Chief Learning Officer
Any vacations coming up in the next few months? Maybe you can start developing an idea for a short film which can be shot and edited during the Christmas holidays. If you plan ahead, this gives you plenty of leeway in regards to your tight schedule to develop a concept idea and work out all the pre-production elements from now till then. If you want to take it a step further, then start looking at student film festivals happening after the new year, that way when you finish your film you can start putting your name out there and applying to festivals. Hope this helps! Best of Luck!!
I would recommend visiting some rental houses in your area and exploring the different options they offer. Most rental houses will even provide orientation on the equipment and help you decide on the best method based on your individual project.
Thank you for sharing this. Education is transformative!
It is very true, we can learn so much from watching movies and especially history, since the early days of cinema, the medium was used as a record of history much like a lot of classical art.
Many films are also based on philosophy. Terrence Malick's film 'The Tree of Life' is based on the philosophy of Blaise Pascal (Pascal's Wager). The film 'Groundhogs Day' by Harold Ramis relates to Socratic philosophy. A lot can be learned from watching films which as you quoted provoke or raise important questions.
Exercise 1: IN CAMERA EDITING
OBJECTIVE: The idea is to present yourself metaphorically. Who are you? Think more in terms of state of mind rather than physical appearance.
RULES: No camera movements, no video editing, no external sound.
NOTE: In camera sounds are allowed. So, if you want to play music for a particular shot, or say a line of dialogue, then it should be implemented on the set while you shoot, not added later.
DURATION: 2 minutes worth of unedited footage. The footage should appear seamlessly cut if played back to back on a media player(as if it’s already edited, hence in camera editing), the key here is to create continuity between shots without needing to edit them, a good camera operator will think in terms of sequences not individual shots.
THEME: THE CLOSE UP SHOT
RULES: No camera movement, no editing, no external sound, all shots must be composed of CLOSE UP’s or EXTREME CLOSE UP’s.
DURATION: 2 minutes worth of unedited footage.
OBJECTIVE: Create a video using only close ups or extreme close ups, the video must have a beginning a middle and an end.
REFERENCE: The shower scene in Alfred Hitchcocks Psycho.
THEME: The point of view
RULES: Introduce camera movements, the motion must be motivated or justified, no editing, no external sound, all shots must be POV.
DURATION: 2 minutes
OBJECTIVE: who's point of view? You choose! Must have a beginning, middle and end.
REFERENCE: Gaspar Noe’s film Enter the Void.
Choose any theme, shoot a sequence of shots which will come out to be between 3 - 4 minutes after they are edited. All shots must have the same theme. Think about the sound of this video presentation ahead of time, you can use a bit of music, but it can't have music from beginning to end. Think of ways other than music with which you can treat the noise/sound in general in your video.
RULES: NO RULES
Take a character, give them a state of mind, any state of mind or emotion. Now, materialize that emotion or state of mind through the use of light and shadow. Lighting for mood!
Create a 2 minute archival film made up solely of found footage. The video should raise a meaningful question.
Reference: 200000 Fantomes by Jean Gabriel Periot.
The technical aspects of this film are not bad, they are actually pretty good. However, the story does not contain enough conflict to engage your audience. Personally, if you want me to sympathize or feel anything for this character, you need to mop the floor with him first. But instead, he just arrived at his goal in a very fast and nonchalant manner without any real conflict. Also, why am I so up close and personal with this character so soon? I don’t even know this person!
Close up shots are very intimate shots. In real life if you’ve just met a person for the first time and this person gets within your kissing distance to introduce themselves, you would feel like they were invading your personal space. It’s no different with film, introduce your character gradually and give us time to get to know him so that we can feel something, or at least so that we can have enough time to relate to their situation. All the closeups at the beginning made me feel uncomfortable and pushed me away from the character, whereas I should become so attached that I morph into the character. When I watch Spiderman, I feel like I am Spiderman while I watch! And I say this based on this particular situation, if it was a different film, I may feel differently about the close ups of the character.
Secondly, What is the problematic or the central argument of the story? I couldn’t find one.
Summing up this film would go something like this: A guy has a fetish for tying girls to a bed on a first date, his mom thinks it’s a great opportunity, but instead he ends up at a girls house, eats her out for hours and then in a sudden twist of events, he ends up being the one tied to the bed, then she stabs him to his death. The end.
What is your justification for killing your main character?
Sure, you have a couple of twists, but what’s the catch behind them? for example, a man enters a convenience store through the roof after hours, he somehow gets locked in and has to call the police on himself. In this scenario, there is a twist and a catch.
I do like the way you foreshadowed his death at the beginning when his friend says “die trying” or when they discuss the protection, but again, what is it that you want your audience to learn, feel or act upon after watching your film?
So a really important question, perhaps the first question you want to ask yourself whenever you want to make a film, is WHY am I making this film? What is your intention in making the film, everything you do afterwards with regards to the film-making process should be based on that and it should be structured and constructed to support your initial intention.
John Truby has an excellent book titled ‘The Anatomy of Story’ I believe it will make all the difference. also, at this point my advice would be to make a few 2 - 5 minute films before delving back into something longer in duration. Good Luck!!
The most frustrating part for me is the research phase and the formation of the central argument that the film will be exhibiting.