How to Steer Clear of the Pitfalls of Guerrilla Filmmaking
Chances are if you look back on the films you've created thus far in your career, the first ones were probably an assortment of run and gun guerrilla films. For those who are just starting out, though, the lack of planning, time, money, and resources can decrease the production value of your project fast, so knowing the issues that are sure to arise during production will help you make your film look better as well as maintain your sanity. Film Riot's Ryan Connolly shares some tips on how to bulletproof your run and gun projects. Check out the video after the break.
Guillermo Del Toro is quoted as saying, "The saddest journey in the world is the one that follows a precise itinerary. Then you’re not a traveler. You’re a fucking tourist." This describes guerrilla filmmaking. Run and gun filmmaking is a journey -- it's spontaneous, you have to think on your feet and fly by the seat of your pants. It's not that you don't prepare, plan, or have tools at your disposal, it's just that these projects tend to be less structured than others, so you have to get creative with what you've got.
Clearly, if you're out making films guerrilla style, meaning you're working with little or no budget, a tiny crew, and utilizing anything and everything you can get your hands on for props, set dressing, and gear, chances are you don't have a whole lot of time/money for planning or options on certain important factors (like location, casting, and wardrobe.)
But, you can avoid making your film look thrown together by paying closer attention to what you put in it and where. For instance, be sure that each of your actors is age appropriate for the character they're playing. Nothing says amateur like a 20-year-old frat boy playing a Police Chief. Sometimes you have to write your films according to what you have; I've written several scripts set in a warehouse, because I had access to one.
The video from Film Riot lays out more valuable tips below:
So, it's important to be aware of the pitfalls of shooting movies in this way. You may not have a whole lot of latitude when it comes to where you shoot, who's in your movie, and what your actors wear, but if you do have a little wiggle room, focusing on getting these things just right (or at least a tiny bit better than terrible) will pay dividends to the production value of your film later.
What have you learned from your run and gun projects? What would you tell a filmmaker who is just starting out to look out for when preparing/shooting their guerrilla films?