How to Stay on Top of Competition in the Film Industry

One of the most competitive industries in the world is the film industry. It is a competitive industry owing to the huge number of entrants into this market. In Hollywood alone, hundreds of thousands of people come to this most popular film industry in search of employment every year. This kind of competition calls for a change of tactic while seeking a job in this industry. Here are some of the most important tips of beating competition in the film industry.

Tips to Beat Competition in the Film Industry

  • Educate Yourself

The film industry is fast evolving and thus the need to educate yourself on all the changes that are taking place in this industry. You will need into get to a film college if need be just to sharpen your knowledge of the emerging issues surrounding the film industry and how to approach them professionally. If you exhibit your earned knowledge for a potential employer, you will definitely beat your competition.

  • Find a Mentor

Another way of staying on top of your competition is finding a good and reliable mentor who will guide you on how to become a better artist in the film industry. It is important to find mentors who are already experienced in the industry to guide you with knowledge of industry’s expectations.

  • Deliver more than Expected

If you get a chance in the film industry, you should be willing to deliver more than it is expected of you. Key industry players such as top directors and producers will always notice such active work and thus work to lift you above your competition.

  • Go the Extra Mile

You should be willing to work the extra hours to keep up with the demand in the industry. The extra hours might seem to be tiring but will go a long way into making you a competitive artist in the film industry.

  • Accept Low Pay

Many people do not want to hear anything about low pay in the film industry. Yes, it may not sound as a true reflection of what is expected in the film industry but definitely a perfect way to start off a career in the industry. Just accept the low pay at least while you are still gaining experience to bargain for a better pay in the future.

The moment you feel you have enough experience, feel free to demand for a better pay. However, this should only happen when you are sure that you have relevant skills.

Strict adherence to the above mentioned tips will ensure that you rise against your competition in the film industry and make a good name out of your career!

Thy Nguyen

Thy Nguyen has been working in the film industry for more than a decade. Thy produces motion pictures, television shows, live events and various entertainment programs in Vietnam. Currently she is the director of VNCAST, a very well-known Vietnamese casting and production company.

For Thy this is is passion and life. Something she has always wanted to do.

She got her start as a stylist for a magazine seeking talent and celebrities within the film industry. This attracted her to that environment, which in turn led her to immerse herself more and more into the industry.

Thy loves a challenge. One of the most challenging aspects of her job is finding the right actor or actress for a current project. Thy tells of a time when she and her staff searched all of Vietnam for a single little girl specifically for a project. They found her and the movie was a success because of their efforts. Thy enjoys the search for new and young talent, bringing them to their fullest potential in film. To her, this allows the delivery of the most beautiful gift to audiences. Nguyen explains that her passion is to make people laugh, cry, be happy and live their emotions through her projects.

One of his biggest success stories is her company VNCAST. Over only a decade she has produced many films, television shows and commercials that are well-known in Vietnam; having cast many famous celebrities from her country for many productions and projects is another success Thy Nguyen points to. A favorite story of hers is the chance to work on an international commercial created by Apple and filmed in Vietnam. She had the chance to work with their professional crew and learn from them. Her next project she worked on with a professional crew was “Kong Skull Island”

Inspiration comes from the limitless creativity of humans. The industry has given her and others the chance to “break through the roof of the sky” and live their dream in true life. While Thy doesn’t have any one person as inspiration, she does note that she puts herself into the mindset of making something new and better than anyone else has because it brings a smile to the audience.

This same passion to see, to make, to feel the joy of the audience after one of her projects is completed is what keeps this woman going.

As for books, she loves 50 Shades of Gray claiming it to be better than the movie even though both book and movie were successful. She says it contains all of the movement and corner of sexual life of humans that you can imagine. It reflects all of the emotional changes for both characters of the story.


World over, watching movies is the most preferred form of entertainment. When you go to a theater to watch a very awaited flick you have lot of hopes form the same. The films’ characters and story takes you to a whole new world where you live their emotions, excitement, trauma, drama and action.

There are four main categories in film making and they are:

  • Development
  • Preproduction
  • Principal Photography (shooting)
  • Post Production


Development is where the innovative outlook start flowing, the story will take form and starts to mold with each other. A Producer may use every useful resource they could get onto until they come across a story truly worth chasing. A lot of fantastic sources for optioning materials include local and national newspapers, blogs, books and plays. Obviously you can always option an original screenplay or implement a screen writer to generate a script from the book or print media you will have achieved the rights to. After the producer has a script, the next step is to get script coverage or notes.

Some scripts will require numerous coverages until the producers are pleased and willing to send Letters of Purpose to agencies and managers. Determining the best movie director for your project is crucial, and it might even be you. We suggest bringing in a line producer to breakdown your script and generate an estimated spending budget before speaking with investors.


In the course of Preproduction vital people are introduced onto your team=, most important is the Director (if you have not done so already), the Cinematographer, and the Line Producer.

The Director will definitely produce his/her own imaginative and prescient vision for the script and every sector brought on after this will center around the director’s ideas.

The line producer is mainly responsible for all the physical nuts and bolts of the filmmaking, working out deals for all crew and to be sure the film is not going to exceed the budget. Based on the size of your production a Unit Production Manager (UPM) might be introduced or the Line Producer might work as UPM throughout the shoot which is not unusual.

Next up is introducing on a Director of Photography (DP) which is going to work with your director and accomplish their vision for the film. The director may have a DP at heart that they wish to work with on the film. The DP will definitely stylize the film depending on the shot list and storyboard they have created with the director in the course of preproduction. For a movie director, it is of the greatest significance to create and master the shot list, so the filming procedure will be as smooth as possible.


Once you have completed your script, fully casted your film, arranged all of your equipment, locked all your locations, employed the remaining crew, finished you story board and perfected your shot list, you should now be feeling very good because you are ready for Principle Photography.

During Preproduction you will also bring on your First Assistant Director or 1st AD, who will work with the Director and Line Producer and generate a shooting routine. Ensuring each department has sufficient prep time is the best approach to ensure that your set will run effortlessly and you won’t find yourself running around panicking.

The 2nd Assistant Director works directly with the 1st AD and is liable for preparing the daily call sheets and making sure the talent reports to set. What this means is making sure the talent has been through wardrobe and makeup and is camera ready.

The Script supervisor sits right in front of the monitor next to the director and is liable for tracking the films continuity. The scripty follows the script and keeps track of any changes that are made while filming. They also pay close attention to details and monitor the axis and eye lines for each take. Additionally, the Script Supervisor will interact with the Camera and sound department to make sure the slate is correct. At the end of each day production reports and notes for the editor are prepared.

The Gaffer, Grip & Electric, 1st assistant camera, 2nd assistant Camera, and Sound Mixer are all necessary members of the team.


After you have completed principal photography you are now in Post Production. Time to bring in your editor, composer, sound designer, music supervisor, VFX artist, and colorist.

Post production can be a long and tedious process.

The director will work closely with the editor to choose the takes they like best. A post supervisor may be hired to oversee the post process and make sure everything is happening on time.

The editor will use the notes from the script supervisor to help them navigate through the sea of footage. Hopefully you will not need to schedule re-shoots or replace dialogue. This could potentially become pricey.

After you put together a rough cut, added original score or have attained the rights to use your favorite music, it is time color correct the film. It’s a good idea to test out the film before the picture is locked.

After you (producer) and the director are satisfied, you can promote your movie like hell and submit it to festivals, or if you already have a distribution deal this puts you a step ahead to recouping your finances.

There are many different distribution methods for movies now. An important thing to remember about the production process is that the film is what you set out to make, but the movie is what you produced. Hopefully the project comes out the way you intended, but it most likely will be slightly different either for better or for worse.


Foley is the reproduction of everyday sound effects that are added to film, video, and other media in post-production to enhance audio quality.  These reproduced sounds can be anything from the swishing of clothing and footsteps to squeaky doors and breaking glass. The best Foley art is so well integrated into a film that it goes unnoticed by the audience. It helps to create a sense of reality within a scene. Without these crucial background noises, movies feel unnaturally quiet and uncomfortable.

Foley artists recreate the realistic ambient sounds that the film portrays. The props and sets of a film often do not react the same way acoustically as their real life counterparts. Foley sounds are used to enhance the auditory experience of the movie. Foley can also be used to cover up unwanted sounds captured on the set of a movie during filming, such as overflying airplanes or passing traffic

A sound effects technique for synchronous effects or live effects.  The Foley technique are named for Jack Foley, a sound editor at Universal Studios Foley artists match live sound effects with the action of the picture.  The sound effects are laid “manually” and not cut in with film.

Foleying is an excellent means of supplying the subtle sounds that production mikes often miss. The rustling of clothing and a queak of a saddle when a rider mounts his horse give a scene a touch of realism that is difficult to provide using other effects methods. A steamy sex scene was probably created by a foley artist making dispassionate love to his or her own wrist.

The good Foley artist must “became” the actor with whom they are synching effects or the sounds will lack the necessary realism to be convincing. Most successful Foley artists are audiles; they can look at an object and imagine what type of sound it can be made to produce.

The foley crew will include the artist or “walker,” who makes the sound, and a technician or two to record and mix it. A foley stage often appear to be storage areas for the studio’s unwanted junk. Metal laundry tubes are filled to the brim with metal trays, tin pie plates, empty soda cans, hubcaps, bedpans, knives, forks and broken staple guns. These crash tubes are used for anything from comedy crashes to adding presence (brightness and naturalness) to something as serious as a car crash.

Importance of Lighting for Film

Lighting is one of the most important requirements in making a quality film. Lighting on set is a vital part to building a good scene. Unfortunately not everyone understands the importance of lighting in making a good video. The sunlight is not sufficient enough to provide light when making a video. And it is because of this fact that it is advisable to always carry extra lights. The following are reasons why lighting is important in filming:

Clarity of Image

It is essential for viewers to tell the difference in all elements in the movie. Lighting enables you to differentiate between what is happening in the foreground and background in a scene. Viewers should be able to notice different facial expressions as well as physical gestures.

Creates Realism

The sole purpose of lighting in films was to make the images clear but later, other factors were realized. In 1905, film producers introduced visual schemes that demonstrated how lighting was important in creating realism in film making. Light makes scenes in movies to look real.

Lighting helps in determining the mood of the film

The way a movie scene is lit determines the mood of the movie. A good example is a horror movie. Movie producers make certain scenes dimmer to show how dangerous and scary that scene is or is going to be. Shadows and contrast can have an effect on a movie scene. This also applies in TV commercials and even in online videos.

Increases Editing Time

Poor lighting will give you a hard time when it comes to the final editing of the film. In other cases, you might be forced to even re-shoot the movie. The use of editing software can sometimes prove to be a problem especially on scenes with poor lighting.

Determines the Quality of the Project

The difference between a High Definition movie and a cheap or poor quality movie is lighting. Most poor quality films are either shot using too much or too little artificial light. Adequate lighting means goof quality shooting. You will be able to shoot almost everything in that particular scene because they are all visible. With extra lights on, small effects and textures can be visible to the camera man. These graphics make good quality film. 

In summary, lighting in film is very important. You need light to shoot high quality films. However, this does not mean that you should rely on natural sunshine for light. Carrying extra lights is integral in ensuring that nothing goes wrong when shooting.

How to read a call sheet!

So in this article I am going to explain some basics on how to read a call sheet. The following are things to look at on the sheet

1. You want to look at the time on the callsheet. It is located in the middle of the sheet and it is the biggest Font on the call sheet. That is the time that you are to report to work, hence the title callsheet. This sheet is usually given the day or night before each day of work.

2. It also has the name of the production you are working on. This can be helpful to know as there are signs posted on the road to find the location to the set usually (but not always) with the production’s name.

3. The next thing to look at is the list of scenes that you will be shooting that day. Next to it is usually the page count listed in 8ths on the right of each scene, then you will find the total page count listed to shoot at the bottom of this section. This section will also have a list of which day in the script the scene falls on, shown as D1 D2 and N1. Just prior to each scene is usually int or ext., which means interior or exterior respectively, and then the location of the scene. As well as a line that is called a slug line or oneliner which describes the scene.

4. Another thing to look at is the cast list and all the actors that will be working and their call times.

5. Under the cast list is the list of props that are needed for the day.

6. At the top of the page usually to the left is a list of the producers and director as well as the ADs and a number to call if you have questions or get lost.

7. On the back of the call sheet is a list of the crew working that day and their different departments. This way you can refer to the crew by their names if you forget them and also sometimes it has individual call times. You may want to check your name and call time.
There are other things on the call sheet but this is a brief overview to get you started.

Melanie Littlewood

Melanie is a hair and makeup artist working in various fields including film, TV and print media. Her training comes from modeling and cosmetology spanning over multiple decades. Her curiosity in creating images behind the camera led to several positions as Assistant or Key Hair and Makeup Artist for various film and print projects. Memberships and awards include the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 495, then Local 122, the California Board of Cosmetology, and a 2012 nominee for Best Hair Salon by San Diego Alist.

An ongoing education in the nursing industry provide her the latest techniques to support persons with ailments and surgeries requiring specialized needs. Melanie believes her extensive knowledge of the beauty industry helps everyone she works with have their best look on their perfect day. She works with housewives and movie stars alike.

Although she started in modeling Melanie always knew she wanted to be behind the scenes. She explains that it is difficult to break into film because of steep competition, and thus was one of the biggest challenges. Eventually people started asking for her due to her active role in keeping her name out there. Melanie loves weddings and considers it a “special honor” to work with brides and their families. Inspiration comes from multiple people and things for Melanie. She says that talented people are everywhere; people who inspire her include Joe Blasco and Billy B.; these makeup artists inspired her when she began and still do today.

A favorite book, The Seven Spiritual Laws, by Deepak Chopra gives her more inspiration with quotes such as one of her favorites – “calm your mind like a pond and don’t let anyone throw any rocks in”. This is one virtue she lives by now to keep herself centered and on track. Like her inspirations, her music is a wide range with a bow towards heavy metal or rock bands such as Metallica. On this topic she finds inspiration from working with Dave Mustaine who inspired her through his music.

One of the biggest challenges she sees in her field is that too many makeup artists in the industry work with bad sterilization techniques. This prompted Melanie to create the “Go 2 Brush”. Melanie says that artists can clean the brush with 99% alcohol, then sanitize, sterilize and be done in one wipe; thus allowing the makeup artist to move on to the next client.

Melanie works in everything from hair to makeup, tattoo cover up and airbrushing, along with training in wigs and prosthetic design. She helps inspire other up and coming artists. You can find more information about Melanie Littlewood at


A Gunfight with Cowboys, Pirates, and Ghosts

The filmmakers behind the upcoming movie called Pistolero discuss the concept behind the film and
announce the launch of their crowdfunding campaign.
United States – Nov. 9th 2015 : In August of next year, a highly talented film crew will begin shooting the
much-anticipated film entitled “Pistolero.” The film will be directed by Ezequiel Martinez, an
up-and-coming Hollywood director who has directed several other films including “On a Dark and
Stormy Night” and “Spyware.” Alongside Ezequiel, there will be many talented and accomplished
individuals within the film industry taking a part in Pistolero. This includes the noted cinematographer
Byron Werner, the producer Kico Velarde, and writer Lee Brandt. The film is expected to begin
shooting this upcoming August at the Greenspot Farms in Mentone, California, near the San
Bernardino Forest.
“ The concept behind Pistolero was created when I answered a question that no
one has ever thought of. ” said the director Ezequiel Martinez. “ What would
happen if you took the Mexico of the past, present, and future, and then rolled
it together with a world of Tim Burton fantasy and Clint Eastwood westerns, to
create a hurricane of gunfighters? Pistolero is a story that brings those who are
wanted dead, to life as they participate in the greatest gunfight the world has The movie Pistolero revolves around a revenge plot between cowboys, ghosts, pirates, and the elusive
Dorian Grey. The film is expected to have several high-quality action scenes, including a 15-minute
gunfight that was already optioned by a large film production company. For $45,000 the makers of
Pistolero can shoot this piece of the movie and then have it re-optioned with Ezequiel Martinez as the
director. In order to offset some of the costs associated with creating Pistolero, the filmmakers have
created an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign which was launched earlier this week and will expire
within the next two months. The crew hopes to achieve their $45,000 goal in order to bring the story
of Pistolero to life. There are several “perks” that will be provided to contributors such as digital
downloads of the movie’s theme song, an entry to a draw, merchandise, and the opportunity to be
apart of the film. More information about the Pistolero crowdfunding campaign can be accessed
seen. ”

First Day On a Movie Set

So here you are, you have worked hard, spent a ton of money in schooling, advertisement, and probably a number of other things. This can be nerve racking, or frustrating. Why? Because you may not be doing what you came out to Hollywood to do.

You may be doing extra work (background) or PA work.

On the bigger sets, it is harder to get more than that.

On a low budget set, it is much easier to get selected to a specific department and move up the ranks in that department faster. If you have connections, you could do it on the big budgets faster. This business is mostly about who you know and how well you get along. Skill can be taught, but unlike other industries it is mostly taught by watching people do it and doing it yourself. The more you work, the more you learn.

But what happens on a movie set?

Each set can be different, some can be organized better than others.

  1. The first thing to look at is the call sheet. It has a wealth of information like the time and the location of the set. It also says how many scenes and pages of the set you will be doing for that day. More on that in the article on call sheets.
  2. The next thing to look at is who your immediate boss is. Understanding the workings of the set take time and each can be a bit different depending on the players of the game. For instance, if the producer has more credits than the director, he may have the final say. But if the director is producing the show, then he is the boss. Do your best to observe and listen and don’t get caught in cross fires.
  3. The next thing to do is listen if someone tells you to do something. Clear it with your boss if it is outside your department and do it if your boss tells you to. But if he says do it a certain way, then do it that way. Don’t get into arguments about how to do things. The key at this stage is doing more and less arguments.
  4. The next step and you will hear me say this many times is “go above and beyond expected.” Get very good at what you do. Show up early and stay late. In the beginning, the first day you are a beginner with no credits. I don’t care how much you paid for a degree and neither does the rest of the industry. You start where everyone else does unless you have connections. So be prepared to work.
  5. And one of the most important things is to have fun and enjoy what you do. Don’t complain. It infects the set and only makes things worse.

Don’t expect any movie set to be like any other movie set or the way you were taught in school.

James Kelly Durgin

Hollywood has been enjoying services of some of the best talents in the world. One such great talent was of Jim ‘Kelly’ Durgin. Until his death in 2011, Jim served as an excellent script supervisor in Hollywood having taken an active scripting role in more than 200 movies.
Early Life
Durgin, James Clayton “Kelly” was born in August 13, 1930 in Minneapolis, Minnesota as the oldest of Mae and James Durgin’s three sons. In his early life, Jim attended the Holly Cross Elementary School before proceeding to Foshay Junior High School. His interest in the arts led him to later join Manual Arts High School before making his way to Woodbury College and finally setting his feet in the Los Angeles City College in LA. His early education was majorly inspired by his love for art and that’s why he later found himself in Los Angeles.
His Service to the Nation
After completion of his studies, Jim served with the 40th Infantry Division in Japan. He was in the occupation troops in Japan. His bravery actions also helped him to develop acceptable morals that guided him in his later career in the film industry.
Start of His Career In Films
Soon after his return from Japan, Jim changed the course of career from active service in the military to the films. His entry into the film industry started as a photographer and editor. He also did quite a number of jobs in the film and television industry. Unlike other talented artists, Jim was willing to do any work in the film and television industry just for the purpose of experience.
The Epitome of Jim’s Career
Under his mother’s second marriage name, “Kelly”, Jim took part in acting as an extra in many films. Despite, engaging in such roles, Jim’s real niche was script supervision. He was an excellent script supervisor. In his long career, running over 50 years, Jim had supervised scripts of more than 200 movies in both the American and Canadian film industries. Some of his greatest works include script supervision in “The Jonathan Winters Show” series and “The Blob” movie.
He had 50 years experience in the film industry, 40 of which he was an instructor teaching script supervision, motion picture production and movie budgeting. He taught many producers, writers, actors, and movie makers as well as some of the top script supervisors in Hollywood.
Though Jim did not have a family of his own, he had such an exciting life that involved exploration of his hobbies that included shooting skeet and fishing.
In November 13, 2011, the shocking news of Jim’s death was received amidst great mourning of such a great talent in the film industry. Jim survived by his US Army, Retired, brother, Major George A. Durgin.