Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pre-production, Plan B & other stuff

August 25, 2009

I am going to be at the Rappahannock Independent Film Festival (http://rifilmfestival.com/) in Fredericksburg, VA this weekend. It’s a great festival, come by and say hello.

“Making a movie is going to take time, lots, patience, even more, and the ability to move mountains -- on a good day.”
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide

Why do people think making a movie is so easy? Is it because they watch the director commentaries on their DVDs? Do they watch the “behind the scenes” extras as well? It sure looks fun and easy, doesn’t it?

Well it’s not! And the fact that they put that shit on the DVDs really pisses me off. Anyone who has ever worked on a movie let a lone made their own will tell you it’s hard fuckin work! You plan and plan, you rehearse, nail down locations and then something goes wrong. Now what? You need to have a plan B. That’s what pre-production is for.

Too many filmmakers think if they aren’t on the set they aren’t making a movie. So many films would be better if they would learn how to plan better, and have back up plans for when things do go wrong! Because they will. The smart filmmakers always have a back up location, a different scene, or different props available for when something goes wrong.

When I was doing “real people” commercials I was invariably told by an ad agency person that one of the people I would be interviewing was great! They had spoken to them previously and they were funny and articulate and I could expect great things from them. It rarely happened…

I was shooting some grocery chain spots and interviewing the people who worked there to put together a group of funny, quirky commercials. We get to the Produce Guy who they had been telling me about for days and the dude freezes up! I would ask him questions and he would say “yes”, “no”, or things that were totally unusable. He was scared to death. The agency people are watching this and they are freaking out. What am I going to do?

One of them said we shouldn’t use this guy, they couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong. I was prepared for this. I figured the guy wasn’t everything they told me he was and I had Plan B. I had one of the Grips go get a prop I had put on the grip truck the day before. A Giant Plastic Red Jalapeno Pepper. The thing was about 5 feet tall, I had used it in a Sesame Street Video I had shot once and had it hanging around my studio. I told the guy to hold it (in the middle of the produce section) and say, “A pepper should never be this big.” as seriously as possible. He was nervous but he said the line correctly. The agency folks were laughing and I had the perfect end to one of my commercials. It became an award winning spot.

Always have a back up plan, always be prepared for the worst, and always be ready to change your thinking. In pre-production I always plan for things to go wrong, and I plan a solution. That’s what pre-production is all about.

My book, The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide Part One: Making The Extreme No Budget Film is full of things to help you make your film. So why haven’t you bought it!

Go to my site, (www.angryfilmmaker.com) and buy it for a mere $16.95 + $3 S&H. You’ll feel better about yourself in the morning.

"Never have there been so may instances of the work "Fuck" in a book worth reading."

Jim LeBrecht
Berkeley Sound Artists

On to other stuff.

I am still booking the Fall Tour so if you want Moses and I to come to your college, university, media art center, high school, theater or even to your house for dinner this Fall send me a note, angryfilminfo@aol.com.

Don’t forget to check out my tour sponsors, Show Biz Software, (www.showbizsoftware.com), Pollard Design (www.pollarddesign.com), Zoom Creates (www.zoomcreates.com), and Cheezy Flicks (www.cheezyflicks.com ). If you haven’t checked out their sites and their services, you better.

And I’m welcoming a new Sponsor, Film Slug, (www.filmslug.com) but more about them later…

As always, feel free to link to my site and you can subscribe to my blog. So what are you waiting for?

Talk later.




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