Well it’s the end of the year, for me anyway, and I guess just as good a time as any to write some reflections. When I made my first film last year I made it with the intent to learn about filmmaking. I’m not good in a classroom setting. I have a hard time retaining information by reading it in a book and taking notes. I have to do things to learn them. I made what I thought was a good short film. Got some feedback and some notes from people both in and out of “the industry” and set a goal for 2019. That goal was to make 10 short films in the year. Mission failed, but really, a success because even though I didn’t make 10 full shorts I did learn at least twice as much about filmmaking as I did in 2018; so to quote Professor Hulk “I see this an absolute win!”
First up, Burgers!
I had a lot of fun working on this and it was the only project I did any “making of” videos because doing “making of” videos by yourself is stupid, or at least feels stupid, but some people liked it so naturally…I didn’t do it again, maybe next year. It’s a dry comedy and the script idea came to me while sitting in a corporate lunch room and simply overhearing a similar conversation. I of course embellished some details. I learned a lot about lighting and shot composition for this. Please… Consider the following-
I can’t really show a lot of lighting examples just because I was working with both the gym lights and some 50K CFL’s with diffusers. I used your typical three point lighting for all of the closeups which turned out better than not using any lighting at all.
Mother’s day was an idea I had while driving home from work one day. It sort of just popped into my head so I “speech-to-text” wrote a note in my phone and started working on the script that night. I decided to explore the taboo of mental illness, specifically degenerative diseases of the mind and how we treat those who suffer from this blight. I used the lessons I learned from Burgers to create better shot compositions but the lighting is all natural. I did some very basic color correction because I honestly liked the flatter colors of the Rebel T6 (which I used to shoot everything except Good Works). Also one very nice YouTuber cautioned me in the use of “cinebars” for films like this. Check the comments in the video for the full details of his critique.
This music video is, as of writing this blog, unreleased. A link will be provided as soon as it is available for viewing.
This was a fun project where I really got to play with my camera and editing in Premiere. All of my best friends were involved in this so I love the project a little more because of that.
This video will probably never be released as it was a passion project for me; a music video I made for the band Lebrock. This stars yours truly and I spent the majority of my creativity on the colors and VHS look to the video. I hired a camera op to film me and used basic shots with some movement and “80’s shots”. Maybe if in the future I can convince the band to let me use their song for this video I can show more of it, for now you get these awesome screen grabs :p
The final creative project of the year and definitely my best work to date. This was a for a horror film competition in Cincinnati, OH and as you can read in the laurels, did pretty well 🙂
I can confidently say I am a better filmmaker now than I was a year ago. That may not seem like much to some and too bold a statement to others but when you look at the first thing I tossed on YouTube and compare it to the last film I made in 2019, there is hardly any argument that progress had been made. I still have a lot of learning to do, and I don’t really believe I’ll ever stop learning about how to make good films. I like good stories, and I actually like the grind that is making a film. Everything worth doing is hard and if you just pull yourself up by the bootstraps you CAN make a good film.
I didn’t mean to turn this reflection and self critique into an inspirational post but to any of you reading this who are either new filmmakers or are wanting to be one, following my journey should be a good learning opportunity just for the sake of being able to see what kind of obstacles will get in your way. I’m not saying my process is good or even right and I’ll most likely end up changing it over the years but so far, it works for me and I’ve been happy with the content I’ve produced with it. Next year is looking great and it is my full intention to begin production on my first feature length film and I am swearing an oath to myself and to you, dear reader, that I will document that entire journey starting with my next blog post. It will be boring, it will not be fun until we get into at least the casting phase, but I swear I will share everything I can, when I can, even if just for me to look back on that road.
I think I’m starting to ramble so I’ll stop writing now. Now. Okay now.
Everything worth doing is hard.