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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old March 1st, 2006, 05:07 PM   #46
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You could ruin your baby by jumping in too fast.

I am not sure how to address this, as it goes against with my naivety as well. Regardless, I must say that I never considered that before, though. …Wow.
Thank you for your advice wrought through experience... as unnerving as it is; … if you guys don’t scare Andrew away from committing to a feature film, then you are certainly going to scare me!

In all seriousness, those who know me will attest to a ‘quiet confidence’ I exude in everything that I engage (ahem… accept when it comes to girls). While I sometimes doubt that I will be able to deliver on my confidence in regards to filmmaking, I would still rather try and fail than never try at all.

Perhaps Andrew, or eventually myself just need to try smarter?
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Old March 1st, 2006, 05:16 PM   #47
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All I'm saying (again), is that it's really a huge committment, and you don't want to underestimate what you're taking on.

Everyone is so eager to jump into moviemaking on a feature length level without learning the basics, and it's gonna hurt you in the end. Do some shorts first. Do 'em well. You'll learn a lot. Then make the feature.

Also, I've been told by the pros it's a much better idea to get people to commit to 2/3/4/however many weeks straight for a feature length shoot, then to try to break it up into weekends for three years. I think the reasoning is that if these people know it'll all be over in three/four weeks, they'll stay around, whereas you'll have people dropping out over time with the weekend thing. Plus, people get haircuts, all that kinda stuff. Yes, even on a no budget thing, I would still suggest this, if you have any way of pulling it off.

You should be somewhat scared. It's hard work. Billions of things that can go wrong.

If you wanna do something feature length without all the proper formalities in place, do a character centered, dialogue based film. Do a "Tape" (Richard Linklater). One or two locations you have total control of, lighting setups that'll work for many different angles, simple movement, etc.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 09:46 PM   #48
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It's simply important to remember that everyone thinks they can do it, despite the fact no one has before. Everyone KNOWS they are special above everyone else (I KNEW it too!).

I am not syaing don't try! I would be nowhere if I didnt bite off more than I can chew. Just do it smartly.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 09:55 PM   #49
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I can second that, but there's nothing "smartly" about blowing $15,000+ on what will surely be a less than stellar endeavor.

The "smartly" isn't an attack on your grammar or anything. . .just to show that I'm referring back to you.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 10:21 PM   #50
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Once again come the rules and certainty.

Josh, you're a card. No offense, but you must have some really REALLY awful friends. My friends have been there all through these 8-9 years and all want to be a part of it as much as I do. This is collaborative effort.

You really need to read all my posts, because you keep saying everything like I haven't already addressed everything. I've said I'll be doing shorts nonstop (check)... I've said I'm not shooting the film until I'm satisfied with my choices (check)... I've said that I've owned many cameras in the past and have shot many amateur shorts (not of this quality) (check)...

I'm probably hiring my two leads and possibly one minor supporting, but everyone else will be friends. My shoot is structured so that two scenes can be shot in one day (possibly more), with a very small amount of people in every scene (3 is the most that I have in any scene). Alot of the shots are sustained shots... The way that'll work is I'll figure out the scene technically with friends and then go over it on shootdate with the actor(s), so that everything is up and ready to go.

Since it's apparently personal slogan day on DVInfo.net, I'll offer mine... "I've been through way too much shit in my life to be deterred by a Canon XL2."

Studying the first films of some of the greatest directors of all-time proves that visual quality matters much less than the substance of your characters, your story and your dialogue.

So Jeff, don't be discrouraged. I may not know much about the innards of an XL2, but I know more than my fair share about life. And don't let someone else's failure at something convince you that it's that much further away from you. To me, this is no different from anything else. Any other struggle in life... Except this one's based around movies, and that makes it endlessly exciting.

Personally, I think I'm being completely smart. I came here for suggestions that I recieved and heeded, considered everything everyone said, wrote a screenplay cautiously and cost-effectively, befriended really talented people and will ultimately go with my gut on all the decisions that are still to be made (which is far more reputable than the mind in a situation like this).

Let me put it this way... There are people in this world who have nothing. Women and children build their own homes with their bare hands. Men spend days at a time hunting for some of the most dangerous animals in the world in order to feed their family one or two decent meals a month. Children do work that the strongest men here in America would find excessive. People eat sand... because it's there.

If they can do that, I'm sure I could manage how to push buttons and hold a camera.


PS about there being no way to "smartly" spend $15,000.... The equipment I'll be buying right now will be roughly $11,500, and I know someone 1 year older than me with little to moderate experience who uses a GL2 to shoot medical videos for $10,000 a piece on a regular basis. And it won't be hard to get in on it myself, being that I know this gentleman and my stepmom is one of the top doctors in my state. Also, doing event work pays pretty decently for good quality video such as this. Now, for a $12,000 investment, I think that's pretty goddamn reasonable.

It'll also build my budget so maybe you guys can be proven right when I hire a DP and win the Palme D'Or.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 10:58 PM   #51
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Ok, NO my friends are not awful, they're working professionals in the Houston video production field (gaffers, DPs, Production company presidents/CEOs), and are, therefore constantly working their asses off simply to stay afloat. This is simply the way video/film production is. These people do not have time to commit to long term unpaid projects. If you know people that do, they're either magic fairies or they are NOT working professionals in these fields.

If you think it's as easy as that to make $10000 doing a medical video, then good luck to you. Here's how it works: to make money, someone has to hire you. Then, you have to extract money from them (I say extract because that's often how it is. . .it's not "oh sure, here's that $10,000 you asked for. Lookin' forward to seeing the finished product. Call me!") Now, if you don't know the basics of using a cam, how are you going to convince a client to give a 20 year old 10K? Even if a family member gets you in on it, that only goes as far as the first big screwup where you demonstrate that you don't know what you're doing, then you shan't be hired again.

When you go into filmmaking with the idea of all the awards you're gonna win and all that, that's never a good sign. It means you're already thinking past the movie being done, and assuming that it came out perfectly. You should think of nothing but how to make the movie perfect, and hope everything else comes later.

And being the cinematographer on your film has way more to do than "learning to hold a camera and push a few buttons."

I'm gonna stop here, 'cause I know further posts will do no good.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 05:59 AM   #52
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Anyway, If Chris were to interject here, I am sure he would say this post was getting off topic, and a flamewar was not too far away.

Andrew: We have voiced our concerns, so I am sure you will think about them, but ultimatly this is your project and I am sure we all wish you the best. I, for one, look forward to seeing it :)

Maybe we can keep the Q&A technical from here on in. I don't think Andrew needs anymore of our filmmaking adivce.

Last edited by Matthew Nayman; March 2nd, 2006 at 06:42 AM.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 06:06 AM   #53
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Most of my friends are my age. Most are in college or in business for themselves.

Jeff, the reason you inspire hostility is because you're so certain that the things that you've had trouble with are going to be the things we'll have trouble with. I'm not saying that's not the case, but it's not certainly not destiny. I'm an optimist and you're a pessimist. Anyone who would come to a forum and argue worst case scenario until his face turns black has obviously had some very case-specific problems. But the success stories I've heard tend to outweigh stories like yours.

I know you're thinking "I'm pessimistic because I've been there and I've seen what happens." Then tell me specifically what you did wrong. Help me, don't discourage me.

I never said it was that easy, but what business is? Your mentality seems to be "you could screw up." You should take back your motto you recited earlier and switch it with the classic pessimist montra: "If something can go wrong, it WILL go wrong." Well, not if you don't let it go wrong.

The reason I keep responding is because you're the only person who wasn't helpful on this forum. You remind me of a friend of mine who says I should take the $12,000 and "see the world". Except he doesn't understand film and I think, to some extent, you do. I'm glad you told me the truth, but you didn't say it helpfully... you said it with the likemindedness of a guy running into a building screaming that it's about to explode.

About the pushing buttons thing, I meant that in a global sense. The way I look at it is I HATE my job and manage to be damn good at it. Now, if I work just as hard on this with a great level of love for what I do, results are bound spring up quick.

If I spend every waking moment for 5 months learning about my camera, my lighting, my audio equipment... I don't see how results can't be acquired.

And that was a joke about the Palme D'Or. I may be an optimist, but I'm not retarded.

Jeff, I really didn't mean any disrespect because you have the right to say anything to want to, as I asked for the help. But in the future, when someone asks for help on this forum, you might want to be a little more constructive.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 06:07 AM   #54
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Matt, the advice is very much heeded.

You hit the nail on the head.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 04:42 PM   #55
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Quote:
Jeff, the reason you inspire hostility...
Um... I think (I hope) you mean Josh?

Oh c’mon… he is being more of a realist than a pessimist, methinks.
But by all means, go for that 'Palme D'Or'... It is your dream, not his!

I second Matthew's advice!
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 05:11 PM   #56
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andrew.. after rereading everything in this post i have come to realize that the reason you might be getting the feedback you're getting is because you have been totally upfront with your dreams in filmmaking.. im sure almost everyone on here has close to the same dream and some have already fullfilled at this point. i know i want to make an awesome feature film on the cheap with my xl1s someday. the only reason some of your responses have been so negative is because your outlook on being a filmmaker might seem to be almost too unrealistic at this point in your filmmaking career. not to say it wont come true.. i hope it does.. keep being positive.. all these negative responses can probably be summed up to: in my and almost everyone (i hope i can speak for most) experience on this board, filmmaking is something that for the greats becomes a unique form of expression.. unique to the creator.. but that doesnt mean there arent set rules.. there are some. practice is one... hand a camera to someone who has no experience and tell them to make something that would be enjoyable to watch. that inexperienced person would probably not have the knowledge to make a scene flow.

maybe this thread would have got better results if right off the bat you said that you have $15,00 to spend on some equipment on which you hope to learn the ins and outs and practice on it so much that one day you will be able to make that feature that you dream about doing.. when someone posts that:
" i have $15000, ive never made a movie.. and im gonna get some gear and make a kickass movie with all this money" (i know thats not word for word what you said.. but thats how it seems)

It leads us to believe: this guy must think what we do is way easier than it is.. i know from experience... its a hell of alot harder than you think before you try it.. we just dont want to see you get burned for all that cash. dont stop dreaming.. and good luck on your feature and your future as a filmmaker.. just try to make some shorts and get them to flow the way you visualize them in your head before you jump in the deep end.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 09:22 PM   #57
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Andrew raises a good point,

I think what might have ticked Josh off is that your posts unintentionally trivialized what we do for a living. many of us have worked hard to get where we are, so it is not welcome (or uncommon) to hear people assuming it is easy!

However, I don't think there was any malicious intent in your posts at all and you are simply being a dreamer (aint we all?).

Anyhoo. Nuff said. And yes, I always need the last word (another trait of a filmmaker).
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 03:26 AM   #58
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If I trivialized it, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to ever say that it's easy to do it, because it's not and I recognize that. I thought it was pretty clear that I meant that . I jump into cold pools, in other words.

Now, you guys keep telling me to make shorts when I've said over and over and over and over again that that's exactly what I'm going to be doing. It's extremely frustrating to not be heard and/or understood.

I really need you guys to know one thing that would help you help me. I'm not stupid. Or particularly naive. Naive, to me, is your way of saying abnormally determined. I've set odd goaldates for myself and have every intention of working towards them, but no illusions that I'll DEFINITELY hit them.

I came here and specifically asked you guys for TECHNICAL help. A few of you asked for more information about the look of the film, I answered and then everyone started telling me how I'm doing everything wrong. I didn't ask for all the crap I got, but I welcomed it. Pretty much everything you guys needed to know was in my first two posts, everything else was incited.

I don't know why everyone keeps saying I need experience. I know that someone with no experience can't just make something good. I never said that wasn't the case. I don't know why everyone keeps saying this stuff.

I AM a dreamer, anyone who's ever met me can tell you that. But it's not baseless. Dreaming is all good, but writing and just generally having talent gives a dream plausibility. Beyond that, having a good vision of the film is 25% of it, because so much gets made nowdays where the vision is recycled a million times over. What I mean is, I don't think Scorsese was a dreamer... I don't think Welles was a dreamer... I don't even think Spielberg was a dreamer... They were all talented from the get-go, so it wasn't a dream, it was an opportunity.

Confidence is big with me. When you have one goal set for life since childhood, you'd better be pretty goddamn confident.

To that extent, I think if you CAN make it, you'll make it. I don't think this camera will stop or prevent me from succeeding at this... A good movie, a powerful story, good direction... It's all superior to film quality. But having the best quality at the budget I've set can't hurt.

Honestly though, about "reality check"s... I think they're bullshit. Because when you get a "reality check", you reign yourself in that much more. I mean, if you don't know before going into making a film that it's not going to be easy, you're already in the wrong business. But letting that scare you and keeping that constantly in-mind can do absolutely nothing but hold you back that much more. You guys doing that is really great, but you haven't really been offering much knowledge I haven't already acquired in the past. Be more specific as to what went wrong with your projects and I can note it. Otherwise, I know it's not easy, I know it's going to take learning, I'm going to be making short films, and I'm going to be practicing non-stop in every environment and condition. Seriously, I know.

In the end, it's going to be my "naivete" that gets me where I'm going and not the baby steps.

One more thing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Todd
maybe this thread would have got better results if right off the bat you said that you have $15,00 to spend on some equipment on which you hope to learn the ins and outs and practice on it so much that one day you will be able to make that feature that you dream about doing.. when someone posts that:
" i have $15000, ive never made a movie.. and im gonna get some gear and make a kickass movie with all this money" (i know thats not word for word what you said.. but thats how it seems)
You're right that's not word for word what I said, nor was that an accurate paraphrase of what I said. It makes me mad, because I came here, admitted I know little and that I needed to learn more. I never lied and said I knew everything. I never said that getting this gear would create a good movie for me, simply that it would help to get advice on good lenses/equipment. Never did I say I was going to make the movie immiediately. Nor did I say I would learn it in 10 seconds. I didn't know you all had to satisfied with my intentions before I got simple answers.

This thread is waaaay off-topic. Look at the first post and look at what we're talking about. I really am still interested if anyone else has anything to add to the topic at hand.
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Old March 5th, 2006, 06:53 PM   #59
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I only offer my advice, you certainly can discredit it or choose to think otherwise. I have shot DV for a decade and probably have more hours logged than anyone in the known world on the Canon XL series.

Of course there are exceptions to everything and indeed some directors do shoot their own material. However, for every one of those, there are 100 who hire a DP and the SUCCESSFUL director/dps are almost always because of a simple visual based story or in association with worldclass actors and a competent experienced crew.

If you want to do it, go for it, we will support you with technical info but there are many many things you have to learn by doing it and there just wont be time. I have to assume you already have a natural gift of framing and composition to even think you can pull this off but remember, even a DP coming from the film world will have adjustments to use these cameras and the XL2 is the hardest to use.

Plenty of people do shoot their own stuff on forums such as these but ususally it is a constraint of budget. I think the best way for a director to get his story is to use a support staff and when possible a DP. If you have $15K you could easily hire a DP who would make everything easier and better. You could learn from him/her and try a stab on your own in the future.


ash =o)
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Old March 6th, 2006, 02:34 AM   #60
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Ugh, I remember the first time I made a feature film. £500, a Canon XM2 and a bunch of my mates. Oh and did I forget to mention I had no idea how to make a feature film?

The script (Post-Apocalyptic Cannibal Thriller) was awful, truly awful, with such wonderful lines as:

BILL:
No time for explanations Sam, your friends will be upon us soon, and it wont be any fun at all if they catch us having a nice chat will it? I much prefer to play with my food, before I eat it.

Of course as far as I was concerned it was Oscar material.

First day came, 8 hours of filming on our "set". With me honestly believing conversations in scenes were shot by filming one line (with no other actor), then setting the camera up in the reverse shot and filming the following line (the result being it cut together like bunch of statements).

End of the day, off I go to watch the first dailies, and WHAM. No sound. At all. Nadda. Zip.

So, next week comes (shooting every Sunday), I prepare to tell everyone that we have to re-shoot last week completely. We do so, everyone starts to hate me.

Third week comes, we arrive on set, its flooded with 3 feet of water. Our props are floating away. We have to re-shoot the previous two weeks of footage AGAIN on a new hastily built set (with no lighting bar 5 candles).

A couple more weeks go by, including one 22 hour shoot. Most of my friends don't like me anymore, in fact most of them hate me. (It turns out my people skills are more James Cameron than Steven Spielberg.)

Fifth week comes, all the actors turn up bar the lead, I'm down to two members of crew. We wait and we wait and we wait, finally the lead's car draws up, he gets out apologising, telling me he woke up late etc. etc.

I blow up, I scream, I cry, I shout, I punch walls. Why?

The lead actor had shaved off his beard, his full manly, scruffy beard which had been in every shot so far during the film. His beard. The mother of all continuity errors.

What did I end up with? 30 minutes of usable footage (in the loosest sense of the term), which I turned into a trailer and submitted as a College project.

But do you know what? I'm so glad I did it!

Yes I had false expectations, no I didn't have a clue what I was doing, but it taught me far more than my college course ever did. I learnt more about filmmaking in those five weeks than 3 years of education. All my short films since then have improved and improved and improved, resulting in a couple of festival awards. So at least I got something out of it!

Now I just gotta find some new friends! (and keep away from the guy who lent me £500!!)
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