One Man Production, Full Length Movies

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    • #49698

      I got a movie I ordered off of eBay in the mail today. An indie movie, I enjoy those from time to time. But this one was different. From the score to the credits, only 1 person involved. He did have actors, but he did 100% of everything. I watched the movie, his scripts are not over imitative, and the writing is very cliche’ but this was an early movie. I went to his site and was still impressed. He has churned out a few full length movies. His actors sometimes look the camera in the eye and you can tell that sometimes they a holding back a gut busting laugh. But I was really really impressed. I may order move of his work, It would be considered B quality, but when you have 1 man and 1 camera, this is really good output.

    • #203389
      AvatarJackson Wong

      I’m gathering that the actors-looking-into-the-camera comes from Sterling Johnston’s documentary style that is utilized in the QHR report, fun stuff for sure. Good on you for appreciating the credits, that supports us all!

    • #203390

      Na, the looking into the camera was a single actor. I am sure he had a ton of retakes, (I would love to see the outtakes). But it is a young blond kid with long hair. He looked like he was always on the verge of loosing it on camera. There is a scene where they are talking to friends while on bikes and it is an over the shoulder shot of the boy and he is suppose to be looking at the kid he is talking to, when he finishes his line he looks right at the camera, waiting, for what? The word cut. I have an actor here I use form time to time with the same issue. He is good, but the second his last line exist his mouth he looks right at the camera, I need that extra second or two of “freeze” time for splicing before I say cut and he always cost me it. Thankfully when I re-shoot the scene from another angle I have all the actors run through their lines, in fact act the whole thing out, that has saved me many times because I cut while using that off camera actor line.

      But all in all Sterling’s work is excellent.

    • #203391

      This is interesting. Well, its indeed possible if he has nothing to do aside from this. Thanks for sharing this though.

    • #203392

      I’ve made a few flicks where I was the ‘multi-headed crewman’. I can’t say as I enjoy it (if I ever liked it at all.) With each large production I try to do less (still like the heavy lifts of writing, producing, directing) but when it comes to camera work and the many other important crew positions, I make strong efforts to divide up that labor. Tough thing these days is everybody wants to be ‘the director’ or ‘the shooter’. That’s not always going to happen (more often not at all.) You’d be surprised at how many folks turn their nose up when you say you need a solid Gaffer or Field Audio Tech/Sound Designer, Grips, PA’s, Script Supe’s and Field Editors. It’s even more amazing when it’s a paying gig!

      The availability of cameras gives so many people ‘delusions of grandeur’ about being ‘The Director!’ Yeah, sure anybody these days can use a camera to shoot stuff and maybe block off a halfway useable scene. But, in my opinion nobody should be allowed to sit in a director’s chair until they’ve worked in all the other positions including in front of the camera. All the best directors have or have worked closely enough with those who regularly work in the various crew positions that they gain a clear understanding of how that job is performed and it’s importance to the overall production.

      When you work as a ‘one-person’ production crew, it’s really easy to miss things even if you’re experienced doing so. Another thing I hate about being a ‘Onener’ is when it comes to the credits, you have to put your name on everything in order to have a decent length for opening and closing credits. It’s pretty annoying seeing your name over and over again unless you’re into that.

    • #203393

      ” Another thing I hate about being a ‘Onener’ is when it comes to the credits, you have to put your name on everything in order to have a decent length for opening and closing credits. “

      You could create a bunch of ” gag ” credits like Click and Clack, the Car Talk guys . . .

      Rick Crampton

    • #203394

      Wolfgang, you made me laugh “in all the other positions including in front of the camera.” When I was in high school one of the requirements to complete Drama Class was to produce, direct and ACT in the leading role of a play, OK I wanted something easy so I chose the play “The Only Game in Town” I will NEVER forget the title or plot. Well me and my crew of three (my girlfriend played the leading lady, we broke up DURING the play) did an excellent job of the set, and my girlfriend and friend who played the only other part, did excellent, After the destruction was over, we three took center stage and took our bow before the entire Drama Class. Miss Sheppard look right at me and told me to NEVER try to act again, she felt I was an excellent director, but to never never pursue acting.

      She was right.

    • #203395

      “…You could create a bunch of ” gag ” credits like Click and Clack, the Car Talk guys .”


      You’d be surprised how many crew member names you can churn out with anagrams….


      Terrible though you may have been, you have an appreciation of what it takes to get up there and literally stick your ‘parts’ out there for audience approval or the chopping block….

    • #203396

      filming a project is no different than running a corporation.
      We may live in a democracy, but no successful company in existence is really run democratically… that is the first thing… Apple is successful because Jobs was a dictator… and good at what he was doing…


      if you want to be a good CEO, you damn well better know your business from the ground up. That means knowing every job. You don’t have to be the best at every job, no one could be, but you need to know each job well enough to stand in for a person at any given moment..

      this affords you two advantages..
      one: you can step in and lead whenever a subordinate is having trouble contributing to your overall vision…
      two: nobody can bullshit you. remember if your accountant knows accounting and you don’t know accounting, you could wind up bankrupt while your account buys an island in the Caribbean with your money… same with the janitor… if you’re paying him six hours wages to do a one hour job….. you’re paying for his kids college tuition…instead of your own kids college tuition… you want your kid to wind up working for your janitors kid?

      remember always…

      a project, or company no matter how big nor how small is no different than being on a dog sled team..
      every dog wants to be the leader, but only the lead dog has a clear vision of where the team is going, because every other dog on the team has it’s nose so far up another dog’s ass, that it can’t see where it’s going…

    • #203397

      “… if you want to be a good CEO, you damn well better know your business from the ground up. That means knowing every job. You don’t have to be the best at every job, no one could be, but you need to know each job well enough to stand in for a person at any given moment.”


      Amen to that brother! You’re also on point about productions being ‘dictatorships’. Though in particular on large productions you have much more of a collaborative environment, still it comes down to what the Director wants and the Executive Producer is willing to pay for. Thing is, unless you’ve got relatives who can bypass the hard road for you, you’ll have to put in the time to get where you want to be. It always cracks me up when I get recent college grads or post-grad students out of communications or filmschool who want to jump right in as a Director or Producer and get mad when despite their 2-4 student films, I say ‘No’. When I’m crewing up, if I like their reel I’ll bring them in as an assistant director or producer on one of my freebies and see how well they get the job done. Lot of folks get bent, but all the people who work with me on paying gigs crewed up on a freebie first. They often come back to work on other freebies because they know they’ll get to do the work they love and will be treated well and it’s the same on the pay gigs too.

      Even with all my credits and experience and blah, blah, blah, I’ll pull duty as a PA or Camera Assistant on someone else’s production just because. It’s humbling sometimes working for people who were in grade school when I was cutting my teeth in the biz (especially when they ask you to get them coffee!) But I do it to remind myself of what it’s like for the below the line crew on my joints. Lots of productions treat their PA’s and other assistants like dirt. I do my best to make sure the actors and crew know all the little things like paperwork and things being where and when they need to be are made possible because of them. You get some tin-plated ‘director’ or ‘producer’ who never made the ‘coffee run’, schlepped camera gear, carried an audio pack or donned the heavy gloves to break down lights after a long shoot and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t deserve the gig no matter how innovative they may be.

      Granted, it’s much better to get solid training before you roll out into the biz but whether you get formal schooling or ‘old schooling’, you still have to get experience in order to be the kind of producer or director who’s name when mentioned will have people wanting to work with you….

    • #203398

      I think the hardest issues I have had…producers who THINK they know what they are doing when in fact they knew very little. I am speaking of producers who agree to produce or (ensure) that a project happens, then they feel like they can control the whole gig. I have walked off to never return on two projects because the producer felt they had 100% control. I am not a control freak, but if the director has NO objectivity then no project.

      When I am asked to help someone else on a project I enjoy wearing another hat. I enjoy seeing how someone will approach a project, and even if I do not agree to their approach I do what I am asked to do, if they do not ask for my advice I do not give it. I help a friend from time to time and he has a different approach and vision then I do, but it works for him.

      But on my projects I am director/primary cameraman. But I do many production meetings to get the maximum input I can from those around me.

    • #203399

      @ Composite re: “manufactured”credits

      Even Hollywood is known to be creative in this area. Found this trivia on IMDB while looking for episodes of TV western “Lawman”:

    • #203400
      AvatarJennifer O’Rourke

      As a side note to Composite’s comment about fictitious names:

      There’s also famous Alan Smithee director – who is also listed in IMDb –

      This link says it was because a director can’t have his/her name removed from a project when the project had so many directors work on it, leave it, more added to it, etc.. But As I recall, Alan Smithee came about because a movie stunk so badly that the director refused to use his real name.

      The first Alan Smithee movie was “Death of a Gunman” released in 1969. The name was “retired” by the Director’s Guild in 2000.

      Either way, when I was working in Hollywood I had a friend who was a member of a band called The Alan Smithee Band – the bandmembers were all TV or movie directors who did music on the side for fun.

      Going back to one’s name on the credits: Videomaker’s stance is if you’re a Lone Wolf Producer, you shouldn’t be so egotistic as to write in the credits, “Directed by Alan Smithee”, “Written by Alan Smithee”, “Editing by Alan Smithee”, etc. but simply “Produced by Alan Smithee” and/or “Produced and Directed by Alan Smithee” or even more simply: “An Alan Smithee Production”. Period.

      Thanks, Gregory Watts, for showing us this series – it proves that Lone Wolf/One Man Producers really CAN make a living producing movies all by themselves!

    • #203401

      I used to do credits at work, but since I am a one person production unit, I put “written, produced and directed by” and then gave credit to all my volunteer actors, location executives etc. But then one day I was told no credits. No big deal to me, but now I can no longer thank those employees who give their time and talents to the productions.

      I do the same thing for my personal projects. Would hate to see everything I do listed individually… it would be on loooonggg list. It’s usually just the WPD by and then my company name.

      While I like doing everything myself (I am easily bored) There is a major downside to working alone. Brainstorming ideas with a mirror is tough, that guy never comes up with anything on his own. πŸ˜‰ Seriously, I remember back in my TV news reporter days working with my cameraman. We were a team. Then also brainstorming special series ideas with other reporters in the break room, coming up with series titles after the assistant news director had given them lame titles like “The Zoo ” the artwork was already created but I worked with the artist and we added another line under it ” A Matter of Pride” sorry for the diversion down memory lane.

      doing it all yourself is incredibly rewarding, and fun, but you’ve gotta be organized. It is far too easy to miss something like continuity.

    • #203402
      AvatarJennifer O’Rourke

      @Bill: “There is a major downside to working alone. Brainstorming ideas with a mirror is tough, that guy never comes up with anything on his own. πŸ˜‰” Beautiful!

    • #203403

      Initially, I put my name on everything I did so if I tried to get a gig in a similar position I had a credit for it. As my crews get bigger my name has come down to: ‘An H. Wolfgang Porter Film’ for movies when I’m exec producer. If I partnered up with someone on writing my name goes on top if I wrote the script or did the bulk of the script adaptation to film. When it comes to editing unless I did the edit myself, I give the editing credit to the editor who did the initial cut. Most times I’ll end up doing the final edit and the finishing but since they did the initial lift, it’s not a big deal. I always take my Director’s credit but it comes just before the final credits roll. I’ll put my name up as a producer if I paired up with another producer. If I was a one man band then it’s just ‘an H. Wolfgang Porter Film’. makes for really short opening and closing credits!

    • #203404

      But here is an interesting twist – I am just starting a project where I am producer, dp, editor, sound & writer – Other folks will be director, makeup, hair, wardrobe, lighting, property master, publicist/pr, pa and various assistants to… (not counting talent). I figured I would just say produced, written and edited by me (in one combined credit) in the starting credits but in the ending credit scroll add them all individually. I may not when I see if it looks too silly but that is months away…

    • #203405

      I am working on a script, storyboard for a project that I intend to absolutely everything in…..
      just because I think I can, and I think it will be fun….

    • #203406

      oops. meant to say “I intend to do absolutely everything in”

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