Archive for June, 2007


Posted in Articles, Inspiration, News on June 13, 2007 by blakejohnson

I found this article and thuoght it was pretty cool.  I’m thinking about using it as inspiration for some kind of zombie-type movie this summer… this is cool though because it’s not the typical brainless (no pun intended) zombie you usually hear about, there’s more of a myth behind them, so that might be cool to play with.
  Anyway, I know Elliot will like it, I wonder what other people will think.


Filmmaking Advice

Posted in DIY, Film, School, Video, Work on June 13, 2007 by blakejohnson

Recently I was asked to write something for next year’s Advanced Filmmaking Class to get them ready for the semester ahead of them, and so this, based on my past semester in the Advanced Film Class, is what I came up with.

What would I say to next year’s class?  Well I’d say you have absolutely no idea how
much work it’s going to take and how little of a social life — or life at all —
you’re going to have during the making of your film.  Jobs are a bad idea.  Not only because they interfere with the
schedule, but because your director will be pissed off at you that you have to
leave in the middle of a shoot to make money so can go off and do something fun
while they’re working their asses off. 
Oh, and if you’re the director, don’t even think about anything outside
of school other than homework and the film.


That said, PLAN THE FREAKING MOVIE DOWN TO EVERY FRAME.  Not quite every frame, but you’d better know
exactly how you’re shooting every single scene and how every shot is going to
be composed (and I mean feasibly, not the daydreaming you’re probably going to
do when you first read the script).  If
you don’t know how you’re shooting, plan it, if you don’t know how you’re
directing, plan the actor’s movements, camera setups, schedule the shoots with
enough travel and take-down/setup time in between to realistically do as much
as possible in one day without sacrificing more than half of your ideal
production value.  And yes, it will come
to about half of it.


If you can’t compromise, leave the class.  You need to work out problems quickly,
efficiently and solve them so you can keep going almost immediately with your
production, none of that old hope-for-the-best crap.  One of the heads of the art department for
Lord of the Rings said “No, wait a minute, do it right” in an interview on the
extended DVD set of the Two Towers, and if you can’t do things right on set,
you’re going to kick yourself later on in post when you don’t have time to
re-shoot stuff or do ADR work or add that little shaky effect you wanted
there.  Do the maximum amount of work
that is needed on set so editing and post is easy on you.  Because it’s already a tedious process.


What else?  If you’re
the producer, be the boss.  But give up
your ego on set when the director knows more than you (and yes, they do know
more than you while on set and location). 
If you’re the director, buddy up with the producer, make sure you guys
know the same things about the same film and you’re working the same way at it
so you don’t butt heads and crash the whole project because one person did one
thing and another did a different thing and now actors aren’t showing up and
locations are double-booked.


the most key.  Don’t do anything and then
not tell people about it.  If you have a
location, let the class know, if you added to the script, let the class know
(and hopefully they knew and you guys talked about it before you added anything
in the first place).  Make sure everybody
knows what they’re doing and how they’re doing it BEFORE you get on set and
everyone starts asking YOU questions all at the same time.  Trust me, it sucks when that happens.  You know the solution?  PLAN!!


Otherwise, don’t shoot with the letterbox in-camera, always
have someone listening to the sound, keep people dedicated to their positions,
if someone doesn’t want to do something, switch it up and keep going.  NEVER hold up a shoot because you don’t have
electrical tape.  ALWAYS keep electrical
tape in the green box and in your pocket and in your jacket and in the camera
person’s pocket and in the producer’s pocket… etc.  ALWAYS be ready.  NEVER be late.  DON’T argue when it’s going nowhere.  SHUT UP when the director tells you to… THE
FIRST TIME.  LISTEN to the story.  CONTRIBUTE feedback and opinions WHEN THEY’RE
The film will not be complete with crappy sound and half-hearted
editing.  It will suck and people will
tell you that.  DO YOUR BEST.  SLEEP. 
A lot.  But NOT on the job.  Do your homework.  Do your research.  Know what the shot types are; know how to do
your job BEFORE you get on set.  Know how
to work the equipment BEFORE you get on set. 
It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to do YOUR BEST at YOUR JOB, and if you don’t,
classmates will tell you that you didn’t and will blame you for not doing it.  They won’t like you by the end of the
semester if you slacked off and didn’t work. 
That being said… WORK YOUR ASS OFF. 
Be friendly with cast and crew as much as possible… more with cast since
they’re volunteers, crew is required to be there, so you can yell at them
occasionally… but NOT on set unless they’re sleeping (see comment above).


Lastly, know what the hell your movie is about and do the
absolute best you can to make it as good as you can make it.  No matter what your job is, it’s essential,
from editing to shooting to boom operator to directing to writing to producing
to music man to sound recordist, etc. 
Look at the credits of a full-blown movie.  If you take out somebody, who’s left without
their services, and what can’t they do without that person, and then how do
they fail the person above them, what about that person’s boss and then that
person’s.  Get the picture?  Good. 
Good luck and have fun.  It’s tough,
but you’ll be glad when it’s over.  Plus,
you’ll have made a movie, and that’s sweet too. 


Posted in Art, Film, Friends, Life, People, Realtionships, Video on June 10, 2007 by blakejohnson

This is absolutely gorgeous.  Someday, I want to do this.