Friday, November 27, 2009

Don't be lazy: cast your movie.


Talk about important.

At this time you're deciding who will portray your characters on screen. Do you want some stale actor just reciting lines?

The answer is no... You don't.

Casting a bad actor can kill your entire film. Trust me. I've had to cut and cut and then re-cut my movies because of poor casting decisions.

I've cut entire scenes from films because of performances.

That's okay though because I've learned from it... Do yourself a favor and take my advice on this one.

First off I'm just going to say...
Whatever you do: DO NOT cast your friends! Chances are they probably suck. Have them audition if you really care that much.

Cast your films people!! Hold auditions!! I usually hold mine at school, but you can have them anywhere. Set it up in your garage. Set up appointments with actors and meet one on one at a coffee shop some place. Do what it takes.

Put in the effort!

You can find actors easy... I usually post audition notices on and The sites are easy to use and free for casting directors. The site will send out notices to actors telling them about your project. You'll be able to pick who you'd like to go audition for you... Invite a lot of people. Chances are most likely that all of them won't show up.

Don't just limit yourself to one day for auditions. Hold a couple of them. This will bring out multiple crowds.

Make some sides for the actors to read. Take a page from your script. Don't make it long though. One page will more than suffice.

Have some friends help you during auditions. Have one person outside sitting with a sign in sheet,
they can also escort the actors in too. (have the actors write down their name, phone number, e-mail address and the time they arrived). Have someone inside with you too to operate the camera. I usually have three people in the room (counting myself) during auditions.

Make sure you record the auditions so you can view them again later. Have people watch them with you. You'll be able to pull in many more opinions this way and gauge different reactions.

You'll be able to pinpoint exactly who you want in your film now.

Your film is going to be 100 times better now too.

Now you're one step closer to getting a good product.

Until next time guys...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Location scouting on "Buddy."

Today was very productive. Ryan and I went all over town and scouted locations.

We got some good spots. We know where we're shooting the whole thing now except one scene. We have the spot but we just need to clarify it with the homeowners. I only worry about the weather conditions because we start mid-December. I don't want the wind messing up the sound.

Ryan wrote the script with some spots in mind that would be easily accessible.

We discussed our next set of projects too. So we're gonna be working a lot for the next nine months on projects back to back.

Here's just a brief update for now...

More to come.

Watching movies everyday.

Get Netflix.

As a filmmaker you should always be watching movies.

Some of the best filmmakers are cinephiles.

It's a good way to study. It'll make you more well rounded as a filmmaker. Figure out what you liked or hated about the movie you watched.

After I see a movie with my friends we always talk after wards. There's always the one person who just says: "I liked it. It was good."

What was good about it? Why did you like it?

How did the movie make you feel?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pre-Production updates for 'Buddy'

So we're making head way on Buddy. Ryan and I are doing some location scouting for the film tomorrow afternoon.

The last script meeting went great. He added a couple of scenes from the second draft. We're looking at about twelve pages now... He looked over the script I've been writing too and gave me some good feedback to make it better... That won't start shooting until the beginning of 2010.

I'm wanting a table read with the potential cast within the next week-week and a half. I know who I want, and I know they're all great... But the key is to now have them read together to see what dialogue works and what doesn't and how can we make their performances seem completely natural.

Ryan and I discussed we're to have all the pre-production work taken care of so we start shooting after our week of finals... So we'll begin production around the week of December 9th.

I'm excited to direct this. I haven't directed something in a while, this absence is starting to take it's toll.

Alright kids, until next time...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pre-production and the tasks that come with it.

Lets go over pre-production and what's involved with it... I'm keeping this simple for now. [I'll probably expand some of the steps into their own post later on.]

By this point you should be getting your script finished... I'm sure you'll make minor changes even up to right before you begin shooting.

What you're going to want to do now is break down your script to individual scenes and number them... This can help you budget your time and money. You can make schedule call sheets that include the locations, props, wardrobe, cast in the scene. This is what the producer should being helping take care of.

Break down you're whole script like that... You're pretty much just making a check list scene-by-scene.

Casting is a very essential part of the pre-production process. Hold auditions to find your actors.

after you've found your actors, have a table reading. This is a good way to see what works and what doesn't work. If the actor is fumbling over their lines then talk to them so you guys can figure out how to make a more natural flow.

Finding locations is something you'll want to take care of now too. When you're scouting bring a still camera. You're going to want to make sure this is what you're wanting for your vision of you're latest opus.

Find the people you need behind the camera. Find your Director of Photography. Find someone to do sound and operate boom. Audio is just as important as video. bad sound can ruin your film. It can take the audience out of the moment.

Set a start date and begin...

I know it seems like a mess but this is all it takes for pre-production.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Top five student film clichés!! [opinions included]

Student films... What can I say about them? Like all movies there's the good and the bad. Plus it's all subjective.

You might want to retool your script if you have these.

Top five student film clichés...

1. Drugs... Why is it that so many student films involve drugs? Chances are you have probably only smoked weed in your life... That doesn't mean you should create a cocaine subplot in your film. You can make a great film that doesn't involve a junkie in it.

2. Movies about making movies... I think I've seen this more often than coke binge films. Write what you know, yes, but don't you have other life experiences outside of making movies? I'm obsessed with film making and movies, but I try not to write about making movies.

3. Mob/Mafia/Gangsters... We're all guilty of this. Who hasn't watched Goodfellas or Casino and wanted to make a gangster film? I've done it; it's never been seen by anybody though. Right now it's not practical.

4. Wannabe Hollywood action... This kind of falls in line with #4 but it's safe to say action adventure is hard to make on a student film budget of zero dollars. Making Hollywood style films is something most of us long for when making films. Right now make something that reflects you.

5. Suicide endings... Honestly, I don't really get it. I guess it's a "really dramatic" ending for a movie. I know you want a huge impact, but it's kinda cheesy. Save it. Use your clever, creative mind to make something more with it. Not to say suicide isn't dramatic, it's a very sensitive subject.

Bonus opinion!!... Voice overs. I'll leave this one at that.

These aren't rules to live by, they're just opinions. That's okay to disagree... I'm just saying.

Until next time kids...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Updating for the sake of updating.

So read the new draft of the script today... So far so good. I think we're really close to start shooting. Next Friday we're going over one more draft then Saturday we're trying to get together with the potential leads of the film.

I made some changes with dialogue. Certain phrasing of the sentences to meet what I feel is the characters.

It's going to be a good film. Lots of fun to shoot... Ryan knows what he's doing... Or he's at least convincing enough.

So I'm going to be updating the entire process after it really begins to kick off... Right now we're getting ready to launch this beast. Nothing but pre-production for right now. We've got to get a strategy lined up before we go.

On top of this next film I've been developing a long run project. More information is coming on that as well.

I'm excited for that nervous feeling before shoots.

Until next time guys...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tonight's news is tomorrow's blog.

So this evening I'm meeting up with Jameson to go over the second draft... I'm excited to see what he did with my notes.

We talked about losing some scenes and throwing in more. I wanted to show more of the girlfriend in the script as well.

The project is called Buddy. I don't want to give away the plot, but I'll say it deals with people's cute little quirks.

So we're meeting up again. I think we'll be getting closer to a shooting draft very soon.

I think I already know who I'm casting as the two leads of the film. I've got a confirmation from one and I'm going to read with the other.

I think I'm ready for another film.

Until next time...