Sunday, July 18, 2010

Do it yourself

"Do it yourself." That’s the mantra most Indie moviemakers follow, and to an extent it’s true. In order to see a truly indie project through it is necessary for the director to wear several hats. On my previous projects, I’ve served as the main editor, DP, Caterer, Location Manager; the list goes on and on. However, I think it’s a mistake and a detriment to the project to take on too much.

On my 1st movie, I literally did everything, from securing locations to catering. I did have help from my directing partner Shannon and producing partner Brandon, but for the most part I did it all. I handled casting, catering, locations, scheduling, crewing up, auditions, ect… I took on so much it left little time for the actual directing. Shannon and I did very little prep. There were no shot lists. We went over our directing plan usually the day of the shoot. Then during the shoot we were so busy actually producing the movie, we had no time to actually direct. He was more our DP and I was more the AD. We simply put the actors through the motions and captured the script. That’s all there was time for. Thinking back on it, we didn’t even look for more help.

When it came time for my 2nd movie, I actually had a producer, crew and AD. But I was so used to doing everything that I found myself moving back into old habits. I could’ve stepped back more. I had a good AD. There was no need for me to coral cast and crew on set, but I did. My AD was also line producing and was very good at it. She could and would’ve been more involved in the prep. I should have relied more on her for that and spent more time preparing to direct. In the end, my prep on Edges was superior to Rise and it shows in the finished project, but it wasn’t enough and the movie suffered for it.

That brings me to Trap, my latest finished project. I worked with a producer who actually tired to shield me from production troubles. We had a capable line-producer who was very good at prep and scheduling. I spent the most time prepping to direct that I have ever. My only mistake was taking on a bit too much in regard to the script breakdown and pre-production duties that my line-producer could’ve taken on. I had a decent rehearsal period and plenty of support on set. It shows in the finished project. I think Trap works creatively and technically better than any of my previous works. A lot of that is due to me letting go of responsibilities that shouldn’t fall on a director.

Sure, when you’re doing a micro flick, there are things you have to double up on. But if you just look a little, usually no further than your friends. You can find competent people to fill roles and support you in production. Nobody, well most people, don’t like to ask for help, but moviemaking is collaborative process and even the most developed AUTUER needs help to bring their vision to life.


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