The Magic of Making Movies really isn’t as “magical” as those outside of the industry believe. It is, in fact, a lot of hard work. The good news is that a lot of people are involved in the production of a movie and therefore, the heavy lifting is shared.
“You might set up a camera to record a "day in the life" of a local barbershop and end up with some interesting footage, but until it's been shaped and given meaning by the filmmaker — until it tells a story in some form — it's not a documentary.”
Documentary Storytelling – “The Drama of Real Life” by Sheila Curran
In Joe Carnahan’s gritty 2002 good-cop-bad-cop thriller “Narc,” the director kept it real by shooting some scenes guerilla-style with a hidden camera. There’s a montage in the film where two actor/cops are out in the streets of Detroit questioning unsuspecting real people about a not-so-real murder.
How do you extract the best performance from your actors? Rehearsal can be the key, but what is the fine line between proper preparation and over-rehearsing? As the director, your job is to steer your actors toward emotionally rich, convincing performances, so what is the best way to communicate your desires to your actors?
Looking to cast your next low or no budget indie movie? Having trouble finding experienced actors to bring your screen story to life? Look no further than your local theater scene as a possible source of film talent. College theater groups, repertory and community theater organizations are teeming with talented prospects to populate your film.
Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten about the artistic process was from renowned comic book illustrator Michael Zulli who said, “Learn everything about your craft and then forget it.” This seemed a bit obtuse to me at the time, but then it unfolded like a flower and I realized that bit of wisdom contained everything I needed to know about art.
Blocking and movement play a pivotal (literally, at times) role in the art of storytelling. Whether the camera does the moving or the on screen talent does, crafting a scene can be true art, and some are better than others at it.
Moviemaking is a team sport. Let your team do its work. Keep your fingers off the lens. Instead, own the script, know what you want up on the screen, communicate that with confidence and then get out of the way, trust your DOP to interpret your cinematic vision. Spend your time with actors and focus on story.