Thursday, July 14, 2011

Film Camp Day 3—Lights, Camera, Action

Day 3 of the film camp is hands down the most challenging and work intensive day of the entire camp. Now it’s time to put everything that has been learned in the classroom into practice. With scripts, storyboards, and shot lists prepared and ready to go, it’s time to move into production. Let’s make a movie.

We started the day off with an interactive, production workshop where director Isaac Stambaugh and cinematographer Russ Beckner demonstrated how to visually shoot a scene. We brought in two actors and used a prepared script to illustrate blocking, coverage and shot composition. It was one final time to see how the pros do it.

But the real purpose was to demonstrate how crews conduct themselves on professional sets. There are certain protocols and set etiquette that must be followed in order to work as a team and complete the project. Students had an opportunity to ask questions. One thing that became obvious during this demonstration is the fact that the scene was shot several times from multiple angles.

After lunch the teams were cut loose and were ready to take matters into their hands. At last, it was lights, camera, and action. Most of the teams elected to stay on campus to cut down on travel time. They had a little over seven hours to complete principle photography.

After about three hours, I went around and started talking to crew members about their experiences. The majority expressed one common theme that this was far more difficult than they imagined. Although many of the students in the class had previously used cameras and had shot some of their own short films, this film camp was their first opportunity to work in a structured environment.

They were used to grabbing a couple of friends and going out and shooting something off the cuff. Now they were working with schedules, scripts, and actors. They also realized that every time they moved from location to location in and of itself was a labor intensive and time consuming effect. Packing and unpacking the equipment and moving people in unison was no easy matter. As the day went on, the pressure started to mount. Some of the teams fell behind schedule and had to make some adjustments to put themselves back on track. It’s all part of the learning process.

I have to say that every team was very ambitious and creative. From rabbits, clowns, and all other sorts of props, I expect to see some amazing films on Friday. They all worked hard and put in an enormous effort to finish on time. Of course, the good news is they managed to get all the shots they needed and are ready to move into postproduction.

I talked to Elise, one of the students. I asked her how do you feel things went. She said the day was long and the work was hard, especially being out in the woods with the bugs and the heat. Her team had a few challenges to overcome, but they got the job done. The important thing was she said they had fun. Isn’t that really what it’s all about?

If you want to work in this business as a filmmaker, you are going to have to enjoy it and have fun. As Elise found out, the magic rubs off fast, and the reality that making movies is a lot of hard work starts to set in.

Jarrett setting the controls

A strange brand of happy

Marcus and Jesse

production workshop

Josh and Grant

Fluffy the rabbit


Jarrett the director at work

Hannah,Caleb Jarrett and Actor

On location in the woods

Getting the shot

production workshop

Madeline checking out the script

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