Category Archives: Filmmaking
It’s amazing how that first one– lights– takes the loooooongest. We’ve been on location for over an hour, setting up lights, dressing the set, finalizing camera angles. And we don’t really even have that much equipment. If there was more, this process would take twice as long. Our poor actress, who in this scene is supposed to be napping on the couch, probably is actually asleep on the couch right now, waiting for something to happen.
And I’m in the corner, typing away. I’m the producer on this short, but with all student films, one wears many hats. For example, this morning I went with a lovely French beret.
Kidding. But I am, on top of producing, acting as the script supervisor, which means I’m taking notes on all the happenings so that the editor has something to go by later. I’m also watching for continuity (like, wasn’t her left foot over her right in that last shot?). It’s a fun, painless job (especially since I get to type it all into Excel — someday I’ll tell you all about my love affair with that hunky program).
But now, back to the shoot. Something’s about to happen. Filming maybe?
The article says it all.
This is why Blue Valentine is amazing. And why Derek Cianfrance is amazing. And Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are amazing.
And why this movie HAS to get rid of that silly NC-17 rating so other people can see it and realize how amazing it is too.
The Student Film Production Club hosted a 24-Hour Film Blitz this weekend, and an article about the event was written for the OU Daily, our campus paper.
Today was the last day of filming. Overall, I think we logged about eight hours of filming for a seven minute short film… not bad!
We filmed outside on my back “patio” (the empty space where there should be a fire pit… the one and only time I’ve been grateful that our landlord hasn’t built it yet), where I set up a garage sale using things pulled from my house. I borrowed a clothing rack from a friend (so random and perfect that they had one), and I put my bike and my roommate’s grill up “for sale.” I also used a couple old boxes of clothes that need to go to Goodwill, and a ton of odds and ends from around the house. It probably took me collectively half an hour to find all that stuff (and then put it away later). But in the end, I think it was a pretty good-looking garage sale.
Filming outside is always a challenge, because the weather can be so temperamental (especially in Oklahoma). At one point, there were ominous rain clouds rolling in from the northwest, and I thought we might have to finish shooting for the day. But things went our way, and the clouds continued on their merry way to the north of us.
We did, however, get a couple of those spontaneous rain sprinkles where it is sunny and warm, but still raining. The first time it happened, we grabbed the camera in a panic and ran for cover. After a hurried minute of putting away all our garage sale items, however, the clouds cleared. So much for that. It happened a couple more times, but when it happened again, we were ready to protect the camera with an umbrella (so we just sat there and waited the 30 seconds for the sky to clear again).
On top of the filming challenges, today was also the most intense day for the actors as far as performances go. There was some yelling and crying and throwing things around, and I couldn’t be happier with their performances. So happy.
I am going to edit a rough draft of the film tonight and then let it simmer. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll look over it again and tweak it, and then it’s burn time. Then class on Tuesday, where I’ll turn in the film, storyboard, script, shot list, production log, and a short paper explaining a bunch of stuff. Lots to do (and remember to bring to class).
But overall, I’m really happy with the way everything went. I don’t how the footage looks yet (still hunting around for a mini-USB to transfer the footage), but I’m optimistic.
|Mid-action shot, knocking over the dollhouse.|
|Kaleb blocking out the sunlight on Kyndal’s face (our garage sale owner)…
“You’re gonna have to pay for that.”
|Some more action shots|
|Waiting for the train to pass. SO. LOUD.|
|There were so many different shots in this scene.
(Also, please admire the pretty camera)
Today I had a film shoot to film half of my short (which is due in class on Tuesday). With two actors and four crew members (including myself), we successfully filmed three scenes in four hours. Granted, they were the shortest (and easiest) scenes in the film, but it was still a success.
The entire short film is five scenes for a total run time of about seven minutes (though I hope to shorten it up a bit with editing), and tomorrow we are filming the last two scenes. Those last two are the most dramatic, so it’s probably good that we shot the others first, since this way my actors will have had the chance to rehearse and get to know each other before we shoot the intense argument moments.
Today was actually quite fun. The heat was a bit intense at times, running around on the hot pavement, but we managed to film that entire scene in the car in only two hours.
I’m sure we looked really comical out there. I’m perched on the car holding the camera, my butt wedged into the window. Kaleb is running backward, and we’re followed by another crew member taking notes on the start and stop times of each clip, etc.
We were filming out on a newly-paved (thankfully empty) parking lot, and we would film the entire scene with the car traveling at a crawl from south to north. Then when we got to the end of the scene (and pavement), we’d drive the car back to the start and film the scene again, still going from south to north. We had to do this at least ten or twelve times, since we needed to film the entire scene again each time I changed camera angles or shot lengths (medium shot = from the chest up, close up = just the face, etc). Because even though I have already drawn out on my storyboard how I want the story to look/piece together at the end, having the entire scene available in all different camera angles and shot sizes will give me more options as an editor. It was a long process to film, but hopefully worth it.
Overall, I think today was a success. I still need to look over the footage tonight though and make sure I have everything I want in order to edit those three scenes together (which I’m sure I do).
And then, tomorrow morning, we are filming a scene which was supposed to take place at a Salvation Army or Goodwill. I just needed it to take place somewhere where people buy baby clothes. But finally, after a gazillion phone calls, leaving way too many messages with random people, and basically hounding the daylights out of both companies, I was given the “Sorry, we aren’t able to do that.” Goodwill can’t do it because it’s a liability (understandable), and Salvation Army couldn’t do it on such short notice (though I’d like to point out that if they’d actually returned my phone calls when I started calling them a week ago, it wouldn’t have been short notice).
So my alternative? We’re having a garage sale! Not really. But I am creating what would look like a garage sale (to the untrained eye) in my front yard, and I’m having the two main characters show up to the garage sale looking for baby things. It is in no way as good as a clothing/thrift store. But it will have to do. I just hope some sweet old lady out on her Saturday-morning garage-sale route doesn’t try to stop by and buy my roommate’s grill. That could be bad.
|P.J. and Brynne, my awesome actors.|
|Kyndal in the back seat, holding the boom mic.|
|Reviewing my storyboard and giving the actors a few more comments.|
|Kaleb using the big shiny reflective circle to block out
glaring sunlight on the actors faces (while also shading me
from the sun… who completely forgot to put on sunblock
when filming for hours in the pounding sun. Nice.)
I know claymation (or anything in stop-motion animation) takes a really long time to create, but the more I think about it, the more fun I think it would be to make a claymation short film. All it takes is a steady camera, lighting, and something that moves or changes shape. And they are so much fun to watch!