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Deborah S. Patz – Author

Author of film books for industry pros and youth

Film Lighting: Is a Hallway Just a Hallway?

So, you’re filming in a hallway. Kind of a dull location, isn’t it? Flat, painted colour. No photos or art on the walls. Thinking of just throwing up a light and getting on with it?

Well… consider what time of day it is in the script. Might there be filtered light from a nearby window painting designs on one of those flat, painted walls?

Creates quite the atmosphere, doesn’t it? You can simulate such early morning or late day designs by placing objects and cookies (cut-outs) in front of lights at any given time of the day.

So, look around you – at various times of the day – and see how Nature lights your world, and then be inspired by it!

Cheers & atmospheric lighting to you,
Deb

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Deborah (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 and wonders if you can see the shadow of her dog’s ear in the photo above.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Mar.26-28 – Instructor – Write! Shoot! Edit! Screenwriting Workshop for Teens – VPL
Jul.23-26 – UFVA Conference: Stories Without Borders, La Cruces, New Mexico

Are You A Filmie? What Do You See…

 

You’re a Film Buff if you see a movie light and a coffee.

You’re a Film Buff Who’s Particular if you see a studio light and a Starbucks coffee.

However…

You’re a True Filmie if you see two Blondes.

Cheers & a good shoot to you,
Deb

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Deborah (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 once dressed as a Blonde (studio light) for a Halloween party, but unfortunately lost the photographic proof.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Sat.Feb.17 – Author Participant – Digital Media Youth Expo, North Vancouver, BC
Mar.26-28 – Instructor – Write! Shoot! Edit! Screenwriting Workshop for Teens – VPL
Aug/2018 – UFVA Conference – New Mexico

WHERE TO FIND DEB’S BOOKS?
Paperback or eBook: AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters/Indigo, direct from the publisher, and plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.
*NEW* AWESOME SALE IN FEB/2018: At the Digital Media Youth Expo, Deb will be selling her book Write! Shoot! Edit! for a special event price of $10… that’s more than 50% off the cover price. Come on by, meet Deb, enter the raffle, make some homemade foley sounds, enjoy the expo!

cell phone user and bike

Inspiration at the Movies: Time Bandits

cell phone user and bikeYour Money or Your Life!”

– Game Show Host
(Time Bandits, 1981)

What a shocking and horrible game show to play for your money or your mortality! It’s so absurd don’t you wonder who would dream up such nonsense and what kind of people would watch that kind of nonsense and be entertained? Yet the scene and show take place in a fictional comedy adventure, so you suspend disbelief for the sake of the entertainment ride of the movie.

Yet I wonder… how absurd is it really?

I have a video game on my cell phone that’s a type of world-building game. It’s bright, colourful, has entertaining animations. Upon completing quests and levelling up, I am treated to new characters and new animations – virtual prizes. There are many such games available for phone, tablet or PC, and you’ve probably played at least one. Ever notice how we are often presented with two choices?

Choice #1: spend real money to buy virtual hearts or stars or gems or whatever to speed up quests and advance to the virtual prize as soon as possible; or

Choice #2: trigger the quest and wait for it in real time for free to earn the virtual prize (noting that the more you play the game and higher level you are, the quest duration extends from a seconds to minutes to hours to days and on and on).

So, when you think about it, the choices are: (1) Your Money or (2) Your Life.

That game show on Time Bandits isn’t so absurd after all, is it?

Cheers & wise spending to you,
Deb

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Deborah (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 thinking twice about that game on her smartphone.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Sat.Feb.17 – Author Participant – Digital Media Youth Expo, North Vancouver, BC
Mar.26-28 – Instructor – Write! Shoot! Edit! Screenwriting Workshop for Teens – VPL
Aug/2018 – UFVA Conference – New Mexico

WHERE TO FIND DEB’S BOOKS?
Paperback or eBook: AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters/Indigo, direct from the publisher, and plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.

Magic Movie Moment: The Heat

Ashburn and Mullins wrestle and compete to be the first one in the door of the tenement building before their interview with Tatiana.

Basically the scene is an establishing shot of the building and of the two lead characters going in.

Gosh, filming establishing shots with lead characters entering buildings can be soooo boring: plop down the camera for a nice, informative wide shot and have the lead characters walk through the door. It’s a functional shot that puts the characters at the location (for the interior set about to see) and establishes for the viewer the type of neighbourhood. Seen a few of these establishing shots, haven’t you?

Well, in “The Heat,” this one-shot scene is so much more. They take the opportunity of revealing character at the same time: not just ‘walk into the building’ but HOW would these two walk into the building? Based on preceding scenes, these two are seriously competing with each other about everything – to a limit that makes their competition wildly humorous, and in this scene they efficiently demonstrate their competition (to get in the door first) in the single shot, and because the physical humour of the moment is so big (adding comedy to the scene), the camera doesn’t need to be placed near the action; the establishing shot angle from across the street works perfectly. So the one-shot scene establishes location, reveals character and uses the moment for some on-screen comedy… oh yeah, and because they’re so busy competing, Ashburn misses information (again) – that this is Mullins’ building.

What a magical movie moment!

Now think about the films you make. When next you’re planning an establishing shot, what other story functions can you add to the shot to elevate it to a magical movie moment instead?

Need more ideas? Look out for other magical establishing shots to inspire you. What magic have you seen recently?

Cheers and good shoot to you,
Deb

—————–

Deborah (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 was already in a building when she wrote this post (and didn’t have to wrestle anyone at the door to get in).

WHERE IS DEB?
Sat.Feb.17 – Digital Youth Expo – Author Participant – North Vancouver
Mar.26-18 – Write! Shoot! Edit! Screenwriting Workshop for Teens – Instructor – VPL
Aug/18 – UFVA Conference – New Mexico

WHERE TO FIND DEB’S BOOKS?
Paperback or eBook: AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters/Indigo, direct from the publisher, and plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.

Treadmill

But Movies Aren’t Real, Are They?

Fiction movies? Of course not. Movies can’t be real. But…

TreadmillWhen you think about it, treadmills aren’t real either.

Treadmills simulate a walking experience for us in a climate controlled environment; they help to improve our physical fitness and overall sense of good health – that sense happening inside our heads, because a positive self-image contributes to our overall physical health too.

Now look again at movies (and VR, if you like). They take us on an emotional ride through simulation. We are entertained, emotionally-moved and often learn about ourselves and neighbours from the experience. That’s a lot of activity going on in our heads. You might even call it emotional fitness? Well, THAT’s certainly real and invaluable to our overall societal health!

So, here’s to you, working in the film, TV and VR industries! Thanks.

Cheers & a good shoot to you,
Deb

– – – – – – – – – –

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 knows the emotional exhaustion that comes from watching four movies back-to-back at TIFF on a single day.

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

WHERE TO FIND DEB’S BOOKS?
Paperback or eBook: AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters/Indigo, direct from the publisher, and plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.

The Three Heads of Write! Shoot! Edit!

I.

Wild Inventor Brain

Shy in a world lopsided

Teach me creativity

 

II.

Doctor Structure Editor

Vocal critic analyzes too soon

My creative problem-solver

 

III.

Nit-picky Copy Editor

Reveres logic, form and detail

Polish work creatively

 

Poetry about the creative process? Am I serious?

Yes, I am.

Well, serious in just-have-fun-with-it sort of way.

I found a poetic form that’s really fun to play with: The Lune. There are two forms of lunes, actually. Both are three-lines long (which I totally love, because I see the creative process as being three stages). The original lune goes: 5 syllables, 3 syllables, 5 syllables and when done on the page it looks a bit like a crescent moon in shape. The lune variant is a little different: 3 words, 5 words, 3 words – which I find a bit more flexible for play, and I suppose looks like a gibbous moon.

So, using the variant, I created lunes for the Three Heads of Creativity from my book Write! Shoot! Edit! A Complete Guide for Teen Filmmakers. Really? Yes. Because each stage of the creative process is just that… creative! Why not write a poem for each of them? It is a creative process.

Try it out yourself. Use either lune structure and write your own version of one or all three of the creative heads. Which head is easiest for you? Which one do you gravitate toward?

If you don’t really understand what I’m talking about regarding the Three Heads, there’s more info on the 3-step creative process along with lots more info on how to craft your own stories and movies using that creative process in my book; here’s a link to the book’s webpage (and preview inside the book): www.debpatz.com/book/write-shoot-edit.

When you’ve created your lune(s): use them as a memory aid; or share them online; or share with me! I’d love to read them. But whatever you do, enjoy flexing your creative muscle… three ways.

Cheers & happy creativity to you,
Deb

– – – – – – – – – –

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 loves to watch the crescent, gibbous or full moon on a clear night… especially from the bow of a boat at anchor.

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

WHERE TO FIND DEB’S BOOKS?
Paperback or eBook: AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters/Indigo, direct from the publisher, and plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.