Posts by: "jager"

three_point_lightingLighting for film is critical, not only for exposure but also to create a mood that best tells your story. In low-budget filmmaking, you may not be able to afford all the fancy lighting tools out there—a basic Arri kit can cost you close to $2,000 to purchase. So how do you go about lighting your small project effectively and artistically on a shoestring budget?

Learn Your Camera’s Settings

Before you even think about how to light, take the time to learn what your camera is capable of doing. Most low-budget filmmakers are now using HDSLR cameras such as the Canon 7D or the Blackmagic Cinema cameras which offer great picture quality at a relatively low cost. These cameras allow you to change all sorts of settings—F-stop, shutter speed, ISO, and even color schemes. Take some time to play around with these settings and see what your particular camera can do for you.

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screenwriterA good script is the foundation of a good film. If you’re still scribbling notes and snippets of dialogue on Starbucks napkins because you’re afraid to shell out for proper screenwriting software, I can assure you there’s a better way.

While the defacto screenwriting software is Final Draft, it’s currently going for $249. That can be a bit discouraging for those of you who haven’t used screenwriting software before and want to invest in the industry standard. The good news is, you really don’t have to buy Final Draft at all to get started writing on your computer.

Here are some less expensive, or even free software alternatives that can be just as effective as Final Draft.

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Despite a low indy budget, it’s possible to make films that get picked up by festivals (the ones that aren’t run by your friends) and that get word-of-mouth (other than your own social media).

So, why didn’t your film get into any festivals or get any buzz? Why did the programming panel reject your film after watching 10 minutes of your feature or two minutes of your short? You know the answer: poor execution. Execution and craft transform your concept so that the story gets out of your head and into the heads of the audience.

Here are the top four poor execution problems. Any of these issues will stop your film from advancing at important festivals.

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audioYou’ve written an incredible screenplay. Your actors brought the characters to life in unexpected ways. Your cinematographer captured the image through breathtaking compositions and lighting. There is only one hitch—

Sound. Dialogue is garbled, wind and background noise obscures the vocals, levels are all over the place—your masterpiece is ruined. Here are some tips that could help.
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san francisco film festival

Scary Cow Productions, the San Francisco Bay Area filmmaker cooperative, commemorates its fifth year by hosting the Prime Cuts Indie Film Festival—a one-night only special movie screening at the Castro Theatre.

“The 5th Anniversary of the Scary Cow Indie Film Festival is proof of Scary Cow’s dedication to growing and supporting the independent film community in San Francisco.” - Susannah Greason Robbins, Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Commission

What an incredible few weeks it has been for Scary Cow Filmmakers! An important thing to consider when thinking about where to make your next film is what happens to your films AFTER you’ve made it. So many folks focus on making a film they forget that the best films live long after it’s completion date. For many of our filmmakers, they are finding life for their films in some of the best film festivals around. We’re happy to announce five of our films that have been accepted into festivals!
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 Actors! We encourage you to attend our open casting call on Saturday, March 12th at the SF PLAYHOUSE (533 Sutter Street)! This is a free event.

This casting call gives actors the chance to audition for upcoming Scary Cow films. Our filmmakers will be watching from the audience, mostly casting for the films being screened at the Castro Theatre on July 2nd, 2011, however, you will be also considered for future projects! You may also be interested in checking out our “Open Acting Positions” page to see the roles we’re currently trying to cast for.

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The votes have been counted and our winners have been announced! Another $10,000 has been awarded bringing our total to over Scary Cow Awards Announced!$140,000 in prize money.

Special thanks to all of the great films screened this round – and looking forward to what our winning teams will do with their awarded budget dollars!

Click HERE to see the full awards list.

We often have folks ask what makes Scary Cow different from other filmmaking groups. Scary Cow tries to blend the best of all of them into something that can really help you achieve your filmmaking goals – whether they be to just get your feet wet to fine tuning your already awesome skills. We’ve had complete novices to industry experts all working together in Scary Cow to make some award winning films.

Still, some people want to know specifics as to how we’re different than just finding a bunch of people on craigslist to make a film, or one of the 24-48 hour film challenges, or even attending film school. That’s what this long winded note will try to help clear up.

Check out some of the main differentiators below:

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