Category: Ciné Surfer

Black Production TShirt

Black Friday Christmas Gift Ideas for Teenage (or New) Filmmakers

Black Friday always makes me think about black production t-shirts (which I love!), and new filmmakers need all kinds of stuff to make their movies, especially teens without paying jobs. So, in the spirit of empowering black-clad filmmakers to experiment with and make better movies, here’s a gift idea list for the new filmmakers around you in time for Black Friday:

1. WRITE! SHOOT! EDIT! BOOK (approx $20 – $30) – I guess I have to start with my book, if you don’t already have it: a complete guide for teen filmmakers, useful for new filmmakers of any age because it distills the entire process down into a short, focused, entertaining book. It’s written for the reader to follow one of three paths: the Writer, Director/DOP, or Editor, so you could present each of the three key crew with a copy of the book to use from their own perspective. It’s available in paperback and eBook versions. For more into, see my book’s webpage: https://www.debpatz.com/book/write-shoot-edit/. If you want to shop straight from the publisher, the book’s even cheaper: http://mwp.com/product/write-shoot-edit-complete-guide-teen-filmmakers/

2. COLLAPSIBLE REFLECTOR (approx $20 – $30) – Even before buying any lighting, a reflector is essential. Useful outside and in, it can to bounce light and reduce shadows giving you the illusion of a fill light. Because it collapses, it’s wonderfully small and portable.

3. CLIP-ON UTILITY LIGHT (approx $20 – $30) plus LIGHT STAND (approx $30 – $40) – The next step from a reflector is an entry-level studio light (or two). The most affordable alternative has to be the clip-on utility light you can pick up at a hardware store and a light stand from a photography store. The stand gives the filmmaker the ability to light from any height and location – or use it to rig other objects (like curtains or other set pieces) for the film frame… which is why two stands are even better than one.

4. VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE (a huge ranges of prices, e.g. from $20 – $120) – You may have a free video editing software on the computer already, but new filmmakers will soon appreciate the extra tracks and features of a software that more closely emulates professional editing software. I personally use VideoPad by NCH (which apparently has a sale until the end of November), but honestly, that’s not the only one out there. PC Magazine did a survey of video editing software for 2017: https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2397215,00.asp

5. GROCERY STORE GIFT CARD (whatever price you’d like!) – Sounds like a strange idea for a gift, but it’s for buying “craft service” supplies for set. Since new filmmakers are tapping into volunteers to make their movie, food is one of the largest expenses on a low-/no-budget production.

6. EXTERNAL MICROPHONE (huge price range, depending on quality and type of camera) – Improving sound quality greatly improves the movie experience, and so an external mic is the way to go. Best to chat with someone at the store about best choices when you know what the film camera is (a cell phone, Gopro, video camera, etc.).

7. BLACK PRODUCTION T-SHIRT (approx $18 – $25) – Hey, while we’re talking Black Friday and recognizing that black is THE colour to wear on set (not only because it’s cool, but because it doesn’t reflect light and show the crew’s presence in reflected surfaces), why not a black t-shirt of sweatshirt to wear on set? I’ve made some Write! Shoot! Edit! T’s, sweatshirts and hats on Cafepress for you. Admittedly, Cafepress doesn’t appear to have a Black Friday sale (sigh…), but you may just need one anyway: http://www.cafepress.com/debpatz

Now it’s over to you. Bring a smile to the new filmmaker in your life!

Cheers & shopping to you,

– – – – – – – – – –

Deb Patz is the author of Write! Shoot! Edit! for teens and Film Production Management 101 for the industry – both books are published worldwide by MWP. She’s also part of the editorial board for Prism International. She’s worn many a black production t-shirt, sweatshirt and jacket over the years.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Wed.Nov.22 – Graduate Reader – UBC Graduate Reading Event
Sat.Feb.17 – Author Participant – Digital Media Youth Expo, North Vancouver, BC
Mar.26-28 – Instructor – Write! Shoot! Edit! Screenwriting Workshop for Teens – VPL

Paperback or eBook: AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters/Indigo, direct from the publisher, and plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.

Ciné-surfer: Stephen Fellows’ Blog & All Kinds of Stats

There’s something about stats… and Stephen Fellows manages to collect and examine a huge variety of data related tot the film industry on a weekly basis.

Take this one for example:

Sure, we expect action to have the most, and it’s probably no surprise that documentary has the least, but he goes on to look at shot length too – really diving in to specifics… and then ending with the “Michael Bay – What is Bayhem?” You Tube video – which is utterly fascinating for anyone who wants to learn how to craft movies and shots.

Surf by and have a look. Here are a couple of my other more recent favs:

Stephen Fellows’ Film Data Blog

  • Patterns among the most profitable movies (at various budget levels)
  • How many Cannes-nominated films get a theatrical release?
  • The numbers behind Netflix Original movies and TV shows
  • How much of the UK film economy comes from abroad?
  • How many editors does it take to edit a movie?

Which one(s) interest you?

Cheers and happy researching,

– – – – – – – – – –

Deb Patz is the author of “Write! Shoot! Edit! A Complete Guide to Filmmaking for Teens” (new in 2017) and “Film Poduction Management 101” both published by MWP Books.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Jul.30-Aug.3 – Panelist – UFVA Conference, Los Angeles, CA
Thu.Aug.3 – Panelist – The Future of Story Conference, LA


A World of Book Store Links… aka Finding “Write! Shoot! Edit!”

APR/17 – I was inspired to create this list of bookstore links in honour of my new book being available for pre-order or Wish Lists (“Write! Shoot! Edit!“). You can start on my book page pretty much anywhere around the world and browse. Enjoy!

JUL/17 – As of July 1st, the book is now on sale… not just pre-order!

In alphabetical order…

Akademibokhandeln (Sweden)

Amazon (English Sites)
Canada https://www.amazon.ca/WRITE-SHOOT-EDIT-Complete-Filmmakers/dp/161593264X
UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Write-Shoot-Edit-Complete-Filmmakers/dp/161593264X
USA https://www.amazon.com/WRITE-SHOOT-EDIT-Complete-Filmmakers/dp/161593264X

Amazon (Non-English Sites)
Brazil https://www.amazon.com.br/Write-Shoot-Edit-Complete-Filmmakers/dp/161593264X
China https://www.amazon.cn/图书/dp/161593264X
France https://www.amazon.fr/Write-Shoot-Edit-Complete-Filmmakers/dp/161593264X
India http://www.amazon.in/Write-Shoot-Edit-Complete-Filmmakers/dp/161593264X
Italy https://www.amazon.it/Write-Shoot-Edit-Complete-Filmmakers/dp/161593264X
Germany https://www.amazon.de/WRITE-SHOOT-EDIT-Deborah-Patz/dp/161593264X
Japan https://www.amazon.co.jp/Write-Shoot-Edit-Complete-Filmmakers/dp/161593264X
Mexico https://www.amazon.com.mx/Write-Shoot-Edit-Complete-Filmmakers/dp/161593264X
Spain https://www.amazon.es/Write-Shoot-Edit-Complete-Filmmakers/dp/161593264X

Angus & Robertson Bookworld (Australia)

Bank Street Book Store (USA)

Barnes & Noble (USA)

Black Bond Books (Canada)

Blackwell’s (UK)

Blue Willow Bookshop (USA)

Bokus.com (Sweden)

Book Depository (UK)

The Bookies Bookstore (USA)

Books-A-Million (USA)

Book Soup (USA, LA)

Booktopia (Australia)

Chapters/Indigo (Canada)

The Drama Book Shop (USA)

Dussmann (Germany)

Elliott Bay Book Company (USA)

English Books Berlin (Germany)

Fishpond (Australia)

Foyles (UK)

Half.com (USA)

Hive.co.uk (UK)

KidsBooks (Canada)

Kids Ink  (USA)

Magers & Quinn (USA)

McNally Robinson (Canada)

Powell’s (USA)

Shakespeare and Company (France)

Skylight Books (USA)

Suomalainen (Finland)

Tattered Cover Book Store (USA)

Thrift Books (USA)

Vroman’s Bookstore (USA)

Waterstones (UK)

Wordery (UK)

Writer’s Block Bookstore (USA)

Yellowknife Book Cellar (Canada)

So… do you prefer to browse online or in the store? At least this way you can do some world travel at the same time!

Cheers & happy browsing to you,

– – – – – – – – – –

Deb Patz is the author of “Film Production Management 101” and the upcoming “Write! Shoot! Edit! A Complete Guide to Filmmaking for Teens” both published by MWP Books. She loves a good bookstore. Absolutely!

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Jun.3-7 – Guest instructor – PEI Screenwriter’s Bootcamp, Charlottetown, PEI
Jun. TBA – Book launch for “Write! Shoot! Edit!”
Jul.30-Aug.3 – UFVA Conference, Los Angeles, CA

Ciné Surfer: Basics of Script Copyright

lglstatStephen Follows has an interesting site. Not a lot of links on the Resources page, but what’s there is worth the surf by. In particular, I enjoyed:

Basics of Script Copyright


Although copyright is handled differently in each country, the basics are here. Know the basics already? Well, there may be a nugget or two that’s new to you. What do you think?

Cheers & a clear script to you,

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

My own book, “Film Production Management 101.” covers a related topic, script clearances, from a production manager’s and coordinator’s point of view. Don’t worry, the book is conversational in tone and very accessible reading, if you’re like to learn more.

Ciné Surfer: Happy Public Domain Birthday To You

hbdayThe song that was – suprising to many – NOT in the public domain is now in the public domain?!? Wow.

Here’s a great article from The Daily Signal that talks about the change of status:


Remember, though, that the rights we’re talking about here are the publishing rights (the right to use the sheet music). Though you may now be allowed to sing the song on screen for free, if you use a particular recording of it, then recording rights will still kick in.

Of course, this news means that the chapter in my book Film Production Management 101 on Legal clearances is now out of date on one count. Sigh… But that goes to show you that you always need legal advice from a proper legal source for all the latest and greatest news on rights and clearances.

In the meantime, have a happy public domain birthday!



Ciné-Surfer: Holidays Around The World

fwksIt’s summer and a lot of country independence (and country constitutions) are being celebrated. Here are just a few for July:

  • Canada (July 1)
  • USA (July 4)
  • Argentina (July 7)
  • South Korea (July 17)
  • Columbia (July 20)

Since we tend to be used to the public holidays of our own country, planning the shoot of an international co-production can be a challenge if you don’t know the holidays that the co-pro country is celebrating too. OfficeHolidays.com is a great site to plot holidays of the world on a calendar and plan the shoot accordingly!

Cheers & a good shoot along with happy summer holidays… whatever one(s) you are celebrating!