100+ Resources for isolation productivity

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Here’s a massive list of resources for all film and tv people to keep productive during isolation.

Send me any further suggestions of things to add on info@thecallsheet.co.uk

COVID SUPPORT & GUIDANCE:

First things first. The key information resources for help and support during the COVID-19 pandemic, then we will list the other resources for productivity while in isolation. 

Check the BFI guidance on the impact of COVID-19.

Here is the BFC guidance - Working Safely During COVID-19 in film and High-End TV Drama Production.

BECTU have published a FAQ for the self-employed and continue to take the issue to the treasury for those who are slipping between the cracks of available support.

NEW: Bectu have assembled all it's advice under topic headers on this page.

If you are self-employed, the HMRC has set up a tax helpline with 2000 dedicated call handlers. If you are going to have trouble paying your tax bill, speak with them to work out if you can defer, suspend payments or cancel and pending penalties.

The Film and TV Charity have support available for film and tv professionals. Visit their website here

6 foot from the spotlight is a charity set up to support the mental well-being of film crew in the UK. They have a podcast on their website that discusses techniques and ideas that you might find useful.

NEW: When a crisis like COVID-19 exposes the underlying cracks in the industry, there is an opportunity for change. The Television Freelancers Task Force has created a pressure group to campaign for progress. Join the Facebook group for more information. 

NEW: Broadcast Magazine normally requires a subscription, but they are putting corona related coverage outside of the paywall. 

NEW: We should have included this link originally. David Thomas is one of the leading trainers for the industry and is expertly decoding and deciphering what the various governments' announcements mean for those in the screen industries. Follow David on Twitter for expert advice presented in a genial, industry-specific manner.

 


 

100+ Resources to help you be productive while in isolation.

And now the resources for productivity, grouped by type but in no particular order.

 

PODCASTS

Scriptnotes – Two screenwriters, John August (Aladdin) and Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) talk about things that are interesting to screenwriters. This is always informative and there are hundreds of episodes to dip in to.

Rule of Three – Comedy writers Joel Morris and Jason Hazely invite a guest to talk about comedy that they love – most of which is classic TV comedy ranging from Alan Partridge (picked by Katie Wix) to Spinal Tap (Sue Perkins) and Ghostbusters (selected by top director Jim Field Smith, who reflects on his own style and process too). The chat is a wonderful mix of insight and giggling. It might be just the right thing to dive into right now.

Roll Credits – A new-ish podcast that contains interviews with a variety of film professionals.

Two Shot Pod - Actor Craig Parkinson (Dot from Line of Duty) interviews actors about their craft.

Soundtracking with Edith Bowman – Interviews with filmmakers about their use of music on film. Big archive to go back through, Edith always gets something different and new from her interviewees and her passion and enthusiasm shine through. 

Screenster - Started just over a year ago by actor Georgie Grier, the Screenster pod contains long chats with a variety of professionals from across the entertainment sector. Recent pods include interviews with 1st AD Jude Campbell, Production Designer Jonathan Paul Green and intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien.

AMPS Podcast – The Association of Motion Picture Sound have recently launched their own Pod. There are only 3 so far in the cannon, but they’ve already had interviews with the Oscar-winning sound team from 1917 and Oscar-nominated documentary The Cave. Listen on Soundcloud.

Curzon Podcast – staff of the independent cinema chain talk about the latest films

The Bigger Picture – The podcast from the BFI (British Film Institute)

Directors UK – This organisation represents Directors in the UK. They put out a monthly podcast containing (mostly live Q&A) conversations with some very well know directors about their most recent work.

BAFTA Guru – Lots of great interviews and features with professional crew members. Big archive

The Art of the Cut – Steve Hullfish (author of the book of the same title) has published over 50 podcast interviews with a wide variety of Editors from around the world. There are lots of great interviews including several with top British talents like Mark Sanger and Lee Smith, but there are loads of interviews with US editors too. Check Spotify for the podcasts or the TAOTC website for transcripts.

Films To Be Buried With – Actor and writer Brett Goldstein (Superbob), hosts a desert-island-discs for films podcast, mainly with comedians and actors.

6ft from the spotlight - Listed above in the key help section, but listed again as here in the podcast section. Some valuable podcasts about mental health and coping techniques.

The Camera Channel Podcast - A relatively new podcast primarily aimed at the techie camera people that also discusses industry topics.

NEW: The RTS has launched a new podcast, the first five are available now and new episodes are on the way.

NEW: The maestro Roger Deakins' has launched his very own podcast.

NEW: Work in VFX? There are over 35 editions of Access VFX, a pod that explores inclusion, well-being, diversity and opportunities in VFX. Thanks again to Jude Winstanley for the link.

NEW: Thanks again to Jude Winstanley for brining this new pod to our attention. Script Apart discusses the writing process for great movies. The first pod is with Joe Cornish discussing Attack the Block. 

NEW: Angels the Costumiers are one of the largest suppliers of costumes to film, TV and Theatre in the world. Explore costume via a series of interviews with Designers, Makers and Supervisors.

NEW: Red Production Company has launched their own podcast. Interviews and talks with the creative teams behind their hit shows like The Stranger, Years and Years and Safe.

NEW: Locations on Two is a new pod about Location Managers. Hosted by Dodd Vickers, an experienced LM from Georgia in the US, check out his interview with the brilliant Emma Pill (1917, Blade Runner, Spectre)

NEW: Red Carpet Rookies is a brand new interview podcast with industry professionals, created and hosted by a member of thecallsheet.co.uk, Mike Battle.

 

RADIO SHOWS

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Quirke's Cast and Crew – One of my favourites from the BBC. Antonia Quirke profiles different roles within the film industry. Particular favourites include episodes with Gaffer & Best Boy, Stuntwomen and Location Managers.

David Allen – A goldmine from an unlikely source. David Allen from BBC Radio Solent.

A fantastic, in-depth series of interviews with a wide array of UK Film Crew. There are many in-depth conversations with industry professionals. Here they are;

Jude Farr – Set Decorator

Mark Cass – Stunt Coordinator

Mark Farley – Props

Mark Coulier – Prosthetic Effects Designer

Janie Richardson – Location Finder

Joanne Eatwell – Costume Designer

Tim Webber – Visual Effects Supervisor

Caroline Amies – Production Designer

Brian Beaumont – Gaffer

Andy Spradbery – Modelmaker

Mike Valentine – Underwater cinematographer

Simon Hayes – Sound Mixer

Daniel Kleinman – Director, commercials and opening title sequence for Bond.

Vic Armstrong – Stunt Coordinator (& Indiana Jones stunt double)

Peter Field – Cinematographer

Douglas Ingram – Storyboard Artist

Keith McNamara – Focus Puller

Debbie McWilliams – Casting Director

Eddie Hamilton – Editor

Brendan Donnison - ADR Engineer

Roisin Carty – Dialect Coach

Guy Barker – Production Accountant

Simon Beaufoy – Screenwriter

Jay Maidment – Unit Stills

Joseph Koniak – Hair  Stylist

Lucinda McLean – Greens

Gavin Gordon – Carpenter

Stephanie Clerkin – Draughtsperson

Laura Reece – Unit Nurse

Miranda Marks – Production Coordinator

Jane Telford - Scenic Painter

John Lee – Prop Maker

Graham Caulfield  - Drapesman

Morris Bright – Chair of Elstree Studios

 

Other interesting radio shows…..

 

The Business of Film with Mark Kermode – Britain’s best film reviewer looks into the numbers behind the business for the BBC. Really interesting look into the economic realities of the industry. It’s four years old, so some things will have changed since it was first broadcast.

The Film Programme - Radio 4 film show that looks at all facets of film making.

 

 

WEBSITES

Into Film – Education charity aimed at children ages 5 and up. They recently posted some free activities for young people to do at home. If not for you, this might be a good one to share with parents who are suddenly homeschooling and looking for something to occupy their kids.  

BBC Academy – Masses of useful resources for younger people interested in TV.

Creative Careers – This is a big guide to loads of different job roles in the film and TV industry. Loads of further resources too.

TV Watercooler – A website run by non-scripted production crew (so not quite film and HETV drama), but really useful information on topics like work experience and a big list of tv job site database.

Philip Shelley – One for the aspiring screenwriters and script editors. I can vouch for Philip’s courses, as I have been on one myself. I highly recommend subscribing to his free email that he sends out every Friday – it always contains some really interesting content.

Stephen Follows Blog – My friend Stephen Follows is one of the sharpest people in the industry. He writes regular blogs using a variety of data sources to learn about what’s really going on in the industry. Search through the archive, he’s written a lot of influential pieces on gender equality.

Johnny Elwyn – A website for those interested in editing. Looks at the technical, practical and creative elements of editing.

Art Departmental – A great Canadian based blog on the topic of production design, set decoration and all things visual.

BFDG – Sticking with production design, there are lots of great articles on the website for the British Film Designers Guild.

VFX Online – Contains a volume of breakdowns and interviews with VFX professionals working.

Zoom -in from Abbas Media Law – Media law specialists Abbas Media produce a quarterly magazine aimed at programme-makers in TV and Film. It’s a round-up of the latest industry legal and regulatory issues, thankfully written in plain English.

Masterclass – you may well have already seen this website advertised. Masterclass is a subscription-based website that contains 80 leading professionals discussing their techniques and craft. Includes Samuel L Jackson, Aaron Sorkin, Ron Howard and Dame Helen Mirren

BBC Writers Room – The central hub of writing training in the UK. There are loads of resources and exercises and you can submit scripts to them too.

Film Industry news websites: Screen Daily (UK based), Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Deadline (US Based).

LMGI - The Location Managers Guild International publish a quarterly online magazine called Compass. If you work in locations, there's loads to keep you occupied and interested. Great interview with Emma Pill on Blade Runner 2049 in particular.

David Thomas - Trainer and expert on freelancing and finances. Follow David on social media for updates. Lookout for webinars on the topics surrounding self-employment.

NEW: A story about a rogue producer who tried, and failed, to trick the HMRC out of millions by making an awful movie. Long read in the Guardian. A Landscape of Lies.

NEW: Talent Manager Simon Wright's website You'd Better Work contains lots of useful advice and tips for those working in the TV sector.

 

 

TRAINING

Screenskills/Indie Training Fund – This is the industry training organisation and a central hub of training information. Screenskills are also part funded by the BFI and productions in the UK, so some courses are fully funded.

They've sent through this updated list of courses that are free and online.

Screenskills are also interested to hear from you about what you need. Take this quick survey to feedback directly to the team.

#Freetrainingforfreelancers – Donna Taberer, head of talent at BBC is putting on free training for TV Freelancers in response to the lock down. Follow her on twitter for more info on when these online courses will take place.

We’re hoping to announce some online training for production crew in the coming weeks. Keep a lookout on our Facebook and Twitter feeds for more news.

NEW: The BSC are creating a series of chats entitled Cinematographers on Call. There are some online already, but several more in the pipeline. Check their youtube channel for chats that have already been recorded and their twitter feed for schedule of upcoming conversations.

London Film School - Are setting up a programme of free virtual masterclasses, online film clubs and small, bespoke workshops. *NEW

Production Accounting Forum – If you work in Production Accounts or are interested in moving into film and tv from another industry, this is the definitive advice set up by the Production Guild.

Movie Magic Tutorials – Entertainment partners have produced and hour-long video explainer for their industry-standard scheduling and budgeting software.

NEW: Albert is leading the charge for sustainability in the screen industries. They are running some online training but there is limited capacity.

NEW: MediaExchange is running events with story guru John Yorke. There's a course for Screenwriters and one for execs and development.

NEW: Editors and post-production people, the Rough Assembly are organising a series of talks that will also be hosted on their website here

NEW: Delamar Academy, the world famous Make-Up School in Ealing Studios are holding a daily masterclass from their industry tutors. The webinars take place on zoom but you can register via their Instagram

NEW: Also for Make up Artists; the industry kit supplier PAM have a number of tutorials on their YouTube channel.

NEW: Film Birmingham are running an online training course with LM Harriet Lawrence. 

NEW: The Cornish Film Festival is putting together a series of talks with professionals from the world of Film and TV.


NEW: The Talent Manager and DV Talent have been running online masterclasses (formats, development, career, financial training etc.) and are announcing new, longer training formats soon. Check them out for employer guidance too.
 

NEW: Screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Carlito's Way, Mission Impossible) has recently uploaded several of his screenplays, including early drafts and films that never got made, to his personal website.

***NEW***

This is an important one. Take the Coronavirus basic awareness on production training. This is a free 40-minute online module that produces a certificate you can give to employers.

Take the course here

 

 

 

YouTube/Vimeo

There are lots of really good channels on film-making, so click on the links below and dive into the YouTube wormhole!

ARRI Channel – German camera manufacturers make the industry-leading camera gear. Most big films are shot with the Arri Alexa camera and they interviewed lots of top DoPs.

Cooke Optics – Top Camera Lens manufacturers Cooke have made over 150 videos about lighting with many of the world-leading cinematographers, gaffers and more.

 

BSC – The British Society of Cinematographers Vimeo page contains over 100 videos of talks with DoPs including Roger Deakins, Chris Ross, Dick Pope, Seamus McGarvey and Vanessa Whyte

BAFTA Guru – A huge archive of videos from all walks of the industry. They have helpfully categorised video’s by craft department on this page, so you can dive right into all their content on a specific topic.

How to get a job as an Assistant Editor – This is great. A really insightful 2-minute clip about how to look for work. I always share this clip with trainees. It’s true for all departments, not just editing.

AVID Channel  - Almost every big feature film you watch will have been edited using AVID’s software. Their channel contains a lot of information on software, but a huge amount of interviews with the worlds best editors.

Adam Savage’s Tested – this is one episode from the Adam Savage channel you might find interesting. It’s a look around at a company called FBFX, who are based in West London. They make incredible costumes for films like The Martian.

DP/30 – The Oral History of Hollywood. Interviews with actors, technicians, creatives in the US.

Academy Originals – the YouTube home of The Oscars. Hundreds of interesting videos on all facets of filmmaking.

Hugo’s Desk – a fantastically detailed and up-to-the-minute guide to all things VFX. Hugo Guerra talks with plenty of first-hand knowledge about the industry and guides to using software like Nuke.

4Talent – mainly aimed at new entrants that want to develop a career in telly, there are loads of videos available, including some interesting clips and profiles describing some of the more undiscovered roles inside a broadcaster.

TED Talks – we’ve gathered up some TED talks from notable directors, screenwriters and producers on the topics of creativity & storytelling.

Taikia Waititi – Director

Jehane Noujaim – Producer/Director in documentaries.

Andrew Stanton – Director (expletives)

James Cameron - Director

Rob Legato – VFX Supervisor (Apollo XIII), The art of creating awe

JJ Abrams – Director

Franklin Leonard – Producer 

 

The Last Watch - This isn't on Youtube, but you can find it on Sky or Now TV. A brilliant behind the scenes film following the final series of Game of Thrones. Link is to the trailer.

NEW: The BFDG (British Film Designers Guild) has begun live streaming talks from some of their most experienced and prominent members. 

NEW: CVP are posting regular useful videos relating to camera and lenses on their YouTube channel in the lockdown. Thanks to Jude Winstanley of The Unit List for the tip-off.

NEW: Oscar-winning Sound Mixer Simon Hayes is interviewed here by Matt Price. We (Matt Gallagher from thecallsheet and author of this page) have hosted a couple of live interview/Q&A's with Simon before and he never fails to inspire and give energy to every job.

NEW: Screenwriter Michael Arndt breaks down mistakes made and lessons learned while writing Toy Story 3.

 

BOOKS

Aside from getting a copy of Breaking into UK Film and TV Drama! here are a few really good books across a range of subjects on filmmaking.

The Art of Illusion by Terry Ackland-Snow and Wendy Labourn. From the Art Director of Aliens and Labyrinth.

Masters of FX by Ian Failes. Lots of great insights.

Writing for the Cut: Shaping your script for Cinema by Greg Loftin – this book was recommended to me by a top executive working in feature film as his favourite book on screenwriting.

Into the Woods by Drama expert John Yorke, is a richly packed book on the subject of story, structure and character development. A recently published work also, so its up to date in terms of trends.

Getting to Grips: Dennis Fraser by Ed Lancaster. Ed Lancaster is a grip and somehow found the time to write this biography of the most well-known Grips in the UK. Fraser has received lifetime achievement awards, has kit named after him and was key in the creation of the training qualifications that all grips now must take. If you are mechanically minded, possess reasonable strength and want to be literally right where the camera is, gripping might be the role for you. Look at the sort of gear they use on AlphaGrip and check out the Grips Branch for training advice.

The Kid Stays in the Picture by Bob Evans – Incredible stories from a producer legend behind The Godfather, Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby. Bob Evans passed away last year, but this book remains Hollywood’s greatest memoir.

Magic Hour by Jack Cardiff is a wonderful memoir of one of the UK’s most celebrated directors of photography. Cardiff was born to music hall entertainer parents and became one of the early pioneers of his craft.  He worked with Alfred Hitchcock and Powell and Pressburger, winning an Oscar for Black Narcissus. The foreword for the book is by Martin Scorsese, which tells you a lot.

The Filmcraft series – a great collection of books on individual topics including screenwriting, production design, costume, editing, directing, producing and cinematography. I’ve read most of these and they are excellent.

I’m told that In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch and the Art of the Cut by Steve Hullfish are essential reading for all aspiring editors. 

The Art of Movie Storyboards by Fionnuala Halligan

The Complete Make Up Artist by Penny Delamar - the comprehensive manual for all make up artists.

Film Runner by Will Judge – Will is an old friend of mine currently working as a high-end commercials editor in Amsterdam, but he started out working for Ridley Scott. His book is a terrific look into the world of the runner and contains timeless advice.

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull – one of the co-founders of Pixar describes the process of setting up the brains trust of creative storytellers like Brad Bird, Pete Doctor, Lee Unkrich and Andrew Stanton.

Difficult Men: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad by Brett Martin -  A fantastic book exploring the breakthrough US drama that reinvented television, and the show runners behind them. Thanks to James Johnson for the tip about this book.

Adventures in the Screen Trade: A personal view of Hollywood by William Goldman, the man who wrote Butch Cassiday and the Sundance Kid, All the Presidents Men and Marathon Man. The view of Hollywood is of it's time and while some of that doesn't apply to the modern world, the writing endures.

A Long Time Ago... In A Cutting Room Far, Far Away by Paul Hirsch is a memoir from the editor of Star Wars, Carrie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Mission Impossible and more...

NEW: Director Lewis Arnold has compiled a PDF book containing the stories of how 100 directors got started in the industry on the website DirectorsNow.

 

thecallsheet.co.uk content

Some resources on thecallsheet that you might find useful

How to Write a CV for Film and TV Drama.

How to write a great cover email

40+ interviews with crew, exclusive to thecallsheet

Interview with Andy Lowe, Gaffer

What is Pre Viz?

 

 

 

MOVIES

Finally, here are some of my personal favourite films and TV shows that you might not have seen before. You might enjoy them if you haven’t seen them before and you might now have more time on your hands than expected.

A top tip, when someone really, really recommends a film to you and you’ve never heard of it… go in cold. Don’t read reviews, don’t read the synopsis, don’t check rotten tomatoes or watch the trailer – check that the age rating is suitable for you to watch and dive in without any preconceptions*. I promise that you will love it more if you watch without much prior knowledge or pre conceived notion of the story. 

FILMS

12 Angry Men

Amelie

Whiplash

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

This is Spinal Tap

Kes

The Truman Show

Leave No Trace

City of God

When We Were Kings

The Princess Bride

Moonlight

High Fidelity

A Matter of Life and Death

Goodfellas

All The President’s Men

Cinema Paradiso

Koyaanisqatsi

Jean de Florette

Ghostbusters

Loveless

Coming To America

Hidden

The Secrets in Their Eyes (Argentina version)

It's A Wonderful Life

Police Story

The Commitments

Weiner

Dr Strangelove

The Conversation

La Hain

The Dawn Wall

Zoolander

Icarus

The Godfather I & II

The Fog of War

Son of Saul*

A Prophet*

Raging Bull*

Under The Skin*

This is England*

Rust and Bone*

Miller's Crossing*

 

*Fair warning, I’ve starred films that contain some distressing content and are not suitable for everyone. Please check the age rating and don’t watch if easily offended, some of these films are not for the faint of heart.

 

TV BOX SETS

For those of you keen for something longer form to explore, here's some incredible TV Drama or long-form documentaries from around the world. For my money, The Wire is the greatest TV series ever made, fractionally ahead of The Sopranos.

 

The Wire (Sky/Now TV)

The Sopranos (Sky/Now TV)

The West Wing (track it down)

Breaking Bad (Netflix)

Better Call Saul (Netflix)

OJ: Made in America (BBC iPlayer)

Gomorrah (Sky/Now TV)

The Office and The Office US (BBC & Amazon Prime)

Peep Show (All4)

Chernobyl (Sky/Now TV)

The Bureau (Amazon Prime)

Mindhunter (Netflix)

The Deuce (Sky/Now TV)

Storyville (BBC iPlayer)

Fleabag (BBC)

Tiger King (Netflix)

Modern Family (Sky/Now TV)

Succession (Sky/Now TV)

Game of Thrones (Sky/Now TV)

True Detective 1&3 (Sky/Now TV)

Line of Duty (BBC)

Inside Number 9 (BBC)

The League Of Gentleman (BBC)

Veep (Sky/Now TV)

I'm Alan Partridge (BBC)

Normal People (BBC/Hulu)

The Last Dance (Netflix)

The Jinx (The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO)

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you find some of the above useful to keep you occupied and using this time of isolation constructively. Email me any suggestions on info@thecallsheet.co.uk

Thank you for reading. Stay in, stay safe. 

Matt Gallagher

MD, thecallsheet.co.uk