Viewers: in countries Watching now:
Pro Video Tips is designed for busy videographers like you. This series brings you a new tip every week, on everything from controlling reflections to hiding mics. Host Anthony Q. Artis covers shooting techniques for particular video challenges like portraits, tools to help you control light and judge exposure, and advice for the traveling videographer, such as putting together a great lens kit or packing a truck. Come back every Tuesday for a new round of tips.
- So sooner or later every filmmaker reaches a point where they're stalled out. You start trying to raise funds, but then give up after a few fruitless meetings and near misses. You shot those 18 hours of footage for your doc so far, but don't know how you should structure it. Somewhere along the line, you went from pumped up and overflowing with ideas to burnt out and discouraged that it was ever even a good idea to begin with. This is a natural part of the filmmaking process. It's like getting cold feet before your wedding. It's normal and you'll work through it most of the time.
Here are some tips you help you increase your odds of survival and get your production back on track. Starting with tip number one. Work on someone else's movie. Just being in the thick of it again will help you remember why you started your own project in the first place. Working with other filmmakers to achieve their vision will help make your seemingly impossible dream a little more plausible reality. If the production team has more experience than you, you'll probably pick up some new tricks, some new crew members, and possibly even have a breakthrough revelation about how to jump-start your own stalled production.
And if the crew has less experience than you, you may be motivated by the revelation that if those guys can do it, especially with less resources, you can definitely pull it off. If you can at all see the finished product, or at least the raw footage of the project you've worked on, it may be just the match you need under your butt to rededicate yourself to your own filmmaking vision. Tip number two. Go to a film festival. If you don't have time to actually work on another Indie filmmaker's project, try just attending the screening of a new Indie film project with a director question and answer session, or a discussion panel at the end.
Just like working on someone else's set, viewing someone else's first effort and hearing their war stories can be very educational and motivational whether it's good or bad. Often the biggest obstacles in a stalled production are entirely in our head. They're mental blocks. A loss of confidence in our abilities. A loss of confidence in our projects, our funding, or even in filmmaking itself. Going to a few screenings and seeing and hearing other filmmakers live and in person can help snap you out of your head and back to the very difficult but very plausible realities of filmmaking.
Tip number three. Take a break. It's always risky to put a project down, because there's a good chance that you'll never pick it back up again. However, if you're completely overwhelmed, starting to come unglued mentally, it may not be a bad idea just to walk away from your film completely. Go on a vacation. Start a new art or home project. Go back home for a week and hang out with your old friends. Just give yourself permission to temporarily let go of the project, enjoy something else, and clear your head completely.
After you come down off the ledge, take the time to really recall why you started making your project in the first place. What drove you when it was still fun? How can you can tap back into that original state of mind and enthusiasm? Come back to your film in awhile with fresh energy, fresh perspective, and a better and more determined game plan. Let it go, and if you really love it, you'll go back to it. Tip number four. Bring in some fresh blood. When you're working on a major project for a long time, you're essentially living that project, morning, noon and night.
It's quite easy to just spread out and lose all perspective on your original vision. When that happens, it always helps to bring in someone else with a fresh set of eyes and new energy. Every now and then you'll be amazed by the fresh perspective or simple breakthrough suggestion that someone else can contribute to your project. An enthusiastic assistant to help tackle that pile of receipts. A wiz kid editor to completely recut that scene you can't get right, or even a custom song by a talented composer could all help push you over your organizational story or creative obstacles and re-energize you to persevere until your film is finally up on the screen.
And finally, tip number five. Back yourself into a corner. This is simply jumping off the high dive. Put yourself in a situation where it's really difficult or even disastrous to back out. Choose something with a definite deadline and other people and professionals that you're now accountable to. Pick something that costs you money, public embarrassment, or some other harsh penalty for not following through on the commitment. Make a poster and heavily publicize the premiere date. Tell all your friends and filmmaking groups on Facebook and Twitter.
Rent a theater, put down a cash deposit, and email a formal announcement to all your friends and colleagues. Agree to do a benefit premiere for a local charity. The only real goal here is to put yourself in a corner so that the only real way out is through whatever obstacles still remain. You'd be surprised at how quickly many non-swimmers can learn if you push them out of a boat. So those are my five tips to hopefully help you get back to where you once began. Remember, losing enthusiasm somewhere along the way is just a routine part of the filmmaking process.
If you didn't experience some self-doubt and frustrations along the way in an endeavor as complexed and involved as filmmaking, you wouldn't be human, and you wouldn't have a good story to tell at the end. So it ain't going to be easy, but the increased self-confidence that you will ultimately get from overcoming the challenges before you, will make you a better and stronger filmmaker in the future. I'm Anthony Q. Artis, and until next time, keep chipping away at that dream.
There are currently no FAQs about Pro Video Tips.
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.