I didn’t care much for the intro to genre chapter because I hadn’t yet realized the importance of Genre. I do eventually get the importance of it by Week 7. I did research into the French New Wave as I read about it and remembered it a bit from film school. It is important to understand the trailblazing things that came before, even if they seem so regular now – that way you might follow suit in your own way. . I ended up watching a short documentary on François Truffaut and never looked back. I would have rather heard about the FNW fully instead of Auteurism. Obviously, a film reflects a director’s creative vision. Wikipedia labels Auteur Theory as having “arose in France during the late 1940s as an outgrowth of the cinematic theories of André Bazin and Alexandre Astruc”. But still having been introduced by American critic Andrew Sarris.
I watched Sam Raimi’s ‘Within The Woods‘, since I had referenced it in one of my quiz answers. It was a great little thing, while not being perfect. It was interesting to think that this man went on and directed “Spiderman“. It was grainy and never made High Definition due to lack of ownership over the music rights, you can see how it immediately see how it influenced “The Evil Dead“. I kept thinking that they must have done some selling to get this film made into a full-length movie. It also brought me to want to look back into something I hadn’t seen in a while, Robert Rodriguez Ten Minutes Film Schools. He used to release them with every movie he made. I had only seen 3 of them, because I had only ever owned the ‘El Mariachi’ trilogy and those were the best ones. So very much worth a look. With age and money, he became less of the man who wants to make a cheap movie. He still wanted to be efficient, but his advice became less practical with every edition. Take the latter two. One on special effects, which Is important mind you, but on day one you’re not gonna want to jump into “After Effects” (but eventually). One is one crafting your own score. Music IS important. It is one of many things that can make or break a good film, but no one is expecting you to learn piano and fruity loops (but if you know them, you’re at an advantage). So I guess in conclusion, watch them all and take from it what you can.
I took notes on somethings that I found important in his “Lectures”:
Take stock of what you have. Which basically means to write in parameters of what you can accomplish. This seems simple, but I honestly write about rooms I may never get to step into with effects I couldn’t pull off. In my friend Damon’s movie, which I had a guest role in, I played a Prisoner, but the closest we could get into the jail was the lobby. You have to take stock of what you have before you roll. RR famously said he had a turtle, a small town, 1 guitar case and a bus. That is good advice, having a list of what is at your disposal and making a screen play based around that.
Lighting is everything. Initially, he said I might need a light meter, so I looked it up. I found a nice tutorial on what a light meter is and how to use it HERE. But in later editions, he claims his digital camera does all the work for him. That shit WILL help you set the perfect F Stop, which you will learn about in lesson 5 or so. By now, there’s an app for that. Ugh, he sure does turn all George Lucas in his later years, though. All Flash and no BANG (one man’s opinion). In El Mariachi he had 2 home depot clamp lights. He used them perfectly, just to light his subjects. to light the front, natural lighting on the back and one on the floor for contrast. But I left super curious if I would ever need a Spot Light Meter or not. Should I invest, when the cheapest one I can find is a vintage dial joint form 1980? – I decided no.
Record storyboards of your visualizations, if you cant draw. Just do a run through of the screen, with people who might not be your actors, so they will understand their direction on the day of. This is something I may utilize because I never could draw. It seems effective, especially if you’ve ‘ closed your eyes and visualized’ like Robert suggested. It’s important to have everything in your mind already. But then again Werner Herzog says don’t worry about story boards at all. I think you should meet in the middle. If a cinematographer wants to jot some pictures down let him. As long as you have it in your head and can get it out, that’s what is important. Just don’t go into the situation half-cocked.
Again, embrace special effects, when applicable. Towards the end, many of his tips were useless. For me, I don’t see myself using green screen for much because I would have to digitally do ALL that background work myself. Its almost as if he forgets he has a team behind him creating those visuals in Sin City. But somethings were helpful. Like imposing 2 shots together. one of a girl’s still face, one of her eyes closed getting shot with blood, where she flinches. you impose those 2 shots together. She gets splattered in the face never flinching. Or the one from grind house where they turn Fergie’s head. then turn a dummies head with the brain missing and mix the two together. THAT IS PRACTICAL!
Know where your cuts are, don’t waste film. Reposition on the same take. He does this often, from El Mariachi to Duck/Dawn and even on Sin City. If you’ve visualized and you know the way you suspect it will be edited, you won’t waste time effort. Werner says the same thing, especially working with digital. Leave the Camera roll and reposition.
And lastly; Eventually everyone will need a steady cam. That goes without saying.. I’m dreaming of the day I have a body mounted Steady Cam and a RED Dragon, but I settled for a film rig and a A7sii. but stabilizers come in all shapes and sizes. some are digital, some look like car wheels.
Now on to my first day with the Mentor.
Technical difficulties held us back initially, but I got to watch her work on her business and helped promote an event she has coming up. Promoting yourself is key. I eventually fixed up an old facebook fan page to be for my media company and copped an Insta. Watching her work hard made me more assured about the whole thing because she’s working hard, regardless if it is only for the recognition currently. That’s what Videography is all about in the beginning. Doing what you can do, often for free to build a reel... My external hard drive didn’t link with her Mac Book and I think drop box is the devil. It took forever to get me these files, but once I had them everything was golden. I sat and edited an interview with BiBi Bourelly. It was felt good having my questions answered, because I knew the basics but didn’t get some intricate bits. If you ever have questions, please just ask. Like how to stabilize a clip, how to zoom in, the volume controls and how to make a title.
She has alot going on, so she wasn’t super helpful towards the end. She was certainly not a teacher, but I don’t feel as skeptical leaving after my first day. I loved editing with a passion. But I also had plans to work on a short, motivational film about running, tentatively titled “The Road Not Traveled” (Chasing Pavement).
P.S. I’ve also been reading The Peregrine, an amazing book for story tellers. I recommend it to anybody who was like me and couldn’t get their fact out of Fiction long enough to read other decent stories.