The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking # 1 Digging For A Good Idea.
Do you really think you’re ready to make a movie? Do you think you’re ready to go from film student to filmmaker? Well we’ve seen your work and you fall right in to the Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking. Don’t know what those are?
Ignore these at your own peril, amateur…
Go here to listen…Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking. #2 What Story Are We Telling?
Once again William Akers (Your Screenplay Sucks!) and Kelley Baker (The Angry Filmmaker) get together and discuss story.
What is your story telling us? Cause it certainly isn’t clear to me. Make sure you know your story and your characters, because every shot tells a story. I refuse to sit through another crappy film where nothing makes sense till the end, and even then…. It sometimes doesn’t. So know your story!
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #3 Have A Script!
I know this sounds stupid but a lot of people actually go out and try to make a movie without a script. WTF? If you have a script your Actors will think better of you, as will your crew and you won’t be wasting their time. And if you have a GOOD Script, you might make a decent movie.
Remember “Organization is key, and organization starts with a script.” With a script you would’ve already worked out all the kinks and figured out the details.
Go here and listen…The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #3 Have A Script 7-2011
So why aren’t you following this rule?!?!
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #4 – The Good Guy Must Want Something.”
Everyone wants to know what your hero is fighting for and what they want and desire. So instead of not making that clear in your movie, here is an idea… Make it clear to the audience! Shocker, I know.
If you truly don’t know what your hero wants in the movie, then you probably shouldn’t be shooting the movie. You should go back and rewrite the script until the hero’s desires are known. So just remember the audience wants someone to root for, but they can’t do that unless they know what that hero wants.
Click here to listen to … 7 Deadly Sins Four The Good Guy Must want something 7-2011
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #5 – And Superman Flies Off the Houseboat.
One of Will’s students wrote the above line in a script for one of his classes. Not only did the student not know Superman personally, he didn’t even know anyone who had a houseboat! So how in the hell is he ever going to make this film?
I know you’ve seen a lot of cool movies with huge budgets over the years but that doesn’t mean you can make one. And trust me if you make a film for no money that relies on a lot of special effects, those effects are probably going to rank really high on the Velveeta Meter.
Why not write a script that you can actually make?
Click to listen to … 7 Deadly Sins Five And Superman Flies off the houseboat 7-2011
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #6 – Put Conflict In Every Scene
As a writer you need to try and find a way to have conflict in every scene. You need conflict to move the story forward. Enough with the giving us, “Character Background Scenes”. We don’t care! Work bits and pieces of the character’s backgrounds in to different scenes. Don’t lay it all out for us at one. Get your story moving! Otherwise we’ll never read past page 6 … (if that.)
Click to listen to … 7 Deadly Sins of Filmmaking Number Six Put Conflict in Every Scene
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #7 – Cut all Obvious, Repetitive and Boring Dialogue!
You need to get rid of all of the boring, repetitive and obvious dialogue in your screenplays. One of the most common things we see are beginning screenwriters who have characters use each other’s names in their conversations. How often do you use your friend’s names in conversation? You know whom you’re talking to, and so do your characters! Cut out every time a character uses the name of the person they are talking to and see how it plays. There are more obvious bits of dialog you can cut and we talk about them.
Click to listen to … 7 Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #7 Cut all Boring and Obvious Dialogue
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #8 Cast People Who Are The Right Age!
Yes, it’s #8 in the Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking!
Once again William Akers (Your Screenplay Sucks) and I, The Angry Filmmaker discuss one of the major mistakes we see in student and some Independent Films. Number 8 is, Cast People Who Are The Right Age For Your Film!
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #9 – Rehearse With Your Actors and Crew
Click to listen to … The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking # 9 Rehearse with your Actors & Crew
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #10 – Sacrifice Look For Performance.
Stop spending all of your time fretting over the equipment and the lighting and worry about the DAMN Performances! Work with your Actors, they don’t bite. If more filmmakers were as worried about their actor’s performances we might have worse looking films but they’d be better. Audiences will forgive a lot of technical problems but if the acting isn’t good then we’re all heading to the exits. Spend time working with your actors so that they can create believable characters and make them come alive. We’ll remember their performances longer than how your film looked.
Click to listen to … The 7 Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #10 Sacrifice Look for Performance
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #11 – Scout Your Locations!
Where is the power? How easy is it to get to the location? Is it too LOUD to get good sound? Is it on a landing pattern of your local airport? What else didn’t you think about when you selected this location? We always want locations that look cool but there are a lot of other things you need to think about before you select one.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking # 12 – Choose Interesting Locations!
Don’t shoot in your apartment! Or in your house if you can help it! Work hard to come up with interesting places to shoot. Make your locations add something to the story. Think about other films you’re seen, and where they were shot. Did the location add to the story or the mood.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #13 – Check All of Your Equipment Before You Shoot!
Whether you own your equipment or you’re renting or borrowing you need to go through every piece of gear the DAY before the shoot and make sure it is in peak operating condition. You need to pack it all up the day before and have it ready to go. I have seen too many instances where filmmakers wait until the last minute and show up on set with pieces of equipment not working or pieces missing. Talk about looking unprofessional! I don’t care when you used it last, go through it! And give yourself time to get things fixed if you need to. There is no excuse for making a cast and crew wait while you try to fix or find something you should have checked on earlier.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #14 – Avoid “Pretend Production Design”!
Nothing screams student film louder than, “I see those forks sitting on those empty plates, I’ll pretend that someone just ate a hardy meal.” Why would you shoot something and then assume that the audience will pretend it’s real. Come on. If you can’t do the production design, then don’t do it.
So listen and learn.
Click here to listen to Filmmaking Deadly Sin Fourteen Avoid Pretend Production Design
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #15 – Do A Shot List & Check It OFF!
I know, you all do your shot lists before you go out and shoot (well most of you anyway) but what I can’t believe is that you don’t check off the shots after you’ve done them. You think I’m joking? I see it all the time. And who’s got that shot list anyway? I was just on a shoot where the Director made up a shot list but didn’t give it to anyone. He showed up on the shoot and hadn’t made copies for the Producer, AD, DP, or anyone. He assured everyone he had it and I even saw him looking at it occasionally. Oh come on! Make a shot list, make copies and then check them off as you do your shots. How hard is this?
The Seven Deadly Sins of Filmmaking #16 – Don’t Plan Elaborate Moving Shots
You just saw a really cool shot in a recent film and you want to do something just like it in your movie. Don’t do it! Don’t take this personally; YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO PULL IT OFF! Elaborate moving shots look great, we’ve done a few over the years and take it from us, they are really hard and REALLY time consuming. How big is your crew, and how big is your budget? If you have a large EXPERIENCED crew, give it a try. If not… Whenever I teach filmmaking there is always one shot that the students try to do which is a moving shot, and they always spend four times longer trying to get it than the planned, and even then it doesn’t look like what they thought it would. It is always a lot harder than it looks on a DVD.
The other thing you need to plan carefully is how you’re going to cut in and out of a moving shot. The odds are your shot is going to be too slow or there will be a bump in the move, or something. Now you’re going to have to figure out how to get in and out of part of the shot without it looking really BAD.
But wait, there’s more…