Nicholas Reicher

Writing Your Next Blockbuster Film or Novel

Category: Directing

Good to Have a Good Producer

When you’ve got a good producer, things are great. I’ve never worked with a bad one, so don’t know what it’s like.
My producer will listen to any wide-eyed idea I get, and will politely say, “That’s interesting!” Kind of like.. this.
“We’ll have a herd of ninjas riding on Great White Sharks coming to the rescue! In a hailstorm!”
“That’s an interesting idea! Let’s put that one off for a while till we’re done with this project, and we’ll come back to it!”
And will promptly forget the dumb ones, so that by the time I realize it was dumb, he never brings it up again.
“remember the ninjas on great white sharks idea?”
“um… no!”
“Good!”
Mike also never says “No”. He just gently tries to steer me back onto the right path of how he wants the movie to go.
It must be TOUGH to work with a hyperactive script writer!
Off to get more coffee!

Filming your own indie pt. 2

This is kind of a part 2 on what I’ve written on it. For many people, this is kind of the only way you’ll see your script made into a movie. I’m somewhat interested in being part of this, because I’m sure that by getting OUT of the bubble that is my office and DEALING with actors, directors, etc, I’ll get an education on what in my script works, and what doesn’t.
So. The first step to doing an indie is lights, microphones, and cameras.
LIghting takes its own study, as I said last time. Direct lighting creates shadows. So you need another light to remove the shadows. To prevent the Spot phenomenon, you use flood fill lighting, created by something flat or curved (no kidding, you can use spray adhesive, aluminium foil and an umbrella – or even just some poster board with foil glued on it). Aim a light at the bounce, and now you get a glow. that fills. You need this, because dark = grainy.
Microphones – I talked a lot about that last time. Omnidirectional is the usual way to go. Now, I know what’s going to happen is that most of you are going to use ONE CAMERA as your central camera, connect the microphone to that. That’s a good plan for editing purposes. cueing video to audio can be a pain. If one camera is your main, then you’re good to go.
Cameras… no kidding, you can use an iPhone, I’ve been told. Apparently they have really good cameras in them. My cell phone is really cheap, so the camera is grainy and terrible. I guess I should pay more than $9 for a phone. But hey, Android 4.3 was good, so why move up? Don’t laugh at me.
Real stand alone cameras are expensive. You want a 1080i camera, because if you ever do get it played in a theater, it’s the minimum standard. something filmed on an iPhone looks great on Youtube, but if you try to submit it to Sundance, I’m assuming it’s going to look like you filmed it on an iPhone.
I was able to find a 1080i camera in 60 seconds of internet search for $699. Two of those is a lot of money (hey, ONE of those is a lot of money). So look into the AV department of colleges with film classes, and see if you can make some kind of deal with the AV class – borrow the students and the cameras, and yabba dabba doo, you’ve got film crew and equipment.
editing – here’s the part I love. I’ve done editing, and it’s terribly fun, and terribly boring. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve done it. It’s boring when you’ve got a LOT of source material. I used Ulead Video Studio once to edit something, and I was literally able to (on Win XP) make a seven minute video with it. VERY difficult, as the frame rate was professional quality, and the computer had insufficient processor and memory. I poked at the last 30 seconds over and over again, as the video/audio sync kept dropping and dropping.
Someone gave me Vegas later, except the serial number is good for one machine. If you emigrate it to another machine later… you had to call them and get another serial number, so that didn’t work. Sony Vegas remained to me, the best video editing program.
Currently, I’ve poked around with some. Lightworks is really good, but a steep learning curve. I prefer linear editing to non-linear, and all the best ones are non-linear. I found one editor that had a one day “It’s free, grab it” and I grabbed it. The price the next day was $799 for it! AAAUGH!
My producer likes the Adobe software, which is subscription. I think there’s a lot to be said for subscription software, except that you have this at $9.95 a month and that, and soon you’re paying $4,500 a month in subscription based software. I do have to say – his adobe software (not sure which one) does REALLY good work. The demo reels for our project were awe-inspiring.

Filming an Indie

Filming an indie film. Man, what a drag. I’ve never done it, but I’ve been part of the plans for it. Worst case scenario – one cheap camcorder, hand-held, no microphones, no lights.

I don’t care how you edit it, it’s going to be bad.

I’ve been told people film movies with iPhones and a selfie stick.

If you want an indie movie to be good, you need good cameras. If you can get good visuals out of an iPhone, go ahead!

But make sure the lighting is good. There’s all different kinds of ways to light a scene. If interested, do a study on it.

If you’re going to film something and haven’t studied lighting, stop now. If you want something that’s for your family and friends to laugh over, go ahead. Otherwise, study lighting.

The only way to get good sound is to use microphones. You need two booms, one mic stand. Position the microphone ABOVE and BETWEEN the actors. People towards the back of the room will have to go back and dub their voices if all you have is one mic and no mixer.

Microphone – omni-directional. You need to buy an omni-directional microphone, preferably with a wind screen. Otherwise, every time there’s a puff of wind, it’ll obscure the dialogue. How do you buy an omnidirectional microphone? simple. Go to a website and look at “omnidirectional microphones”. Be aware most of them are low impedance, meaning you’ll need a DI box to transform them from Low impedance (XLR connector) to high impedance (phone jack).

video editing. you need a good video editing program, like Lightworks. some people use Adobe now. The standard was Vegas for years… apparently, when Sony sold Vegas they took out features. Not very good.

Now for the hard part. The filming itself. There are blank templates for storyboarding. You need a call sheet listing shots and locations. And you need a film board, with each scene clearly labeled on it. Use the scene #’s from the script. “24A, Ryan shoots Philip. Take six.”

That labels the scene for the director and the editor

Plan, plan, plan. There’s a lot of expensive software available through the Writers’ Store to plan and execute movie filming.

The less work you put into it, the worse it will be. The more, the better. Unfortunately, the more it costs, the better it is. Yes, there has been indie movies made for very little money. But that takes a talented director and producer. Count on it costing you some money. If you don’t have it, you’ll have to crowdsource it or gofundme.

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