How Buying a Cinema Camera Can Make More Sense Than Renting One

A while back I bought my first cinema camera when I initially had the idea to make my own films. I decided to purchase a Canon C100 Cinema Camera from B&H Photo because someone I had worked on another project with had used that same camera and I really liked the way the images turned out on that film.

Sometimes Conventional Thinking Is Wrong

The first few short films we made, I had an Assistant Director strictly tell me to never ever buy equipment and to always rent the equipment. The reason why that statement is wrong is that there are huge differences between prices to rent and buy cameras and the opportunity cost really can be significant depending on the use of those cameras.

Are you shooting a feature film for 30 days, never using the camera again after that and the camera body cost more than $30,000? Are you making 10 projects over the next 10 months and are able to use the same camera? Are you looking at a $95,000 Arri Alexa or a $7,400 Canon C200? What is the resell value on your camera? Are you dealing with a company like B&H Photo who will purchase the camera back after you get ready to sell it if you decided to sell at some point in the future?

In Some Cases, the Numbers Work in Your Favor to Purchase, Not Rent

I purchased a camera and used it on about 9 different projects over a course of 10 months. The days we were on a set totaled about 30 days in actual use, but there were many more days whenever I found it useful to just have the camera on hand. In this case, the camera was sold back to B&H Photo for $1,224.99 and with free shipping. I originally paid $2,999.00 including shipping. I owned the camera for a full year exactly, totally random I know. During that same year, I could rent a C100 for $100 per day. Well $100 per day for 365 days is $36,500 or if you look at it for the days I used the camera on set, which was for about 30 days, then that total is $3,000. Basically, I paid $1,774.01 to own a camera for an entire year, which if I had rented it for that time period would have cost $36,500 or for just the days we used it on a film set, $3,000.

But don’t buy an Arri Alexa for $95,000 for a 30 days shoot, when you can rent one for much less than that.

Why Robert Mckee’s Book Story Is a Book Every Screenwriter Should Read

I started reading Robert McKee’s book ‘Story’ a few years ago. I’m still not done reading and taking notes on it, despite having already written and produced a few screenplays.

What Is Screenwriting Really About?

Screenwriting is the most difficult thing in all of filmmaking. It’s tough to be a good director and it’s also hard to be a good actor or producer. But by far the toughest trade in all of filmmaking is screenwriting. A person starts with almost infinite possibilities and somehow, they end up with what McKee calls a ‘small knowable world.’ That’s a lot of decisions to make. More decisions than anyone else has to make I promise.

You also have to know about all the principles of storytelling and McKee covers all of the bases in his book. He doesn’t talk so much about formatting, just use Final Draft and read other screenplays to get a better understanding of how to format. Formatting a script is usually the last thing done when writing, after having spent months writing and rewriting a treatment. Most importantly, a motion picture can either succeed or fail based on the quality of writing alone. Hundreds of books and websites available are dedicated solely to learning and improving screenwriting, but Robert McKee’s book ‘Story’ is the best in my opinion, and I’m not alone in that assessment.

The Benefits of Making a Short Film

What Are the Benefits of Making a Short Film?

Are you interested in making a film, but don’t know where to start? Begin by making a short film. The benefits of making a short film are many, but you learn about all the aspects of filmmaking while doing it. More importantly, you are able to do it on a project with a much smaller production scope than a feature-length film. That means you work with a screenplay that’s 10 or 12 pages long, instead of 120 pages long. The budget is smaller so you don’t have to convince anyone to give you a large amount of money to make a film, assuming you aren’t independently wealthy. It also can be divided up into a shoot date that’s a few days long, instead of a few weeks or a few months long.

What Do You Want to Gain Experience Doing?

What are the benefits of making a short film, specifically? That depends on what you want to do. Are you interested in becoming a producer? Are you interested in becoming a director or cinematographer? Maybe you want to work in post-production or on another area of film. It’s even possible you want to write screenplays and you started with a screenplay for a short film. Now you’re moving to get it made. There are a lot of possibilities. With independent filmmaking on the rise, you don’t have to move to Los Angeles and cozy up to the largest studios in the world to make your mark in film. Not anymore you don’t. You had to do this in the 1940s and 1950s and that has slowly changed over the years. With the way digital cinema has changed and the number of platforms for distribution multiplying, independent filmmaking is on the rise.

You Should Follow Your Passion

I started acting a few years ago. That led me to start a film production company and make films. You can see a list of credits for me on IMDb here. I had a lot of reasons why I wanted to act, aside from the usual desire harbored by actors to be both famous and rich. I loved everything about demanding your mind and self to do exactly what you wanted it to on camera. I thought it had benefits to other areas of life. That may or may not have been an accurate way to view acting, but that’s how I viewed it. It wasn’t until I went head first into acting when I discovered everything else about filmmaking. I started my production company in Austin, Texas while a student at The University of Texas. There are a handful of cities in North America good for filmmaking and Austin is one of those cities. It was and continues to be a great place to learn the benefits of making a short film. Those things considered, this article can offer you the inspiration to go out make films and see the benefits of making a short film.

The Benefits Are You Learn What You Couldn’t by Study Alone

The best benefits are you learn about all the intricacies of making a film. If you have never made a film before, there are a lot of intricacies. There are a lot of things that need to be thought of and a lot of things that can go wrong. I’ve made 4 short films and have another short film and a feature film in pre-production. I’ve made so many mistakes, but I’ve learned so much more from my experiences. My learning from the projects I’ve produced far outweigh those mistakes and embarrassments picked up along the way. Why am I telling you this? So you know firsthand that if you are considering the benefits of making a short film, you should stop right there and go out and make a film. It is worth your time.

Study, Study and Study Some More

There is no way I can overstate the importance of studying everything you possibly can about filmmaking. This is one of the greatest benefits of making a short film. There are a lot of great websites and books available. You should also read screenplays of your favorite films and watch a lot of films. Watch short films too. See what an amateur production looks like. After you do this, go out and make a film. Then come back and study some more, then make another film. If you love film the way I do, and the way some of the people I have worked with do, you will enjoy this process. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t be afraid to admit mistakes. Hopefully, each film you make gets better and better. There is a professional standard for film we see every time we watch a film or television series produced by a large production company and distributed on a popular platform. Most short films made do not meet that standard. If you make a short film on $500 or $1,000 budget, the way many short films are made, strive to reach that threshold of quality met by large budget productions. It can be done, even with an inexperienced crew and small budget. Strive for that because it’s an obvious way to further your career in film.

Why Austin Actors Should Take Dustin Hoffman’s Masterclass

What’s an Austin actor to do?

If you are an Austin actor and interested in taking a masterclass with Dustin Hoffman, then you are in luck. There is one such class that came out a few years ago. I took the class whenever it first came out. It’s an awesome class and one Austin actors should consider taking.

It’s The Real Deal

I started acting as a student at The University of Texas and this was the first place I was exposed to a real acting coach. As an Austin actor, I can honestly tell you there are no instructors in the Austin area as good as Dustin Hoffman.

Class Organization

The class is organized in about 30 different videos. They are divided into videos where Hoffman covers need to know information about acting. This information applies to Austin actors as well as actors located in other cities. There are also two different sections of the course where actors get their chance to work through a scene with Hoffman working as the director. They work through the actor’s problems and eventually get to a place where the scene is very real to the audience. They document this for the students who take the class and it’s incredibly helpful.

What You Learn

Austin Actors should take the class. That’s all I have to say about it. If you are an Austin actor or an actor anywhere, then you should take this class. Dustin Hoffman and his class will give you a place to build off of as an actor and a place of reference for when you find yourself losing your way. You can also find a list of credits for films I’ve made on IMDb.

Why Read Eric Morris’ Book ‘No Acting Please’

If It Works, Use It

‘No Acting Please’ is one of the best acting books. In the forward of the book, Jack Nicholson wrote, “The Method is ‘If it works, use it.’” For those of you who don’t know, Eric Morris is a revered acting instructor based in Los Angeles, California. His approach is to take realism, which was originally brought to the forefront in acting by Constantin Stanislavski in the early 20th century and create acting exercises to get actors from point A to point B. Point B being realism as seen in good performances, or what most consider a good performance. Eric Morris calls it BEING.

Eric Morris and His Books

This book is one of 7 books he’s written on the subject of acting. This is indefinably one of the best acting books out there. It’s divided into four different sections titled Being, Getting Ready to Get Ready, Common Sensory Acting, and Preparation. It’s written in a very user-friendly format with a lot of opportunities to learn what Eric Morris has learned in the time he has been studying and practicing acting.


There is a distinction between BEING and not BEING made in this book. Morris starts his book by saying this, “No matter what the material, the actor’s fundamental question is: ‘What is the reality and how can I make it real to me?’” When an actor is BEING, he’s bringing a real performance to the scene. It’s when they decide to operate on a natural level where all the human emotions, mannerisms, intents and thoughts are as real as you would see if that character were standing before you under those same circumstances of the story. That’s the number one reason you should read this book. It’s one of the best acting books and it gives readers the opportunity to explore this principle more fully. That is what all acting classes, self-help books, and so-called professional ‘experience’ are aimed to do.

What Jack Nicholson Said

To go back quickly to what Jack Nicholson said when he said, “The Method is ‘If it works, use it.’” I have never been in an acting class or on a film set where I didn’t see my performance had so much to do with my preparation before. The most important thing I have seen – and Jack Nicholson can attest to this – is don’t limit yourself, or your acting, to things others have told you or showed you. Throw everything and the kitchen sink at your performance. Know your lines inside and out. Read every book and online articles about acting you can get your hands on. Sign up for film acting workshops. Try to get out to every audition you can. Most importantly, if it works, then use it.

Why I Study

I study acting and make films in Austin, Texas. I’ve taken film acting workshops, film acting classes, and improvisation courses at The University of Texas. I can tell you doing it is important. Study is just as important, but if you aren’t out there working you are limiting yourself as an artist, immensely. If you aren’t working, consider taking a workshop or class in acting.

What Cameras Do Hollywood Films Use?

What Types of Cameras?

Have you ever wondered what types of cameras were used on your favorite films? Have you ever seen a movie in theaters and wondered to yourself, what kind of camera would it take to make a film like that? What kind of camera did they use? Have no fear, I’ve come to answer your questions. Actors studying film will love this article. The first distinction to make is between films shot digitally and those shot on film. In the last 10 to 15 years, motion pictures being made digitally has become much more popular. I can also tell you I have never shot a film on actual film. Every film I have ever made was shot digitally and I’m fairly certain that is the way I’m going to proceed in the future.

Listed on IMDb pro are what cameras are used on what films. These are only the top grossing live-action films. If you want to talk about other films, some which are maybe more critically acclaimed, such as having won or been nominated to an Academy Award, then this article doesn’t cover that. I can tell you what types of cameras are used in Hollywood films in the past 2 years. I can’t tell you about every single film listed on IMDb, or even those that made a theatrical release. In this article, you will find an answer to the types of cameras used on the top 5 grossing films for the past 2 years. This would be for the years 2016 and 2015.

Top Grossing Films

The top 5 grossing live-action films of 2016 were Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Captain America: Civil War, The Jungle Book, Deadpool and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The top 5 grossing live-action films of 2015 were Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Furious 7 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.

The Cameras Used

Actors studying film want to know about the equipment on set. Some of these motion pictures were shot on both film and digitally. However, for these blockbuster hits, they only used two different brands of cinema camera for the digital side of things. They also only used two for those shot on film. These are Arri and Red for those shot digitally, and Arri and Panavision for those shot on film. The most common type of digital Arri camera used is an Arri Alexa XT and the newer model of this camera is listed at an MSRP of $74,000. The most common Red camera used is a Red Epic Weapon and it’s currently listed at an MSRP of $29,000.

These are expensive cameras and may surprise you if you are hearing the prices of these for the first time. Some actors studying film want to know how much it really cost. These are MSRP prices for the camera body only. The cost of lenses is usually as much or more than the cost of a camera body. These are only two components of cinematography, with cinematography being only one component of making a motion picture.

In making a motion picture, these are the most common cameras used. One cool application of this knowledge pertains to video production. All the commercials you see on TV or those nice promotional videos you’ve seen on the law firm’s website you were dreaming about working for, most likely hired a production company that used these cameras. There are other cinema camera brands out there, but Arri and Red are huge in the industry. Red is a big favorite in the local video production market here in Austin, Texas, where Holloman Films is located.

How a Film Acting Workshop Can Help with Screenwriting

What’s a Screenwriter To Do?

One of the most important things a screenwriter can do is understand the medium of film. This includes the physical limitations brought on by locations and equipment, including the future budget of the film your screenplay will become. It also includes the limitations on the actors who will eventually bring to life the words written. A film acting workshop or class could potentially help a writer with this. With my film endeavors, I’ve tried to learn about every aspect of filmmaking.

Talented Screenwriters

Some of the most talented screenwriters of all time were also actors and filmmakers. They probably even enrolled in a film acting workshop before. This list includes people such as Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen, Billy Bob Thornton and Ben Affleck, just to name a few. One thing these people have in common is they fully understand the medium they write for.

This can be as broad as understanding the difference between good and bad films, which can be traced back to the quality of the screenplay. It also can deal with more pointed details such as what kinds of dialogue work and don’t work. Maybe something sounded good in your head and you arrived at a table read and it sounds convoluted or unreal. Many times, after working on film sets, we can see dialogue may work for a character cast for one person but not another. Did we mean for that to happen, or was it by accident? Screenwriters who study filmmaking learn to think of the screenwriting in a holistic way, and that is a positive thing.

As a screenwriter, filmmaker, and actor I’ve come to realize the importance of this. I can also point to others in the entertainment industry who have made this approach part of their careers. Learn as much as you can about the medium you write for!