Hello HS Filmmakers (we still need a better name for ourselves),
This thread of my blog will be the home of news, updates and recaps regarding our filmmaking endeavor. Some of us are not able to make the regular Thursday meetings and these posts should keep everyone up-to-date about what’s going on.
Session One Recap:
What We Will Do
We talked a bit about what people would like out of a filmmaking club. There were two ideas: one is to create an ongoing serial story in 5 minute episodes, like a TV show for the web; the other is that everyone is free to write and create whatever kind of short film they choose, be it narrative, documentary, music video, animation etc.
We decided that in our first year, we would stick to the second option, giving members the most freedom. Those interested in creating an ongoing series can get together and create a common group of characters and write their individual shorts about those common characters and that will move us towards a continuing series without limiting other members’ ability to write other forms.
I will start each session with a short lesson about some aspect of filmmaking and the rest of the time will be spent on making our films. It is a reality of filmmaking that one hour, once a week will not be enough time. Most members have indicated willingness to put in more time, possibly on a Saturday, in order to work on their projects. This isn’t a requirement, but personally, I think it’s a fun way to spend a Saturday. These arrangements will be made with the crews of individual films, as required. This is also one way that students who can’t make it to our Thursday sessions can still be involved in the filmmaking.
Filmmaking at its best is a highly collaborative medium. Collaboration is also the best way to learn the craft of filmmaking. To ensure good collaboration, I have a couple of anti-diva rules: 1. If you write the film, you can’t also direct it. 2. If you direct the film, you can’t also edit it. 3. If you act in a film, you must also help with set up and take down of equipment on the day of the shoot.
We will use some free screenwriting software called Celtx. To download it, follow this link to the celtx site scroll down the page to just below the chart that compares Celtx Plus to Celtx.
There, in plain text (as opposed to the pretty blue buttons they use to have you download things you pay for) there is a link that allows you to download the free version of Celtx. You can download and install this if you plan to write a film in this activity.
We also talked about screenplay structure. Writing for film is really geared towards structure, so we’ll talk a lot about that. Even the most unconventional (or seemingly unconventional) films use a 3 act structure:
The other thing we talked about was character, which we want to think of in terms of a Want, Desire and Need. Understanding these three aspects of a character will help you write compelling characters and create compelling conflicts for them.
These are some great films about the art and craft of filmmaking:
PressPausePlay (free on vimeo)
An exploration of how digital culture is changing the artistic landscape and enterprise.
Side by Side (available for rent on iTunes)
A film that sets celluloid emulsion filmmaking in comparison to digital filmmaking and maps out how the craft of filmmaking has changed and continues to change.
Visions of Light
An older documentary about the art of cinematography. See some of the most insipired moments in film photography and hear from the artists who created them.