Author Topic: Guerilla Filmmaking  (Read 7749 times)

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Film Student

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Guerilla Filmmaking
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2003, 06:46:41 PM »
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I'm working on a project right now set in a donut shop, and there's a gun involved; the other night the police came by and we had to show them the gun and explain what we were doing.  That was funny.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Guerilla Filmmaking
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2003, 10:31:53 AM »
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Quote from: Film Student
and there's a gun involved.


 :multi:    :yabbse-grin:  :yabbse-tongue:  :shock:  :-D
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ReelHotGames

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Guerilla Filmmaking
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2003, 11:32:58 AM »
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Currently I am shooting a end of the world holocaust film set on Alcatraz where the last man alive is the nightwatchman -- and there are about 500 seagulls (bay gulls actually) who are really noisy, they have no appreciation for the making of a film.

And they keep getting in my shots!!!!

Never work with animals or small children as WC used to say. :shock:
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MacGuffin

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Re: Guerilla Filmmaking
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2006, 09:23:33 PM »
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Film Shoot Mistaken for Hostage Situation

A movie set at the downtown post office turned all too real for a group of high school filmmakers. Members of the high school Spanish club were shooting a movie Thursday night when the police showed up believing a hostage crisis was going on inside the post office.

But apparently, someone saw the teens carrying toy guns into the building on Centre Street, which is the heart of the town's historical district. When they couldn't get an answer to calls placed inside the building, they assumed the worst.

Police cordoned off the block, cleared nearby buildings and surrounded the post office ready for a hostage crisis. When a group of students left the post office, they were ordered to get on the ground, face down.

Postmaster Ron Steedley had given permission for the school group to use the post office after hours to make a movie, "Rolling Thunder." Steedley said he didn't think the student's movie would frighten anyone.

Devon Menendez, the film's director, said his film career is over.

"I'm not accepting any more offers to direct a movie," he said.
“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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MacGuffin

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Re: Guerilla Filmmaking
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2006, 01:24:24 AM »
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They were low-cost thrills
Two young filmmakers shot 'Cavite' for an estimated $7,000, but 'cheap' is not the word for its style of suspense.
By Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

WHEN planning their next project, most independent filmmakers strapped for financing and resources don't think "international thriller."

Yet hidden among the summer's mega-budget entries is a technology-laced, cross-cultural nail-biter made for a minute fraction of what it cost to shoot "M:i:III" or "The Da Vinci Code." Made by Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana, "Cavite" is a muscular, energetic and thought-provoking film that also serves as a testament to the ways in which creativity can still trump cash — or at least give it a run for its money.
   
A young man (played by Gamazon) returns to the Philippines from San Diego for his father's funeral. Upon arrival, he's caught off guard to find a cellphone that he does not recognize ringing in his bag, along with a picture of his mother and sister. A voice on the other end tells him they have been kidnapped — and that he is to do exactly as he is told. So begins an odyssey that is like a traveler's worst nightmare as he becomes an unwilling pawn in someone else's fiendish game. He is made to trudge through slums, take in a cockfight and pushed to sample some ultra-exotic local delicacies, forced to confront harrowing aspects of his native culture head-on. By the time it's over, his own beliefs and values will be shaken to the core.

Gamazon and Dela Llana, both 32, were born in the Philippines, but they met in high school in San Diego. (Dela Llana still lives in San Diego; Gamazon now lives in Los Angeles.) "Cavite," which opened Friday in Los Angeles, is the fourth film they have made together, and its inspiration came in part from late-night phone calls timed to save on cellphone minutes. Dela Llana explained: "During one of those conversations we posed this question to each other, 'What would happen if a kidnapper asked me to come save you?' And both of us immediately were like, 'That's a movie.' And it was something we could really shoot with just two people."

Another lightning bolt was the idea to set most of the film in the Philippines. Dela Llana has been back numerous times over the years, but Gamazon had not been there since he was 9.

"It just seemed like all the places we thought to set this — Los Angeles, San Diego, Mexico — we'd seen that stuff before," Dela Llana recalled. "Then it was like, 'What about the Philippines?' "

The duo set about researching and writing the script. The lead role was originally written for a woman, but casting the role proved harder than expected. "Nobody wanted to go to the Philippines with two strangers," said Gamazon. "Especially for no pay." One month before shooting and still without a lead actress, the pair quickly rewrote the part and Gamazon stepped in to play the lead. His obvious discomfort in front of the camera as well as his own genuine culture shock on arrival in the Philippines gives his performance an extra charge of verisimilitude.

Their plane tickets were perhaps one of the film's major expenses. They also bought two digital video cameras, which they sold on EBay after the shoot to raise post-production funds. In the Philippines they stayed with relatives. They estimate the total cost of the film was a little less than $7,000.

They spent 14 days in the Philippines in October 2003, spending the first two days scouting locations and the next 10 days shooting. Dela Llana operated the camera, while Gamazon recorded sound in a pouch under his shirt by attaching a microphone to the cellphone headset he wears through most of the film. After perfect weather while filming, it began to pour down rain the day after they were done.

The two-man shooting style afforded them luxuries they might not otherwise have had. The first shots of the production were taken surreptitiously in LAX just before their flight, and in the Philippines they were often mistaken for a television news crew reporting on shantytown slums.

The film had its premiere at the 2005 Rotterdam International Film Festival in the Netherlands and has since gone on to play numerous other festivals, including South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, New Directors/New Films in New York and the Los Angeles Film Festival, and its creators picked up a prestigious Someone to Watch Award at this year's Independent Spirit Awards. Variety critic Robert Koehler wrote: "For a guerrilla-style, no-budget Yank indie to even tackle issues of jihad terror and naive Western thinking is noteworthy in itself, but Gamazon and Dela Llana inflame the issues with a gutsy, athletic filmmaking package that shows what can be done with a minimum of tools."

The way in which the filmmakers deftly inject their own feelings of guilt and conflict over their relationship to their Filipino heritage also helps to raise Gamazon and Dela Llana's film from being a low-budget thriller into something more meaningful, packed with emotion as well as action.

"The lead character speaks in English," Gamazon noted, "and the caller speaks in Tagalog. And that's basically how we talk to our parents."

"It's very autobiographical in a way," said Dela Llana. "It's what we knew. A lot of it is about ourselves."
“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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Coffee Films

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Re: Guerilla Filmmaking
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2006, 07:40:18 PM »
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I've been lucky with surprisingly few major issues, we shot a sequence in a shopping centre and a guy threatened to beat up the DP if he'd been caught on film because he was breaking parole or something. We just finished shooting a documentary in the Scottish Highlands, on our way in we screwed up our navigation and had to negotiate a very steep waterfall climb with 60lb packs full of kit, and on our way out we got caught in a cloud walking a slim mountain plateau too steep to get off of, so we had to do 10 miles in about 3 hours of freezing fog at the end of a day, still with 60 kb packs.

Perhaps the funniest thing was that at the bottom of the incredibly slippery and jagged waterfall, after a 5 minute water break, our stills photographer tripped over a tiny lump on the flat pathway and twisted his ankle so badly we had to camp up for 48 hours.

Steve
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MacGuffin

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Re: Guerilla Filmmaking
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2006, 03:49:06 PM »
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Indie Filmmaker Sujewa Ekanayake Talks to DVD Guru About DIY Filmmaking

DV Guru has an excellent interview up with one of the hottest up-and-coming DIY filmmakers out there, Sujewa Ekanayake, whose latest film, Date Number One, has been doing quite well. Ekanayake shot the film entirely on digital video using an XL1S camera and also a VX2000. The entire project cost him about $10K and took about 2.5 years from start-to-finish; Ekanayake financed the film himself from his paychecks and investments from a few friends and family. He's also distributing the film himself -- the film has so far shown in Seattle, NYC and Washington DC (where Ekanayake is based).

The interview is a fascinating look at the making of a truly DIY, digital film, with Ekanayake speaking frankly about his experiences: The pros, the cons, and why he wouldn't do it any other way.


http://www.dvguru.com/2006/10/16/diy-filmmaking-an-interview-with-director-sujewa-ekanayake/
“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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pete

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Re: Guerilla Filmmaking
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2006, 02:26:16 AM »
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I don't think that's exciting anymore, in the age of powerbook, anyone with 5 grand and some cool locations can make a professional looking movie.  the trick is to get the rest of the world to give a shit.  I like to goto a seminar on that.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Guerilla Filmmaking
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2006, 02:07:45 PM »
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Cinematical Seven: Tips for the Indie Filmmaker

When the realization hits you that what you really want to do is direct, produce or otherwise make independent films, just like your heroes Robert Rodriguez, Eli Roth, Kevin Smith or James Wan, there are many thoughts that may go through your head: "What should I make my film about?", "Where should I shoot my film?", "Who can I get to be in my film?" and my personal favorite "Do I have enough room on my credit cards to pay for all this?" The answer to that last one is probably "no" but heck, don't let that stop you!

These are all valid questions that haunt many an aspiring independent filmmaker, causing more than one sleepless night. Over the years, I've spent some time in the trenches making independent (and not so independent) films. So to help alleviate some of your anxiety and hopefully reduce the number of your sleepless nights, I'm presenting some tips for the independent filmmaker. Hopefully, these seven tips can serve as a guideline to those of you brave enough -- or dumb enough -- to want to make independent films. Actually, being both brave and a little dumb probably doesn't hurt.

Anyway, here we go.

1. Keep it simple – Sure, a film about World War II featuring the invasion of Normandy like Saving Private Ryan or a movie where the climax takes place on top of the Empire State Building like King King or a film with thousand of computer generated soldiers like The Lord of the Rings might seem like exciting projects, and they are just not within your budget. When you start thinking about what kind of film to make that will define you as a filmmaker, the most important thing to remember is to keep it simple. Scripts with lots of speaking parts, extras, stunts, locations, or scenes where entire city blocks explode are probably not the films you should be making right out of the gate. Instead, stick to something small and manageable, perhaps a movie about a boy and a girl that takes place in an apartment and a restaurant or an apartment and a coffee shop or an apartment and another apartment. Few actors, few locations, a simple story and that's all. Simple, got it?

For locations, also consider things like where you work, who you know, where they work and most importantly, what you think you can get for free. Also, seek out local film schools or community theaters in your area as resources for talent to help you make your film. You can also advertise online at places like Craig's List to find crew, locations or pretty much anything else to help you. Just remember, no matter what you do, keep it simple. Save all the explosions, stunts and special effects for your next movie. I know it might sound boring but a simple film, completed reasonably well, is much better than a complex film that you can't afford to finish.

2. Write a script – As unbelievable as it may sound, many producers and directors of small budget (and big budget) films often just grab a camera and a bunch of actors and go out trying to make the "magic" happen. This is, of course, a huge mistake for one simple reason: You need a plan. And not just you, the rest of your crew, actors and everyone else associated with your film needs a plan too. Your script is that plan. So, chain yourself to your kitchen table or whatever else you need to do to get motivated and bang out a script complete with dialog, description and all the rest of the things that go into it. You might be asking yourself "well, if the big movies don't always have a script when they start why do I need one?" That's a good question and the answer to it is simple: They have money. You don't.

Having a lot of money allows big movies the luxury of having the entire cast and crew sit around all day, at hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour, while the director and DP "wing it" waiting for the light to be "just right." You will not have the money or time to "wing it" so get used to it and get your mind wrapped around the idea of planning ahead. One of the most important things I ever learned on a film set, besides "always make friends with the Teamsters," is plan your work and work your plan. If everyone on your film is working from a plan and marching in the same direction, you chances of success are astronomically improved.

3. Don't be afraid to ask -- This also goes hand-in-hand with "don't be afraid to beg" and "don't be afraid to kiss butt." You'd be surprised how many times during the course of making low-budget films I got something we really needed just by asking for it. Even in jaded Los Angeles where on some days you can't turn a corner without tripping over a film crew, people still go all dough-eyed when you start talking to them about making movies. Folks love the movies and the people who make them, so it doesn't hurt to exploit that a little. If you need a particular location, piece of equipment or whatever, just ask for it. Be nice, of course, and tell them you're a struggling filmmaker trying to make his or her first film and that whatever they could do to help would be greatly appreciated. Keep asking and try not to take "no" for an answer.

As a bonus, you can always offer them the all-important "closing credits thank you" where you put their name at the end of your film, along with the thirty or so other people who helped you achieve your vision by giving you free stuff. It works, believe me. People love seeing their names on the big (or small) screen. Even if its only in their own living room after you eventually send them a copy of your film on DVD, it still means a lot to them. So, don't be afraid to ask for something. Filmmaking is infectious and people love to get the fever. Well, most of the time. Sometimes, people will say no so be prepared for that and move on to the next person and start asking again. Eventually, someone will give you what you need. If not, you probably didn't really need whatever it was anyway.

4. Get it in writing -- As much as we all love the thrill of filmmaking and that first flush when the reality sets in that "yes, we are actually gonna make this sucker," you still need to worry about one other important, non-glamorous thing: business. Filmmaking, like or not, is a business. All those people who are your friends now who swear up and down that they're in it for the long haul are probably going to evaporate around hour sixteen of day twelve. Or, worse yet, show up at the last minute demanding their share of the pie when your film does manage to hit it big. Either way, protect yourself and your parent's or uncle's money as best you can.

The best way to protect yourself and everyone else involved is to be a professional and get everything in writing. I'm not necessarily saying that you should hire a lawyer to draw up contracts or anything like that (although, if you do have a brother-in-law who's an attorney, all the better). No, I'm talking about simple agreements that outline who is doing what and what they'll get in return. I know it will be awkward to ask your friends and family to sign something, but trust me, the trouble you take doing this now can save you so much more trouble and hard feeling down the line. Nobody should have a problem signing something they already agreed to verbally and if they do, you might want to consider asking someone else for help.

5. Consider going SAG – I know what you are thinking, unions are lame and will cost you too much money that you can't possibly afford. Probably true. However, unions, especially the Screen Actors Guild, do have one important thing about them that may cause you to rethink your position: Talent. Like it or not, most films need actors. And the best actors are in the Screen Actors Guild. Not that your cousin Larry or your Aunt Flo aren't terrifically talented, but they probably are not as good as someone in SAG whose actually acted in a film before. So, even though unions are many times a giant pain in the ass and I have had, on several occasions, "intense discussions" with union reps over seemingly mundane points, they still serve a useful purpose because they can provide something you really need.

A good actor can make a poorly written script come alive and turn your stale dialog into prose worthy of Aaron Sorkin or David Mamet. Well, I might be exaggerating a little there but even so, SAG actors have been vetted and in many cases are more professional and talented than people you can find other places like Craig's List or whatever bar non-union, out-of-work actors congregate at these days. So, consider using SAG actors for your film and don't worry so much about the money because SAG has ways that actually help indie filmmakers like yourself afford its members -- the SAG low-budget contracts. These contracts are for low budget and experimental films that, once agreed to by the filmmaker, allow him or her to use SAG actors.

One thing about the contracts if you do decide to go SAG. Read them carefully. They do give you an advantage by allowing you to use SAG actors at greatly reduced (or even deferred) rates, but you give up more when your film is eventually sold. In other words, you don't have to pay now but you definitely have to pay later so make sure you read the fine print. I'm not saying that you must use SAG actors but I am saying to at least consider it. More than likely, it will help you more than it hurts you.

6. Spend what money you have intelligently – If you have any money at all for your masterpiece there are three things that you should definitely spend it on: A good director of photography (aka DP), a good production sound mixer and food, food, food.

People watching your film are doing just that, watching it. How your film looks goes a long way to influence how people react to it. Think about your favorite films and what comes to mind? Most of the time, I would bet it's the way a scene looked that made it special. For me, it's the flowers falling as the horses charge through them near the climax of Excalibur, or the men running in slow motion on the beach at sunset in Chariots of Fire, or the black-and-white mastery of depth and shadow in Citizen Kane. These scenes, and so many more, serve to show how important the "look" of a film is.

Plus, the trick here is to try to fool people into thinking that you actually know what you are doing and you had more money to make your film than you really did. One of the ways you accomplish this is to make sure your film looks as much like a "real" film as possible. This is also know in the filmmaking world as "production value." This means your film needs to be in focus with good composition, camera work and as decent a lighting job as your DP can manage. So, get a good DP, preferably with his own camera and lighting equipment.

Remember, DP's need films to shoot to build their reel so they can get more and bigger films to shoot. As a person with a film that needs to be shot, you're in a pretty good position to find a DP that's not only good at his or her job but easy to work with. The latter is very important, because who wants to spend sixteen hours a day, six days a week with a talented jerk? There are many talented non-jerks out there who also have cameras and lights. Find them.

Next is sound. Even though film is essentially a visual medium your actors will probably still have dialog so it would be nice if that dialog was recorded well enough to be heard. So, get a decent production sound mixer who preferably has some good microphones and a boom guy to point them in the right direction (at the actors, in case you were wondering). That way, you can use most, if not all, of the sound recorded during the shoot and won't have to do any of that annoying ADR later that you can't really afford. So, be smart. Get good production sound from someone who knows what they are doing. Plus, always remember to get room tone. If you don't know what that is, ask your sound mixer. If he or she doesn't know, get a new sound mixer. But no matter what, get room tone. You'll be glad you did.

Last, but by no means least, is food. This is probably the most important ingredient in any independent low-budget film production. You need to feed people and feed them as well as possible. This doesn't have to be a gourmet meal catered every day, although that would be nice, but it does have to be something. Even if its Subway one day and El Pollo Loco the next, make sure its there every day, on time and most importantly, that there's enough of it to go around. You do not want to run out.

Why is food so important? Well, food has a couple of uses in the independent filmmaking world. One, food is fuel. A hungry crew works slower and complains more -- something you don't want to happen. Feed them and they will probably shut up and work long into the night -- something you do want to happen. Plus, you're probably not paying your crew much, if anything at all, so the food you give them serves as both payment for their hard work and a sign of respect for that work.

Let's face it, they're not going to get as much out of your film if it becomes a huge success as you are, so there's no reason not to treat them as well as you can while they're busting their asses to achieve your "vision." Food and common courtesy will get you a long way. Plus, always try to remember to say "thank you" to the crew and cast after a long, hard day. That little thing does wonders for morale and its a nice thing to do too.

7. Don't forget about post – Everyone loves having the party but nobody ever wants to clean up after. Post-production is the clean-up, and has saved more films than I can count from bad directors, bad acting and bad sound. Sure, shooting your film is fun -- being on set, working with actors and being creative is a great time and a great rush. But just because your masterpiece is in the can doesn't mean you'll be anointed as the next Scorsese or Kubrick until someone can actually see your finished film. So, post production, which includes picture editing, sound editing, sound effects editing, foley, walla, ADR, post sound mix, layback, M&E and a bunch of other stuff, is a part of the process you just can't skip.

Actually, its not a bad idea to think about post even before you start shooting your film. Plus, the more time you can devote to post when the shooting is done, the better your chances of having a good finish for your film. Many post production houses that do this kind of work often have some downtime during and between projects. That's the time when they can be working on your film and often if you ask, that's the time they will work on your film. Why? Because they have all these people on staff already anyway and its better to keep them working on your project than to let them go home or to the beach.

One disadvantage of this method is that you won't get your film done quickly. You'll get it done eventually, but you'll get stuck on the back burner at the post house when paying work comes in so be prepared for that and don't get too impatient. After all, they are doing you a favor and because of it you're getting far better post production work done on your film than you could normally afford.

Hopefully, these tips can help you avoid some of the mistakes I made when I started making films. With a little money, a little talent, a lot of luck, and maybe one or two of these tips, you might just manage to make the next Blair Witch Project , Saw, Cabin Fever or something even better that will propel your career into the stratosphere. If you do, make sure to remember to thank me at the Independent Spirit Awards dinner and please, spell my name right on the check. Have a good shoot.
“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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