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Writing your own shooting script.


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#1 George Ebersole

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 06:33 PM

Are any of you DPs here directors who write their own scripts?

Do you find it easier to shoot your own stuff, or someone else's?

The reason I ask is because I skipped taking 16mm cinematography courses in university, thinking I would eventually learn camera ops on the side while I honed my writing skills, because I wanted to shoot my scripts. Now I'm not so sure that was a good move.

Thoughts?
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#2 Thomas James

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 07:22 PM

I don't write scripts but I write novels. But ofcourse the novelcan be converted into a script if I can figure out a way to prune it down to a managable size.
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#3 George Ebersole

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 01:12 PM

I guess I'm the only writer on these boards?
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#4 Mike Lary

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 02:23 PM

I guess I'm the only writer on these boards?

There may be plenty of writers in the forums. But you asked how many DPs write and direct their own material. That's a very different question. I can't think of many filmmakers who have done all three with any degree of success. Kubrick did, but he was a professional photographer for years beforehand. If you skipped cinematography classes in school, you should collaborate with someone who didn't - and study as much as you can about cinematography on the side so you can properly communicate your desires to him/her.
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#5 George Ebersole

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 07:16 PM

I guess one of the bits of advice I've heard is that if you want to be a good director, then you have to be a good writer. Still, I should've dusted off my own still photography background and learned more about loading an Eclair or BLIII.

Thanks.
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#6 Keneu Luca

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 09:50 PM

I guess one of the bits of advice I've heard is that if you want to be a good director, then you have to be a good writer. Still, I should've dusted off my own still photography background and learned more about loading an Eclair or BLIII.

Thanks.


You dont need to go to school to learn how to operate an Eclair, or BL, or pretty much any 16mm camera. Thanks to the internet, the user manuals are out there, you can buy books that detail their operation on ebay or amazon, and youtube is full of tutorials on all kinds of cameras.

You need to figure out what features you need on a camera and then research to narrow down the choices of camera. One of the best side effects of the HD craze is that there are great deals being offered on 16mm cameras on ebay. And the funny thing is that the vast majority of these used 16mm cameras will outlast the new HD ones.

I myself just struck a goldmine with a beautiful ARRI SR2. And this is such a simple straight forward camera in terms of operating it. Finding the right accessories wasnt all that tough either :)
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#7 George Ebersole

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 02:37 AM

Thanks Keneu

I've been trying to save up for a cheap HD camera. But maybe I'll splurge on a 16mm of somekind (heh, they said they were phasing out the format 20 years ago... well, here we are 20 years later...). ;)
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 07:45 AM

If you want a camera for yourself, going with 16mm is a good bet, but chances are it won't get you any work and/or pay itself off as easily as something like a HVX or EX or a RED will these days, simply because they're used a lot more often than film for those smaller shoots. And for larger shoots, chances are you're getting kit from a rental house.
I'd say get a nice S16mm camera or one to convert to S16mm and shoot some film on it. S16mm being easier and more commonly dealt with than 8mm (more labs/post houses can develop and ingest the footage). Or you can get a great deal on some of the Russian 35mm cameras, such as the Konvas 2M, which while sounding like a tank and being build like one, can produce some amazing images and be gotten as a full kit for under 5K (sometimes well under!). Then you have a 35mm camera to tool 'round with.
As for needing a bg in photography/cinematography to properly communicate your ideas, I don't think that's necessarily the case. Often when I'm talking with directors about a project, we're speaking about feelings meant to convey and using other examples of work (art/photos/films) to really get to each other what we're talking about. The technical aspects, such as we'll need a lighting balloon for this shot in the church for an overhead candle-light look, well that's secondary to a script which reads something like "A darkened candle lit church holds the couple quietly in the pews." And the feeling of warm closeness you're going for with a super wide or slow dolly shot etc.
I would also say hold off on buying a camera unless you'll be using it. They're expensive and require upkeep. This goes for any camera.
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#9 George Ebersole

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 11:47 AM

If you want a camera for yourself, going with 16mm is a good bet, but chances are it won't get you any work and/or pay itself off as easily as something like a HVX or EX or a RED will these days, simply because they're used a lot more often than film for those smaller shoots. And for larger shoots, chances are you're getting kit from a rental house.
I'd say get a nice S16mm camera or one to convert to S16mm and shoot some film on it. S16mm being easier and more commonly dealt with than 8mm (more labs/post houses can develop and ingest the footage). Or you can get a great deal on some of the Russian 35mm cameras, such as the Konvas 2M, which while sounding like a tank and being build like one, can produce some amazing images and be gotten as a full kit for under 5K (sometimes well under!). Then you have a 35mm camera to tool 'round with.
As for needing a bg in photography/cinematography to properly communicate your ideas, I don't think that's necessarily the case. Often when I'm talking with directors about a project, we're speaking about feelings meant to convey and using other examples of work (art/photos/films) to really get to each other what we're talking about. The technical aspects, such as we'll need a lighting balloon for this shot in the church for an overhead candle-light look, well that's secondary to a script which reads something like "A darkened candle lit church holds the couple quietly in the pews." And the feeling of warm closeness you're going for with a super wide or slow dolly shot etc.
I would also say hold off on buying a camera unless you'll be using it. They're expensive and require upkeep. This goes for any camera.

Thanks.

When I used to work a lot I'd always scratch my head on how fluid the setups were at times. I always understood that the DP and gaffer (or lighting director) got together a few nights before a shoot, and came up with a basic lighting plan. But then on the set, after all the lights are basically setup, the director would have his thoughts, the gaffer would tweak something (a gel, a highlight, a backlight... whatever), and then the DP would also have his thoughts.

It seemed pretty chaotic to me. I never saw a floorplan of a stage with the set drawn in and lighting setup. And the director would usually just have a few pages of sides. When I shot my projects (low budget stuff), it was pretty much done on the fly. I knew what pages I wanted to get on tape, had a competent cameraman, and we were always able to get the shots I wanted, but I always felt like I was missing a step or plan of action.

That's why I posted this topic. The whole reason I went to film school was to train on how to pursue my dreams in media, and so I focused on the writing and "show-concept" aspect, knowing I was getting on the job training at all the studios and production companies I worked for.

Thinking out loud here... I guess what I'm hearing is that it depends on the size and complexity of the project.
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Glidecam

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Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

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Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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