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The No Film School Podcast

Author: No Film School

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A podcast about how to build a career in filmmaking. No Film School shares the latest opportunities and trends for anyone working in film and TV. We break news on cameras, lighting, and apps. We interview leaders in screenwriting, directing, cinematography, editing, and producing. And we answer your questions! We are dedicated to sharing knowledge with filmmakers around the globe, “no film school” required.

439 Episodes
One of the most dynamic filmmakers working in the industry, Edgar Wright, is making a documentary about the band Sparks. All three are joining today to discuss this film, The Sparks Brothers! In this episode, we talk about… How Edgar Wright and Ron and Russell Mael (of Sparks) met over Twitter and ultimately decided to make a documentary about the band. How the group approached making the documentary so that it would have Wright’s stamp on it, rather than being dry like many other documentaries. How Wright thought about using a Sparks song in Hot Fuzz, but didn’t because their songs demand so much attention. How Wright’s and Sparks’ artistic sensibilities align. How music operates as a part of Wright’s process. Artistic influences for Sparks on their music and creative process. Influences on Wright both for general filmmaking and on his approach in creating a music documentary. Links to Resources: Go see The Sparks Bros film in a theater near you, releasing this week on June 18th! You can read about all this and more at You can also check out our Gear Guides and Entertainment News on the right hand side. Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Instagram! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Renny Harlin is one of the great action film directors who has had a huge influence on the genre and continues to have a lot of love and passion for his craft. He’s bringing that enthusiasm and lots of helpful insights to the conversation today.  In this episode, we talk about… What made Renny Harlin decide he wanted to be a film director and his early influences growing up in Finland, which has a very small movie industry. How much Harlin loves what he does and how grateful he is to do what he does. Harlin’s early days making commercials and then getting noticed and transitioning to TV, and finally to feature films. How Harlin survived and stayed motivated when he first moved to the US and was living in complete poverty, trying to break into the industry. Making the jump from living paycheck to paycheck to being on the cusp of the action movie genre (with films like Die Hard 2) to being able to turn down work. Why you need to keep luck happen by working hard and being persistent. Lessons Harlin learned the hard way throughout his career. Why he’s walked away from certain opportunities that have come his way. How technology has changed throughout Harlin’s career and how that impacts his approach. The importance of ground rules and maintaining trust with the audience, no matter how much technology and CGI is available. How he learns to get better on set and how he has learned from audiences with test screenings. Links to Resources: Go see Harlin’s new film The Misfits (2021) in theaters now! You can read about all this and more at You can also check out our Gear Guides and Entertainment News on the right hand side. Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Instagram! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Tune in for some of the most exciting drone news in a while, plus discussions about a recent article exposing MoviePass and deep cuts by black filmmakers to honor Juneteenth. In this episode, we talk about… How MoviePass, for a while, was an amazing deal where you could see unlimited movies for one monthly fee. Venture Capital and how it factored into Movie Pass’s business model. What made Movie Pass a scam and how it fell apart. The drone market for the film industry as it currently stands. Sony getting into the drone game with their new Airpeak S1, how great it is for mirrorless cameras, and how amazing the autofocus is. Deep Cuts: discussions about underappreciated works by black filmmakers including De Rees’s Pariah, Channing Godfrey Peoples’ Miss Juneteenth, and Charles Burnett’s The Glass Shield. Links to Resources: Turns out MoviePass was even shadier than we thought  Sony's Drone Was Built for Your Mirrorless Camera  Pariah (2011) (which is on Netflix) Miss Juneteenth (2020)  The Glass Shield (1994)  Killer of Sheep (1978) Charles Haine:  Kath Tolentino:  You can read about all this and more at You can also check out our Gear Guides and Entertainment News on the right hand side. Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Instagram! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The group is chatting about hot topics in the industry (and world), like safety and consent for sex scenes. In this episode, we talk about… How Nathalie Emmanuel from Game of Thrones recently stated that just because she was nude in the show doesn’t mean she would do it for other shows, and how this is opening up conversations about nudity in film. Why nudity should always be a fresh negotiation for each new contract. The interesting fact that our culture allows more violence than nudity to appear in mainstream films. The double standard of male nudity versus female nudity on tv. When nudity and violence are necessary for a film and when they are excessive. How Intimacy Coordinators can keep workplaces that deal with sex scenes safe for actors. How Adobe Creative Cloud is quite expensive - but arguably priced right for business. How Resolve by Black Magic is a free, alternative option for editing that works well. Pixelmater Pro, which is fairly cheap and an awesome alternative to Photoshop for light edits. Tricks for working in white spaces which can be very tricky to light. The importance of lighting control - to shape where the light is going - when you must shoot against white walls. Links to Resources: Movies & TV HBO's Intimacy Coordinator Reveals Her 'Sex' Kit For Movies and TV  More about BlackMagic’s DaVinci Resolve More about Pixelmater You can read about all this and more at You can also check out our Gear Guides and Entertainment News on the right hand side. Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Instagram! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Is AMC taking over other chains good? Bad? And what does it mean for filmmakers and film lovers? In this episode, we talk about… AMC Entertainment recently sold $230 million in stock in order to go on a buying spree. How the stock market encourages huge corporations and doesn’t support smaller businesses, like independent movie theaters. Whether or not movie theaters are a dying model and why tech companies might not be willing to buy them. Best practices for maintaining a client base - including finding new clients. The art of sending cold emails and when to send them. How to use social media to keep in touch with contacts. Tips for asking for a raise and why it can feel very personal and emotional. Why sometimes, there just isn’t money in a budget for a raise. How, unfortunately, some entry-level jobs don’t and won’t pay a living wage. Why you need to be willing and able to walk away if you want to “win” the negotiating process. Knowing the value of your skills and remembering that companies make money off of you. The frustration of jobs that don’t post salary in the job listing. Deity has just launched the BP-TRX, which is both a transmitter and a receiver, with built-in local recording a time code, which allows you to do more with fewer devices. How Kyno isn’t dead! Links to Resources: Get the 5 Day Deal! It’s running June 3rd - June 8th on our website, our newsletter, and on our social media (linked below)! You don’t want to miss out. No Film School Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram Kyno For more about BP-TRX Charles Haine: Twitter | Instagram Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
There are countless books, guides, and templates on writing screenplays - but how important are they? In this episode, we talk about… Guest Robert McKee, his background in both theatre and novels, and the role his books have played in the world of screenwriting. What makes writing exciting. Whether or not there are “rules” to good screenwriting. The principles and forms of writing. The influence of Aristotle on writing today. What truly is a scene, an act, a movement, a season, etc. Discussions of good character development and important principles for the relationship between character and story. The difference between revelation and change, and how the audience’s perception of a character changes as a storyline goes on, rather than the character themselves changing. McKee’s new book that will be coming out soon about the art of writing Action. Why needing advice on a good starting point when building characterization is, frankly, amateur. Links to Resources: Robert McKee Character: The Art of Role and Cast Design for Page, Stage, and Screen  For a free Ebook on How to Write a Screenplay, sign up for our mailing list at You can also check out our Gear Guides and Entertainment News on the right hand side. Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Instagram! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Charles and Kath are back to chat about big news in mergers and acquisitions, HD in television, and their thoughts on the smartest first film industry job you could take. In this episode, we talk about… HBO Max is getting merged with Discovery - which is exciting for filmmakers because whatever name it ends up with, it will have a much bigger documentary platform. The nature of mergers and acquisitions and how some film studios and platforms “marry” and “divorce” partners quite frequently. Lessons for filmmakers in the story of how the HBO Max merger happened and why friendships are complicated in this industry. How Amazon is in talks to buy MGM. The lessons filmmakers can take about their relationships to intellectual property from Amazon potentially buying MGM. No one starts out in their dream job, but you can be strategic about your early career jobs.  Both Kath and Charles’s early-career jobs and how they got where they are today, plus things they wish they had done differently in retrospect. How networking has evolved from the days when Charles cold-faxed hundreds of companies to today, where social media lets you gently remind people that you exist. Pros and cons of being a script reader as an early career job. Resources for finding jobs so you know where to apply. How broadcast television moves much slower than other technologies, because moving to film in HD is a huge infrastructural change. Why TV companies have little incentive to make that big of an investment unless there's a huge push from consumers. Various factors that can affect the appearance of resolution of 4k and 8k streaming. Links to Resources: Women of Color Unite  Production Weekly Charles Haine:  Charles’ Webseries: Salty Pirate Kath Tolentino:  Kath’s production company:  You can find everything we spoke about today and more here: Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Instagram! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Charles and George are joined by filmmaker and writer Kath Tolentino today to chat about lots of topics like AAPI movies, seeking representation, and tech news. Today’s big topic is one that’s sure to benefit filmmakers starting out: budgeting for independent features. Give this episode a listen for guidance on your next Indie film’s budget! In this episode, we talk about… How many streaming services are currently offering carousels of films that supposedly celebrate AAPI Heritage Month (Asian American & Pacific Islander), but the nature of the content they’ve chosen has been disappointing to say the least. Questions about how they chose the content - should the films be about AAPI issues or have a prominent AAPI actor or director?  How the carousels of AAPI content could have been expanded if more Indie and short films were included. How to know when to hunt for agents or managers once you’ve created a great short film. Why shorts can generate interest from representation but have a lower ceiling for next steps - representation will always want to immediately know what you can do that will make them money. The roles of agents vs managers, how they differ, and what they do for you. How people perceive that this industry will make them a ton of money, but it’s hard to make a lot of income, especially with the amount of money agents and managers take as their cut. Atlas Orion Anamorphic lenses which are great for widescreen and a specific quality.  Atlas’s new Limited run of Silver Edition lenses which will allow the flare to match the color of the light. These are super niche lenses and they're going to make 100 sets. What to look for in buying your first set of lenses if you feel overwhelmed by all the review blogs and videos out there. Why creating a budget where you pay people at proper industry scale can be difficult to determine. What ends up happening with most Indie films is that the budget is created backwards from what producers feel like they can realistically raise for the movie. How the schedule is closely intertwined with the budget - the number of days you shoot will alter the costs drastically. Why if you’re hiring a line producer, you want to find someone who is used to working on films with a similar schedule to yours. How usually you will have a few factors locked in and will build the rest of the budget around that. Why you need to always build a contingency into your budget and allow more for cast than you think. Using Kickstarter and WeFunder and why there’s something to be said for finding a way to make your movie within the confines of a smaller budget. Links to Resources: Atlas anamorphic lenses For more information about lenses, check out our Gear Guides. Our last episode with Kath where she chatted about her indie feature: I'm Producing a Feature...What First Steps Do I Take? Charles Haine:  Kath Tolentino:  You can find everything we spoke about today and more here: Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Instagram! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In 2021, it can be hard to figure out new ways to innovate on film, since it often feels like “it’s all been done before”. But today, we’re chatting with director Timur Bekmambetov, who found a new way to tell stories and is now deep in “screen life”, a new way of filmmaking that’s a great way to connect with younger audiences and push the boundaries of the medium. In this episode, we talk about… Timur’s early career and how he got into filmmaking in Russia, which included doing just about every job except acting! What happened when Timur first started getting into more artsy, avant garde movies, and his realization that the only way to tell stories is to be real about fears, dreams, and other vulnerable emotions. How screen life can work with every genre, and examples of types of films Timur has shot in that format. The nuts and bolts of creating screen life films, from how acting is very different (it’s about the movement of the cursor or what is typed rather than facial expressions), to how it’s filmed, to how it’s edited in post. Timur’s advice for young filmmakers who want to get involved in this new type of film making. Links to Resources: Director: Timur Bekmambetov Timur Bekmambetov’s screen life film, Profile (2018)   For more information about the medium, visit   Wondering what gear to buy or rent for your next project? Check out our Gear Guides! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Charles Haine, a writer at No Film School, is joined by Editor-in-Chief George Edelman to chat about a fun assortment of topics like the Pacino-ing phenomenon, new products by tech company Atamos, and what’s going on with IMDB ratings! If you have concerns about how the dreaded algorithm is affecting your career, you’ll definitely want to check out this episode. In this episode, we talk about… Steven Follow’s email list which has really fun and useful data dives. “Pacino-ing” - Al Pacino likes the challenge of being in bad movies to try to improve them and for this reason his career has seemed to follow a downward trajectory. How some actors like Pacino and DeNiro started really strong, and have now been in worse and worse movies. But other actors, like Chris Pine and Chris Evans have had the reverse Pacino effect.  Looking at where data for good movies vs bad movies comes from, who is making the ratings (critics vs audience), and what that means - especially in the context of modern day vs the 70s. Atamos, the Australian tech company which has some amazing products. Atamos just announced the new release of a Ninja Stream, which has some interesting features, especially for social-distancing on set. IMDB and internet rating systems - including a case study where weighted users can bring down a review average with just a few low ratings. How much of the internet is driven by algorithms, which are very imperfect. Different theories about how ratings and algorithms might work. Links to Resources: Stephen Follows’ article about "Pacino-ing"  Subscribe to Steven Follows’ email list for weekly data dives! For more about the Atomos Ninja Stream  Fake ratings and reviews on IMDb  Help us algorithm it up by rating: Amigo Undead (2015)  Salty Pirate (TV Movie 2020)  Let us know your theories about what is going on with IMDB ratings over on Twitter! Ask us a question about the weirdest thing you can find on IMDB at and we’ll eventually talk about it on the show! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This week on the No Film School Podcast, after mourning the loss of the Arclight and Pacific Theaters, we now speculate on hopes for its survival. Also, we offer the secrets of keeping a franchise fresh and exciting after many sequels or reboots. In Tech News: FilmConvert releases new software to get your iPhone to match the look of high-end cinema cameras. And for Ask No Film School, we discuss scholarships for (...yes) film school. Please email us any questions at! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Channing Godfrey Peoples and Neil Creque Williams put everything on the line for a personal story, and it worked.  How do you make the degree of difficulty even higher for a feature film debut? Channing and Neil found a way, but the commitment they had to the material, their faith in one another as sounding boards and creative visionaries helped them pull off something that you should definitely not try at home. But to hear it from them is best, so what are you waiting for?  Miss Juneteenth is available to stream on amazon prime as well as other services. Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think of the film and Channing and Neil's story.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This week on the No Film School Podcast, we the low ratings of the Oscars -- and why it ain't just because of COVID. Also: Apple gets a class-action lawsuit filed against them for the misleading use of the word "BUY." For Ask No Film School, Katherine asks what the first steps should take are for producing an indie feature -- and some very useful tips are dropped. And for this week's Deep Cuts: movies that made us leave the theater stunned. Please email us any questions at! *Editorial note: Burning was released in 2018, the year prior to Parasite.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm took over the culture for a minute or two back in the fall of 2020, not just because Sasha Baron-Cohen as a knack for this with his comedic stylings, but because timing is... everything. In the heat of an election cycle, Borat went for the jugular and put American culture on its heels once again. Hear how the editors saw it and pieced it together.  All three of these guys have had amazing careers both with Cohen and on their own. They haven't just been cutting Cohen's work, but much of the BEST comedy to come from the last decade-plus. They talk about working with Cohen, working with comedic genius of all variety, and finding the keys to keeping a story that shifts between scripted and non working in all the most important ways.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This week on the No Film School Podcast: can an AI do a decent job writing additional scenes for Lady Bird? In our final segment, the creators of the new app Dynascore join us to explain how AI can help create music that fits your video. Also: some hot takes on why adding product placement to classic films may not be the craziest or worst idea ever. Please email us any questions at! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Concrete Cowboy is a true story, a labor of love, and a star-studded debut. Writer/Director Ricky Staub cared about this story enough to invest a lot of time in bringing it to life. That care paid off when he got the chance to have his feature film debut with Concrete Cowboy for Netflix, starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin. I spoke to Ricky about the unique process of getting this story to the screen, and how he crafted the look with DP Minka Farthing-Kohl and veteran DI Mike Sowa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On this week's episode of the No Film School Podcast, we tackle the prickly subject of the upcoming Will Smith project 'Emancipation' choosing not to shoot in Georgia because of its recent election law. Also, Bong Joon-Ho offers some wisdom at a Chapman University Forum about how to deal with current events in movies. In Tech News: DJI drops a *ridiculous* new drone. And for Ask No Film School, we address the urgent question of how to break in at the entry level (which is harder than you might think) with some actionable advice. Please email us any questions at! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Darius Wolski has a resume as eye-popping as many of the tentpole movies he's lensed. He's been a longtime collaborator of Ridley Scott's as well as Paul Greengrass, demonstrating that Wolski can get an amazing job done in a wide-ranging variety of styles.  He breaks down shooting Hanks starrer News of the World, how he and Tim Burton survived experimental phases of shooting in 3D, how he works with one legendary director after another, and makes sure he helps them achieve their varied visions. Note: please excuse the audio on this episode - which had to be recorded entirely over Zoom. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Joined once again by Katherine Tolentino, this week on the No Film School Podcast: Ryan Coogler reveals an admirable distaste for the Oscars and Netflix gives an astonishingly phat new paycheck to Rian Johnson for two 'Knives Out' sequels. In Tech Talk, Charles explains exactly how autofocus works. For Ask No Film School, a question about the default shutter speed on your camera. Please email us any questions at! *Note: this podcast was recorded remotely, please forgive the minor background noise in some of the audio. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
What does it mean to never have a plan B? For veteran award winning DP Nancy Schreiber it meant continuing the grind, but also adjusting to the opportunities and realities she was presented with. How can you do the same? When getting DP jobs was less likely because of her gender, she took more gaffing jobs. When she got the chance to shoot video (VHS or otherwise) she grabbed it, and she wrote her own playbook on how to make it look good. She expanded on that as the video medium expanded. Continuing to shoot on her beloved celluloid, but also winning AWARDS for shooting on... wait for it... MiniDV.  Nancy is a true veteran of the industry, one of the first few female members of the ASC, and a trailblazer to this day. Best of all she's humble, positive, and excited about all the new projects on her slate of all variety. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (12)

Judith T.

Erred weqaw will kqq with q

Nov 10th

Cameron Lao-Gosney


Jul 21st
Reply (1)

ActionStudio ActionCinema

Tell that clown talking about his fake cinematography to leave politics out of this

Jul 16th
Reply (1)

GT Skinner

Are the links &/or examples referenced as being made available happening anytime soon?

Jun 11th

Buddy Hammond

We shall see.🏁

Oct 2nd
Reply (1)

lhayou666 _*

u have coolll videos!!

Sep 16th

Samrat Dabhi

thank you for sharing

Jul 2nd


the title of this podcast is not a good fit for what this podcast is mainly about

Dec 31st
Reply (1)
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