Finding Success in Filmmaking

From the beginning of his infatuation with film sitting in a theater watching Last Action Hero, to finding his way into writing and directing through music and photography, Quincy Ledbetter has found success with the mantra: “Proceed as if.”

Now in post on his first feature film Alieu the Dreamer (with Paramount & BET), Quincy looks back on what led him here and all the things he learned along the way.

Check out this amazing collection of lighting gear!

More from Quincy

Produced by Ron Dawson

Edited by Emily Connolly

Making and Distributing Your Film Independently

“Just make your film” is a rallying cry for many, but very few back up those words with action. Today’s guest, the multifaceted Jim Cummings, is absolutely one of those few. 

Through crowdfunding and self-distribution, Jim has found a lot of success for his first feature “Thunder Road”. He’s following that up with his next two features: the thriller “The Beta Test” and the horror film “The Werewolf” (his first studio film).

Ryan and Jim dive into his unique approach to filmmaking and how he’s carving out a path that’s all his own.

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More from Jim

Produced by Ron Dawson

Edited by Emily Connolly

How a Hollywood Legend Directs Actors

With films like Saturday Night Fever, Short Circuit, WarGames, and Dracula in his filmography, the term “legendary director” flows out of your mouth when talking about John Badham.

But film isn’t the only medium where he left his mark. Badham also directed a list of iconic shows like Heroes, The Shieldand Supernatural. His incredible career has led to a wealth of knowledge about the craft.

Lucky for us, John is passionate about sharing, and in this episode, Ryan and John dive deep into working with actors. They cover everything from staging a scene to managing big-name talent.

John Badham on Directing is a must read! It details methods for working with action, building suspense, and a 12 step “Director’s Checklist” for comprehensively analyzing any scene and how best to approach it with your actors.

Check out this amazing collection of lighting gear!

More from John

Produced by Ron Dawson

Edited by Emily Connolly

Directing a Blockbuster Film on an Indie Budget

GREYHOUND’ is the latest original film to hit Apple TV+. Oscar winning writer/director Aaron Schneider chats with Ryan about his process for constructing the intricate battle sequences, pulling story out of the technical, and what it’s like to work with the legendary Tom Hanks! From his humble beginnings as a special effects student, to his growth into a cinematographer and eventually Academy Award-winner, Aaron’s story is one you won’t want to miss!

More from Aaron

Produced by Ron Dawson

Edited by Emily Connolly

Writing & Directing Story Driven Horror

There’s perhaps no greater excitement for an aspiring filmmaker than to have their directorial debut receive mass acclaim and distribution. Relic is the directorial debut of Japanese-Australian writer/director filmmaker, Natalie Erika James. It’s a horror film anchored by its deeply emotional and honest themes, and masterfully co-written and directed by James.

Released theatrically in drive-ins, and now available across most major streaming platforms, you’d never guess that Relic is Natalie’s first outing as a feature writer/director. In the episode of the Film Riot podcast, fresh off the experience of making the film, Natalie meets with Ryan to discuss her experience as a first-time writer/director, working with actors, and why she leaned into the horror genre to tell this specific and personal story. 

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Watch Natalie's films

PRODUced by ron dawson

Edited by Emily Connolly

Emotionally Impactful Cinematography w/ Jody Lee Lipes

As the cinematographer for such beautiful work as A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Manchester by the Sea, and I Know This Much is True, Jody Lee Lipes brings an emotional honesty to all his work.

Of course, every element within the filmmaking process is a part of delivering on that honesty, with arguably two of the most important aspects being the performance and cinematography. Those two elements work together in a creative dance – if one is out of step with the other, the intention won’t land and the emotional impact would be lost. Imagine the scene in Contagion where Matt Damon’s character learns his wife has died, but with constant dolly moves and lens flares.

That emotional honesty is something that Jody pulls off with ease. Today he and Ryan chat about leaning into that meaning and honesty, working with technically difficult scenes (like the twinning in his latest HBO show), and what made him want to be a filmmaker.

More of Jody's work

PRODUced by ron dawson

Edited by Emily Connolly

MAKING “STAR WARS: ORIGINS” – A FAN FILM

If you are wondering how to start making the films you love… To steal from Nike’s slogan… JUST DO IT!

That thought process seems to be behind everything Phil Hawkins does. Like a lot of us, he’s a student of Spielberg, Lucas, and the other greats of that day. Since he broke in, Phil has directed several features and worked with the likes of Al Pacino, Robert Englund, and Christopher Walken.

Today Ryan and Phil chat about how he shot an award-winning feature in just two days, making one of the biggest fan films ever made, and the importance of working with people you trust.

More of PHIL's work

PRODUced by ron dawson

Edited by Emily Connolly

Writing for Film and Television

What is “your voice”? Should you start with theme, character, a concept? So many questions flood your brain when you sit down to write, especially when first starting out.

Today Ryan chats with the incredible Dayna Lynne North (Writer, Showrunner, and Executive Producer for properties like Veronica Mars, and most recently Insecure for HBO). Ryan and Dayna dive into what your voice is, how she gets started on a project, and what guides her through the writing process.

More from dayna

PRODUced by ron dawson

Edited by Emily Connolly

Writing & Directing your First Feature

How do you get your first feature made? It’s the question every aspiring filmmaker wants answered. Today Ryan speaks with Ricky Staub — writer, director, and entrepreneur. After coming off the success of his first narrative project, The Cage (developed in collaboration with Film Supply) Ricky connected with the producers that would help make his first feature a reality.

He and Ryan cover everything from his years working under the prolific producer Sam Mercer (on films like THE LAST AIRBENDER, DEVIL, and SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMEN), to starting his own commercial company to hone his technical craft. They explore and dive deep into a discussion about the path and experiences of writing and directing his first feature film, starring IDRIS ELBA no less! You don’t want to miss this!

More from Ricky

PRODUced by ron dawson

Edited by Emily Connolly

Doc Filmmaker for Quibi, Lucas Harger

Yesterday marked the launch of Quibi, a 2-billion dollar bet by Hollywood and tech giants Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman to change the face of content consumption on the go. There have been lots of opinions about Quibi’s viability, potential for success, and its mobile-only platform. Well, today we give you an inside peek with a filmmaker who has worked directly with one of its productions.

Lucas Harger is an Emmy award-winning editor with several docs under his belt. He was Ryan’s collaborator on both BALLiSTIC and There Comes a Knocking. Today Ryan and Lucas talk about his latest project Prodigy, a doc series for the Quibi brand. Along with discussing the ins and outs of post for this new mobile platform, the guys dive into what makes a story work and the cross over between doc and narrative.

 

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