Free film teaching book - Making Better Movies with Moviestorm, Vol 1
One of the things we realized over the last few years is that Moviestorm isn’t just a great way to make films quickly and cheaply. It’s an amazing way to learn about how films are made and develop your filmmaking techniques. As film teacher Phil South put it, it’s like a pilot using a simulator to train in - it’s affordable, safe, and convenient.
Making Better Movies with Moviestorm, Vol 1 is the first book in a series by Moviestorm co-founder Matt Kelland showing how to use Moviestorm to improve your filmmaking. It includes a series of simple exercises which focus on specific techniques. Importantly, they’re not specific to Moviestorm: they’re generic exercises which are equally applicable whether you make your films with Moviestorm, high-end animation, live action or anything else. The advantage of using Moviestorm to film in a virtual world is that it’s fast and you can practice solo without needing to find cast, crew, or kit.
The books are designed as practical self-guided workbooks rather than textbooks. The books aren’t designed simply to be read - they’re a training course that helps you to practice what you already know until it becomes second nature, and experiment with ideas at your own pace.. Each illustrated double page spread explains a technique and then asks you to film a scene in various ways so you can experiment with that technique. Review and follow-up sections encourage you to be critical of your own work and suggest further ways to film that scene or use that technique.
It’s about the simple, everyday scenes that you need to master
“Over the last few years, I’ve shot literally hundreds of hours of footage,” explains Matt. “That’s taught me a lot more than I initially realized. It’s given me an intrinsic understanding of what makes a good shot, and more importantly, how those shots will cut together into the finished movie and what they say about the characters and the story. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn about and practice directing, camerawork, editing, set design, and every other part of the movie-making process. I couldn’t have done nearly as much if I’d tried to do everything with real cameras and actors. It’s not just about the expensive shots like car chases, it’s also the simple, everyday scenes that you need to master.”
Phil South, who wrote the introduction, adds, ““How do you get good at telling stories with movies? It comes down to experience, of course, and experience comes through practice. The same is true of any technical ability which has some art to it. The more you do it, the better you get.”
This first volume is about camerawork, and includes 17 exercises. These cover filming some of the most common situations you will encounter, including walks, conversations, and phone calls. More advanced techniques include reveals, POV shots and how to fake crowds with only a few extras. Future volumes are expected to be released monthly and will cover staging, editing, lighting and sound.
“Spot on. The exercises are set up in a very logical, progressive way.”
James Martin, University of North Texas
“Excellent - great for schools and colleges alike. The tone of the writing is perfect - neither patronising or too authoritative.”
Jezz Wright, Blockhouse TV
“I really liked how you tell the reader to try a shot with and without each technique to be able to actually see the difference they make.”
Dan Horne, film student, Full Sail University
Volume 1 is available now, as a free download directly from Moviestorm. Please feel free to pass it on, and let us know what you think!