Based on Real Events by Tim Nuttall

Movie-goers flocked to movie theatres on the weekend that Hustlers opened. The scam saga made off with a cool $33.2 million at the box office unexpectedly, and has become one of the first non-franchise blockbuster hits. Though it's not an original story idea, it is a real story. Well, at least it’s inspired by one. “Inspired by,” “based on,” and overall biopics have become a hot topic in the film industry as of late. Judy Garland fans look forward to seeing the biopic Judy coming at the end of September, Elton John and Freddie Mercury fans flocked to theaters to see Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody, respectively. Though not everyone has been happy with their depiction in “based on” movies.

Samantha Barbash, real life hustler Jennifer Lopez portrays in Hustlers has been continuously disappointed by her characterization in the movie. “I wasn’t really that impressed,” Barbash said. “I was impressed with Jennifer. She was incredible. Her body looked incredible. She had it down to a T, but it wasn’t factual.” If she was so disappointed, then why didn’t she just give her side of the story? Barbash spoke up about this, claiming that the amount offered was too miniscule. “I’m a businesswoman. J. Lo doesn’t work for free. Why would I? At the end of the day, I have bags that are worth more than what they wanted to pay me.” Barbash has since threatened to sue STX unless a compensation can be met. 


Barbash isn’t the only person who has been displeased with her depiction in film. Sgt. Jeffery Sarver attempted to sue the creators of The Hurt Locker for using his likeness and story without his permission. Mark Boal, who had interviewed Sarver for Playboy and eventually went on to write the screenplay, argued the protagonist was not based on Sarver despite the resemblances. Sarver lost the case in 2016 on the grounds of the First Amendment. A similar case happened in 2017 when Olivia de Havilland attempted to sue FX for her depiction in Feud. The case was dismissed similarly in the way that Sarver’s case was. “Whether a person portrayed in one of these expressive works is a world-renowned film star – ‘a living legend’ – or a person no one knows, she or he does not own history,” the three-judge panel wrote in its decision. “Nor does she or he have the legal right to control, dictate, approve, disapprove, or veto the creator’s portrayal of actual people.” 

Filmmakers have their reasons for changing facts or altering history within their stories. A story always has a clear outline of start to finish and within there are high points and low points. No one wants an audience falling asleep. This is a movie, after all, not a three-hundred page text book. The problem with people taking up issues with certain biopics is that some of them purport to be films of record, not just a movie. Bohemian Rhapsody re-created the Live Aid sequence shot for shot, which is advertising realism to an audience. The creators of The Green Book were disproportionately white, which did not sit well with the real life family members of the famous black pianist Don Shirley. Samantha Barbash is rightfully mad at her fictional depiction in Hustlers, especially since the movie fabricated the idea of her coming up with the idea to drug men, cook drugs in her own home, and her sisterly relationship with Destiny. 

The idea of free speech still stands, however. No one owns history. Going about making a show or movie about someone’s life can be difficult and there are many laws you need to follow. The filmmakers of The Social Network managed to get away with making a film about the Facebook millionaires by marketing it as a docudrama. Everyone has a Right to Privacy. So long as you don’t overstep those boundaries and don’t defame anyone, you are pretty much in the clear. Something that Barbash, Sarver, and Havilland have in common is that the stories either weren’t focused on just them or they had already given their story to a book or magazine. Taking public property and making something based on that public property is protected by the First Amendment, whether some people like it or not. For all you filmmakers out there thinking of doing a biopic, make sure you do your research on the story, the people, and the law. Never overstep your boundaries, or you might have some real life backlash. 

Written by Sabrina Strausbaugh

The Nostalgia Trap by Tim Nuttall

The summer is a ripe time for the movie theater - school’s out for the summer and the warm weather invites friends and family outings. When you look at this summer blockbuster line up, however, it’s impossible to ignore the elephant in the room… only a handful of these movies come close to original ideas. The largest percent of these films are either remakes or sequels. Both are a great way of retelling a favorite story or continuing that favorite story, but that’s not always the case. They’re a great cash grab, and audiences will see them for a nostalgia high. I can only imagine that there are so many writers and artists out there creatively malnourished from having to recreate something that was never even asking for a reboot in the first place.

Original ideas and films have not gone away, however. They’re still here, they just happen to be dwindling in numbers. How are you supposed to convince your kid to go see Abominable when Disney’s Frozen 2 is just around the corner? Why would you see something you’re unfamiliar with when you can see what you already know about? While your friends and peers are debating and discussing Avengers: Endgame you can’t join in because you were too busy seeing Booksmart. And with how expensive ticket prices these days are and how busy we are these days… why would you pick a movie that culturally doesn’t seem to matter? How will you join in on the conversation at work? It’ll be available to stream in about two months anyway. 

Image by Disney

Image by Disney

Culturally, socially, and economically we are at a standstill. Sure, reboots and remakes are easy cash grabs. Sure, it’s easy to profit off of people’s nostalgia. That doesn’t mean people have to go see it, but they do. They do go see it because it’s what everyone is talking about. It’s all over the internet. Movies that did well in the past are more likely to make money, and there’s a guarenteed audience for it as well. If you don’t go see it when it comes out, all the online memes will spoil it for you. Socially, no one wants to be behind and no one wants spoilers. Remember when man got beaten up in Hong Kong for spoiling the end of Avengers: Endgame to a fellow movie-goer? As film junkies we become attached to characters we see over and over again. The story could be wrapped up tightly with a bow and we would still want more. The idea of introducing new characters and having to learn about them is not as enticing as finding out what the characters we already know and love have been up to. Then you talk about it with your coworkers when you run into them at the water cooler.

 The next problem comes from how expensive movie tickets are. Smaller theaters are hard to come by these days, which leaves us all to go to bigger theaters where ticket prices can be up to $15. Once again, we live in the age of the internet which means streaming and piracy are quick and easy ways to view a movie you didn’t get to see in theaters. Then there’s the probability that you or your parents is probably working two jobs and up to 60 hours a week, and who has the time to see movies these days anyway? 

It’s hard to say how movies will be in the future. Maybe we’ll see more original films ideas or maybe we’ll be seeing another Fast and the Furious film. There is power in numbers, and ultimately average movie-goers pave the path for what movies are to come. Who knows, we may be at the peak of remakes that will lead to a new cinematic renaissance.  

Written by Sabrina Strausbaugh


The Passengers tells the story of two men caught between two worlds … the land of their birth and the land of their faith. They are Ethiopian Jews, members of a community of 9,000 who speak Hebrew, keep kosher and have Israeli relatives, yet Israel continues to deny their appeals for aliyah — the birthright of Jews around the world to immigrate to the Jewish homeland. These two young men, Demoz and Gezi, embark on a daring journey in their desperate search for a path to their true home ... the one they have never seen.

MoviePass: Not About Movie Tickets by Tim Nuttall


By now, we are all familiar with MoviePass, a subscription-based movie ticketing app. What you probably didn’t know is that the company has been offering a service to buy discounted movie tickets since 2011. Then in 2016, Mitch Lowe, a top level executive during the genesis of Netflix who would go on to be President of RedBox for a couple years, came along and decided to experiment with a subscription based service for buying movie tickets. Hmmmm, subscription based entertainment, I wonder where he got that idea… Anyways, the company started experimenting with different plans to help moviegoers buy cheaper tickets. This consisted of plans like $15 to see two movies a month or $50 to see unlimited movies a month. They got about 20,000 subscribers through this new plan, but they really weren’t growing fast enough to sustain the business model.

Enter Helios and Matheson, an analytics firm. They purchased a major stake in MoviePass in August 2017 and wouldn’t you know it, MoviePass slashed the price of their unlimited plan to only $10 a month (minus seeing two movies a day, the same movie more than once, or 3D/IMAX movies). Gasp. The news went viral. You could see a movie everyday for a year and only pay $120. Movie tickets cost between $10 and $17 dollars, so if you saw a movie everyday for a year it would cost you $3,650. And that’s a conservative estimate! And if you are confused at how this business model will work, let me break it down for you: You give MoviePass $10 a month to go see as many movies as you want. When you buy a movie ticket with MoviePass, they pay full price of the ticket, basically subsidising your trip to the movies. So you could go see twenty movies for ten dollars, and MoviePass pays for those twenty movies and you only paid ten bucks. They clearly are losing money when people see more than one movie per month, and that’s basically the case for everyone that subscribes. “THIS BUSINESS MODEL STILL DOESN’T WORK.” Of course it doesn’t. That’s because MoviePass doesn’t even really care about selling movie tickets.

“I knew it! They are trying to sell my data!” I’m going to give MoviePass the benefit of the doubt here and assume they aren’t straight-up selling your data. MoviePass claims they don’t (So did Facebook) and it kind of makes sense that they don’t necessarily have to. They are going to use it, though. Whether or not they are making money by selling subscription based movie tickets (which they aren’t), MoviePass now has a subscriber base of 2.7 million users thanks to their genius marketing. They know that their unlimited plan is too good to be true and they used this as leverage to aggregate users. Now they have the full name, email address, phone number, and home address of 2.7 million people. MoviePass, or Helio and Matheson for that matter, knows that we are living in an attention economy. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter have found success in ad revenue because basically everyone carries little billboards in their pockets wherever they go. MoviePass is looking to cash in on that as well. And I think it goes without saying that MoviePass now has your attention.

Banner ads isn’t the only way MoviePass is going to make money (notice I didn’t say selling movie tickets). They want to basically control your entire “going-to-the-movies” experience. They have begun experimenting with partnering with restaurants and ride sharing apps. You go on your MoviePass app to buy tickets to a show. While you are checking out, MoviePass tells you that if you show your MoviePass ticket receipt you get 10% off at The Cheesecake Factory. You aren’t getting a discount because you’re special. You’re getting a discount because TCF paid MoviePass a lot of money to put their coupon (basically an ad) in front of 2.7 million pairs of eyes. And when you go to TCF and use that coupon, both MoviePass and TCF see the data that shows the ad worked. So TCF realizes that MoviePass is a valuable partner and decides to give them more money to continue putting their coupons and discounts on their app. And this translates to basically any service that inhabits the movie going experience. You book an Uber ride through the app after you buy tickets (because you know I can’t see a superhero movie without some super beer-o) Whether or not you got a discount, MoviePass put Uber in front of your face so MoviePass is going to get that dinero.

If you didn’t see it coming already, MoviePass is going to market movies on their app too.  You’re on their app to buy tickets anyways so pushing a movie would be insanely easy. And because they know your movie preferences, they know exactly how to market to you. This is actually a great tool for indie movies that have trouble marketing to the level of big studio films (The new Jurassic World movie had an estimated marketing budget of 185 MILLION dollars). As an indie, you don’t have money or time to put on those grandiose exhibits or marketing stunts that may or may not work. You want to put up an ad and know exactly how well your ad is doing with MoviePass’ network of 2.7 million subscribers.

Remember when I said MoviePass wants to control your entire “going-to-the-movies” experience. Recently, the film American Animals premiered in New York and Los Angeles to a relatively good opening for an indie opening in two cities. What many people that haven’t seen a trailer or the movie noticed was, American Animals was co-acquired by MoviePass during Sundance this January through MoviePass Ventures, their acquiring and distribution branch that they conveniently founded in January too. Now this changes the business model quite a bit. Movie theaters basically give the majority of ticket sales back to the distributors and really make their money on overpriced popcorn and drinks. Now let’s think about this: When you buy tickets on MoviePass, they end up paying full price to the movie theater. The movie theater then has to give a portion of that ticket sale to the distributor...Oh snap. That means for a movie like American Animals, MoviePass actually gets some money back. Now that unlimited movie plan starts to make more sense: Acquire a bunch of movies, market those movies more heavily than other movies on your app, and watch that backend money trickle in. Now, if only they could produce their own movies to streamline the process and take out the expense of purchasing a movie outright at a film festival.

Well, you probably have figured out by now that MoviePass doesn’t just want to send you to the movies. They don't just want to acquire movies. They want to make movies. MoviePass recently co-founded MoviePass Films with EFO films. This deal with EFO films also means that MoviePass has access to their library and production slate. As we’ve seen with Netflix, creating your own content means you don’t have to pay those pesky licensing fees or count on third party creators to deliver. MoviePass is trying to become the Netflix of going to the theater, and of course they are. Mitch Lowe used to work there and he misses the old days.

And Mitch Lowe ain't no dummy. People love to sit on the sidelines and say that MoviePass’ business model can’t make money and will inevitably fail. But Mitch has been through this before. Netflix, which was started in 1998, almost went out of business too because of the dot-com bubble and fear that internet based companies couldn’t turn a profit. Oh, how naive we were. Netflix stuck to its guns and is now...Netflix. And Mitch is confident that MoviePass will do the same because of its similar business model. They both grew a large subscriber base and then used that subscriber base in creative ways. For Netflix, it was never about mailing DVDs, it was about making it easier to watch your favorite movies at home. For MoviePass, it was never about selling movie tickets, it was about better selling the movie-going experience.


By Patrick Murphy 


Oscars 2018: The Wolf Pack's Picks by Tim Nuttall


The 90th Academy Awards will be taking place this Sunday at 5PM PST and we couldn’t be more excited to see how this year will play out. Being lovers of film, we have serious opinions about this years nominations and feel as though we should share opinions with the world. Being a company that makes films, we know all of our opinions are that of fact and feel as though we should share these facts with the world. For each category, we have chosen what we feel should win and a dark horse choice that we feel would be a great underdog win. So give it a read and let us know which picks you agree with or disagree with.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Pick: Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Naturally, I gravitated towards Sam Rockwell as a winner because I feel as though he not only is underrated and deserves more attention, but also clearly hates playing Sam Rockwell. I feel there’s definitely a group of actors that pretty much just play themselves (which is cool), but Rockwell looks like he purposefully tries to find interesting characters to inhabit. He’s a very interesting cross between a character actor and a leading man because he steals the show in a good percentage of movies he’s supporting in. This goes the same for Three Billboards. If Frances McDormand wasn’t doing the best performance of her recent career, I would say he stole the show here, but really it’s a tug of war that I think Frances barely wins. In this film, he takes on the very difficult task of playing a character that the audience shouldn’t like, and  Rockwell embraces it.

Dark Horse: Richard Jenkins for Shape of Water

Richard Jenkins is one of those actors that always catches me off guard. He looks like just an everyday-person, but his acting proves that there is much more going on. He can be scary, funny, serious, or all the above at once. He really doesn’t have a type and every movie continues to build a library of different characters he can play. In Shape of Water, he plays a lonely gay artist who shares an apartment unit with the main character, Elisa. A straight person playing a gay person is a difficult task for an actor/actress because they might be tempted to simply play a caricature of what they think being gay looks like (a lot of movies/shows makes this mistake and end up with artificial, non-believable characters). Richard Jenkins acts natural and doesn’t draw attention to himself as a gay character, but just as a character.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

Pick: Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird

It’s not surprising that Metcalf is a mother because she plays a believable and noteworthy one. Metcalf plays the “trying-her-best” mother that feels like a real representation of the relationship between many mothers and daughters. I think the opening scene really sets the tone for her character. The way her head is tilted to the side and she never takes her eyes off the road really show the type of person she is: she’s a worrisome mother that seems more interested in sheltering her daughter than caring for her daughter. I think that is an extremely nuanced, but common type of mother/daughter relationship, and Laurie communicates that to the audience immediately.

Dark Horse: Allison Janney for I, Tonya

Continuing the theme of mother/daughter relationships, we have Allison Janney’s character. She is a “knows-best” mother that isn’t far off from the dynamic between mother/daughter in Lady Bird. Allison Janney’s character cares enough about her daughter having a good life, but she isn’t very caring. What’s amazing about her performance is her eyes. It almost looks like she’s done something to suck the soul out from behind them because she looks and feels incredibly cold throughout this film.

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

Pick: Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour

I don’t think Darkest Hour was a crazy-good movie or anything, but he melted into the role and made me forget I was watching a Gary Oldman film. And that’s really what you want in an actor. Moving on.

Dark Horse: Timothee Chalamet for Call Me By Your Name

I know this kid had been in other movies, but he really broke out this year with Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name. Chalamet gives his characters a nuance that is unique to them. He plays (kinda) the same character in both movies: a teenage boy growing up and looking for love, and he plays these two characters completely different and keeps them true to their stories. I feel like any aspiring actor should take note of his work because you can tell he isn’t scared to go for it. A lot of bad acting stems from timidness, but you can tell he takes on a role without fear of failure. He is comfortable in his acting, and that’s what makes his performance feel real.

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Pick: Frances McDormand for Three Billboards OUtside Ebbing, Missiouri

Frances McDormand is such an approachable and relatable actress (probably because she is in real life). Throughout her filmography, she has managed to really channel the americana/small town spirit from movies like Blood Simple to Fargo, and now this. Her performance is great because she still plays the small town woman, but this small town woman is pissssed off. Her character is a culmination of feelings a lot of people are having right now: I’m done with this. Frances McDormand not only acts this part but also looks this part. I like to think she told the makeup artists to get lost every morning because she looks like a real, distraught mother throughout this entire movie. I cannot say enough how believable she was as a pissed off mother in this film. The way she walk, talked, or just simply held her face felt incredibly natural and on point.

Dark Horse: Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird

Very similar to Chalamet, Saoirse plays all of her characters so differently with a carefully crafted nuance that can only be attributed to skill and talent. In Lady Bird, Ronan masterfully portrays a high school kid coming to grips with the reality that life never really goes as planned. With how believable her performance was, I feel like Ronan began to realize this harsh reality during filming as well.

Best Original Screenplay:

Pick: Jordan Peele for Get Out

The whole screenplay is a skillfully interwoven, labyrinth of honesty, story, and jokes that stick with you and elicit repeated viewing. John Truby (Author of Anatomy of a Screenplay) writes about the idea of a story being told so well that it becomes a never-ending story, a story that people want to experience over and over again. Get Out achieves this honor through it’s writing that evolves with every viewing.

Dark Horse: Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

A common irritation for me during “coming of age” films happens whenever the young characters open their mouths. It makes sense that the youthful characters in film usually don’t sound organic because their dialogue was written by someone not in their youth. Yet, Lady Bird avoids this misstep with characters who are nuanced enough to feel true, and honest enough to feel real. Greta takes the seemingly mundane story of a girl growing up at a catholic school, and creates a movie that any person can find meaning from. That’s why I think this movie elicits an oscar. Lady Bird says so much about family, religion, love, and growing up, without actually saying anything about those topics.

Best Directing:

Pick: Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

The production process of this film took so many risks and tried so many new things that I’m not sure if Nolan is a director or a war general. Nolan wanted to minimize the amount of CGI used (classic Nolan) and opted for more practical effects which everyone knows is the harder way to make a movie. Practical effects mean you have to focus on timing, choreography, and detail. All of which would be immensely easier to worry about in post. But Chris decided to do it live. These are but some of the crazy ideas that they decided to run with on this shoot that were the harder (but better) way to make this movie: 1.) Using real warships (“Yeah, back to one with the warship!”) 2.) Mounting an IMAX camera on an old war plane 3.) Using an IMAX camera like a hand-held camera 4.) Walking that hand-held IMAX camera into an ocean 5.) Opting for the real (cold and dreary) Dunkirk beach, as opposed to a nice beach in let’s say, California 6). Shooting with natural lighting. He put all he had in this film and it shows. With all that said, Dunkirk was a film that didn’t really have a main character or a linear timeline, and managed for the audience to still connect with the film. That is directing a film. He has complete control of every frame and deserves this award.

Dark Horse: Jordan Peele for Get Out

Jordan Peele is a tactful and natural storyteller, which makes him an amazing director. This movie has a lot of layers. And it never really stops. There was so much thought put into every single frame and sound bite of this film that only a seasoned director would even think of. Jordan Peele created a movie that is greater as a whole than as a sum of its parts. This movie radiates Jordan Peele and not in a stylized way (like a Wes Anderson way). You can tell he was making decisions not because they “looked cool” or “created a great moment.” He made decision based on what the movie needed and what made the movie better, using narrative techniques. Nothing that was shown or heard during this film was an accident. A director is a storyteller first, and a storyteller needs to understand things that go beyond plot, character, and dialogue. A director needs to be capitalizing on symbolism, metaphor, dramatic irony, foreshadowing, motifs, etc. Jordan Peele should win because he showed me what good directing looks like.

Best Picture:

Pick: Three Billboards outside ebbing, missouri

To be honest, I picked this one because I have a very special place in my heart for prettttttttttyyyyy much everyone in and behind this movie. The director, Martin McDonagh, is a favorite of mine with such an interesting filmography. This is his third movie and I bet you couldn’t guess what his first two movies were about. OK, if you guessed that one was about a suicidal hitman running around a small town in Belgium and the other was about a screenwriter who gets mixed up with the mob because of a Shih Tzu, then I would be impressed. Three Billboards is such a difficult (but necessary) film to make and McDonagh didn’t pull any punches, and that’s why I like him as a filmmaker. He is brutal and brutally honest with his characters, but still manages to keep it funny. All of his films, including this one have refreshing and interesting stories. I never know how it’s going to end, and when it does end, I want to continue watching these characters on screen.

Dark Horse: Get Out

I really want Get Out to win because it’s such an underdog Oscar film: a horror movie, directed AND written by a first time black director. The movie is not only good, but it’s also such a triumph for filmmaking in general: 1.) Jordan Peele had never directed anything before. 2.) The premise of the film must have looked pretty risky on paper, but he executed the idea to the best version I think it could be. 3.) It proved that the best movies can be more than just movies when they are made for a reason. I feel like people tend to look at art and entertainment as mutually exclusive (to an extent, I think that is true most of the time when it comes to movies nowadays) but this movie was equal parts artistic (this movie bleeds Jordan Peele) and equal parts entertaining (because they need to get our attention somehow) without being a mess.

By Patrick Murphy

5 FREE iPhone Apps a Filmmaker Can Be Thankful For by Tim Nuttall

1: Camera    


Okay, I know what you’re thinking: “What is this? 5 Obvious Things About my Phone as Told by a Stranger on the Internet?” But hear me out.

As the cameras on smart phones progress, the line between professional and amateur filmmaking begins to blur. There are award-winning movies shot with IPhones that challenge our expectations for how movies should be made.

Practice makes perfect, and we can all agree that taking pictures and videos is something that everyone is doing…all of the time. As we constantly capture what we see through our iPhones, our eyes and minds begin to see the world through a frame. This exercise of framing images in a compelling way will help you grow as a visual storyteller.  

So go ahead, snap a pic of your baby cousin, record that sweet shot of the turkey being carved and start using the phone camera to make yourself a better filmmaker!

 Tip: When you’re starting out, turn gridlines on to take advantage of the famed “Rule of Thirds”

Learning Curve: Beginner

2: Adobe Capture CC

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.44.14 AM.png

Adobe Capture is a powerful little app and a must-have for aspiring filmmakers. The program allows you to turn your own photos into themes, patterns, and typeface, but for now, we’re going to focus on the Color Palette feature.

Have you ever been inspired by the look and feel of something in your daily life? (You’re a filmmaker so I will assume you have.) This app allows you to hold onto those moments and save the color palette of an image. A color palette has the potential to bolster the storytelling power of your visuals, when used purposefully.

Not only will this app give you a set of color palettes to use in future projects, but it will also train your eye to look at a scene and assess the colors through the eyes of a filmmaker.

Tip: The app will automatically place the points from which it picks colors, but don’t be afraid to move these around to see what colors you may like better.

Learning Curve: Easy to pick up, but more difficult to apply

*Check out @colorpalette.cinema on Instagram for some awesome examples of the power of color*

3: iMovie

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.46.38 AM.png

Another staple of mobile filmmaking is iMovie, a user-friendly editing software in the palm of your hand.

iMovie doesn’t have the capacity to edit together a two hour feature, but the simplicity and accessibility makes editing small projects possible. With iMovie, you have the ability to cut together footage, apply transitions, edit audio, create split-screen shots, and overlay text. Learning the basics of editing will allow you to think like an editor when writing, shooting, and directing.  Cameras capture movies, but editors bring them to life.

Boost your social capital by editing together a montage of your trip to Europe during the holidays. Show off your cooking skills with a quick How To video on making the best sweet potato casserole.  Make your family relive the disaster that was Thanksgiving 2016, and throw together a quick recap to show this year. Whatever you shoot, turn it into a coherent story with the magic of editing.

Tip: If you’re too lazy to record video or don’t know where to start, try making a fun slideshow with iMovie using still photos. 

Learning Curve: Usable by beginners, but many features will require practice or tutorials.

4: Magic Hour

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.48.54 AM.png

Natural light is a fantastic tool for filmmakers because it looks better than standard lighting...and it’s FREE.

The magic hour refers to the period of time right after sunrise and right before sunset when the sun bathes everything in a soft warm light that looks beautiful on camera. Magic Hour is a simple but extremely useful app that tracks when magic hour begins and ends, based on your location. The app will even send you notifications when magic hour is approaching!

We’ve all experienced the beauty of a great sunset. Now it’s time to learn how to capture the magic!

Tip: Don't forget to give yourself time to set up. Magic hour moves quickly! 

Learning Curve: Very easy to use the app but using the light effectively may take some practice.

5: Weekend Read

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.50.57 AM.png

Reading books makes you a better writer, but reading scripts makes you a better filmmaker. Weekend Read puts a large library of both good and bad scripts right on your phone, in an easy-to-read format. Even if you don’t like writing, reading scripts and understanding how visuals, action, and dialogue work together will make you a better visual storyteller. Your movie can look beautiful, but if you don’t have a good story, none of that matters.  

So take a break from liking and sharing your life away, read a script and take the next step to becoming a filmmaker.

Tip: Read a script, then watch the movie. See what changed, how the words sound in practice, and imagine what you may have done differently.

Learning Curve: If you can read, you can read scripts. Do it! 

Want to see what you can accomplish when you master the iPhone as a filmmaking tool?

Check out Sean Baker’s Tangerine

 Happy Thanksgiving!




HWP Hosts LA Holocaust Museum Gala with Wolf Blitzer by Tim Nuttall

Aaron took to the stage with Melissa Rivers to co-host the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust’s annual fundraising gala honoring CNN icon, Wolf Blitzer. This year’s event hosted 75 living survivors among the audience, more than any previous gala.


HWP also provided the signature film for the evening focusing on 2nd  and 3rd generation Holocaust survivors. The film aims to flip the narrative by sharing the stories of success by survivor’s descendants.

In the ultimate show of respect, Aaron asked for the survivors in the room to stand, then the 2nd and 3rd generation descendants. Lastly, he asked those whose lives have been touched by a survivor to rise. The Wolf Pack stood proud with every single person in the room.