Ask a Filmmaker Archive

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Welcome to our archive of the "Ask a Filmmaker," a column that was devoted to your questions and concerns about the filmmaking process. Our guest columnists were screenwriter John August (Go, Charlie's Angels), director Penelope Spheeris (The Decline of Western Civilization, Wayne's World) and cinematographer Oliver Stapleton (My Beautiful Laundrette, The Cider House Rules, The Shipping News).
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The Archive

Enjoy the collected wisdom of our guest columnists.

November 27, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - What technical equipment (beside a camera) is a must-have for framing life

November 24, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How an indie filmmaker must attack the financing monster from every angle

November 20, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - If there is a rule of thumb for what type of camera you use based on budget

November 17, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How ego can hurt a production

November 13, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The best quality a filmmaker can have to become recognized and make it in Hollywood

November 10, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How and why she chose directing as the path she'd take as a storyteller

November 6, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How you know when you have the right shot

November 3, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Directing secrets great and small

October 30, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Whether being a DP is ultimately as fulfilling as being a director

October 27, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The process of assembling a cast for a film

October 23, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The most important qualities in a DP assistant

October 20, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The life an extra on set

October 16, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why cinematography is such a male-dominated field

October 13, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Whether a director should get the music to fit with the scene or the scene to fit with the music

October 9, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The likelihood of being hired as a DP directly out of university

October 6, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Offers advice to a high school student thinking about becoming an actor

October 2, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why traveling cameras have become the norm in suspense movies

September 29, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How she became a go-to director for goofy comedy

September 25, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting in the rain

September 22, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The many tasks of a producer, and how one becomes a producer

September 18, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The history of camera cranes

September 15, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Working with someone who wants to write, produce and star in a film

September 11, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The artistic and technical pros and cons of using digital instead of film

September 8, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Why an actor might appear uncredited in a movie

September 4, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The ideal characteristics for a DP and/or cameraman

September 1, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Advises a writer on option deals and protecting their work

August 28, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The great frame rate debate

August 25, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Whether someone who is not very vocally communicative can be an effective director

August 21, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting in the red light of a darkroom

August 18, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The countless tasks for which an assistant director is responsible

August 14, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why DVD outtakes can have a different look than the finished film's footage

August 11, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Whether someone who is not very vocally communicative can be an effective director

August 7, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Lighting a really no budget film

August 4, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Making the most of your film's appearance at a festival

July 31, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Lighting a flo-mo style scene that involves the camera moving a full 360 degrees

July 28, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Actual improv vs. the appearance of improv

July 24, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How to light a 360 degree pan of a room without inconsistent shadows

July 21, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The differences between directing someone else's script and your own

July 17, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why more films haven't been shot in 3-D

July 14, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ways a director can gain a better understanding of an actor's process

July 7, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Achieving good lighting for a night scene outside

July 10, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of a director having self-confidence and a take-charge attitude

July 3, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting to maximize suspense

June 30, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Advises a director on whether a film can be funded based on a concept alone

June 26, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - An American director looks for tips on finding the right DP in Vancouver

June 23, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The difference between a wide shot and a long shot

June 19, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting a scene during a candlelit dinner

June 16, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - A director's role in ensuring a film's sound is recorded well

June 12, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How music can influence and inspire cinematography

June 9, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - A series of questions regarding music rights

June 5, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The most difficult shot he's ever achieved in his career

June 2, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Discusses "Thanks To" credits for a film

May 30, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - On whether a film-related degree or course is needed in order to break into scriptwriting

May 28, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The pros and cons of always having a zoom lens mounted on the camera

May 26, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Whether an independent filmmaker can make money on a successful independent feature film

May 23, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - How he develops and decides on names for characters

May 21, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - His view on the most basic and biggest mistakes inexperienced cinematographers make

May 19, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How to go about putting together a shooting schedule once all of the scenes have been numbered

May 16, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - How he approaches a literary piece to adapt it for the big screen

May 14, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - His view on the current state of cinema

May 12, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Helps a reader understand a director and camera operator's use of the word "speed"

May 9, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - Advises a reader wondering whether or not they should continue screenwriting

May 7, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - On the empowering nature of the steadicam

May 5, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Industry standards regarding the length of a film

May 2, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - Offers an example of a screenwriter's bio

April 30, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shots that stand out in his mind as acts of artistic cinematography

April 28, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Preparing a day's scenes for shooting

April 25, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - Hiring a copyright attorney to help investigate the copyright situation on an old novel

April 23, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - His current list of favorite cinematography in films in the past 10 years

April 21, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Explains the basics of shot coverage

April 18, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - The importance of having a person who is the basis of one's film sign a legally binding release

April 16, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - A young cinematographer on making the jump from volunteer to paid jobs

April 14, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Tips on how to find a job as a production assistant

April 11, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - Charlie Bucket's characterization in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

April 9, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips for achieving noir-style visuals

April 7, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The steps she took on the way to becoming a director

April 4, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - Helps a filmmaker who is worried about copyrighted footage used in his student film

April 2, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Hard lighting versus soft and the advent of bounce lighting

March 31, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - What a novice filmmaker should be looking for in a distribution deal

March 28, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - The first movie in which the writing really made an impression on him

March 26, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Helps a cinematographer who wants to shoot a whole scene reflected in a train's window

March 24, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of a director having self-respect and self confidence

March 21, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - Insight on approaching character development

March 19, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - General advice for a budding cinematographer

March 17, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Answers a reader who wonders whether her work has ever strayed far from her original vision

March 14, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - Creating a comfortable, ergonomically correct writing station

March 12, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Filming a long, varying shot at a circus

March 10, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Advises a filmmaker on what to do once his film is finished

March 7, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - What can guarantee a screenplay recognition

March 5, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - A reader who has noticed a different look to 16mm films

March 3, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How experience in directing theatre can be helpful in directing films

February 29, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - How public domain affects a screenplay based on an actual event

February 27, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - What he does in preparation for shooting a film

February 25, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How a filmmaker must get copyright clearance to adapt a short play

February 20, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Making a public policy paper into a documentary film

February 18, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - A reader who wonders if it is essential for directors to become proficient writers

February 15, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - Methods to help generate ideas

February 13, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The pros and cons of using a mix of crews vs. having one team throughout filming

February 11, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Advice for an actor/writer trying to get his foot in the door

February 8, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - Creating a spec script for a recent successful comedy pitch

February 6, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Advice on working out conflicts with a director

February 4, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Tips for keeping a film in order in the pre-production stage

February 1, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - On a student filmmaker using a few clips of copyrighted material in his short film

January 30, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Discusses the film stocks he has used on some of his films

January 28, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Suggestions for raising funding for an independent movie

January 25, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - Whether a writer must have an agent when working with a studio on a script in development

January 23, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - What is considered different and imaginative to movie viewers now?

January 21, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Tips on budgeting your movie before shooting begins

January 18, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - How many writers can be involved in one movie's script

January 16, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Ideas for inexpensive location lighting

January 14, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The key elements and skills she looks for when choosing a costume designer

January 11, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - The impact of confidence and popularity on writing

January 9, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The many reasons filmmakers switch from film to digital

January 7, 2008
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How to copyright your film

January 4, 2008
Ask a Writer - by John August - Pondering the age-old question: to option, or not to option?

January 2, 2008
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Wishes for the return of powerful thinking and creativity in cinematography

December 31, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How and when she knew directing was her calling

December 28, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - dealing with the growing pains of building a writing career in L.A.

December 26, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - His take on creating a chiaroscuro effect using film or DV

December 24, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - the steps needed to secure a location for filming

December 21, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Using artwork in a script

December 19, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Ideas on the best path to becoming a cinematographer

December 17, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Who decides which songs make it into a film

December 14, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Creating a spec script for a recent successful comedy pitch

December 12, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Getting work experience by applying to camera rental companies

December 10, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Some of the main things she looks when picking a screenplay to direct

December 7, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Advises a parent who wants to encourage their child's writing

December 5, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Ideas for compiling a show reel

December 3, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Some options for a filmmaker trying to distribute his movie

November 30, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Bringing a ringer to a pitch meeting

November 28, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting scenes with two actors in a moving car

November 26, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ideas for finding internships in the film industry

November 23, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - On both writing and directing a film

November 21, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - His take on HDNet films

November 19, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - What a novice filmmaker should be looking for in a distribution deal

November 16, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Reassures a new screenwriter about workshop angst regarding possible stolen ideas

November 14, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why various types of film and media all have their own looks

November 12, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Her take on directing an actor while the cameras are rolling

November 9, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - The recent trend toward producing adaptations instead of original works

November 7, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The role of the cinematographer in an increasingly CGI world

November 5, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - A director asking for input and advice on set

November 2, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Advising a writer to write freely now and deal with legal clearances later

October 31, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Whether to shoot and expose normally or underexpose when filming moody night interiors

October 29, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Dealing with late/unprofessional actors

October 26, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - The importance of signed releases

October 24, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why comic book style cinematography is here to stay

October 22, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Using a short film as a stepping stone to feature films

October 19, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - How to make time for writing in an already full schedule

October 17, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The preponderance of overlighting and excessive camera effects in current Hollywood features

October 15, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The hardest part of being a director

October 12, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Noting sung dialogue in a script

October 10, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Describing his cinematic style and aspirations

October 8, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Setting aside a controversial film to make one that's more conventional

October 5, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Deciding when to walk away from a script

October 3, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why he is adamant about students learning to shoot on film and not digital

October 1, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Getting the rights to, and help for, bringing the life of a pop culture icon to screen

September 28, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - The use of a foreign language in an English script

September 26, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Waiting for a sunny day, for continuity's sake

September 24, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The sources from which she draws her filmmaking inspiration

September 21, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - The length of a screenplay

September 19, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - On shooting in Super 1.85:1

September 17, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The difference between producers and directors

September 14, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - The importance of confidence when creating your own film

September 12, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Advice to a reader torn between directing and cinematography

September 10, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Whether a director can register their movie title and script

September 7, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Urges an actress to use caution in questionable audition scenarios

September 5, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Ponders his favorite cinematographers

September 3, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Directing inexperienced actors in a sit-com

August 31, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Ideas for figuring out how to script a cooking show

August 29, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Helps a reader determine when to use a Steadi-cam, and when to use a dolly system

August 27, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How an independent musician can get their music into the hands of directors

August 24, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Encourages a thirty-something filmmaker just getting started

August 22, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Points a reader in the direction of cinematography schools

August 20, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Suggestions for choosing the right cinematographer for your project and working together effectively

August 17, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - How to portray dialects in a script

August 15, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Ideas for shooting low budget scenes in black light

August 13, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Why she's created both narrative and documentary films

August 10, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing a character to whom you don't personally relate

August 8, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Contrast ratio and stock on shooting a nighttime interior scene

August 6, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Defining what 'independent film' means

August 3, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - How to explain slow-motion sequences in a script

August 1, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Embracing the particular visual features of video and DV instead of trying to recreate the look of film

July 30, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The characteristics she looks for in a film composer

July 27, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing a script based on an album

July 25, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips on filming puppets

July 23, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Defining the best approach to distribution

July 20, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - His thoughts on interpretations of Big Fish

July 18, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The differences between the various types of film ratios

July 16, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Advises a filmmaker who wants to transition from a day job and making DV shorts to creating full-length films

July 13, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Keeping scenes (and scripts) tight

July 11, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Inspiration in the work of still photographers

July 9, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How her goal in making movies has shifted over time

July 6, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Advises an author on what kind of compensation they can expect for the rights to their first novel

July 4, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Making the transition from shooting music videos to shooting films

July 2, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The complicated job of the script supervisor

June 29, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - How clear of an idea a film is in his mind before he begins writing

June 27, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How he got his start in feature films

June 25, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Cautioning a newly-single mother about placing filmmaking ahead of her children

June 22, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Helps a reader who has just sold his first script determine the best way to find an agent

June 20, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The finishing touches he'll make when filming a scene

June 18, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The rights that celebrities, both living and dead, have in regards to controlling their image and legacy

June 15, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - why creatively rewarding projects appeal to him more than writing-critically acclaimed masterpieces

June 13, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - A camera operator on the benefits of working with a variety of DPs to learn the ropes

June 11, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Tips on writing a 3-5 page summary of one's script for a producer meeting

June 8, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Reveals if a lot of money would ever persuade him to make a sequel to Go, and whether writers should always take big money deals

June 6, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The major differences between working indoors and outdoors for a cinematographer

June 4, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Cautions a reader who is contemplating shooting a test scene involving gunplay

June 1, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Recounts his time as one of several writers on Titan A.E., and how the involvment of multiple writers can affect a project

May 30, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The benefits of working with a variety of DPs to learn the ropes

May 28, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Why established industry professionals are sometimes discouraging regarding a young filmmaker's ambition

May 25, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - How a writer's appearance can have an impact on a project

May 23, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - General hints on lighting and shooting actors with different skin tones

May 21, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How the moods of the director and the DP set the mood for the whole set

May 18, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Tips on regaining your writing confidence

May 16, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Reference books for a film student to utilize

May 14, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Encourages a director to use stock footage to recreate a car crash in his low-budget film

May 11, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Discourages a writer from bringing a ringer into a pitch meeting

May 9, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The artistic and technical pros and cons in using digital over film

May 7, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How much control a director has over publicity and distribution

May 4, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Whether or not he works on more than one script at a time

May 2, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The importance of confidence and a sense of humor in the film industry

April 30, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How a filmmaker must get copyright clearance to adapt a short play

April 27, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - How a writer can write boldly and courageously

April 25, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The impact of the "fix it later" mentality on the film industry

April 23, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How to go about becoming an assistant director

April 20, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - The essentials of creating an adapted script

April 18, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The modern contribution of a great cinematographer

April 16, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The strategic points that must be emphasized when directing a documentary

April 13, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - The intricacies of writing a split screen scene

April 11, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why film schools abandoning celluloid for digital is a bad idea

April 9, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Tips for shooting a low-budget, cheesy zombie flick spoof

April 6, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Advising a reader on the use of copyrighted footage

April 4, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Whether it's possible to ruin a film with bad cinematography

April 2, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - A filmmaker looking to remake their own past film

March 30, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Insight on juggling non-linear timelines

March 28, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Pondering what a reader might mean by the term "stylized filmmaking"

March 26, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of a director writing and directing their own project

March 23, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Advice for mastering American lingo

March 21, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The use of the term "Hi-Def"

March 19, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The on-set responsibilities of the assistant director and producer

March 16, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Inspiring a young aspiring filmmaker

March 14, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - What the abbreviations B.S.C. and A.S.C. stand for after a cinematographer's name

March 12, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Paying careful attention to clearances and rights issues

March 9, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Tips on distinguishing good dialogue from exposition

March 7, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Ponders what subjects are best to study for a future career in cinematography

March 5, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Her view of what it takes to keep a documentary from being boring

March 2, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing formats used in a script to communicate deafness

February 28, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - His take on what an independent film is

February 26, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Advice on starting a career in directing

February 23, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Considering the viability of making a film featuring a black screen

February 21, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Whether writing letters to producers is the way to get a foothold in a film's camera department

February 19, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - An aspiring filmmaker who wonders how to balance work life with family life

February 16, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - The quality of writing in agent-submitted scripts

February 14, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Helps a prospective DP figure out how to gain experience at a London camera rental company

February 12, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Concern about filmmakers thinking about distribution before they create their films

February 9, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - On the characterization of Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

February 7, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How Sergio Leone achieved the vivid colors for which his films are known

February 5, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The most important skill or talent that an aspiring director should work to develop

February 2, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Where a reader might find good examples of treatments

January 31, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Researches various film stocks that might help a filmmaker recreate the 3-strip color look

January 29, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The ways music documentary style has changed over time, and reveals some of her own favorites

January 26, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - The nebulous term "edge", and how a writer can recognize when they've truly reached their final draft

January 24, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How cinematographer Dion Beebe achieved the gritty look of both Miami Vice and Collateral

January 22, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Places a beginning filmmaker can find material to practice his directing skills

January 19, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - A new screenwriter's workshop angst about possible stolen ideas

January 17, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Ponders the term "pure cinema" and his own ideal kind of movie making

January 15, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Helps a filmmaker predict what resources are often under-budgeted or mis-budgeted during filming

January 12, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Helps a writer currently in development hell with their pending TV series

January 10, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Explains the blur around objects in the foreground of a deep focus shot

January 8, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Helps a director figure out how to cast an independent film

January 5, 2007
Ask a Writer - by John August - Whether or not a reader should call out the similarities between his script and a recent Hollywood movie

January 3, 2007
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips when shooting at a location with bright windows and dark interiors

January 1, 2007
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Helps a director figure out how to cast an independent film

December 29, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Whether it's okay to use an overheard conversation in a script

December 27, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - His view on 24p and the evolving role of DPs

December 25, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Advice on enlisting a line producer to help break down a film's shooting costs shot-by-shot

December 22, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Helps a fellow writer determine when to walk away from a project

December 20, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The options for creating a low budget rain storm for a music video

December 18, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Pondering one reader's desire to block out all outside influences on his film

December 15, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Explains the difference between and reason for competitive and non-competitive categories at Sundance

December 13, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Various ways of shooting people moving a different speeds in the same frame

December 11, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Whether or not a director has input on trailer voiceovers

December 8, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Whether or not he has a specific method for generating ideas

December 6, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How earlier filmmakers were able to achieve amazingly controlled lighting without modern light meters

December 4, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The main characteristic a good film director must have as well as the "cons" of being a director

December 1, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Similarities and differences between TV and feature film script lengths

November 29, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shares advice with an assistant looking to become a cameraman in his own right

November 27, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Options for protecting a documentary idea while trying to find a producer

November 24, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Ideas for finding time to write while also working a full time job

November 22, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Pondering the industry\'s recent obsession with image sharpness

November 20, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Shares her own advice for the son of Dracula

November 17, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Factors that influence how the monentary value of a script determined

November 15, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why a cinematographer chooses a specific format

November 13, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Discusses how a no-name cast can still make an impact

November 10, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Whether different writers\' minds are hard wired for different genres and styles of writing

November 8, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How cinematographers create that certain twinkle in the eyes of actors

November 6, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How she works with actors, each approaching their craft differently

November 3, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Researching hazers and smoke machines, and tries to determine which of these may be used in which countries

November 1, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The significance of dissolves and transitions from shot to shot and scene to scene

October 27, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Offers the son of Dracula tips on how to get his story read

October 25, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The secret to doing time-elapsed filming with a miniDV camera

October 23, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of one\'s editing reel vs. getting on-the-job experience

October 20, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - His one-time plans for a sequel to Go, and whether screenwriters must accept big money projects to survive

October 18, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How shooting can be affected by the kind of light in different locations around the world

October 16, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Her view of the current state of the filmmaking revolution

October 13, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Expresses concern about the script deal offered one reader

October 11, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips on shooting documentary interviewees to keep them anonymous

October 9, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Things to know before approaching a director for your film

October 6, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - The legal logistics of naming a character after a real person

October 4, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Ponders film stock choices, digital image quality and post-shoot conversion

October 2, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Why her Janis Joplin biopic will be shooting in Philadelphia, and stresses the importance of solid location scouting

September 29, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - A reader wondering whether or not they should continue screenwriting

September 27, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How one reader should be metering while pushing a stock

September 25, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How a director and a cinematographer work together to create a film\'s visual style

September 22, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - How he came to be a producer on his movie Go

September 20, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The secret to doing time-elapsed filming with a miniDV camera

September 18, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Her own experiences with editing her films and documentaries

September 15, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - The first film in which the writing made an impression on him

September 13, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The aspects of filmmaking that determine the caliber of a finished film

September 11, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The business reasons why a filmmaker should set up their production company as a corporation

September 8, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - A few exercises to help a new screenwriter with dialogue and creating distinct characters

September 6, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - What to look for when you\'re a producer or director viewing a potential cinematographer\'s work

September 4, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The role of producer\'s reps at film festivals and their connection with films in general

September 1, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Building soft and/or practical lights that will work well on a location set

August 30, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The best approach to asking a potential investor to become involved in your independent movie and getting the film distributed

August 28, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - The creative, writing type, and even lifestyle differences between writing for television and writing for film

August 25, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of budgeting, scheduling and getting clearances needed during the post-production process

August 23, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - His process of approaching and breaking down a story before beginning the script

August 21, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting a scene involving a room lit by candlelight

August 18, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - How the involvment of multiple writers can affect a project

August 16, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The appeal of 3-D films and why they have not become more common

August 14, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The intricacies involved in the creation of a film\'s trailer

August 11, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Basic tips to simplify writing a script with interconnected stories

August 9, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Is a magic ingredient that makes a successful movie work?

August 7, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The benefits of working with a variety of DPs to learn the ropes

August 5, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Creating a spec script for a recent successful comedy pitch

August 3, 2006
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Clearances a filmmaker will need to shoot a documentary about a touring rock band

July 31, 2006
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The teaming of auteur directors and cinematographers

July 24, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Referencing branded products in a screenplay
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Dealing with criticism of your work
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Crediting a director alongside a DP

July 17, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Finding a writer for a modern adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Were there optical special effects in every film of the past?
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Using cinematography to maximize suspense

July 3, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Avoiding cliches in your writing
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Allowing actors to watch the dailies
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Achieving the look of Solaris

June 26, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - The proper format for sending scripts through e-mail
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of getting music clearances
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Testing the visual difference between film stocks

June 12, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Action leads -- easier to sell a male or female role?
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How directors get final cut
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why streets are wet during night scenes

June 5, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Similarities and differences between TV and feature film script lengths
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Transitioning from an indie to studio director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Advice on becoming a location scout

May 22, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Adding occasional exposition text to a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The state of directing in the current film industry
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting on both sides of film

May 15, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - When your script turns into a bad film
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Working with cinematographers
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Achieving the softness of the "Hamilton look"

May 8, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Injecting character depth into a short drama
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The relationship between editor and director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Finding cheap alternatives to neutral density gels

May 1, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - His use of "Confederated Products" in his scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Shooting a documentary on film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - A reader adds information to a past answer regarding optical printers

April 24, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Enlisting help for a pitch meeting
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Working with a composer while filming and editing
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The importance of using the distance markings on a lens

April 17, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Differentiating between an homage and an unauthorized remake
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Challenges of getting the ball rolling for your finished film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The aesthetic consequences of raising the frame rate

April 10, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Technical movies can be a success
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Challenges of getting the ball rolling for your finished film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Achieving the vibrant colors of a film like Blow Up

April 3, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Editing help for a deaf screenwriter
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Breaking down documentary profits
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Choosing which frame rate to shoot

March 27, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - The tasks of a writer\'s assistant
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Using firearms and pyrotechnics safely
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The Digital Intermediate output to film process

March 20, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - The intricacies of public domain subjects
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Is it essential for directors to become proficient writers?
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting with a polarizer indoors

March 13, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Thoughts on digital filmmaking
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The tasks of various producers
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The art of backlighting

March 6, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Using a quote from a periodical
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Presenting and refining your work through screenings
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The challenge and problem of color in cinematography

February 27, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Noting singing in a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Balancing crowd-pleasing with necessary truths
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Using the correct filters in a car scene

February 20, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Collaborating with multiple writers
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ways to get started as a costume designer
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting in a dark forest

February 13, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Previsualization of your script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of a shot list
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The mechanics of a trombone shot

February 6, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - The effect of one person as writer and director of a film
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - A
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Ways of shooting car scenes

January 30, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Reasons why some scripts never become movies
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Thoughts on screaming directors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Defining shooting "day for night"

January 23, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - Theories on why remakes are popular
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Making a name for yourself
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips on shooting 16mm in a room with a white walls

January 16, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - The importance of confidence, grammar and vocabulary
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Using rehearsal and pre-production time wisely
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The cinematographer as creator and translator

January 9, 2006
Ask a Writer - by John August - A rumor regarding page 17 in scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of ratings to box-office success
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why close-ups have become all the rage

December 26, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Securing rights to make a movie based on a concept album
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The possibility of being born creative
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Filming a realistic fight sequence

December 19, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Thoughts on interpretations of Big Fish
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Signing a deal with a distribution company
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Using one f-stop through an entire film

December 12, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Recognizing and dealing with hypergraphia
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - What inspired her to become a director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How the process of back projection was perfected

December 5, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - The importance of signed releases
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Making the most of your first film festival experience
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The elements that affect the look of an image

November 28, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Deciding whether to make British or American films
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Making good movies, regardless of where you\'re located
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Learning to load 16mm film

November 21, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Deciding whether to make British or American films
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Keeping locations and shot ratio low while shooting a 35mm low budget film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The incentives and benefits of being a cinematographer

November 14, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Working with the line producer and assistant director to clarify your script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Dealing with an over-controlling director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why film, TV and home video all look different from each other

November 7, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Dealing with the growing pains of building a writing career in L.A.
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Why film school will teach you more than DVD director\'s commentaries
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Revisiting his thoughts on digital filmmaking

October 31, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Looking back at how he applied for film school
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The "MTVization" of movies
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why cinematographers don\'t get more artistic recognition

October 24, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Making the best of a chance meeting to get a script read
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The director\'s role in casting a film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Creating the varied lighting of Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas

October 3, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Whether or not to include a date on your script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - General advice for aspiring filmmakers
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Inspiration from the work of still photographers

September 26, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - The characterization of Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Producer input and involvement on set
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Finding an agent to help you move from indie films to big budget features

September 19, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Becoming a hyphenate in Hollywood
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of trust between actors and directors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Filters and costume selection when shooting black and white film

September 12, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - To option, or not to option?
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Recording sound and re-recording dialogue
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The cinematography of The Marriage of Maria Braun

September 5, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - The difference between using O.S. (off screen) and O.C. (off camera) in a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - What a director looks for in a PA
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Who makes the choice to shoot in black and white

August 29, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - The difference between using O.S. (off screen) and O.C. (off camera) in a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Creative ways to garner an agent\'s attention
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - His thoughts on the cinematography of recent Academy Award-nominated films

August 22, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Do a the hero and the protaganist need to be one character?
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Perceptions of directors, and whether or not to be forceful
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Determining the intensity of each lamp when lighting a set or a actor

August 15, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - The benefits of incorporating into a film company
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Locking a script while still allowing improvements; Effectively working with friends
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Reasons why modern black and white films don\'t have the same look as older films

August 8, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Proper format for e-mailing a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The steps of the post-production sequence when using non-linear editing
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Getting used to shooting on film

August 1, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing effective loglines
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - An update on the status of We Sold Our Souls For Rock and Roll
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The inventor of the Zolly shot

July 25, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing about characters with which you don\'t relate
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Becoming a filmmaker for the right reasons
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Contrast ratio between the highlights and shadows

July 18, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - The difficulty of communicating intangible ideas in a film
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The value of working as a PA
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips for getting a later start in the world of film editing

July 11, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - The ups and downs of rewriting
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Defining independent film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Planning the number of set-ups needed and length of each set-up

July 4, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - The model of printer he uses
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The value of being critical of your own work
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Inexpensive ways to light a no-budget feature

June 27, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - How he chooses the questions he answers
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Getting clip and photo clearances for a documentary
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The creation of the visual style of several Verhoeven films

June 20, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Submitting separate versions of a script to US and UK agencies
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How to become an assistant director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The "ideal" personality for a DP

June 13, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - The tasks of a writer\'s assistant
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Finding a filmmaker to make a documentary about a community service agency
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why frame rate standards haven\'t evolved

June 6, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Legal concerns surround a script based on major U.S. company
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Allotting time for pre-production
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips on day-for-night photography

May 30, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Balancing writing, relationships, and real life
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Casting "real" actors; the director/producer divide
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Using pantyhose as a filter to soften images; the use of universal perspective

May 23, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - A writer\'s need for representation before pitching to a studio
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The impact of a degree on a career in film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Techniques used for creating "edgy" images

May 16, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing split screen scenes
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Finding promotion for independent films
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Explains the phrase "editing in camera"

May 2, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - The value of attending a pitch fest
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - On why using 30 seconds of a song is not free
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why 16mm film projected in 35mm looks better than the reverse

April 25, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Using a quote from a periodical
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The jobs of the assistant director and producer on set
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How rain is kept off of the lens

April 11, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing formats used in a script to communicate deafness
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Thoughts on homelessness and filming another documentary about it
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How the choice was made to shoot Ned Kelly in Super 35, instead of anamorphic

April 3, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Conserving paper while printing scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Filming a documentary on homelessness
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Making interesting lighting choices

March 28, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Injecting character depth into a short drama
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The chances of getting a first film into theaters
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The possibility of using different film formats in the same project

March 14, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Technical movies can be a success
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Finding a director to attach to a project
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How a director can communicate with a cinematographer

March 7, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Pros and cons of writing only what you know
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of auxiliary sound recording on a mini-DV film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Dolby Digital 5.1 sound in HD television programming

February 28, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Hobbies that inspire his writing
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Approaching filming and finding the shape of a documentary
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Going for the WOW factor with a small DV film

February 21, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Injecting character depth into a short drama
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Approaching filming and finding the shape of a documentary
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Selecting a DP for a project in an unfamiliar city

February 14, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Motivation to keep working on rewrites
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Scheduling set-ups to fit script and shoot length
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Learning how to shoot day-for-night

February 7, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Including artwork in scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The ability to write, and the impact it has on a director\'s career
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Using double fog filters

January 31, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - The viability of making a film featuring a black screen
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The ability to write, and the impact it has on a director\'s career
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips on lighting a character for daylight inside a moving car on 16mm film

January 24, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Avoiding cliches in your writing
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of an actor attending Sundance
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Thoughts on the current state of digital vs. film

January 17, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Opportunities as a screenwriter after funding your first indie feature
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Securing a location and insurance to shoot there
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - On gaining experience, portfolios and the role of the cinematographer

January 10, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - On the "dramatic quadrilogy" and making works commercially viable
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Necessary rights for music in a not-for-profit film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Creating a digital film with a 1970\'s feel

January 3, 2005
Ask a Writer - by John August - Laughing at your own writing
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The relationship between director and cinematographer
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Requirements for becoming a member of the B.S.C. or A.S.C.

December 27, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Good dialogue vs. exposition
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The relationship between director and cinematographer
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting a documentary "fly-on-the-wall" style

December 20, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Mastering American lingo
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Things learned working with Albert Brooks
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Notable visual style in recent movies

December 13, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Rights needed to use a song in a short film
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Things learned working with Albert Brooks
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Defining a "stretch" shot

December 6, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - The importance of physical appearance when pitching a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Working with non-actors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Creating the invisibility illusion

November 29, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Quality of writing in agent-submitted scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Working with actors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Relationships between director and cinematographer, and cinematographer and editor

November 22, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Average option price for short stories
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of the depth of a director\'s technical knowledge
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Simpler alternatives to tape-to-tape editing

November 15, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Getting a short seen, and the possibility of making money as a writer\'s assistant
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Paying off credit cards used to finance a film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Pay rates for L.A. cinematographers, and how filmmakers shoot in black and white and keep the color red

November 8, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Investigating an over-the-phone mentoring program
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How she chooses projects
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Methods of determining focal length while setting up a shot

October 18, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Length of animation scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Shooting order of wide and close-up shots
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Film choices for achieving overexposure and saturated colors

October 11, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Defining what a script doctor does
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The job of a producer
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Camera suggestions; factors in creating a film\'s look

October 4, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing solid dialogue
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Differing attitudes toward female directors and male directors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The impact of digital technology on lighting and cinematography

September 27, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Enlisting help for a pitch meeting
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Differing attitudes toward female directors and male directors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Using a flicker box to simulate a campfire

September 20, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - The importance of signed releases
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ideas for getting a volatile true story told
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The difficulty of one-shot videos; using Lomo anamorphic adapters

September 13, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - How nonfiction shows are scripted
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The value of a director\'s reel
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Choosing between steadicam and dolly shots

September 6, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - The writer\'s role in a film\'s post-production
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The value of a director\'s reel
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Learning about post-production lighting and image manipulation

August 30, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Regaining confidence in your writing
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ways to lessen the costs of shooting and how she started in film herself
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Working your way up the ladder vs. attending film school

August 23, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - His take on the fine line between artistic and crazy
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ways to lessen the costs of shooting and how she started in film herself
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Planning the number of set-ups needed and length of each set-up

August 16, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Pros and cons of asking a studio to option a story for you
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ideas for acquiring music rights for your film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting on film for a straight-to-video release

August 9, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - His use of "Confederated Products" in his scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Her progress on a box set of her Decline films
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Using stop frame animation to capture a whole day on film

August 2, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing a script based on an album
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Shares which of her movies has been most personally satisfying
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Advice on entering the world of international documentary filmmaking

July 26, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Thoughts on including images, drawings or maps in a screenplay
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Helping an independent producer with ways to find a director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Advice on entering the world of international documentary filmmaking

July 19, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Differentiating between an homage and and unauthorized remake
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Licensing poster images for use in a movie
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Image manipulation and a false reality crisis

July 12, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Creative license vs. libel
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Getting the work of comedy done in an efficient, timely and funny manner
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The people and factors that play a part in choosing aspect ratio for a film

July 5, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Readers respond with feedback on Writers Boot Camp
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The value of a director\'s reel
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Inexpensive ways of minimizing shake while shooting

June 28, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Thoughts on Writer\'s Boot Camp and other scriptwriting workshops
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of extensive pre-shoot rehearsal time
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Becoming knowledgeable about film stocks, lenses and lab processes

June 21, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Gaining confidence as a writer
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The choice between continuing school and learning while working for a studio
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The best and the most inexpensive ways to shoot a continuous motion sequence

June 7, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - The proper format for citing montages in a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How not to go insane getting your directing career started
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Finding an agent to help make the jump from indie film to big budget feature cinematographer

April 26, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Working on multiple scripts simultaneously
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The most important skill a modern director should develop
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The difference between blue and green screens in the finished film

April 12, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Improving the ergonomics of your writing desk
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Release update on The Decline of Western Civilization: Part III
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - A cinematographer\'s role in editing

March 8, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Securing your place in a film\'s ongoing franchise
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Picking the right music for a scene
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Differentiating between \'cinematographer\' and \'director of photography\'

March 1, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Previsualization of your script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Keeping your directorial vision intact
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Achieving an \'80s look on film

February 23, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - His thoughts on interpretations of Big Fish
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - What to look for in a film composer
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Filming puppets

February 16, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - His thoughts on interpretations of Big Fish
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Coverage and setting a film\'s tone
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The definition of telecine; The berry scene in Amélie

February 9, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Gaining the confidence to become a great writer
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Becoming a producer
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The importance of using a DP

February 2, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - The end crawl of Elephant
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of signed releases
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Transfer of a digital film to 16mm or 35mm

January 26, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Finding a writer for a modern adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How to become a member of SAG, and finding out about auditions
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Comparing Kodak and Fuji film stock

January 19, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Getting the opportunity to pitch an idea
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ways to get started as a costume designer
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Becoming confident as a DP

January 12, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Thoughts on digital filmmaking
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Finding financing for feature films
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Steadicam equipment and the choices directors and DPs make

January 5, 2004
Ask a Writer - by John August - Using a quote from a periodical
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Advice on casting and retaining commited actors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - A helpful resource for DV post-production tips

December 29, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Using a quote from a periodical
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Becoming a dialect coach
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The use of universal perspective

December 22, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Using a quote from a periodical
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How she chose directing as her career path
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Cinematographer salaries

December 15, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Using a quote from a periodical
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Relying on imagination and enthusiasm to start your career
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips on day-for-night photography

December 8, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The intricacies of public domain subjects
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Becoming a casting director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Filming very tall actors

December 1, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Developing a concept into a film
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Timeframe for the making of a film; why film titles change
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - More on the politics of running a big crew

November 24, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - How to denote onscreen titles in a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Her favorite and least favorite parts of the directing process
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Ideas for lighting actors with different skin tones

November 17, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Editing help for a deaf screenwriter
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Finding work as an editor; advice for an aspiring female director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Explains the phrase "editing in camera"

November 10, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Sharing first drafts of scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Casting friends in a directorial debut
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Approaching difficult or unusual camera shots

November 3, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Why ad-libbing shouldn\'t be written into scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The value of continuing work on a masters\' degree
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Inexpensive ways to achieve good lighting for an exterior night scene

October 27, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The connection between film and literature
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Learning to score films
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Lighting for dramatic reasons, not flattery

October 20, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Generating ideas that help get the story told
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Securing screening rights to a film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Keeping cameras out of shots in multi-angle scenes

October 13, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Generating ideas that help get the story told
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ideas for working effectively with actors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Insights on camera cranes, and famous crane shots

October 6, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing split screen scenes
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ideas for filming a low budget, high quality movie
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - On how his career got started, his first job, and how bad reviews affect him

September 29, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Whether or not it is better to be the last writer on a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The impact of a degree on a career in film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The marketability of a digitally shot film

September 22, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Securing rights to make a movie based on a concept album
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Corralling the on-set energy of comedic stars
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Lighting and shooting an interior party scene

September 15, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - To option, or not to option?
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - More on the working relationship between director and cinematographer
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Making the transition from video/TV productions to feature films

September 8, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing a screenwriter bio
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The job of a producer
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips on making a film with a basic camcorder

September 1, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The basics of scene transitions
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Moving from production assistant to director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Achieving the best definition for a short on black and white 16mm film

August 25, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing is hard
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Starting down the path to steady directing work: the mailroom, festivals, or Starbucks?
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Factors in achieving a saturated color look

August 18, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Collaborating with multiple writers
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The viability of HD shot films
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Contrast ratios for shooting night time interiors

August 11, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Similarities and differences between TV and feature film script lengths
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Making it as a director: work hard, or wait for a big break?
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Achieving specific color tones outside with a mini DV

August 4, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The use of parentheticals
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Defining what makes a true \'indie\' film; Helping actors avoid indicating; Re-recording dialogue
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Clarifying the differences between the various types of film ratios

July 28, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Action leads -- easier to sell a male or female role?
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Securing permission to use a filmmaker\'s clips in a student documentary
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting a scene in a photo darkroom

July 21, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Catering and craft service on a set
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of obtaining legal clearances to use someone\'s work before shooting
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Techniques used for creating "edgy" images

July 14, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The difficulty of communicating intangible ideas in a film
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Licensing clips for a documentary; the commitment required for becoming a director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Breaking into the industry as a still photographer; shooting with the Canon XL-1

July 7, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - How to communicate cutaways in a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Advice on becoming a stuntman; whether to shoot with one or two digital cameras
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Control over the process of creating an image, and why he chooses film over digital

June 30, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing to suggest dialects
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Reasonable reasons to become a filmmaker
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Capturing black light effects while shooting a film with DV and Super 8

June 23, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Becoming a hyphenate in Hollywood
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Knowing your strengths: The need to write and direct a film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Getting the big-budget look by converting 16mm to DV, then to tape/DVD

June 16, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The importance of a storyboard to a film
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Revelling in the process of achieving your film goals, as opposed to focusing solely on the goals themselves
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips for getting a later start in the world of film editing

June 9, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The meanings and proper use of INT., ENT. and EST. as script notations
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The process of watching dailies and selecting which shots to print; the advantages and disadvantages of choosing to film a features vs. a short
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Readers reply to Oliver\'s request for sites that are good resources for DV cameramen

June 2, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Incorporating real people into your script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Updates on the upcoming re-release of her Decline trilogy of documentaries
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The importance of just getting your story to the screen

May 26, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Revisiting the issue of script length
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Finding an agent and submitting your script to them
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Trying to achieve film results on DV

May 12, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Notating a slow-motion sequence in a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The next step after completing a low-budget film; camera placement when scene includes a mirror
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Film vs. DV: Shooting to the strengths of the medium you\'re using

May 12, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Comparing scripts and screenplays
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Compiling a reel and learning beyond film school
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why the visual quality on DVD outtakes differs from the film

May 5, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Comparing scripts and screenplays
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Eliciting usable responses from the subject of a documentary
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How cameramen avoided capturing the \'rolling bar\' on TV screens before recent technological advances

April 28, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Comparing scripts and screenplays
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The search for blanks and squibs vs. the larger picture
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Inexpensive ways to light a no-budget feature

April 21, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The number of drafts each script goes through, and the effect on the end product
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The job of a director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Learning about cinematography through books

April 14, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The length of the average film script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The job of a director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Lighting properly for a 360 degree shot

April 7, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The importance of a compelling central idea for your script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The job of a director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Avoiding green tints from fluorescent lights on a DV shoot

March 31, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The proper protocol for casting calls
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How a specific director\'s style impacts a film; The job of a director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Achieving a film noir look using black and white Super 16 film

March 24, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The disclaimers at the end of films, and why they are there
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The job of a director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Experimenting with continous vs. discontinuous light sources

March 17, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing and directing a short to jumpstart your career
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Defeating "fear of finishing" syndrome
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Equipment loans from camera warehouses

March 10, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Getting co-producer credit
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Favorite directors and their bodies of work
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Lighting ideas for shooting in a single room using mostly panning shots

March 3, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - More pointers for naming characters
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of trust between actors and directors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Lens choices to create unique shots involving size and angle distortion

February 24, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Naming conventions for characters that have two names
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Adapting a script to your directoral style
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Financial aid for film education; The difference between 35mm and Super 35

February 17, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Finding the copyright owner and securing rights to a translated novel and script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Why offering line readings to an actor is bad form
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The history and use of the ring light

February 11, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Nurturing a young filmmaker\'s talent and interests
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Acquiring music rights - clearing publishing and master use
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Transitioning to filming with a movie camera, and its similarities with an SLR camera

February 3, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Securing rights to remake an original screenplay
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Qualities of films used for application to film schools; where to start your film education
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The creation of the visual style of several Verhoeven films

January 27, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Becoming a filmmaker in your thirties
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Film: art or entertainment?; gaining familiarity with the audition process
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Cinematography schools in the UK and US

January 20, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The difference between the terms "script", "story" and "screenplay"
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Pondering the appeal of straight-to-video directing
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Insight on shooting a music video

January 13, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - The battle over screen credits for writers
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How a director and cinematographer interact during a film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Techniques for creating clean shadows

January 6, 2003
Ask a Writer - by John August - Tips for the process of developing your optioned script with a producer
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Insights on and personal examples of shooting a documentary
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - How soap operas achieve their polished look

December 30, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Portraying endurance without monotony; registering a script with the WGA
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Update on release of We Sold Our Souls for Rock \'n\' Roll; blocking and pacing for a scene
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Where are the young DPs?

December 23, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Getting scripts written with specific actors in mind filmed
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Working with the right camera operators and crew
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Color saturation in the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet

December 16, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Recreation of a film sequel with a different company
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - True filmmaking vs. packaging and marketing
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Tips for lighting a low-budget digital feature

December 09, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing an existing joke into a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The legal process for naming your production company
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - What "doing a digital finish" really means

December 02, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Making changes to a copyrighted script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - How do you know if you\'re a good filmmaker?
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Editing methods in the early 1900\'s; Lens choices when shooting extreme slow motion

November 25, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Guidelines for overcoming insecurity while avoiding arrogance
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Is it ever too late to start directing?; whether an older, completed feature or newer scripts are best for finding an agent
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Inspiration from the work of still photographers

November 18, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - What to do when someone beats you to the punch with a similar script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - True filmmaking vs. packaging and marketing
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The relationship between a film\'s director and director of photography; estimating cost for transfer of digital video to 16mm film for screenings

November 11, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - His feelings on quoting screenwriters; the need for MPAA numbers on scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Theories on how scripts are chosen for production in Hollywood; finding funding for completing a saga
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Researches and gives his opinions on new film technology

November 4, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Advice for a producer of biographical movie
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Practical advice on becoming a commercial director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Techniques for achieving color degradation like Sven Nykvist\'s did in The Sacrifice

October 28, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - The importance of developing adequate plot environment for characters
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Advice for aspiring filmmakers
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The specific movements in making trombone shots

October 21, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - The use of copyrighted footage; sharing first drafts of scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - What makes a great film and filmmaker; comments on stardom vs. acting
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Reveals how he created certain lighting effects while filming The Cider House Rules

October 14, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Script fonts; A screenwriter\'s need to live in L.A.
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ways for an ROTC student to gain film experience; ideas for scouting locations
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Reveals how he created certain lighting effects while filming The Cider House Rules

October 7, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Are permissions needed to use a song in a script?; scriptwriting software
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The growing trend of actors becoming directors; methods for compressing time in short films
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The reasons anamorphic lenses are difficult to obtain

September 30, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Insights on formatting plot treatments
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The varying need for coaching actors on dialogue delivery
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Secrets behind the visual wonders of Losey\'s The Servant

September 23, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Ideal scene lengths
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Pointers for a music documentary shoot
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Characteristics of film stock and latitude transfer

September 13, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - The difficulty of courtroom dialogue
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - What she looks for in a film festival
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Hints on the transition from still photography to cinematography

September 6, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Do\'s and don\'ts of writing shooting scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ideas for affordable and steady indie camera shots
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The job of a 2nd unit cinematographer

August 30, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Proper script notation, part II
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Tricks to getting great performances from kids
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting scenes in and around vehicles

August 23, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Ideas for getting your script read when you\'re outside of L.A.
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Finding the right festival for your film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Who invented the Zolly shot?

August 16, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Proper notation of secondary scene headings
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Pondering the mystery of David Lynch
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Ideas for achieving noir-like lighting on a black and white DV shoot

August 9, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - To capitalize, or not to capitalize character names?
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The benefits of attending film school; the purpose of sound dissolves
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Options for shooting a scene in a mirrored room; the trend toward excessive camera movement

August 2, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Hints for finding selling prices of existing scripts online
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - A director\'s role in ensuring good sound quality
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Drawbacks of converting film to digital and back again

July 26, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Recalling his dreams of being a screenwriter
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The art of directing natural reaction shots
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Drawbacks of converting film to digital and back again

July 19, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Ruminations on the importance of a specific college major for future screenwriters
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of preparation for stunt sequences
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The exacting science of focus pulling in both movies and television

July 12, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - The challenges of getting a TV show idea produced
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Directors and their part in the editing process
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Transferring digital video to festival-friendly formats

July 5, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing practice scripts for television shows
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Establishing scene geography; submitting films to festivals
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The importance of polarizing filters; creating flashing neon sign effects

June 28, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Promoting your script via online sites; flashback notation in scripts
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Creating a natural style; photographic permissions
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Aspect ratios of different films

June 21, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Rewrites, credits, and the WGA
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Ad libbing dialogue; multiple credits on the same film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Long tracking shots; the grainy look of old stock

June 14, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Making time to write
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Producer input; the \'auteur\' theory
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Will DPs survive the digital revolution?

June 7, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Avoiding clichés
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Getting the Wayne\'s World gig
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Who creates the "look"--Director or DP?

May 31, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Genre-hopping
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - What creates that made-for-TV feeling?

May 24, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Beginner blunders
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Shooting over-the-shoulder dialogue
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The challenge of working with technically-minded directors

May 17, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Translating literary insights into specific onscreen moments
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Nailing down the details in pre-production; the challenge of directing when English is a second language
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Back projection and fade-out tricks; shooting video at high speeds

May 10, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Timing a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Mid-life career changes
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The "skip bleach" process

May 3, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Finding structure as you write
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Working with a storyboard artist; forming a production company
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - "Choppy" action sequences; "trombone" shots

April 26, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Visiting the set
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Being assertive (not aggressive) on set
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The framing instinct

April 19, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Character research
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Pet projects vs. commercial fare
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Inviting agents to screenings; makeshift Kino lamps

April 12, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing action sequences
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The psychological significance of movie stars; casting "real" actors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Using camcorder shots in a film; replicating TV light

April 5, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - The logistics of taking over someone else\'s screenplay
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Getting the rights to news clips
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Filming into a mirror; impossibly continuous camera shots

March 29, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - What to do before signing agency papers
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Budgetary differences between theatrical features and made-for-TV fare
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting ratios and the distribution of funds

March 22, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Music and the writing process
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - From shorts to 3-picture studio deals
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Adventurous color work and the uniqueness of tone

March 15, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Working foreign languages into a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Sending music demos to directors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Saving time with a pre-light crew; ASC/BSC membership

March 8, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Finding inspiration in a post-Sept. 11 world
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Faking locations; the disappearance of viewfinders

March 1, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - How Academy/WGA members vote for writing awards
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Keep it legal (for the sake of your film)
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Making adjustments for Super 35mm

February 22, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Finding a job as a writer's assistant
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Breaking into the commercial business
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Learning balance through Tai Chi

February 15, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Finding projects that fit your skills and temperament
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Independent distribution options
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Simple lighting tips for suspense/horror

February 8, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Balancing original projects and rewrites
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Working with writers to adjust the script
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Scissors cut paper, paper covers rock, film beats digital

February 1, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Is an MFA worth the investment?
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Directors\' salaries
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why frame rate standards haven\'t evolved

January 25, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Tailoring scripts to specific actors
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Getting low-cost clearance from guilds and music publishing companies
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Switching speeds mid-shot; simple stop-frame animation

January 11, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Leveraging a sold script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Gauging screen time
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The grainy look; moving from theater light design to film

January 4, 2002
Ask a Writer - by John August - Is Sept. 11 movie material?
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Film school on a tight budget
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Infiltrating the British film industry

December 28, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The index card method
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Double your setups with a second camera
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Filming photo montages

December 21, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The truth about God
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Shooting DV for film conversions
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - What a video cameraperson needs to learn to become a cinematographer

December 14, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Script-reading software
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Keeping an eye on the monitor
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The "Super" distinction; music video lighting techniques

December 7, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Finding the right story for your characters (and vice-versa)
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Manufacturing mood
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Opportunities for British film school grads

November 30, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - I\'ve got a short script--now what?
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Tools for filming real people
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Amateur demo reels

November 23, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Finding treatments (and "scriptments") online
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Used DV equipment
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - What makes something a "Hollywood" film?

November 16, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Presenting a well-groomed script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - 2nd unit duties; crying babies
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Smooth slow motion; the romance of back-lighting

November 9, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The rules of CAPITALIZATION
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The director/producer divide
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why cameras can\'t compete with the human eye

November 2, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Keeping scenes (and scripts) tight
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Starting out in documentaries
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Trying to make video look like film; the practical limitations of wide format

October 26, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Balancing descriptive information and narrative speed
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The social responsibilities of filmmakers
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Recruiting "Western" DPs; visual gimmickry

October 19, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Adapting a short story (Minority Report) for the screen
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Actor training; costume jobs
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Female DPs; definition of ASC

October 12, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Using parentheticals to communicate with actors
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Measuring for focus; "checking the gate"
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Color reversal stock

October 5, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Everyday writing rituals
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Casting for chemistry
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Differences in image condition

September 28, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Salary ranges for writers
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Dealing with divas
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Pre-production film testing (lens, emulsion, scenic, and wardrobe)

September 21, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - An Alice in Wonderland horror movie, and industry urban legends
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Planning a budget
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Digital color correction; definition of "timing"

September 14, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Working on two scripts at once
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Scoring a film
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The "ideal" personality for a DP

September 7, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Competing projects from different studios
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The commercialization of rock \'n\' roll

August 31, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The elusive "edge" factor
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The well-rounded director
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - 70mm projection

August 24, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Decoding WGA credits ("story by" vs. "screenplay by" vs. "written by")
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Making the most of film school\'s perks
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why video footage of film sets looks overlit; observing natural light

August 17, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The three-act structure
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Nabbing locations by any means necessary
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Stanley Kubrick\'s visual style

August 10, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Distinguishing between tweaks, polishes and rewrites; writing dialogue for nonfictional characters
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Getting strong performances from actors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Why US cinematographers don\'t operate the camera; who chooses the equipment for a shoot

August 3, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Big-budget remakes; a perspective on Lars von Trier
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The "MTV influence" in modern cinematography

July 27, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Last-minute script changes; referring to other movies in a script
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Assembling soundtracks
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Filters, gels, timing, and tracking shots

July 20, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Borrowing ideas and dialogue from real life
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Direct for yourself, not for money; getting experience before film school
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The pros and cons of storyboards

July 13, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Dealing with rejection; writing "off-the-page"
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Letting credit and blame fall where they may; the perils of co-directing
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Working with stars on the set

July 6, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Learning from bad screenplays
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Sticking to DV for low-budget projects; finding an internship
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Must-see films for aspiring DP\'s; grad school options in the UK

June 29, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - To write camera angles, or not to write camera angles
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Making trailers; why DGA rules rock
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Using smoke to play up light/contrast

June 22, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Juggling non-linear timelines
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Cast/crew payment terms; raising money the old-fashioned way
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Big-budget cameras; the "grainy" look of 16mm

June 15, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Innovation in the "post-Tarantino" era
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Keeping up with the gutterpunks from DWC Part III
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Split-screen shots; using pantyhose to soften the image

June 8, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Starting out in the British film industry
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - The importance of on-set experience
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Cinematography as collaboration

June 1, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Referencing brands, songs, etc. in a script; connecting with indie directors
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - Planning coverage; working on mainstream projects
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Using soft focus on faces; experimenting with home movies

May 25, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The life of a writer\'s assistant
Ask a Director - by Penelope Spheeris - DV vs. SVHS; getting started at 25
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Learning the science behind cinematography; DV vs. 8MM; slowing down video

May 18, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Using the "based on a true story" tag; proper screenplay formatting
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Light metering options

May 11, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The challenges of bio-pics
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Finishing touches and personal style

May 4, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The Agent Game: Part III
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Determining aspect ratio; replacing backgrounds without a blue screen

April 27, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The Agent Game: Part II
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Committing to a director; registering movie titles
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Lighting for DV; the "look" of TV movies

April 20, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The Agent Game: Part I
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Attaching "name" actors; levels of producer input
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The internship route; getting started as a 30-something

April 13, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The three strains of writer\'s block
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - The post-partum experience
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting in hot climates

April 6, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The pros and cons of using voice-overs
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca & Allison Anders- Women\'s contributions to film history
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Technicians\' agents and industry contacts

March 30, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Computer game adaptations; approaching the new Barbarella
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Directing with limited tech savvy
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Anticipating the digital future; starting out in still photography

March 23, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Keeping pitches simple; finding characters\' voices
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Landing a PA gig; watching your vision become a reality
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Interacting with other DP\'s

March 16, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - When to stop tweaking
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Judging good direction; making contacts in the biz
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Leaving finished footage to the editors

March 9, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Charlie\'s Angels rewrites and rumors
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - The importance of casting
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Pre-production decision making; creating suspense

March 2, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The effect of budget size on script salability
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca & Richard Guay - How a film makes money
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Earning your stripes through constant work

February 23, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Formatting/spelling errors in a script
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Directing for TV; film school vs. "grunt work"
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Working through conflicts with the director

February 16, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Choosing college courses; the road to racial diversity
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Balancing focus and open-mindedness; looking for collaborative actors
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Making the most of a small room; using slow-motion and time-lapse

February 9, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - "One man\'s masterpiece is another man\'s McHale\'s Navy"
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Deciding on visual themes

February 2, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - 3 ways of working: "on spec," "on assignment," and "on weekly"
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Favorite "coming of age" movies
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Using color as an expressive element

January 26, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Disagreements between writers and directors
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Maintaining discipline on set
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Achieving a stylistic "look"; filming with fog

January 19, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Showing agents scripts vs. finished films; reading reviews
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Finding good producers
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Compensating for sudden changes in light

January 12, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - Getting your script evaluated
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Juggling technical and performance issues
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - The limitations of shooting digital

January 5, 2001
Ask a Writer - by John August - The twin project phenomenon; copyrighting titles
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Idols of the directing world
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Making cinematography invisible to the viewer

December 29, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Applying to graduate film school
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Shooting with one camera; making your first movie filmable
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Learning on film vs. digital; lighting for HI-8

December 22, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Script pricing
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - The benefits of film school; books about directing
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Shooting a variety of projects; apprenticing vs. film school

December 15, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - The research process
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Committing to a first script; dissecting films
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Variables when shooting outdoors

December 8, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - The legal implications of spoofs/references; censorship as a marketing strategy
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Digital as versatile tool
Ask a Cinematographer - by Oliver Stapleton - Working with production designers

December 1, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - The perks of co-producing
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Shooting in city streets

November 24, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing for film vs. writing for TV
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Short film distribution; making a living as an indie director

November 17, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Publishing a book vs. selling a script
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - A typical shooting day

November 10, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writer\'s strike protocol
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Paths to the director\'s chair; indie "it" girls

November 3, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Music selections; noticing good dialogue

October 27, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Finding screenplays of existing films

October 20, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - The process of optioning rights
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Financing woes; shooting low-budget

October 13, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Writing within genres
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Shooting out-of-sequence

October 6, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Adapting stories and novels for the screen
Ask a Director - by Nancy Savoca - Building up to your first feature

September 29, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Pleasing the masses

September 22, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Stock Hollywood plots
Ask a Director - by Martin Hynes - Finding an internship

September 15, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Keeping track of multiple story lines
Ask a Director - by Martin Hynes - Getting agents\' attention

September 8, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Copyrighting your screenplay
Ask a Director - by Martin Hynes - Defining your strengths

September 1, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Definitions: Spec scripts, treatments, outlines, and pitches

August 25, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Screenplay contests; evoking visual style through words

August 18, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Screenwriting how-to books

August 11, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - The advantages of living in L.A.

August 4, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Legal concerns surrounding true-story adaptations

July 28, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Working with themes

July 21, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Projects with multiple writers
Ask a Director - by Peter M. Cohen - Storyboards and shot lists

July 14, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Getting an agent; liberal arts vs. undergraduate film school
Ask a Director - by Peter M. Cohen - Choosing equipment for a first film

July 7, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Battling self-doubt; the importance of pre-planning
Ask a Director - by Peter M. Cohen - Shooting in New York City

June 30, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Advice for young aspiring filmmakers; a writer\'s schedule
Ask a Director - by Peter M. Cohen - Raising money for indie films

June 23, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Editing essentials; selling story ideas
Ask a Director - by Peter M. Cohen - What to do when festivals reject

June 16, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - Final Draft, and other script-writing programs
Ask a Director - by Peter M. Cohen - The benefits of film school and hands-on experience

June 9, 2000
Ask a Writer - by John August - What film school can and can't do for you
Ask a Director - by Peter M. Cohen - Producing your own film