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Your shooting style/ how to make your movie the best it can be

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by BigManEntertainment, Jan 7, 2007.

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  1. TCF-1138

    TCF-1138 Porg of New Films & Fan Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 20, 2002
    I always storyboard my movies, but I rarely follow it. I like sitting down, drawing what I see in my head when reading the script. However, it almost never matches what I see in my head when I'm on set, with actors, crew, and props. Though, I have had the experience of not storyboarding, and showing up on set not having a clue what to do. And believe me, when you've permitted to shoot at a café for one night, with eight extras and two actors, you really don't wanna be in that situation!

    (EDIT: You can see the mess that film turned out to be [link=]here[/link])

    Always storyboard people :p

  2. durbnpoisn

    durbnpoisn TFN Staff Cast & Crew Database star 5 VIP

    May 20, 2002
    My first 3 films were done with no script at all. The whole thing was just one big storyboard.
    In some cels, there were little sketches, some with just a description... If there was dialogue, it would go in the lines underneath.

    For me, that was an effective way for me to get the entire film down in a visual format so I could see the whole thing. I believe in storyboards. I do, I do!!

    Now, back to the subject at hand...
    I can't really say one way or the other if I agree with Dorkman on the difference between "director" and "DP". That is, I agree that the DPs job is clearly defined. But I've always been under the impression that the director is the "Chef" for lack of a better term. The director has final word. Even down to telling the DP they want to see something shot a particular way. Which also means the director can be DP as well, and if they are good at it, so be it.

    The reason I say I can't agree or not, is simply because, that is just how I work. It matters not to me what is the professional norm or not. Generally speaking I've always worked as an individual and simply asked for help when I needed it. Small productions are nice that way.

    I think it all comes down to what you can do, and what you have access to.
  3. Laszlo

    Laszlo Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 9, 2006
    I'd do more storyboards if I could draw better than this:


    As for the Director/DP thing it tends to be a matter of semantics, especially with these amateur films and fan films where multiple people wear multiple hats. The best thing would be to have, on a single shoot, a Director, an acting/dialogue/screenplay guy, a DP and cameraman. In real life it?s usually one sun burnt guy holding a camera.

    For UCF: TC I was the big cheese director/producer and it was a split between myself and Spiff as DP?s ? basically whoever was holding the camera ? as well as Boter for a few scenes. (Which reminds me to find out why Spiff?s DP credit on TC was removed on IMDB?) Boter also helped out as character director on the occasions when I was too focused on the camerawork. I can honestly say that I had ?the whole film in my head? ? the storyboards were more communications tools and confidence boosters. That was really pushing the sanity levels and I doubt I could do the same with a longer or more complex project.

    For Stargate: Hades the rules worked out quite differently. On paper I was the director and Matt was the DP. In reality (and I hope the credits reflect this) we had a lot of switching of who was Director and who was DP, including Stoyboy, Primrodo and Boter, this caused in no small part by wonky leadership and bad timing: as the one who lived the furthest away I often had to leave the earliest. You?d think that the project would suffer, and while there were frayed nerves the rough cut we?d seen seems to flow together rather smoothly. It?s not a model I?d want to reuse anytime soon though.
  4. TrowaGP02a

    TrowaGP02a Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 24, 2004
    When I direct I try to stray from "telling the actors what to do". I understand if you're working with your buddies who have never act and will never act again, but it's different for people who want to be actors. It's an important asset to trust your actors. They know what they're doing (at least the ones I work with). When I direct I set up the scene history, I.E. give them the scenario of whats going on, and if they don't know already, some character history of who they're playing.

    For example. I will tell my actor to move seductively. Instead of giving direct commands like, walk around him, touch his shoulders, then fling your hair back. All people are different and think different things. I believe it's important to let the actors become the character by not not restricting them too much and overloading them with commands. It's also a lot easier for an actor to remember "seductively", then it is for him/her to be trying to remember of a list of commands they have.

    I do understand though if you're making fun movie with your friends. Believe me, you usually have to directly tell them what to do. At least my dumb friends:p "No! Moron! Just PICK UP THE LIGHTSABER!"
  5. Covert-Sniper

    Covert-Sniper Jedi Youngling star 2

    Feb 21, 2006
    Yes, this is just a few friends, not serious actors, though two of them do some sort of acting class. Also, since I'm doing greenscreen, I have to tell them things like stand here, we're in such and such a place, you supposed to jump to this ledge, ect ect ect. I do let them put their own energy into the character, say the lines the way they want to say them and such.
  6. NitroBlade

    NitroBlade Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jan 13, 2004
    The way it usually works in the big times is you should just leave the DOP to do his thing. You should hire a DP that you like, and you like his style, and you just let him do his thing. You can come in an give suggestions, and depends on the DP, but a lot of them won't like a director breathing over their shoulder for every single shot.

    There was a problem I remember from on set of a film, where a past DP became a director, and he would get into bouts with the DP that he hired simply because it's like having two DPs on set. It slows things down.

    Find a DP who has a good shooting style and trust their work. Let them do their thing.

    For smaller projects it's something different.

  7. Laszlo

    Laszlo Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 9, 2006
    In our case it tends toward: "The DP is the guy who owns the coolest camera."
  8. Boter

    Boter Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 8, 2002
    While it is possible to have too many cooks in the kitchen, we often end hap having at least two DPs on a shoot. As Laszlo said, whoever's holding the camera is DP; often the director is holding the camera, though sometimes a designated person is DP. They shoot the scene, but also get the shots that other members of the team want - as we all have some sort of DP experience, making us Assistant Directors of Photography. The most important thing here is respect - the DP is top, but has respect for everyone else and is willing to try thier shots out, and variations of it that they see.
  9. BigManEntertainment

    BigManEntertainment Jedi Youngling star 1

    Aug 8, 2005
    Thanks again for giving me so much good advise, it has been really useful! However, I have come into a BIG road block and ask again for your assistance. I am planing a massive scene full of montages, effects, and I just dont know how to go about it. Do you plan out something this huge all on paper, location by location, film then edit them all together in editing, or what? I am really stumped.
    The jist it that there is a huge massive rebellion going on heavily inspired by Star Wars (and since there is guns and in the streets, most of it will be done in post), fights here, fights there, several things that really arent in the same order... It's confusing. How do you do something like this? Please help me get this all set out straight and get some basic plan underway. Please and thankyou!
  10. BruceM

    BruceM Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 8, 2006
    Well, time and money has stuck me with post production and pre-viz, so this may not be the best advice, but try watching montages (like what you described) on professional films. A good example I think would be the genosion battle after the "kiss", order 66, well basically the whole clone wars segment of rots, and the end battles of rotj. Watching these scenes may help you a bit for inspiration and how to go about doing it I would think. Best of luck
  11. Penguinator

    Penguinator Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 23, 2005
    I'm my own DP/Director/Producer, which is a cheap way of saying I'm a student with a camera and ideas.

    Some of my stuff has been great, and generally, that's the stuff that I've planned out in advance. I script and storyboard nearly all my ideas, and when I go to shoot them, that's when things change and are discarded/improved upon.

    So I have a planned/spontaneous style. I storyboard to get my ideas out, which helps me to visualize and plan beforehand. And when I film, I like to keep a steady camera - I get sick of shaky cam/handheld shots quickly. I actually avoid them like the plague. So, I have my tripod, and do lots of panning and slow zooms.

    I like smoothness, and I try to get fluid shots if I have to film something that requires a moving camera. I like close-ups followed by long shots. High angles and low angles aren't really big for me yet - I jsut haven't discovered them yet.

    So, I like smooth, steady stuff, as opposed to spur-of-the-moment.

    If it helps, I'd say my major influences are Sergio Leone and David Fincher. Not that I'm as good as either of them, they're just what I strive for.

    Does that make any sense? :p
  12. LordSilvertouch

    LordSilvertouch Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 19, 2003
    First off, shaky, hand-held shooting can work (Lost, Battlestar Galactica) but even in professional, mainstream films, it often is simply annoying, and hinders narrative (Bourne Supremacy). If you're an amateur, it's best to stick to tripods, because (and people forget) there is still a lot of movement you can do with a tripod.

    Secondly, on the storyboarding issue, i would suggest that scenes which have to play out a certain way, or action scenes, be storyboarded, not as a blueprint of how to edit, but how to shoot. If you shoot what you storyboarded, you can then throw out the storyboard and edit what you've shot. This means you keep returning to and appraising a scene, at the same time as it means that you will not be pigeon-holed into making it be one thing when it wants to be something else. And sometimes, even if you're the best director in the world, scenes can do that.
  13. dvdcdr

    dvdcdr Jedi Knight star 3

    Aug 8, 2006
    I would honestly prefer to have every shot of every one of my movie's storyboarded. Especially since I do a lot of shooting on green screen, and it is sometimes harder to visualize. The only thing is I admit I'm too lazy :)

    I always have major action scenes storyboarded though.

    But one thing that could substitute for a sotrbyoard is a detailed script. I usually plan out a lot of my shots right from the first draft. If you don't believe me go here
    Yea i no that's not the orthodox way of doing it, but it helps a lot. If you don't have the time, wilingness, or maybe just can't really draw, certain scenes can be shot very easilly with a more detailed script. That way you can think of how your movie will olook right fro mthe start and just scheck off some of hte shots you wer doing along with the dialogue as you shoot.

    But honestly, I always believe storyboarding is better, even if you don't stick with your original shot. The first time I tried doing one a few years ago on a spiderman fanfilm, an action scene I was spending like a month trying to put together tok me about 2 days 2 board and an hour or so to shoot. and post production even went quicker, too.

    but at least have a detailed script. don't just bring a camera somewhere and say let's make a movie. Everyone remember's my rocky trailer a few months ago :)
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