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Old 04-22-2013, 09:27 AM   #1
WalterB
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Rotterdam Area, The Netherlands
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How to become a filmmaker - advice from WalterB

To all newbie who like to know how to become a filmmaker:
I've written a little piece about.

Anwser 1:
You are a filmmaker as soon as you make a movie.
It's that simple :p
Whether you are any good depends on talent and even more on experience.

Question 2)
The question should be: how do I become an experienced filmmaker?

Answer 2:
By making a lot of films :p
Quite obvious

Question 3)
Is there a recipe to follow?

Anwser 3:
No, but I can tell you what I did.

First I read some things about filmmaking. It was 1999/early 2000. Technology wasn't that accessible as it is today. Most phone had wires, pictures were developed in labs and Hi8 was the most accessible shooting format for video.
Things started to 'roll' when one of my best friends got a little camera he could connect to his computer.
The computer was even fast enough to capture video from that camera at 200x150 at 14 fps!!! In black and white :p
We tried some things with minitures and I started writing 'Red Moon': a short about Chinese landing on the moon to take away the USA-flag and plant their own. The tagline: "Houston, you got ploblem".
We shot it, but never really finished it. We had no clue how to do the sound properly and the data got lost in a harddisk-crash. But we still have the trailer:


I also made some animations (one using a scanner and one use paint shop pro and gif-animator). A lot of work for a short result :p

In 2001 I went to artschool to learn the craft of filmmaking.
I will not claim it's the best way to learn things (to keep this discussion out of this thread), but what is very good about it was that you have deadlines.

What did we have to do?

*Make a short about anything in 3 months.
Very difficult: no estrictions, but also no real experience. So in the meantime we had 2 more assignments:
- shoot interviews about your subject in 1 week (we discovered that the internal microphone was crap and that their is noise everywhere)
- shoot something from Shakespear in 1 week. Max 2 minutes. (We had fun: cameraman on skateboard to do an instable version of the cafetaria-shot in Goodfellas :p )

After these 3 months we had our first project finished. We encountered all kind of problems and dealt with it. We got a basic understanding of he process.
Time to speed up!
The next assignments:
* Make a commercial targeting children within 2 weeks. (We figured out how to bluescreen)
* Make a non-biographical portrait about an artist in his/her style. (My first time as director: H.R. Giger was the subject. The result a dark nightmare.)
* The whole class had to make a TV show within 3 weeks. My team had to make 4 short humorous intermezzos. (Including a fake parc in a studio)
* Make a musicvideo for 'Mindfields' by the Prodigy in 2 weeks. (Interesting because everyone had to use the same song)

The final assignment that year:
* Make a short by yourself in 3 weeks. All other assignments were teamefforts. Now everyone had the oppurtunity to show their own style and interests.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Was I any good after these assignments?
Back then I thought I was pretty good
But 1 thing is sure: the short assignments and tight deadlines made sure we all got a lot off experience!
Experience in the process, but also in keeping things under control: writing within your means (money, assets (like actors) and time).

That's the reason I always say:
play around a bit to get to know your gear and make something really short to gain experience and build your portfolio. Making several shorts will give you a lot more experience faster than 1 long project. (Although a long project to start with can be very educational and fun too :p )
Everytime you finish something your confidence will grow: you are now more ready for that ambitious project than when you just started.

To all newbie who like to know how to become a filmmaker:
I've written a little piece about.

Anwser 1:You are a filmmaker as soon as you make a movie.
It's that simple :p
Whether you are any good depends on talent and even more on experience.

Question 2)The question should be: how do I become an experienced filmmaker?

Answer 2:By making a lot of films :p
Quite obvious

Question 3)Is there a recipe to follow?

Anwser 3:No, but I can tell you what I did.

First I read some things about filmmaking. It was 1999/early 2000. Technology wasn't that accessible as it is today. Most phone had wires, pictures were developed in labs and Hi8 was the most accessible shooting format for video.
Things started to 'roll' when one of my best friends got a little camera he could connect to his computer.
The computer was even fast enough to capture video from that camera at 200x150 at 14 fps!!! In black and white :p
We tried some things with minitures and I started writing 'Red Moon': a short about Chinese landing on the moon to take away the USA-flag and plant their own. The tagline: "Houston, you got ploblem".
We shot it, but never really finished it. We had no clue how to do the sound properly and the data got lost in a harddisk-crash. But we still have the trailer:


I also made some animations (one using a scanner and one use paint shop pro and gif-animator). A lot of work for a short result :p

In 2001 I went to artschool to learn the craft of filmmaking.
I will not claim it's the best way to learn things (to keep this discussion out of this thread), but what is very good about it was that you have deadlines.

What did we have to do?

*Make a short about anything in 3 months.
Very difficult: no estrictions, but also no real experience. So in the meantime we had 2 more assignments:
- shoot interviews about your subject in 1 week (we discovered that the internal microphone was crap and that their is noise everywhere)
- shoot something from Shakespear in 1 week. Max 2 minutes. (We had fun: cameraman on skateboard to do an instable version of the cafetaria-shot in Goodfellas :p )

After these 3 months we had our first project finished. We encountered all kind of problems and dealt with it. We got a basic understanding of he process.
Time to speed up!
The next assignments:
* Make a commercial targeting children within 2 weeks. (We figured out how to bluescreen)
* Make a non-biographical portrait about an artist in his/her style. (My first time as director: H.R. Giger was the subject. The result a dark nightmare.)
* The whole class had to make a TV show within 3 weeks. My team had to make 4 short humorous intermezzos. (Including a fake parc in a studio)
* Make a musicvideo for 'Mindfields' by the Prodigy in 2 weeks. (Interesting because everyone had to use the same song)

The final assignment that year:
* Make a short by yourself in 3 weeks. All other assignments were teamefforts. Now everyone had the oppurtunity to show their own style and interests.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Was I any good after these assignments?
Back then I thought I was pretty good
But 1 thing is sure: the short assignments and tight deadlines made sure we all got a lot off experience!

That the reason I always say:
make something short to gain experience and build your portfolio.


Question 4)But how can I make so many things in a short time?

Anwser 4:Keep It Simple!
Stay creative, but keep it simple enough to handle.
So:
- don't start with a project that will take you 4 years of post-production because you need After Effects to build an alien world
- don't try to shoot a scene with 2000 extras when you have 10 friends who want to help
- do keep the cast small, so you can be sure you can find enough people
- try different formats: it can be a 1-minute or 5 minute shortfilm, a commercial, a fake movietrailer, a musicvideo or try one element/scene you want to use in your big project.
- help on other people's projects.

And most important:
- DO! Don't just sit and browse, but do! Go make stuff!

------------------
END

PS.

I should make a channel with all the old videos I made. Should be fun :p
In the end that's the only way to gain experience.

PPS.

I just wanted to share this :p

How did you start out?
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