At this point in the game, don’t worry so much about your production value, which is what I think Bret Ratern was trying to say, he just couldn’t articulate it well. (look at the video below to see what I’m talking about) Learn to write a simple story and move up from there. If you have a great story, people will forgive low production value. I recommend reading Dan Harmons articles on story telling. It was like a power boost in my filmmaking - CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLES
2. Restrictions Help Us
The most helpful piece of information I learned from reading, “Story” by Robert Mckee was that restrictions force us to be creative. Like many young filmmakers, early on I wanted to reinvent the wheel, show the world something they never seen before. Although the ambition was noble, I didn’t have the skill set or the manpower to execute my projects well. The end result was a lot of wasted money and crappy video. But when I decided to work with what I had - no audio, an SD camera, 2 locations, I created a Hip-Hop themed silent film. It was not only simple, but also my first watchable narrative.
- SD Camera
I used my mini DV camera and change the 4:3 aspect ratio from 16:9 by using the anamorphic setting, in order to make the project it look current. A good director is not someone with a huge budget but a person who can make “shit” look like gold.
- Stretch Location
Instead of going all over the city and filming in exotic areas. Pick one or two locations and use every bit of it. At the park we used the belchers, the swings and the bench next to the trashcan. I stretched one location into 3! Not only did this made our production value look bigger, it also save me a lot of time and money from having to drive all over LA.
If I think of all the things that can go wrong during production, the one that keeps me up at night is AUDIO. Sure, you can have a very nice DSLR camera but it means nothing without good audio. Its one of the easiest things to neglect but it’s so important to creating a believable narrative. I tried to work around it, which is how I came up with the idea of a silent film. Even though I didn't make it into the screening, I believe, if I included audio, my pilot could have gotten a live screening. Therefore, this month, I finally bought a shotgun mic.
3. Keep Creating
So this month I didn’t make it into the live screening but thats ok. I learned a very important lesson about audio. I also learned that is not about making one video – its about making many videos for a long time. Keep producing. Keep writing. Keep improving. Take a look at Woody Allen. The guy is 77 years old and he’s still directing – that’s crazy! He doesn't have to make films anymore, but he does it anyway because that's how he express himself.