Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

Art of the Film Score

October 17th, 2015

Vertigo posterDid you ever want to… Know the relationship between Pinocchio and the music in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? … Appreciate the genius of Bernard Herrmann, the composer for Vertigo and other memorable Hitchcock films? … Understand what goes into creating the music for films that so enraptures us?

Marcia BaumanFilm composer, professor, and friend Marcia Bauman will delve into the world of cinema music in the Art of the Film Score. It’s a four-week workshop that starts November 7 at CMCM (Center for Media in the County of Marin). Here’s the musically enticing trailer that Marcia and CMCM created for the class.

Marcia helped me on my latest film book, Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video 2nd Edition and I’ve been wanting to take one of her classes for a long time. I will be there and hope to see you.

Time: 1-4 PM
Dates: Saturdays, November 7-28
Place: 819 A St. San Rafael, CA (CMCM)

Click here for more info about the class and its registration page.

Announcements, History/research, Sound & music editing, User groups & meetings

Free Feedback Workshop for Filmmakers

August 24th, 2015

Announcement of CMCM workshopIf you live near San Rafael and have a film in progress, starting September 2, I’ll be leading a feedback group, “Work-in-Progress Wednesdays” at CMCM (Center for Media, County of Marin).

The workshop is free and will meet every other month.

If you’re working on an 8–10 minute short piece, you can show your entire piece. If you’re editing a long form project, you can run up to 20 minutes of your cut.

Time: 6:30-8:30 PM
Date: Wednesday, September 2
Place: 819 A St. San Rafael, CA (CMCM)

In a safe, collegial space, you’ll hear feedback from fellow filmmakers as well as from me. I will enforce stated guidelines that will allow you to hear comments in a supportive atmosphere. Think of it as a free focus group.

To enter a clip, email a brief description of your project no later than Wednesday, August 26 to Otherwise, just show up and learn from watching others’ work and giving feedback. Learn more here.

Now look at this promo for “Work-in-Progress Wednesdays.” It gives you the information but it could use some feedback itself!

Announcements, Editing practices, User groups & meetings

Take 2 – Film Editing: Making an Invisible Art Visible

March 30th, 2015

I’m repeating the class I taught at the Marin Community Center for Media in downtown San Rafael, CA this spring. I’m looking forward to another great group of students.
Community Media Center of Marin Class

The feedback from the last class was strongly positive and helpful, I’m glad to report. As a result, I’ve expanded the course from four sessions to five. This will allow more time for documentary and re-viewing scenes that superbly illustrate different editing genres and types of cuts. I’ve also expanded the documentary section and added animation and book trailers, and increased the resources and handouts.

Learn more and sign up for the class here.

Here’s a promo the Media Center made for the class edited by  Alejandro Palacios, Communications & Development Manager.

I’m excited once again to show scenes and discuss the current state of editing and some of my favorite subjects: What does an editor contribute? Why does an editor make a cut? How important are sound and music? How has MTV affected cutting styles? What does academic research show about the evolution of editing?

Here’s the info:

What: Film Editing: Making an Invisible Art Visible

Dates: Wednesdays, April 8, 15, 22, 29, and May 1.

Time: 6-9 p.m.

Where: Community Media Center of Marin
819 A Street, San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 721-0636

Hope to see you in class.


Anatomy of a Book Trailer

November 26th, 2014

I have formed a film company for creating book trailers called PictureYourBook. What is a book trailer? It’s a 1-3 minute video promo designed to tell readers what the book is about and intrigue them enough to buy it. Yes. Just as a movie trailer (a.k.a. a movie preview) lets an audience know about a film, so a book trailer informs readers about a book (eBook and/or print).

And, believe it or not, there are two sets of awards for Best Book Trailer. The Moby Award and the Trailie Award. But I get ahead of myself so see the end of this post for more.

Book Trailer Venues
A book trailer that can be placed on an author’s website, their publisher’s website, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. the author can run it during book talks. (I have and to resounding applause, I am pleased to report). A trailer can be DVD’d, blogged, emailed, and used in marketing in any ways the author or their publicist dreams up.

Creating a Book Trailer
The procedure for creating a trailer follows the basic 4-step filmmaking process: Plan, Storyboard, Edit, Deliver.

Types of Book Trailers
I’ve spent hours viewing countless book trailers. Some of them are atrocious, consisting of zooms into the book cover and back along with blurbs and unappealing music. Others are fantastic – both low budget author-on-camera trailers and high budget movie type trailers with movie stars. From my sortie through book trailer land, I’ve identified many types of trailers. Here are a few of the types paired with examples:

  1. Trailers featuring the author
    • Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials Rosalind Wiseman talks about how her students helped her write her book, how she giggles while typing it, and how she interviewed students. The trailer firmly establishes her credentials in the beginning and shows how and why she wrote the book and its appeal as well as her hopes and dreams for the book.
    • Freedom by Famous author Jonathan Frazen trashes book trailers at the same time standing up for books. This trailer won a Moby Award for worst performance by an author.
  2. Trailers featuring Animals
    Animals are always great at selling lots of products. Why not books?
    • Little Chicken’s Big Day Using the authentic voices of preschoolers to sell a book to them along with adorable chicks and drawings of chicks this trailer earned a Trailie Award.
    • While seated amongst bonobos in their habitat, Vanessa Woods tells why she wrote Bonobo Handshake . Won Moby Award for Most Monkey sex (which occurs in the background).
  3. Funny book trailers
    • A Simples Life trailer. Popular British funnyman Aleksandra Orlove narrates this humorous trailer about two meerkats, the stars of his book.
    • Super Sad True Love Story. Long (4:42) but skewers approaches to selling books: crazy author who can’t read & works for pickles & women w/faked Russian family, other well-known authors commenting, and even actor James Franco. Winner of the Grand Jury Moby Award, “We’re Giving You This Award Because Otherwise You’d Win Too Many Other Awards.”
  4. Stop motion Animation Trailers with Food
    Food can be a fun and informative way to wet readers’ appetites.
    • The Book of SPAM. This excellent trailer employs “Toastadvertising” – pieces of toast – to tell the tale.
  5. Documentary Style Trailers
  6. Text-Driven Trailers

Trailer Awards
There have been Trailie Awards for children’s’ books and Moby Awards for adult books though both awards are not currently being given out.

Moby Awards
A Moby is a tongue-in-cheek award initiated by Melville House, a Brooklyn based publisher given out an Oscar mocking ceremony. A thrown-together committee bestows a Golden Whale statue (a toy painted gold) on winners of trailers in a variety of irreverent categories e.g. “Least Likely to Sell a Book,” ”Most Celebtastic Performance,” “Most Annoying Appearance by an Author,” and “Biggest Waste of Conglomerate Money.”

Trailie Awards
The School Library Journal, a professional association of librarians, established the Trailie and designated six categories based on grade (PreK-6 and 7-12) and creator (student, adult, or publisher/author). Anyone can nominate or vote for a trailer but a committee of librarians selects the best and announces them at a reading conference.

Announcements, Editing practices, History/research, Technical & process

My New Book is Out: Read all About it

November 18th, 2014

Old Cable CarMy new book, Chronicles of Old San Francisco: Exploring the Historic City by the Bay is out! With 28 chapters centered on SF’s movers & shakers, it personifies history and helps you discover SF on your own with 8 walking tours aligned to Google maps.

View the trailer I created with Jay Scherberth, my partner in PictureYourBook, a trailer company.

Old Cable CarFor more info about the book and San Francisco check out my new website, the

Learn more about the book at the publisher’s site.

Buy the book online or in bookstores. I learned a lot about my old/new city in researching and writing the book. Enjoy!

Announcements, History/research

Film Editing: Making an Invisible Art Visible

August 27th, 2014

Community Media Center of Marin Class

Come one, come all! I’ll be teaching Film Editing: Making an Invisible Art Visible a four-evening course at the Center for Media in downtown San Rafael, CA.

I’m excited to show scenes and discuss the current state of editing and some of my favorite subjects: What does an editor contribute? Why does an editor make a cut? How important are sound and music? How has MTV affected cutting styles? What does academic research show about the evolution of editing?

Here’s the scoop:

Dates: Wednesdays, September 3, 10, 17, 24.

Time: 6-9 p.m.

Where: County of Marin Media center (415) 721-0636

819 A Street, San Rafael, CA 94901


Feel free to pass this on to anyone you think might enjoy the class.


Count the M’s: Me. Speaking at Marin County Media Center’s May 7 Mixer

May 3rd, 2014

Marin Media Center Mixer BrochureWhat does an editor bring to the party besides a digital editing machine?” That’s the question I will attempt to answer when I speak at the Marin County Media Center’s May Mixer this Wednesday, May 7 at 7 p.m. Mmmmm. The Media Center is a non-profit located in San Rafael, CA that teaches young and old the tools of the filmmaking trade. There will be me, refreshments, and Media Center students, so come on over if you’re in the vicinity. You don’t have to be a member. In the meantime or if you can’t make it, enjoy the graphic the Center made for the flyer advertising the event.


Year of the Horse – and the Chinese Translation

January 31st, 2014

Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video

Just in time for Chinese New Year is the Chinese translation of my book, Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video, Second Edition. Click here to buy it. Page for page it appears to be the same as the English version and my Chinese speaking friends have not complained about the translation yet – a good sign and emblematic of the Horse which is considered to embody kindness and good communications.

And, speaking of communications, I have been more of a horse’s rear end as far as regular communications with this blog. Other projects have been absorbing my time – mainly my history book – Chronicles of Old San Francisco with 29 chapters, each built around a specific mover and shaker, and seven walking tours – which is in editing and due out July 15.

In the meantime, I am paying to keep this site going because I believe its resources – free downloads, glossary, Cut of the Month feature, and categorized blogs along with my filmmaking books provide invaluable information and tools for filmmakers. So please check them out and feel free to contact me at any time.



January 19th, 2013

n. hai’eitas (Greek) An unexpected gap.
Encarta dictionary

All good TV shows – well, those that come back for a second season or more – go on hiatus, having delivered the required number of episodes to the network. The time gives everyone a break from the 12+ hour days and 5-7 day weeks.

I began this blog on September 9, 2009. I’ve found that there are a bountiful supply of roads and riffs that lap the topic of editing. I’m not out of subjects now. However, major life events are intervening, primarily the death of my mother in October and my father this month and having to close their estate.

On the bright side, thanks to the books I’ve written on editing and this website, I’ve just signed the Chronicles of Old New York covercontract on a new book about a new subject for a new publisher. Chronicles of Old San Francisco will debut later this year for Museyon publishers. It’s the first western city of a series that chronicles Boston, Las Vegas, New York, Paris, London, Rome, Chicago (debuting soon), and Los Angeles (in 2014).

All books in the series are comprised of walking tours and a succinct history of the chosen city centered around its colorful characters. I especially like the character part – it reminds me of editing drama and documentaries. The guidebooks are aimed at all visitors to the cities, whether tourists or locals

Book = Hiatus
I am thrilled to explore, research, and write about the city I returned to in 2010. However, my May deadline leaves no time for other writing. So after 3 1/3 years of continuous blogging, I am awarding myself a hiatus. Please feel free to read previous blogs, explore this website, and make comments as my webmeister will be checking in and I will respond. Also, I will continue the Cut of the Month feature so enjoy the frames and text.

I will return to blogging in June or later this summer.

Announcements, Editing & life, Television

A Note from the Web Designer

October 23rd, 2012

In an effort to improve loading times and security we have recently moved Joy of Film Editing to a Linux server. Please let us know if you find any problems with the website.