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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.

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Old May 20th, 2006, 10:47 PM   #16
Regular Crew
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Perth WA Australia
Posts: 124
Make it quick and feed them well!

Mike, I have just finished a 15min short called a Lemon Sweetened using volunteer actors and crew. I have worked on a number of films using volunteer, amateur and semi professional actors. Plan your shoot well and avoid time wasting and waffling about with decisions, nothing pisses off actors more than hanging around the set while the crew fumble around looking unorganised. Remember shooting indi films with volunteers you will always loose one or two people, actors or crew the day before your shoot.(It's Murphy's Law). If they appear unreliable at the audition times etc, then they will do the same when you start your shoot.Have a plan B.
My advice is to plan ahead and get your shot list,and crew tasks worked out in advance. Feed the cast and crew well and get the shoot finished as quickly as possible. Next week they could be tied up with other work, family matters ,cut their hair or changed its style.It's now or never.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 10:26 AM   #17
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ogden, UT
Posts: 349
Originally Posted by Don Donatello
maybe i'm missing something ??
you are the DP ..
actors perfromance/casting is DIRECTING ...
if the director ask for your opinion on the acting/casting you give it ..
other wise you have other worries/areas on a no budget ...
I appreciate your sentiment, and what you say is basically true, but since it is a fan film I'm not limited to just being the DP. That's just my primary role. I'm also in charge of visual effects and a few other things. I'm basically the director's right hand man, and I'm just trying to get as many ideas as possible so that when asked I have an opinion to give. But I get your point.

Excellent points, Marco and Joe. We're working out the shot lists now. I agree that we don't want to waste any time or we're really going to have problems. Luckily the film revolves around the two main characters for a good percentage of the scenes. The other scenes we can likely pick up a weekend at a time. That should help continuity and ease pressure on the actors. Ben mentioned that he might cut off the amount of people auditioning. I told him to get as many people as we can as (like you said) we're going to lose people and we'll need backups. I'm just glad to hear it from someone else.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 01:21 AM   #18
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: O'Neals, CA
Posts: 71
Off the top of my head...

*Be as professional as you can. Your actors will respect you for it.

*Be as organized as you can. Everything will go much smoother.

*Feed people well but not heavily. After a big meal actors don't have as much energy and it shows on-camera. (Don't do pizza unless it's the reward for wrapping for the day!)

*Be as organized as you can. You thought I was kidding the first time. Have breakdowns and shot lists (if not storyboards) for every scene. Get somebody who is a super-anal type to be your PA or AD.

*Budget rehearsal time. It may not be much but give your actors as much as possible.

*Treat your actors like pros. Make sure they each have their own chair and any other comforts necessary. Shade, jackets, water... whatever.

*Thank your cast (and crew) when you wrap for the day. Check to see if the actors need anything before they leave.

*Send out call sheets to everyone in the cast and crew even if they aren't required on that day. This helps bit players to still feel connected to the production.
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