Looking for advice.

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    • #49080

      I am going to jump into film making this summer.

      I am having trouble deciding what to do first. I have too many ideas….

      So tell me please…

      If YOU had plenty of equipment, and $5000.00 (each I don’t believe in putting all ones money on one pony) budget and 3 months to go from concept to finished product to make TWO short films…

      What Subjects, ideas, genre’s would YOU choose?

    • #201106

      I’m not looking for scripts, just trying to gage what genres and types of general ideas other video makers would think are good for starting out with…

    • #201107

      Pick something you think about alot. What is pushing you to do films? What subject are you interested in seeing come to life? Then pick one you think would be easier to do starting off.

    • #201108

      I am going through that process right now. It is a process. Eventually I will settle on something…. right now The floodgates are open…

      it isn’t everyday one gets the opportunity… tough descision..

    • #201109

      Write what you know is an admonishment among writers, so perhaps a subject you know in video?

      Something with which you are deeply impressed, feel has not been treated well, or at all, in a subject matter.

      Something very dear to you emotionally, that ALWAYS gets your attention when you see a headline or story.

      My favorite, if I were pursuing a project with the budget elements you mention, and what I would pursue would be something that involves a compelling personality or group, from a compelling historical event, activity or focus. I am a sucker for most any documentary production subject though. You might not be.

    • #201110

      thnx Earl… right now I fell like a dog chasing cars… on a freeway….. just so much to choose from! lol!

    • #201111


      Up front, I’d say you’ll probably only be able to get one good short out with $5k, especially if you have other gear to buy.

      Next, what do you want to shoot? A narrative film or documentary. A good doc may take longer than 3 months if you aren’t up to speed on what the subject is. A narrative is workable obviously, but you’ll need time to develop the script. If you’re not up on going from premise to treatment and then to script, that whole process will take more than 3 months as well.

      Another major factor is how long a piece are you looking to do? For a narrative script 1 page equals out to around 1 minute of screen time. Add in additional camera angles or sequences other than what you story-boarded for, and add an additional 30 seconds per addition. Factor in stuff that gets cut out or put in during the edit and your flick can under or overshoot your estimated project length by a fair amount of time.

      Concerning what subject you should go with, I would elaborate on Earl’s suggestion by saying go with something that interests you. Whether narrative or doc, the subject’s got to have you hooked from concept to distribution. That passion for the subject will lend itself to the project and will help keep you focused on getting it done.

      With that in mind, remember to keep your ‘producer hat’ on at all times. Whatever you decide to make time, money and resources will be critical considerations. $5k may seem like a lot, but you can burn through that in a ridiculously short time. Remember, you’re going to have to pay something to get your flick made.

      As a first-time film-producer (you’re a filmmaker after your film gets made) you must implement the KISS Program (Keep it Simple Stupid) during all phases of your project. If you don’t time, money and resources are guaranteed to be wasted. So you may want to do an action film, that’s fine. But recognize you won’t be able to do any complicated fight scenes or car chases. Also any genre of film that relies on VFX is out because unless you can do them yourself in a timely manner, you’ll have to get someone who can. Even if you can, they may not be able to meet your deadline (especially if you’re not paying them!)

      So, you’ll have to tailor your script or doc for a micro or small crew, you’ll need some place to shoot it (locations) and you’ll need on-camera talent. For a narrative, you’ll need actors. Now if you don’t pay your crew or actors, you have to feed and house them while they are working. If they live in your town or nearby, that’s good long as they can make cast/crew call on-time.

      So that’s a sample of what you’ll run up against. You’ve got a serious timeline to get everything done, but I’ve done it in that time frame and shorter. Long as you have a solid script or doc outline and keep yourself active and efficient while working on the project, it’s more than possible for you to do so with so short a window.

    • #201112

      I’m thinking $5000.00 each.

      I’m also thinking if I can finish one for sure, and get the other to editing phase….. I can still catch up in the fall when the kids are back in school….

      Thanx for the advice…

    • #201113

      “What Subjects, ideas, genre’s would YOU choose?”

      Cat videos for Youtube. DUH!

    • #201114


      now you sound like my little boy… he’s obsessed with those!

      of course I don’t mind if they got some artistic merit…

    • #201115

      I’d shoot a documentary on either environmental or socially relevant issues. You don’t have enough scratch for a feature, and I’ve done lots of half hour documentaries on a budget like that. Google your local non profits, contact them, and tell them you’d like to do a documentary on their work – pro bono. I’m working on two of those right now (ARTFeast 2011 and Heart Gallery New Mexico), both pro bono, and they’ve both generated business contacts that have resulted in revenue.

    • #201116

      apreciate that thank you.

    • #201117

      a warm up video:

      started by trying to incorporate some of my interests into a short narration video… good practice…

    • #201118

      At our place we have a huge whiteboard, everyone gets a dry erase marker and everyone (and then some) has to participate. Over a period of time we write ideas on the board – some people write many ideas others maybe just one (classic brainstorming). At some point we all get together and begin the process of going through the ideas on the board – some get erased others get expanded on. As we go through the process some of the ideas begin to catch on more favorably than others. When we think we have a fair share of ideas we decide on the ones to keep and the ones to delete. With the ones to complete we decide which one (or few) isare the best idea(s) and expand on it. There have been times the best idea became the worst idea as we discussed and expanded on it.

      It’s nothing more than classic brainstorming. just write the ideas down and expand or delete until you end up with the idea you want to move forward with – we always start with the ideas that keep returning to us. The whole process can be very short or it can take as long as needed. Our sessions normally average a week or so. Myself or the director will take a picture of the results on the whiteboard and go off to develop a storyline(s).

      When I am traveling and have an idea, I will do this whole process on my own in my notebook. By the time I get back I normally will have a well defined conceptstoryline to work with. However, on the other hand there have been some ideas I have tossed as a result of going through the process.

      One of the ideas that actually came out of using this process is we now look for scripts from others to use more so than spending the time developing and writing our own – kind of funny how it works out.

      Good Luck.

    • #201119

      thank you. will keep plugging away until I get that multimillion dollar idea for a low budget film….

    • #201120

      Also looking for advice… I will be shooting a documentary this coming Spring that will release on DVD. I’m using two Canon XH-A1s… should I shoot in 60i, 30f, or 24f? The documentary will be mostly interviews with some “story re-enactments” added in…

    • #201121

      Framerate can be something of an artistic choice (and depends to some extent on your editor of choice).  Are you going to do only SD DVD (which only has 29.97 as output option) or will you be offering Bluray (which can do both 29.97 and 23.97/24) too?

    • #201122

      Only SD DVD at this time, but may create some Bluray DVD down the road…

    • #205618

      Doesn't matter what we're interested in, you're the one who has to produce it!  At the very least, brainstorm interests you have here with us then we can give you more advise. 



    • #210341

      When I start brainstorming for a short film project, I start by writing a short story. Shorts are so different than features, you sort of have to approach it like you're writing a short story vs a novel. You have limited time/space to tell a full story so you capture a glimpse of someone's life rather. My teachers said a short film is like the blueprint of a house, you can see where it's going, you understand what it'll look like but the picture isn't totally complete (because what story can be in under 15 minutes). I hope this helps!

    • #210616

      if i had $5000 for the two shorts i would ideally pool my money on the one project and make it fantastic. 2 projects in 3 months from concept to finish, even with all the gear i needed and wanted would be quite an undertaking for my skill level.

    • #205691

      Good effort, looks like you have a good handle on the basic elements. My advice is copy a story/format/style that entertained you.

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