Watch and learn how to shoot a script, using visual motifs, atmospherics, framing, and different types of shots to tell the film's story. Find out how to give direction to your crew and be a good leader, while staying on budget and on schedule. Plus, get tips to improve shots during retakes or in post, and to become a better director, storyteller, and communicator.
Note: Like the rest of the Creating a Short Film series, this course was shot during the production of The Assurance. It offers a unique window into the actual struggles and challenges filmmakers have to overcome to get films made. Find the rest of the courses in the series on Chad's author page.
- What a director does
- Interpreting the script
- Scouting locations
- Choosing the tone and theme of the film
- Using motifs
- Shaping the story through visuals
- Being a good leader on set
- Respecting budgets and schedules
- Planning shots
- Moving the camera: on a tripod or dolly or in handheld shots
- Using rolling takes
- Framing shots
- Adding atmospherics
- Directing in post-production
- Becoming a better director
Skill Level Intermediate
- [Voiceover] Hey, folks, this is Chad Perkins, a filmmaker from Seattle. This training series is part of a collection of courses to teach you how to make a short film start to finish. As part of this training, I made a short fantasy film called The Assurance and documented the entire process from writing and pre-production to working on set through post production to a screening in an independent movie theater in Seattle. In this training, you'll get to see how we budgeted, auditioned actors, set up lights and cameras, wrote and recorded the orchestral score, how we did all of our visual effects, everything.
And you know, filmmaking is really about problem solving. So we'll show you the first drafts and rough cuts, the challenges we had and mistakes we made, so that you can avoid those pitfalls on your project. This training consists of 13 separate training courses. Each course focuses on a component of filmmaking and will be released in the general order of the filmmaking work flow. The first course is on producing. How do you get a project off the ground and shepherd it to completion? The second course is on writing. We'll get an understanding of how to tell a story, examining some of the best Hollywood films as well as how we created the world, The Assurance.
Course number three is about pre-production, getting the script ready to film. We'll look at the meetings I had with our crew about the schedule, budget, designing the wardrobe from scratch, developing concept art, and more. The fourth course is on acting. We'll look at what acting is really about, and we'll show you our auditions and rehearsals and why we made the choices we did. The fifth course is about directing where we'll look at controlling the tone, running the set, and the many decisions that directors have to make. Course number six is all about working on set. What's that workflow like? What do all these people do? We'll look at all of that, as well as a tutorial from my wife Heather about how she created the special effects makeup for our film.
The seventh course is about cinematography. How can you use your camera and lighting to tell your story in the best way? Course number eight is about editing, and we'll how we were able to reedit our initial story to tell a completely different and much better one. In course nine, we'll start to look at visual effects, creating environments, adding elements to shots, and removing objects from shots. Course 10 is all about the stuff you think of when you think of visual effects, magic, particles, explosions, you know all that pretty stuff. These are all things that you can do at home for little to no money.
Course 11 is about color. This was a huge part of The Assurance and is an often under-used tool to transform bland footage or even poorly shot footage into something gorgeous. Course 12 is all about audio. We'll look at recording audio on set, composing the score and recording it, sound design... (sword unsheathing) (roaring wind) (sword unsheathing) and mixing it all together. And finally, we'll wrap things up in course 13 by talking about how to market and distribute your film, including how to make marketing materials like logos and trailers and how to get your film seen by an audience.
I think it's a one of a kind experience, and not just learn about how to make films but to see what it's actually like to solve problems and struggle and fail and compromise during that process. - Cut. - [Voiceover] Now this has been years in the making so thank you so much for watching this. Enjoy the training. - That's a wrap! (cheering)