Tag Archives: Filmmaking

Cuts & Transitions

In filmmaking there are three stages: Pre-production, which is the planning stage; Production, which is shooting the raw footage; and Post-Production, editing it all together.  In a perfect world all your footage would edit together seamlessly as if it was one long, continuous shot and the movie would be done as soon as you filmed it.  Meanwhile, here in the real world, it is in the editing room where the movie is really made – not in the writing or planning and not even on set when the cameras are rolling. The real movie magic begins in the editing room.

Like a giant puzzle the editor must put all the pieces together to form a complete story, and he or she does this by cutting and transitioning from one piece of raw footage to the next.  The type of cut or transition you use should not be because it would look cool, it should reinforce the scene and the story as a whole. There are so many different types of cuts and transitions to choose from it can be a bit overwhelming. Knowing what they are and how the work on other films is a good starting point

In the video below, Director/Editor Joey Scoma lists and defines the different cuts and transitions available to you as an editor, with examples from classic and modern films. I thinks it’s a great video for anyone interested in getting into filmmaking because chances are, as a indie filmmaker you’ll be the one editing your first few shorts or movies.

Learning how to cut in your software of choice is not nearly as important and learning what type of cut or transition to use… and why.

Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for short films, audio short stories and the complete audiobook version of Dead Hunt.

So You Wanna be a Filmmaker?

Filming THE AMGYDALA PROJECT was more than just fun and fulfilling… it was a great learning experience. I learned more on set filming it than I did watching the hundreds of hours of filmmaking videos and tutorials leading up to the project.

A photo posted by Kenn Crawford (@kenncrawford) on

I didn’t actually keep track of how many books, videos and podcasts I studied over the years, but suffice it to say that reading, watching or listening is still no substitute to actually Doing.

If you want to be a filmmaker you have to make films. It really is that simple.

THE FINAL GOODBYE was my first film – a no-budget, 8-minute short about a war vet filled with darkness and sorrow when he visits his mother’s grave to say one final goodbye. I’ve shot countless hours of videos, took tens of thousands of pictures as a photographer, and I directed comedy shows, but filmmaking is another matter entirely.  Everything I learned over the years had served me well and gave me a great foundation, but being on set and yelling “Action” is when your real education begins.

A few people have asked me how they could get into filmmaking and my answer is always the same: Write a great script. Not a good script, not a script that just needs a little work, a great script. It has to be perfect.  Once you have the perfect script, gather up your friends and shoot it.

It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. You’ll make mistakes and things will go wrong but guess what? That’s how you make better films – by making mistakes. By getting knocked down, getting back up, dusting yourself off, and doing it again. And again. And again.

If your movie would be awesome if you could get so-and-so to act in it – you need to write a better script. If all you need is _______ to make your movie – write a better script. They say you’re only as good as your weakest link and believe me your script better not be anything but the strongest link!

Great actors cannot bring life to a dull script. Expensive cameras, the most kick-ass locations, and having a special effects wizard on speed dial will not make a great film – only the script can help you do that so it has to be perfect.

With free screenwriting software like Celtx available for PCs and Mac, as well as apps for Android and iOS, there is no excuse why you cannot be sitting down right now and writing your perfect screenplay.

When you’re ready to start filming forget about needing this or needing that – use what you have, even if all you have is an iphone. Remember, TANGERINE, a film that won 22 awards, was shot entirely on iPhones. So tell me again why you can’t make your movie?

So you wanna be a filmmaker? Then stop thinking about being a filmmaker  – write the great script, gather up your friends, and shoot your movie!



Old Dog, New Tricks

12376462_10156399214905541_7315573209274974798_nThey say it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks… and it’s true! I’ve been interested in filmmaking for as long as I can remember, but I never actively did anything with it until this year. It’s just a few days short of my 50th birthday and this old dog has learned a few new tricks… I finished one short film, I have a feature-length movie to shoot next summer, I’m half way through filming a web series, and I have a bunch of ideas for short films to keep me going for quite some time.

Do I regret not starting this years ago? Absolutely not.

I’ve met a lot of great people over the years through music, writing and podcasting, and I would have never of had the opportunity to get to know them or develop the friendships we have if I didn’t venture down those roads… and every road has forks and different paths to take on your journey.

My grandfather once told me that the worst feeling you’ll ever have in your life is being on your death-bed with your song still in you. That hit home on so many levels.

b55534774db90f88e137e6e733018ef3I’ve done the songwriting thing (even got some radio play), I’ve written two books, some short stories, created an online course, and now I am writing screenplays and making films because this is the time for those “songs” to be seen and heard.

If you like my short films, great. If you don’t like them, well that’s great too. Kudos and recognition are great but that’s not why I do anything, and I don’t let someone’s else’s opinion hold me back. The only person that can truly hold me back is me – so all I really have to do is just stay out of my own way.

I don’t own a $50,000 camera like the one pictured below, but I certainly feel like a little kid every time I walk on set and I’m surrounded by a great group of people and we start making movie magic. So to everyone who is helping me or has helped me as I venture down the movie-making path… THANK YOU!


For information on my latest film project, please click here.