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If there is such thing as a “traditional path” to becoming a film director, Elle Ginter did not take it. After finishing her degree in journalism, Elle literally found herself out to sea. She worked on a whale-watching boat and talked to people about whales. As luck would have it, her job on the boat eventually led her onto major Hollywood sets with people like Adam Sandler and David Spade…

We assume you make films because you want people to see them. Actually, more than just see — think, feel, resonate with, remember. An audience isn’t a passive group of eyeballs. It’s the reason your film comes to life. Literally, the motion of a film is created inside people’s brains. And the story too. Their experiences and feelings and thoughts and opinions will resonate with yours, and “movie magic” happens. It’s what keeps people going to the movies. And ⎯ allow us to be idealistic for a second ⎯ it’s what keeps filmmakers making them. So it’s funny that, when it comes to feedback, it’s so easy for us to believe that no one’s opinion matters but our own. Or, to go to the other extreme, to believe that someone else’s opinion is the only one that counts.

Carl Sprague is a busy guy. You can see it in our conversation with him below. But, more importantly, you can see it on his résumé. Since he began building theater sets at Harvard University (he says it was more rewarding than directing actors), Carl has worked in the art departments of more than 30 films, including Oscar winners like The Social Network, 12 Years a Slave, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. While his collaborators include Stephen Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson…

Creativity, like any job, is a daily grind. Salesmen don’t wait for inspiration to make a sale. Surgeons don’t wait for lightning-bolt revelations to make their first incision. And the same goes for those of us who do creative work. Whether it’s our full-time job or our side passion, creativity is best practiced every day.

Who hasn’t had to scale back an epic film project knowing there is no way to actually pay for it? Between quality actors, a camera crew, makeup artists, stunt doubles, and you name it, the cost of a film adds up fast. But, thanks to great crowdfunding platforms, there’s no better time to pitch your film to potential patrons and help your film go the extra mile.

We’re firm believers in the idea that the most successful creatives aren’t in it for the success. It’s quite the paradox, but it makes a little more sense when you look at the exploding YouTube channel known as Yes Theory. Their team consistently creates viral videos with substance, has built a following with more than 3.5 million subscribers, and shows no sign of slowing down. How? Well, back to that paradox…

Three recent design school graduates are sitting in a room somewhere in the Netherlands, listening to an album. The record skips. They think: Did the record just skip? Or did we travel through time a little bit? It’s the kind of bizarro question that will become common for these three. Jump-cut 10 years into the future, and this seed of an idea has become the Oscar-nominated animated short film A Single Life, created by the now-renowned animation studio Job, Joris & Marieke.

Years before Abby Fuller became Chef’s Table’s first female director, her first job out of film school was making the series True Life for MTV. That’s where she mastered the most basic building blocks of storytelling: beginnings, middles, and endings. For being so fundamental, it’s surprising how often they’re forgotten. We’ve all watched films that are nothing but a series of beginnings with no real story or progression. And we wonder why we lose interest. We wonder what’s missing. Well, the middle. And also, the end.

Tom Levinge’s comedic short, Mister Biscuits, is silly. It suspends reality by putting humans in the roles of beloved pets. There’s the occasional poop gag. And it’s unapologetically a “dog movie,” whereby the power of one’s pet’s affections is strong enough to help the protagonist recover, repair, and move on with their life — despite undergoing some pretty significant hardships. And yet, that’s exactly what makes this piece such a fantastic filmmaking achievement. It’s recognizable but inventive. It’s impossible, but it’s honest.