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3 Jobs in 1

Well hello there gentle reader!  It is good to see you again here on the road to honest to goodness, real live, filmmakerville.  I'm not going to lie to you, at times it is a very lonely road, so I am quite grateful for the company.  When last we met, round the ol' proverbial campfire, I spun the yarn of how I went about casting my "no budget" film.  So after getting all the casting pieces into place, it was time to get to work and start making words printed on pieces of paper into a motion picture.  The motion picture that the world will come to know as "Wireless".

It seems to me, in my somewhat limited experience, that there are three main phases to getting a film made, (after the screenplay has been written).  Phase One - Pre-Production.  As near as I can tell, this is when a lot of the decisions about the film are made.  Locations are scouted and selected.  Costumes are made or purchased.  Crew is hired.  A schedule is made.  Rehearsals with actors take place.  Basically, as many of the details as possible, concerning the production are taken care of.  I remember producer Chris Moore, of the independent film contest Project Greenlight, stating "if pre-production goes good, the shoot goes good. If pre-production goes bad, the shoot is a disaster".  I think this is really sound advice from a man who has produced a good number of movies at the top level.  One would do well to follow said advice.  However, in my particular situation, with the deadline for the "Big Break" contest getting closer by the second, I did not have the time to heed such advice.  I had actors to play the parts.  That was all the pre-production I was going to be able to do.  It was time to stick those actors in front of cameras.  I had some ideas as to costuming, but due to the "no budget" part of the phrase "no budget film making" the actors were providing their own clothes.  I gave them an idea of what I would like, and then we were going to go ahead and shoot whatever it was they showed up wearing, (as long as it wasn't a bunny costume or something).  There would be no rehearsal.  There would not be so much as any kind of "meet and greet".  The actors were going to meet each other on set, and say the lines together for the first time while being filmed.  All I could do was hope that I was the exception to Chris Moore's rule.

Phase Two - Production, or the actual shooting of the movie.  In a perfect world, this would be when you simply follow through on the decisions you made during pre-production.  Shooting on "Wireless" was made somewhat more stressful due to the fact that many of those decisions had not been made.  While shooting the movie, we were still looking for locations, props, and costumes.  Among other things, this made our "schedule" a very fluid concept.  We could not shoot actors for whom costumes had not been made, and locations had not been secured.  So, I went about shooting the scenes for which I did have locations and costumes.  This became a bit of a balancing act.  While there were scenes that could be easily shot with just one actor, when it came to coordinating schedules things became much more complicated.  Even if I had "scheduled" to shoot certain scenes on a certain day, the lack of costuming and props required that I bump those actor's scenes to a later date and find something else that could be shot.  Rolling these two jobs into one, made the process much harder than if they had been done properly.  Not only was I concerned about finding the best shots for the day, and making sure the actors gave their best performances, I was running around trying to secure everything that was needed for the scene before shooting it.  Very little had been pre-planned or laid out, so everything had to be done at the last minute.  I don't know if I would describe it as a disaster, but it certainly was stressful, and a major divider of my attention.

Phase Three - Post Production, or the editing of the film.  Once again, gentle reader, I found myself forgetting just how many different aspects there are to post production as well as how important each of those parts are to the final product.  Along with just picking out which takes of which shots to use, there is sound design, color correction, and title sequences.  Each one of these processes is truly its own art form and can greatly impact how the final film ends up.  However, time was not a resource that I had in abundance.  I was going to have to be doing the post production as I went along.  I was going to have to roll all three phases into one.  If I was to have any chance of turning in a film to the "Big Break" contest I was going to have to be editing as I shot.  Once the last take of the final shot had been recorded and production was wrapped, I pretty much needed to have an assembly of all the footage that could be watched from beginning to end.  Then I would have four days to try and polish that assembly as much as possible.  That would be the time I would try and trim the shots, add music and sound effects and get all the titling and whatever effects I could pull off, done.

And so I was off.  Nearly everyday seemed filled to it's limit of hours with either shooting, planning for the future day's shooting, or editing together what had already been shot.  I knew when I decided to undertake the task, that it was going to be extremely difficult, but, as usual, I had underestimated.


  1. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product!

  2. Almost there! Wednesday will be another big step forward, then there will be one more thing that needs to be fixed. Just hang on a little longer!

  3. Hey Riff! Well, I wouldn't want it to become a distraction, but, yes, it will be online.


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