Here are some gift ideas for the writer, director, editor, cinematographer or producer in your life. Each of these I use a lot. Some almost daily.
This is something I just came into recently and it’s changed my life. Not only can I capture digital copies of receipts, paychecks and invoices, but I can store articles, handwritten notes (that become searchable!), screenplays, little bits of inspiration and keep them all organized by project. Everything is synced across all your devices so you can reach everything from your desktop, phone, etc. For $45 you can gift a year of their premium service.
Brother Compact Laser Printer
I bought this a year ago and it’s been a workhorse. It’s a monochrome printer which is all I need seeing as most of what I print are screenplays. It prints a full 100 page script in about 2-3 minutes. And I kinda love that it prints 2-sided when you want to save paper.
HP 3-Hole Paper
I know what you’re thinking. A ream of paper? Listen, I hate, hate, hate punching my own holes to bind a screenplay. And I bet the filmmaker in your life does too.
The Secrets of Action Screenwriting (Kindle)
This screenwriting book by William Martell is one of the best. Despite the title, it’s principles are adaptable to any kind of storytelling. And when I say “principles” I mean just that. This isn’t a book of story formulas. It’s chock full of eye-opening, solid fundamentals to consider as you write.
Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics
I always wish I had a list of everything I should be considering each time I set out to direct a movie. This is that. It’s focus is on the director’s relationship to the material and is tremendously useful for making sure you are considering EVERYTHING.
Staples Better Binder
During a shoot, I am pretty hard on my production binder (where I keep my storyboards, screenplay, notes and everything else). These were recommended to me this summer and they will stand up to more punishment than I’ll ever be able to dish out.
The Storymatic & Rememory
The Storymatic is a set of cards designed as a competitive storytelling game, but they work as a great little writing prompt to help me get my head out of my ass and stretch those creative muscles. Instant cure for any creative block. The Storymatic is the more freeform of the two. While Rememory helps you tap into personal memories for story ideas.
Wacom Intros Pen and Touch Small Tablet
Despite the fact that I can’t draw to save my life, I still need to be able to scribble out some storyboards from time to time to help communicate the ol’ vision with the team. Until I bought this, I was a pen, paper then take a picture with my phone kinda guy. But being able to draw directly in Photoshop means I can layer characters and backgrounds separately, which further means I can recompose without re-drawing the entire panel. I was worried about the size but this turned out to be perfect because you don’t have to reach as far as you would with the larger one.
Ebtech Hum-X Voltage Filter
I don’t know if you’ve ever run into this but on our edit bay at home there was always an annoying hum in our speakers. I tried running power from different rooms, different cables, but this is what finally solved the problem. So I bought this for my wife and plugged both powered speakers into it (using a cube tap).
ASUS PA249Q 24″ LCD Monitor
I bought this for my wife’s standing edit bay. She had worked long enough without a client monitor and I wanted something that we could color grade with too. This model is the most affordable I could find that is capable of reproducing 100% of the NTSC color spectrum. That’s not something cheaper displays can do and it’s vital to be able to accurately see what you’re doing. We love this thing.