Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Only (Pulp) Filmmaking Advice You'll Ever Need

Occasionally good buddy Jim Henshaw will send me an email... well, that's not quite right.  It's not quite mail. It's more like a signpost pointing the way to something good, or a simple question that usually takes me several paragraphs to answer fully.  There's often no "How ya doin?" No Chatty Cathy aspect to his email - just the pulp. 

He cuts straight to the bone that Mr. Henshaw - yes, he does.

So when I get an email from Jim - I know it's something important, useful and often profound in its elegant simplicity.  The following hit my Inbox a few minutes ago and the article linked pretty much sums up my philosophy of indie/pulp/low budget film making - hell, media making - and is...

The only film making advice you really need

Print it.

Learn it.

Live it.

Edit to add:  I almost missed this portion of the web page scrolling through the comments. The author of the article - Matt - sums it all up quite nicely as to why he wrote this article in the first place:

 So why do I really post this information? Mostly because I get really aggravated working for people who don’t know this stuff already. I get alot of jobs from people who go on and on about nebulous “film theory” concepts. Those are usually the jobs that turn into 18 hour days, go over budget, run out of money, and I get short changed.

Those are the jobs where the AD and Script Supervisor stop the whole production for 4 hours because they aren’t sure that the layout of the beer bottles on the table matches the last scene .

Those are the people who feel like a $1000 leather coat is the only way to express the lead characters personality (but sorry, we had to blow the catering budget for the next two days to buy it).
Those people are the “noise” you are talking about…it’s the noise I’m trying to get rid of.

I probably have half a dozen films that I can’t put on my resume. They’ve never been finished. They’ve all went so over budget, they went into post and never came out.

On the other hand….television and commercial are a dream to work with. They always finish the project. Maybe there is a hard shadow on the wall in a shot or two, or the lighting color temp is a little off. But at the end of the day there is a finished product.

For digital filmmakers on low budgets, thinking like a “filmmaker” when it comes to production is only going to lead to failure. My goal is to get people to think more like a commercial producer. Do the best you can, but nothing is sacred except the budget and the deadline.

No comments: