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August 11, 2012 at 7:57 PM #49800
Final callbacks tonight and I start shooting in one week – This jaunt into film-making has been a huge eye-opener for me. Forget the fact that I have been a one-man show for years, I just never appreciated the work that goes into making a film, even a short one.
I am wearing many hats (due to budget constraints) including producer, DP, writer & editor but I have help with a director, assoc. producer, a hair/makeup person and a few PA’s and assistants and about a dozen cast members, but the amount of time and work (not to mention upgrading all my equipment) just boggles the mind.
When I’m done, I’ll post some of the differences/experiences.
August 12, 2012 at 1:47 AM #203719gldnearsMember
My history with motion photography began with being a production sound mixer on small, short crewcommercial, industrial, documentary productions in the 60’s & 70’s. Iultimately had the privalege of recording sound for a real Hollywood-type feature production before I moved to LA to seek my fortune in the film biz. In every case I was exposed to setting camera angles, lighting, and even in a few cases acted as a second camera assistent, providing follow focus and stuffing filmmagazines.
As an amateurvideographer I am now learning the finer points of a couple really nice camcorders. The stuff I’m shooting is pretty much documentary style with the ” story ” being dictated by the action as it unfolds. If I were to be involved in a dramatic production again, I’m afraid it’d have to be as a soundman; I don’t have nor will I ever have the chops to DP or directa dramatic shoot.
August 12, 2012 at 3:22 AM #203720CvilleParticipant
Sound exciting. Looking forward to hearing about your experience.
August 12, 2012 at 5:08 AM #203721ikswotugParticipant
good luck &^^&…hope it works well for you
August 12, 2012 at 5:08 PM #203722designcbtsParticipant
Birdcat, I recommend you stock up on sleep, while you can 😉 Have a great time!
August 12, 2012 at 7:50 PM #203723
OK – First two things that are very different.
1. Working with actors is not nearly the same as working with clients. On the one hand, they are professionals and do things (as a rule) like voice inflections and other things soooo much better than Joe Blow the Chiropractor. On the other hand, they are (as a rule) not nearly as interested in your final product as are clients – I had four rounds of auditions and you’d be shocked at the number of no-shows I dealt with.
2. Plan Plan Plan – You cannot do enough advance planning – I was used to a by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality but there is soooo much to do, you cannot possibly do it all without a good written (and adhered to) plan. Thankfully there is a wealth of resources online like contracts and forms to speed this process along.
I have the director making offers today but we’re still a couple of folks short – I will need to schedule MORE auditions for a few small, unpaid roles (did I neglect to say that I am bankrolling this).
August 12, 2012 at 7:52 PM #203724
@Ed – Just got back from a cruise – All I did was sleep (like 14 hours a day) – Still not enough!
August 13, 2012 at 5:16 AM #203725composite1Member
Filmmaking and Video Production are nearly one in the same now. Unless you’re shooting on filmstock, you’re shooting some video format or another. Birdcat’s right about there being a big difference between client based productions and full on ‘filmmaking’ be it documentary or narrative. There is a difference if you’re doing a television formatted flick vice a theatrical form film.
Biggest differences are the budget and the amount of time needed to plan and shoot. TV budgets even on high-end shows are generally smaller than theatrical ones. That is unless you’re doing something on the scale of ‘Rome’, ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘The Borgias’. For all the production values of the ‘Sopranos’ the budget per episode pales in comparison to if they’d made a feature version.
The other difference is time. Unless you’ve ‘turned and burned’ getting short form films, commercials or webisodes out on a regular schedule, you can’t possibly appreciate how fast you have to work on episodic television productions. Whereas it may take hours to get a scene set up or reset during shooting on a theatrical shoot, for TV you end up shooting entire episodes in a day or less depending on your scheduling and efficiency.
Birdcat’s also correct in that filmmaking is much more involved than most ‘one-man-bander’s’ are prepared to handle. Lighting, set building, props, make-up, scene blocking, costumes, hair, scheduling and budget are all part of the blizzard of things to be managed before you so much as think about pressing ‘RECORD’ on your camera. Dealing with professional actors is also challenging as they sometimes are much more experienced with the process than a director transitioning from one-man band to collaborative filmmaker.
BC’s ‘rule #2’ about planning can’t be stressed enough. I absolutely, positively do not recommend ‘winging it’ at any point during the planning stage. Pre-production is the time where you can go from the fanciful ‘what if’ and ‘wouldn’t it be cool’ stage to coming up with a workable plan to get your flick made without having to spend much if any money. You start winging it come the production phase without having a baseline plan in place, you’ll end up spending a lot of money to cover mistakes, oversights and God-knows what else.
Now, when you make a film unless you finance the project from pre-production to post-production to distribution, you’ll have investors. They’ll take the place of ‘clients’ and you’ll have to do a far better ‘song and dance’ to keep them signing those much needed checks. Investors are a whole order of magnitude when it comes to your relationship. Basically, your investors are the ones you’ll be doing your best ‘Al Joleson’ trying to convince them to put up the money for what is needed during the process. You think dealing with a bride and her mother about that extra $500 for post fees were a hassle? Wait until you have a similar conversation with your Executive Producer for why you need 3 more cameras to cover a fight scene or why you have to rent a more secure soundstage to shoot a closed set love scene. Because if you don’t, the lead actress who you foolishly let her talk you into shooting the love scene last is now in 90% of the shot footage and you can’t cut her.
Ugh! And don’t get me started on actors and $%#@#%$! no-shows for auditions….
August 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM #203726D0nParticipant
going through this process of filmmaking myself.
I am lucky becuase I’m starting with a micro budget project that my friends are currently financing.
My friends know the risks and are cool with not getting a return on their money if things don’t pan out.
I am gaining experience, on my own dime, so to speak… so no harm no foul if things don’t pan out.
there is a wonderful community of film makers in my area that have volunteered to help out where needed and they treat even a small volunteer art project as seriously as paying work.
so far the project is coming along very well.
speaking of one man show… I wrote it, and directing it, producing it and acting in it.. I am building most of my own props as well as doing sound lighting and camera work… still photography and editing.
my entire project is aiming to stay under $3000.00
for those of you that want to check it out, here is the project:
also a cute video (temporary posting to youtube due to the background music) my friend made of me trying on the costume for the movie… in the video, I actually wanted to see how well the muscle suit under the monster suit was moving with the fur to hopefully avoid looking like a man in a costume, so this is very early prototype stage.. and at over seven feet tall, there is a learning process to walking in this as well.. so yeah, I’ll also be doing my own stuntwork.
by the way, the costume is being made for under $350.00…
ah heck, I’ll take it down later..lol!
August 15, 2012 at 2:23 PM #203727
What they don’t tell you #1: You gotta feed everyone!
I knew this but it sucks when the check comes. Thank goodness for pizza!
August 15, 2012 at 10:03 PM #203728composite1Member
“#1: You gotta feed everyone!”
Ha! Ain’t that the truth! Whether you’re paying (and especially if you’re not) the actors and crew, you have to take care of them. You’d be surprised how far a well thought out spread during meal breaks will go towards keeping the team happy! If you are on location and your team has to stay overnight, making sure they have good accommodations are also a big help. It’s amazing how people will push harder for you when they get good chow and a good place to clean up and bed down. Don’t forget to make sure the team and any investors get first crack at any swag (T-shirts, hats, etc.) soon as it comes in. Not only does it help promote the project, but greases the wheels when you need to call upon them again….
August 19, 2012 at 12:36 AM #203729
Had a long first day of shooting today. As I told the cast & crew, I was the least qualified person to be there but since I was responsble for his venture, I was very happy with what I saw.
Two things I learned todayA: 1) Thank goodness for built in ND filters! I was using 16x & 64x all day long (I’m shooting @24p at 1/48 ahutter speed) and 2) GET AN EXTERNAL MONITOR – I got a Lilliput 7″ with a sunshade and it was a godsend!
August 21, 2012 at 5:17 AM #203730designcbtsParticipant
I hope you got your fill of pizza and get a great nights sleep!!
August 21, 2012 at 12:13 PM #203731
Actually, we had Firehouse Subs – Everyone loved it.
For those interested, here is a shot of my production manager (Jeremy – the big hairy one), my PA Luke and me (in red) setting up for a scene.
August 23, 2012 at 4:04 AM #203732opheliaParticipant
Cool Birdcat! Hope you will post more “behind the scenes” photos. (Also wish you were located onthe other FL coast – I would love to visit your set and haul cables or “gofer”for you.) Looking forward to the final product!
August 23, 2012 at 2:19 PM #302881
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August 23, 2012 at 2:33 PM #203734
Ophelia has pointed out another key difference. As a video producer I pretty much ran the whole show by myself – I was lucky to get an assistant if I didn’t bring them myself.
In film making, while we are all wearing multiple hats (I have five right now: producer, writer, editor, dp, sound/audio – six if you include caterer) , there is a crew of six (two dropped out) plus a cast of another six (right now).
As a producer for corporate video’s, I’d take a brochure or web page and come up with a voiceover and/or list of questions in short order – In film production you gotta have a script and STICK WITH IT! (Can someone say “ouch”).
September 2, 2012 at 12:27 AM #203960
Exhausted – But one more day down – We need more help!
‘Nuther lesson learned – not much forgiveness when the producer/DP is under the weather…
September 2, 2012 at 1:39 PM #203961CharlesParticipant
Hope you feel better BC. Your venture sounds a little like my music video I shot earlier this year, thankfully it only took a few days to shoot. I should be released in November, the manager wants to release on multiple venues and live tv all at the same time.
September 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM #203962gldnearsMember
Birdcat sez: ” What they don’t tell you #1: You gotta feed everyone! “
Years ago I was recording sound on a VERY low-budget 16mmfilm for Tom Spaulding in an ” ethnic ” church in Louisville. It was supposed to be a music video featuring 3 or 4 gospel music groups. As we were getting set up, a ” community organizer ” appeared who severely scolded us for making a movie “without a plot “. She insisted that we film an entire mock wedding ceremony which would then supply a reason for the gospel music as a celebration of the wedding. This diversion cost us valuable time. As the shoot progressed into the evening, the crew began to grumble about not having a meal break, so Tom sent his assistant, Sally, out to rustle up some fast food which she brought back and set up in the church’s kitchen in the basement. When we took our break, we were horified to find that the ” congregation ” who had also been rounded up by this community organizer person had discovered the Colonel Sanders spread and had assumed that it was there for THEM!
September 6, 2012 at 2:09 PM #203963
I have set up weekly production meetings – Mostly it’s just me & the director, but we get a lot done. Last couple of them were more like editing 101 – 802 tutorials. We went through simple editing tasks like color correction all the way through rotoscoping & compositing and into selective color keying and such – We also briefly touched on additional plug-ins like Red Giant’s Movie Looks.
One of my favorite roles (if not the favorite one) is the actual editing – Luis Maymi signs off with “The meaning of a movie are the characters, the life of the movie is the music, but the magic is in the editing.” and having been the writer and audio guy & editor I can see the truth in this. Picking songs out of StackTraxx or SonicFire Pro can be both challenging & enjoyable, as can character development, but “the magic is in the editing”.
For the first time EVER, I decided last night that with all the “extra” stuff on my plates, I will accept an offer from one of my director’s friends to be (gulp) a first assistant editor, moving some of the simpler but time consuming tasks from my stack of dishes to her plate.
Wolf also tells us above that “filmmaking is much more involved than most ‘one-man-bander’s’ are prepared to handle.” Now I know why Hollywood features have separate folks for all these jobs!
September 7, 2012 at 7:23 AM #203964NatashaParticipant
I learned a lot about the difference of video production and film making after reading all your post. Which job is more fun between the two?
September 7, 2012 at 11:45 AM #203965D0nParticipant
the which ever one that has:
client that pays on time…
actors and crew that show up on time….
production that have one and ONLY one Director, and a producer that does thier job.
September 7, 2012 at 8:36 PM #203966
They’re both hard work – different joys but the both have their pitfalls – like when I am the client and watching every penny…
There are certainly more people involved with this larger production.
September 11, 2012 at 5:30 PM #203967Jackson WongInactive
Please check out our post and a couple more pictures from the making of birdcat’s movie, The Reward here on our Video News: http://bit.ly/QCQE98
And let’s wish birdcat the best in this exciting production.
September 13, 2012 at 11:06 AM #204059
I have a friend coming in to visit this weekend so while the cast & crew have a weekend pass, I do not.
Yesterday, I discovered the beauty & power of Red Giant’s Looks – All I can say is WOW! It looks like it will take a month to learn but this package might save me months of color grading & correction time – It’s on my short list as my next tool in my suite.
If anyone knows some good tut’s, please lemme know.
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