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On Set with Martin Scorsese

By Michael Neelsen StoryFirst collaborator Michael Nie has been one of my best friends for many years, ever since we worked on an independent feature together in Madison, Wisconsin in early 2004. More recently, he has worked on a myriad of major film productions, including Peter Berg’s The Kingdom, Michael Bay’s The Island, Paul Greengrass’ The Bourne Ultimatum, […]

How Storytelling Creates a Need for Your Data

By Michael Neelsen In 1994, astrophysicist Kip Thorne wrote the book “Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy”. The title of the book sounds daunting. One would assume it to be filled with scientific theories and language that would surely alienate any readers without a degree in astronomy or cosmology. So Mr. Thorne opened […]

You Are Your Story’s Hero

By Michael Neelsen Back in 2011 when I was deep in editing for my documentary Last Day at Lambeau, I realized the movie didn’t work and I was mere weeks away from film festival submission deadlines. The movie was about the relationship between sports fans and their heroes through the prism of Brett Favre’s separation […]

Demonstrate. Don’t Explain.

By Michael Neelsen On January 24, 1978, Steven Spielberg was sitting in a writers’ room with George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan. They were hard at work structuring a story about a pseudo grave-robber in the 1930s who searches for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. That story would eventually become the first Indiana Jones film. […]