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Old November 11th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #1
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how to keep the fire burning in a 'one man army'

I suppose I have alot to be thankful and grateful for. I am ambitious, have one short filmed, just started a second today, despite weather and high school football game issues. The shoot went ok, a little scared to look at the footage. Afraid of what can not be reshot and all. Perhaps its the 5 hours of sleep, getting up before the sun, the 30 degree weather with 15 mph wind for the morning, the complaining cast who was there for 2 hours when i and another actor had an 8 hour day ahead of us, trying to do everything for everyone to get the project going....man. Why is it we like to torture ourselves so? Why does every waking hour have to have my head filled with how I could or should have shot something, what i want to shoot, film film film. I can`t even relax or i feel i`m wasting time. I still have ALOT to do for everyone to get next weekends shoot set up...why can`t people here share my passion? I hate this one man army crap, but its the only way it gets done. I guess I just need to vent to the possible people that may understand. My stress is mostly self created because i want to succeed despite being at the very very bottom, and self taught. I hate my passion but love it at the same time, but I want to find others who share it too. What is it that makes people do the one man army gig? What keeps you guys going on days like I`m having today? I just almost feel like crying :\
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Old November 11th, 2007, 09:09 PM   #2
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It's tough. Having someone there with you can really be a big help, but it's can be tough to find someone. However, anyone on set can be a big help, so maybe a friend who isn't so into video could do it. An Assistant Director, just scheduling and organizing, keeping everything running smoothly, is always good.
Keep going, and you'll end up with something. Don't give up, or just give up now-- but the way you'll succeed is by sticking with it.
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Old November 11th, 2007, 09:52 PM   #3
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funny thing, it spreads to my whole life...theres someone who would help...my girlfriend... but she lives in taiwan. Been together over 3 and a half years, just haven`t found the solution to be together...hoping this road i`m on will lead there, just wish she were here to help it along :\
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Old November 11th, 2007, 09:53 PM   #4
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You have to make films that fit your means. You have to motivate those around you. It is a struggle, but the results can be worth it. If you disagree, you should be in a different line of work.
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Old November 11th, 2007, 11:16 PM   #5
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Yeah, it's a harsh reality.
Maybe, though, you've simply taken on too much?
Filmmaking should be fun and enjoyable-- not something that you hate doing.
Now, if you need it for money, that's a different story, but also not the most efficient path toward cash, especially if you find it difficult (and it is).
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Old November 11th, 2007, 11:18 PM   #6
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I spent three months gathering footage for a documentary covering a large indoor event for medieval re-enactors. Despite being ill the week before the event, I pulled myself off my deathbed to cover the hall setup the day before, shooting from noon till 10PM, then went to my hotel room, collapsed until 7 the next morning, and went back to the hall and shot until 11 that night. By that time, the tripod was holding ME up along with the camera. This is when I realized that I was no longer 30, and that the concept of a production CREW was actually a good thing.

The down side of it all is that while I got some excellent footage, nothing could overcome the fact that it was a boring event. Sigh. Such is the life when you do unscripted documentaries. It was a good experience overall, however.

Chin up. If you really didn't think it was worthwhile, you'd have given it up a long time ago.

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Old November 12th, 2007, 05:01 AM   #7
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I hate to be the pessimist here but the chances of filmmakers on our level ever making it are remote at best so the reason for doing it has to be because you love doing it.

By the way all actors moan its what they do best and if all my filming days were just 8 hours i'd be delighted, most times we're up at 5am and don't stop filming till 10 or 11 at night and i love every stressfull minute of it.

Just remember that george lucas had to go to hospital a few times on the set of star wars cause there was a real threat he was gonna have a heart attack due to stress.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 07:53 AM   #8
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Well i don`t NEED to be a director to be happy. I like doing alot of the positions and want to learn it all. I`ll be happy finding a job doing any creative video (my job now is video...but again I have no one to help me with it....have to do it all myself..thats why I got hired, because I was the only video person interviewed that went in saying I do everything myself...oops). I want to work in a team environment for once...been....6 years or so doing it all myself...hard to learn, hard to grow. I know at any given moment the right person could see something I make and offer me better than what I have, thats how we grow. I do think everyone putting down filmmakers and saying 'we`ll never make it, its a hard industry, yadda yadda' are either 1. Assuming everyones in it for the money , or 2. Assume everyone wants to be a director. Filmmaking has a bazillion positions and people that make a film happen...once theres a budget involved, look at any credit list. A film maker doesn`t = director. I know a stand-in on Underdog that was paid like $1,000 a week to just stand where the dog would be. Thats more than 3 times what I make doing 40+ hours a week. So to assume there are no jobs and no way to ever make it because the industry is tough is silly. There are plenty of positions out there if one is willing to learn. But yea, if people just want to direct its a world more difficult. As for me though, I`d be happy being part of creativity that is seen.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 11:36 AM   #9
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You're doing a one man army thing because you want it done right. There's nothing wrong with that. When you get done, it's your baby. Whether you realize it or not, part of the reason you're hesitant to share responsibilities is that you know that if the short is successful, you're still going to get all the credit for it. So, our Calvinist work ethic says, since that's the case, we should do all the work. Grrrrrr......

Since you're shooting next weekend, I'd encourage you here and now to put an ad up on Craig's List looking for a producer to help. Make clear that you don't need help raising money because that's what most of the ads are looking for. You need someone who is good at organizing, loves movies and wants the credit. A first time producer is just fine at this point and say so in the ad.

You want to find someone who is a natural at the phone and has good detail skills. You don't need someone with a big vision at the moment - in fact, that's the last thing you want. If you can find a student who wants to produce - great. other than that, I'd look for a woman who is an administrative assistant, or a bookkeeper - that kind of thing. In fact, while you should put an ad up for a producer, I'd put a second ad up looking for a bookkeeper or administrative assistant that wants to produce - because I guarantee you that there will be a lot of young woman who would be interested in doing that who probably won't look at the ad for the producer. Then give them a sole producer credit, if necessary.

While you're at it, put a couple Craig's Lists ads up for PAs for the day. If you can get two kids out to help you, it'll make your whole day a lot easier. Don't look for someone to volunteer for the entire shoot. If they only want to show up for one day - great. If they can show up for both days, better. One of the things I have learned is that if you're offering an interesting shoot, you'll get tons of volunteers and they will come back the next day, and the next.

Best of luck. I'm betting you'll be happy when the shoot is done. We all miss things we wish we hadn't, and in the end, it doesn't matter. No beating yourself up over what didn't happen. It doesn't make you anymore the artist if you're miserable.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 01:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nathan Quattrini View Post
Filmmaking has a bazillion positions and people that make a film
absolutely, sorry i was assuming you had started a film company and were trying to produce a movie that will eventually get distribution. yeah of course if you want to work in the film industry in one of the thousands of jobs required on a set you have a decent chance at working in films.

Iv often thought about packing my company in and doing the same but for now im gonna give it a go although it may come to that.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 05:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lori Starfelt View Post
You're doing a one man army thing because you want it done right. There's nothing wrong with that. When you get done, it's your baby. Whether you realize it or not, part of the reason you're hesitant to share responsibilities is that you know that if the short is successful, you're still going to get all the credit for it. So, our Calvinist work ethic says, since that's the case, we should do all the work. Grrrrrr......
True in some cases, but not here. I am picky because people around here don`t have any sort of quality standard. They use being amatuer as an excuse to take lots of shot cuts and do a bad job, thus making projects that come out ho-hum. The area is saturated with people like that. As well as first time everythings. I don`t want someone who went to school for lighting to hop on the boom to 'try it out'. That hurts the film's audio. The point of making a film (even shorts) is to make them the best they can be, not just for the sake of making something.

Quote:
Since you're shooting next weekend, I'd encourage you here and now to put an ad up on Craig's List looking for a producer to help. Make clear that you don't need help raising money because that's what most of the ads are looking for. You need someone who is good at organizing, loves movies and wants the credit. A first time producer is just fine at this point and say so in the ad.
Been trying for a month now. Had one person almost follow through, but then didn`t show to our first meeting. Everyone else says "How much does it pay?" No money = no help. Even if people have no experience they are asking me for money. Sad really.

And thus I put my head down and charge forward, I will be happy when its filmed, for better or worse, I`ll move forward and learn from it. And then begin pre-production for the 3rd short in the group. My pain....is self chosen. I know it, yet can`t stop myself. Hmmm addiction much?
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Old November 12th, 2007, 06:01 PM   #12
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....Been trying for a month now. Had one person almost follow through, but then didn`t show to our first meeting. Everyone else says "How much does it pay?" No money = no help. Even if people have no experience they are asking me for money. Sad really.

....

Do you blame them? After all, people gotta eat and not everyone can have their parents support them while they're getting experience by working for free. No one who is just starting out and who is sane expects to make much, but even standing by the camera holding cue cards is worth something, even if it's just a token amount or a free lunch. And as the "employer" remember the adage that anything you get for free is likely to be worth exactly what you paid for it. Even better, as a beginning producer, hire pros at the fair market scale and pump their brains for every iota of education you can get from them while they're on the set with you. If you treat people as pros they'll probably treat you as one and you'll learn things that can't be bought at any price.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 09:14 PM   #13
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Here's the thing: IT'S NOT MEANT TO BE DONE BY A ONE MAN BAND!

I speak from experience--- I used to do what you're doing, made several short films, doing directing, camera, audio, cinematography. On my last short, I asked a guy I knew from other gigs to help as a general purpose PA/grip/whatever, and it really makes all the difference in the world. Now, here's thing, this guy has real industry experience as a PA, AC and a few other duties. He's used to the long hours, understands the process. You can love your friends, but if they're not into it, you shouldn't use 'em, 'cause it'll just hose you in the end.

I do several different things in the video production world, and all my actors and "crew" are people I've met in that capacity, one way or the other--I've never done the craigslist/mandy thing, held auditions, worked with total strangers. It's just too risky (unless you have an actual budget, of course). It's possible you may have a friend that's a great sound mixer, and doesn't mind an 8/10/12 hour day, but wouldn't it be better if you met a real sound mixer who didn't mind lending his/her time to a freebie under the right circumstances? These people are out there. If you keep using friends/family as talent and crew, you'll like just get more frustrated as you get older and your standards get higher. Even having one more experience, knowledgable person on set makes a huge difference compared to doing everything yourself.

You have a to find a way to meet the right kind of people. . .find a filmmaking group where other people know what it actually takes to get stuff done correctly, and collaborate. Or, do what I mention above---crew on real projects and meet other aspiring filmmakers. Seems like almost every person in the industry wants to be something other than what they are (not EVERYONE, of course, but honestly, many), and they do that stuff for free in their spare time. Chances are they may know how to do it right.

Other option is to not have the long ass days--find a way to break the shoot up into 2 hour chunks, if that's all you can keep your friends' attention for. I know it blows, but if that's what it takes, then that's what it takes. Don't do ambitious projects 'til you can actually handle them.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 10:37 PM   #14
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I've been doing most of my "challenge" entries as a one person operation, sometimes even stepping out in front of my camera to do the acting. I fully understand Nathan's frustrations.

But a couple of weeks ago I met a couple, she's an air force officer going through about 4 months of training here, he has worked for a production company but 4 months doesn't work well for trying to find employment.

When he found out I participate in these challenges, he offered to help in any and all capacities I could use help in.

What a difference. This guy gets just as excited as I do, he contributes ideas, and for a couple more months I'm being spoiled. He's worked with me on two projects now and I've provided him with DVD copies in which he gets full credit for whatever he's done.

Nathan, just keep on "beating the bushes." I've heard of situations where folks get involved to see their name in the credits, and of course the crew gets fed somehow.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 11:55 PM   #15
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Yea there are those few every so often that can help a day or 2, but far inbetween. I guess I`m a different breed of person. I do work for free when I can learn something valuable on a set. If I know people don`t have a budget I will still help out and do the best I can, and learn what I can so long as the project looks promising. Maybe I`m a sap, but experience can be better than a $25 shoot out of some guys pocket that he needs for rent. My parents don`t support me financially, I pay rent, my car, my school loans, food etc. I`m in it just like everyone else. I`m just more devoted perhaps, more obsessed. Maybe it derives from never feeling like I was good at anything, and I finally found something to be passionate about. May never pinpoint it, just hope to find someone else who is die hard about it like I am. If i could clone I would, and make things worlds easier.

I did get to watch some footage from this weekend on a friends HD tv tonight and that boosted the spirit a bit. I need to get over the fear of needing to reshoot for the sake of the film, just need to convince others of that. I`m out to make them look good, so hopefully they should want that.
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