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Advice for a very new filmmaker


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#1 Victor Xia

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 01:25 AM

Hi, I'm a 13 year old aspiring cinematographer and I've been lurking a bit on this forum but haven't posted anything yet.

I really want as much time as possible to prepare for a career in film production so I've been making small short films for a while.

I have absolutely no experience but I'm determined to succeed so I'm wondering if anyone has any advice...books to read, movies to watch, what to study, or whether I should even pursue such a risky career path?

Thanks so much,

Victor 


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#2 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 04:53 AM

When moving on to lengthier self-produced projects, the biggest mistake you can make is not finishing them.


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#3 aapo lettinen

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 06:54 AM

work with other creative people as much as possible.

the one big mistake is to try to do everything by yourself every time, writer-director-cinematographer-sound designer-editor-actor-producers will have very hard time to adapt later to the professional world where one makes collaborative art for real customers instead of self funded diy shoestring stuff which is made purely for fun. 

It is good to know what the other departments are doing and in small budget stuff you need to wear multiple hats quite often but you need to also learn how to work with a crew and how to collaborate with other creative people to do bigger and more complicated projects which are impossible to do with a one-man-band. 

 

Do you know any other film-oriented people near you? you could start a filmmaking group and start to do projects: first some small test 1min shorts for example and later some more complicated stuff. 

 

Watch both good and bad movies, you'll learn from both. making of documents may be helpful but they are often very glamourised and won't show the filmmaking techniques clearly. Workshop videos may be very helpful, much more so than average making of stuff. 

 

If you happen to personally know anybody who is working in movie industry it will be most helpful. A personal mentor would be the best you could have for your career and could probably get you some intern work later on or at least arrange set visits so you could see how the professionals really work (as said, the making of stuff does not normally show it clearly, you really need to be there to understand why they are doing the decisions they do)


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#4 Victor Xia

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 01:06 AM

Thanks so much for your replies.

-Victor


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#5 joshua gallegos

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 06:00 PM

I think the best thing any aspiring cinematographer can do is to remain humble, and to keep learning. What amazes me is how even a seasoned cinematographer like Roger Deakins, is still open to possibility, regardless of his lengthy and legendary career. He's always remained humble to the arts and sciences of the motion picture industry. It's like Andrei Tarkovsky once said, (to paraphrase), that filmmaking requires everything of you, the best films are the ones where you sacrifice a part of yourself for that fragment in which the entirety of the film is being made. It certainly isn't an easy art to peruse, but in the end it might prove to be a worthwhile endeavor, and perhaps life-fulfilling. Never stop learning and never stop asking the right questions.

Edited by joshua gallegos, 21 November 2016 - 06:01 PM.

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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 06:04 PM

I guess at some point you're going to have to shoot some stuff.

 

Everyone has to get over that "wow, this is actually really hard" barrier.

 

The trick is to shoot stuff and then edit it. Don't just spray and pray, actually try to tell a little story, even if it's just "person leaves house and gets into car, then drives away."

 

Learn what a sequence is and how to shoot one.

 

P


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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 06:47 PM

Well Victor I started with Super 8 when I was 12.  I'm 48 and have made four feature films, soon to be five.  It's a long hard haul for anyone.  When you say, " risky career path" you're absolutely right, it is very risky.  The vast majority who pursue a career in film never earn a living at it.  Since you're young you can choose a 1000 different career paths.  Unless you truly love film and want to pursue it out of love, otherwise, avoid the industry.  Watch, Cinema Paradiso (1988.)

 

R,


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#8 Victor Xia

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 07:01 PM

Thanks Mr. Gallegos, Mr. Rhodes, and Mr. Boddington very much for your replies.

I have watched Cinema Paradiso, and I loved it, thanks for the advice and the suggestions.

I'm going to start shooting right away now.

-Victor Xia


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#9 Sam Javor

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 10:13 AM

Watch the behind the scenes and commentary of films.  I've kinda noticed that from a practical side of things I've found foreign films more open about how they really did something... atleast in my very low budget level way of doing things.   I learned about the magical powers of Topstick tape from Micmacs (2009)  

 

 

Also, find a peer group for screening.  Here in Columbus we have the Columbus Moving Image Art Review (CMIAR) hosted by the film studies coordinator at Ohio State and is a way to see abstract/arthouse stuff on a big screen and I think some local highschoolers have screened.  Also we have a Video Critique Group where you can show practically anything for feedback including works in progress.  As far as finding these things it will depend on local culture/politics.  You're citys (if they have one) film commission may be able to point you to one though sometimes they're not interesting in developing local talent but in getting outside projects to come in and book hotels :)  Local college programs may know of groups as well. 


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