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Creator Profiles - Brad Vance - Writing

By Nick Gapp

I interview Brad Vance, a writer with a unique voice for storytelling. Join us as we delve into what makes him tick. Below are some of the film education books recommended by Brad. Directing: Directing Actors, by Judith Weston. If you only get one book on this list, it’s this one. Most everything technical you can learn on the job, but connecting with your actors on their level, understanding their craft, you need this book. A classic. My First Movie, edited by Stephen Lowenstein. If only I’d read this before doing my first short! Interviews with art house directors about how they got their first film made. You’d be surprised how many modern auteurs went on to their sets the first day terrified, ignorant, and lost. The key secret: Never let the crew see you scared. Inspirational and reassuring. Storyboarding Essentials, Rousseau/Phillips. Invaluable lessons on how to design shots, in advance, saving you tons of time during shooting. Making Movies, by Sidney Lumet. How I Did It by a master craftsman. De Niro, by Shawn Levy. Not only will you learn how great actors prepare, but you’ll be awed and inspired by the man’s dedication to the craft of filmmaking. Screenwriting: DO NOT read Save the Cat or Story by McKee first. If you do read them read them last. They’ll ruin your creative impulses. Syd Field’s Screenplay is useful, but again, he’ll tell you your first act has to end on page 37 ½ and other rules that are meant to be broken. DO read Crafty Screenwriting by Alex Epstein. The very best book on how to write a screenplay that will actually be read by the industry. You have to have The Screenwriter’s Bible, if only as a reference book for proper formatting. Remember that most books about screenwriting are like books about how to decorate your house – they’ll teach you how someone else wants your house to look. Editing: Must reads are Walter Murch’s In The Blink of an Eye and his Conversations with Michael Ondaatje. There are tons of practical textbooks on editing, but all of that can be learned on your own. Murch was the editor of The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, Godfather Trilogy, and many more. These books teach the art of editing for story and impact. History: Neil Gabler’s An Empire of Their Own is the epic story of the founding of Hollywood and the moguls who ran it. Your film education is incomplete without this book. Inspiration: If you pick one, make it Rebel Without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez. Also strongly recommended, Independent Ed by Ed Burns, Stanley Kubrick by Vincent LoBrutto, Like Brothers by the Duplass brothers.

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