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What is Result Directing and Why You Should Avoid It

There are movies where the actor’s performance is so artificial, it made the movie boring, predictable and unwatchable. There are also movies where the actor performed so naturally, you wonder if the actor actually had a real-world experience that he/she is bringing to the role. More often than not, the reason for bad acting on screen is Result Directiing.


Credit: Lux

What is Result Directing?

It means the director of a movie getting the actors to perform by describing the result he/she is after. For example, a director telling an actor, can you be a bit angrier, can you give it more energy, tone it down, or enter the room with more menace.

Actors act without thinking about how their emotions will affect their performance. They don’t think about how their emotions or behavior will appear on camera. It’s a natural instinct. Giving an end goal result will do more damage than good to the actor. What it does is to make the actor find a way to make it work with the end result in mind. It becomes vague, general, directionless and the actor begins to wonder what he is doing. It ends up becoming a guessing game between the actor and director.

Now the actor becomes more self-aware and watches his performance. He has to look for a way to act the way the director wants. Most times, in an effort for him to look more serious, angry or sad, the reverse is usually the case. He ends up looking funny or happy. This is because he’s more concentrated on delivering the result rather than acting out in a natural way. Actors especially the new ones in the industry don’t end up reaching their full potential. They work with one too many result oriented directors.

There are alternative ways directors can get actors to act the way they want. The preferred alternative is by offering the actor a “playable direction”.

Playable Direction

What this means for the director is describing results which are “playable” to the actor. He can use facts, events, verbs, objectives etc. to describe instructions. For example, instead of asking the actor to be angrier, the director can ask him to act as though someone else maltreated or punished him. This brings a genuine and natural performance from the actor.

The relationship that exists between a director and an actor is so critical. Result directing can go a long way in damaging such relationship. The bottom line is directors have to cultivate the habit of talking to their actors. There must be a connection. This allows them to understand each other better. The actors will also know what to expect from the directors.

Some actors may think that result-oriented direction is what they need. But in the real sense, it affects their performance. They are unable to achieve the full potential of what that movie role might have provided.

As for directors, take a step back, see things from the perspective of the actors. Work together to make that movie a success!

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Joss Whedon Screenplays (Download)

Joss Whedon is responsible for some of the greatest sci-fi universes of all time. He not only wrote and created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was turned into a feature film and a wildly successful television series but he also created fan favorite Firefly.

With such sci-fi street cred, he was invited by Marvel to bring The Avengersto the big screen. The film went on to be the third biggest movie in Hollywood history. Joss Whedon also added his sensibility to the Oscar® Winning Toy Story.  There is a lot to learn from reading his screenplays. Before you dive into Joss Whedon Screenplays, take a watch to Joss discussing his career below. Enjoy!,

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. Hart, David Chase, John August, Oliver Stone and more.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).


BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER  (1992)

Screenplay by Joss Whedon – Read the screenplay!

TOY STORY (1995)

Screenplay by Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, and Alec Sokolow – Read the screenplay!

ALIEN: RESURRECTION (1997)

Screenplay by Joss Whedon – Read the screenplay!

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – TV PILOT (1997)

Screenplay by Joss Whedon – Read the screenplay!

FIREFLY – TV PILOT (2002)

Screenplay by Joss Whedon – Read the screenplay!

SERENITY (2005)

Screenplay by Joss Whedon – Read the transcript!

WONDER WOMAN – UNPRODUCED (2006)

Screenplay by Joss Whedon – Read the transcript!

DOLLHOUSE – TV PILOT (2009)

Screenplay by Joss Whedon – Read the screenplay!

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (2012)

Screenplay by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard – Read the screenplay!

THE AVENGERS (2012)

Screenplay by Joss Whedon – Read the screenplay!

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015)

Screenplay by Joss Whedon- (Just a piece)  Read the screenplay!

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William Goldman Screenplays (Download)

William Goldman is a legend in the film industry. He’s a screenwriter but also a best selling novelist. He has written some of the best films of the 60’s and 70’s. Screenwriters should read and take notes on how he structures his screenplays. The screenplays below are the only ones available for free online.

If you are a screenwriter you also should take a look at his definitive work on the screenwriting craft, Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. Hart, David Chase, John August, Oliver Stone and more.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).


BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969)

Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!

ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN (1976)

Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!

MARATHON MAN (1976)

Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!

MAGIC (1978)

Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!

THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS (1982)

Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!

THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987)

Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!

MISERY (1990)

Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!

MAVERICK (1994)

Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the transcript!

ABSOLUTE POWER (1996)

Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!

DREAMCATCHER (2003)

Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay! 

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Shane Black Screenplays (Download)

Shane Black Screenplays have been studied for decades now. He’s the screenwriter of Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang just to name a few. For a time he held the record for the biggest payday of any screenwriter in Hollywood History (The Long Kiss Goodnight for $4 Million). He started the crazy 90’s spec script gold rush where spec scripts were being sold for millions almost on a weekly schedule.

If you want to learn how to write hard-boiled dialog and amazing action Shane Black screenplays are required reading.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. Hart, David Chase, John August, Oliver Stone and more.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).


LETHAL WEAPON  (1986)

Screenplay by Shane Black – Read the screenplay!

THE MONSTER SQUAD (1987)

Screenplay by Fred Dekker and Shane Black – Read the screenplay!

LETHAL WEAPON 2 (1989)

Screenplay by Shane Black – Read the screenplay!

THE LAST BOY SCOUT (1991)

Screenplay by Shane Black – Read the screenplay!

LAST ACTION HERO (1993)

Screenplay by Shane Black – Read the screenplay!

THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (1996)

Screenplay by Shane Black – Read the screenplay!

KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005)

Screenplay by Shane Black – Read the screenplay!

IRON MAN 3 (2013)

Screenplay by Shane Black – Read the transcript!

THE NICE GUYS (2016)

Screenplay by Shane Black & Anthony Bagarozzi – Read the screenplay! 

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Wes Anderson Screenplays (Download)

Wes Anderson has created a unique writing and directing style that is exclusively his. You know that you are watching a Wes Anderon film or reading a Wes Ander Screenplay from the first minute.

I put together this screenwriting resource for you to dive into Wes’ world. His style and technique is something we all can learn from. Take a listen to what makes a good film below. Enjoy!

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. Hart, David Chase, John August, Oliver Stone and more.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).

BOTTLE ROCKET  (1996)

Screenplay by Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson – Read the screenplay!

RUSHMORE (1998)

Screenplay by Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson – Read the screenplay!

THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (2001)

Screenplay by Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson – Read the screenplay!

THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU (2004)

Screenplay by Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach – Read the screenplay!

FANTASTIC MR. FOX (2007)

Screenplay by Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach (story by Roald Dahl) – Read the screenplay!

THE DARJEELING LIMITED (2007)

Screenplay by Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman – Read the screenplay!

MOONRISE KINGDOM (2012)

Screenplay by Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola – Read the screenplay!

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (2014)

Screenplay by Wes Anderson – Read the screenplay!

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  • Oscar Contenders/Winners + Over 600 More Film Scripts
  • Top 10 Most Wanted TV Pilot Scripts
  • Superhero Origin Scripts
  • Christopher Nolan
  • Quentin Tarantino
  • The Coen Brothers
  • Aaron Sorkin
  • Stanley Kubrick
  • Charlie Kaufman
  • Wes Anderson
  • Shane Black
  • William Goldman
  • Guillermo del Toro
  • Darren Aronofsky
  • Michael Mann
  • Diablo Cody
  • James Cameron
  • Pixar Screenplay Collection
  • Richard Linklater
  • Alexander Payne
  • Jason Reitman
  • Sofia Coppola
  • Cameron Crowe
  • Walter Hill
  • Joss Whedon
  • Kevin Smith
  • Daniel Waters
  • Greta Gerwig
  • Francis Ford Coppola
  • David Fincher Film’s Collection
  • Frank Darabont
  • Steven Spielberg
  • David Lynch
  • Nora Ephron
  • Breaking Bad Script Collection
  • Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Ridley Scott
  • Tim Burton
  • Top 10 Most Wanted TV Pilot Scripts
  • M. Night Shyamalan
  • Martin Scorsese
  • SHORTCODE - TV SCRIPTS

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    Learn from the best storytellers and television writers working in Hollywood today. Netflix, NBC, Hulu, HBOMax, Amazon, CBS and more.

    Charlie Kaufman Screenplays (Download)

    Charlie Kaufman is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. His work is so uniquely his that you can tell you are reading a Kaufman script within the first page. His breakout screenplay Being John Malkovich established him as a creative force in Hollywood.

    Charlie is one of the most celebrated screenwriters of his era., being nominated for four Acadamy Awards, twice for Best Original Screenplay Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (he won the Oscar® for latter). You can learn volumes about pace, structure, and dialog just by reading his screenplays.

    When you are done reading take a listen to Apple #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. Hart, David Chase, John August, Oliver Stone and more.

    (NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).

    SCANNER DARKLY (1997)

    Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman (Unproduced Draft) – Read the screenplay!

    BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (1999)

    Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

    HUMAN NATURE (2001)

    Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

    ADAPTATION (2002)

    Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

    CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND (2002)

    Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

    ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004)

    **Won an Oscar® for Best Screenplay** Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

    SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK (2008)

    Screenplay by Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman – Read the screenplay!

    ANOMALISA (2015)

    Screenplay by Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman- Read the screenplay!

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    Stanley Kubrick Screenplays (Download)

    Stanley Kubrick is, without question, one of the titans of cinema. His style, unique approach, and genre-jumping abilities are legendary. Known as mostly a director and producer, Kubrick wrote or co-wrote most of his masterpieces. When reading his screenplays you get a small window into the man himself. I love reading one of his scripts, then watching the film right away to see how it all panned out.

    Before you jump into reading Stanley Kubrick’s Screenplays, take a listen to this rare interview of a 37-year-old Kubrick.

    (NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).

    KILLER’S KISS (1955)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Howard Sackler – Read the screenplay!

    THE KILLING (1956)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Jim Thompson – Read the screenplay!

    PATHS OF GLORY (1957)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Humphrey Cobb, Jim Thompson, and Calder Willingham – Read the screenplay!

    SPARTACUS (1960)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Dalton Trumbo, Peter Ustinov, Calder Willingham – Read the screenplay!

    LOLITA (1962)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Vladimir Nabokov and James B. Harris – Read the screenplay!

    DR. STRANGELOVE OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING & LOVE THE BOMB (1964)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Peter George and Terry Southern – Read the screenplay!

    2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clark- Read the screenplay!

    A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick – Read the screenplay!

    BARRY LYNDON (1975)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick – Read the screenplay!

    THE SHINING (1980)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson – Read the screenplay!

    FULL METAL JACKET (1987)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick,  Michael Herr and Gustav Hasford – Read the screenplay!

    EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick & Frederic Raphael – Read the screenplay!

    NAPOLEON (Never Produced)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick – Read the screenplay!

    THE GERMAN LIEUTENANT (Never Produced)

    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick – Read the screenplay!

    A.I: ARTIFICAL INTELLEGENCE (1987)

    Story by Stanley Kubrick – Screenplay by Ian Watson & Brian Aldiss Read the screenplay!

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    Aaron Sorkin Screenplays (Download)

    Aaron Sorkin is a giant in the screenwriting world. You know you are reading a Sorkin script just by how the characters are speaking. His dialog is legendary. He created or perfected the “walk and talk.” Sorkin doesn’t just write screenplays, he has created some of the best-written shows in television history.

    Aaron Sorkin also teaches an amazing Screenwriting MasterClass. To learn more about this game-changing course click here.

    When you are done reading take a listen to Apple #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. Hart, David Chase, John August, Oliver Stone and more.

    (NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).


    A FEW GOOD MEN (1992)

    Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!

    THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT (1995)

    Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!

    SPORTS NIGHT (Television) (1998-2000)

    Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin –TV Pilot and Episode

    THE WEST WING (Television) (1999-2006)

    Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the TV Pilot!

    STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP (Television) (2006-2007)

    Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the TV Pilot!

    CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR (2007)

    Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!

    THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)

    **Won the Oscar** Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!

    MONEYBALL (2011)

    Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin –  Read the screenplay!

    NEWSROOM (Television) (2012-2014)

    Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the TV Pilot!

    STEVE JOBS (2015)

    Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!

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    Spike Jonze: Breaking Down His Visual & Storytelling Style

    Born as Adam Spiegel, on the 22nd of October 1969 in Rockville, Maryland this talented screenwriter, producer, director and actor grew up in Bethesda, Maryland and Gulph Mills in Pennsylvania. His father, Arthur H. Speigel happened to be a distant relative of Speigel Catalogue family making Adam an heir to its catalog fortune.

    By the time he was attending Walt Whitman High School, he spent quite a lot of time at the Bethesda community store and Mike Henderson, the former owner nicknamed him Spike Jonze in reference with Spike Jones. Jonze studied at the San Francisco Art Institute. He adjoined Club Homeboy, which was an international BMX Club with Mark Lewman and Andy Jenkins both of them were co-editors of Freestylin’, a biker’s magazine from the mid to the late 80s. And there was Jonze working as a photographer.

    The youth culture magazines Homeboy and Dirt was created by these three. Jonze was the co-founder and lead editor of the Dirt Magazine. Dirt was a spin-off of the popular teen magazine aimed at the teenage male readers.

    He also happened to be the editor for Grand Royal Magazine as well as the senior photographer for Transworld Skateboarding. Homeboy was named as Sassy Magazine for boys which happened to be published by the same publisher and company and that was distributed in cellophane bags for young ladies.

    Right after his graduation from high school, Jonze, who was 17 year old, moved to Los Angeles and that is where he started working as an editorial assistant at Freestylin’.Spike’s first music break came in 1992 when he was employed to shoot a video footage of skateboarding for the Sonic Youth’s “100%”.

    Jonze has numerous music videos, commercials, feature films, short films credited to his name. His big break was a video for the Beastie Boys song “Sabotage” which won 4 MTV Video Music Awards and one of them was for the best director. It was an inspired take off on the 1970s cop shows.

    In the same year though, Jonze strengthened his repute and shone his creativity and innovation by a very interesting and attention grabbing video for the Weezer’s “Buddy Holly”. In the video, the alternative band performed their all-time hit single in the middle of what happened to be the episode of the 1970s sitcom Happy Days.

    Throughout the 90’s he kept on directing several music videos and television commercials.

    All through the era of the 1990s, Jonze kept his hands full by directing a number of music videos for many significant and prominent artists which included the Breeders, Puff Daddy, Chemical Brothers, R.E.M, and Bjork. Not only music videos, but Spike Jonze made a name for himself in the television commercial industry as well for brands like Nike, Sprite, Nissan and Coca Cola.

    Jonze’s talent wasn’t limited and he showed his skill on the other side of the camera as well. For a TV spot for Levi’s 501, he was dragged behind a van and also did few parts in Mi Vida Loca (1993) and The Game (1997).

    Having numerous alter egos, Jonze also one named Richard Koufey who is a raging leader of the Torrance Community Dance group, which happens to be an urban troupe that exhibits its dancing skills in public spaces.

    The persona of “Koufey” made an appearance when Jonze, pulling a Daniel-Day Lewis and being completely in character, shot himself dancing to The Rockfellar Skank of Fatboy Slim as it was being played on a boom box. Jonze then showed the video to Slim who also appeared in the video briefly.

    While directing the 1999 video for the hit single of the British DJ Fatboy Slim “Praise You”, Jonze arranged a group of dancers to perform to the song outside the Westwood California movie theatre and then filmed the performance.

    The result? Again a huge success and “Koufey” and his troupe were then graciously called to New York City to perform the popular song for the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. The video was so much praised and loved that it earned three awards in total which were all received by Jonze still in character. Jonze won Best Direction, Best Choreography, and Breakthrough for the video. This was an incredible feat.

    Jonze also made a mockumentary kind of thing regarding the experience called Torrance Rises. This also was award winning and won the Best Short Form Music Video at the 2001 Grammy Awards for the Weapon of Choice.

    In the former years, Spike used to shoot street skateboarding videos particularly Blind’s Videos Days in 1991 and also the Lakai Footwear’s Fully Flared in 2007. The co-direction of the Girl Skateboards film Yeah Right! as well as the Chocolate Skateboards music video, Hot Chocolate is also credited to Jonze. He also happens to be the co-owner of Girl Skateboards and he’s shown doing a crazy heel flip in loafers in the closing credits of Yeah Right!

    Spike Jonze was nominated by the prestigious Directors Guild of America in the year 2006 for “Outstanding Achievement in TV Commercials in 2005”. Jonze was also nominated for a body of work which included Pardon Our Dust for The Gap. Hello Tomorrow for Adidas and Lamp for IKEA.

    He produced as well as co-created MTV television series Jackass and Jackass; The Movie and also directed few of his segments. It doesn’t end here. Spike Jonze has a talent for almost everything. He has also acted in some films and videos too.

    Shortly in 1997, when a deal fell through to direct a $25 million adaptation of the children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon, Jonze got himself a production and development deal with the Propaganda Films.

    The year 1999 brought with it Jonze’s most prominent and memorable work and performance. Spike completely proved that he was jack of all trades. A multi-talented Jonze made an incredible performance not only as a director but also as an actor by playing the role was of a sweet, casually racist and a dimwitted Conrad in the Three Kings co-starring George Clooney, Ice Cube, Mark Wahlberg. Spike Jonze received critical praise for his performance as the Gulf War soldier Conrad Vig.

    His first feature film and first full-length directorial effort, was Being John Malkovich in 1999 which got him an Academy Award nomination for the best director, also gained a lot of positive response. This marvel of eccentric, and extremely smart existential comedy starred the John Cusack, Catherine Keener and Cameron Diaz as New Yorkers who happen to gain access into the mind of a supposed thespian John Malkovich, who plays himself. Jonze earned various honors for his efforts in this film.

    Later he directed Adaptation (2002) which starred Nicholas Cage, Tilda Swinton, and Meryl Streep. Both of these movies were penned by Charlie Kaufman. Then he began movies where he himself wrote the screenplays. He also produced a movie Human Nature in 2000. He wrote screenplays for Where the Wild Things Are (2009) and Her[ (2013). Where the Wild Things Are was his most wanted film to date, and it was the result of a decade long extreme efforts and collaboration with the author of the famed children’s book, Maurice Sendak. The film earned a lot of praise and quite favorable reviews generally and also made its way to the end of year top ten list of many critics.

    Her can be called as the 21st-century romantic comedy and it starred Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Scarlett Johansson and Olivia Wilde. It was a science fiction romance film. The plot is about a man (Phoenix) who develops a relationship with a notably humanistic and intuitive female voice named Samantha (Johansson) which was produced by a very top technology and advanced computer operating system.

    For his remarkable work and effort which he did on Her, Jonze was awarded the 2014 Golden Globe Award for the best screenplay as well as the 2014 Oscar for his originality and won best original screenplay which was Jonze’s first Oscar. Her also made it to the Oscar nomination for the best picture but couldn’t win and lost to 12 Years a Slave.

    Jonze has been the creative director at VBS.tv since 2007 which is an online television network funded by MTV. He was also a part of the Detour-Moleskin project in the same year which invites authors to compile as well as illustrate Moleskin notebooks so as to offer an insight to the artists’ creative procedure.

    Bjork contributed to the theme song for Being John Malkovich and is good friends with Jonze and he works with her often.

    Jonze directed the music video for Otis in 2011 which was the second single from Jay-Z and Kanye West. Jonze also played a role in 2013 famous, The Wolf of Wall Street.

    “If you compromise what you’re trying to do just a little bit, you’ll end up compromising a little more the next day or the next week, and when you lift your head you’re suddenly really far away from where you’re trying to go.”
    — Spike Jonze

    IFH 160: Edward Burns – The Craft of the Low Budget Indie Film (The Brothers McMullen 2.0)

    Right-click here to download the MP3

    The 1995 film The Brothers McMullen was a game-changer. Not only did it start off the career of one of the most talented independent filmmakers, Edward Burns, but it also set a new avenue of possibilities for filmmakers everywhere. No longer did they need to hope for a big-name and big-budget studio to carry their story. Instead, filmmakers were given the hope to have their stories heard through a new avenue- the independent market. This is the story of how one small film that cost just $28,000 to make, paved the way to the indy film market AND earned more than $10-million while doing it!

    Instead, filmmakers were given the hope to have their stories heard through a new avenue- the independent market. This is the story of how one small film that cost just $28,000 to make, paved the way to the indie film market AND earned more than $10-million while doing it!

    What made The Brothers McMullen so game-changing was its production details. Formerly, movies were required to go through the writing stage, the casting stage, filming stage, post-production and of course, planned release. All of these were carried out by big-budget studios, taking a chance on their directors, actors, and producers—hoping for the best. That is a model that started in the early 1900s and carried through until landmark films and more importantly, landmark filmmakers challenged that model. The Brothers McMullen is a perfect example of pushing the envelope in terms of film production.

    It was the spring of 1993 when film-lover Ed Burns first took to the task of writing his own production. He was employed at the television show “Entertainment Tonight”, as a production assistant, but longed to move into his true love- film. After writing the story of three brothers, he filmed it using 16mm film at his own home and around his neighborhood. Of course, at the time, it wasn’t unheard of to film a movie but to expect any type of commercial success –outside the neighborhood of family and friends—was a complete impossibility. Burns didn’t believe that.

    Of course, at the time, it wasn’t unheard of to film a movie but to expect any type of commercial success –outside the neighborhood of family and friends—was a complete impossibility. Burns didn’t believe that.

    Alex Ferrari 0:00
    Now, today's show, guys, I wanted to talk about a guy that you guys probably know about. His name is Edward Burns. He's a very famous actor and a director. He's one of those kind of legendary guys from the 90s, who had one of those mythical stories of a guy winning Sundance and going off to this amazing career. And the movie he made was the brothers macmullan. Now if you guys have not seen the brothers macmullan you definitely got to check it out. I'll leave links to every movie that I want to talk about everything that I'm gonna talk about in the show notes at indie film, hustle.com Ford slash 160. So I wanted to get that out of the way. So I could just talk shop here. So Ed burns made this movie called The brother took mall and he made it for about 28 grand. Now back in 1995. That was the equivalent of Kevin Smith making his clerks movie for 23 grand and Robert for making his Robert Rodriguez making and mariachi for seven grand and so on. So it was it was the thing he shot it all on film. And he was working as a PA, for entertainment tonight. And the story goes, that he actually made this movie, he borrowed money from his family, his friends and and made the got the 28 grand shot with film shot with short ends. He would edit his film on beta tape after hours at Entertainment Tonight, and he was just you know, killing himself for about eight months. Then one day that he was on a crew that was interviewing Robert Redford. So he literally brought a copy of his movie that he had caught at that point, had a VHS copy of it and literally ran up to Robert after the interview in the elevator and said, Mr. Redford, here's my movie, I really want you to see it. Robert Redford said thank you very much. He headed to assistant the doors close. And he said, Well, nothing will ever happen from that. Now a few weeks later, it gets a call from Greg Gilmore, who is the Sundance who was the Sundance program director. And he asked him, Hey, is your movie done? And he's like, Oh, yes, it is. Of course it goes well, we'd like to see a final version of this. And one thing led to another they got into the festival. And that kind of started getting things crazy. Because back then, you know, getting into Sundance, you know, you were it was a much bigger deal than it is now don't get me wrong. Getting into Sundance today is still a big deal. But the buying frenzies and things like that were not the same as they are now they were just insane. Back then people were getting deals left and right just because you were in Sundance, so he thought he was very happy to be there. And he got it sold to Fox Searchlight, which was just starting I was a little company at the time, a little indie version, an indie company that was owned by 20th Century Fox and brothers and while that was going to be the first release, he never thought in a million years that he would actually win Sundance, but he did. He was Best Picture that year, and you went crazy. And the rest of his career was launched. He went on to make I think 12 million $13 million on a brothers with Marlon for the first release. Then he got a big studio movie, which was I think about another $15 million at the time with little unknown people like Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston and an amazing cast and he any any kind of went on to do very well as not only a director but also as an actor. He wasn't Saving Private Ryan and so on. Now, I'm sure you're asking yourselves Alex, why are you talking about this guy right now? What what's so like, that's great. I don't have 28 grand and it's not 1995. So why are you talking about what what's the big deal? I'm like, well, the one thing that Edward Burns has been doing over the course of the last decade, is he still has been making these small indie movies. And as technology has changed, so has he. His movies been ranging anywhere from 25 grand all the way down to nine grand, which he made a movie called newlyweds for nine grand shot it in 11 days, and he shot it on a Canon five D and he had a three man crew now. I have since then, since kind of falling back into the Edward Bernays world. I've gone back and re watched a ton of his independent movies. And his DVDs are just plumb filled to the brim with indie film nuggets of gold knowledge bombs, and his director commentary he is so open, so free with the information that he gives you, because he really truly wants to help you as a filmmaker. And they're amazing. And they're dirt cheap. I mean, dirt cheap guys, you know, talking about two cents, plus shipping on Amazon dirt cheap. And he also wrote a book called independent Ed, which chronicles all of these movies and how he made each movie the struggles he had with each of these movies over the last decade of all the way from brothers McMullan all the way currently, I think I think it was 2013 2014 when he's making Fitzgeralds of family Christmas, which was his last big indie that he did before he did a show on TNT. And I did read that book, and it is mandatory reading for anybody in the indie film hustle tribe, this book has to be read by everyone listening to my voice right now. It is a game changer kind of book. Same goes for Rebel Without a crew, Robert Rodriguez, his book, and a couple other books, and I'm actually gonna start doing some more books stuff. Because I think books have been such an important part of my growth as a filmmaker and as a as a person, that I think I'm gonna start highlighting books coming going forward in the months and hopefully years to come. But this book is accompanied with multiple films that you can watch with multiple commentaries. And he has in his book, he goes over the Macmillan 2.0, which are the rules that he basically follows, to make an independent film in a truly independent film. Now mind you, you're saying, oh, but he's a big actor. Now he think he might be a big actor, man. But you know what people don't want to give, you know, people, it's hard, it's still hard to get a couple million dollars to make a movie even with an ED burns attached, you know, especially the kind of movies he wants to make, which are smaller movies that are not like big action movies, or genre movies, he's figuring out a way to do it himself. So the rules of the Macmillan 2.0 are very simple. actors would have to work for virtually nothing pretty much scale, which is above about a buck 25. Now for sag, sag ultra low budget contract, the film should take no longer than 12 days to film, do not shoot any more than with a three man crew. Actors use their own clothes. So there's no wardrobe. actors do their own hair and makeup. you beg, borrow and steal every location you can get your hands on. And one of the tips that Ed talks about in his book, and I've done this as well, and it does work is you promise the owner of the restaurant or the supermarket or whatever, you give them a big establishing shot in the movie, you promise them that you will have their name of their of their restaurant in the movie in a big establishing shot. And a lot of times that does work. And finally, use every resource that you have at your disposal. I was talking to a filmmaker the other day, who wanted to make a certain kind of movie. And I said, well wait a minute before you go down this road that you have really no resources in, what do you do? And he said, he was like, I'm a tattoo artist. And I said, Well, why don't you make a movie about that? You know that world very well. You have access to things like a tattoo shop and resources in that world that I don't have access to if I was going to start doing the movie about tattooing, it cost me a lot more than it would cost him so I said also by the way you pretty you know that market very well. Don't you do those? Yeah, I do. I know tattoo. Very well I know, the customers who you know my customers and the world of tattooing, the subculture of tattooing, I'm like, well, wouldn't it be easier to sell a movie to that culture, to that subculture to that audience, because you know, that audience, you have connections in that audience, you can spread the word in that audience, so much easier than you could try to make a generic horror movie, or a romantic comedy. And he's like, My God, you're right. So he took his resources, and he's gonna take his resources that he has, right, something around those resources, and then sell it to that audience, which is like, the bone is on top of it all. You know, Robert Rodriguez, and I've said this a million times on the show, he said, I have a Mexican town, I've got a police department that will let me borrow their guns. I've got a guitar case, I got a pitbull and a turtle. And let's go make a movie. And that's basically what he did with El Mariachi. It's not brain surgery, but you've just got to have the balls to go out there and do it. It you know, so when I went out and made mag, I did the exact same thing. I was like, we shot the movie in eight days, what of our resources, I'm like, well, Joe had access to amazing talent that we can bring into the project. Great, I have all my posts, I have all my camera gear, I have locations, I'll use my house, my edit suite. So it has production value, oh, shoot that scene in the back room over there that will shoot at your house and we'll shoot at your friend's Mansion House, then we'll go over here, then we'll go hike up to the Hollywood Hill, hollywood Hollywood sign and we'll shoot a scene up there and all of this stuff. And we wrote the whole script around what we had access to. And we did it pretty close to a three man crew, I think at the most heaviest day, we had a four four person crew meaning you know, me, Austin, which was my camera gaffer and a second camera and gaffer and the sound guy slash grip. And that's basically the core team and myself as the the first camera. And that was basically it. And then Jill did a craft services with me and, and she, she did this late. And then occasionally we had a PA once in a blue moon, we had somebody just kind of moving things around as a separate a second body. But generally we did that three man crew, and it is possible to do and when I release this as Meg, you'll see what we were able to do in eight days, not saying it's a greatest movie of all time, not saying it's it's gonna blow anybody out of the water or change the industry by any stretch. But we got something done. We made a good movie, at least a movie that I enjoy. And we're putting it out there. And guess what I made a feature film, I finally could put that on my resume that I've made a feature film that I'm proud of. And that's all we can hope to do. And if I one person out there likes it, which I know one person that's not my mom, like that out there already. Who has seen it from the festival experience. That's great. You know what, and like I've said before, I have no attachments to what happens with Meg. But to go back to what Ed was talking about is these rules. This macmullan 2.0 is a blueprint to go out and make a movie. Case in point, Jim de Flaco, who is a tribe member and made his first feature film, Long Island love story and used everything that Edward Byrne said in his book to make his movie, he shot his movie for 6000 bucks. It's an 82 minute movie shot in 11 days. And he did exactly what I did with a lot of his movies. And I'll put a link up to to the article that he wrote on how he made that movie. in the show notes. Once again, the show notes, any film hustle.com for slash 160 the end of the day, guys is I can talk to you guys about making movies all day long. I can give you advice on how to go out and oh, you could do this or you could do that and you can save money here. You can get this deal there. And you can get actors doing this way you could do write that script doing that way I can talk about that all day, all day for the rest of my life. The bottom line is you've got to get up off your ass and go make your movie. Go make your series go make something for God's sakes and stop waiting around. It's not about tomorrow. It's about now stop listen to that little voice inside of you. That's always kind of negotiating with you like oh well maybe next week we'll work on that script or maybe next week we'll we'll go out and start looking into cameras and and are going to find actors or developing that or doing that maybe next week Not right now cuz you got this this this or this. And if you think you got excuses all my life's too tough. I've got kids. I've got this. Tolstoy. Leo Tolstoy who wrote war in peace had 13 kids, Stephen King wrote carry on a typewriter that he held on his lap while working a night job at a laundry mat. If there is a will, there is a way. I don't want to hear any effin excuses. All right, you've got to get up and go do and if you can make $1,000 movie like Mark duplass says then make $1,000 movie if you can make a 9000 $1,000 movie, like Ed burns did, then do it. When you're done listening to this episode, guys, definitely go to the show notes. And there's a huge article about brothers with molan, how it was made. And also Ed burns and how he developed and does his work as well. Plus a ton of interviews and videos and tips that Edward gives you. They're all in that post. So thank you guys for listening. So, so much. As I said, Before, we are going to be releasing Meg, this is made in August. I'm hoping in the beginning, it's in the first week of August, I'm not sure just yet, we just got to get confirmation back from iTunes. Once it comes out, you're going to get sick of hearing about it until it gets released. Because we're going to try to do something very, very interesting with this as Meg, we're going to try to break iTunes. And I'm going to talk more about how I'm going to do that in the future. And also, I have a really special episode coming up on the podcast. That is has something to do with what stops us from being creative, and what stops us from moving forward. And it was a book that I read that I won't talk about just yet because I want to save it for the podcast. But it's a book that kind of has changed my life and has changed the way I look at everything that I do. But keep an eye out for that because I am going to be doing a special podcast and the next couple next couple of weeks. And I got a bunch of really cool interviews coming up as well. So if you like this episode, or you'd like to show in general, please head over to filmmaking podcast calm and leave us an honest review. It really helps to show out a lot. And please don't forget to spread the word man spread the word about the show about the website. I want as much of this information to get out to filmmakers who needed as possible. So thank you again so much for your support. And thank you for listening. And as always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.

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