Welcome to my blog, hope you enjoy reading :)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Special effects with iMovie 11

Happy New Year Guys!!
2011 just flew by!

Anyways I am sure most of you know about these sites if you have tried special effects using iMovie.
  • to download the royalty free video footage and
  • for downloading audio clips
Go on try out some cool special effects...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tips for story writing

A must read for any storyteller is Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham. I love this book - got to own it.

Make sure to include as many elements from below in each of your scenes and in your plot:

  • Struggle

  • Conflict

  • Dissatisfaction

  • Aspiration

  • Choice

Another good book that I would like to own is Make a Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld.

Check out for good tips on story writing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Writer's Digest Books

I found a wonderful book with very nice tips - Writer's Digest Handbook of Short Story Writing. After reading that I learnt that there are actiually two volumes! Volume 1 & 2 with ISBNs 0898790492 and 0898794633. (So looks like I have read only volume 1 and that itself is good. Since writing this I got hold of the second volume and it has a few good articles too.)
Anyways, there is an article about the various types of endings. Here are a few that I can remember:

  • Summation endings

  • Ideological endings

  • Antennae endings

  • Anti-climax or bonus endings

  • Reversal endings

  • Gimmick endings

  • Hoax endings (false villain or figure of good)

  • Deception endings

  • Unconventional use endings

  • Irony endings

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tips on comedy from Stephen Duncan

Stephen in his book GenreScreenwriting says that people laugh because they are setup to be familiar with the situation and expect a familiar solution or answer but instead they are hit with an unexpected answer. So incorporate familiarity and the unexpected to get the laughs.

The major collision in all successful comedy is the clash of childishness vs social responsibility. Usually the protagonist impersonates someone he is not, so the more he wants to come clean it becomes more hard.

Three storytelling approaches:
1. Teenage coming of age (American Pie)
2. Body switching (ex: Big, 13 going on 30 etc)
3. Role Switching (Wedding Crashers, What Women Want etc)

Spice up your screenplay

I have been told not to use voice overs and flashbacks when writing a script. None the less I personally find the effective use of flashbacks appealing.I thought that it was just me feeling so until I found when reading the book "Genre Screenwriting" by Stephen V. Duncan. (Stephen's book is ok) Linda is great check out her blog and book - I find them interesting. I would like to explore more starting at

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dr. Vasul Raja and Munnah Bhai

I wanted to draft this better but couldn't :(
A few years ago I saw a reasonably well made Hindi movie - Munnah Bhai - by sheer chance. Soon it was remade in Tamil as Dr. Vasul Raja.
The movie shows the hero hugging terminally ill patients as he cares for them - he even cures a long term coma patient by being humane.

Just recently I stumbled upon this great TED Talk by Paul Zak on Trust, morality -- and oxytocin
I now wonder what the scriptwriter would say if he learns about this!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A quick reference and a detailed article on formatting your screenplays

I think this would serve as a quick reference on formating:
Especially I like the image below that they have put together...

(Here is another rather detailed article on formating:

Nice articles on story, plot and script

I liked the example they have used here and how they have explained the 3 acts. This is a must read:

Here is something I liked from

It seems that E. M. Forester once clarified a plot and its relationship to causality by
“'The king died and then the queen died" is a story.

"The king died and then the queen died of grief" is a plot. The time-sequence is
preserved, but their sense of causality overshadows it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beyond 5D

Someting major happedned on Nov 3! Cannon unvieled its C300 and Red unvieled its Scarlet.

Check out Canon's C300 media gallery - filter for all films shot using EOS C300/C300 PL

Check out these articles:

Here is the sensor size comparison from

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can Freakonomics contribute to filmmakers?

Here is something interesting that you can incorporate in your movies/script. I came across this in the book Freakonomics
  1. Try to model human behavior on incentives of any form.
  2. We feel fear when the danger is immediate and is totally out of our control.
  3. Risk = hazard + outrage. The funny thing though is that people over react if hazard is low and outrage is high whereas they under react if hazard is high but outrage is low. Probably they react OK if hazard and outrage are balanced.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Random Links

Here are a few totally random links - see if they are any useful:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Few tips from John Truby

Let each of your lead characters have the weakness, problem, need, ghost and self-revelation... and also an inciting event...

Tricksters typically have a weakness, which is that they lie, steal and cheat to get what they want. But this seldom comes across as a weakness to the audience because the trickster is always fooling unjust authority figures.

Traveling angel stories are famous for having dual main characters: one character has the weakness, need, etc. while the perfect traveling angel character drives the action.

As for opponents, in love stories the first opponent is the lover.
The secondary opponents are the family members, like fiancé and mother etc.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

John Truby's Story Techniques

I stumbled on John Truby's blog on some story techniques. He has some interesting tips on how one can combine a few genres which seems to be the Hollywood strategy nowadays.
John Turby's blog has quite a few good articles which you might want to read through. See this one too which is very interesting.
See this which talks about the story paradigms of the following "story gurus":

  • Syd Field

  • Michael Hauge

  • Robert McKee

  • Linda Seger

  • John Truby

  • Christopher Vogler

Here is another web site that I found interesting.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why write?

If you are a writer and want to write stories first before converting them into screen plays you might like Check it out!
Of course is absolutely the best tool for screen plays.

Edited: 28 mar 2015
Of course I thought Celtx was cool until I discovered Trelby
I now like Trelby; I think it is the best free tool for screen plays - check it out.

(I am not affiliated with Trebly or Celtx)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Distribution Tips

Here is a really valuable tip from the book "What They Don't Teach You at Film School"
The authors recommend the film maker to approach Producer's rep and the publicist for distributing your films. The authors drop the name of one Laura Kim publicist at L.A.'s mPRm who is well admired in the movie circle. One can fine the names of producer's rep and publicist through independent filmmaking support organizations like Independent Feature Project (IFP). Have a cut of your film handy so they can watch and then talk with you.
If however you are aiming to get an audience through a NY or LA premiere, then you have to work ahead of time to secure a reasonably priced - say $500 - show (morning or midnight) at the prestigious Nu Art at LA or the Laemmele's.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

All the Short-film Festivals...

Check out the following for a list of short-film festivals around the world:
Here is a list of no entry fee film festivals: lists a few festivals most of which you can find in the bullet list.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Movie-making Freeware

This is really great!
Seems like a few links are broken....
Jahshaka can be found at
If you are serious about story boarding you might want to checkout Google
Here is the best (I wont say what this is but is really intersting):

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Look-and-Feel of a Movie

How do you convey feeling using visual elements alone? I have mused about this many times. Once you master this you can convey the required feeling visually. So I started exploring to see what elements can be used to convey feelings:
Of course sound design also plays a major part but am leaving it out of the mix for now.

You can definitely use color in your set design and lighting design. For example to picture childhood scenes you can use these colors - red, blue, green, violet, orange, and yellow. Again you have to experiment to see if you get the right mood.

Here is another website that talks about something similar -

Here are some elements of non-verbal communication that you can intertwine in your characters in each of your scenes (taken from the above website):

Eye contact

Is this source of connection missing, too intense, or just right in yourself or in the person you are looking at?

Facial expression

What is your face showing? Is it mask like and inexpressive, or emotionally present and filled with interest? What do you see as you look into the faces of others?

Tone of voice

Does your voice project warmth, confidence, and delight, or is it strained and blocked? What do you hear as you listen to other people?

Posture and gesture

Does your body look still and immobile, or relaxed? Sensing the degree of tension in your shoulders and jaw answers this question. What do you observe about the degree of tension or relaxation in the body of the person you are speaking to?


Remember, what feels good is relative. How do you like to be touched? Who do you like to have touching you? Is the difference between what you like and what the other person likes obvious to you?


Do you or the person you are communicating with seem flat, cool, and disinterested, or over-the-top and melodramatic? Again, this has as much to do with what feels good to the other person as it does with what you personally prefer.

Timing and pace

What happens when you or someone you care about makes an important statement? Does a response—not necessarily verbal—come too quickly or too slowly? Is there an easy flow of information back and forth?


Do you use sounds to indicate that you are attending to the other person? Do you pick up on sounds from others that indicate their caring or concern for you?

Source: The Language of Emotional Intelligence, by Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.

(Here is something I want to read more about - and

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How can you make each scene interesting?

Here are some tips to keep in mind when crafting your scenes to make thme more interesting. Ofcourse these are totally based on tips from

1. Each and every scene should have a motivated conflict.

No matter how big or small it is conflict which makes a story interesting; conflict drives a story forward. Even small, less exciting, scenes should contain some level of conflict. Even the best of friends have small disagreements and you’ll find that even when two people have the same goal in mind they both have different ways to go about achieving it. In contrast the conflict between two enemies will be much greater, with both characters willing to do anything to defeat the other.

2. Every scene should have a purpose and move the story forward. Every scene should move the story forward in terms of both the plot and character's growth.

3. Make your scenes visual; dont make characters talk to reveal.

4. Consider each scene to be a mini story. Each scene should have a beginning, middle and end.

5. Pace your scenes. Fluctuate the pace depending on the reaction you want from the audiance.

6. Keep throwing obstacle after obstacle at your main character.

7. Finish the scene dramatically.

When you reach the end of the scene you should always aim to leave the main character with some sort of decision or imminent decision. Make the viewer lust after the knowledge of what is going to happen next. Throw them a cliff-hanger, a reversal or a revelation to raise their interest level. This is how you add the twists and turns in a story that make it captivating.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Yet another site on scriptwriting

Here is a nice site that discusses some of the main ideas around scriptwriting. Checkout the section on character development and story structure.
You can find some sample scrips too.
Check out the resources page too.

My proff always used to say the following:

  1. Define an emotion or mood of the film right from the very begining.

  2. Starting scens of a movie should capticate the audience and the following scens should keep them engaged. While it’s perfectly acceptable and even advisable to start a story with a big event to grip the reader/viewer you want to save the biggest and best till the end.

Hers are a few things I liked from that site:

[There] are several types of opening that you can use to start your film. None of these are mutually exclusive, you can choose to mix and match certain elements from each type.

The Blatant Opening Within a few moments you know exactly who the hero is and what the movie will be about. The James Bond series are a great example of this type of opening. In this first ten pages of your script you will introduce the hero, the villain and exactly why they oppose each other. The blatant opening works particular well for action films, a fast, intense opening will hook the reader and keep them flicking through the script.

A Regular Day In this opening you will put over the pace of life in a regular day for your main character. Then an event will happen which breaks the normality of your character’s life, one which they will need to rectify for their life to return to the way it was.

True Beginning The script starts right along with the start of the story for the main character. They might have just been given a million dollars, or landed in a new country.

Dramatic Irony This is the only beginning that won’t contain your main character. Instead you give the audience some information that your main character won’t know and will soon affect his/her life greatly. Dramatic irony allows the audience to be in a superior position and sets up both tension and anticipation.

Foreshadowing This opening takes place before your main story begins and anticipates what is going to happen later in the story. Like the dramatic irony opening the audience is placed in a position to predict what is going to happen. This is often used for doomsday and horror movies.

Narrator The narrator can be the hero, a secondary character or just a stand alone narrator. The narrator tells the story of the events which happened to the main character at a important time in their life. [hmmm... I dont think I would like this style]

Flash forward The flash forward has two stories running side by side simultaneously. The B story has a narrator who tells the main story, which has already happened. At certain points in the story there’s a flash forward to the narrator who continues with his tale. The A story is the main story, the B story is of the narrator looking back.

Montage This is a great type of opening if you have a lot of information to get across before the main story begins. Also known as a shotgun, a collection of short clips accelerate through the information until the story proper begins. Then the speed of the story can slow down to a regular pace. In a matter of minutes you can explain years of your main characters life. [hmmm... montages are powerful but I would probably not use it at the very begining of a movie...]

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Giddy-up your creative horses

Do you find it hard to start writing your script? Do you badly want some starting point? Check out these:

and maybe even this
One of these should triggers your creative side - saddle up and go!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tester13's GH1 hacks

Wow!! checkout these!!

AVCHD from GH1 - Pulldown removal with FCP & Compressor.

Do you own a Panasonic GH1? How do you edit the video recorded in FCP? How can you get the 1080/24p "film look"?
I was looking for pulldown removal steps and found this:

Here is the content from the above link (just in case the link does not work anymore).

To Bring in the footage;
1. Open FCP
2. Log and Transfer footage from card into project
3. Highlight all clips in Bin and EXPORT–>Using Compressor
4. When files open up in Compressor
5. Highlight all the clips that have transfered and add pre-existing setting, Apple Prores 422
– Modify by changing frame rate in the Encoder setting to 23.976
–Turn on Frame control and change the deinterlace field to Reverse Telecine
6. Choose target
7. Submit
8. When done, re-import new clips you have created into FCP.
9.Create sequence for Audio sync
10. Add In point to each clip where slate hits and In point on audio clips. Sync.
11. Link both clips
12. Drag to new bin and rename clip according to scene and take number.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Funding your movie through grants

God! How many times have I gone through this vicious cycle - get some funds, make a no budget movie and then get some bridge funds, grants, friends-family-relatives...!!
Again me and my buddy are stuck at the same tight spot - frantically trying to raise funds :(
Today I stumbled on and - these lists sound too good to be true. Let me know if you really raised some funds using any of these.
In addition, as always there is good info on financing a movie at:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Writing sheet music - again!

After my last post, I learnt that RoseGarden is much easier for what I want to do and it also is integrated with Lilly Pond so still can print sheet music that I always wanted. Check it out! It is available for Windows and Unix flavours. RoseGarden seems to be an exhaustive solution for music composers.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wana write/print sheet music on your computer...?

I have been struggling to get sheet music for popular songs - especially Tamil songs because all you find on Internet uses Carnaitic notations and occasionally classic notations but then they are mere text and not sheet music that you can print and play straight off of. (See: KeylessOnline or TfmPage)
For a while I printed out the blank sheet music like the free ones at LinkwareGraphics and manually wrote the score on them - boy it was not easy.
Then I landed on this article: on writing sheet music with OpenOffice. This is really exciting. I am going to experiment more and let you know if I was able to print sheet music. In the meanwhile you too give it a try.

A'right - I downloaded Lilypond on Ubuntu - Ubuntu has a package already available so all I had to do was to choose Lilypond from Synoptic Package Manager and install. That's it.
I then opened a text file ( and entered the following in it:

\header {
title = "Suttum Vizhi Chudarae"
composer = "Composer: Haris Jeyaraj"
subtitle = "Movie: Ghajini"
meter = "Scale: Cm"

\chords {
c1:m r1 c1:m r1
c1:m r1 g:m
\relative c' {
c4 dis dis c dis f f g c, dis dis c dis f f g
f f g g g f g f dis d r2
\addlyrics {
sut -- tum vi -- zhi chu -- da -- ra -- e, sut -- tum vi -- zhi chu -- da -- ra -- e
en -- nu -- la -- gam un -- nai sut -- ru -- dh -- ae

Then I ran the command "lilypond" from a Unix shell prompt to get a test.pdf file with the sheet music - see the screen shot below.

As per the instructions in one of the above Web links, I downloaded OOoLilyPond-0.4.0.oxt - the OpenOffice Extender and installed it too, but I didn't have to use it to generate the sheet music.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Script Repository

Hmmm... I thought that I had posted a few of these earlier, but then....!
Here are a few WebSites whee you can find screenplays for a few popular movies. Read'em and learn :)

I found a bunch of links at Open Directory:

  • Awesome Scripts and Screenplays - Collection of various scripts and screenplays, listed in alphabetical order.

  • Cinefania - Scripts from horror, sci-fi, fantasy and thriller movies, ready to download.

  • Colin's Movie Monologues - Hundreds of monologues from popular films, arranged alphabetically.

  • Daily Script - Collection of screenplays for a number of mainstream films, in alphabetical order.

  • Drew's Script-O-Rama - Index of downloadable movie and television scripts.

  • HorrorLair - Collection of horror, suspense, and science fiction movie scripts in plain text format.

  • Inflow's Script Depository - Self-contained HTML scripts that you can read online - no downloading of files

  • Internet Movie Script Database - Movie scripts online free for reading and downloading. Hundreds of popular movie scripts available.

  • JoBlo's Movie Scripts - Scripts and script drafts of movies.

  • Movie Scripts - Featuring links to movie scripts and transcripts.

  • Movie Script Archive - Alphabetical listing of screenplays and transcripts of films from various genres.

  • Movie Scripts - Alphabetical listing of screenplays for various action, science fiction, and horror films.

  • My PDF Scripts - Film and television screenplays in PDF format, along with reviews and a small collection of miscellaneous film-related publications.

  • Satan's Script-o-Rama - Alphabetical listing of science fiction, action, and horror films, in ZIP archive format.

  • Screenplays Online - Features a variety of online scripts available to read in an unzipped format.

  • Screenplays for You - Features downloadable scripts from various movies organized alphabetically.

  • Script-Fix - Provides an alphabetical listing of online movie scripts.

  • ScriptCrawler - Features searchable database of free movie, tv, radio, and anime scripts.

  • SimplyScripts - Searchable directory of downloadable scripts. Includes television, radio, anime and unproduced scripts and screenplays.

  • Television and Movie Scripts - Some scripts of television shows and popular movies.

  • The Sci-Fi Movie Page - Downloadable sci-fi, fantasy and horror movie scripts.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations

Here is a list of 36 dramatic situation that might occur in a story or performance:

Check out how conflict can be introduced. Enjoy!