Award-winning filmmakers and creative storytellers share independent filmmaking tips….
Photo by Jakob Owens, Filmmaker and Photographer, LA-PHX. Follow @JakobOwens.
8 Independent Filmmaking Tips
“Probably my most used techniques revolve around working with actors when the actor and script are not connecting. One of the techniques I use is effective for rehearsals in pre- production or for last minute changes while filming. If the line is not coming off in a realistic way, I’ll have the actor paraphrase the line, making it personal to them. The key here is to strip away any acting or preconceived ideas the actor has in their mind. If he can connect with the objective of the character and the idea behind the script, we’ll add the lines back into the performance. If the actor still has trouble connecting with the script and crucial time is slipping away then it is sometimes best to simplify the dialogue or take it out altogether. Have the actor try to get the objective across with as few words, if any, as possible. Usually this is a bit of a struggle if done in the last minute, but it’s better to have an action than ‘acted’ dialogue.”
“Don’t think in colours, think in textures and hues.”
“Very often when I operate the camera, I want to make a smooth pan or move with the fluid head. I’ve found that I can do better moves by ‘hugging’ the camera, actually pressing my chest to it so I can feel it and control it more delicately. Sometimes this reminds me of holding a woman in my arms, which is funny way to think of the camera as your dancing partner.”
“Use of color. I like to use colors as symbols. I like to put a lot of symbols and metaphor into my work. Each name is chosen specifically. Dates, times, phone numbers – they could be messages, or names, or even Bible verses reflecting what’s going on.”
~Bernard Kenwood (“BK”) Garceau, III
“An incredibly easy way to make the close-ups on an actor’s face while the actor is walking or running [like in ‘Requiem for a Dream’] is to simply open a light tripod with which an actor can put its legs around his or her body, and just tilt the camera so that it’s looking at the actor. If using a wide angle ~ works way better.”
“Good teamwork with my best friend and co-worker. I’m very influenced by other techniques of my favorite filmmakers. I love tons of camera movement and hand held shots. When I shoot things I think about how the story can best be told with the way I film it. I decide if I’m going to do long takes and having the camera moving. Or, am I going to have fast cuts and close up shots? When I write my scripts I write it like how I’m gonna direct it. When I film, I think about how I’m gonna edit these shots together.”
“Be creative in problem solving, don’t give up! My friends and I were looking for an alternative way to get a track shot in a short film we were making. We used a wheelchair as an alternative, and it worked just as well.”
“Listen, consider, evaluate, execute.”
“Always be flexible and focused.”