Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reflections on Episode 1

Of The Ruffians. I don't have time or patience to reflect on episode 1 of Star Wars.

I'm waiting for episode 1 to upload to Vimeo, so I'll take this moment to reflect on some of the lessons I learned on the set (and in post production) on this, our first Ruffian outing.

  1. Sound continues to be my Achilles' heel. We filmed on a cold and windy day and so I turned the sound sensitivity down on our recorder (the amazing H4n) and while it cut down on sound, it also gave me a recording that I could do very little with in post. So while this episode represents the best I've ever done with sound, it also shows that we have a long way to go in sound design.
  2. I need to learn to listen to my crew. When the DP says "this is hard," or "it's too cold," I need to respect those opinions and not brush them aside. When I get on a set, I become the production's cheerleader. My intent is to keep everyone pumped up and jazzed to be there, but sometimes I just come off as a bullish jerk.
  3. I need to have a full and better understanding of what each scene and sequence is about before filming it. To understand this, re-watch the pre-title sequence. The idea behind that is, that girl offended Charlie in the pool. He's going to tell her off. But I want to fool the audience and make them think he's either going to stalk her or kill her. But just when you think he's going to make his move, he trips and she "gets away." The way we filmed it, however, skips the story. We have our set-up and then move straight to the punchline without any development. That sequence could have been much stronger and it's my fault. I didn't see the story in my head well enough to understand how it needed to be shot.
Those are the big three. I could make an unofficial fourth out of the danger of handheld camea work, but I still like it. That walk and talk is a little more shaky than I would like, but it still works.

I insist that every production be educational. I don't think that will ever go away, but I think it's even more important on this level, where I'm making these shows out of nothing but my dime, my time, and my friends' patience.

Here's to episode 2!

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