Your FIRST Very Own Short Film: What Should You Focus On?
Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:30 AM
For the very first short film that you're planning on directing / producing, what should you concentrate on in order to be successful?
I didn't go to film school. But I'm a huge fan of Truffaut, Kubrick, Cassavetes, and other biggies. Suffice it to say there is NO WAY in hell that my first film project will hold anything like a candle to their own first real stabs in cinema. And to be honest, filmmaking is (I'm sure you'll think it dumb of me to say but it ought to be said, for the newbies out there) EXTRAORDINARILY complex.
Colour grading. Pulling focus. L-Cut. J-Cut. S-Cut. Location scouting. Workflow in post production. And on and on and on and on and .... I can see why so many risktakers give up on film eventually. It can all seem too much.
That said, I don't want to make the filmmaking process wrinkle-free. I'd just like to know -- from the bona fide pro's out here -- what/how THEY would advise rookies to pursue their first goes at this exhausting, empowering art form.
Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:45 AM
Hope this helps.
Posted 06 February 2013 - 06:43 AM
Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:54 AM
Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:23 AM
And then bad acting.
And bad writing.
I dunno. I'm a perfectionist. All of that.
I would almost put focus pulling lower on the list. Make sure shots are in focus in general, but if you miss a mark when someone's moving, I don't think it would be the end of the world. And grading, as long as it doesn't look 100% awful. You'll learn new editing stuff as you go too. Just don't keep going back and recutting the same project. Keep shooting different stuff.
But yeah. Audio. And make sure it's something at least you'd want to watch.
Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:41 PM
Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:51 AM
Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:10 AM
I have desperately needed such words because im doing my 1st short film with DSLR.Before it was done with my mobile cam.Now Im step ahead with technology. Hope your words will be so helpfull in my career.
You should focus on making sure you enjoy the process. My first short film sucked...not just the content but the process because I was so obsessed with making it perfect that it failed, I was uptight, and I had no fun. Dont be afraid to make mistakes because YOU WILL. But you dont want to lose the joy of filmmaking before you start. Have fun, do the best you can (within reason) and be open to learn from your mistakes. Have the realization that your first short will probably not be any good. It probably wont get into any fests either. Still, you can try anyway. I tried to get my first short into fests but it was ridiculous, ugly, and had bad sound. My second short wasnt too great but the sound improved. As I went on and on, they good better and I learned what I needed to do.
Hope this helps.
Thank you so much Phillips.
Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:09 AM
That being said, I need to learn how the technical aspects of movie making work, which is important, but I don't think the latter matters, if people don't truly understand what cinema is. Martin Scorsese simplified everything to me when he said: "The biggest challenge in cinema is getting what's in here *points to his head* onto the screen, that's it."
So, learning the technical aspects of filmmaking is crucial to understand how it works...once these things are learned, then practice them. I think that helps avoiding silly mistakes.
Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:47 AM
In my efforts to come up with some sort of story for a script (for my first effort, as well) I came across this article. The things mentioned here already are on the list, as well as many other things I didn't think to avoid. I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination. I'm still trying to get a script together. I hope this is some kind of help. For me, I've really just been interested in going through the proper process of making a film, so I've been researching some of the technical aspects of that. Sound is high on my list of things that need to work well. I also want to shoot in 16mm, so I'm also trying to decide if I should go the telecine route or edit the film itself and sync the sound to the print. It's all definitely complex, but it makes you appreciate good films more, I think.
Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:53 AM
I wanted to reiterate what has been said; firstly, good audio (and no it doesn't have to be expensive). Always have a dedicated crew member for audio, monitoring levels. The simplest of set ups for "good" audio would be a shotgun mic going into a mixer, going into the camera, with the boom op monitoring off the camera.
Secondly and perhaps more important than sound only because this is your first time out is "Simplicity".
Keep it short.
cast it well.
use a camera or the chip/card that you can plug straight into the computer , off load footage and start editing. Use a easy to use consumer cam. Don't bother with anything that requires any sort of trans-coding or the like. Always think "simple". Use an editor that doesn't require trans-coding of footage in order to edit. Think Imovie or Final Cut x or similar. the article linked above is full of cliches and pitfalls to avoid, lots o good advice and laughs.
Edited by Chris Burke, 12 February 2013 - 07:56 AM.
Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:31 PM
Audio is definitely important, but I'd strongly consider a very short silent film for your first time out. Being ambitious is great, but limitations can A. keep you from going insane, and B. force you to consider techniques you're not accustomed to. So many student/learner films are bogged down with awfully written, poorly acted dialogue that tries to cram complex character nuance into a form that simply doesn't have time for it.
I think it's been said, but don't expect it to be your opus, or to feel like a polished professional production. Francis Coppola's first film was very modest. If the early films of great directors have anything in common, it's that they started out with a compelling concept, or a novel viewpoint on a situation (not by saying "geeee I gotta get this done for class" or "my friend just got a new slider").
Don't spend a ton of your own money--inexpensive mistakes are my favorite kind. You'll feel more free to experiment with storytelling if you know you can afford to make another film next month.
Edited by Matthew Kane, 25 April 2013 - 09:31 PM.