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My Next Film


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#1 Daniel Smith

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:24 AM

Ok so I'm taking a course in film, and we have to shoot a project before Christmas.

We have a 5 minute running length limit. A director, DP (me), sound recordist and editor.

The only difficulty I'm having right now is the storyline. Can you guys think of a good, simple to shoot, 5 minute story line?

So far the plan is to make a story about a man who meets someone to buy some drugs, takes them and OD's, but then the whole film reverses back in time and the man walks straight past the dark alleyway as opposed to walking down it and buying the drugs and lives instead. (Crap basically.)

I want to give the entire movie a bleach bypass look. Show the gritty side of the streets that we will be shooting. (Orpington)

Any suggestions would be great. I'm really meant to leave most of this up to the director but to be perfectly honest, I don't trust him, so I'm basically taking the whole movie into my own hands.

Cheers.
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#2 Tim J Durham

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:37 AM

Ok so I'm taking a course in film, and we have to shoot a project before Christmas.

We have a 5 minute running length limit. A director, DP (me), sound recordist and editor.

The only difficulty I'm having right now is the storyline. Can you guys think of a good, simple to shoot, 5 minute story line?

So far the plan is to make a story about a man who meets someone to buy some drugs, takes them and OD's, but then the whole film reverses back in time and the man walks straight past the dark alleyway as opposed to walking down it and buying the drugs and lives instead. (Crap basically.)

I want to give the entire movie a bleach bypass look. Show the gritty side of the streets that we will be shooting. (Orpington)

Any suggestions would be great. I'm really meant to leave most of this up to the director but to be perfectly honest, I don't trust him, so I'm basically taking the whole movie into my own hands.

Cheers.

I think you should shoot this story:

http://tinyurl.com/p5utu
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#3 John Holland

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 10:40 AM

Hi Dan are you shooting this on "shock horror " film or some sort of video ?? . JohnHolland .
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#4 Markford Astina

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 10:44 AM

Never work with someone you don't trust.

The premise of your whole filmmaking experience is wrong already.

As a DOP you should have full confidence on you director, and he you.

Otherwise just quit. Join another group.

If things are like this already and you plan to take the whole thing in you hands - then conflict will arise (sounds like a good story) and the whole thing from pre-production, production and post production will be hell, which will reflect on the final output.

If you can't get out of it, I would say concentrate on your job as a DOP.

At least even if the story is crap - your craft would stand out and be noticed.

Then you can start your own short project as a Writer/Director/DOP.

Hope this helps you out.
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#5 Tim J Durham

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 11:27 AM

Never work with someone you don't trust.

The premise of your whole filmmaking experience is wrong already.

As a DOP you should have full confidence on you director, and he you.

Otherwise just quit. Join another group.


Man, I wish I had that kind of freedom. To just walk away when things don't go EXACTLY as I'd like. 'course in real life, once the word got out that I just up and quit the first time I didn't get my way, getting that next job might be more difficult. And so on.
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#6 Daniel Smith

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 12:21 PM

Ok thanks for your comments.

It's a tough situation at the moment, since as no one in the class apart from myself has any experience or useful knowledge on film making. So whatever group I go into, I'm still going to be the one wanting to take control of things. (I'm not sure they trust me either, since as they don't know that I've made films and spent a lot of time learning about film making)

And I'm not in a group of push-overs either. (I was hoping for a group of girls... instead I got 3 blokes, great stuff...)

(This isn't a proper film school, it's A-level film in a college)

So the best I can do is impress them with my ideas. Draw out some good story boards, illustrate all of my ideas, and hope to hell they like them. The great thing is we're marked individually for our input, so even though it may seem like I'm doing all the work, at least I'm going to be the one walking out with an A grade.

In response to John Hollands question, video. I'm not sure what the cameras are exactly since as I haven't seen them yet, all I know is they're MiniDV, and about the size of a PD-150. I'll ask tomorrow.

Cheers.

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 26 September 2006 - 12:23 PM.

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#7 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 01:02 PM

Never work with someone you don't trust.

The premise of your whole filmmaking experience is wrong already.

As a DOP you should have full confidence on you director, and he you.

Otherwise just quit. Join another group.


I agree with the thinking, but this is a little easier said than done when it's a class.

As far as story, yes the story does sound like superficial crap, but as someone else said, there is no reason that you shouldn't look on that as a challenge to make your visuals stand out. I've walked out of the theater and said "Wow that movie really sucked. The photography was good, though." Don't aim to make a poor film, but focus on your job (which is DP , right?)

Bear in mind that it's a class project. I did my share and never cared for the groups I was in or the final products. But instructors believe that they are getting their students to "work as a team" early on by doing this. Take it for what it is. I'm sure you will wind up shooting far better projects once you are out of school.

Good luck and try to have some fun with it.
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#8 Michael Collier

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 02:39 PM

Put a few lines on the internet out for call to submit short scripts. Thats what I did maybe 3 months ago, and got great scripts by really good writters (I had over 200 submissions, and picked 'sleep' by ben clarke) its much easier to critique than create (as least as far as writting and I are concerned) so its nice to pick and choose something in your style, without having to try and write it. You may be a little more excited about the story if its good, and therefore may subconciously put more into your work.

You may also get something more out of it, because since you didn't write the story, the themes and more specifically: visual arc and cadence will be unclear at first. That gives you an open pallet to design a movie, and at the same time practice disceting stories that are not your own (after all, after class you will work almost exclusivley with material you didn't write.)

That said, I had to pay for the short I am working on. Almost 800 bucks for 11 pages (worth every penny). I am sure you can get submissions even if you post it just as a 'for credit/copy' type thing, though a dollar sign on the post always draws more writters.

Thats my opinion anyway. I can't write. I never could (lest I produce something very trite) I feel like the cost of film and the energy it takes to orginize shooting one is so great you might as well find a story that has some meaning to you.
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#9 David Sweetman

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 03:02 PM

So far the plan is to make a story about a man who meets someone to buy some drugs, takes them and OD's, but then the whole film reverses back in time and the man walks straight past the dark alleyway as opposed to walking down it and buying the drugs and lives instead. (Crap basically.)


Why does he have to live? The audience understands what you're saying even if he dies in the end. Here's a suggestion - don't show him take the drugs. Instead, show his sister perhaps worried about him. She's trying to help him, even save him. The scene where he OD's, she gets a 'bad feeling' or something, rushes to his house, and there she finds him.

Also, the druggie should have some reason why he takes drugs - something awful in his life or something he's trying desperately to get away from.

This enters interpersonal relations into the screenplay, and opportunity for good dialogue and backstory.

Just some suggestions, hope this helps. The drug-addict story isn't something I'd particularly do myself, but there's opportunity for some good stuff in there.
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#10 Markford Astina

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 04:52 AM

Thinking for the working DOP:


In the real world this is what you apply before you accept the project:

'Never work with someone you don't trust. As a DOP you should have full confidence on you director, and he you.'


Now sometimes on the job this is what happens (especially if you took the job out of desperation):

'If you can't get out of it, just concentrate on your job as a DOP. At least even if the story is crap - the craft would stand out and be noticed.'


And even worse sometimes when someone tries to put their sticky beaks in your job:

'Just Grin and Bear it'


DIPLOMACY is a requirement by everybody who works in the film industry. :)


But then again there are projects of where the cast and crew move as one towards acheiving a goal - those are the projects you want to be on.

Hehehe such an idealist (but then again also quite a realist) :D

Edited by Markford Astina, 27 September 2006 - 04:54 AM.

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#11 Greg Gross

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 12:28 PM

Daniel,

Good luck with your production.

Greg Gross
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#12 Daniel Smith

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 03:13 PM

Ok guys thanks for the comments.

We're going to be using a PD-170P, which I'm glad about since as I used a PD-150 to shoot a few 20 dramas some years back. And the two are quite similar.

I've personally made a script in place of the old one. It's still crap, but it's better.

The only question I have about this camera is based on the progressive scan. I tested out the progressive scan today and, it looked seriously bad. It looked like footage from someones web cam.

Is it true progressive scan?

It almost looks like the resolution gets dropped by a huge amount and other qualities also go down.

Shooting interlaced and then de-interlacing looks so much better.

Cheers.

(p.s. just to say I was shooting 1/50th shutter speed, which from my knowledge, should be fine)

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 12 October 2006 - 03:15 PM.

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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 04:02 PM

I believe the camera does true progressive-scan but only at half frame rates (i.e. I guess 12.5 fps for a 50i camera? I know it's 15 fps for a 60i camera.) So it is useless for anything other than shooting titles and other static artwork. Besides, since you don't have pulldown issues when converting 50i to 25P, deinterlacing probably works just as well.
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#14 Nooman Naqvi

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 05:29 PM

The only difficulty I'm having right now is the storyline. Can you guys think of a good, simple to shoot, 5 minute story line?


There is an yearly publication named 'Great American Short Stories.' Its a compilation of good short stories from all over the U.S of A. You can buy it from Barnes and Noble :)

Good luck
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#15 Daniel Smith

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 06:12 PM

I believe the camera does true progressive-scan but only at half frame rates (i.e. I guess 12.5 fps for a 50i camera? I know it's 15 fps for a 60i camera.) So it is useless for anything other than shooting titles and other static artwork. Besides, since you don't have pulldown issues when converting 50i to 25P, deinterlacing probably works just as well.

AH... now that would explain it. Thanks David. I thought it looked asthough the frame rate had been lowered, but didn't think Sony would have done that.

But yeh, from my experience, even aside from the choppy look, it really doesn't look good. Like you said, only ideal for static shots.

There is an yearly publication named 'Great American Short Stories.' Its a compilation of good short stories from all over the U.S of A. You can buy it from Barnes and Noble :)

Good luck

Sounds interesting, I'll keep an eye out for it, I'm always lacking good stories. lol.

Cheers guys.


This is a very rough idea of what the style is going to be like, going for a bleach bypass look. With shadows, I think it looks great:

http://homepage.ntlw...m/bas/style.wmv

p.s. excuse the shoddy handheld work, I just needed some material to test out a bit of grading on. And, the messy garden...

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 12 October 2006 - 06:13 PM.

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#16 Max Jacoby

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 03:59 AM

Good luck with it Daniel.
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#17 Daniel Smith

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 04:38 PM

Good luck with it Daniel.

Thanks man. :)
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#18 Daniel Smith

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 04:00 PM

Ok. Scripts changed. To something I'm almost happy with.

What I want to know is, does anybody HERE, on the cinematography forum, want to either act or take up a crew position in the film.

We need three men for the acting parts:

A 20 to 30 year old to play the main character 'Mason'.
A 30 to 40 year old to play the bad guy that gets killed.
A 20 to 50 year old to play one of the police men that arrests the main character 'Masson' at the end. (Uniform will be supplied, but we will need to take a few measurement in advance)


Even though the main crew positions have been taken, they have only been taken by amateur students, so an assistant who knows what they are doing would be usefull. (Assistant: director, boom operator)

Unfortunatelly, AC has already been taken, but we can always leave room for a 2nd AC if you are interested.

I'm making the story structure TONIGHT, and will have it uploaded by either tonight or tommorow for you to look at. Script will be done by the end of this week.


Just so that you know the film will be shot in and around 'Orpington'. (East London)

Film will last about 6 minutes long and will be shot over two days, but the second day of shooting will only require camera and lighting crew, but, you're welcome to come if you want.


If you're interested message me through the forum or e-mail me at: ashleysmithd@hotmail.com

Thanks.

(P.S Take up one of the acting positions and I will love you forever)

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 25 October 2006 - 04:03 PM.

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#19 Phil Connolly

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 04:30 PM

Good Luck with your film Daniel.

If your looking for actors put an add on castnet:
http://www.castnet.co.uk/ and shootingpeople.org

If your up front about it being an ultra low budget prooduction and just pay expenses and feed them, you should still be able to get some decent actors willing to help out to beef up their showreels.

Always aim high with your actors and try to get the best you can, get the casting right and everything else falls into place.
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#20 Paul Bruening

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 08:34 PM

Hello Daniel,

Concerning the making of crap... One of my favorite quotes is, "Nobody ever went broke under-estimating the tastes of the American public".

Good luck, dude,

Paul
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