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Old October 24th, 2004, 09:40 AM   #1
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What would you say the toughtest thing about making your first movie is?

I'm in the process and I'm looking for what hiccups I should look out for. Thanks.
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Old October 24th, 2004, 02:19 PM   #2
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I cannot say from a movie side. My biggest pain in production is synchronization rights and master use licensing for any of the music tracks. It just takes time and I have had to call back a few times. I am having to spend at least $500 for a buyout of only 250 copies (6 songs, twice) on a drum corps DVD. That was only for sync rights, as the corps has given permission (it raises funds for them already ;) )
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Old October 24th, 2004, 02:51 PM   #3
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I can understand how much of a pain it can be to get music rights. I wanted to use some music from the band Weezer, but I haven't been able to get in contact with them. Why is it so hard :(
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Old October 25th, 2004, 02:00 AM   #4
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Suggestion for anyone looking for music to use.

I've found that most record labels/distributors have sections of the company or better yet websites for licensing information.

Granted I've only quickly researched this as music is the least of my worries right now, but do a search through google for licensing contacts or rights for the specific record label you should be able to turn up some info.

I wish I knew the prices that they charge but as I mentioned I haven't fully researched it as of yet.

-Hal
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Old October 25th, 2004, 05:44 AM   #5
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Plan as much as you can. Make sure your locations are TRULY
secured and you have everything you need. You can read up
on some of my issues/troubles on my first movie in my article:

http://www.dvinfo.net/articles/production/lohman1.php
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Old October 25th, 2004, 01:36 PM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by George Ellis : I cannot say from a movie side. My biggest pain in production is synchronization rights and master use licensing for any of the music tracks. It just takes time and I have had to call back a few times. I am having to spend at least $500 for a buyout of only 250 copies (6 songs, twice) on a drum corps DVD. That was only for sync rights, as the corps has given permission (it raises funds for them already ;) ) -->>>

Hey!

What corp / DCI? are you working with? I helped produce some DCI / Crossmen vids a couple years ago while my brother was in the corp (euphonium lead). Video diaries during the season, warmsup, pre season, some of the lesser tournaments, etc. Pretty much anything and everything up to the actual championships themselves. Fun stuff!
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Old October 25th, 2004, 02:15 PM   #7
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Finishing it. :)

Rule number one:
Everything is harder than you think and takes longer than you expect.

Rule number two:
Everything will be harder than you think and will take longer than you expect, even when you take rule number one into account.

I started my first personal movie project over three years ago. I thought I was being very conservative, a simple 20 minute, fast paced plot with lots of action. That project is now mostly shot, but post production is at a crawl.

What I LEARNED from the experience has been far more valuable than anything that could have (can/will?) come from actually finishing that project. Since starting that first project, I've produced several other shorts and DVDs as well done post work and visual effects on several indie productions. None of THAT would have happened had I not started out on that first attempt.

Plan as much as humanly possible.
Visuallize every shot.
Write them down.
Work backwards through the pipeline writing down every element you expect to need for each shot. Then work forward again to figure just how to acquire/produce those elements and how long you expect each step to take.
The rules above will still apply, but at least you'll have a good roadmap check to see just how far you've come and where you still need to go.

Good luck.
Have fun.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 02:59 PM   #8
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Rehearse with the actors a lot - both before shooting, and on set. That includes what your camera move is going to be Staging can be a tricky thing and often getting it to look in real life as it does in your head is difficult to say the least. Prepare, prepare, prepare - if you try and wing it on the day, you will find yourself in a lot of trouble. For complex scenes, shoot as much coverage as you can make time for.

Schedule the whole shoot down to every shot you want. You don't have to stick to it religously, but it will make sure you get everything done.

I tend to shoot at a scheduled pace of 3 pages/day more or less. If I shoot more, great, I get ahead, and if things get difficult or I have a difficult bit of business, I usually have some time to figure it out. It also allows for a small amount of time on set for reflection, to see if you've missed anything you're going to want later.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 12:25 PM   #9
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On our shoots, we typically find it works out to about one page an hour, but we have a small crew so we can work fast. Lighting will slow you down a lot, so plan your shots and shoot as much as you can before moving the camera to another angle. Nothing ticks me off more than being asked to set up a new shot that could have taken advantage of a lighting scheme that we had shot earlier in the day.

Number one, BE CAREFUL WHO YOU HIRE. Anybody who shows an inclination to make problems early in the process (being late, personality conflicts, complaining, just being difficult, or even gossiping) should be fired immediately, but not in the presence of the rest of the cast and crew. I really mean that. One bad egg will poison the whole atmosphere. You need to surround yourself with positive energy.

Never promise something you can't deliver. If people lose confidence in you, the whole system shuts down, so always do what you say you are going to do.

Don't hold meetings unless absolutely necessary. This is contrary to most people's urge to hold endless production meetings that just suck all of the energy out of everybody. Instead have a few people in charge of key tasks and keep communication open with them. The phone is your friend.

Make sure you're on top of all technical aspects. Shooting is not the time to learn. This is especially true of sound, which is the one area that you can't skimp on at all. Bad sound equals bad movie.

Finally, don't wait for things to be perfect -- just shoot.
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Old October 29th, 2004, 08:31 PM   #10
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it's the SCRIPT ...

it's the actors ....

then comes the technicals

as a DP .. my beef with 1st time feature persons is they TALK about they want to go out to FILM ... they want the "film look" , they talk about what movie's ( 50-70 million $ budgets while ) they have no $$ for lights ) they like the lighting etc ..FILM look this - film look that !!post look this-that !!

they don't mention the script much !!!
IMO if they paid as much attention to the script as they do the film "look" -& post look questions they would have better scripts ...

get GOOD actors !!! viewers will live with a so so image if you have good actors BUT they will NOT live with great looking images with terrible actors !!!

NEVER put you girl/boy friend-spouse in your movie !!!

the toughest on last movie !!! was i had 50 lights rigged in the air and i needed 20 more lights... so the lighting crew had to keep taking lights off one set to move to another set then return the lights - took up too much time ... the set walls were only 8ft high !! so i had to put ceilings in on wide shots .... one of the actors DRANK too much ! was drunk on his last day !!! .....dailys were 2 days behind = 2 days of blue screen work the camera pull down was off so didn't see it till it was over .... was cheaper to use digital stabilzation in post ( flame) then to reshoot..some of the negative was scratched during film to tape transfer = production insurance paid to FIX it all in post ....

protect all your help ( paid & free ) = get workmans comp insurance !!!



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Old October 29th, 2004, 08:59 PM   #11
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<<<-- Don't hold meetings unless absolutely necessary. -->>>

Amen to that.

I'd add
- only hold meetings while standing up
- ban all food, drinks, and cell phones from meetings
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Old October 30th, 2004, 04:33 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Nick Jushchyshyn : Finishing it. :)

Rule number one:
Everything is harder than you think and takes longer than you expect.

Rule number two:
Everything will be harder than you think and will take longer than you expect, even when you take rule number one into account.
-->>>

Reminds of the old woodworking project estimation rule. I'm guessing it pretty much applies to making a film: estimate the project then double the time and go to the next higher unit. E.g., a 3 day project will probably take 6 weeks. A 2 week project will usually take 4 months.


Good luck.

Dennis Vogel
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Old November 1st, 2004, 03:35 PM   #13
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The hardest thing?

Getting a good screenplay.

A good screenplay can become a bad film. A bad screenplay cannot become a good film.

Write a great screenplay, and your movie may have a fighting chance. Otherwise, it's a waste of your time.

Good luck!
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 03:48 AM   #14
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<<<-- Otherwise, it's a waste of your time. -->>>

I have to slightly disagree here. Yes it is true that a (very) good
story is important and this will more likely get you noticed, but
that also depends on what you want to do in the business,
ofcourse.

But, a very good script will probably not help you in your first
couple of movies. Why? Because you will know nothing about
making movies. The experience of doing it is something completely
different then thinking about it. Especially with the more people
you are working (crew, actors).

Personally I would not put too much time into my first couple of
scripts, put it in learning the as much as you can about the entire
workflow which includes writing the script, other pre-production
work (planning for example), shooting, editing, effects, DVD
production etc. etc.

After you've done that a couple of times you will have a FAR
better understanding about what makes a not so good script
or a better (shooting) script. What kind of stuff you will cut that
doesn't advance a story, what kind of shooting material you need.

If you do all that on a couple of shorts (10 - 30 minutes or so),
which will take you an immense amount of time to make (which
is another thing you will learn) you will be way more ready to
do something longer and better. Then start working on some of
your dream scripts and stories (which will be your second learning
phase in my opinion).

Since this thread is about your **FIRST** movie I think these
things are very, very important. Therefore I would not focus too
much yet on a great script/story, do that later in the process.
For now focus on:

1. A story to tell
2. getting all the people and equipment together
3. shoot it
4. edit it
5. GET IT DONE AND FINISHED

You will learn so very much (check out my article for a slight idea)
about what you did good, what you did wrong and how to fix that
the next time around.

All the luck to everyone who is working to get that first one out!

p.s. to Jaime's defense, he was talking about the HARDEST thing
to do. The script/story is certainly among the top 5 indeed. I just
wanted to make sure people who are starting out take a few
things into account (in light of the thread's title!)
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Old November 3rd, 2004, 01:33 PM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : <<<-- Otherwise, it's a waste of your time. -->>>Personally I would not put too much time into my first couple of
scripts, put it in learning the as much as you can about the entire
workflow which includes writing the script, other pre-production
work (planning for example), shooting, editing, effects, DVD
production etc. etc.

After you've done that a couple of times you will have a FAR
better understanding about what makes a not so good script
or a better (shooting) script. What kind of stuff you will cut that
doesn't advance a story, what kind of shooting material you need.-->>>

I agree that one shouldn't "make a film" based only on a good screenplay. I just think that having a good screenplay is step #1 in making a GOOD movie. Anyone can make a FIRST movie, but they're usually terrible. Not because the framing was off, or the lighting could have looked better, but because the story was bad.

If the question had been "what's the hardest thing about making a GOOD film?", the answer is getting a good screenplay. As far as making a first film, I'd think you're better off being a part of someone else's 2nd or 3rd film, so you can see how it works. Then, write an awesome screenplay, and come out with YOUR awesome first film.
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