Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Filmmaking is a collaborative business – and this can be a challenge. We asked professional editors to share advice for directors and producers on what they can do during and after production to make sure the edit goes as smoothly as possible…

Don’t be lazy
First thing’s first. There’s no excuse for slacking off during production because you are assuming that the copious imperfections in your footage will be corrected in the edit. Your editor will hate you for it. And rightly so. Editor Andrij Evans’ list of personal gripes includes: “Filming in near darkness because it can be all done in the grade,” and, “Not using a tripod, steadycam or join for a shot because stabilising software is so good these days.” Equally, it sounds obvious but record decent quality sound. As documentary editor Gordon Hayden says, “The sound is as important as the pictures.”

Get plenty of cutaway shots
Particularly with documentary, where you are likely to have long interviews with people, you need to make sure you get a wide variety of shots for the editor to work with. Otherwise your film risks being visually boring. “Do good covering shots, like cutaways, exteriors of buildings, rather than just the meat of the story,” says Gordon Hayden, adding: “You can never get too many.”

Read the full article on IdeasMag.


Monday, 21 May 2012

As picture editor at the Independent on Sunday, Sophie Batterbury sees thousands of images every day. Here she tells us how she chooses photographers for commissions and why she is wary of citizen journalism…

How did you get into photo editing? 
I wanted to be a photographer. I got a job in the Independent darkroom. I gradually realised that everybody else was a much better photographer than I was and that standing around in the rain was not as glamorous as you might have thought. So I stuck with the darkroom and then was night picture editor and it developed from there. I didn’t study photography at university – I’d done an A level but that was it. I don’t look at whether a photographer’s got a degree or not – I don’t care. I either like the work or I don’t. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been doing it for forty years or six months.

What do you look for when deciding whether to commission a photographer? 
I look for a strong, concise book to start with, but also for someone who comes across as fairly together because they are my eyes. I can’t hold their hand; I can’t expect the reporter to hold their hand. It’s more a type of personality. [You need to be able to] get on well with people but not be afraid of them, to be easy going but confident, ready to adapt to the situation. You need to be able to charm people as well and to seem like you know what you’re doing. Finally, someone who’s organised: it doesn’t matter how fantastic the pictures are if I don’t get them in time because the computer’s run out of battery or something.

Read the full article on IdeasMag.


Friday, 18 May 2012

Last night IdeasTap, in association with Blurb and PhotoShelter, hosted a panel discussion on what photo buyers want from photographers. Photography commissioners from GQ, Q Magazine and STERN shared some of their top tips…

Get in touch with photo editors 
The best way to contact James Mullinger, Photographic Director at GQ Magazine, is by post: “The old school way is the best. Inboxes are full because there’s always stuff coming in, so send a nicely printed 10x8 shot that you think reflects the magazine you’re sending it to.” If you’re lucky it will get stuck up on the wall and next time the photography team is looking for a photographer to use for a shoot, it could be you. Dagmar Seeland, UK Picture Editor at STERN, prefers to be reached by telephone. “I get 50, 60, 70 emails a day so a lot end up in the bin. Give me a call – I won’t bite!” Remember photo editors are a varied bunch, so it’s good idea to give them a quick call and ask how they prefer to receive images.

Be prepared to do your own production – and post-production 
These days, as magazines are trying not to spend too much, they often look for photographers who can do production in-house. James: “Because of staff cuts, workloads, we need someone who can do all the production and already has their team in place.” The same goes for post-production. “There is more demand for photographers to do their own retouching," says Russell O’Connell, Picture Director at Q Magazine.

Read the full article on IdeasMag.


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Panos Pictures is an internationally renowned photo agency specialising in global social issues. Archive Sales Manager Paula James tells us how Panos takes on new photographers and why you always deserve to get a fee for your work…

What exactly does a picture agency do? 
A picture agency holds photographers’ work in a photo library. This frees up their time to continue with their photography, being as creative as they can, allowing them not to have to deal with the in and outs of negotiating fees, administration, all the dull stuff. The agency actively sells their work, whereas they might be too busy to do that. We contact the right people who might buy the work, [ensuring it] gets into the correct markets.

How do you find new photographers to represent? 
Last year was the first time we did a call out for submissions. We advertised on various photography websites, such as BJP, that we were looking for new photographers to join Panos. We ended up with about 450 applicants and we whittled it down to six photographers. We haven’t done it this year; I think we might do it every two years but we’re such a small team that we just don’t have the manpower to take on more and more photographers.

Read the full article on IdeasMag.


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

With no women directors in the main competition at Cannes this year, the festival has been the focus for an outcry about sexism in the film industry. As the debate rages on, we speak to three women working in the business to get their views…

This week, as the great and good of the film world descend on Cannes, there’s a stink in the air – and it’s not just the Roquefort.

On Saturday French newspaper Le Monde published a comment piece accusing the festival of sexism. Although seven films directed by women will be screened, not one of the 22 directors competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or is female. For the article’s authors, two prominent female directors and an actress, the absence of women in the main competition is Cannes’ way of saying that when it comes to celluloid, “men like depth in women, but only in their cleavage.”

Festival director Thierry Frémaux has hit back, saying that the films have been chosen on merit alone and stressing, “We would never agree to select a film that doesn’t deserve it on the basis it was made by a woman.” His view is shared by Rebecca O’Brien, producer of The Angel’s Share, the only film in the shortlist with a British director – Ken Loach. “Cannes’ job is to present what they believe are the best films that year. It’s not like they’ve got a female phobia. If Cannes aren’t choosing women filmmakers, it’s that there aren’t that many to choose from,” she says.

Read the full article on IdeasMag.


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A stint assisting an established photographer is a brilliant introduction to the day-to-day reality of working in the image business. Three photographers who have assisted in the past share their advice on making the most of the experience…

Be proactive
Assisting jobs are rarely advertised, so building a good network of industry contacts is vital. “All my assisting roles have been made possible through my contacts,” says Nik Adam, who has assisted Jason Evans, Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, and Nadav Kander. “My advice would be to chat to your tutors while you’re at uni, build a network and use Twitter – it's an incredible tool to find opportunities!” A similarly proactive approach worked for Mark Cocksedge, who assisted John Angerson and Daniel Kennedy when he was starting out. “John Angerson did a talk at my university and I managed to talk to him after. Six months later I got a text saying, ‘Free tomorrow 6pm?’ I was like, ‘Yes!’”

Research photographers whose work you admire and call them up directly to see if they need any help. Phone is always better than email in the first instance because it won’t get lost in an inbox. Stick to your chosen area – there’s not much point assisting a fashion photographer if what you want to do is documentary.

Prove you’re committed
“You need to be dedicated,” says Mark, stressing that when a photographer calls you up with a job, “You can’t say, ‘Oh I’m shooting my own stuff so I can’t assist you today’ – you need to dedicate time to them.” Obviously there are going to be occasions when you have obligations that can’t be missed but try to make yourself as available as possible. If you say no, the photographer will simply call up the next person on their list. And if their second choice does a decent enough job, that might be the last you ever hear from them.

Read the full article on IdeasMag.


Thursday, 3 May 2012

Whether you’re gearing up to finals, A-levels or GCSEs, check out our quick guide to revision, with tips from people who have been through it. You’ll survive with your sanity intact, ready to bag yourself the best grades you can come exam day…

Everyone has a different revision strategy. Mine consisted of frantically writing out French grammar rules on Post-it notes and covering every available surface of my room with them. At the very least this made for a satisfying post-exam recycling session! But whatever your preferred method, it might help to keep the following in mind.

Plan ahead
“Make yourself a sexy revision timetable with different colour highlighter pens,” says journalist Ellen E Jones. Life coach Pip Ravn agrees. She advises that you, “Keep working through the topics even if you don’t finish move onto the next, so you don’t front-end your learning – this is when you learn the first part and know nothing of the end parts”. Also stop trying to convince yourself that you’re at your most productive at 10pm – treat revision like a 9 to 5 job, rather than a last minute essay crisis. Choose a quiet spot to revise in and avoid listening to music. Not only is it distracting at the time, you might find yourself three weeks later, sitting in an exam hall, desperately try to remember a mathematical equation, with Rihanna playing on a loop in your head.

Read the full article on IdeasMag.


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Lisa Bryer produced the BAFTA-winning film The Last King of Scotland and founded independent production company Cowboy Films. We ask her what the secret is to becoming a successful producer…

When you were first starting out, did you know you wanted to be a producer specifically? 
I had no idea about anything but after working on Wagner, filming for nine months around Europe, I quickly realised that the area that I enjoyed and was good at was production: putting people together, organising, thinking ahead. And I loved the fact that each different area of making a film was incorporated in the production side.

What makes a great producer? 
You’ve got to have the courage of your convictions but at the same time you’ve got to be able to leave your ego at home and be able to listen. [You have to] listen to everyone’s point of view and then be able to step back, have your own point of view, and steer the ship in the right direction. It’s very much about the bigger picture and not getting bogged down in each individual area. And [you need] passion – it’s so hard making a film, whether it’s a music video or a documentary or a feature film; you’ve got to really believe in what you’re doing.

Read the full article on IdeasMag.

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