Tag Archives: filmmaking

Best Blogs For Women Working In Film and Television

Wonder Woman, Warner Brothers new action-adventure blockbuster based on the DC Comics superhero,  earned over $100 million in its opening weekend in the US and Canada.  Worldwide sales totaled over $225 million.  The movie is getting a lot of attention. Not only does it feature a strong female lead role, a rarity in an action adventure movie, the weekend box office totals set a record for a female-directed feature film.

Director, Patty Jenkins’ success with Wonder Woman has renewed conversation about how few female directors get hired in Hollywood.

Not only do women struggle to be taken seriously as would-be directors of male-driven pictures, they aren’t even considered reasonable picks for female-driven dramas, comedies and fantasies. Both Sex and the City movies, all three Divergent films, all four Hunger Games movies and the majority of female-driven comedies you can think of offhand (The Other Woman, The Ugly Truth, etc.) were directed by men. Men are offered the presumption of competence regardless of experience. Women are considered a risk regardless of experience.

When they do get hired, their work is often measured by different standards than men.  This has led directors like Ava DuVernay to hire female directors exclusively for her TV show Queen Sugar.  Netflix’s hit show, Jessica Jones, will do the same, with a different woman director for each episode in its second season.

The number of women making films and working in all facets of the movie industry is growing steadily.  Organizations have appeared to help the women at various stages of their careers.  Here is a listing of the best blogs offering a boost to women working in the film business.

New York Women in Film & Television

The preeminent entertainment industry association for women in New York, NYWIFT brings together over 2,200 women and men working both above and below the line. NYWIFT is part of a network of 40 Women In Film chapters worldwide, representing more than 10,000 members.

Women in Film and Video of Washington D.C.

Located in one of the country’s leading non-fiction film production centers and at the center of federal, non-profit and non-governmental agencies, WIFV is uniquely positioned to offer its members unsurpassed continuing education offerings and connect them to professional opportunities across the globe.

Women In Film – Toronto

Women In Film & Television – Toronto accepts members who have made a commitment to work in the industry. WIFT-Toronto welcomes women of every race, ethnicity and ability and at every stage of work and life. Programs and activities are designed to meet the needs of women at every stage of their careers. Member events are entertaining, engaging, purposeful and rewarding.

Women in Film – Los Angeles ]

I couldn’t find a blog here but WIF Los Angeles seems to be the home site for the Women In Film organization.  This page has a listing of the WIF chapters in the US, Canada and around the world.  Women In Film is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women, encouraging creative projects by women, and expanding and enhancing portrayals of women in all forms of global media.

Women And Hollywood

Hollywood is broken.  Especially for women.   Women and Hollywood blogs in a unique proactive style to engage filmgoers and filmmakers with news and information highlighting women filmmakers and agitates for increased opportunities for women.  On a daily basis, Women and Hollywood sets the standard, defines the conversation, fuels coverage and reinforces messages throughout the specialized and mainstream media to call for gender parity.

Shit People Say to Women Directors

Often laugh-out-loud funny, this Tumblr site is an anonymous open blog for all individuals identifying as women who work in film & television. It’s a crazy business, especially for women. Until now, we haven’t had a platform to share some of the let’s call them “unusual” things people have said to us while working. This is for catharsis and to expose some of the absurd barriers women face in the entertainment business. Open to all women in film. Please feel free to submit stories via the anonymous submission box. We’d love to share your story.

Women’s Film Institute

Since it’s founding in 2004 the Women’s Film Institute (WFI) has a long history of amplifying the voices of women and girls. WFI is proud to support, promote, and celebrate women’s voices. WFI is a powerful global network dedicated to women’s leadership in the media and 21st-century storytelling. Subscribe to the WFI podcast and listen to informative, compelling and up close and personal conversations from a diverse selection of writers, directors, producers and content creators.

On October 21, 2016, the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Wonder Woman, that character was designated by the United Nations as its Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, a gesture intended to promote gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. In attendance to mark the occasion was director Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman actresses Gal Gadot and Lynda Carter, DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, and U.N. Under-Secretary-General Cristina Gallach.


Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, past credits include the crime drama Monster (2003), which she wrote and directed.  Monster starred Charlize Theron in the role of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a former prostitute executed in 2002 for killing six men.


Top Classical Music Scores Used As Movie Soundtrack

The great 1970s-era film and TV composer, Jerry Fielding, said something that I have always tried to remember when approaching the music for a film or for any type of soundtrack.

Most of us are aware of and do not like the kind of bad film music that intrudes and italicizes moments that have no need of such emphasis.” ***

Fielding is saying that using background music too obviously, or too literally, can throw off the balance of a scene by over-emphasizing the moment. Because it contributes to and reinforces the emotional atmosphere of the scene at hand, background music has great power to affect an audience’s perception of the film. When done with taste, it elevates the emotional experience of the film. When done poorly, it can add an inflated sentimentality or become overblown and bombastic. In a bad film, I often get the sense that the soundtrack is being used as a crutch. The director doesn’t believe the scene is working and feels it can be saved by adding a lot of extraneous music.

The great majority of film soundtracks comment directly on the scene at hand, For example, in a chase scene, the music usually tries to elevate the audience’s pulse with strong, invigorating music. It echoes the action on screen. However, some of the greatest soundtracks use a much less direct approach. The title sequence to Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull provides a great example of another, subtle, scoring technique.

The movie begins with slow-motion footage of boxer Jake LaMotta (played by Robert De Niro), shadow boxing inside the ring while the movie’s opening credits appear.  The classical background music accompanying this scene is Interlude from the opera Cavalleria Rusticana by the Italian composer Pietro Mascagni. Scorsese chose a piece of pre-existing classical music to form the opening soundtrack to Raging Bull.

Unlike standard underscore, this music doesn’t enlarge or highlight what is happening on screen. Instead, it plays against the scene, creating its own dimension, its own personalized color or texture. The use of Cavalleria Rusticana elevates the scene into a dreamlike, almost religious environment, evoking a sense of the tragedy that we, as audience members, are about to experience while watching the story of Jake LaMotta unfold. This is a much more interesting use of background music. It’s less obvious, more poetic and very powerful.

What is it about classical music that makes it so well-suited to such powerful artistic statements in a film?

The main reason is the music itself. There are no stronger themes than those found throughout the classical repertoire. Add to that the fact that this music is already established in our culture and we, in some cases, have built-in associations with it. Also, the music is hundreds of years old. It has survived the tests of time and we subconsciously experience it as existing on another plane, like a voice from above.

Here is a list of some other movies that use classical music to play against the events transpiring on screen. These scores operate as an overview, revealing the elemental, spiritual core of the movie’s meaning.

Platoon (1986) – The music is Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings – here again, this background music provides the spiritual heart of the film – a saga about the struggle between good and evil faced by soldiers newly-recruited to serve in Vietnam. This same theme is used to produce virtually the same effect in The Elephant Man (1980).

Godfather 1 (1972) – It’s one of the greatest sequences in film history – while attending the baptism of his niece, Michael, the new Godfather, has all his enemies massacred. The scene is scored using J. S. Bach’s music Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor.

Breaking Away (1979) – A coming of age film about a teenage boy so in love with cycling that he adopts all things Italian, including opera, in order to fully emulate his racing heroes.   The film’s most memorable and endearing scene contains no dialogue at all. In it, the main character reaches an incredible speed on his bike by cycling in the backdraft of a large truck. It’s a moment akin to the scene in Rocky 1 when Rocky victoriously leaps up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum. (Gonna Fly Now) except in this scene, the underscore is Mendelssohn’s Allegro, 1st Movement from the Italian Symphony.

2001 Space Odyssey (1968) – Stanley Kubrick’s visually stunning masterpiece uses the composition Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss as its main theme. There is also an incredible sequence using the Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss.

The Killing Fields (1984) – Features a recording of Pavarotti singing Puccini’s Nessun Dorma near the end of the film when the main character (Sam Waterston) has returned to the US after witnessing and surviving the ethnic cleansing in Pol Pot’s Cambodia.

Philadelphia (1993) – Tom Hanks as Andrew Becket comes to grips with his own impending death from AIDS while describing Giordano’s aria La Mama Morta (sung by the great Maria Callas) to his lawyer. The lawyer (Denzel Washington) finally gets beyond Becket’s homosexuality and sees him as a human – sees his humanity. Heavy stuff, also extremely powerful.

Manhattan (1979) – In the famous opening sequence, Woody Allen portrays the New York cityscape in a stunning black-and-white montage. The underscore is Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

The UniqueTracks Production Music Library contains over 200 hours of classical production music. Try searching our music library for classical background music to support your next production.

*** Jerry Fielding is best known for the following film soundtracks spanning the late 1960s through the 1970s: The Wild Bunch, The Outlaw Josie Wales, Straw Dogs, Semi-Tough, The Gauntlet. He also composed the main themes for two pretty famous TV shows – Hogan’s Heroes and Barnaby Jones.

Premium Stock Music for Film, TV, Advertising and Interactive. Editor-selected, Easy Search, Fast Results UniqueTracks has a vast library of music loops and grooves plus a large selection of classical production music available for licensing into your production.

Royalty Free Music, Sound Effects, and Animated Video Backgrounds

How to Create Background Music For the Horror Film Genre

How to use music soundtrack to underscore Fear, Horror, Evil

The most effective and frightening example of background music I can think of is from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Psycho.  Famed soundtrack composer, Bernard Herrmann, created a chilling effect using piercing and screeching violins played in their highest registers.  As the film progresses, when you hear that sound cue repeated, you know something really bad is going to happen.

Another famous cue that works in a similar way is the 3-note phrase in the low string orchestra that announces the presence of the killer shark in the first Jaws film.

Soundtrack moments like the one in Psycho are great for portraying outright evil and horror but underscoring the feeling of fear can be done in subtle ways too.

Ordinary Actions become Extraordinary

Sometimes the background music notifies the audience that what they are seeing has a darker meaning.  The soundtrack for the movie Michael Clayton does this very well.  The on-screen events are quite ordinary – a woman is getting dressed for work – yet she is accompanied by a chilling soundtrack.

The music acts against the scene, contrary to it.  It is telling us that these events are not ordinary and have importance beyond their outright appearance.  In fact, the music is telling us that these normal events are somehow scary.  Something terrible is going to happen.

The Audience Knows a Secret

Sometimes the audience is let in on a secret, maybe a dark secret, that the central characters in the story don’t yet know about.  You watch as events unfold and you see them getting further and further into trouble.  Here again, a dark or suspenseful underscore can work wonders by building the tension against what is happening on screen.

The Inner Struggle

Let’s say, in your story, your main character, a salesman, is boarding an airplane but we in the audience already know he has a terrible fear of flying.  The flight attendants are welcoming families and other travelers on board the plane.  The airplane cabin is filled with rather innocuous, but pleasant background music.  Then we cut to the main character boarding the plane.  Now the music changes to full-on frightening, horror soundtrack.  The music portrays his inner psychology – his feelings of fear.

News Event/World Crisis

If you create documentaries or news programming, then you may need, at times, to show painful footage from current world events.  This is another time where dark underscore works well.  It sets the underlying emotional atmosphere for the accompanying footage.

Part of every media producer’s soundtrack arsenal includes the ability to underscore fright, fear, and events that are difficult or harrowing.  Horror music tracks are like the dark colors, the dark shades in your soundtrack toolkit. Using them paints a chilly or terrifying picture.

Some horror soundtracks from UniqueTracks.com.  These stock music soundtracks also work for any Halloween productions you may be working on.

Premium Stock Music for Film, TV, Advertising and Interactive. Editor-selected, Easy Search, Fast Results UniqueTracks has a vast library of music loops and grooves plus a large selection of classical production music available for licensing into your production.