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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old May 5 2013, 08:49 AM   #241
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

doubleohfive wrote: View Post
*BUMP*

A friend who works for Sony shared this article today, which she said basically covers exactly what she does for her job at Sony. Noting myself that almost ALL fan films tend to botch up credits and how they are used and what they "mean" I thought I'd share here for future reference:

ASSEMBLING THE BILLING BLOCK

And while the MPAA rules don't exactly equate to or are necessarily usable with most fan films, I can tell you right now as a professional working in scripted drama TV, you lose a little bit of credibility when your credits are all over the place, inaccurate, or just nonsensical or even just plain too long. It even glances over what the difference between "A _____ film" vs "A film by ______" is (hint: one pays you more money than the other).

And yes, while the billing block is in fact a different beast than the credits of a film, this is nonetheless a great article and one that I think would be an invaluable tool for everyone to have for their reference.
That's a great reference. A lot of fan films and other small productions assign credits incorrectly. Co-Producer is one of the worst, as the people who get it rarely do anything related to a co-producer job.

As a member of the Producers Guild myself it's nice to see the new p.g.a. mark mentioned in the article.
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Old May 5 2013, 03:45 PM   #242
Ryan Thomas Riddle
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Maurice wrote: View Post
doubleohfive wrote: View Post
*BUMP*

A friend who works for Sony shared this article today, which she said basically covers exactly what she does for her job at Sony. Noting myself that almost ALL fan films tend to botch up credits and how they are used and what they "mean" I thought I'd share here for future reference:

ASSEMBLING THE BILLING BLOCK

And while the MPAA rules don't exactly equate to or are necessarily usable with most fan films, I can tell you right now as a professional working in scripted drama TV, you lose a little bit of credibility when your credits are all over the place, inaccurate, or just nonsensical or even just plain too long. It even glances over what the difference between "A _____ film" vs "A film by ______" is (hint: one pays you more money than the other).

And yes, while the billing block is in fact a different beast than the credits of a film, this is nonetheless a great article and one that I think would be an invaluable tool for everyone to have for their reference.
That's a great reference. A lot of fan films and other small productions assign credits incorrectly. Co-Producer is one of the worst, as the people who get it rarely do anything related to a co-producer job.

As a member of the Producers Guild myself it's nice to see the new p.g.a. mark mentioned in the article.
Especially the writing credits, take STARSHIP FARRAGUT's latest outing for instance.
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Old August 30 2013, 02:15 PM   #243
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

No one's posted here in a while but I have a question that I'm sure many people here are capable of answering. On a low-budget shoot, what crewmembers are essential, which ones would be nice but not required, and what roles can be merged?
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Old August 30 2013, 03:17 PM   #244
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Rather than think in terms of people it might be easier to talk about necessary skillsets. for instance, you must have adequate camera work, lighting and sound. Depending on their background, one person might be able to handle or at least supervise all three roles. Similarly, someone has to be the director, but again, depending on that person's background and the complexity of the shoot, the director might also be able to handle some other role such as handling props.

To really figure out what personnel you're going to need, you're going to have to have a finished script. A detailed script (storyboards may seem like a luxury, but even crude ones can be huge timesavers in terms of helping envision how scenes should be set up and in spotting potential trouble spots. If you don't know what a storyboard is here you go) is your roadmap and studying it in advance will give you an idea of what resources in terms of materiel and personnel you will need.
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Old August 30 2013, 03:25 PM   #245
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Well right now I'm still at the story phase of a film I want to make possibly next year (not a fan film). But I am trying to see what's possible with very little money. And since a large portion of the story would be shot on exterior locations it would be cheaper to have a small crew.
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Old August 30 2013, 04:44 PM   #246
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Having a person who is expert in some of the more recent apps available for filmmakers helps a lot. Recording good sound on location needs attention as well, although I'm told a good audio engineer can do wonders with inferior sound (if so, I've yet to meet this person but would love to.)
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Old August 31 2013, 06:34 PM   #247
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

captainkirk wrote: View Post
No one's posted here in a while but I have a question that I'm sure many people here are capable of answering. On a low-budget shoot, what crewmembers are essential, which ones would be nice but not required, and what roles can be merged?
From earlier in the thread:
Maurice wrote: View Post
offtrackv wrote: View Post
What would you say is the minimum crew needed for a production? Over the life of this thread I've seen grips, best boys, ADs, prop masters, script editors, etc. etc.
I don't think this thread has really touched on roles other the Director, the A.D., and Actors. Certainly no one's brought up Best Boys.

offtrackv wrote: View Post
This is great, but what if you can't round up all those people (or feed them, or even get them all into the set space)? What roles can be combined? What roles can be dropped altogether if need be?
That's a fair question.

On a small production you can often lose wardrobe people if there is little costuming. Sometimes you can leave out makeup but only if someone else on the crew can tend to it (many stage actors are used to doing their own). You probably don't need a property master. You WILL want a D.P. who is not doubling any other role, except maybe being the camera operator and focus puller/Assistant Camera. For newbies, the Director should probably be doing that only, and not be the camera operator, because the Director needs to focus on the actors and watch the takes, and that's hard to do if you're also running the camera.

You can dispense with a boom operator if you can plant mics and the actors don't move a lot, but if you're recording second sound the sound gal can often double as boom operator.

I prefer to have both an A.D. and a Script Supervisor. The former runs the set and tracks the schedule. The latter tracks what you've shot and monitors continuity (to the script, between takes and setups) and tracks what's been covered from which angles. I've tried to cover for a missing Script Supe as the A.D., which is possible but not ideal.
I know some people disagree about separate director/D.P., but my experience is that beginning filmmakers make a lot more mistakes if they're trying to combine those roles.

DO NOT SKIMP ON SOUND! Sound trumps picture, and bad sound ruins beautiful photography. The reverse is not quite as true. It's very tough if not impossible to fix sound in post. Don't risk it.

captainkirk wrote: View Post
Well right now I'm still at the story phase of a film I want to make possibly next year (not a fan film). But I am trying to see what's possible with very little money. And since a large portion of the story would be shot on exterior locations it would be cheaper to have a small crew.
Do you have any live-action filmmaking experience? If not, the best way is to learn by doing. It appears you are in South Africa. Are you in or near Johannesburg? You could enter or join a team participating in the 48 Hour Film Project there (link here). I did five of these and they are great, low impact introductions to making movies in limited time and under extreme restrictions. Taught me a lot.
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Old September 1 2013, 04:26 AM   #248
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I would recommend the following:

Director
Cinematographer/DP
Sound Mixer
Assistant Director
Script Supervisor
One person to handle makeup, wardrobe and production design
2 or 3 people to help with lighting and setting up equipment
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Old September 1 2013, 08:16 AM   #249
captainkirk
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Thanks everyone. I live near Durban, not Johannesburg which is a problem because we have almost no film industry.
I do want to get as much experience as possible so I try to look out for events to participate in.

scienceguy wrote: View Post
I would recommend the following:

Director
Cinematographer/DP
Sound Mixer
Assistant Director
Script Supervisor
One person to handle makeup, wardrobe and production design
2 or 3 people to help with lighting and setting up equipment
I'd been looking in the credits of a number of short films and I figured it would be something like that.
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Old September 1 2013, 07:19 PM   #250
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Basically, on a no-budget film you end up wearing a lot of hats. When you have fewer people shifting as much work as possible to pre-production and doing planning and contingency planning is what'll save your bacon.

I may have mentioned this upthread, but when we did what became "Stagecoach In the Sky" for the 2009 48 Hour Film Project we did as much work as the contest rules would allow long before the actual contest: I secured a location 5 weeks in advance and toured it with my DP several weeks beforehand, taking a lot of photos and discussing with him the practicalities of shooting in the plane. The lighting gear we rented was based on this assessment. This planning made it possible for us to walk in on the shooting day and get right to it. It saved us HOURS of time during the shoot.

In other words: plan everything you can, then keep planning. It's never too much.
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Old September 2 2013, 05:10 AM   #251
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Shooting our 36 hour production, "Closing Time," at Trek Trax Atlanta, we had the following folks:

Sara Higgins Mackenzie (director, camera operator)
myself (director of photography, lighting, continuity, script supervisor, prop master)
Each person appearing did their own makeup, but Brian Holloway of Phase 2 did Eric Stillwell's (Korgoth the Bartender) abd the ladies from Reliant did their own Andorians.
We provided the costuming for the Starfleet regs who didn't have their own.
The actors did a great job of getting their own makeup and costuming in order.
We used the built-in microphone. (We will be rerecording some lines for the official release next year).
Mark Brennan provided pre-made VFX (which will be tweaked a little).
We used Tony Lunn's music from previous episodes (which will be replaced with an original score next year).
Rick Foxx provided the credits (only one error -- not bad at all!).

After the shoot, Sara edited the rough cut. I tweaked the sound as best as I could, and it came out fine.

For our latest studio shoot, things were a bit different. We had...

director/camera operator
lighting/director of photography
continuity/script supervisor
boom operator
production assistant (i.e. gofer)

Too many people underfoot is definitely not a good thing for a small production.
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Old September 2 2013, 09:36 AM   #252
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

My short films typically have about 25 people (about 8 cast and 16 crew) and it never feels like there are too many people, especially since everyone has a specific job or jobs.
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Old September 3 2013, 07:44 AM   #253
Potemkin_Prod
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Doesn't sound like a fan film.

For our most recent production, we filmed in a hotel room in Alpharetta to represent a couple's residence on Gault. Two cast members present. Three crew present. Throw in half a dozen lights, and you really don't have room for any more crew.
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Old September 6 2013, 05:14 AM   #254
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Contrarian.

25 people doesn't sound like a fan film? Have you seen one of the bigger fanfilm crews when they are shooting? The Tressaurian Intersection cast and crew easily numbered into the 20s.

The point is that the line of too many people is relative. If the "set" is small that doesn't mean you don't need people, it just means that you move the people who don't need to be near the camera off-set to your basecamp. When I shot in a 70 year old flying boat we had a basecamp set up outside the plane, and the only people inside it were those who needed to be there at that moment. Makeup comes in, does touchups then exits, stage right, etc.
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Old September 6 2013, 11:08 AM   #255
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

This has all been helpful. If I'm ever able to afford to put my idea into production I don't think being able to fit people into locations would be a problem as the ones I have in mind are pretty large. The harder part would be convincing the owners to let a bunch of film makers take over the place for a while.
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