Author Topic: Guerilla Filmmaking  (Read 7834 times)

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Xixax

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Guerilla Filmmaking
« on: February 24, 2003, 10:24:09 AM »
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Ghost Boy has an interesting article on his web site about guerilla filmmaking (I believe that's where I read it, anyway)...

I think that given the amount of time and budget that I have to commit to any short that I might have a hand in, that this method of filmmaking is the only way to go for me.

I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences in trying to get a shot off in a pinch. I'm sure there are some really great anecdotes from you guys.

In my limited experience with this, I know I have a few. Like the homeless guy who kept getting into our shot bumming money from us, and the numerous times we were thrown out of grocery stores. We were even chased out of the airport by security back in the 80's before all the terrorism scares came about.

What's your best guerilla filmmaking story? Depending on where the thread leads, I'd also be interested in hearing some advice from other short-makers about how to avoid conflict and make production go more smoothly.
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Cecil

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Guerilla Filmmaking
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2003, 11:31:30 AM »
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well obviously ive had a bunch of obvious crap happening like actors being late or not comming at all, but the biggest thing that happened to me was having my entire location bulldozed down on the last day of shooting. thats right.

we were shooting in some small abandonned shack in the woods. it was my first movie. we shot every weekend for a month. finally, the last day of shooting, we show up to the location but find thats it has been bulldozed down.

everyone was either panicked or laughing. the movie was part of a school assignment and was due the next day. so we find another shack and clean it out. this one was closer to the road. we shoot for like 20 minutes when my dad shows up with sandwiches. so we stop, get out and start to eat. all of a sudden these two cop cars are comming our way in full speed with their lights on. apparently the guy in the 1 of 2 houses near our shack had overheard our "colorful argument" and thought there was gang trouble.

the cops leave and we keep shooting. meanwhile, the old lady at the other house shows up and overhears our torture scene, with alot of yelling and colorful language. she calls the cops again, panicked out of her mind, thinking that a bunch of kids are killing eachother. the same cops show up and tell us to keep it down.

if that wasnt enough, during one of the scenes, i kick my friend so he falls off his chair, and he does put in the process also cuts himself on some glass pretty badly on the elbow and will need stitches. so i call my mom and we finish shooting. my mom leaves with my friend to the hospital, while i go home to edit our crummy movie vcr to vcr.

good god what a day. and those are only the worst parts.

my advice (for now, im sure ill come up with more later): have plenty of batteries and tape (or film). and expect that the worst will happen. the gods dont like filmmakers too much. if the shooting days are pretty long, try to have snacks for the cast and crew (if any).

ReelHotGames

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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2003, 01:13:32 PM »
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Great thread I'll lay out a couple of mine.

On my first shoot, a high school project back in the VHS cam corder days, we were doing an anti-drug and alcohol commercial, and in our wisdom (and with dad's permission) took some bottles of the hard stuff, filled some baggies with flour and went to our local grocery store back alley for the soot. Of course the cops show up to do some "paperwork" and we get busted (though we rolled while we did) they're checking the flour, but because of the alcohol and our age we have to go to court for it. All tuyrns out good when the judge views the comemrcial, see's what we were up to and dismisses it, but still.

On my recent shoot for my web series it was guerilla all the way. Lots of looks in the airport, we got kicked out of several parking garages by security, and in one scene we had an actor cursing up and down that his car has been stolen, and passeres by come to try and help as well as security.

We were shooting a verbal conflict scene at night in front of a bridal shop and the police came by to "break it up".

The best though was shooting in the offices of some of the big wigs of the company I worked for at the time, it was after hours and I had stayed to "work" late, we snuck in to some of their offices and sprayed blood everywhere, that took some time to clean up, and we accidentally stained the carpet in one office.

And of course the shooting in Las Vegas Casinos, they generally discourage shooting on the casino floor without approval.
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Rudie Obias

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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2003, 03:40:06 PM »
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i wrote a short that takes place in a laundromat in cleveland.  i shot the first 3 scenes in cleveland in one day with the male lead.  it was kinda rough when we started but a couple hours later we got into a good groove and it went very well.  

the next week i had to shoot scenes with the female lead but she lived in columbus and she was only gonna be in ohio for one day before leaving for la. (this was the only time she was available because she was vissiting from la) so i had to drive down to columbus which is 2 hours south of cleveland and shoot a couple of scenes in a laundromat in columbus.  

the laundromats obviously didn't match at all.  i couldn't get a hold of the male lead to finish up shooting so i had to play the male lead.  i had to deal with people in the laundromat doing their laundry.  i had to deal with the owners who were pretty cool with everything.  everything was going to shit so i just decided to shot as much as i can in columbus and then shot as much as i could in cleveland and re-edit and re-write the story based around what i shot.

my advice to anyone who wants to be a filmmaker is hope for the best but expect the worst.  everything goes wrong with you doing a scene.  the batteries die while setting up a shot so you have to wait around for an hour while it recharges.  the sound sucks ass.  people in the backgroung pissing you off.  management is breathing down your neck.  the tape won't eject from the camera so you have to decide to either import it on to your laptop and erase the footage and do it again or call it a day.  so its always good to have a lot of coffee and cigarettes handy at all times.  and when your world is crashing around you, just take a moment by yourself and drink your coffee and smoke your cigs and just breathe and think about what you're doing.  this is what i love/hate about being a filmmaker.  when you have a huge problem and can't think of a way to solve it, you just take a moment and the answer just comes to you at the last minute.        

it was a very interesting project, i'll let you know how it turns out when i'm done with it.
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RegularKarate

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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2003, 04:39:54 PM »
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A lot of student shorts are full-on Guerrila filmmaking.

When we were shooting our 35 project (which really sucked, but it was fun to shoot).. we had a pretty important scene between to characters and one of the actors didn't show.  We ended up shooting the other guy on the phone (with the other character) and we were going to shoot the other actor's part later.  But she never showed... ever... so we ended up having to edit one half of a phone conversations as jump cuts of reactions and such.. came off completely different than originally written, but I kind of liked that scene.

BonBon85

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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2003, 05:20:42 PM »
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One time I was taking a class in San Francisco. We snuck into some huge office building and went up to the top floor (at least 50 stories up) and found an empty conference room. From this huge window you could see the whole city and out to the ocean. We shot a few scenes there, and I still don't know how we got away with it. We were able to do this easily and yet we got kicked out of an open park later that day because we didn't have a permit.

Jeremy Blackman

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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2003, 07:03:05 PM »
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Quote from: michael alessandro
We were shooting a verbal conflict scene at night in front of a bridal shop and the police came by to "break it up".


Please tell me you put that in the movie.

I wish I had something as exciting to add, but here it goes. I shot a mockumentary with two friends called "Cleaning America's Roadsigns" and we went around cleaning stop signs and yield signs etc. A lot of people honked at us, but not much more. I wonder what would have happened if a cop drove by.. there was even a fight scene (suds and all). Another time, I convinced one of the same friends to play a guy who walks around town talking to imaginary people and doing imaginary things. People were sincerely concerned and confused when he walked out of a grocery store carrying imaginary bags, and put them in his imaginary car (I was filming from across the parking lot, so nobody knew he was acting). No one said anything... I think they were just scared.
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Ernie

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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2003, 07:30:56 PM »
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Wow, these stories are so inspiring to me. I'm shooting my first very very short "film" (it's soooo hard to call it that at this point) in April and these stories are just amazing for me to read.. Seriously, this is great stuff, great idea for a thread. I have to thank those that share their stories here, it's just fun to read for aspiring filmmakers.

Ghostboy

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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2003, 08:01:57 PM »
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I love getting stopped by the cops! It adds a lot of excitement to the scene. One I was shooting a modernization of Richard III when I was in high school and I had a scene where I got hit by a speeding car and flew up onto the hood. We shot it in an alley behind Target, and there were some guys on the loading dock who must have called the cops and told them kids were running each other over (the camera was inside the car for POV purposes, so they must not have seen it). I guess I've been lucky, I always get nice cops who end up asking if they can be in the movie.

Ohhh...except for one time. I was a camera operator/grip on this REALLY bad indie...something I was only doing for the money. We did a guerilla shoot of this woman taking off her clothes in an apartment complex swimming pool. The producers told us they had permission, but I guess they didn't because the cops showed up and thought we were making a porno. The producers split (I think because they had a bunch of coke and pot with them) and we had to deal with it. We didn't get in trouble, but it really was embarassing nonetheless. I'd like to mention that it's never a good idea to do something just for the money.

And it's true...everything that can go wrong probably will, plus a lot more that you can't anticipate. That's what makes it fun! I quit smoking after finishing my last film, but I wonder if I'll be forced to take it up again when I start a new one...

The Silver Bullet

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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2003, 06:45:17 PM »
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I've always found that the trick to guerilla filmmaking is to think way outside the square. In my short film The Cow Hunters Of The South Seas there called for a cow to emerge from the water. There was really no way we could do that for real so we called an abattoir and asked them if they would send us a cow head on ice. And they did. And then we got an abalone diver to be our cow head puppeteer. And he did. And thus a cow swam.

http://www.movieforums.com/gummly/cow2.jpg" border="2">
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MacGuffin

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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2003, 06:54:21 PM »
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Quote from: The Silver Bullet
I've always found that the trick to guerilla filmmaking is to think way outside the square.


The key to guerilla filmmaking is you can't afford a square to think about to begin with, so a circle is just as good.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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The Silver Bullet

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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2003, 06:56:09 PM »
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Or to simply admit that you can't afford any shapes at all. Geometry is way out of your penniless league.
RABBIT n. pl. rab·bits or rabbit[list=1]
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Link

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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2003, 02:33:43 PM »
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Quote from: The Silver Bullet
I've always found that the trick to guerilla filmmaking is to think way outside the square. In my short film The Cow Hunters Of The South Seas there called for a cow to emerge from the water. There was really no way we could do that for real so we called an abattoir and asked them if they would send us a cow head on ice. And they did. And then we got an abalone diver to be our cow head puppeteer. And he did. And thus a cow swam.

http://www.movieforums.com/gummly/cow2.jpg" border="2">


Lol, that is freakin brilliant

The Silver Bullet

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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2003, 06:21:58 PM »
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Why, thankyou. I'll be sure to upload the thing when I have finished it. I'm back at school, so I haven't been able to do much [if anything] since the end of December. I hope to be wrapping it all up in the Easter holidays.
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  • Any of various long-eared, short-tailed, burrowing mammals of the family Leporidae.
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Recce

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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2003, 11:08:53 PM »
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I shot a project in high school once where there was lots of swearing and lots of violence for no particular reason(ah, memories). So everythings going all right except that half our actors dumped us the day before, so we have this big guy with a thick accent reading the lines as he's going(so we'd have him read a newspaper or something so he could read the script) and he's terrible and we got this other idiot who managed to ruin every good shot we had gotten that day. Finally, we take a break to eat. so we go out to the car and sit on the hood and eat. I put this pellet gun(which looked fairly realistic) on the hood of the car. all of a sudden, cop cars comes speeding in. Someone complained about the noise. So they come to talk to us and all the cops are doing is looking at the gun on the hood with their hands on their own guns. It was a pretty tense situation. Good thing my friends father was there. He smoothed things over for us. As stupid as it sounds though, I can't remember having as much fun on a shoot, now that i think about it. Nostalgia.
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