as pavilions/tents. Of course all holidays are good for cheap candy/crew food ;-).

  • For More Guerilla Filmmaking Tips

    The 9 Elements of Great Films

    by John Truby

    These same elements are present time and time again in the great movies, like King Kong, The Outlaw Josey Wales, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Meet Me in St. Louis, It's A Wonderful Life, Sunset Boulevard and Touch of Evil and they are worth highlighting:

    1. These movies tend to have strong single line - with one overriding problem or goal for the hero - to give the story drive, momentum, and a sense of priorities, or in the extreme, a sense of the first cause.

    2. These films occasionally digress from that strong line to allow the film to "breathe." That is, they play with the structure to comment on what is happening, to cause the viewers to rethink their expectations, and to present actions or words that make an abstract, or thematic, point.

    3. These films usually have heroes with a moral problem. The hero commits or fails to commit actions that hurt other people. These are characters with moral flaws, and the stories drive toward the moment when the hero uncovers his or her moral blindness.

    4. Perhaps the most crucial element of great films is that the audience believes, what each is fighting about. Even more important, these movies attach entire clusters of values and beliefs to the two antagonists. The great movies set up, around a single central opposition, an array of other oppositions that grow until they have national or even international implications, and present the essential predicaments of human life.

    5. The great movies have powerful, condensed openings that present the crucial patterns of the story and then slowly bring these patterns to the surface and explore them in an explicit way. By the end the audience has a sense of the patterns of thought and values that cause problems, not just for these particular characters but for anyone anywhere.

    For Elements 6-9

    HBO Imagine

    HBO has introduced a whole new way of telling a story on the web. HBO Imagine: A voyeuristic view of a story from multiple angles at a time. You as the viewer searching for the true story starting with a cube. The cube is the scene of a crime and you can manipulate it to create new perspectives of the crime. From there the story unfolds by unlocked scenes or puzzle pieces that reveal the true story.

    Multicamera Imagine Engine

    Sports and Film

    By now you've seen the Nike Combat ad with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson stomping the competition. You may also know that director David Fincher (Fight Club, Seven, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) was responsible for the Nike spot. But I doubt you've heard what Peterson feels about teaming up with Fincher.

    Here's what Adrian Peterson had to say about working with Fincher on the Dan Patrick Show,

    "You could tell he was a perfectionist," Peterson said. "He wanted everything to be right, I guess when you make movies like that, then you can understand and see why. I kinda looked at is as far as the way I approach game day the way I go out there and make sure everything is perfect and not make any mistakes. That's how those guys are."

    Peterson also said he tried not to take Fincher's persistence on multiple takes as personal. He said he knows that's why he is good. Fincher also directed a spot with safety Troy Polamalu and LaDainian Tomlinson a year ago.

    The Wall Street Journal blog.

    Independent Film Reviews

    The Raindance Film Festival is now over, but there are plenty of courses and content provided on its website. Its never to early to consider how to be apart of next year's festival. Here is a new review section called Critical Content. As described on the site The Critical Content Philosophy is -

    Filmmakers need to be held responsible. With the amount of time, effort and money it takes to go to see a film, you ought to know what you'll get out of it first.

    On the other hand, all good films deserve advocates. Independent films, especially those with limited releases, often have none. This section is here to remedy this.

    For a festival wrap-up

    Twitter and Film Marketing

    by Grace Leong

    The basic idea behind film marketing – is that after you have made your film, you want as many people as possible to know about your film, so they may buy tickets to see it.

    As attested by numerous social media commentators, Twitter is huge now, at a growth rate of about 1300%. Major corporations like CNN and Ford are on Twitter and marketing guides for Twitter have sprouted up everywhere on the internet. Raindance had a bit of a snoop around and found an article ‘10 Tips for Twitter Un-marketing’ by Leigh Duncan-Durst who is said to have sampled 3000 social media sites, tools and applications. Based on her work, we offer our concise and value-added version of Top 5 Twitter Tips for a Film Marketing Campaign.

    1. Understand the medium

    Twitter is not webcasting nor a promotional channel for marketing. Twitter is more like blogging (some say micro-blogging) or short message or group chatting. Thus Twitter is about sustaining conversation. The greater the level of engagement, the stronger the network and the quicker or more flexible you are in responding, chances are, the more positively you will be looked upon. As a guide, best practices of corporations with a strong Twitter presence prescribe daily monitoring and response.

    Be prepared for long-term commitment. Don’t get started on Twitter if you are not prepared to commit. Otherwise you end up undoing all the networking and relationship-building you achieve.

    A good tweet may be an insightful observation or a kickass link. Read the 3 golden rules of Twitter etiquette for more background information on Twitter. More people will choose to be a follower of your tweets if you consistently offer insight, value or service through them. Start giving if you want to gain.

    Finally, know that Twitters prefer to speak to people, not brands or companies. Check out which is a wonderful example of personalising technical service to customers.

    2. Creating dialogue and audience

    Twitter is excellent for fostering open dialogue and gaining a network of prospective audience or customers. Sneakily (or skilfully) promote your film by telling them about it and asking them what they think. This creates an open line of communication. Be careful not to engage in overt marketing or appear pushy.

    Since Twitter marketing is very much like a word-of-mouth campaign, try to strike up conversations with influential twitters or bloggers but be prepared that you may influence but not control what they say about your film. Go for it if you are confident.

    3. Increase presence and influence

    Think beyond expanding the number of followers. You can increase influence by increasing your presence online as well as offline.

    Look beyond Twitter online and don’t limit your responses to tweets. Twitter ties in with other social networking sites and blogs. Keep your eyes peeled for blog posts and respond to them. Bear in mind also that Twitter can be linked to more traditional online channels such as your existing websites.

    Another useful thing to do is to try to create affiliations with organizations, publications or activities which also do their own publicity to help get your word out.

    When creating promotional messages, don’t go beyond 120 or 140 characters. This will make it easy for tweeters to tweet or retweet about your film for you.

    For Grace's final Twitter marketing tips

    The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

    It took ten years for the sequel. But finally on Oct. 30 The Boondock Saints will once again embrace the big screen.

    The usual suspects are all present in the second edition: The Boondock Saints: All Saints Day. That is all but William Dafoe's flamboyant character. In addition to Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, and Bill Connolly the cast includes newcomers Clifton Collins Jr. and the more than pleasing to the eye Julie Benz

    From the web:
    Pictures and Stills
    Movies blog

    Indie tips

    Have a film tip, news or worthy article for the blog?
    Send it to for consideration.

    Film Award Nominations

    TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) --

    Clara Law's drama "Like a Dream" bagged nine nominations for the top Chinese-language film awards, as jurors shunned star-studded blockbusters for unheralded art-house fare when they announced their top candidates Wednesday.

    The other top contenders at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards are the island's "No Pudeo Vivir Sin Ti," which is up for eight awards, and China's "Cow," a nominee in seven categories.

    Read more: Law's 'Like a Dream' up for 9 Chinese film awards

    The Next 'Blair Witch'?

    The Blair Witch Project is famous for its multi-million dollar success on a low-budget. In total its budget was $60,000 it grossed a total of $250 million world-wide. Now a new film is rearing its head as a possible low-budget mega success story. Once again its a horror flick titled, "Paranormal Activity." which was made with only $15,000. Check out the trailer:

    The Daily Beast take

    15 Second Film Festival receives funding

    The 15 Second Film Festival has received a total of 75,000 pounds to develop their production scheme. The festival was funded by the "Creative Industries Innovation Fund" administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

    A part of the production scheme includes a "road show" which can latch on to existing festivals.
    According to The Irish Film and Television Network, "This touring multi-media piece combines performance art with new-media, filmmaking and art film content."

    Read the full release here.

    Ten horrible Movie Twist

    From Empire Magazine Online Olly Richards believes Hollywood has banked off films with less than extraordinary plot twist. To Richards it all began with The Sixth Sense (1999) he argues,

    "I blame The Sixth Sense. Not because that film is anything less than brilliant. No, it's because it woke studios up to the fact that a plot twist could be a marketing gimmick. The Sixth Sense took an unknown director, an eerie kid and a lead actor now into the slowing-down part of his career and turned them into nearly $700 million worldwide. Suddenly everyone wanted their movie to have a sting in the tail, whether it made sense or not."

    Richards list his Ten worst plot twist in films whether pre or post Sixth Sense.

    I'm in between classes so I thought I might list my favorite twist. Everyone's so cynical I'm in a good mood today so here is my favorite twist.

    Wayne's World (1992)

    I told you I'm in a good mood and I know this isn't a serious movie by any means, but tell me you saw this ending coming and I'll give you a million dollars. This movie had three endings, that's right, three.

    The set up: Wayne and Garth hold a special Wayne's World episode from the basement of evil agent Benjamin Kane (Rob Lowe). Garth has set up a transmission to a talent scout Frankie Sharp's limo with the help of Stan Mikita's Donuts finest. A perfect ending would have Cassandra (She's a Babe, schwing) Wayne's rocker girlfriend, landing a gig with Frankie who arrives at the basement in time to hear her rock out.

    The Plot Twist(s):
    Instead of Cassandra landing the gig Frankie tells her she just isn't ready yet. Cassandra blames Wayne and leaves for what looks like the Bahamas with Kane. Their studio burns down and Wayne's creeper girlfriend comes out of no where to tell him she's pregnant.

    "You didn't really think she'd end up with Wayne, did you?"

    As if. You thought we could end the movie like that? Wayne and Garth reappear and break the third line rule talking directly to the camera. They rewind the movie and give what they call the scooby-doo ending, literally. In this twist Cassandra is hired by Frankie and Kane is arrested and his mask is torn off revealing, "Old Man Whithers, from the haunted amusment park." Excellent Scooby-doo ending, but how about the Megahappy ending?

    In the final ending Cassandra gets signed to a six-album deal. Garth gets his dream woman. Kane learns a valuable lesson about money and everyone is "fished in".

    From the Web:
    Pretty good list here.

    Variety On Opening Day

    The 17th Raindance Film Festival, the U.K.’s leading indie fest, opened Wednesday with helmer-scribe Lynn Shelton’s laffer “Humpday.”

    Pic, which nabbed the special jury prize at Sundance, centers on two straight buddies who test the limits of their friendship when they attempt to make a gay porn video. Pic has been picked up by Vertigo Films in the U.K.

    Other films with local distribution include Steven Soderbergh’s “The Girlfriend Experience,” which closes the fest on Oct. 11; Marc Price’s ultra-low-budget zombie pic “Colin,” made for just £45 ($72); and Sean McConville’s thriller “Deadline.”

    World preems in competition include Brett Sullivan’s “Special When Lit,” a doc about the history of the pinball machine; Ozgur Uyanik’s thriller “Resurrecting the Street Walker”; Dom Shaw’s music doc “All the Years of Trying”; Douglas Arrowsmith’s music doc “Memory and Desire: 30 Years in the Wilderness With Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time”; and Till Kleinert’s skinhead thriller “The Longest Night.”

    The rest here.

    17 Years Of Raindance

    Here is a clip from the magazine Total Film on 17 Years of Raindance.