The Production Film Crew Members

Main Crew Members of Film Production

In low-budget film productions, the film producer becomes a form of multimedia. To meet this mission, he needs people to help him on the job. In this article, I will review a number of key film crew members in every film production that work directly with the film producer.

As a film producer, you’ll need to work well together with them and they’ll need to understand and support your goals and all of the others. Full cooperation can lead to higher results than expected, so these are the key film crew members that the film producer needs to insist on having to make the director’s vision come to life.

The film Executive Producer

In Practical, the producer goes through the script with economic eye and apply the changes needed if there is not enough money. That’s called script breakdown (Read about working with a low budget here) The producer should sit down with the writer and figure out together how to preserve the spirit of the scene with less money. Remember! screenwriter spent a lot of effort and time to write the script, so be gentle with him. Once the script is ready the producer should obtain a copyright on it.

Production Manager

Production Manager is responsible for the logistics of all production. He needs to know every detail of the production. Because of this, he needs to have the phones and the details of all the staff. Next to each name on his list should be comments like when you should call, who to ask, what were the last call and all decisions or agreements that have reached with them. Production manager often required to plan the budget. Sometimes this demand will be even before the script was completely finished and it can be annoying. The production manager is also responsible for getting contracts with posts production offices like editing rooms, sound, music and so on. while still in pre-production (we’ll talk about this stage later , but it’s basically the period before filming).

Watch this video published by University of Derby to hear some tips about the work of the Production Manager

First assistant director

The director’s right hand. Also called 1st AD. He is connecting with the staff and the director. His job is to help the creative flow of the director by taking care of all the technical stuff.  He is responsible in part for the preparation of shooting schedule, and the shooting breakdown. Assistant director actually manages the set during shooting, he must take care of that each day of shooting will end on time and achieve its goals. Sometimes he also directs the extras and shouting for everyone to shut up.

Watch this interview posted by filmnutlive, with Gary Goldman, which is the first A.D. for HBO’s Entourage. filmnutlive‘s Youtube channel got lots of cool interviews with film industry people I recommend watching

Second assistant director

Second assistant director is working in close contact with casting agents, helps with Breakdown, making sure that all the paperwork is prepared and organized, he is responsible for the staff, the extras, making sure that everyone is going where they should be, and to they take care of all the paperwork on the set.

Production Account Manager

This is a part that many low budget films tend to ignore, but it is very important to the smooth flow of the production. The production account manager job is to open a bank account for the production, Prepare cash for shooting days, signs the final budget, taking care of everyone’s salaries, oversees the budget and the schedule, taking care of insurance matters, weekly reporting of expenditures, and other matters of such accountants.

These are some basic production film crew members. If there are more rules you want to know about or to go deeper into them, I’ll be glad to hear from you.

Documentary Filmmaking History – Part 2

Documentary Filmmaking History

In the first part of this Documentary filmmaking history article, I have reviewed a series of films that were a lot of inspiration to the documentary filmmaking industry that we know today. Now I want to address two equally important documentary styles in the documentary filmmaking history that came later on:

The – Direct cinema and  Cinema verity

After the second world war, the artist started to think what they did that contribute to it. One of their realization was that the obsession for esthetics had something to do with the rise of the Nazism regime. Many arts form at the after WW2 period started to focus more on the realism in their arts and the film industry was not different.  The fiction films brought us the Italian neo-realism that used real location and real people instead of actors and the documentary brought us two main sub-genres opposed the propaganda style of the older documentaries.

Direct cinema

The Direct cinema documentary filmmakers were a group of revolutionaries, who tried to interfere as little as possible in the shootings. These films were not mass production films. They were shot under the location’s natural lights and with no preparations. Their unique was in the presentations of life experiences in the most direct way possible. Sound like a documentary at it’s best, right? Well… Not so much – The thing is that when someone knows he is being watched, he will act differently, so are we really documenting the reality without any intervention? People do not behave naturally when they know they are being filmed. It is difficult to say that these films really have documented the reality as it is like they claimed they did.

A director that is very influential in the genre is Albert Maysles,  An American director. He shot with his brother, David, films with the camera on their shoulder and Interviews with a very little intervention on their part. They did wildly successful films like What’s Happening! The Beatles in the USA, which documents the band’s visit in the USA, Another movie was Salesman– about a Bibles sales agent, and Gimme Shelter about the Rolling Stones and the show that ended in the death of one of their fans.

Cinema verity

Cinema verity’s (‘cinema truth’) approach claimed that since we can’t really document reality as it is, we can encourage participants to interact with the film director. The genre was provocative and not ashamed that the camera had the power to design the reality it documents. If members of the Direct cinema took the camera to location, hoping that something will happen, at the Cinema Verity they really tried to create situations.

An important film that can be a good example is The Titicut Follies from 1967 of Fred Wiseman. The film follows the life of the mentally ill and criminals institution. 

The movie Chronicle of a Summer from 1961 of Jean Rouch is a good example as well. The film begins with a discussion of two directors on whether it is possible to behave naturally in front of a camera. The Film’s creators take the question to the streets and ask people if they are happy. The goal is to see how people react when they are near the camera.

The greatest contribution of these two genres was, that they freed the documentary films from the need to write a script. Both of them didn’t know what will happen and the video editors had to deal with the mass of raw material.

It was a very, very abbreviated record of the beginning of the documentary film genre. The main idea I was trying to pass you on these two articles is that right  from the first film, arguments about whether documentary films should reflect the reality as it is, have been asked all the time. I would recommend anyone who wants to direct documentaries to watch as many movies of the genres that are mentioned here to develop your documentary tools.

Here are some more recommended films:
Land of Silence and Darkness of Werner Herzog 1971- The film follows the lives of deaf-blind people and gives us an idea of the true meaning of loneliness.

Best Boy of Ira Wohl from 1979 tells the story of a family crisis. Aging parents wonder what to do about their son, a disabled 50 years old man. This is a very moving film with long moments of so-called direct cinema.

28 Up in 1986 by Michael Apted. A TV series that lasted 21 years. The series follows the number of children at the age of 6 and then coming back to them when they are mature. A Series that is sensitive and interesting.

That’s it. If you have any other good examples or other sub-genre in the documentary field that you want me to talk about, please let me know.

Documentary Filmmaking History – Part I

Documentary Filmmaking History

Documentary filmmaking history is not what I thought I’ll talk about When I started this documentary filmmaking course. I wanted to write articles without going through all the theoretical stuff. But I really feel that to teach documentary filmmaking, I have to begin with developing the documentary filmmaker’s mindset, and learning about documentary filmmaking history is a good way to start.

So here we go:

I am going to go through all the important stages of the documentary filmmaking history very fast. I recommend watching them and reading more about them. 

The first documentations

Talking about documentary filmmaking history, you have to start at the beginning.  It can be said that the first films created were the documentary kind of films. They weren’t fiction, any way. The first films were a baby’s meal, a train arrives, workers at the plant etc. They documented certain segments of life. During World War 1 in 1914 until 1918 the cameras kept filming the war area. The film has become a very important tool for the transfer of information and propaganda. These videos were delivered as “Newsreels” and they were broadcast in theaters. Since they are only segments of scenes rather than one long film with a basic idea, it is difficult to treat them as classic documentaries .

The first Documentary film

Talking about documentary filmmaking history, we have to start at the beginning. There is a debate between the Russians and Americans about what the first documentary film ever made:

Man With a Movie Camera – The official start of the documentary filmmaking (at least for the Russians) begins with Dziga Vertov, a poet and a video editor in Russia. He started his way from producing educational News reels for raising people to the revolution in 1917. He is best known because of this film, taken much later in 1929.
A film that is a something of an experimental documentary. In some ways, it is considered advanced even for today’s films. Average shot length in the film was 11.2 seconds. You can imagine what the viewers felt when they saw such rapid editing for the first time. Dziga Vertov made the film after he felt that cinema was stuck and took advantage of his abilities. The film depicts 24 hours in the life of the city of Odessa and other Soviet cities throughout the day. The film is most famous for a variety of cinematic techniques: he uses double exposure (what is now called super impose), fast motion, slow motion, freeze frame , Jump cuts, split screen and more. Because the editing and the effects are affecting the message of the film, there are those who refuse to accept it as the first documentary film.

Nanook of the North (1922 )  – Officially (at least for the Americans) This film is considered to be the first documentary. The film was directed by Robert J. Flaherty  And is a silent film which considers being an important milestone early film industry. It chronicles the struggle of Nanook and his family in the wild Eskimos. Beyond being an important film, the film is a historical document about a life form that disappeared already. As mentioned, the film is considered to be the first documentary Although Flaherty was accused of directing a lot of the scenes in the movie and even wanted the characters to recover customs they left a long time ago. You could say that this film is not only officially opens the documentary genre, but also the discussion about the genre. Is documentary represents reality or shapes it?

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it

If you really want to learn Documentary filmmaking, I recommend watching these films. Here are some more instresting documentaries from that preriod that I think every filmmaker that want to get in to the documentary filmmaking field, should know:

strike – 1924- Sergei Eisenstein, a director in the Soviet Russia has never qualified as a documentary director, but his movies like this one certainly embody the characteristics of a documentary films today. Strike describes the iron factory workers strike in Russia, where the workers were subjected to humiliation. Definitely one of the films most amazing period.

Battleship Potemkin from 1925 – The film contains the famous scene of “steps Odyssey” that won many gestures in films. To date, the film is considered one of the most influential film in cinema. Here, too, his definition of documentary is a bit problematic, but it is highly recommended for viewing for anyone interested in the documentary genre.

Night Mail -1936 –  Basil Wright and Harry Watt. A classic British film which follows the mail train moving at night from London to Scotland. Using this simple situation, the film certainly manages to capture the British life spirit of the time. The movie talk about the post office but ut also talk about the importance of working in harmony. Here also rise a debate about directing a documentary. In this case, the claims are that certain parts of the movie were filmed in the studio. Also in 1936 the political and economical situation wasn’t at it best in the British Empire, so the movie does not show the true feelings of the postal workers, but what the postal office vision was about that.

Olympia – 1938I – At the Nazi regime there was no shortage of films in the genre. Leni Riefenstahl directed in 1938 a movie that presented the Olympics in Germany. The aim of the film was to glorify the Olympic games in Germany and the German athletes. The movie is considered to have much innovation in the composition style, camera angles, editing and more. Using 50 camera operators Riefenstai created great slow motion shots. THere is no The best thing about this movie is that if you take the context out of it, you will never guess it was propaganda.
Listen to Britain  of Humphrey Jennings. The film came out in 1942 and it was a propaganda film designed to encourage support for the war. The film is considered to be a historical archive. There are criticizes about this movie being so strict and classic art style that it reminds fascist regimes movies, but one can not ignore the effectiveness it had during the war.

Fires Were Started from 1943  of Humphrey Jennings documented a night in London’s Fire Brigade unit.

Night & Fog directed by Alain Resnais. One of the more influential film documentary field if not the most influential. French film from 1955. The film depicts the life of prisoners in the camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek. It was the first film that dared to face the terror of the Jewish Holocaust. Alan visiting several concentration camps in Poland and Europe.

This is a very quick list of the important films during the beginning of the documentary filmmaking history. In the next article, I will review in more detail the two genres that took a very significant part in the development of documentary film: the direct cinema and the cinema verite.

Script Writing – The Screenwriter’s Requirements

Do You Have what It Takes To Become A screenwriter?

There are many techniques, tips and tricks that I will talk about them later on in the scriptwriting section, but before that, I think you should look inside yourself and see if you really have what it takes to become a professional screenwriter. Looking at all the writers who really succeeded, one can see a number of common features to all. I will try to review some of them here

Creativity and originality in script writing

Script writing is all about being original and creative. Now I’m not talking about re-inventing the wheel here. Take Pulp Fiction or Memento, for example, They both tell a pretty simple story- Memento is an ex-insurance investigator who tries to find his wife’s murderer and Pulp fiction is about two hitmen trying to get a stolen bag back to their boss. In both cases, the stories are not that original, but the way the stories are told- the structure of those films, the characters, and the dialogs are very original.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIvUGUzR9N0

As a beginner screenwriters, though, it is important to be original and stand out. I will write about inspiration and creativity later on in the blog, but the crucial thing to understand is that you have to be affected by life and not TV or the other movies you’ve seen. You can not know from where inspiration will come, so you should be ready all the time. It will also help greatly if you surround yourself with creative people but, on the other hand, don’t be too affected by them too. Allow yourself to be alone from time to time and figure out what you have to say to the world.
Click here to read about finding your own voice

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’
But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?”
George Bernard Shaw

Flexibility with the script writing

Script writing is not an art that stands on it’s on. A film is produced by a very large group of people and lots of money is invested. You will be required to be flexible and compromise with your story. Of course, you do not have to sell your soul to the devil so fast, but know how to balance with what the producers want and what you want. I recommend reading the Make low budget film article to understand what the producer look at in the script when he plans the budget.

Commitment to your script 

The main thing to remember in script writing is – Do not give up no matter what! When You start working on your first script, it will be something like this – you sit in front of the blank page in a notebook or on a computer and just stare at it. It could be an hour, two hours or a full day. You do it every day. Never Give Up. Take a notebook everywhere you write down scenes in every spare moment you got. If carrying a notebook is too heavy for you, I recommend using an app called celtx script – Celtx Inc. It’s a great app that many screenwriters are using. The app allows you to be able to work on your script anytime and anywhere. The app also helps you to write formatted scripts right away and to share it with your partners.
Even when you finish writing the script, you will still be required to do many rewrites. Keep doing that until you have something that you, the director, and the producer are happy with.

Courage to be in the business of scriptwriting

If you really believe you can make a living, only from your brain, so either you crazy or you have great courage. This script writing business is something very hard to do in the evenings after work (although that is not impossible). If you’re committed to the script, you’ll have to sit on it for days and that means no day job. It is important to ask yourself, are you really able to do it.

 

Know how to speak

It’s kind of sucks, but you will need to know how to sell yourself and your script. There is a thing called Pitch – the scriptwriter has something like a minute and a half to present his story to producers and to convince them that he is the person to tell this story. We will deal with this issue later on in the scriptwriting section of the blog, although I think it’s the least important things. At least not as important as knowing to write.

Knowing how to  look 

To be good writers, you should turn off your autopilot and start to be present. Start paying attention to what is happening around you and start asking questions about what is happening. Stop hanging out with headphones in your ears and listen to the conversation around you and ask questions about what you see- what this guy story? Why this mother yells at her children in the mall? What’s her problem? Take a small notebook and write anything interesting you see, even if at the moment it does not look like something suitable for the film.

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it

Be Able to accept criticism

Perhaps the hardest part of the profession of script writing is the criticism. You worked on the scene all night. Suddenly there was a breakthrough, you ask a friend to read it and he doesn’t understand what you wrote. The trick is to know who to listen to and how. If a friend did not like the script, you do not have to run out immediately and change everything. Try to figure out what it is he did not like and most importantly, show the script to more people and see whether they think the same way. Be open minded to new ideas when you get criticism on your script and don’t be stubborn, but also didn’t change the script just to fit to the others opinions.

Passion

If you do not have a strong need for writing, you might want to give up the idea. This script writing business is a very difficult process, which can cost many frustrations and anger. If you do not really need to do this, you should never start.  Writing is something that burns inside of you and you have to let it out. Most professional screenwriters say that, even when they are not working on a screenplay, they are writing every day. They just must. The most important thing in writing the screenplay for a movie is to love movies. Writing a screenplay is a process completely different from writing a novel. You have to really love the field of film and to know how to express yourself properly in this medium. Watch as many movies and read many scripts, to learn the tricks screenwriters made there. So now you see that you have everything you need, you can go in and start learning how you can write the script of your life.

 

How To Produce a Film – 12 Tips to The Beginner Film Producer

How to produce a film? 12 First Tips 

So you decided you want to learn how to produce a film, but you do not know exactly where and how to start. So here are some tips to guide you and will help you to get your first steps into the filmmaking business:

  • Start with the genre. They are popular, with a clear concept and have much room for creativity.
  • Be original. Tell something that has not been told or in a way not yet been told. Read the Find your own voice to learn this cool creative exercise that will help you find your own true voice.
  • Pay attention to the things that work commercially and in terms of festivals. Notice where you are in this equation.
  • Speaking of festivals, before starting to send films to the film festivals, you should have a strategy. Most festivals cost money to register and in some of them, pre-registration is cheaper. Plan ahead and think how the film festival  is going to contribute to the film, and how much you want to spend on them   
  • Remember – The better your script will be the more talents will be            attracted to it, and if your project will bring a really good script, maybe they even agree to give you a discount.
  • Create a movie web page, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. It will also help you get funding through the Internet.
  • If you are working on a budget, check first how you can cut locations. Reducing locations can lower the budget dramatically.
    (Click here to learn more about ways for lowering your budget)

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it

  • the sound people usually get ignored in film production, but I have seen
    productions that fell because of sound problems. Make sure to have someone who really understands the field (click here to read about sound design in films
  • Prepare the budget while maintaining fidelity to reality. Do not kid yourself.Go through all the script, do a script breakdown and realize what it is you need. If the budget is too expensive, check out what you can give up and be sure to add an unexpected 10 percent to the budget. That means after you finish calculating the budget you add 10 percent of the budget to spend on unexpected expenses (which will happen to you no matter how much you’ll plan ahead). Do not forget to also include marketing expenses, editing, sound and every post issue.
  • Do a research in all areas that you deal with them and try to do some more work on your own Pre – Production stage. 

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it

  •  Try to find staff that has the equipment needed. It can cost you cheaper
    (especially if they have their own insurance on the equipment) and they know
    how to use their equipment and they also keep it in good shape.
  • Learn how to work well with your director, financiers, and other important figures. Establish with all of them an honest relationship right at the start. The producer has to know how to work with people and listen to their needs. Everyone got different needs and it your job to answer them.