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Abe Schwartz Headshot

The Language of Cinema

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As a low-budget movie-maker with one micro-budget feature under my belt, I'm certainly looking to keep improving. I often feel like a rookie surrounded by vets with sweet jump shots and low-post moves, and I can't help but think "Damn, that's what my game needs!" How can I write stronger characters and improve my storytelling? How can I keep my audience even more engaged? How can my production aesthetics get better? This kind of stuff keeps me up at night, and I'm confident I'm not the only one.

I've read so many books on screenwriting and directing. On my shelf now I see Dara Marks' Inside Story (a personal favorite), selections from Robert McKee and Syd Field, titles like My First Movie, First Time Director, David Mamet's On Directing, Mike Figgis' Digital Filmmaking (another great one), and more. Thing is, movie-making is a collaborative process, and it's great to collaborate with others even when learning about the subject. Nothing beats live instruction, open dialogue, and encouraging words from others who've been deep in the trenches in person.

If you're in Los Angeles on November 6th and 7th and you're into improving your craft as a movie-maker, I highly recommend attending CINEMA LANGUAGE. I'll be there. For me, this type of instruction is like working with Reggie Miller on my jump-shot. (The code "HUFF" will get you a discount on the class.)

If you can't make CINEMA LANGUAGE in person, be sure to check out the Facebook page. It's really good stuff, and there will be postings re: future events.

Are there any forms of movie-making instruction that you couldn't get by without? Whether it's a book, class, or conference, please share in the comments section below!