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A Filmmaking Guide for Rebels Without a Clue

IMG_20171107_160751So, you want to tell a story with moving pictures? You have a creative itch that can only be scratched by the art of film? Like you, I’m a few steps into the film-making waters and want to share with others what I’ve learned thus far. Much of my advice comes from others who are further along than I am and hard lessons learned, which have so far worked for me.

First Things:

Be passionate about your work, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Filming is art and art is fun (hard work, but fun).  If it’s no longer fun it will only be pointless hard work, and you don’t want that.

Writing:

How do I format a script? What program should I use?  Amazon Storywriter or Cetlix web-based platforms and are free (yes, free). You can also use just plain ol’ Word and format as needed.  Eventually, you’ll want to upgrade to Final Draft which is the industry standard. One bonus with Storywriter is that with the click of a button you can submit your script to Amazon Studios …if you dare.

Protect Your Work:

Ever hear about people suing studios and producers for stealing their story ideas?  Well you can too!  Either copyright your work with the Copyright office or register it with the Writer’s Guild (links below).  Either one of these will give you legal safeguards in case you’re coveted stories are stolen, giving you peace of mind when sharing your ideas.

Welcome criticism (you don’t always have to listen to it):

Ask people you trust read your work (whether if they’re in the industry or not).  Make sure they’re honest with you.  Having someone say, “It’s Great!” doesn’t help you at all.  If your work is surreal or “weird”, that’s fine, it at least has to connect to someone other than you.  Try to balance your uniqueness with relate-ability.

Crew/Cast:

In anything you do, surround yourself with people that know what they’re doing.

If you’re not sure about shooting the film yourself, finding someone with experience is key, but on a limited budget, you may have to find a film student or someone with gear who wants to add work to their resume either for free or for a discounted rate.  Be sure to be patient. If you’re not paying someone, you’re working with their schedule.

Just like any artist, actors deserved to be paid for their talent.  But if you’re a flegling film-maker, and don’t have a budget to pay actors, you can find who are just starting out (like you) and are willing to do work for credit or a reel.  Just make sure you come through on your end of the deal.

For the days of shooting make sure you have plenty of free food and snacks to offer everyone involved. Not too much, as most actors don’t eat much.

BE NICE!!!  The best part of film-making is that it is all about collaboration so remember that this may not be the last time you work with that actor or camera person.  Don’t burn your bridges or you may be stranded in the industry.  Everyone knows everyone, so your reputation will always precede you.

Shooting:

While on the set, have a plan and a shotlist (a script is not enough!).  However, it’s necessary to be open to changes and ready to address issues on the fly (remember, some of the most iconic scenes in movies were improvised). On a recent shoot, a cast member had a last minute schedule change that required her to leave early and most of her parts were toward the end of the scene. What did we do?  We shot the scene in reverse, of course (starting with the final shot).  It was a fun challege and it did work out, however, I don’t recommend doing this unless you have a solid shotlist.

Editing:

If you end up editing yourself, Blackmagic makes a video editing software that is free called DaVinci Resolve. It is difficult to use it first, but again there are tons of video tutorials on how to use it.

Finally, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, read articles, on how to make a film. Surround yourself with the industry and how to get yourself started. There are hundreds of YouTube videos out there and most have a lot of good advice.

Resources:

The Five Cardinal Rules of Millennials

Just some tips on making sure you are living at your full Millennial-est

1. Never criticize yourself – only others
Introspection and thoughtfulness should only be used to find out how others are the cause of your limitations and flaws.  Take offense and any little negative comment; especially if it’s true. Key individuals who can compromise your “awesomeness” are: parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone who pours time and energy into helping you and takes time to offer “sound” advice.

2. Make sure you are always pleased
It goes without saying that you are entitled to happiness and constant joy. But make sure you don’t make the mistake of pursuing it, no energy should ever be wasted on that. Joy and pleasure should fall into your lap every day. It is the duty of everyone you interact with to make sure you are satisfied and not upset. If at any point in life this does not happen, either file a law suit or shame someone on social media (whether or not they have anything to do with your sorrow). Also, make sure you do this in the most childish way possible.

3. Zero shades of gray
Everything is black or white. Others are either 100% right or 100% wrong, there is no middle ground. Moderates are pussies. In the interest of politics and social issues, never have a conversation with someone that may challenge your views and beliefs. Compromise is for weasel-pukes.

4. Go “all the way” to make your point
Protests and video rants are the only way to get your message across to others. When your opposer sees you with picket signs, chanting obscenities, and posting videos that threaten violence, they will learn a new level of respect for you.

5. Millions of fans surely can’t be wrong
Bandwagons are the safest place to feel superior which we all know is everyone’s life-goal. Who wants to be in the minority view? Why would anyone listen to them? If at any point you are not sure if your views on a topic are unpopular, try to consult CNN, VICE, teens, millionaire athletes, porn stars, and most Hollywood celebrities (especially the ones that didn’t go to college or finish high school). Never seek the insight of douchey nerds like scientists, social workers, older political leaders, educators, spiritual leaders, or anyone who is not physically attractive.

 

Now you are ready to fight whatever issue is relevant today.  So grab your knitted hat, your anti-(something) poster go out there and BE SENSITIVE!!!

 

by – Darren T. Brown

Better Days Gone By

The announcement of Chris Cornell’s death plowed over the rock world with the same shudder and delirium as the Grunge movement itself.

I have experienced the loss of many relatives, acquaintances, and loved ones including my son, Noah which was a life changing tragedy. In light of experiencing the loss of people that I’ve known, when I hear about a celebrity public figure that I know about passed away blow it off as a curious event but nothing more than that.

The news of Cornell’s passing hit me more than other celebrity deaths.  His sparked something in me that I haven’t felt since the death of Rich Mullens, one of my real-life heroes. It felt like I lost a brother, (albeit estranged brother.)  Before you think I’m just a crazed fan trying to cope with the loss of a rock god, please know I was never really a big Soundgarden or  Audioslave fan, even back in the 90’s and 2000’s. However, I did always appreciate Cornell’s vocals and the bands’ unique styles.  Later on, I became more appreciative of his music when he started his solo career and focused more on his artistic abilities.

Cornell’s sudden death was probably less of a shock to those that knew him as the announcement of suicide drew a lot of answers and questions alike.   His death follows a long list of casualties of the founding Seattle Grunge bands.  Andrew Wood, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Mike Starr, Scott Weiland, and maybe some I don’t know, have already left us to the hands of drugs or suicide.  Because of these losses, some have accused the Grunge movement as the deadliest musical genre.  And I wouldn’t argue, much of the music relies heavily on darkness, stark realities, and brutal truths.

Like many, I did not know or realize that Cornell suffered with depression most of his life. One Associated Press article stated that he dropped out of school as his depression was so severe he couldn’t leave his house.  Music then became his outlet and gave him much needed confidence.  I saw a lot of myself in Chris’ story; spending childhood as a loner, I too had to deal with depression at a very young age and not knowing who to talk to, I kept it inside.  Like Cornell, music and art where my counselors for depression.

I have long believed that depression is something that you never actually shake, it’s always just under the thin layer of any mask that you’re wearing.  Like many mental health issues depression is something you live with your whole life it comes down to just learning how to manage your emotions and knowing when to trust them and when to not.  Depression is said to be hereditary disease and I would say that is true more so on a environmental level rather than biological.  Many in my family have battled the disease including my father who lost the fight when I was four years old.  Knowing about Cornell’s battle with depression help me not only appreciate empathize with but also to help reevaluate myself and where I am in my relationship with depression.

The unfortunate and tragic loss of Cornell also provides an opportunity for others who don’t understand the disease learn that even for highly successful celebrities it can still wreak havoc on the suffers’ life.  Through Cornell’s experience, others that suffer can better handle and deal with it and remember that it is not a temporary disease is a disease that becomes a part of you.  While depression is always there but that doesn’t mean you have to be controlled by it.   I have managed to treat it without medication, others may be helped by prescriptions.  Maybe counseling is all you need or maybe your faith or pursuing your dreams will help you to go on.  Whatever your situation, please do not allow yourself to succumb to the overwhelming emotions of emptiness, they are just feelings and nothing more.  And also, more importantly, you are not ever alone in the fight.

If you or someone you know suffers from depression, please call the 24 Hour Suicide Hotline at: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Human Trafficking Awareness Event this Saturday!!!

On May 13th, 2017, 30 Main Restaurant in Berwyn, PA is hosting


INTERMIX OF ART, MUSIC, FOOD, FASHION, & FUN
VIP MEET AND GREET: $60 per person
4pm-5pm Includes Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres
2 HR. BEER & WINE EVENT: $35 per person
5pm-7pm
GENERAL ADMISSION: $10 per person
PRESENTED BY: 30 Main and Friends

Proceeds of this event as well as a portion of vendor sales will benefit:
CCAT (Chester County Anti-Trafficking Coalition), CVC (Crime Victims Center) & New Day to Stop Trafficking
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-art-of-freedom-tasting-art-fashion-show-live-music-tickets-34290787669