Monthly Archives: April 2016

6 Types of Difficult Crew Members and How to Work With Them

By Dani Galo and Henry Held

There are many different types of people you will collaborate with during your years working on film sets. While most of them will be pleasant, easy to work with, and all around good people there are still a few you should look out for.

1. That’s Not My Job!

This type of person will limit themselves to do just one task and only that task. When the set is failing, even falling apart, they won’t help. You want to know why? Because that is not their job. On a union set, this is a very frequent occurrence as the unions often have rules stating what a union member can and cannot do. On an independent set however, you should be willing to “wear multiple hats”. When the crew consists of a solid 10-15 people, you probably won’t have a choice.
Not My Job
“I am here to get the 2nd AD water, not help you lift that obviously heavy box.”

2. If I Were You…

This is the person who will always scrutinize and criticize what someone else is doing. Whether is the way the lights were set, the color of the walls, or the choices of craft services. It does’t end there. They will often believe they can do it better or that they know what is the best option. These people can be very damaging to the function of the set so it is wise to try to ignore these people or try to professionally remind them that it is not their job. However, these people can often have good ideas and offer a different point of view, so try not to be too hard on them.
If I Was You
“Why is he telling the Actor to be sad? This is obviously a happy moment.” – Cam Op

3. The “Not” Boss

This type of person will claim to be the boss, will give orders and will stand and wait for you to follow them. Often these people are not in a position to do so. Sure, you could tell them they are not the boss or you could report them to the actual boss, but that can have negative effects on everyone. Try to help these people as much as you can, but never forget what your main responsibilities are and who your “real boss” is.Eyes Rolling
“I need you to go help rig that light.” “But, I’m the 1st AC.” “Not my problem.”

4. The Clock Watcher

The Clock Watchers will drive you crazy. They feel the need to constantly remind you of the time or how long you are taking to complete a task. But let’s be honest, as filmmakers we always want more and we are never satisfied. They can be very annoying at times but they are also the ones responsible for keeping everything on time. As a result, more work can be done, people can also leave early, or even better money can be saved. There’s not much that can be done about a Clock Watcher, except to say “Yes Sir” and “Yes Ma’am” and try to work faster.
Watch
“We are one minute, 36 seconds behind schedule.”

5. The Talker

Ever wonder where your Assistant is? Where the slate went? Just where is that c-stand I asked for five minutes ago? The talkers are always chatting when they are not supposed to, and right when you think you need them the most, they are gone. You will spend several minutes yelling their names and looking for them. They will be talking about side projects and things they have done in the past. However there are always opportunities to network and learn about future projects. Maybe you will get a job on other sets. But always remember: Don’t let the talkers distract you from staying focused and doing a good job.
Talker
“It’s this story of a guy who just lost his wife and his dog…”

6. The Drama Queen

There are actually two types of drama queens on set. Those who will start panicking for the smallest things in the world and cry over it. They will run in circles and let their stress get to them in unhealthy ways, even over something small.  Then theres those who will panic, but their panic can lead them to find immediate solutions. Don’t let the drama spread! Stay calm, cool, and collected. Instead be that crew member you would want to work with in the future.Stress“Oh my God! The actress’ fake eyelash fell off! THE FILM IS RUINED!”

There will always be difficult people at any job, let alone the type of job with the stress levels of being on a film set. It’s very important to have a clear head, a calm demeanor, and to stay focused. Don’t blow up on these people, you will only do more harm than good.

All of these people can and often will be hard working, and their downfalls are the product of either trying too hard, or letting the stress of a film set get to them. Always try to collaborate with these individuals because there is always something positive for them to offer.

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Pinterest: Searching, Grabbing, Gathering – A Visual Idea Developing Your Story

by Weilei Dong

“Ideas are a dime a dozen but an “expressed idea” is a commodity” says by Max Rose, who received her creative writing MFA at Full Sail University. We are filmmakers, and we know how important as a good idea coming out as the spine supporting the whole story. People, especially creative writers, may meet the same issue as “I dried up with no idea”. Then, how to build your world? How to get something visual? How to get them for free?

Here is the answer: Using Pinterest. It’s a free channel for collecting pictures, and creative people know how to develop their channels or albums as a reference to make their world come to life.

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As a good self-example of myself, I used to use Pinterest to set my story outline. There are billions of super cool pictures that you can grab from worldwide. Just like below:

Here is a series of pictures that you want to grab and set an album for your story collection. When the pictures are good, and your album is ready, then, the magic moment to pour them into one story. The first picture is the background period of the first industrial revolution. The girl dressing in steampunk outfits next to the first pictures is our protagonist. As we can see, she’s looking for something. Next, you may want to build the other steampunk girl as her sister, of course, they share a very good relationship. You could build a synopsis like this: A little girl living under a phantom period of industrial reform is trying to get her older sister back from an evil duke. So, the next step is to find a duke who forments a bad plan by using our protagonist’s sister. And, boom, here it is. You may grow more ideas; I just listed one for this essay.

Of course, Pinterest is one of the most useful channels, however, there are more channels available for you, such as 500px, Lofter, and so on. All of them are helpful to spark ideas, and they’re free. Since it’s free, why not?

Five Things I Didn’t Know Before Film School

5. Do not use guns on set.

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Real or fake. Not even a SuperSoaker. In fact, no weapons at all…unless you have a permit, proper signage around the area in which a “PROP WEAPON IS IN USE”, have notified local authorities, and have one of said authorities on premises during production.

One time, I was working on a set where the Director snuck a prop gun onto set to be used in a single shot without the proper permits and signage. A few moments later, two police cruisers, lights on, ripped down the street towards us. As I assumed they were heading our way, I walked out into the middle of the parking lot with my hands up ready to explain that the weapon wasn’t real etc etc. Fortunately, they flew right past us. The point is: Don’t use weapons on set unless you’ve covered your ass first.

4. Projects fall apart all the time.

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Don’t take it personally. Sometimes it’s because your lead actor catches the flu the morning of production. Sometimes it’s the rain’s fault. Sometimes the Director just isn’t feelin’ it anymore. There are many reasons why production halts on the Independent level, and even more on the big Studio level. In fact, only about 1% of all scripts in Hollywood actually get made. They don’t call it “Development Hell” for nothing. The struggle is real.

3. There is a plethora of free software out there for you.

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You don’t need $1000 software to make a film. In fact, if you can wrap your production in 30 days, there are many programs available for trial. Your iPhone’s camera is actually a decent piece of recording equipment.

  1. Write your script in Final Draft.
  2. Hash out pre-production using Scenechronize.
  3. Plan out your shots on your iPhone using the app Shot Designer.
  4. Mix all of your sound using Audacity.
  5. Finally edit and color correct your film using DaVinci Resolve 12.

2. Filmmaking can kill you.

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High-powered lights and equipment capable of killing a human in milliseconds. Cranes heavy enough to crush a skull like a boot to an egg. That’s why there are so many safety precautions in place. And why insurance costs an arm and a leg. The Producer is responsible for the well-being of his crew and that includes tending to any injuries occurred on set, documenting, and recording said injuries.

Some productions include pyrotechnics, stunts, and prop weapons. That’s why there are medics on standby at all times. Remember rule #1 – CYA.

1. Go make a movie. Right now.

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Seriously. You can make a movie today instead of reading blog posts about it. Think of a story, write it out, plan it out, and shoot it. It’s that easy. I already told you how to make a film for free so go do it. Now. It’s the only way to learn. Break a leg, kid.

By Christopher Monaco and Panda Lord

 

Five Things to Know About Your Thesis Shoot

by Aaron Bray and Shun-Yuan Tsai

If you are in film school, chances are you will find yourself on a film set at some point in your education. Regardless of the type of film you are making, the more order and efficiency there is during the shoot, the smoother that shoot will run.

Coming fresh off the shoot of our Masters Thesis film, “Bad Magic,” we have experienced learning what can work well on a student film shoot, sometimes learning the hard way. As a result of our experience, we have developed some “best practices” that you can adopt to ensure your own shoot will run more smoothly.

  1. Scout early, scout often

IMG_3677After a scouting trip with our instructor, it became clear one of our original secured locations wasn’t going to work out for our shoot. In hindsight, having alternate locations already prepared would have saved us a great deal of stress. Make sure the location you have is a solid choice; if it’s not, consider all of your options.

 

  1. Meet with cast and key crew members before shooting daBlog 4.jpgy.

Three words can sum up the best way to prepare for a thesis shoot: “Meetings, meetings, meetings.” Production meetings may not be fun, but trust us, falling behind schedule or having production break down due to lack of communication is infinitely less fun.

 

  1. Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork.

By the time production rolls around, you should already have your shooting schedule for the duration of the shoot well-secured. In addition to the shooting schedule, send out call sheets with any updated changes the night before the shooting day at the latest. Cast and crew work better when they know where they need to be, and when they need to be there.

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  1. Feed People!Blog 3.jpg

While we are on the subject of making your cast and crew happy, the easiest way to their hearts is through their stomachs. Greet your crew on morning call with coffee, donuts, and your smiling face, and they can work hard for you all day (especially if they are working for free).

 

  1. Be Prepared for Things to go Wrong.

Things can (and WILL!) not go according to plan on a film set, especially a student production. It is a learning experience; many of your crew members may be doing their jobs for the first time. You can save yourself headaches by brainstorming all the possible things that could go wrong, and what you will do when that happens.

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Don’t forget, above all, filmmaking should be fun! Following these simple guidelines can help keep the process a fun and enjoyable one.

About the authors:

12987014_1128193900536278_1795885037763618389_n.jpg Shun-Yuan Tsai is earning her MFA in Film Production at Full Sail University, and was the Art Director for the Masters Thesis film, “Bad Magic.” She likes long bike rides and period dramas.

Bray Melon.jpg Aaron Bray is earning his MFA in Film Production at Full Sail University, and was the Producer for the Masters Thesis film, “Bad Magic.” He likes walks on the beach and vegan sushi.

 

YouTube; Opening The Doors

Written by Amanda Bovea

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Many young filmmakers struggle with how to get their films distributed. They will go through the complete process of pre-production to post, but don’t think about the after until much later. After all is said and done, young filmmakers are left with the question “ What now?”

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That’s where YouTube comes in. YouTube has grown from a platform used for political statements and silly cat videos to a platform that has given a launch pad to many young filmmakers. The ways views are tapped are completely organic; word of mouth and shares via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms bring attention to the content on YouTube.

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A lot of young people have major FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Millennial’s want to get the most out of life, but for most, it’s not economically possible. That’s where vlogging, a style of filmmaking that has been on the rise recently, comes into play.

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Casey Neistat, a YouTube pioneer with almost two million subscribers, is one of the most viewed daily content creators, creating daily lifestyle vlogs that have garnered a substantial following. Constantly pushing the boundaries with innovations and downright creativity, his mantra and style can be seen often imitated by the young and naïve. Neistat’s Get To Work attitude has significantly shaped the platform for young filmmakers. You can see him preaching that constantly creating content is the only way we can grow as young filmmakers all over his channel.

YouTube is a great platform. It is an open stage, but it’s your job to fill the seats. Whether you choose to use Neistat’s route of daily films, or spend months creating one piece, YouTube will continue to be a great launching pad.

 

For more about Casey check out his links below;

https://www.youtube.com/user/caseyneistat

https://www.instagram.com/caseyneistat/

https://twitter.com/CaseyNeistat