You're a Filmmaker? Where are your films?

RodyPolisRodyPolis Website User Posts: 613
Hey guys!
Check out the latest Film Tips post on my website. I know a lot of excuses us Filmmakers make on why we can't make movies, so I try to help out!
Agree? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts.

Comments

  • HarHar Website User Posts: 400 Just Starting Out
    edited May 2013
    I agree completely, and always see the same sort of thing occuring for those of us who frequent the audio end of the spectrum as well (GAS - Gear Aquisition Syndrome - exists everywhere). :)
    Fear can definitely be a factor as you mention, but I've also seem just as many people (myself sometimes as well LOL) falling down a recursive slippery slope I usually refer to as "Planning To Plan" (which I originally saw as the title of a huge flowchart in the background of the movie "Office Space" on the conference room blackboard :)) ).
    It's far too easy to get totally sucked up into making a ton of future plans centering around gear (hardware or software) we don't actually own yet...yet if you finally DO get it, often you find yourself basically thinking "Great, now I've got that part covered! But....you know, if only I also had THIS thingy it would make it easier still! And think of all the additional options that'll open up to me once I get this other thingy too!"
    And then you finally get that, and you fall into the next part of the cycle. And so on, and so on, and shoobie-doobie-doobieeeeeee. These days when my wife hears me say something along the lines of "I just need this ONE MORE THING, and then I'll be set!"....she just kinda chuckles. :))
    In other words: sometimes it's not just due to an irrational fear that your work will be trivalized by comparison to work created by those "who have ALL the toys!"...it can also be due to literally getting lost in your own plans. You acquire, and you acquire, and you acquire...and you plan and plan and plan...and a number of years pass and you realize that you now own a whole lot of useful stuff, but haven't actually created squat with any of it. @-)
    (and similar to the kind of folks who don't seem to do much with their video software than create tutorials on how to use them, the music side of things is also chock-full of the kind of folks who will create a ton of things like the "pedal demos" on YouTube showing people what every knob and button does...but ask them about the last actual song they created with that gear, and...well...they're "working up to that")
    Your suggestions in your article for breaking this cycle are definitely spot-on. In my own matters (more often than not in the music world), I've found an interesting phenomenon: I sometimes seem more likely to be able to bring a project to fruition and eventually completion when it's something that I've been asked to contribute something to e.g. in a collaboration release project, a multi-artist compilation, etc...than when it's something I'm working on by myself. Sometimes having others involved with the process can help keep things falling forward, as opposed to falling into a state of stasis due to how easily it can be to micromanage your own projects...right into the ground.
  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    Fear is definitely a factor for a lot of indie filmmakers and so is inexperience and the desire to get everything perfect.  I filmed a short film which was my directorial debut where I have a real cast/crew/location and I've been languishing over it for a while do to my inexperience with getting exactly what I want from all the software I am using.  I want the look to be just right(color grading), I want the effects to look good... pretty much I feel like I want to bypass the learned curve.  That is completely unrealistic I know.
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Very interesting topic! The hardware obsession that Har mentions definitely rings true, and is something I've seen in a lot of filmmakery friends who are perhaps more focused on the next gadget than actually using them for anything. It's tricky one, because good filmic storytelling goes hand-in-hand with good technical abilities and hardware, but a balance has to be struck.
    For me, my current excuse is that I have a baby, which sucks up all time. Bit like a singularity. However, while I don't have time to make any films right now, I am using the time to work on ideas, with the aim of having decent scripts ready to shoot at some point in the future. It's actually quite liberating to be forced to focus purely on story and character for an extended period.
  • FoxFox Website User Posts: 87 Enthusiast
    edited May 2013

    I have scores of manuskripts who never has been realised. Its so very common and a part of it all, wanting to do the "Movie"
    There are some major factors in that game. First of all it requires a very good story to capture the audience. A good production with good actors and direction, and good post production. And now the real mountain to climb . . . Money.
    It requires money to produce a quality movie. And here most of my scripts die, its allmost imposible to raise money at this point to do a proper film on just a small level.
    Once finished the next mountain is ready to climb, the distribution. Getting the movie out to be seen might be the biggest problem, even if its very good.
    I have been working over 6 years now on a documentary movie, a production who normaly shut take amost 1 year.
    But i had to do it in pices when i had the money to go on. Personally its hard to the private life, not many girlfriends understand your needs to spend huge amounts of money from your private fonds to make a movie who in the end not will be much more than a stepstone onto something better if your lucky.
    I agree with Michael . . .  You aim for perfection, without considering your abilitie to achive the goal. But i think you shut do excatly that, good stuff comes from a persistent strive after perfection, the right shoot, the right grading and so on.
    You have to fail and you will fail in that prosses, but thats where the true knowledge and wisdom of filmmaking lies.
    And you never know, one day might one of the old scripts in the drawer se daylight . . .
  • StrikeEmStudiosStrikeEmStudios Website User Posts: 224
    Good points Rody, I haven't produced a true 'short film' in two years now! I'm desperate to tackle a new big project, and i have ideas, yet i find myself always worrying and holding back due to financing any project as I don't want to risk a failed kickstarter; what can I really give to the funders? Why don't I just spend the money i'd waste on pointless t-shirts and gimmicky crap on the actual project? but then very few people will offer money based on getting a credit at the end of the film and DVD/Blu-ray.
    The only other option I can think of is self funding, which is impossible to do with the money I earn, and most of my friends and family are in the same boat as myself. 
    One of the things that disheartened me on my last Project that fell apart before production was that I was unable to find any Locations both suitable and willing to help out in my Local area - theres only so many times you can hear people ask you "it's not a porno is it?" no matter what their tone, before you've had enough and just want to slap them for it.
    I'm currently writing/ drawing up ideas for a large project, that will require more professionalism, money, cast and props than i've ever used before. I know for a fact that this will be impossible to self fund - especially with my plans to shift myself to London to get work in the 'industry'. I do believe this could be eligible for BFI funding if i approach it in the correct manor, I just hope I actually get to see this one through!
    In the mean time, i'm attempting to find any and all experience, help any project i can to bulk up my CV and improve my skills!
  • StormyKnightStormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,726 Ambassador
    edited May 2013
    StrikeEmStudios- Have you tried looking into what FXhome did? I mean- Kickstarter?

    http://www.kickstarter.com/hello?ref=nav

    There's also Indiegogo.

    http://www.indiegogo.com/

    I'm going to explore these avenues as well. I'm guessing, at least in the U.S., that there's some sort of taxation that will apply to what one raises monetarily but it might be worth looking into anyway.

    Rody- great topic and thanks for the newsletter!
    As to putting things off and not doing some video shooting-
    I've been through the "gotta have it" phase (and now I've got it- took a while to save up) and have started a script that I was doing some test scenes with and writing to my means rather than planning for more gadgets.
    I was going to use my own house for the story and had designed the setting around it and the area I live which is full of parks. Then word came from the bank that due to insurance and taxes my mortgage payment would be going up $75 a month! Looks like I'm going to have to sell the house and move somewhere cheaper. So until my housing situation gets resolved, I'm going to concentrate on the script (got most written in my head already), finding volunteer actors who will work for dinner and drinks and work on improving some FX tests I've done and get to know HF as best as I possibly can.
    Simon- Singularity. :)) Thanks, I needed that. I've been rather stressed as of late.
  • jmajma Website User Posts: 84
    I've not made anything for a while, but that's mostly due to time commitments. I used to worry about budget a lot, especially as the last project was funded, but watching my students put together some impressive work on very little has really inspired me.
    Film ideas don't need to be big or expensive. Some of the best short films utilize simple locations etc and are very effective. Two of my favourites are "Love Sick" and "The Black Hole" - both available on youtube.
    Amateur crews (usually students wanting experience, or even friends) and actors (see same) are a nice, budget-friendly choice, and can sometimes bring surprising skill. Feed them, though.
  • guitar74guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    edited May 2013
    I'm not a film maker, just like the FX part of it.  Now, I do have a idea and some of the story written, but to shoot a movie, which I could do, would cost a lot of money and I mean millions and permission from the person owning the Star Trek Rights.  I thought about a horror movie in a defunct theme park here in Arkansas this fall.
    All movies are going to have people that like them and people that hate them.  Like JJ Abrams, he uses way to many light flares in most of his movies.  I can understand money being a big issue to do a movie.  There was some director a while back that did a documentary, but he filmed the whole thing on a iPhone, so you dont have to have the most expensive cameras to do a good job, just have to know what you are doing.  I would like to see films that people have made more on here, even if they are not perfect. 
  • FoxFox Website User Posts: 87 Enthusiast
    edited May 2013
    There was some director a while back that did a documentary, but he filmed the whole thing on a iPhone, so you dont have to have the most expensive cameras to do a good job, just have to know what you are doing. 


    Its not just about using RED K4 or 8. Everything cost money. Travling to location, renting location, catering of crew and actors on just a simpel level, and so on. Even the smallest action requires some investments be it a 100 dollars or 1000 of them depending on the scale of the production.

    You can film anything with a I-Phone or a consumer camera, but its not gonna rock the world unlees the story or acting is some very special. I havent to date, seen one production done with with cameras like that who made frontpages or has been the talk of town. The director you reffer to doing a dockumentary, had puplic attension because it was done on a I-Phone. Nobody ever discussed or commented the movie itself ;o)
      
    If you deliver shitty footage, no one will spend 2 mins on looking at it, people expect qualitie.

  • guitar74guitar74 Website User Posts: 506

    Its not just about using RED K4 or 8. Everything cost money. Travling to location, renting location, catering of crew and actors on just a simpel level, and so on. Even the smallest action requires some investments be it a 100 dollars or 1000 of them depending on the scale of the production.

    You can film anything with a I-Phone or a consumer camera, but its not gonna rock the world unlees the story or acting is some very special. I havent to date, seen one production done with with cameras like that who made frontpages or has been the talk of town. The director you reffer to doing a dockumentary, had puplic attension because it was done on a I-Phone. Nobody ever discussed or commented the movie itself ;o)
      
    If you deliver shitty footage, no one will spend 2 mins on looking at it, people expect qualitie.

     

    True, but then there is the B kind of movies also, that dont require to much investing.  everyone here has a different kind of film and I have seen some short movies shot in great quality, but the actors just suck.  The doc movie I'm talking about from what I understand is not even released yet, but yes, there was talk of the town it made several tv shows where it was being talked about.  I just made a point that even a 700 dollar camera will deliver great footage, but you have to know how to use it the right way.
  • FoxFox Website User Posts: 87 Enthusiast

    Just go ahead make films on every scale and level with all sort of cam's, everyone of them will teach you something and make the next one even better ;o) 
  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    One good  thing to keep in mind with writing scripts is to keep it do able based on your level.  Im a huge Sci Fi fan and love big blockbusters.  One of the key concepts that most indie filmmakers need to wrap their head around is keeping things producible.  Costumes, props and locations and lots of actors costs lots of money.  If you make a movie that’s set at any time other than current times you run the risk of the production running away from you.  Not impossible but this is the job of a producer… to reign in costs.  If you want to shoot a war movie you shoot it based what you have access to.  You don’t do a scene where it requires 100 people in uniforms unless you have access to the costumes or you are going to duplicate a small army into a large one.  Know how to duplicate your army first so it’s not a post-production hassle for yourself.
     
    Kickstarter is a great tool but the problem is people either invest based on all of your previous work or you are famous or you have a finished product.  No one wants to give money away sight unseen.  A mistake that indie filmmakers will make is to see successful projects on kickstarter and then take it back to other filmmakers and ask for money.  Pitching to other filmmakers of a similar level is a bad idea because those filmmakers will start thinking about their own projects and gives little consideration to a rival project.
    Hitfilmers should band together to increase the quality of projects we are putting out.  I am talking more than just giving opinions.  If we tackled projects together to give them a high quality look more of the indie filmmakers/hitfilmers would get going with their goals for projects.  If you can make a 1 minute film that looks pro, then people will wanna see what you can do with 5 minutes and then 30 minutes and then finally a full feature.  As a filmmaker whose also wanted to buck this build up in favor of my amazing full length feature ideas… I’ve started to realize that it would be beneficial to me to stick with this learning and growing path.
     
    You can do fan projects as long as no profit is made.  Theres no need to rehash the silly topic of copyright.  Successful kickstarters involving material that rights were NOT obtained.
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/145553614/star-trek-renegades?ref=live
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1800676131/star-trek-deception-a-fan-film?ref=live
  • NullUnitNullUnit Website User Posts: 791 Just Starting Out
    My advice would be to keep moving forward. Start then finish and then move on from your projects. Try not to get caught up in endless tweaking and altering of your projects. You'll get stuck in that cycle. If you finish and move on from imperfect projects you will improve with each new project because of its unique properties.  
  • B3NB4ILB3NB4IL Website User Posts: 74
    I agree, technology certainly has the "need" factor, and with everyone wanting the latest and best it can become overwhelming for the individual who may become intimidated by the latest and the best against their fantastic but outdated. 
    When I first started making short films I had done quite a lot of reading and research in and around the FXhome forums and quickly learnt that it wasn't what you have, it's how you use what you have. So with this inspiration I made a few short films with some friends but only viewed them personally as "practises" so I never actually shared them with the Internet.
    I haven't made a proper short film I'm proud of in about eight years or so, and my excuse for not making any recently is simply down to lack of willing (and talented) people happy to act in my productions, but I'm going to be pushing things to start getting back into the film making zone this year. I miss it!
  • StormyKnightStormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,726 Ambassador
    edited May 2013
    My advice would be to keep moving forward. Start then finish and then move on from your projects. Try not to get caught up in endless tweaking and altering of your projects. You'll get stuck in that cycle. If you finish and move on from imperfect projects you will improve with each new project because of its unique properties.  

     

    Isn't that the 'Lucas' approach? ;) 
  • NullUnitNullUnit Website User Posts: 791 Just Starting Out
    Isn't that the 'Lucas' approach? ;)


    Exactly! Instead of moving on and doing new stuff, Lucas just endlessly re-works Star Wars to the point that theyve pratically become different movies and he's pissed off all his fans. Lucas has a quote about how movies are never finished, they are abandoned. Maybe thats a good thing. As artists we can become so attached to a project and the projects can become so "precious" that we lose sight of the bigger picture.

  • PhilWessonPhilWesson Website User Posts: 241 Enthusiast
    Excellent article. 
    I try to write as if I had a budget, then just try to find ways to fake it, or cut back in the script to accomodate. It's more about the act of producing SOMETHING, rather than being held back. 
    Budgets will come and go, but striving forward is something you have to be persistant with.
  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    Lol i just had to pull myself back from the tech NEED.  Im looking at replacing the Canon 6d that I just sold with a camera by Black Magic.  I fell in love with the idea of getting a black magic production camera because coming from a full frame sensor of the 6d id prefer something with amazing lowlight capabilities and that would make use of all my prime lenses.  I already have a 480GB OCZ Vertex 3 just waiting for some lucky Blackmagic camera.  I already have a rig which would workd well and would only need a battery solution and another 480 ssd or 2.  Then the thinking of how would I handle the 4k video popped into mind.  I already built a nice spec'ed desktop in October but i wanted the power to seamlessly scrub through the 4k footage and render easily so I started looking into  getting a workstation and then later building a new rig with a dual socket mobo like the Asus Z9PE-D8 WS but the mobo, and the 2 processors would be 1500... not to mention the new case which would be needed. All the other components in my system could be cannibalized into this new rig. 
    The "old" rig was an  ASUS P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT with a i7 3770k processor.  So i just created a need to completely blow my entire budget on all the latest and greatest stuff.  Now I am trying to scale back my expenses and reel in the NEED thats driving me.  Im considering a Blackmagic Pocket Camera because i do have the extreme pro Sandisk SD cards needed to handle it.  Blowing 1k on the camera and then 1k on lenses+accessories would sure be smarter then 4k on a camera and then 2k on the parts needed to have a high powered rig and not have all the accessories id want.   I just really like the idea of being able to zoom in and recompose the picture if necessary.
    All that insteada doing whats needed and making film.
Sign In or Register to comment.