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Advice for first time director?


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#1 scott karos

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 02:21 PM

I'm not exactly s first time director, I've made quite a few short films and even this tiny feature film (wasn't very good)

But all of those were all done mostly by myself. I would beg my friends to come over for the weekend to shoot them. Some of them were good and some were not.

I plan on making a "legit" short film soon. By legit I mean having a crew of people I can collaborate with and professional actors. I plan on sending it off to festivals in the end.

So what advice could you bestow upon me? Any is appreciated.
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#2 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 05:13 PM

Hire a career 1st A.D. and listen to them.


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#3 GregBest

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 09:23 PM

START with a great story!

Directing actors in scenes with sets and lighting and audio and action is a yawner if the story does not develop and resolve in an attractive way for the audience.

- my four cents (inflation)


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#4 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 01:43 PM

As Greg said, story is the most important part.

 

Secondly, if you want to make a truly legit short, pay people something.  Most people need to live on this freelance way of life, so don't expect people to go through all this work for nothing.  I've been on both sides (working for free & hiring for free) and it's just not professional in my opinion.


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#5 GregBest

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 02:02 PM

ooh good point!  Here's my DIRECTOR'S LIST:

 

1. safety first

2. safety first

3. safety first

4. ALWAYS feed the talent and crew

5. have fun


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#6 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 02:09 PM

ooh good point!  Here's my DIRECTOR'S LIST:

 

1. safety first

2. safety first

3. safety first

4. ALWAYS feed the talent and crew

5. have fun

 

All good advice!


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#7 Sam Javor

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 08:18 AM

I'm approaching the end of photography of my first large no budget project that I'm directing (and practically everything else) in a while (12 ep webseries (99 pages)) ...

1.  Make a shooting script then make storyboards then make a recording of a read through... then put the storyboards and the recording together to make an animatic.  Know (or atleast have a very good understanding) what the movie is going to look like bfore you start shooting.

 

2. Backup everything and store the backup in  a different location.  I had a friend who had to run back into his burning house to get the hard drives of a large project he was almost done editing. 

3.  If you have a friend who is unreliable, prone to breaking things, doesnt get along with others, requires supervision ... then dont ask them to help... and if they ask to help out say that you're fine even if you need help.  In economic terms... some people can provide negative production value.

4.  Make sure the mic is positioned properly... general rule is have the boom op  put it in frame and wait for the DP to tell him it's out of frame... a bit of colored marking tape on the end helps... When I boom I like to put two or more mics on the boom as well... one for each person so there's less handeling noise and I dont miss someone talking.

 

 


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#8 Sam Javor

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 09:11 AM

Oh... and probably shold talk about actually directing actors...

5.  During auditions I favor actors who include the environment or props (use a paper plate as a steering wheel, etc.)

 

6.  Generally I try to give directions based on something I think they can relate to.  no " faster more energy" ...more "it's like you came home from a long day at work to find that there's smoke coming out of the kitchen."  etc.

7.  when dealing with dark emotional scenes (especially with new actors) I talk with them about not so much in 'getting to the unhappy place" but on getting out of it.  Generally phrased along the lines of "I worked with this one actress who, in order to cry would imagine her kid being tortured... after the take she would  imagine the crew as super heros beating up the torturer and rescuing the kid. "   Just to point out that going from something serious to something silly is an option.  I find that actors are able to emotionally go a bit further when they are confident that  they can make it back in time for lunch. :)
 


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#9 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 10:04 AM

Oh... and probably shold talk about actually directing actors...

5.  During auditions I favor actors who include the environment or props (use a paper plate as a steering wheel, etc.)
 

 

Speaking as someone who places virtually no faith in the audition process, if you're working on a smaller scale project, consider just meeting with them over coffee or lunch to discuss the project.  Most people have reels online nowadays and booking a room for an audition costs money.  Why go through all that if you already like what you see online?  Take the next step and get to know the person behind the character.  You may find things you can bring out on-set that you never would have discovered during an audition.


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