Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

My Latest Favorite Podcasts

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

In an effort to define (more like, “find”) myself artistically, I’ve turned to photography. Like most of the arts I’ve been interested in, I’ve been interested in photography for a long time. I keenly recall taking pictures, fairly intently, since the age of ten.

Recently, I saw a post on Facebook by an old-time “opinion leader” of mine (I say opinion leader but more in the vein of “I pay attention to what they say and am willing to think about those thoughts and see how I feel about them”, as there aren’t too many people whom I’ll attest to blindly listen to.) that went something like, “a dabbler’s life is just dabbling.” I’m pretty sure I’m misquoting that but it was something like that. I’ve also recently confessed in one of my notebook notes that I’ve never really been good at anything.

Since I’ve found editing and filmmaking, which has been about ten years now, I learn a lot of things online, whether via videos, classes, blogs, vlogs or podcasts. My favorite podcasts currently are: Artful Camera, Our Week in Video, Here be Monsters. I’ll do a Go Creative Show, if none of the above have anything new but it’s starting to get a little too glitzy for me. I just discovered The wondering DP, so I can’t favorite it yet but I found his approach to learning, as interviewed on the Go Creative Show podcast, to be genius so I hope it will become one.

I like the Artful Camera podcast because Carl Olsen seems to be like me in that he likes a lot of different kinds of art, although assuredly he’s much more advanced than I am. He recently re-invented and re-branded his podcast from the Digital Convergence podcast and I like the direction he’s taking. He covers a wide array of photography and videography, including many analog forms. This is quite refreshing.

I like Our Week in Video because it’s a couple of blokes from the UK who talk about wedding videography and the challenge of it and the tech and craft of it and it challenges me because I’m a “I don’t do weddings” kind of guy. Although listening to them, I think, “ooh that’s challenging. Maybe I will try.” They are guys who push themselves and I appreciate that and want to foster that in myself.

Here be Monsters is a KCRW podcast, one of many I might listen to that has very interesting stories and for storytelling’s sake, they expand my mind and give me ideas. It’s on the dark side and I tend to like the dark side of things, when it comes to movies, news, etc. I wish life wasn’t so dark but I can’t shake my interest in these types of stories.

For this current dabble of mine, I think it’ll improve me cinematography, although I don’t necessarily want to be a DP or a Camera man. I also see it improving my editing, which has kind of been on hold as of late. All together, I think it’ll improve my writing, as well.

None of the above holds a candle to being a father and the joy I get being around my kids but I hope it’ll help me be better at that too. I think it’s important to be an example of “follow your dreams” to them.

What’s a Slug Line Anyway?

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Recently our friend Stu Maschwitz blew us away with the surprise release of a screenwriting app Slugline.

You can hear more about it here: and read more about it here:

I guess you could say my first forays into cinema where through writing. There was a point some years earlier up the road (before I found editing) that I was sure I was going to be a screenwriter. The trouble was I never fully got up to speed on the craft. I never even learned the proper formatting for a screenplay. I just assumed somewhere up the line, I’d figure it out. I had a lot of other misconceptions then too but I still hold on to a hope that one day, I will write some damn fine movies.

To that end, last year I finally bought Final Draft. I even installed it! I used to subscribe to Creative Screenwriting too. Most of them lay around, still in their plastic wrappers. I used to go to Jeff Goldsmith’s Q & A screenings a lot. Those were and are most educational and I recommend them to filmmakers of all disciplines. I have a few books on writing and on screenwriting too. On Writing by Stephen King is my favorite. (Full disclosure, it’s the only one that I read completely.) I also at one time subscribed to this great screenwriting newsletter from the site Chris Soth sends out some great info in his newsletter. I recommend signing up for it.

The Slugline app sounds so elegant and fluid that I almost expect that once I use it, nothing will stop the stream of mind-blowing films that will flow from my “pen”. I’m half tempted to hold off until I get (they make) an iOS version to see how it would really work on a novice (who likes to jot things down on his phone all the time). The Slugline webpage also has some great tutorial information on screenwriting. Check out:

Coincidentally, this week Chris sent out the following “SLUGGIN’ IT OUT” email newsletter with some great information on slug lines. With his permission, I present it to you now:

Hey Gang,

So, a brief one this week on “slug lines”.

Slug line is slang, by the way, for what
would technically be called a “location line”.

But to be honest, I’ve never heard ANYONE
call it a location line, with the exception of
Final Draft Software. The term of art that
seems to be most bandied about the
screenwriting community is definitely
SLUG LINE. So, what is it?

(I promise my more experienced readers,
I’ll come to some slightly more unusual
information soon)

The Slug Line is that line, ALL IN CAPS,
that tells the location of the scene beneath
it. Tells whether the scene is set outside
(EXT. for “exterior”) or inside (INT. for

Like this:


Chris works on his laptop. The newsletter is late.


Now, here’s the part I learned at USC that
I’ve never heard anywhere else.

How do we arrange these slug lines. Here’s
the trick:

Slug lines go from:


So, what you want is to set the scene as quickly
and easily and with as few words as possible. And
your reader is hoping to GET the scene as fast
as possible, so, based on their knowledge:

They can stop reading as soon as they know
where they are. Take this as contrast:


Ok, that’s an exaggeration, I’d never
let a slug go to a second line, but my
point is, you can go as far as you need to
make sure your reader knows where they are
(literally!) Versus:


…etc. You’ve read this far…and you STILL don’t know
where you are, do you? And you’re confused,
it starts w/an interior, then goes to outer space…

…whereas doing it the other, way, no problem. The
office is on the lot, in Burbank, which is situated
in the USA, etc. But it happens to be an interior.

And how’s stuff at YOUR office? How’s the
screenplay coming? Could you use a new approach
to story? Come check out what we have for you at

Thanks “A Million”,

Chris (It’s OFF THE HOOK!)


So there you go! Happy writing y’all!
–Eric Francis Harnden