Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gurella Filmmaking-Things I learned doing no budget films-Part 4

So you're doing a film. You have a script, shoot dates, a crew and all roles have been cast. What do you do in pre-production. Well right off, since you don't have a budget you know rehearsal is going to be difficult. I start with a table read. This is an extremely important time for me. The actors have had time to look at their character and then bring something to the table. I am big on helping the actor find their voice. I always design back story for all the larger roles. I think it's important that the person know what I was thinking when I wrote it. I always tell them that I am open to their interpretation, but at least they now have a starting point. The round table is a little bit about actors, but more for me. It is the first time I hear the whole film from start to finish. I find it a good place to find problems with pacing, dialogue and scenes that just don't work. Which means rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. I am always changing things right up to the day of the shoot, and would probably still be writing during the shoot if I didn't have other things to do.

I also give my actor plenty of flexibility. I am usually not in love with the words so I always tell the actors that they should feel free to change it up and use things that are more comfortable for them. As long as story isn't compromised I have always gotten stronger performances when the actor is able to make the part their own.

I wasn't always like this. When I first started doing films I found I was fiercely protective of every word and wouldn't let anything change. It was an insecurity and a need to own everything. It almost always fucks up the film and it ensures that your movie will not be the best that it can be.

So again the round table is a crucial part of my post production. From here I decide what scenes need work and try to schedule rehearsals. I also try and not book rehearsals to close to the shoot dates. Actors seem to do better after a little bit of time between rehearsal and shoot and I think it's because they need the time to internalize the role and in a sense put their game face on.

So there it is part 4. These again are based on experiences I have had and have found that I am starting to get better at the whole filmmaking thang when I practise what I have learned. I would love some of you to share your ideas on filmmaking as well. An open forum is a good way to learn and share ideas.

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