Author Topic: About to make a movie...  (Read 7711 times)

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ᾦɐļᵲʊʂ

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« on: September 09, 2004, 08:04:43 PM »
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I've finished writing, and I'm about to film this piece.  Well, pre-production, that is.  I'm gettign the actors around, and then I'll be filming it.  I have what I'll need to do that...and everything is looking pretty fine.

Does anyone have any suggestions of things I should avoid, any tips of things they've learned from filming, or any encouraging words?
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye

Pedro

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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2004, 08:55:07 PM »
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haha.  remember detail shots?

pete

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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2004, 09:16:10 PM »
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if you're not paying them, feed them as well as you can humanly provide.  people often neglect this, but feeding your crew is like one of the most important things ever, this prevents so many instances of grumpiness and such, I swear.
if you're also the producer, then get cracking, stress your head out over everything during pre-pro and your time on set will be a lot easier.  you can actually find restaurants that will donate food to your cause, for free.
also get cracking on your actors, don't worry about the shots so much (I'm saying that because I reckon most young filmmakers will already spend so much time on the shots and the technical aspect of things), know exactly what you want out of the performances.  when you shoot, always let the performers know exactly where they are and how exactly they should behave, especially if you're shooting out of order.  most of bad acting I've seen in low-budget productions actually just comes from performers getting disoriented and not knowing what to do or where they are in the storyline.  have a very strong sense of the timeline.
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matt35mm

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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2004, 11:17:46 PM »
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My advice is to listen to Pete.  He's got it down pretty well.  For your project, definitely focus on performance and have a good sense of how you want the movie to feel.  When you're on set, things are chaotic, even on the smallest project--it's very easy to lose sight of what you're trying to do.  

(Of course, when I made Poof!, I did focus mostly on the technical stuff just so I could get that out of my system--it was a good experience.  If you ARE quite into the technical side, I recommend making a movie that's just all about the technical stuff so you can get that out of your system and actually experience it, and THEN you'll be freer on future projects to focus more on the actors and feel of the movie.)

Yeah, feed your actors and crew, and treat them well.  When you're not paying them, you have to provide a good reason for them to be involved.  Make sure that they have a good experience; if they're happy, it shows in the movie.  Also, make it clear to them what they're getting into.  I've had a lot of experience with people saying, "Yeah, I wanna help with your movie!" but aren't really willing to commit more than an hour to it.  Make sure that everyone involved knows how difficult and long the process will be.

Think about how many people should be involved.  Too many people will make things way more difficult to manage, and too small an amount of people will be less productive.  Let people know how many hours they will be working that day--people really hate working later than they expect to.  A few people have said to me that they'll stay as long as it takes--but still truly expecting around two hours, and by the 4th hour, they're wearing thin.

When you film inside a house, it's really easy for the whole crew to begin to slack.  When I filmed outdoor stuff, it went by pretty smoothly.  When we moved production into a house, people began to sit and slack--me included.  Just remember to keep an eye on everything and make sure things are going smoothly.

Plan for the worst.  Have extra money (called Contingency).  DO try and move things along quickly and smoothly as much as you can.  I know that as completely independent filmmakers, we don't have a set amount of days or any deadline--but when production drags, it wears everyone out and totally affects the movie.  There are so many moments of "I'm so tired, let's just do this and go home" that create mediocre work, and this especially affects the director/producer, because you'll be more stressed, usually.

That's all I can think of now.  Be in a learning mode--absorb as much as you can for future projects.  Good luck, and have fun.

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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2004, 01:09:31 AM »
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What everyone else said, plus the words I always say, since no one ever said them to me: make sure you get good sound. Follow this basic checklist:

a.) If you're getting audio through the camera, don't plug the camera in, use batteries
b.) watch out for anything else plugged into a wall outlet, it'll hum
c.) use a good microphone if you have one
d.) watch out for planes/traffic/wind
e.) have blankets on hand for baffles
d.) etc.

There's a lot more, but at a certain point one would start describing things that cost money, like mixers and such.

subversiveproductions

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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2004, 02:44:13 AM »
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Unless you're shooting the Blair Witch Project, get a f*ing tripod.  Nothing makes a production look more amature than shaky visuals, except maybe terrible audio.
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SiliasRuby

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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2004, 04:27:53 AM »
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Basically what Ghostboy, Pete, and Matt35 already said but I would stress preproduction. If you know everything right to the last detail before you go into production your shoot will go fine and if you want I would get location permits if you are shooting in specific spots where there is a high possibility of getting caught by the cops.
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Raikus

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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2004, 09:20:10 AM »
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Pretty much what Pedro, Pete, Matt, Ghostboy, subversive and Silias said, but watch for missing manhole covers.
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands, with all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves, let me forget about today until tomorrow.

metroshane

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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2004, 02:46:09 PM »
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don't ask anyone to do anything you wouldn't do yourself.  Infact, do it yourself.  No job is too small for the director!  Treat your crew better than you do yourself.  In Hollywood, the director and cast eat first.  This ain't Hollywood, don't let anyone pull any rank on each other.  Get coffee for the grips.  Make decisions...even bad ones.  Bad decisions are usually better than waffling back and forth.  don't let anyone tell you it can't be done.  Check the gate.  Be everyone's friend and remember THEY ARE DOING YOU A FAVOR.  Be cool.  Don't wear black socks with sandals.  Be first on set, last to leave.  No alchohol on set.  Don't get AIDS.  Be a fascist when you're on someone's property without insurance.  

That should just about do it.
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meatball

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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2004, 03:29:24 PM »
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Yeah, and don't allow yourself  to become dependent on a single person to do something important for you. If they pull out, which they often do for whatever asshole reasons, you're screwed.

SiliasRuby

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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2004, 06:11:51 PM »
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Quote from: meatball
Yeah, and don't allow yourself  to become dependent on a single person to do something important for you. If they pull out, which they often do for whatever asshole reasons, you're screwed.

Yeah, you have to make sure the people who are working with you are not slackers people that you can trust and count on, and actually want to work on your project.
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ᾦɐļᵲʊʂ

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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2004, 10:48:32 AM »
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Thank you all for what you're saying.  It means a lot to me.

If and when I finish it (it's pretty ambitious) would it possible to get it hosted here so you guys could give me feedback?  (Not to say I won't need any advice until then, I'll always need to learn)

I just hope I do a great job.  Whenever I'm not writing, I'm thinking about it, and now that I've finished writing it, all I can think about is casting it and where the shots will be.

You guys are helping me out so much.
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye

pete

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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2004, 03:12:20 PM »
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also, important important important aspect of being a director on a low-budget shoot, NO EGO WHATSOEVER.  Keep your head as small as possible, move the equipments, pick up food, whatever, do whatever you can to keep the crew reasonably happy, so much of directing is actually just socializing, being able to get people to do what you want them to do, and keep them satisftied enough to want to work with you again in the future, half of directing actually has nothing to do with artistic vision.
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cine

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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2004, 03:42:18 PM »
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I think this is obvious, but if the actors are your good friends, don't be polite and say "okay good take" if it wasn't really to your liking. Make 'em work regardless. I know people who get their good friends to do things and they do a half-assed job, when they could've got somebody who wasn't such a close friend but could've done a really great job. So focus on how you'd like the actors to play their roles, discuss the delivery of lines and such in advance... conference with them about their characters as much as you can. If it's going to be low budget, at least make sure the actors allow the characters to really come alive.

meatball

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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2004, 12:25:02 AM »
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Yeah, it's a strange balancing act.

On one hand, people are doing jobs for you for little to no pay and you want to make sure that production is nice and easy and even fun, so that they keep coming to get the job done. I know that I have the need to make sure that everybody is doing okay.

On the other hand, if you're too relaxed with your crew and treat the whole thing as a party then you might slip and not get the shots that you need or compromise and get something completely half-assed to what you originally intended.

You have to find the right balance that works for you. Which is more important, the atmosphere of the set or the quality of your film?

 

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