bigger challenges, lessons for next time

i always want to challenge myself with each film i make. making these shorts is my film school so i’m trying to learn as much as i can before i move on to features.

my 4th film, Ku Klux Kornea, was the biggest film i have shot.

the most important difference with this project was that i worked with a producer. that really let me focus on the script and all the preparation a director has to do without worrying too much about logistics. he basically hired the crew, secured all the equipment, and contributed in so many ways.

the crew for this film was much bigger than my previous projects. we had 21 people!
– Unit Production Manager / 2nd AD
– 1st AD / Boom Operator
– DP
– 1st AC
– 2nd AC
– Gaffer
– Key Grip
– Dolly Grip
– Grips (3)
– Sound Mixer
– Make Up/Hair
– Script Supervisor
– Production Designer
– Art Director
– Set Photographer
– Wardrobe (x2)
– PA
– Behind the scenes

having all those people really freed my time and let me focus on the things a director should focus on. on my last shoot, i was buying craft services the night before the shoot, and picking up coffee from starbucks on the morning of the shoot day. the director should be focused on other things.

we also had 12 cast members, and most of them were SAG. the 2nd AD and the producer coordinated all the SAG paperwork, so i didn’t have to worry about that.

i shot my last short with the panasonic hvx200. i really liked the image quality and i loved the p2 work flow. i’m using the same camera for this film as well, except i used the redrock 35mm adapter with prime lenses. it was my first time working with prime lenses so it was a new challenge. camera placement was critical because you couldn’t make small adjustments on a zoom lens to compensate. you also have to factor in the time it takes to change lenses,

it was a very good shoot, but of course there are always things you wish you had differently.

– i wish i had time and money to hold call backs. i had to rush through the audition process because there were so many actors to see in one day, so i didn’t have a chance to chat with the actors and get to know them and start establishing that relationship early on. luckily, the actors were great to work with, but next time, i will have a longer, more thorough audition process. also, once i finalize some of the roles, i’d like those actors to come read when i cast the other roles.

– i want to spend more time during rehearsal. i only had time for one rehearsal a few days before the shoot, and not everyone could make it. i should have also asked the DP to come to the rehearsal. while i went over the performances with the actors, i could also have reviewed camera decisions with the DP. also, if i could rehearse on the actual location where i plan to shoot, that would be very helpful in blocking actors and camera, and practicing choreography between the two.

i think those 2 things will help in my next film. i just need to make sure i have enough time in preproduction.

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