How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes?
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    Default How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes?

    Basically I keep making mistakes when directing and shooting projects with actors and crew. I guess I can't expect to be perfect. But this caused actors and crew to walk away and I want to know what I can to do rise above it in their eyes. Like what can I do to still want to work with me, and not care so much about the mistake and understand that $%* happens.

    Like if I make a really bad mistake and make myself look like a fool on set for whatever circumstance, what attitude should I have after, how should I approach it... Usually I am very apologetic and try to suck up, and try to take everyone's mind off it by getting them to concentrate on the next set up.

    But maybe instead, I could like I could just make jokes about it, and try to relieve the disapproval, but maybe that will cause more, because then it may not look like I am taking it seriously if I don't stress out myself, like I do on the inside?

    What do you think?

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    Pro Member   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? Mick Scarborough's Avatar
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    Start out your project with a cast and crew meeting. Explain your newness to them and get them pumped about the project. Then tell the ones you know are experienced that you will rely on their input to assist you. This makes them feel empowered and more vital. Then they will have far more patience with you.


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    Okay thanks, but some of them have been working with me on past projects before, so I don't know if the consider me to be knew anymore and I think they expect more possibly.


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    Pro Member   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? Mick Scarborough's Avatar
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    Well if you are making the same mistakes over and over then they are right to walk away. If each mistake is a new one you learn from and dont repeat 3 or 4 times then they need to learn to be patient. If they continue acting like divas let them walk. Unless they have been in A box office hit they need to step back and check their egos. They need you as much as you need them.


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    I'm not making the same mistakes over and over, but I feel I keep making new ones, but the new ones are increasing with quantity. It's like I started out better than I am now, but each mistake is a new one so far. I think after a while I get too confident once in a while and let my guard down, which causes new mistakes to be made.


  6. #6
    Super Moderator   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? mara's Avatar
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    I always aim for what Mick said - learn from the old mistakes so you don't repeat them, but accept the fact that you're going to make new ones.
    When you do, apologize and own it, then move on. I've made plenty of mistakes, and so have the people on my crew. That's the way I handle it, and how I expect them to as well. I only get angry when people (a) don't listen, (b) keep making the same mistakes, and/or (c) deny responsibility when they were clearly at fault.

    Check out my blog on my experiences as an indie screenwriter and producier:
    http://moreorlessonmovies.blogspot.com/

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    Okay thanks. But I keep getting this feeling like they don't like when I own it's and that's not good enough.


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    Super Moderator   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? mara's Avatar
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    Own it and move on. Don't dwell on mistakes - that WILL annoy people and slow down the production.
    Beyond that, it's their problem. And don't worry about whether they "like" you or not.

    Check out my blog on my experiences as an indie screenwriter and producier:
    http://moreorlessonmovies.blogspot.com/

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    Pro Member   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? Mick Scarborough's Avatar
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    What Mara said. You arent in the business to make people like you, you are there to make films. Learn from your mistakes and eventually you will run out of mistakes to make. In the mean time just keep doing it and stop treating your set as a popularity contest.


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    Senior Member   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? Walter B's Avatar
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    The upside is: there are still people who work with you after all your mistakes.
    Remember your first drawings?
    No masterpieces, right?

    They your first short will be bad.
    Believe me: it takes more than a few to rise above.
    From the get go you have had this feeling that your first short had to be your ticket to Hollywood.
    Then you felt you learnt so much, your second one would be great.
    Truth is: the more you learn, to more you discover that you know less than you thought.
    But you'll become more confident about what you do know :)
    That's why it is called practise.
    And that is why new filmmakers are encouraged to start small to learn fast: lower stakes for cast and crew make it less painfull to make mistakes.

    I still make mistakes.
    After 16 years, I still do. The trick is to quickly solve them :-)


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    Okay thanks. The reason why I wanted my first short to be so good, is because I don't have money to keep making more and more and have to get good without making so many, because of lack of money.


    One of my biggest mistakes is how to handle script changes. Like for my last short I posted the plot had to be changed around 4 times, for actors and locations suddenly not being available and needing to constantly re-invent the story to fit new ones. But let's say I have a longer script like even a feature, and I have to figure out a way to rewrite the whole plot, in my head, on the spot, when shooting because of the changes that come along during shooting. How do I do filmmakers do that but still make sure the plot will come together in the end, especially when forced to shoot out of chronological order, storywise?

    I think this is the route where most of the mistakes come from in my experience, and if I can tackle this, not so many mistakes would branch out of it.


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    Senior Member   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? Walter B's Avatar
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    Your struggles are related to your ambitions and your 'financial resistance' to the idea that practise makes perfect.
    After how many drawing did you draw something the resembled what you said it was?

    I'm not going to say again that you don't have to spend a lot of money on very short shorts.
    Okay, I'll say it anyway.
    You made your first mistakes too expensive, because you hoped money would be a solution.
    But lack of experience can cause people to spend money the wrong way, because they have no idea 1) what the core of the problem is and 2) how to communicate what solution they want. (Hence the grading drama where you told the grader the opposite of what you meant.)

    But you inability to adapt the script to unexpected changes has, in my view, to do with the inability to tell little stories.
    The art of small stories is that there is a certain essence that is condensed into something short.
    Your stories are, from what I can understand, elaborate constructions where every 'plothole' is being patched by more complexity, as if you are creating Windows '98 with infinite patches instead of knowing the essence of your story and being able to see what you can do different while keeping the essence.
    At the same time: the need to change things provbaqbly also comes from lack of experience.
    It is all related.

    I must say I feel blessed that I never had to adjust for people not showing up.
    But I have been adjusting scripts often, because it would take too much time or because the story didn't need it.
    During our last 48 I condensed 2 pages of (unneeded) dialogue into one 3 shot scene (with 1 line dialogue) and a montage, while I was on set.
    I just sat down for 20 minutes, made a break down, looked for what those pages were really about and figured out a visuel way to tell it.

    I know. When I first thought about making movies, my ideas where also too big to chew. If I had started on those projects, I would still be working on it now. But I learnt to keep it small and managable with low financial/time stakes for me and the rest.
    Shooting for 1 day and failing that experiment is a pity, but as long it was fun to try, no big loss.
    Shooting for a week and then discover you made simple mistakes is a waste of time for the people involved.
    I also know short stories are hard to come up with. Especially if you try to cling to the 3-act-structure too rigidly. Once you succeed in thinking of short simple stories, you'll realise they have a beginning, middle and end.

    About shooting out of chronological order:
    that is about all I ever do.
    Logistics determine my schedule, not the order in the script.

    Really, with just a camera and a mic you could easily shoot 5 shorts for a total of $1000,- or less.
    If you would come up with things in your reach during daylight. It would give you a lot of experience you can use to adapt to changes.
    At least, that is what I think, but I don't know whether you are a quick learner/fast thinker.


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    Member   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? CJM Sandman's Avatar
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    There are few times in life when you run into someone who has been doing something for 30 plus years and sucks at it.

    If you are good or meant to become a filmmaker, you will. If not, it will flesh itself out like every other instance in our lives. Eventually you give up on move on (not meant to be negative, it's a harsh reality a lot of the times).

    This is one of the reason I believe an education of sorts in film making is useful, you bypass a lot of costly mistakes by learning from people who have gone through them.


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    Pro Member   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? Mick Scarborough's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Okay thanks. The reason why I wanted my first short to be so good, is because I don't have money to keep making more and more and have to get good without making so many, because of lack of money.


    One of my biggest mistakes is how to handle script changes. Like for my last short I posted the plot had to be changed around 4 times, for actors and locations suddenly not being available and needing to constantly re-invent the story to fit new ones. But let's say I have a longer script like even a feature, and I have to figure out a way to rewrite the whole plot, in my head, on the spot, when shooting because of the changes that come along during shooting. How do I do filmmakers do that but still make sure the plot will come together in the end, especially when forced to shoot out of chronological order, storywise?

    I think this is the route where most of the mistakes come from in my experience, and if I can tackle this, not so many mistakes would branch out of it.
    Pony. If your script changes are so large that you are changing the plot of the story then thats where you screwed up. Minor script changes are common but 4 plot changes is absurd. You should never have been in the shooting stages of the project with a script so weak that it required plot changes. Had you gone into shooting with a solid script, you would have had far fewer issues. The elements of a story cascade throughout the entire story. Change something significant in the first act and the whole story has to change all the way through the script. Have a solid WORKING story before you ever think about casting.


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    Okay thanks. The changes were not cause the script was weak I don't think. It's cause an actor didn't show, and a location became unavailable. If an actor doesn't show and the plot is now missing a character that drives it, how do I keep the plot from changing, with a character and key location now, missing for example?

    As for money, I am not sure how to make a short for under $1000, since most sound designers and audio engineers can cost that much. I try to do the sound mix myself but it doesn't sound near as good compared to if a professional does it.

    So in order to shoot 5 shorts for less than $1000, where do I find the post production people, willing to do it for that low?

    I also think maybe I wouldn't have to make plot changes if I could shoot more in a shorter amount of time. For example, my next script is 14 pages, and I hope to shoot it all in one day. If I can get everyone to shoot in six hours, I would be looking at around 2.3 pages an hour and hoping I can get it done in that time, but even that's pushing the time for me, at my experience.

    Last edited by ironpony; 10-13-2017 at 03:38 PM.

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    Senior Member   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? Walter B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Okay thanks. The changes were not cause the script was weak I don't think. It's cause an actor didn't show, and a location became unavailable. If an actor doesn't show and the plot is now missing a character that drives it, how do I keep the plot from changing, with a character and key location now, missing for example?

    As for money, I am not sure how to make a short for under $1000, since most sound designers and audio engineers can cost that much. I try to do the sound mix myself but it doesn't sound near as good compared to if a professional does it.

    So in order to shoot 5 shorts for less than $1000, where do I find the post production people, willing to do it for that low?

    I also think maybe I wouldn't have to make plot changes if I could shoot more in a shorter amount of time. For example, my next script is 14 pages, and I hope to shoot it all in one day. If I can get everyone to shoot in six hours, I would be looking at around 2.3 pages an hour and hoping I can get it done in that time, but even that's pushing the time for me, at my experience.
    You're making a vital error.
    You believe that those tiny shorts you could have made for practise would be worth hiring an expensive pro.
    Most of the time they would be polishing a turd.
    So you do it yourself, or find someone who also wants to learn. It might be less great, but you keep the money for when it does count.
    Pay for food on set. Pay gas. Maybe buy stockmusic.

    I hired an audio pro once: to master one of my graduation films for cinema.
    Could my work have sounded better?
    I'm sure it could, but I didn't think it was worth to invest so much money on far from perfect short film that maybe 100 people will see.

    Let's talk about Time Wine: great idea, student film execution (nothing wrong with that). Great sound won't hide that.
    It is said that sound is maybe even more important than image.
    It is true when talking about image quality. But image quality is not equal to the quality seen in the screen.
    'Festen' has poor handycam image quality, but the quality displayed in the screen: the story, the acting is great.

    About 14 pages in 6 hours....
    it takes experience and skills to pull that of.
    My last 48: 6 pages: 17 hours of shooting. (Having to shoot in 6 locations did not help, lol)
    My 48 before that (70K views now :p ) 6 pages, 12,5 hours shooting in 1 location.

    Look back at your last shoots for Time Wine: how much time did you need for a scene?
    For a relocation?
    For 1 page?
    How long from entering the set till shooting the first second of footage?

    You want to shoot a short in 1 day?
    Shoot a short short.
    2, 3 or 4 pages.
    Safe those 14 pages until you really know how much time you need for it, instead of hoping for a magic trick to speed everything up like crazy.


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    Okay thanks. Basically I worry if I do it myself, it will look and sound horrible. For my first short, I was told it looked and sounded much better after hiring a pro, and it was much more watchable after, compared to doing it myself. So I thought that by doing it myself, I would not make a watchable product for everyone.

    I felt Timewine could have been with a few more weeks of pre-production and post-production, and I could have made it better, if I didn't have to rush it. That way I could have gotten more actors, better locations, better storyboarding and rehearsals, blocking, etc.

    As for the 14 page script, I have some people interested in doing it now, and I don't know if i want to say I changed my mind, I want do something shorter. I don't have a shorter script right now, anyway. I want to shoot this one cause it's already written and ready to go almost.

    So far I have been able to shoot 2 pages an hour max, but that depends on the scene, and the number of shots it would need. If it's a scene with a lot of action I would need more shots. If it's a simple dialogue exchange between two people, so far I was able to do it in 2 pages an hour (minus set up and clean up), but the acting may have suffered cause of rushing it perhaps.

    But I can't get a hold of any scripts that are that short, and I suck at writing scripts that short, so I figured I would take on other people's scripts and the 14 page one is the next one I have. Perhaps I could shoot it in two days or even three. The only thing is though, is that it all takes place in one location. All 14 pages. So if I go over day, I risk continuity mismatches, since I have to get everything to match the second day, third day, etc.

    So I thought one day would prevent continuity mismatches.

    I think the problem is, is that I am putting myself in situations where I am forced to work with too many restrictions. I think maybe I need to find actors and locations that have more availability time, since that was the route cause of the problems I had in the past.

    For the Timewine shoot, I shot on six days. One shoot was six hours, the second shoot was 3-4 hours, the third shoot was 5 hours, the fourth shoot was 2 hours, the fifth shoot was 90 minutes, and the six shoot was two hours.

    So about 20.5 hours in all for that one. But maybe I need to learn to work faster? But the number of crew helps as well, since for Timewine for four of the shoot days, I was doing all the duties, and those shoots went much slower.

    I was actually thinking of entering the next 48 hour film festival. I was wondering how do you do the editing, sound mixing and music all in one day, if the first day is shooting? Is that what you do, just do all the editing and sound mixing yourself after? I helped another director shoot a short film for a 48 hour film festival, but by the time she was done, she didn't have time to do the sound and there is no foley or sound effects, and all you hear is dialogue.

    That is one of the reasons why I normally didn't want to do a 48 is because the time did not allow for me to do any of the foley, or sound mixing, since editing a few page script, shot on digital, can take a day on it's own.

    But since my last short was 11 minutes and took 20 hours, I guess I can approximate that it will take me 1 hour to shoot a page so I should allow for 28 hours of shoot time, to shoot a 14 page script. Does that sound reasonable?

    Last edited by ironpony; 10-13-2017 at 04:10 PM.

  18. #18
    Junior Member   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? Elmotuasam Aziz's Avatar
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    Just out of curiosity, on average, how many films do you make in a one year period?


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    So far it's about one year if we include documentarie projects or corporate videos. I am usually helping others on their movies as well.


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    Pro Member   How can I improve as a filmmaker when it comes to rising above mistakes? Mick Scarborough's Avatar
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    Maybe its just me but I wont hire a pro for colour correction, editing or anything else for a short. I save that for feature length films. SHorts I do alone and its fun and great experience.


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    The only part I can't do myself is the post audio mixing. But I can do the color and the editing. I can do all the sound effects and foley, but it takes a lot of time, and not sure how I am suppose to do it all for these 48 hour short competitions, as I find they do not allow enough time for foley and sound effects. But I can do it all myself if I have more time.


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