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AUTHOR SUBJECT: FILMMAKING: Is it fun?
Superdude
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Posted: 8/23/2017 1:11:39 AM
Yes.  Yes it is. 

REPLIES:   18
Velusion
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Posted: 8/23/2017 3:03:02 PM
Fun? No.  I don't think so.  It isn't fun nor should it be.  Watching films is fun.  making them is challenging and should be taken seriously. 

Mike Conway
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Posted: 8/23/2017 3:39:17 PM
Watching the results can be fun - like seeing playback of a successful, stunt or camera move that went right.  

Usually, the production days are stressful and very difficult.  The clock is against you.  The wind noise and weather are against you.  There always seems to be a loud airplane or chopper going by.  The hours are long, so that brings out the pissy moods in people.  There's often some vegan person, who has no physical restrictions requiring them to be, but makes you run around for special orders.  :>)

I've had lead actors (and many supporting actors) quit, after filming started.  Of course, crew doesn't show up, so I just force it all to happen.  We are talking cheap, indie production, so it is to be expected with some regularity.  As someone said, the money hose can wash away those problems, but I don't often have that resource.

The great thing about filmmaking is that I lose weight and get a tan.  Shoot sun up to sunset, and beyond.  There's no time to eat, because when the cast is eating, you're transferring footage to the computer or calling for a replacement generator.

The pay-off, fun and enjoyment comes from seeing it come together and maybe even a few viewers enjoy it.  I can tell you that EXILE was one of the best times of my life.  We paid for permits, went out to scenic locations with costumes and guns, and the group of people we had clicked very well.  Truly an adventure, including the flat tires and spending an entire night digging the RV out of the sand!  

One of the guys was bragging to someone who worked at the Utah motel, saying "They pay for everything, your gas, coffee, meals, and motel room."  That meant a lot to me that our little production impressed some of the people on it.  I wish I had the capital to do something like that, again.


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Posted: 8/23/2017 6:18:10 PM
I think your number one fan lives in Utah. His name is Dan Steglich and he loves your movies. 

SLEEPTILLNOONPRO
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Posted: 8/23/2017 10:31:15 PM
Mike, I'll never forget when you were making THE AWAKENING, after who knows how many hours with no rest, you fell asleep in your driveway, still standing straight up holding a big box of gear AND YOU DIDN'T DROP THE BOX!!!
Mike Conway
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Posted: 8/24/2017 12:37:16 AM
 James, Dan Steglich sounds like a good guy.  Tell him I said, "Hi."

Scotty, I don't remember that, as I must have been having a nice sleep cycle.  :>)

mokkimachi
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Posted: 8/24/2017 1:16:38 PM
Pfff, no wonder you people dread filmmaking so much, you can't get yourselves to make any more films.  It's not supposed to be torture, you silly freakshows.  What kind of dark path did you get lost on?? 

YES, you're supposed to have fun with filmmaking. Otherwise, why do it?  As a job? 

No, it's not your full time jobs. 

I found my own ways that work for me.  Here are just a few things that will turn a dreaded filmmaking schedule into more fun than eminems:  

1.  NEVER shoot more than 4 hours at a time.  When pushed for time, shoot 6am to 10am, immediately followed by a breakfast so delicious, everybody will remember the shoot as a delicious experience because it ended so fine.  Then let them go home or let them retire to their rooms.  Then if really necessary, shoot again from 4pm to 8pm.  Followed by a long night's rest so deep, you wake up so refreshed you want more.  

2.  NEVER let anybody go to bed late.  NEVER.  Tired people start dreading the filmmaking and then stop showing up.    

3.  NEVER keep any actors working for more than 2 hours at a time without a break and then a maximum of another 2 hours.    

4.  NEVER let them go home empty handed.  Let them leave with an ice cold Coca Cola bottlette in hand, or a cupcake or chocolate bar or a bottle of milk or half dozen eggs.  

5.  NEVER lose patience with people who arrive late, or actors who simply do not have the capacity to remember lines.  Just keep going all lively and patiently until you get what you need.  Even the actor with the worst memory seldom need to do more than 58 takes before they remember enough for you to be able to stitch different shots together to get the whole paragraph of dialogue.  

6.  STOP spending money.  This one I couldn't see at first, which limited me to my budget, like you say now you "can't" make a film because you don't have the "capital" so you wait and wait until you're dead.

SLEEPTILLNOONPRO
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Posted: 8/25/2017 1:14:12 AM
 I have some comments/questions about what you posted Marius....

1.  NEVER shoot more than 4 hours at a time.  When pushed for time, shoot 6am to 10am, immediately followed by a breakfast so delicious, everybody will remember the shoot as a delicious experience because it ended so fine.  Then let them go home or let them retire to their rooms.  Then if really necessary, shoot again from 4pm to 8pm.  Followed by a long night's rest so deep, you wake up so refreshed you want more.  

This could work for a tiny production of 1 or 2 people, but what about the director who's working with a even just a half dozen cast and crew? That's not many.  All who have different schedules and priorities going on. And, since the pay is not there, they can't justify missing work or whatever to give your project top priority. The low budget director has no choice but to lengthen the hours to make it all fit together. 

2.  NEVER let anybody go to bed late.  NEVER.  Tired people start dreading the filmmaking and then stop showing up.

Fine, but how in the world can you enforce it? 

3.  NEVER keep any actors working for more than 2 hours at a time without a break and then a maximum of another 2 hours.

Hmmm...even when they're late or can't remember their lines?

4.  NEVER let them go home empty handed.  Let them leave with an ice cold Coca Cola bottlette in hand, or a cupcake or chocolate bar or a bottle of milk or half dozen eggs.

Great idea Marius! I remember reading an article about director Fred Olen Ray and he gives all the actresses flowers and everyone gets a nice bottle of champagne when it's a wrap.

5.  NEVER lose patience with people who arrive late, or actors who simply do not have the capacity to remember lines.  Just keep going all lively and patiently until you get what you need.  Even the actor with the worst memory seldom need to do more than 58 takes before they remember enough for you to be able to stitch different shots together to get the whole paragraph of dialogue. 

This one has me really puzzled. Are you saying it's ok that people arrive late and just let it slide? I can see once because shit happens but what about if it's a habit? I know this is a touchy subject for directors and there are numerous ways to handle it. 

The trouble remembering lines can be a nightmare too. especially if as you advise don't want to work over 2 hours with an individual. 58 takes is ALOT of time!

6.  STOP spending money.  This one I couldn't see at first, which limited me to my budget, like you say now you "can't" make a film because you don't have the "capital" so you wait and wait until you're dead.

This is the ultimate question I have for you Marius....How do you stop spending money? How?
I agree with your words of advise about if you wait and wait for enough money, you'll die first. But you need something! 

As an example, I want to make a little sci-fi project that I can sell off a website and make a few bucks hopefully. I'm using my Uncle's garage for the mad scientist's laboratory. I've been collecting all kinds of junk for a few years now that I can build into props. I'm hiring just one person; an actress. But, I still need to buy a costume, get some tools and equipment and upgrade my computer, etc. Oh and pay the talent. Overall not alot but it still adds up. 

Even if you just make/buy a really nice breakfast for your cast and crew like you said you do, that becomes big bucks in a very short amount of time. 

So Marius, what's your secret on how to quit spending money making movies?

mokkimachi
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Posted: 8/25/2017 3:56:58 AM
Lots of people crave working on a movie.  Let them. 


"The low budget director has no choice but to lengthen the hours to make it all fit together. "


WRONG!!!  You want people to stop coming to your shoots because they're endless wastes of time?  

No.  Make appointments with people to come in when you're ready for them, shoot with them, then let them drink a cup of tea in the lounge area, then wave them goodbye outside.

 
 
"Fine, but how in the world can you enforce it? "

By not keeping them up with your shoots.  Never finish later than 8pm.  I try to finish all shooting at the latest 11am.  Don't do anything with anybody from lunch time and hopefully the rest of the day.  They have stuff to do too.  Never create a situation in which they have to ask you to leave or to have scheduled time off. They must want to be there.  



"Are you saying it's ok that people arrive late and just let it slide?"

Since it's "indie" film (read no money paid), you have no power over them, so yes, don't get growchy.  It's just the nature of the game. 

You'll soon learn who comes late and who doesn't.  For the ones that do come late, simply give them the call time as 2 hours earlier than you actually plan on starting. 

By the way, can you watch PAL DVD's or do you need NTSC still?


SLEEPTILLNOONPRO
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Posted: 8/25/2017 9:42:12 AM
 Well Marius, using your example and assuming Mike can get free help, he would still need money for materials to build a monster, build at least one set and construct a rocketship. To build anything even remotely decent would still cost thousands of dollars in supplies. 

I'm really not arguing with your point Marius. Anything is possible. But to even have a slight chance of selling a movie, especially sci-fi, it takes some dough. And alot of time.

My project is going to be super cheap and I'm doing all the work. But I'm not kidding myself by thinking I'm going to have a movie that the masses will buy. It'll be just a nice little sci-fi fetish type deal that I can hopefully make a tiny profit on.

"By the way, can you watch PAL DVD's or do you need NTSC still?"

NTSC. Is this for the 3 dvd set you were supposed to have completed 6 months ago?

mokkimachi
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Posted: 8/25/2017 12:00:13 PM
He's not starting with nothing.  He's got lots of old things he can rearrange and just add a few more new things. 

Everybody who is brought in to help can also bring stuff to the table. 


Mike Conway
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Posted: 8/26/2017 12:49:50 PM
 The time I had two lead actors quit, had nothing to do with long days.  We were shooting for about 3 or 4 hours at a time.  However, one had a cocaine addiction and the other guy liked to drink too much.


In my EXILE example, we were shooting in another state, Utah.  I live in Nevada, about a 5 hour drive away.  I was paying for motel rooms, food, etc.  Shooting for 2 - 4 hours wasn't going to do much.  In addition to the motel, there was an additional 45 minute drive to the volcanic crater that we were filming in.  Now, I did allow everyone to get plenty of sleep.  We would get to the crater at 9 or 10am, because I didn't want to stress everyone out with a 6am call.  I got everyone back the motel before the restaurant closed at 9pm, because I would buy them dinner.

On location, we had my RV, which had a kitchen (stove, sink, fridge, microwave oven, etc.)  Sheila, who is also a chef, made breakfast to order - omelettes, bacon, pancakes, etc.  





I needed a group of people, who could all leave town for 10 days.  They have bills to pay, too, so I paid them $100 per day.  Not a lot, but with food and gas, it adds up.  This movie had to be shot, before my vacation time was up.  There was an additional 9 days of shooting in Nevada, involving sets in my garage and backyard.  I don't know about you, but I have to purchase wood and supplies.  That costs, also.  

Can I plan on a movie that costs no money?  Yes, I could.  Everyone could work for free and not get food or drink.  We can greenscreen all of the sets.  Of course, that is exactly the kind of production that I loathe.  Fricken cheap ass indies, who use people.  I try to avoid those people like the plague.  The only time I find that acceptable is if it is for a single day or night.  I get asked to help on those type of things, quite a bit.  

I don't have time for tons of freebies, these days, with my three kids needing me everyday, for something.  It is 12:45pm, as I write this.  I've driven to the DMV twice, this morning, because my oldest son is trying to get his driving permit.  I drove my daughter to Albertson's grocery store, because she is following up on her job application there.  I drove my son to Jimmy John's sandwiches, because he works there.  My new neighbor just asked if I could come over for his birthday, at 4pm, this afternoon.  He's the new neighbor, so I said yes.  My son gets off work, at 3pm and I have to drop him back at the DMV, because he didn't finish.

So, it's only 12:45 and I happen to be off, today.  That's how my days go.  Sheila works so much, that I'm doing all the shopping, watering, and other things of that nature.  Them kids are going to be hungry in a few hours...

So back to doing quick freebies for people.  My friends' Thanos and Jake are making ESCAPE FROM LAS VEGAS.  They ask, "hey can you come play a security henchman, and bring a costume?"  Sure thing.  I'll help for free, when people are brief and considerate, which these guys are.  














It's those other projects where people want you to work on it for months, and the only thing they give you is a producer credit.  I've done it too many times.  I'm done with those.


mokkimachi
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Posted: 8/26/2017 4:01:38 PM
Was EXILE the one you sold through Darlene all over to Asia and whatnot?  I remember considering you successful in independent filmmaking because of getting royalty cheques for something.

I actually thought it was two movies, then later you said it's just one. 

But you still count as successful enough in my opinion, as I consider it the ultimate to make a movie in your backyard (read wherever in your environment really) and then have a distributor or six pick it up and run with it and just send you the royalties.  Convenient!


Mike Conway
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Posted: 8/26/2017 11:27:02 PM
 "Was EXILE the one you sold through Darlene all over to Asia and whatnot?  I remember considering you successful in independent filmmaking because of getting royalty cheques for something.  I actually thought it was two movies, then later you said it's just one."


It was 4 projects - 3 movies and 1 synth tutorial DVD.  TERRARIUM broke even on 50K in associated costs.  THE AWAKENING made money.  We got some checks, years after it first came out (Canadian cable, etc.) that put us in the plus column.  "Unofficial" OASYS was a nice surprise.  (It cost about 2K and made 12 to 15K)  EXILE had some sales, but lost money.  The last one I think would have made more money, had it not been for the timing of the recession just prior to the release of the movie.

I don't know if you remember this picture, but it showed most of the different covers from different countries:







Interestingly, when I thought TERRARIUM was long done, it sold in U.K./Hong Kong territory, about 3 years ago.



I didn't get big returns like Christian and Patrick got, but I'm grateful for what we got.



mokkimachi
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Posted: 8/27/2017 1:08:46 PM
Lol, that's beautiful dude!  I especially like the one with the golden chick shoving her honkers all into your face.  

I think the problem with EXILE is just, other than overspending which is our discussion here, the cover.  Look at the fancy art on the others.  You need one focus point and a catchy name. 

I would put just the monster big in the center, but with a fancy arty professional photo lit all spookylike and with slimy goo on the monster and blood running out its mouth. 

Then call it something like "IT BITES" or "THEY BITE"  or "SPACE TERROR" or "SPACE CRITTER" or "SLIMY" or "CREEPY PLANET" or "GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN".  That is assuming the movie was about the monster.  I forget.  Maybe it was the mission.  "MISSION TERRIFY" or "MISSION TO DEATH" or "HORROR PLANET".  Aldridge would buy that!
 



""Unofficial" OASYS was a nice surprise.  (It cost about 2K and made 12 to 15K)"

Yup, see my point about not spending money right there?  It's the movie you DIDN'T spend money on that gave you the biggest profit. 

See that Aldridge?  Point proven about not spending money right there. 


SLEEPTILLNOONPRO
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Posted: 8/27/2017 5:39:34 PM
 "See that Aldridge?  Point proven about not spending money right there."


Yeah Killer, I know. That's why I said I'm making a super duper cheap fetish sci-fi vid with just me and an actress. Please pay attention from now on Marius to what I say.


"Then call it something like "IT BITES" or "THEY BITE"  or "SPACE TERROR" or "SPACE CRITTER" or "SLIMY" or "CREEPY PLANET" or "GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN".  That is assuming the movie was about the monster.  I forget.  Maybe it was the mission.  "MISSION TERRIFY" or "MISSION TO DEATH" or "HORROR PLANET".  Aldridge would buy that!"

Unfortunately, my movie spending is a bit limited these days and I can only afford to buy videos made by some dude in S. Africa who works with hand puppets.

mokkimachi
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Posted: 8/27/2017 11:48:39 PM
A fetish film with you and an actress?????????? 

Sounds suspect but hey, if you got it, flaunt it.  Rowrrrrrrrr.... ;)

Is your thing going to be feature length?  *wink wink*.

Or is it a short?  *wink wink* ;)

Naah, forget the wink wink.  Whatever did I mean with that?  How long is your... ehem... movie? 




"I can only afford to buy videos made by some dude in S. Africa"

Who? 

Ohhhhhhhhhh, right.   Awww, you're most kind!  Thank you Aldridge!  

I don't blame you either.  Those videos are MUST-HAVES!! 

Remember to get the 3 DVD set.  It's absolutely the best work by "some dude" EVER!! 



SLEEPTILLNOONPRO
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Posted: 8/28/2017 7:29:52 AM
 "Remember to get the 3 DVD set."

How could I forget? You've been pimping them for a year now.


"It's absolutely the best work by "some dude" EVER!!"

Better than Slobbies?!?!?!? IMPOSSIBLE!!!

mokkimachi
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Posted: 8/29/2017 10:59:05 PM
"You've been pimping them for a year now."

It's been a year already?  Rest assured all the time that goes by is spent on making it extra super! 

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