- As filmmakers, we can show where a person’s mind goes, as opposed to theater, which is more to sit back and watch it. –Darren Aronofsky
- You see so many movies… the younger people who are coming from MTV or who are coming from commercials and there’s no sense of film grammar. There’s no real sense of how to tell a story visually. It’s just cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, you know, which is pretty easy. –Peter Bogdanovich
- Pick up a camera. Shoot something. No matter how small, no matter how cheesy, no matter whether your friends and your sister star in it. Put your name on it as director. Now you’re a director. Everything after that you’re just negotiating your budget and your fee. –James Cameron
- Most people don’t know what they want or feel. And for everyone, myself included, It’s very difficult to say what you mean when what you mean is painful. The most difficult thing in the world is to reveal yourself, to express what you have to… As an artist, I feel that we must try many things – but above all, we must dare to fail. You must have the courage to be bad – to be willing to risk everything to really express it all. –John Cassavetes
- The funniest thing is that all the things every director goes through, I thought I could shortcut, but there was no getting around those issues. –George Clooney
- I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians. –Francis Ford Coppola
- In the future, everybody is going to be a director. Somebody’s got to live a real life so we have something to make a movie about. –Cameron Crowe
- And I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets here, but there are a lot of terrible scripts in this town. –Frank Darabont
- The camera lies all the time; lies 24 times/second. –Brian De Palma
- My old drama coach used to say, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there.’ Gary Cooper wasn’t afraid to do nothing. –Clint Eastwood
- Anybody can direct a picture once they know the fundamentals. Directing is not a mystery, it’s not an art. The main thing about directing is: photograph the people’s eyes. –John Ford
- Movement should be a counter, whether in action scenes or dialogue or whatever. It counters where your eye is going. This style thing, for me it’s all fitted to the action, to the script, to the characters. –Samuel Fuller
- A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end… but not necessarily in that order. –Jean-Luc Godard
- I’m a storyteller – that’s the chief function of a director. And they’re moving pictures, let’s make ‘em move! –Howard Hawks
- The directing of a picture involves coming out of your individual loneliness and taking a controlling part in putting together a small world. A picture is made. You put a frame around it and move on. And one day you die. That is all there is to it. –John Huston
- A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later. –Stanley Kubrick
- A lot of times you get credit for stuff in your movies you didn’t intend to be there. –Spike Lee
- For any director with a little lucidity, masterpieces are films that come to you by accident. –Sidney Lumet
- I studied English Literature. I wasn’t a very good student, but one thing I did get from it, while I was making films at the same time with the college film society, was that I started thinking about the narrative freedoms that authors had enjoyed for centuries and it seemed to me that filmmakers should enjoy those freedoms as well. –Christopher Nolan
- I mean, certainly writing, painting, photography, dance, architecture, there is an aspect of almost every art form that is useful and that merges into film in some way. –Sydney Pollack
- Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out. –Martin Scorsese
- People have forgotten how to tell a story. Stories don’t have a middle or an end any more. They usually have a beginning that never stops beginning. –Steven Spielberg
- I steal from every movie ever made. –Quentin Tarantino
- I think it’s a very strange question that I have to defend myself. I don’t feel that. You are all my guests, it’s not the other way around, that’s how I feel. — Lars Von Trier
- If two men on a job agree all the time, then one is useless. If they disagree all the time, then both are useless. –Daryl F. Zanuck
As I read the Down and Dirty DV Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide which I reviewed last week, I took notes regarding the equipment we shall need for our projects. I came up with a list of things to have and a number of notes for each item such as “what features to look seek”, “what price range to expect”, etc. I also done my best to prioritize the items. For each item, I also listed the reference page in the book. I then added a small mark in front of each item we already have. Obviously, we don’t have it all covered yet but I’m happy to say that we are a lot closer to having our gear ready than 6 months ago and also, that what we bought so far, fits the bill pretty well. Anyway, here is the list.
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Desiring to move up from short videos to the documentary format we have been searching for a book that would layout the basics of documentary making. We found the Shut up and Shoot Documentary Guide on Amazon. It turned out to be the very book we were looking for. We both read it, from cover to cover and feel a lot more knowledgeable already. Our next steps will be to shop for a few more tools (basically we’re still out of a light kit) and practice setting up in the most usual situations (day light, interior light, low light, etc) while we work on getting one of our documentaries ideas going.
The author, Anthony Artis, has 15 years of experience in video making. He knows what he is talking about. But what makes the book stand out is his obvious love for teaching and passing on knowledge. He obviously enjoys sharing what he so hardly learnt himself, often by trial and error. By doing so, he spares the rest of us a lot of failures and wasted time. The book is also as exhaustive as can be covering all the steps from the pre production to the promotion and distrubition. If you feel these pages will not be of interest to you, we found out that there were as important and as rich in information as the ones about more technical phases of the project. The post-production is the only area the book doesn’t cover in such details. It is assumed that the documentary maker will either already be a competent editor himself or hire someoen to handle the technical aspect of it.
I must also add that the book is well presented and enjoyable to read. The illustrations are well picked and very explantaory. A lot of effort was also put into the preparation of sum up pages, almost cheat sheets, ready to turn into a quick reference book when in a tight spot. A double page for example details all the steps in getting your sound mixer up and running or the do’s and don’t's in low light situation. I’m currently working on an electronic document gathering some of these quick tips and cheat sheets for us to carry around at all times as well as a clear and explanatory shopping list since we try to pick up the geatest tools when the need arises. Our latest acquisition was a shotgun mic that I think we picked well. We will soon be looking for a light kit.
What you will find in the book:
- how to research your documentary subject
- how to apply for funds either from private people or from orgaisations
- where to look for a crew and how to pick it
- select locations (private or public)
- select an equipment package and draw up a budget
- image control and camera work
- video lighting
- sound recording and mixing
- how to conduct a crew on set
- conduct an interview
- prepare a subject (wardrobe/makeup)
- finding the right combination for your post production
- promoting the movie (both online and through festivals)
and a lot more valuable knowledge and tips like how to deal with archive footage centers, interviewee walking out on you, insuring a location for shooting, and so much more. Actually, Anthony himself sum up his book and his intentions on his website, see for yourself what this is all about.
Down and Dirty DV
Anthony Artis, the author, is also the webmaster of downanddirtydv.com, a website, blog and newsletter about guerilla filmmaking I recommend you to visit. The book comes with a DVD full of extra resources for the young filmmaker (release forms, budget templates, cheat sheets and other practical documents). The extra alone are invaluable to young filmmakers who have no idea where to start looking for information like “how to draw up a release form?”.
One last thing
The book is also very well written which makes the read even more enjoyable. The tone is straight forward, and makes you feel like Anthony is speaking directly to you, sharing his errors and the solutions he found to them. And to add even more fun to it, the man also has a good sense of humor. The way he explains not to use dryer sheets as diffusion, from obvious first hand experience, ensures none of his readers will reproduce that mistake. Though i guess that’s the basic of guerilla filmmaking, try to make do with what’s at hand.
If you have a documentary project in mind, you won’t regret reading that book. Good luck to you.
Find a movie suiting your mood by asking Jinni.com (beta). Interesting idea
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