Developing Story Ideas
Developing Story Ideas

Michael Rabiger (2000, Focal Press,

www.focalpress.com, 207 pp., $18)
Good writing, by nature, is difficult. Especially when writing for the screen. And creating a story line with well-developed characters and a climatic finish is even more difficult. Michael Rabiger’s Developing Story Ideas may be the guide that new or struggling script writers need to help develop their stories.

Rabiger does a nice job, guiding the reader through the writing process from selecting a genre to creating the plot to developing interesting characters. The author highlights each section with specific details but glosses over some of the prewriting steps.

This textbook-style guide to writing does a good job of helping the writer to conceive an idea, develop a plot and flesh out compelling characters. While the book is not written explicitly for writers of video scripts, Developing Story Ideas is a good starting point. If you’d like to become a better scriptwriter, this one is well worth the money.

Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects

Trish and Chris Meyer (2000, CMP Books, www.books.mfi.com/dv/creating.html, 453pp., $55)
If you’ve invested in Adobe After Effects but haven’t been able to get past that steep initial learning curve, then Creative Motion Graphics with After Effects by Trish and Chris Meyer could be just what you’ve been waiting for.

This tutorial with accompanying CD-ROM is loaded with colorful pictures that walk you, step-by-step through all of the program’s major functions.

Tricky things, like setting keyframes, are made easy with this manual. Trish and Chris explain, and demonstrate in detail, advanced functions, such as creating transparencies with alpha channels and masks, so you don’t have to struggle with anything.

Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects is designed to be a launching pad for beginners, but it doesn’t stop there. Once you master Adobe After Effects, this will be the perfect reference guide for your advanced needs.

Advanced Broadcast Camera Techniques Volume 2

John Cooksey (1998, Elite Video, 321 Ouachita Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901, www.elitevideo.com, 80 min., $50)
Looking to enhance your camera skills? Advanced Broadcast Camera Techniques might be just what you need to help you along.

Don’t be intimidated by the name, the techniques taught here are not just for pros. Hosted by John Cooksey, this video demonstrates how to set up shots and make them more visually appealing. High speed shots down a windy road, underwater shots, professional looking interviews and shots in the rain are a few of the techniques Cooksey covers.

With Advanced Broadcast Camera Techniques, you’ll learn the inexpensive alternatives to high budget lighting and props. Can’t afford to rent a crane? Need a great dolly shot? Don’t have enough money to buy a lighting kit? All of these problems and many helpful hints are detailed in this 80-minute tape. If you’re shooting on a tight budget, this could help you perfect your shots and keep the costs to a minimum.

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