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See Dick Try To Make A Movie. See Dick Fail. Don’t Be A Dick

When I set out to make the urban movie Consignment . I heard all the cautionary tales about how some movies die horrible deaths at different stages of production. Some before th...
Views: 780 Created 04/06/2007
When I set out to make the urban movie Consignment . I heard all the cautionary tales about how some movies die horrible deaths at different stages of production. Some before they got off the ground, others fall apart during shooting, and some never make it out of post-production. Nobody sets out to a make a movie and fail.

I listened to the stories of those who went down the independent film road before me to prepare for what was to come. Those with unchecked ego never take advantage of the advice of others. Try not to let a problem ego get between you and making your film . During shooting you will learn humility by the very nature of the filmmaking grind.

Making a movie is not for everyone . It may sound fun and somewhat glamorous in the beginning, but those feelings quickly fade as the amount of work seems to get overwhelming before you even begin to shoot. After a few production meetings and cast rehearsals, some people will drop out of the movie when it becomes clear the time and energy involved. Others will drop out because they landed a bigger part, higher paying gig, or realized your movie was not for them.

That has to be expected. Be prepared to replace cast and crew before you need to. I keep lists four deep for roles and crew positions. It’s not a guarantee to avoid problems considering I had to re-cast one role five times and let two crew members go during Consignment, but it helps to have those lists when in a pinch. Or bring on a solid unit production manager with contacts to crew that they work with often and have chemistry with. I was able to hire Cameron Penn (hire this guy, he's great) for In With Thieves and he handled many of the problems that came up on set. If you have a weak UPM you would have to handle many more of the problems as the filmmaker you might not have to.

On an independent movie shoot, everyone pitches in everywhere. You will have zero time to play hotshot filmmaker. Be sure to check your ego when making a movie. If you expect to sit back while your crew busts their humps and not get your hands dirty you are headed for trouble. Your crew works with you, not for you is they way I see it. I was blessed with two of the best film crews you could get on Consignment and In With Thieves.

When time is against you, which it always will be, shoot what you need to finish the movie. Sure, you want to get that amazing magic hour shot or set up the cool dolly shot. Sometimes you have to choose where to take your creative stand to see your movie get in the can.

Avoid using the phrase, “we’ll fix it in post”, chances are you won’t. Attack shooting like nothing can be fixed in post. Get the best sound and picture you can on the set. You will have enough problems in post to deal with besides your “we’ll fix it in post” calls.

Post-production claims the most victims of movie fatalities I have heard of.

Never under estimate what it’s going to cost you to get through post-production.  Running out of money seems to be the most common curse. I know one filmmaker personally that had a $100,000 budget to make their movie. They kept dipping into the post-production funds during shooting to rent really cool equipment they hadn’t planned on. Hey, the dailies looked awesome.

Problem is it’s been 3 years and they still haven’t raised the money to finish the movie. People don’t rent or buy dailies. Getting a movie shot is one thing, getting it done another thing all together. I was fortunate that I was able to complete the feature films Consignment & In With Thieves.

Good shooting. Remember if you learn from a mistake making a movie it's no longer a mistake. Also when you can please support independent film by visiting websites of filmmakers, buying their films, and being open minded to the content.

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