Incredible Lessons I’ve Learned About Parking

How to Solve Your Parking Space Problems

Needless to say, it can be very annoying and frustrating to come home without a parking space because your gate is blocked or someone else is using your space. These circumstances seems minimal, but once you experience working the whole day and you just want to park your car and rest inside your home, it then becomes a major problem, especially if you have to walk home from parking a few miles away.

Furthermore, if you live in a dangerous area where the crime rate is high, your car will likely get stolen, thus, the farther you park, the more the security of your car is compromised. Nonetheless, there is a lower probability of breaking or stealing it if it will just be parked outside your home or sitting on your path. Therefore, reading the following tips that tells you on how to deal with parking problems is very important for the reason that parking issues can really be serious at times and you have to manage them well:

Tourists: If perhaps the are you are living is filled with tourists, you should know that they prefer to park their vehicles in suburban areas so that they do not have to pay for parking fees.

If they cannot see a sign indicating that the space should be used for residents only, then it would be difficult for them to know that they should not be parking in those areas. Thus, it would be best to ask your local council if they can provide you a sign saying that the space should only be used for resident parking. If this technique is done, the tourists in your place will no longer decide on parking their vehicle in your parking space. Nevertheless, you have to make sure that the sign that will be posted also indicates a call to action, which means that the sign should state there will be punishments for those who are not going to obey.

When it comes to your local council, they should not have a problem implementing a parking rule that can help the residents since they can gain more money if the tourists will choose to park in the public spaces instead. Thus, it will become a situation that is beneficial for everyone.

Neighbors: It cannot be denied that your neighbors tops the list of those people who will most likely annoy you by stealing your parking space; hence, you should talk to them and request them nicely not to use your parking space. If you will do this, just make sure that you are also speaking to them in a polite and friendly way so that there will be no feud between the two of you.

The Beginners Guide To Businesses (From Step 1)

When to Send Roses

Roses are among the best type of flowers that can be sent to people to express different feelings. Different colors of rose’s flowers mean different things. Rose flowers could be used for several purposes. Love, beauty, courage, respect, romance, and passion could be expressed by sending rose flowers. Unconscious beauty could be expressed by sending deep burgundy flowers. Yellow rose with a red tip could be sent to express friendship or falling in love with another person. Some of the meanings of different rose flowers of different colors include friendship, delight, and promise of a new beginning, Welcome back, remember me and many more meanings. Learn different meanings of different colors in your society.

Different feelings could be expressed by using different rose flowers. Send a single rose to show utmost devotion or send two entwined roses together to ask your loved one to marry you. When a person sends six roses they simply mean that they need to be loved or cherished while eleven roses could be sent to mean that the recipients are truly and deeply loved. A secret admirer could send thirteen roses.

Get to understand the different colors when it comes to sending roses. Get to know everything about colors if you want to express your feelings through sending of roses. People have different interpretations of different colors and numbers of roses.

You could send roses to celebrate someone who’s having a birthday. People send roses of different colors and in different numbers to express good will to their friends, colleagues and family members. So if you have a friend or a close friend whose birthday is looming do not fail to show them some love by sending them a rose flower.

When Rose flowers are used they could bring pop and color to the event. The event your friend is holding could be colored up by using rose flowers.

Corporate events are also made to look great by use of rose flowers. During the launch of new products a company could use rose flowers.

Rose flowers could also be used to encourage a sick friend, colleague or relative. To make people feel they care for you should send them rose flowers.

So you should have a clue of when to send rose flowers. Express your emotions and feelings by sending your loved ones rose flowers. Send rose flowers to express love to your loved ones. Create a close rapport with someone by sending them flowers. Care for people by sending them rose flowers. Gather the information you need about rose flowers if you don’t know how they are used to express emotions. So today get to a flower shop and buy a rose flower.

Savoy at Lake City, Seattle’s Newest Senior Living Community, to Open Soon


SEATTLE — When it comes to community focused Senior Living Seattle residents will soon have an outstanding new option. Designed from the ground up to foster an incomparable feeling of community, the 62-plus age-restricted Savoy at Lake City will include a bistro club and fitness center, along with a shared rooftop deck, other community spaces, and community transportation.

To be managed by Paradigm Senior Living, a leading nationwide senior and Assisted Living Management Company, the new North Seattle retirement community is located only minutes from downtown and affords easy access to a wealth of local shopping, parks, and recreational options. With plenty of covered garage parking for residents, Savoy at Lake City one- and two-bedroom apartments range from 598 to 895 square feet in size and all include a washer and dryer. Rent at the Savoy at Lake City starts at $1675 per month, inclusive of all utilities, with no large move-in fees or long-term contracts required.

“We’re happy to announce that the Savoy at Lake City will be opening soon,” said Paradigm Senior Living President Lee Cory. “It’s always a pleasure to open up great new retirement living options for seniors, and the Savoy at Lake City is truly something special. The goals of providing choice, flexibility, and community have driven every decision made along the way, and we think this shows through clearly in the results. We invite people aged 62 and over to get in touch today to learn more about Seattle’s newest senior living apartment homes and their options.”

Covering a significant portion of the Thornton Creek watershed, Seattle’s northeastern Lake City district has been continuously inhabited for at least 10,000 years. Stretching for several miles along the western shore of Lake Washington, the Lake City region features a number of major parks, an abundance of retail stores and restaurants, and many other assets.

As the city’s newest senior living apartment home community, the Savoy at Lake City will help residents make the most of this appealing, welcoming part of Seattle. Designed to foster a sense of community in every possible way, the Savoy at Lake City features a full complement of shared spaces, amenities, and services. Dedicated to offering the utmost in freedom of choice and flexibility to every resident, the Savoy at Lake City is managed by Paradigm Senior Living, an industry-leading Senior Living Management Company. With the 62-plus age-restricted apartment home community to open soon, all are invited to visit the Savoy at Lake City website to learn more and request information.

About Paradigm Senior Living:
Since its 1994 founding, Paradigm Senior Living has provided the best in senior and assisted living management services at properties nationwide.

5 Tips to Make Family Movie Night a Success

We say this a lot, but we think it’s worth repeating: It’s important to get involved in your kids media lives -– and your kids will love it too (within reason!). But helping them become critical media consumers can be easier said than done. What’s a sure-fire way to stay involved with your kids’ media picks and create an opportunity to discuss them? Host a family movie night!

Some tips for making it work:

Schedule it. Make it a regular date and time and don’t break it. Turn off cell phones and ban multitasking during the show.

Take turns choosing the movie. If you’ve got little kids, pre-select a group to choose from (to avoid watching Care Bears IV over and over again). If you’ve got teens, tell them you’ll watch anything they choose as long as they return the favor when it’s your turn. Enforce a “no complaining” rule.

Location, location, location. Hang a sheet in the backyard, rent a projector, and sit on beach chairs to celebrate a classic like The Wizard of Oz. Or take family movie night on the road during vacations or at the grandparents’ house (Singin’ in the Rain, perhaps?).

Make it a theme night. This can be simple or elaborate. Eat popsicles with March of the Penguins or make food art with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Dress in costume for A Princess Bride, or learn a few magic tricks before Harry Potter.

Talk about it. When credits roll or the next day, make time to chat about what you watched. Kids might be interested in learning more about animation or Hollywood history. Visit the library to follow up on interests piqued by the movie. Talking with kids about how movie characters handled fictional situations can be a subtle way to reinforce your family’s values or get kids to open up about their lives.

Have Your Commercial Video Created Via A Professional Video Production Company! Read more: Have Your Commercial Video Created Via A Professional Video Production Company

Making use of videos to promote a business has become a common trend these days. With no ifs and buts, commercial videos are a proven marketing method in spreading your promotional message to the targeted area or across the globe. Unquestionably, it can be sated that video marketing is an effectual branding tool. This is the reason that a number of businesses these days get in touch with a video production company to create their best commercial videos that can bring boom in the market.

Why To Hire A Video Production Company?

Giving a professional touch to your commercial video is of extreme importance as it is such an incredible technique that successfully points out the things you want to get across the mass. So, doing this crucial task yourself or leaving on an amateur’s shoulder is certainly not a wise choice. Always, count on the best video production company like “Sinema Films” to get the desired or the expected outcome. Yes, for hiring a trusted company, you may have to spend bucks in the process but the outcome is worth impressive. So, instead of try creating the video yourself, hire a professional video production company and be sure to get the best results.

How To Get The Good Value Of Your Money Or To Get The Best Video Made?

• Prepare A Brief-

If you want your video to content all the relevant things that you want your customers to be delivered, you must explain about your goals to the service provider. Thus, it is almost essential that your company prepares a brief of all the relevant points.

• Plan Your Budget-

You must plan your budget in advance keeping the brief in mind and thereafter look for a production company that fits well to both your requirement and your budget.

• Check The Reliability Of The Company-

Before making a final move and signing a contract with the production company, you should first check the credibility of the company as a reliable company always delivers outstanding outcome of the work within the set period of time and without crossing your budget line.

• Consider The Technology-

Make sure that the company you are going to hire has access to the technically advanced equipments that can help delivering an appealing touch to the video.

Stop Motion Photography!

Stop Motion animation is a popular form of filmmaking, for audiences and creators alike. However, there is a lack of quality seen in the works of almost all but the most professional studios. This article is directed at those who capture their frames via a higher-end camera connected to a computer.

It’s possible to achieve really nice looking results just by following a handful of tips- two handfuls, to be exact:

  • Tip 1: NEVER bump the camera

Even the slightest accidental nudge of the camera will stick out like a sore thumb and scream “amateur!” to your audiences. Tying your camera’s tripod down is a good way to avoid the effects of small bumps. Unless of course, you’re going for that “Kid’s stop motion” look. Personally, I’m not.. and if I were, I’d probably do it in After Effects. Having some sort of ‘video assist’, whereby you can see the frame you shot last over-layed on the current one can help you spot a camera bump earlier rather than later.


  • Tip 2: NEVER accidentally change the exposure of the camera

This is unavoidable with cheaper cameras with their auto-exposure shenanigans, of course, but for higher-end cameras with full manual control, there’s no excuse for this sort of thing happening. Setting the white balance correctly and consistently is also important. Indeed, keeping a log book of the settings you used for a shoot is a great idea.

  • Tip 3: NEVER accidently alter the focus of the camera

Again, modern lower-end cameras don’t offer manual focus, and these are next to useless for stop motion. If you want to pull focus (a la “rack focus”) then having a plan to do so is a great idea. If you’re able to numerically specify the focus setting for a camera, this also can be a great boon! In an ideal world, all of the camera’s settings can be controlled via the computer.

  • Tip 4: NEVER bump the subject or the set

A good stop motion animator flows around the set like a gentle breeze. A tip here is to choose materials for your puppets and your sets that are forgiving of accidental encounters. For instance, use foam latex instead of modelling clay. Avoid using real hair for puppets, unless you can be absolutely sure that you won’t flick it accidentally. This is why after making two stop motion shorts with ‘real’ hair (“The one that got away” and “The bun that got away”) I switched to felt for “The crumb that got away”. If disaster strikes and you do accidentally move a puppet or a set element, you can attempt to reposition them, using the previously captured frame as a reference.

  • Tip 5: NEVER accidentally change the lighting

The first thing to mention here is that natural light is your enemy, as lovely as it is. The problem with natural light is that it fluctuates over time. Clouds move overhead, and of course the sun is always in motion. The other thing to mention is that your own lighting setup shouldn’t change either. For fixed lights (such as overhead lights in your office) make a note in your log about which are on, and for moveable lights, simply leave them where they are. To give you an idea about how sensitive this is, here’s a quick anectote from the production of my last stop motoin short. I use a VNC client to monitor what my main computer is seeing when it’s capturing frames, and it can be in full screen mode, or else have some user interface elements at the top. These two modes were different enough to register in the frame! To emphasise, if you are forced to recreate the lighting for a scene, it must be EXACT.

  • Tip 6: ALWAYS attempt to shoot a scene in one session

A number of the issues mentioned above can be avoided by following this tip. Ideally when you embark on shooting a scene, you should be uninterrupted for as long as it takes to complete it. If you do need to stop for any length of time, (remember to eat, drink, and go to the bathroom!) then leave everything running. If you can only do so much in a single session, check that you’ve recreated the same conditions the next time before you start shooting in earnest, by capturing a test frame and comparing it with the last frame you shot.

  • Tip 7: ALWAYS shoot more frames than you need

You can always delete frames, but creating them out of nothing weeks later is not so easy. An example of this is making your characters blink. I generally will add my eyelids to my character and capture a frame even when it would be too much to include them all. It’s nice to be able to make that decision editorially, later. Another example of this is to take extra frames of the set without your characters, so that there’s a ‘blank field’ to use later should you wish to remove a part of your character for whatever reason.

  • Tip 8: ALWAYS try and capture things ‘in camera’

Don’t get me wrong-I LOVE computers and the synthesis of imagery, but the reality of stop motoin is that if you have to ‘fix’ something in post, you’ll need to do it fo many frames. It’s almost always worth spending the time beatifying your characters and your set beforehand.

  • Tip 9: ALWAYS shoot as hi-res as possible

More pixels equals more options- you can choose to ‘zoom in’ on a part of your scene later, and of course when it comes time to producing the hi-res poster of your work you have more options. Also, you might only be making your stop motion film for Internet distribution now, but further down the track you may change your mind and decide that a hi-res digital projection is more your scene.

  • Tip 10: ALWAYS test your setup before embarking on a shoot

For anything but the simplest of shots, it’s a good idea to do a dry run-through, testing that the mechanics of the set and your characters are as you expect. Shooting stop motion photography can be like driving down a one-way street- there’s no turning back!

5 Tips On Making A Short Film as Powerful as a Feature

Arguably, features and shorts are different creatures entirely–the feature being a longer, often more complex journey and the short being an anecdote along that journey. Of course, one of the biggest obstacles facing independent filmmakers is financing their feature film, so making a short film seems more plausible. But how can you cultivate your ideas for the length of a short film, and still make it as complex and powerful as a feature? These four filmmakers from Filmmaker Magazine’s recent annual 25 New Faces screening night at the IFC Center, provide some advice below:

1. Nail down the most relevant shooting locations. They will make your short all the more authentic.

“I shot ‘Immaculate Reception’ entirely in Pittsburgh–inside someone’s Pittburgh home, all of my lead actors being from Pittsburgh, including all of the extras. This takes place in a really pivotal time in Pittsburgh history, where the Stealers finally become this winning football team in the 1970’s, and for the story I wanted to tell I really wanted this piece to be as authentic as possible to honor that.” – Charlotte Glynn, “Immaculate Reception”

2. Utilize any and all costuming resources. You never know who or what will come in handy.

“We used our own clothes, our friends clothes, thrift stores, and Good Will stores for the shoot. The 70s’ bra, however, we got from an Eastern European bra store in a slag heap in Western Pennsylvania, which we had to do a lot of research to discover was there, and this bra was really important for our character. For the rest of my costumes, however, my friend whom I worked with at this other unrelated job was able to come in and save me when I had already lost three costume designers, not to mention we were already ten days away from shooting. She had even just come off of ‘Foxcatcher’ but becasue we had worked together before, she was willing to come in and dress all thirty of my extras at the last second.” -Glynn

3. Utilize any and all equipment resources that can improve the production of your film.

“I’ve made both of my big movies in film school, so that gives us a lot of access to equipment. And with ‘Afronauts,’ there’s this guy whose dad worked for NASA who was stationed in the same place as our shooting location in Zambia, and he made money in the tech industry so he was our biggest executive producer and he was able to provide us with equipment as props for our actors, which was really really lucky.” – Frances Bodomo, “Afronauts”

4. Embrace the art of the short film, don’t produce it solely for the purpose of previewing your feature.

“I love the short film as its own form, and I love how it allows directors, no matter how big or small they are, to at least experiment or at least try it out because I believe as a director you need to fail a lot of times in order to make something you are proud of. For example, last year I was on a festival tour film that wasn’t going to become a feature, and this year with a film thats going to become a feature and there’s a huge difference in that audience members still see the short form as a prequel to a feature. Because I made ‘Afronnauts’ a strong short on its own, that has given me a lot of opportunity for make a stronger feature.” – Bodomo

5. Remember: Kickstarter isn’t the only way to finance your film or help with paying people to work on it.

“I worked as a production designer and art director for five or seven years before I made this film, so I have a lot of favors from friends from working for free, so that helped get them to come onto my shoot. I also made connections from paid to work from other people–so all the money I had saved throughout the years and the friends I made came through in the end for my short.” – Robert Eggers, “Brothers”

10 Tips on Turning Your Short Film Into a Feature

The last five years for first-time feature director Gillian Robespierre have been pretty amazing — she managed to develop her  small short feminist romantic comedy into the award-winning feature, “Obvious Child,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was later acquired by A24 Films for national distribution and became an indie sensation when it was released this summer.

Yesterday on a panel at IFP Independent Film Week, Robespierre and “Obvious Child” producer Elisabeth Holm spoke about the process of adapting Robespierre’s short into a feature.

“It was an introduction to a whole new world of ‘Obvious Child’ because it is so different than the short; the heart is still there, the beginning, middle, and end are still there, but everything around it that makes it the feature is nothing like the short, and it was really exciting to participate in and manipulate that brilliant transformation,” said Robespierre.

Robespierre and the film’s producer Elisabeth Holm shared the following 10 tips for filmmakers who want to turn their short into a feature:

1. Meet people who like your film.

“Mixers in general seem to be a little awkward, but I went and I had a lot of wine and a lot of sliders! Liz and I started talking about growing up in New York — we gravitated towards each other without discussing films or why we were at IFP — we were talking like regular human beings who happened to make films and that led to a more legitimate film/dinner/date where we solidified the idea of doing a feature ‘Obvious Child.’” – Gillian Robespierre

READ MORE: IFP Independent Film Week Is Not Just for Filmmakers Anymore.

2. Hunt for grants.

“It was very encouraging for me what people has said about the short film, so I applied for several grants and finally got one from Rooftop Films, which actually led me to IFP.” – Robespierre

3. Keep hunting for grants.

“We got a very cool grant from the San Francisco Film Society that gave us the opportunity to participate in Off the Page. They flew us [and cast members] Jenny Slate, Gaby Hoffman and Jake Liebman out to do a table reading and workshop of the script. We got to run through the bullet point list of things that Jenny would discuss on stage. She would improvise them and we would record them, and [Robespierre] really incorporated them into the rewrite. it was the first real rehearsal other than during production on set.” – Elisabeth Holm

READ MORE: Sundance Review: “Obvious Child” Takes on Love, Abortion, and Stand-Up Insecurity

4. Get your story in front of as many people as possible.

“I also learned how to get your short out there. When you put it on Vimeo, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get 40,000 hits. It also doesn’t mean that all the great blogs out there are just going to pick it up — we wrote to them, and the editors, and the people who write articles that we really like, and said ‘Hey we made this movie!’ I think that helped tremendously when we were going into the feature. And we had a short to show which was excellent for our Kickstarter Campaign.” – Robespierre

5. Kickstarter, Kickstarter, Kickstarter.

Following up on point No. 4, given that Robespierre already had a short film to share, Kickstarter was an ideal way to raise funds for a feature. The campaign for “Obvious Child” exceeded its $35,000 goal. But crowdfunding didn’t only help financially. It also helped to get the word out about the film.

6. Work with close friends.

“We don’t have any barriers between professionalism and friendship. I think Gillian and Jenny [Slate] are incredibly trusting and respectful of each other and each others voices — the way they are similar is really beautiful. However, in a lot of ways the boundaries of roles are very fluid; there are things that I do that are directorial and things that [Robespierre] does that are producorial and we both write. Making a project is intensely collaborative. With collaboration comes the grey area of roles not being perfectly clear. I think we all have similar voices in the piece, but we also challenge each other and are not afraid to disagree. I think we are really lucky.” – Holm

7. Use your actors personalities to develop your characters.

“In the short, Jenny’s character is a freelancer. She doesn’t have a job, and so while writing more and for Jenny’s feature role it felt natural to make her character a stand-up comedian, especially since that is who she is in real life. When [Hoffman] and [Liebman] were signed on before we got equity, we basically wrote their characters for them!” – Holm

8. Be ‘fun-to-run’ people who meet every weekend to work on the script.

“We are both fun-to-run people who don’t like idle time. We both, at the time, had day jobs. Our relationship oganically grew into what it is now from the Saturday summetime meetings and making the consensual decision that this is what we wanted to be doing, making this film. We didn’t want to go to barbecues, we wanted to make this movie and we weren’t lazy about it. We both had crazy work ethic. We would meet on weekends and even email throughout work days!” – Robespierre

9. Keep your feature simple and concise.

“Yes, we were maniacs working sixteen hour days, but we kept it simple. We weren’t taking on anything we couldn’t do and I think with telling our story we were just trying to keep it genuine and true to our motto. With every trick in filmmaking — it’s not really a trick, it’s something that someone else has done before that we followed the lead of. We learned from films and filmmaking styles that came before us.” – Robespierre

10. When you finally complete your feature, remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect.

“While there are some known actors in it, I am a totally unknown person, first time director here. [For Sundance] we wanted it to be polished — with sound, color, for every song to be perfectly mixed- that is how we were going to apply. But we learned as we went that we didn’t really need to have a polished film, we just needed a really good edit, time to tell a story and to get the jokes right — not to overload the first act with so many fart jokes — but to bring fresh eyes to the edit to ensure that it was tweaked in all the right places.” – Robespierre

5 Obvious Tips For Writing About/For The Movies

Want to be a film critic/blogger or screenwriter? Devin has five tips that could change your life. Or won’t. Probably won’t, if we’re being really honest here.

I am sometimes asked to give advice about becoming a film critic/blogger or a screenwriter. My first bit of advice is always the same: don’t do it. Don’t become either of these two things. If you want to work in the movies, become a director or producer, as you’ll be paid better, will get to boss the screenwriter around and will be more respected. If you want to become a film critic or blogger, consider instead taking on a job that will be more helpful to society, like being a McDonald’s employee. That job probably pays better as well. Whole Foods has nice benefits, I understand.

The only people who should aspire to these jobs are the poor souls who are driven, who feel like this is their calling, who have the sense that the universe dealt them a bum hand and they’re stuck with it. If that’s you, I have five golden bits of advice that you should study and learn. But first, two things you must already have:

– An ability to communicate. Don’t learn how to communicate your thoughts on the job. Come prepared to write properly, to write with style and to write with verve. The end goal of writing is to be read; be prepared to be read.

– Something to prove. This is what drives you. Whether you want to write to impress a girl or you want to write to prove detractors wrong or you want to write because you think you’re the most correct person in the world and everybody else needs to hear your thoughts, you must have a reason to be writing.

With that out of the way, on to the Five Golden Tips:

Tip #1: FAIL.

Fail early, and fail often. Good writing is about sharing yourself – your thoughts, your opinions, your feelings – and that makes you very vulnerable. You cannot embark on a writing career if you’re not ready for rejection, dismissal, unkind internet comments and general failure. It’s like boxing – you have to get punched in the face to get over your fear of being punched in the face.

Not only does failing early in life prepare you for future (inevitable) failures, it adds to your ‘Something to prove’ prerequisite. When I failed out of college and found myself unloading trucks at a department store at 5am every day, I knew I needed to take serious action to change my situation. Failure is an excellent motivator.


Write what you know, they say, and most people don’t know shit. Experience is key for a writer; meeting people, getting to know their stories and points of view, having strange encounters and testing your own boundaries are exactly the things any serious writer MUST do.

You’re thinking, ‘But I just want to be a film critic. None of this applies to me.’ This applies to you, and almost doubly so. One of the cardinal sins I see committed by younger film critics is that they attempt to filter everything they watch through their own limited, boring experience. How can you really understand a love story if you’ve never been in love? How can you really feel for a character on the edge if you’ve never been on the edge? If your whole life experience is comfy, middle class, college-educated boringness, you’ll always be at a distance from the other experiences you find on film.

That doesn’t mean you can’t understand a movie about a drug dealer if you’ve never been a drug dealer. What it means is that the broader your personal experiences, the more you’ll be able to project yourself into what you’re watching. Obviously a good filmmaker should be able to make any character, however extreme, in some way understandable to an audience, but as a critic you will need to be doing heavier lifting. And that lifting will be easier if you have lots of human experiences under your belt. A nice side effect is that having lots of human experiences under your belt will also make a better, more interesting human.


No duh, right? You’d be shocked at how many screenwriters and film critics disregard this. It’s especially bad for critics, but it’s just as dangerous for screenwriters.

As a film critic your job isn’t to give people a consumer report about a movie. You’re not managing their movie-going budget. You’re offering readers three things:

– Informed opinion
– Context
– Entertainment

Every review should hit all three of those. Even if a reader has never heard of a movie/will never see a movie, they should be entertained by what you write. Even if a reader already has seen a movie, they should find your opinion interesting and well-argued. And even if a reader is deeply familiar with a movie, they should get deeper understanding of the movie after reading your review.

You’re on your own with entertainment value – that should be packaged in the ‘Ability to communicate’ prerequisite – but the other two can be earned by watching lots and lots of movies. If you see a tracking shot in a film and your only frame of reference for great tracking shots is Old Boy, you don’t have enough context. If your knowledge of film only extends back to the 80s, or is bounded by the limits of a specific genre, you won’t be able to really have an informed opinion.

As a film critic you should know more than the average reader*. There’s zero value in reviews written from a ‘Joe Six-Pack’ perspective, and I find the recent fad of reviews written by neophytes (“I’m watching black and white movies for the first time!” “I’m showing my cousin Star Wars for the first time!”) to be tedious. I want to read something I didn’t know or find an opinion I didn’t have, not watch somebody learn how to walk. There’s a reason we watch professional sports on TV and not local pick-up games. This doesn’t mean you must have seen every movie ever made before writing about film – everybody is always playing catch-up with the long history of cinema – it just means you should be making a real effort to see as much as possible.

Screenwriters should be familiar with a broad swath of films because the answers you seek often lie in the past. While style and fashion has changed drastically since the first motion pictures, the basics of storytelling have not. Some screenwriter in the past has faced the same problems you face in your current script; knowing how it was solved (or how it was screwed up) previously will help inform you now. Don’t be afraid to stand on the great big pile of screenwriters who came before you. The movies that were already made are Hollywood’s greatest institutional memory.


Let me immediately contradict that by saying OF COURSE you should read other reviews and screenplays. But you need to read a lot more than that.

One of the prerequisites at the start of this article was ‘An ability to communicate,’ but being able to communicate doesn’t mean you ever stop getting better at communicating. As a writer you should be absorbing other writing as much as possible so that you can be exposed to new words, turns of phrase, thought and general knowledge.

As a film critic being well-rounded (see Tip #2) is key. You should have an understanding of history and art and politics if you hope to write intelligently about film. You should know something about different religions, because metaphors for them creep into movies all the time. You should know great literature, because that stuff gets referenced a lot. You should be familiar with philosophy, because that’s all going to feed into how you read films.

As a screenwriter inspiration waits on every page. One of the purest, and best ways to defeat writer’s block is to read. You’re filling up the mental gas tank in the simplest way possible, by absorbing other words and ideas.

Most of all reading makes you a better writer. There’s no impetus to improve your own writing like reading something exquisite and realizing how shitty you are. Don’t be discouraged by better writers, be inspired. At the very least get really competitive and vow to show them who’s boss (seriously, having a bone to pick will make you such a better writer).

One last thing: read a lot about the making of films. Truly great film critics will not just have seen lots of movies, will not just know lots about art and history and philosophy, they will also know about the technical aspects of making movies. They will understand what editing is and how it works. They will understand how different lenses change what we see. They will understand acting techniques and the concept of mise en scene.

In other words, being a film critic is more than watching a movie and saying whether or not you liked it.


Everything that comes before this is useless if you don’t have something to say. You may have the ability to communicate, and you may have the drive to do the communicating, but if you have nothing to actually communicate, what’s the point?

The point, you might say, is to make money and to get access and to be involved in the Hollywood dream factory! If that’s your attitude, you might already be fucked. You’ll end up writing garbage for money and attention, but you’ll soon discover that even with all the money and attention you’re getting some jerk-off agent is making more money and getting more respect than you are. And you’ll find out that this is a pretty hollow and gross way to make a living, because you sold out for much less than you’re really worth.

But if you have something to say, and you say it in your writing, you’ll be much more fulfilled than the jerk-off agent. Much poorer, and getting laid way less, but much more personally fulfilled. And you’ll make more of a difference. A great film critic serves as a champion for great movies, and supporting art with your own art is a wonderful feeling. A great film critic also serves as a guide, leading readers places they might never otherwise go. The best responses I get from readers tell me that I turned them on to a movie that’s now their favorite. What’s more, and this is something I’ve only learned now that I’m old, is that great film critics can influence the next generations of filmmakers. There’s something weird but ultimately satisfying about meeting a filmmaker who tells you that your writing made an impact on him.

It’s may be even better for screenwriters. Yeah, directors get the respect and actors get the adulation, but it’s the imagination of the screenwriter that sparks it all. It’s the themes and ideas put on the page that blossom into movies. A screenwriter with a point of view and something to say about the world can easily impact the lives of millions of people who don’t even realize they’re being impacted. A terrific screenplay can entertain and also move people and also make them think differently, feel differently, see the world differently.

I don’t really have any tips for finding something to say. That’s got to come from within you. I saved it for last, though, because I think once you’ve taken all the other advice (vague as each tip is) you’ll figure it out for yourself.

Tips, tricks and shortcuts for making movies on your mobile Part 2

11. Insert title cards

Title cards are another area where WeVideo proves its worth, and you’ll see one inserted for you at the start of every video project you create in the Android app. Tap on the Title card to edit the text, then use the Theme button (which looks like a magic wand) to choose a style for your title cards to be applied throughout the project. The iOS version of WeVideo isn’t quite as advanced, but you can always export a basic project to the Web app where all of the editing features and file formats are available.

Adobe Premiere Clip

12. Go hands-off with automatic projects

Clip is the stripped-down, mobile version of Adobe’s heavyweight desktop video editing application, and it’s available for both Android and iOS. One of its most useful features as far as casual filmmakers are concerned is the automatic mode that appears as an option whenever you create a new project and import some clips: choose to go automatic and the Clip app customises your footage based on a music track and speed chosen by you. It’s the perfect halfway house between sharing your raw video unedited and spending hours poring over every detail of the sequence.

13. Create motion from photos

Clip includes a more advanced freeform editor too, and one of the tools available in it is Photo Motion: this enables you to add photos to your movies while keeping some kind of movement so your project doesn’t grind to a static stop. Tap the cog icon at the top of the freeform editing screen to open the project preferences, then toggle the Photo Motion to the on position. You can’t control the zoom focus or speed, unfortunately, but it makes your project look more fluid if you’re mixing video clips and photos together in the same timeline.

FiLMiC Pro

14. Tweak focus and exposure

If you’re serious about mobile moviemaking and you have a few pounds to spare, FiLMiC Pro is one of the most professional iOS filming apps available. You get access to a wealth of settings that most apps wouldn’t come close to thinking about, including live focus and exposure settings: drag the focus reticle (a square) or the exposure reticle (a circle) around on the camera view to set these values based on one part of the shot. The icons to the lower left lock these settings in place and prevent FiLMiC Pro from making adjustments on the fly.

15. Tweak white balance and contrast

More options become available in FiLMiC Pro after you’ve recorded a particular scene on your smartphone. Tap on the video clip icon to see your existing recordings, then tap the slider button to adjust exposure, contrast, white balance, saturation and tint using simple sliders, with the results previewed in real-time. The reset button on the left lets you undo all of your changes if you need to go back. Additional options on the same set of menus enable you to trim and downsample clips should you need to, before they’re ready to be exported to a video editor.

VideoFX Live

16. Blur videos

Installing the VideoFX Live app is like putting a fully featured editing suite inside the confines of your iPhone: from artistic titles to coloured overlays, there’s plenty to explore within the app. Some of the overlays and filters are aimed at a younger, social media-savvy crowd but there are a lot of genuinely useful ones too — such as the adjustable blur tool that you could use for anything from a dream sequence to a pre-credits intro. The blur effect is one of many you can get in the Cinema Pro Pack, a paid-for add-on to the app.

17. Add flames and explosions

There are a plethora of ways you can use VIdeoFX Live on your iPhone, covering green screen effects, frames that border your video and so on, but the flame and explosion filters are some of the most dramatic tools. Via another premium add-on pack you can have flames rise from the foot of the screen, or have sparks, bangs and phaser effects flit across the screen in line with the movement in the frame. Of course the end results aren’t quite as slick as those produced by Hollywood studios, but they’re very impressive for an inexpensive smartphone app.

Stop Motion Studio

18. Create your own stop motion animations

From Wallace and Gromit to Fantastic Mr. Fox, filmmakers continue to explore the potential of stop motion animation, and you can emulate the professionals using Stop Motion Studio (available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone). The app features overlay and grid modes to help you get each of your frames perfectly aligned, and everything can be compiled on your mobile device — there’s no need to switch to a computer editor to finish off your project. There’s also an automatic mode where images are snapped at regular intervals, saving you having to press the shutter button each time.

19. Add in green screen effects

Stop Motion Studio supports the use of green screen effects, a tried and trusted movie technique where a coloured background (usually green, hence the name) is swapped out for a different image or video. By using a blank coloured material behind your actors (whether real or cut out of cardboard) it’s possible to replace the background with a couple of taps of your finger. The only downside is that the green screen feature is one of the premium paid-for add-ons in Stop Motion Studio, but it’s well worth the investment if you’re going to be using the feature regularly.

Hyperlapse from Instagram

20. Stabilise shaky video footage on iOS

Hyperlapse from Instagram is a spin-off of the photo filtering app that offers two key features: timelapse capture and video stabilisation. If you want to shoot clips that are smooth and cinematic even while you’re on the move then Hyperlapse is one of the best ways of going about it (for those using iOS devices at least) — capture your footage with the main shutter button and then choose 1x as the playback speed to end up with a finely stabilised clip which is saved to your photo gallery. Instagram and Facebook sharing options are also available.

Microsoft Hyperlapse

21. Stabilise shaky video footage on Android and Windows Phone

If you don’t have an iOS device then there’s an alternative app from Microsoft that does essentially the same thing — confusingly, it’s also called Hyperlapse. There are more speeds to choose from (1x to 32x) so you can choose video stabilisation or a timelapse effect, and another feature available here that’s not in Instagram’s alternative is the ability to import existing videos. Neither of these Hyperlapse tools have any advanced editing features to speak of, but you can use them to stabilise (or speed up) clips and then export them to other applications on your phone.