We’ve compiled a list of eight books every filmmaker should read this summer. Some are directly related to the craft. Others are simply examples of great craftsmanship themselves. But all of them will make fantastic companions whether you’re unwinding on the beach or head-down inside your latest project. These suggestions were compiled from our own reading and from the reading of some of our talented filmmaking friends. We hope you find one that, in the words of J. D. Salinger, “Really knocks you out.”
For a lot of people, Vimeo’s launch changed the game. And for a talented few, Vimeo Staff Picks launched careers. Since their inception, the clout of the Staff Pick has only grown. Its influence now extends far beyond Vimeo’s servers. Major Hollywood directors like Wes Ball (The Maze Runner) and David Green (Earth to Echo) got their starts thanks to Vimeo’s nod of approval. And more than a few of our friends have had their lives changed by that now-hallowed seal in the top-left corner.
When things are going well, film ideas lead one to the next. You’re working on one project, and something sparks an idea for another. A perpetual motion machine. But sometimes that machine breaks down, and you’re left trying to pedal your bicycle uphill. Every once in a while, we all need a little boost.
The quickest way to do bad work is to worry about doing bad work. It’s that well-known truth all over again: We move toward what we focus on. At some point, the people who make great things stop worrying so much about making bad things, and they start getting work done, getting projects finished, getting pieces out there. They eschew perfectionism in favor of productivity. They work fast — and fearlessly.
We’re suckers for great documentaries, and there’s no shortage of them right now. From incredible true-crime podcasts (sup, Serial!) to the latest Herzog masterpiece, Lo and Behold, this really is the golden age of documentary. These films are not only fascinating and beautiful, but they’re creating actual change. Recently Brendan Dassey, one of the subjects of the documentary series Making a Murderer, was released from prison after more than a decade. (He was supposed to serve a life sentence.) Serial’s Adnan Syed is getting a new trial. That’s part of what’s so addicting about the form. These stories make a real difference. They throw their weight around.
Movie magic happens in an instant. It’s an alchemy of elements that, for whatever reason, creates something much more valuable than the pieces themselves. And like alchemy, the formula has been sought for generations. So far, no luck. But if there’s one thing we know movie magic does not require, it’s a lot of time.
Welcome to the first-ever Musicbed Top 5, a rundown of our favorite short films featuring music from our artists. Hearing their work in great videos is one of the most rewarding things we get to do and we’re excited to share a few of them with you. This rundown is just a small sample of the work we’ve seen on Vimeo recently, and you can watch even more in our Musicbed Collection on Vimeo. We went with a decidedly sports-oriented version this time around, but as you’ll see in these films, they’re about so much more than that. Enjoy these incredible short films, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.
A title sequence doesn’t have to be memorable or inspired or even very good. A title sequence doesn’t have to exist at all, in fact. Plenty of great films just roll credits over establishing shots or black. Which is why when a title sequence does transcend the norm, it becomes something really special. Think Napoleon Dynamite. Think Star Wars’ scrolling paragraphs. These preambles become part and parcel of the whole film: inseparable from our experience or memory of it. Like all forms of filmmaking, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for what makes a title sequence great. Some are serious, some are playful, some are abstract, some are a lie. Whatever form they take, they enhance our experience and understanding of the film or television show that follows. They make a first impression — they set the stage.
There is no shortage of incredible films out there just waiting to be made. Weird films. Beautiful films. Films unlike any we’ve ever seen. But without funding, many of them will never see the light of day. Recently we’ve been reminded of all the amazing films that have come into the world thanks to grants and fellowships and other alternative forms of funding. Stories are more than a commodity, and that’s why we’re so passionate about them.