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Recently we shot a spec commercial for Uber. A spec commercial is a commercial you do for free to show to companies what kind of quality product they can expect from your productions. Bellow is the commercial and a BTS picture of Cliff with the camera.
Over Memorial Day weekend I decided to work on a documentary about my mom. This is was came of it. I wanted to make this documentary to contrast my documentary that I made before Full Sail to see how much I have improved. You can see the old documentary here.
The soundtrack for the film is also available for royalty free.
Filmmaking is a very technological art. There are many skills to learn and master. Camera, Lighting, Sound, Writing, Acting, and many more. However I think that there are some ideologies which are even more important than the technical skills. There are two. The first is "Story Comes First". The second is "Hierarchy of Command".
Story is the most important part of a film. It is the plot, theme, conflict and characters of your film. Without these, your film is just a test video. Test videos may be cool to filmmakers but the average person won't care. Story should be a key thing that helps you make every decision. For example which shots you want. If you are filming a fight scene, a handheld look might increase the tension. However if you were filming a beautiful dance, a handheld look would make the dancers look less elegant. A steadicam shot might be more appropriate.
Hierarchy of command is a very important concept that many beginning filmmakers do not grasp. On many beginner sets, everyone tries to direct the film. They try to decide what should happen and even important details like which shots they should have. But on an experienced set, everyone follows a single vision of the director. Everyone else is focused on their specific task.
On beginner sets, the sound guy might suggest a shot. Many beginners welcome this because they believe that more input creates a better film. This is wrong. By suggesting a shot, he is taking his mind off of sound and may compromise the film's sound. They also may be inputing the wrong vision. Instead of shooting one vision, you may end up shooting 1/3 of one person's vision and 2/3 of another's. So you really don't end up with a whole movie.
It may be hard to create this on a set where everyone is on similar levels of experience and all working for free. The best way to off balance this is prepared-ness. If the director is the most prepared, he will be able to command his crew into the best direction. However a lack of preparation will likely lead to everyone trying to throw in advise and thus a slower shoot. But also each individual element will not be as cleanly executed.
Hopefully these ideas will help you on your next shoot.
Recently I have moved to Atlanta, a big filmmaking hub. I've also decided to try and make it as a freelance only. It's been difficult but I've learned a few things over the past month.
1) It only takes one "yes"
Don't let an endless sea of nos get you down. Sending out resumes and cover letters to nearly everyone is part of the job. Everyone else is doing the same thing. One job can end up leading to another and soon your booked.
2) Check job sites several times a day
Many jobs are posted mid-day. I typically check craigslist and staffmeup daily. But there are plenty of other sites out there.
3) Send your resume to people who aren't hiring
I know this one seems kind of counter intuitive. Why would you spend the time to message someone without a job? Well everyone with some sort of success in the industry will end up hiring someone. Maybe in the near future. By sending a resume early, they may call you even before posting the job.
4) Networking Events & Facebook Pages
Just simply commenting on someone's post could land you a job in the future. Make some friends. Atlanta has a facebook page, Atlanta Film Community, plus a weekly networking event, Film Bar Mondays.
5) Keep working on passion projects
Working on passion projects keeps you learning when all you get is corporate videography jobs. It also may help you get noticed and get new jobs. Who knows?
Hope this helped! And good luck! (you'll need it)
Zachary Will is an Award-Winning Filmmaker creating short films and content for the Internet as the owner of Riverside Studios. He has a Bachelor's in Film from Full Sail University. He has worked on productions for companies like Webmd, Sears, Home Depot, Six Flags and more!
"the trick is to never give up... I think the secret of success is not how little you get knocked down but how often you get back up." - Gareth Edwards