May 21, 2018

5 Weird Beginner Mistakes That You Will Probably Want to Avoid Making

Mistakes are common when you're first starting out, but not all of them have to be.

Ah...first-year filmmaking, or as I like to call it "Making mistakes nonstop until you somehow poop out a movie." As beginners, we were all a little extra, weren't we? We thought too much about unimportant stuff and thought too little about important stuff, leaving behind a stinky trail of misfortune and poorly planned creativity as we clutched our super shitty but super finished film in our trembling paw. And it was glorious! However, if we had to do it over again, I'm sure we'd all like to know how to avoid the many mistakes we made along the way, and in this video, Rubidium Wu of Crimson Engine goes over five common, but not often talked about, mistakes new filmmakers make. If you're a first-timer, it's definitely worth a watch.

Thinking you have to buy a camera

The first thing I did before I ever made a film was buy a very expensive camera with money that was supposed to go toward my very expensive education. (Whoops, but not really.) Now, I don't regret this decision and I don't consider it a mistake, but for some filmmakers out there who aren't quite sure where they want to go in their career, buying a pricey camera may not be the most beneficial thing to do right from the get-go. You might find out that you're more into directing, editing, or screenwriting than you are cinematography, in which case you may not need to make that kind of purchase right away. That's not to say buying a camera is a bad decision or that screenwriters, editors, and directors shouldn't know their way around a camera; I think Wu's point is that newcomers shouldn't think that they have  to buy one before they get started.

Not coming up with "the list"

Good ol' Robert Rodriguez, the Rebel Without a Crew himself, advises no-budget indie filmmakers to come up with "the list," an inventory of all of your potential cinematic resources, before deciding on making a movie. This is incredibly important because it'll give you a clearer idea of what gear, props, costumes, locations, cast members, and crew members you already have at your disposal that will cost you little to no money. So, instead of deciding that you want to make a film about a Great Pyramids expedition, you can look at your "list" and realize that it'd be easier and cheaper to make a film using resources you already have access to. 

Casting hotties that can't act

It's natural to want to cast attractive individuals in your movie, but it's not always the best choice. According to Wu, cast actors for their acting talent, not their appearance, because even a pretty face and rock hard abs can't save a piss poor performance.

Getting caught up in movie magic

I remember the first time I heard one of my scripts read by actors; it was probably the greatest moment of my life at that point. However, don't get caught up in all that mess. Remember that movie magic is fun and exciting, but you have to leave the ego-stroking at the door when you show up on set, otherwise, you won't really be able to discern what's actually good or what's actually working.

Sprinting through production

Production is a fucking beautiful nightmare. All of those long hours and sleepless nights and standing on your feet way too long and not eating nearly enough is a blissful kind of suffering that makes you want to rush through as fast as you can to get it over with...all so you can have the pleasure of doing it all over again for your next project. But don't rush. Don't rush. Take your time and pace yourself, because post-production, as well as many more sleepless nights, are right around the corner.

What are some other beginner mistakes that new filmmakers should look out for? Let us know down below.     

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2 Comments

Now, I don't regret this decision and I don't consider it a mistake, but for some filmmakers out there who aren't quite sure where they want to go in their career, buying a pricey camera may not be the most beneficial thing to do right from the get-go.

So? Buying not buying?
Yes, you need a camera to experiment and it have to be as good as possible to not struggle with a pocket camera or when you will finally rent one and too late to discover the functionality.
Think about a package with lens (and tripod)
Better it is, better luck to rent it for friend and even go on other shooting and learn...

May 22, 2018 at 5:52AM

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visionrouge.com
DoP freelance cameraman 4K HK & Shanghai.
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You say production is a beautiful nightmare. It can be, but it doesn't have to be. The better the planning, the better the pre-production, the smoother the actual production goes. I can't stress proper collaboration enough.

May 22, 2018 at 7:38AM, Edited May 22, 7:38AM

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Charles Duoto
Floor Director
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