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Today is an exciting day around the Stillmotion studio – we’re unleashing our two most advanced filmmaking classes into the wild!

Run free, classes! Run free!

We’ve decked out a couple pages – one for each – where you can find all the details about whether or not the curriculum, schedule, tuition, and timing is right for you.

(NEW) The Take Action Filmmaking Challenge…

The Take Action Filmmaking Challenge is a new 11-week online filmmaking course.

Registration is open NOW and available through NEXT FRIDAY, May 17th at midnight!

You can participate along more than a hundred like-minded filmmakers from anywhere in the world.

Click here to see everything included in the Take Action Challenge…

We’ve got a week-by-week schedule of events, and first-hand reviews from a private class that went through the challenge at the beginning of the year.

The first challenge (Week One: Lighting Without Lights) will be issued the morning of May 20th – it’s going to be crazy.

EVO is finally coming to Portland, OR…

Wanna come spend time with us here in Portland?

This is your chance – EVO – our most intimate, in-depth workshop experience that we offer. We’ve hosted around a dozen EVOs in cities around the world – and we’re really blowing off the doors to welcome people to our new home city.

For 5 nights and 4 full days, we’ll completely shut down our studio to make short films for charities. EVO is limited to only 15 passionate, like-minded participants (with a dozen Stillmotion staff on hand to help you).

This is as hands on as hands on can get. These are real charities – and we’ll go from concept to premiere in less than 72 hours. Every step of the way, we’ll be in trenches with you – fighting for the best story possible – and completely unveiling the curtain behind our filmmaking process.

It’s an intense experience, but one we are proud to say truly changes lives and businesses for the long haul.

Click here to read a day-by-day breakdown of what our EVO workshop is like – and what’s included in the tuition…

We have a few seats left for one in early June (just a few weeks away) – and are also filling seats for Late July too!

Our goal with any workshop or training we offer…

These courses and workshops are our most advanced and premium education.

We realize that it’s a big investment in yourself – and in your business – and we don’t take that for granted.

Our goal is simple: blow your (filmmaking) mind.

And more importantly, change the way you approach every story you tell – from this day forward.

Between the new Take Action Filmmaking Challenge and our next EVO workshop(s) in Portland – we hope you can join us in making a huge splash in the filmmaking world.

If you’re at the point in your journey where you want to take things up a notch…

We’d love to be the ones to show you the way.


This is our friend, Marshall Jones. He’s a poet, performer, author, songwriter, and all-around badass human being. He’s also a walking example of how a strong human connection with someone is far more beneficial than any typical business connection could ever be.

Marshall wrote the beautiful words you hear in our Stillmotion reel. The narration is powerful, effective, and it’s 100% us.

We spent only a few short days with Marshall before he wrote this, but he managed to compose something that perfectly translates who we are as a company, and who we are as people.

See for yourself — here’s the Stillmotion reel:

Marshall did such an amazing job with this, but it wasn’t because we wrote him a check. We did a favor for him, and he did one for us in return.

In our experience, it can be so beneficial to go the extra mile like this to make unique connections. There is no business as usual at Stillmotion, and we’ve found that creating a solid network of people doing what they love is the best business model for us as filmmakers.

Doing what you love is no joke.

In this industry you will hear a lot of advice. Often it’s going to be helpful, and occasionally it will be revolutionary.

We really can’t stress enough how important it is to share ideas and experiences with other filmmakers. Stillmotion firmly believes that you get what you give, and we live our lives through sharing and iterating ideas.

That being said, once you actually get good at what you’re doing in this business, you might hear a lot of advice like this:

While Heath Ledger’s Joker is legendary… we’d advise you to ignore that piece of advice.

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Whether Mr. Hitchcock is really a kind-hearted family man or just an old pervert, we may never know.

But this simple demonstration of the Kuleshov effect does a great job of illustrating something we do know: what people actually see on screen and what they think they see can be two very different things, and it’s the ability play with the latter that will really allow you to work some magic as a filmmaker.

Now, if you know anything about Stillmotion, you know that we don’t often aim to “work magic,” but rather to document magic as it naturally unfolds, without having to fake anything.

We’ve trained countless hours to avoid using intervention as a means to tell great stories — instead, we get in front of things as they are happening. This is a beautiful thing when you’re telling a real story — but what happens when you are trying to tell a story that you can’t physically access?

Sometimes you just *have* to fake it.

So that’s exactly what we did in this piece that we filmed for AT&T during the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Wow, it’s like we were really there!

But we definitely weren’t.

Not even close.

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Alright people, it’s all come down to this! You’ve learned all about the Four P’s of storytelling in Episode 1, developing keywords in Episode 2, and storyboarding and gear selection in Episode 3 of our Vimeo Video School series.

Now in our 4th and final episode, we’re issuing a filmmaking challenge to YOU.

Your Challenge: Using the storytelling techniques you’ve learned in this series, make a 1-2 minute film telling the story of a person or group of people who is actively doing what they love.

If you’re having trouble visualizing how everything we’ve talked about in this series comes together to make a film, here in Episode 4 we’ll show you how.

In this tutorial Patrick walks you through each step of the process with a short film we made for Coava Coffee Roasters here in Portland.


  • Monday, May 6th – Challenge closes to all participants at 11:59pm EST.
  • Thursday, May 9th – Vimeo selects top 10 contestants (Each will receive a $99 license from WithEtiquette – sweet!)
  • Friday, May 10thCinevate selects final 3 winners.
  • Saturday, May 11th – Prize winners will be announced on this blog!

To help apply this new pre-production process, we’ve created a spiffy 7-page workbook that’ll help you select your People, Places, and Plot!

To enter the contest, be sure to join the “Storytelling The Stillmotion Way Challenge” group on Vimeo, and upload your final video to the group!

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Hang on to your hats people, because Part 3 of our four-part Storytelling series for Vimeo Video School launches today! Be sure to go back and watch Part 1 (The 4 P’s of Storytelling) and Part 2 (Using Keywords) in case you missed them.

Here’s a breakdown of everything we cover in this tutorial:

  • 1:05 – Sketching out a storyboard.
  • 2:30 – Using a shot list as an alternative to a storyboard.
  • 2:55 – An example shot list and gear setup for shooting a golf outing.
  • 3:22 – Planning a shoot schedule and using call sheets.
  • 4:15 – Choosing the right gear based on your keywords, storyboard, locations, and people.
  • 5:30 – How to pick the right cameras and lenses for your shoot.
  • 6:12 – Adjusting camera movement based on story.
  • 7:12 – Choosing your lighting gear.
  • 7:30 – Example of lighting and gear choices in our shoot for City Of Doers, a documentary we made for the city of San Francisco.
  • 8:28 – Tips for the big shoot day.
  • 10:15 – Example of our “3/1″ rule.
  • 11:13 – Patrick explains the importance of getting in there!
  • 12:46 – Summary of the reasons why pre-production is your best friend, and what’s coming in our next and final tutorial!

We hope that you will take some or all of our suggestions for managing storyboards, shotlists, and gear when you’re planning a shoot. These techniques have helped us immensely in the pre-production process!

And don’t forget…

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