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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Shooting a Movie Is... Hard
If I sound a bit like Forrest Gump this morning, it's because I've just looked at all the rushes from my short film, "The Christmas Party", shot in Nelson, BC this past weekend. It's a draining experience, being a director. It's like having to juggle six balls at once while balancing on a unicycle and still smile and sing "Stairway to Heaven" without forgetting the words.

Here are three lessons I'd like to pass on to other first time directors based on what I've learned from the experience:

1. Make a shot list! Don't believe the indie hype that would have you think "shot lists are for whimps". They're also for people who don't want to bang their heads against the editing suite monitor wondering why you didn't get coverage on your big party scene.

2. Feed your actors. Give them wine, too, if it's possible. It helps, of course, to have a girlfriend who's a chef. Food keeps actors happy. Wine keeps directors calm.

3. There's no such thing as too much time. Because I'd planned everything out meticulously, I was actually ahead of schedule. Yay for me. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't use every ounce of time available to you, the actors and the sets.

4. Plan your shoot for one day. It makes scheduling so much easier, and people much more willing to work for you. If it means re-writing the script (as it did for me), so be it. Look upon it as a creative challenge.

5. If you plan to appear on film, don't be self-conscious. Oh, boy, that was a mistake. If you're at all concerned about body image, don't appear on film. There's a reason why actors are all skeletons with flesh draped over them.

Those are my first five lessons. More will come as I proceed through the editing process, I'm sure.
:: posted by Ian Dawe, 11/29/2005 Comments (0)
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Archives prior to April, 2005 are from Donald Melanson's personal film blog.

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