I was recently contacted by a young person searching for advice as a writer looking for ways to grow as a writer into directing and producing in the film industry. Since this is a somewhat common trend, I figured it’s time to post my reply to be of help for others on the filmmaker journey!
Here it is…
Some time ago, I read Mike Sessler’s article “Do a Good Job,” and I was reminded that it’s rare for most church tech guys to get what they feel they need in order to perform their jobs as well as they think they should. Mike’s bent is more on the fact that doing well will result in growth and an increase of tools – a biblical model that effective stewardship results in greater trust, reward, and added responsibility. Yet, the current scenario in the local ministry where I serve has found us milking as much as we can out of our gear, pushing for excellence, yet still seeing a reduction of output. Here are my thoughts on the matter…
After all the footage is captured for a film/video project, the video editor holds the most powerful set of tools to set the tone, create interest, and to move the story forward in a logical format. Shot angles are chosen, bad shots are tossed or fixed, and the sequence of events are adjusted to retain viewer curiosity and build through the climax to conclusion.
I’ve found in working with editors that they bring their own sense of perspective to the table, and a director must acknowledge that.
Most people think of the bottom line when it comes down to purchasing new equipment, and cost is certainly a consideration. However, if cost is your only connection, you are likely a bit short-sighted. Trinity’s Media Department has been recommending the benefits of newer camera technology for years, noting greater creativity and enhanced connection of online & TV viewers to the captured shot. Obviously, this doesn’t pay the bills…
Every year, thousands head to Los Angeles, CA with the hopes of becoming icons for the film industry. Those that are in the mix will you tell you it’s certainly not as easy as one would think. Overnight success is a rarity, and very few find the gleaming lights of public notoriety and stardom. If one wants to navigate properly through the maze of connections he or she can find help from those who have already found some success in the business.
Enter, Hollywood Connect. Hollywood Connect (HC) exists to “[equip] creative artists and professionals to thrive personally and professionally in the arts, media, and entertainment industries” (HC website). HC hosted a well-attended Q&A with Mr. Mark Atteberry recently, and in this gathering, Shun Lee Fong led discussion and then fielded several questions from the audience to get Mark’s responses. I took notes feverishly and thought to share the wisdom – with Mark’s approval, of course.
It was an honor to work with a California team this year on the 168 Film Project as Executive Producer. Beyond this, I was able to fill in behind the scenes taking both photo an video, editing, and managing special FX. Here’s a brief overview of our week.
ARRIVAL: Producer Christopher Shawn Shaw met me at LAX, & from there we headed North to stay in Simi Valley, which would be our home base for 5 nights (until Tuesday morning). Prior to this point, Thor Ramsey and Torry Martin wrote our script and most legwork had been done on securing our locations and actors, etc.
DAY 1: Leaving about 7:30 am Friday, February 17, we headed to Redlands, CA, about a two-hour trek. Me, I always enjoy the mountains – a huge contrast from Florida – so the terrain helped the trip to go more quickly than I would have thought. At this point, I assumed an additional role for most of the production days – chauffeur to Mr. Shaw. This allowed him a little less stress as he thought through each shoot. As a producer, it’s critical to keep your director’s mind fresh.
Shooting took place at Kimberly Crest House and Gardens,
Okay, first, watch “I Need a Car” and see the clip on facebook, then read how it was completed.
I usually don’t do stuff last minute, but it must have been fate that I was thinking about WJXT’s Morning Jam Contest when I was approached by a guy who asked me to help him win a car. Unfortunately, I only had two days to complete the project. GULP! So, I threw all caution to the wind and did a true “run-n-gun” production.
Most anyone who produces anything (books, videos, toys, cars) can tell you the three major forces that are constantly tugging at each other: Cost, Time, and Quality. Essentially, you can pick two of these items, but the third will be pulled from the sum of the other two. For instance, if I choose to do a quickly done project with high quality, I should expect to pay more for it. Similarly, choosing to go on a reduced budget within a short timeframe, I should expect to find a sacrifice in quality. The opposite is true if I choose a high budget and a longer production time – quality will certainly go up.
For some time I’ve prided myself in the fact that I’ve been able to still provide quality in spite of a lack of time or funding in most of the productions that I’ve been asked to produce. However, in taking a closer look at the three pulls, they do little to recognize the intrinsic value of the artist(s) involved in the project. Let me explain.