Friday, January 8, 2010

For the True Beginner Filmmaker

In the last "Greenlight Yourself" seminar, we had a few who had made some short films, work in the industry in some capacity, then we had a couple who have never made a short, but have been bitten by the bug to go make a movie. This blog's for you.

First, don't despise small beginnings. Everyone starts where you're at-- from Spielberg on down. Look at Robert Rodriguez-- he just want to tell stories. He grabbed the family video recorder and started shooting. And shooting. All for fun. He wasn't trying to make movies for distribution.

Then, he decided to try that. He borrowed a 16mm camera, checked in to a medical lab place that pays you to stay there and take meds like guinea pigs. And yes, they measured his waste, his vitals and everything else. But he got money to go buy the film stock. And he used the shut in time to write the script. BTW, the only non-latino in the movie is the bad guy, and that was a friend Rodriguez met in the clinic.

Rodriguez's plan was to shoot this micro-budget movie and sell it to Mexico. That was it. They were hoping to get maybe $20K and be able to do more. So he and a friend who played the lead, went to a small Mexican town and Rodriguez would grab the locals and shoot the scenes. He didn't have enough stock for multiple takes, so everything mattered. And there was no sound mixer. When Rodriguez filmed the scene, he dropped the camera and picked up a radio shack cassette deck and had them say their lines again. He said it matched amazingly well, because not being professionals, they tended to do it the same everytime.

If you rent or buy the "El Mariachi/Desperado" two movie set, Rodriguez has a great vignette about how to make movies. Plus, it's all in his book "Rebel Without a Crew."

And that's what I recommend for you. Read. Research. Study. Learn. If you come to the Greenlight seminar on Jan 30, I'll give you a list of reading materials. This seminar will give you a strong starting point so that you can get everything lined up to head to the base camp of the filmmaking mountain.

For those already at base camp, I have a lot to share about the routes, the dangers and pitfalls, and stories from the journey up the mountain. The view at times is incredible.

More info at .


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  2. Great book. One of the first truly "just go shoot your movie" books with practical advice (figure out what resources you have and write a script that uses them). Love that book. Soderbergh's Sex Lies making book, Sayle's Matwan making book and Spike Lee's Gotta Have It making book are also pretty good. But Rebel Without A Crew is excellent. As is the DV Rebels Guide.