Hello Film Dudes & Dudettes!
In a previous blog post I wrote that I was turning a short film project into a much bigger ‘universe’, with multiple characters and plot lines, told across multiple films and episodes. I think that if you are looking to become a filmmaker that can tell and sustain stories over a longer period, this is a great approach to hone your skills versus jumping into a feature outright (all though there are advantages to that too!)
It is also a great opportunity to present your audience with ‘more’. With releasing content online, you are competing against just about everyone else releasing content online. This means that to stand out you have to do just more than release that one short film after its festival run. Today’s post is looking at a specific example which I believe does very well at doing that.
Starting out the journey like me to make super awesome films? Or maybe you’re looking to start freelancing your video production skills and would like to brush up on some skills?
Whatever the case, here you’ll find the courses that I create to teach you the skills that I’ve built up over the years to help me create awesome videos. Some will be technical, some will be about the processes of video production, but all will be used to help you learn from my mistakes & wins along the way!
All revenue from the sale of my courses will go to the next project on the IBeAFilmDude slate, so not only can you learn something cool, but I’ll get to make something cool thanks to you.
Purchase my courses here via IBeAFilmDude and receive massive savings instead of the standard pricing. My gift to you!
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This is a series of blog posts designed to give insight into the biggest production I’ve been a part of to date. It will be part exposition, part learning, and offer overall reflection on how to become a better filmmaker for myself, and maybe some others too.
Hello Film Dudes & Dudettes!
Just over a week ago I wrapped production on the latest short film for the IBeAFilmDude YouTube channel. I say ‘wrapped’ but really I mean part-finished. It was 48 hours of blood, sweat and tears, pre-ceded by 6 months of even more blood, sweat and tears. It has been the biggest production and challenge that I’ve been a part of… and we’re not done yet!
I wanted to start to put my thoughts down before they fade away, and hopefully help sort through what went well and what didn’t go so well, since we will also have another two days of filming before I can start getting stuck into the edit. Film school for me has very much been through the films I’ve put together over the last several years, and this production is no different. You get to try new approaches, gain new skills and if you’re like me you try and use every opportunity to grow and become a better filmmaker…. and I certainly have a long way to go!
At the start of the year, I completed short film ‘Version 1.9.84’ in the fastest time that I’d yet completed one in, about 3.5 weeks from concept to completion. A constraint in itself (I actually had to put in over 30 hours work in 3 days over a weekend to get it done!) , I had a tiny turnaround time to meet the deadline for a short film competition for the inaugural Stage One Film Festival, but that’s not the constraint I want to use as the example today.
The constraint I wanted to talk about was actually that the short film had to be a ‘one-shot, one-take’ short film. Essentially, the camera had to start recording and record the entire short film in less than 7 minutes, with the short film ending with the shot itself. I had never tried a short like that, and it presented a few extra challenges than your standard film shoot.
Arguably one of the most important aspects to creating a believable ‘world’ in a film is its production design, especially that which is seen by the camera. Set design, makeup, costumes and props, each as important to the other so that we, the audience, are really in Victorian England, or exploring other world’s on the intergalactic spaceship Prometheus.
So how can you ensure that when the viewer watches your film that they believe what they see is really happening? Well the first answer to that question is in the people around you, those that help with the concept, design and construction of the film’s world. I am currently seeking a Production Designer to help me do just this. Over the next few months I’ll be making a short film set six months after a zombie apocalypse. The world needs to be abandoned. Belongings, cars, offices, homes. Everyone has taken what they can, and left. Imagine picking up a town, shaking up it free of its inhabitants, then putting it back down. Then you’re getting into the world I’m trying to create.
Hello Film Dudes & Dudettes!
That’s right. I’m back!
It’s taken a while to narrow down my focus and work out what it actually is that I want from this filmmaking malarkey. Since my last post (years ago it looks like), I’ve gone from struggling filmmaker, determined to find an outlet through film around my soul-crushing day job (I worked in insurance), to working videographer using my storytelling and technical abilities as my day job (which is an incredible feeling in itself), but at the cost of me completing very little creative work ‘for me’.
I started 2014 determined to get back on track on my journey to becoming a filmmaker. I decided that I wanted to use this year as a platform to achieve three things:
1. Become a better filmmaker. This means make more than 1 short film a year…
2. Meet other creatives. There are far more talented people than me out there, and I want to work with them to help bring my stories to life; like never before.
3. Get my films seen! That point seems obvious, but I don’t want to make films for myself. I want to make films to entertain people. That’s hard to do if you make a short film for a film festival, wait 6 months before its seen and then put it online as an afterthought. I want people to enjoy my films, as much, and as regularly as possible.
So my focus has been to create a YouTube channel, a place to achieve all of those points above. It will be a place for me to showcase mine and others hard work, but also a place where people can come to learn about the process of filmmaking. not so much the technical or how to, but an idea on the processes involved in communicating with cast & crew to create something more than just ‘words on screen’.
So watch this space for a more updated website, follow along with me, and if you like what it is I have to say, I would be eternally grateful if you shared this post.
Thanks Guys! – Nick
Getting anyone to give up their time and work for free is difficult, especially getting a stranger to give up their time and work for free to work on a short film for an aspiring filmmaker who will likely amount to nothing. It is however, the key to creating engaging stories. I like to think that I can tell an OK story. Why would I try to be a filmmaker if I couldn’t? What I believe will help me move from creating OK stories to great stories, is by utilising the talents and skills of others involved in the process of screen production. Film/video is a collaborative process after all. Getting creative people is difficult. I’m not in the film industry, I don’t have many contacts or networks to call upon. Getting creative people for free is even more difficult. Here are my thoughts on securing the help of others if you are in the same boat:
1. To get people interested enough to be involved in whatever part of the filmmaking process that you need help with, you need to be able to back up your claims of ‘if you work with me, you will be creating a great film’. I was as transparent as possible on ‘Journey From Madness’, and presented the full script to anyone who would be interested in reading it. Local based professionals, online talent, whoever I sent it to, I went back to the story and made sure it was as good as I could get it. So..give your script one last read through.
2. Reaching people who have some creative talent and can help contribute to your project is difficult. There are however, a number of online forums that I have personally had success with. Online casting directories such as Star Now offer a great platform to post casting calls for not just acting talent, but valuable crew as well. Here is a link to my most recent casting call, with over 60 applications. In it you can see that again, I have tried to be as transparent as possible and give as much information as possible. Other venues such as vimeo give you the opportunity to browse and post videos created by the users, and you can hunt down and communicate will sorts of creative types.
3. Whilst you may not be able to arrange payment, make sure that on your shoots/during post production that your cast/crew are as comfortable as possible and get lots of food/snacks/beverages together to keep everyone going. It really keeps the morale up, and gets to have a quick chat around the eskie or coffee dispenser.
4. Have fun. This should actually be number one I think. Oh well, too late. By making it an enjoyable day for all involved, you are more likely to get better performances out of everyone, and more importantly, secure some more of their time and effort in the future should you ever need it.
There you go, four simple ideas for trying to get some more creative input into your projects.