Having worked on numerous productions for the past 3 years, from music videos to comedy pilots, I have built up quite a lot of experience and knowledge on filmmaking. This knowledge is something that anyone who has been on a set of any capacity will know, but as it says in the title, these are tips for students wrote by a fellow peer.
Before I jump into this, I just want to give you a small background on myself so that you know that i’m not just some random person who filmed a gig on their Sony Cyber Shot and uploaded it to youtube in 240p titled “MY SICK MUSIC VID”.
My name is Matt Welch, i’m a 19 year old freelance Filmmaker who is currently studying Moving Image at Liverpool Media Academy. I’ve directed, shot and edited things from college (Plan of Action, RedBull (Advert)) from two years ago, my own things rather recently (Life on Mark, The Wellees Live) as well as just solely editing projects like birthday parties and Promos. I’ve also recorded sound on a few projects and helped out with lighting and even as just your average runner.
Thats not me bragging about all the things i’ve worked on, its more like the first tip; Master Everything.
What i mean by this is, don’t say “I’m a director, I never want to use a camera" or "i’m a camera man, I don’t want to learn how to edit”. This is one of the worst attitudes to have when it comes to filmmaking. I love editing, its probably the thing i do most and the thing that gives me the biggest kick, but if someone asked me to jump on a boom pole for their project I would never say “no, I only edit”.
Even if you only want to do one specific role, its only an advantage if your working on small budgets (which will more than likely be no budgets if your only just starting off) and the sound op has pulled his back and can’t operate the boom, you can step in.
Knowing a little bit about everything gets you a long way. Be open to learning new things in this industry. Being able to know how someone else’s role works means that you won’t impede or harm their work and at the same time their work won’t impede on your work. For Instance, if you’re a cam op, and you’re setting up for a close up, the boom can get in closer to the subject because the shot will be tighter, this means that the audio will be better for the production. If you didn’t know much about booms, then you’d think that they could be placed anywhere so you couldn’t let to boom op know where your shot is and in turn the audio wouldn’t be as crisp as it could have been. That might seem like i’m rambling but its a pretty big point to get across.
Leading on from this and another pretty important thing to take on board is Never turn a job down. Not just because of the economical climate, but because every job is a lesson. You will learn more with every shoot you do.
I know a person who was in the same class as me who said “I only want to make my own projects, I never want to do corporate work”.
No. no. no. no. no. no.
Never ever think like this, if something isn’t up your street it doesn’t matter, your working, Learning. It might be something stupid like filming a 30 second clip of a car, driving past, but you’ll be using your camera and still making something.
theres another tip; Making something is better than making nothing.
Theres millions of more tips for us student filmmakers out there and i’ll write another one soon, but as of now, Im procrastinating because I have to carry on with another edit, but, until next time fellow filmmakers and thanks for reading