Tag Archives: film school

Episode 166 – Steven Bernstein (Cinematic Storytelling)

Steven Bernstein is a screenwriter, director, and cinematographer.  He’s lensed such films as Monster (Directed by Patty Jenkins), Kicking and Screaming (directed by Noah Baumbach) and Like Water for Chocolate. Interestingly he also shot comedies like The Waterboy, Scary Movie 2, and White Chicks and blockbuster action films like S.W.A.T. He also wrote a best selling text book, Film Production.

His latest films, Decoding Annie Parker, and Dominion Steven wrote and directed. The films include actors  Aaron Paul, John Malkovich, Helen Hunt, Rhys Ifans, Zosia Mamet, Bradley Whitford, and Rashida Jones.


Currently Steven is teaching his own film seminars on & offline which I highly encourage you check out HERE.

Steven has had an unusual career and it’s led him to very different views about filmmaking. Steven has lectured on film, particularly new approaches to screenwriting based on an understanding of the visual nature of film, as well as radical approaches to lighting and understanding cinematography for the non-cinematographer. He also has lectured about new approaches for putting together the independent film.

We chat working with Patty Jenkins on Monster, making your own projects, working with A level talent like Charlize Theron and John Malkovich, and so much more.

Pre Show Notes

— See all of my photos from Wizard World on my Dave Bullis Podcast Facebook Fan Page. I took these photos with my new DSLR package.

— Need help with your podcast?!

Pick my brain for free on Office Hours or Hire me on Fiverr for only $5. We can chat podcast concepts, episode ideas, gear, marketing, and anything else you’d like to chat about.


Dave Bullis Podcast Filmmakers Group on Facebook – a FREE filmmaking group I made on Facebook.


Steven Bernstein Film Seminars – Finally, seminars from a real feature filmmaker, who is a successful writer, director, cinematographer and producer.

Eurythmics – were a British music duo consisting of members Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart.

Tony Kaye – is a British director of films, music videos, advertisements, and documentaries.

Patty Jenkins – a writer/director best known for her debut feature Monster, based on the life of convicted serial killer Aileen Wuornos, directing the pilot episode of AMC’s hit show The Killing , and as the director of the film Wonder Woman for Warner Brothers.

Wonder Woman – Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

Monster – Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.

Charlize Theron – is a South African-American actress and film producer.

Decoding Annie Parker – Love, science, sex, infidelity, disease and comedy, the wild, mostly true story of the irrepressible Annie Parker and the almost discovery of a cure for cancer.

Dominion – The last days of the poet Dylan Thomas as he dreams and drinks.


Steven Bernstein Reel


Making the Independent Film Seminar

The Film Set for Actors Seminar

The Film Set for Screenwriters


Steven Bernstein

Steve’s upcoming seminars
Official Site

Somebody Studios


Dominion film


Dave Bullis

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What I learned from 100 episodes of Podcasting


A little background

Why did I start my podcast? For a few reasons.
– I was passed over for a promotion that was rightfully mine at my day job at the time.
– I needed to do something creative
– I wanted to make a resource that I felt the market place was lacking


Greenlight Yourself

On Ep 99 on the podcast, Morgan J Freeman uses this term to define when you don’t wait for anyone to choose you. You go out and find funding, write your script, and shoot your project.

James Altucher has a great book called, ‘Choose Yourself’ (check it out here, it’s only $0.99 for the Kindle version) which has a similar concept.

You have to pay your dues

On Ep 100, Don tells us he had to sleep in his car for months at a time. Whether you want to write a screenplay, make a movie, etc there’s going to be obstacles in your way. Speaking of which another great book to read is Steven Pressfield’s, ‘The War of Art’.

Your networth is your network

Much like the definition of a great producer, your ability to reach out for help whether its for a Kickstarter campaign or to spread the word about your 100th podcast episode, is dependent upon your network.

Networking is a skill upon to itself. Rarely have I found any use in going to networking parties. What I’ve found useful instead is Twitter (for those who listen to the show you know that already), and email. Offer value to that person first. What can you offer to them?

  • Bonus tip – Most rich people won’t care for an offer of coffee or lunch. Why? Because that’s literally the change they find in their sofa. If they want coffee or lunch, they can buy it themselves. Instead offer them value. Give them ideas for their next project or current business.  Approaching them you know what business they’re in, now how can you build upon that? Do they have a blog? Write up a blog article along with ideas for future posts and send it to them via email. Now most times it will go to their assistant.

Don’t accept a no from a person who can’t give you a yes

Gatekeepers love to say, “no”. Its how they keep their jobs. But they want to say, “Yes”. Because they want to be apart of the next big thing and get that corner office.

If you get told, “No” from somebody just keep moving on to the next person. And don’t hold any grudges from people who told you NO, they were simply not in a position to say anything else at that time.

Don’t compare yourself with other artists

You’ll drive yourself crazy on this one. Trust me.

Always strive to get better. Be honest with yourself. What worked what didn’t.

During every one of the films I’ve worked on I’ve kept a journal. What worked, what didn’t. What the obstacles were and how I overcame them.

  • Bonus Tip:  Hiring friends and families only works for your student project(s).

Screenplay trumps all (okay I knew this before starting but still)

I see so many crowdfunding campaigns on a weekly basis. A big flaw I see with a lot of them? They don’t talk about the script. They talk about the concept and logline but never going into the script itself or the people behind the script. Sometimes I see campaigns that have launched without even having a completed script and I’m not sure how that’s possible because how would you know how much money you need for locations, props, etc?

The difference between a quality producer and an amateur producer is judged by their ability to acquire resources in a pinch

Always feed your crew! ALWAYS!

Try to avoid pizza. Approach a caterer or local restaurant before production starts (I mean months in advance) and see if they can offer you a discount.

Learn how to sell. Everything is sales and all sales are problem solving

Get a lawyer.

There are some that offer free services to filmmakers. There’s also a great book about it here. I’ve seen friendships end over movie productions. Get contracts before you start.

Get your own Website. Keep it. Build it. Put your stake into the ground.

I can’t stress this enough. If you can’t build your own site find someone off Upwork.

Don’t hire a DP just because they have a RED camera.

Check out Alex Ferrari’s podcast about that here.


Where do we go from here? 

I’m continuing the podcast and continuing to interview more and more filmmakers, in addition to start making my own projects again… which leads me to ask…

What are you working on? Tell me below!

Episode 77 – Mark Stolaroff


Mark Stolaroff is an independent producer and a founding partner of Antic Picturesan LA-based production company producing a slate of low budget, high quality digital features. On Oct 10th & 11th, 2015 Mark is teaching a seminar in Los Angeles, CA. No Budget Film School Presents “The Art & Science Of No-Budget Filmmaking” – Use promo code, ‘BULLIS’ for $50 OFF!
Show Notes
Mark Stolaroff
— “Cinema Language: The Art of Storytelling” With Filmmaker & Pepperdine Graduate Screenwriting Professor Tom Provost 
Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 24-25, 2015 – Los Angeles

Register: http://Cinemalanguage.eventbrite.com