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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old May 2 2011, 10:36 PM   #121
Ryan Thomas Riddle
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

DS9Sega wrote: View Post
Barbreader wrote: View Post
You continue to discuss the episode as if the story was about the Peter-Alex relationship. It was about the blood worms, (Doomsday biogenic weapons) and the issues about the blood worms, and the relationship was supposed to merely be a consequence of the main plot, as was the Klingon intervention which complicated it. The Klingons show that a crisis is not just a crisis, it effects other ongoing problem, and the death of Alex is no different than a lot of other deaths in TOS, just to demonstrate that the crew is vulnerable, and some people who aren't red shirts with targets on them get hurt and killed. Making him Peter's friend instead of James T.'s friend just avoided giving James T Kirk a new love to lose.
Ideally the show was about the bloodworms, but the choice was made to put the Peter-Alex relationship up front...it's so up front that the biggest scene about it (which is longer than most TOS teasers) comes before the real story actually starts. The relationship is then milked for melodrama.
Not only that, but the theme of the "Phase II" iteration of "Blood and Fire" was about the Peter-Alex relationship, i.e. "Space isn't the final frontier. The final frontier is the human heart; space is where we'll meet the challenge."

Now I don't have a problem with that. In fact, the best stories are about how the characters are affected by what's going on around them. Or how it's often stated in mystery fiction: "It isn't how the character works the mystery, but how the mystery works the character."

My disappointment with "Blood and Fire" is that the execution wasn't what it could've been, and that it TOLD more than it SHOWED, especially since Kirk blatantly tells us the theme of the entire story at the very end.
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Old May 2 2011, 11:32 PM   #122
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I felt like I was being beaten over the head with the Peter/Alex subplot. I mean, I consider myself enlightened about human relationships, but it got to the point where I felt like "enough already". As I said before I think Enemy: Starfleet did a good job of explaining Peter's terrible loss without grabbing me by the hair and shoving my face in it. It just was too much for me. I don't think anyone set out to lecture the audience, but I sure felt I was being told how I should feel toward these characters and I also felt that there was an agenda at work. (The fact that I agree with the agenda is irrelevant).
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Old May 3 2011, 12:07 AM   #123
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Dennis wrote: View Post
Honestly, just about no one is going to remember "Blood and Fire" for the bloodworm story no matter how much running time that consumed. Interestingly enough, the issues that Gerrold sought to address with that storyline were a great deal more front-and-center when he wrote it in 1986 than they were by the time Phase II shot their version.
True, but fortunately the bloodworm story is more timely today than it was in 1986.

EDIT: Please ignore the post above. I misread Dennis' post, and my comment was in no way intended to offend anyone. If it did, then I apologize.
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Old May 3 2011, 12:22 AM   #124
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Okay, I think we've said enough about that one particular episode. It's not fair to dwell too much on Phase II's occasional missteps as these things are common to fanfilms in general.

WHAT THIS THREAD NEEDS...

Is more input from fan filmmakers. I really didn't create this as a platform from which to lecture. I was really hoping to get some thoughts from others making fan films. What are the problems you've seen in your or other productions and how do you address or plan to address them?

How about this: anyone here want to pose a question about film production? (Not writing, let's put that in its own topic, or VFX, which is another topic as well.) Say, something about the production process either on set or before you get on set?
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Old May 3 2011, 01:44 AM   #125
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

FalTorPan wrote: View Post
Dennis wrote: View Post
Honestly, just about no one is going to remember "Blood and Fire" for the bloodworm story no matter how much running time that consumed. Interestingly enough, the issues that Gerrold sought to address with that storyline were a great deal more front-and-center when he wrote it in 1986 than they were by the time Phase II shot their version.
True, but fortunately the bloodworm story is more timely today than it was in 1986.
Is it? That's the one that I thought was less obviously pertinent.
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Old May 3 2011, 03:51 AM   #126
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Dennis wrote: View Post
FalTorPan wrote: View Post
Dennis wrote: View Post
Honestly, just about no one is going to remember "Blood and Fire" for the bloodworm story no matter how much running time that consumed. Interestingly enough, the issues that Gerrold sought to address with that storyline were a great deal more front-and-center when he wrote it in 1986 than they were by the time Phase II shot their version.
True, but fortunately the bloodworm story is more timely today than it was in 1986.
Is it? That's the one that I thought was less obviously pertinent.
Oops. I completely misread your previous post. My apologies. I can't find the "Totally Undo" button.

Back on topic...

Legalese - Whether you pay them or not, should cast and crew be required to sign release forms? Breaking even, much less making a profit on a super-low-budget film is not a likelihood. Still, selling a DVD or access to a digital copy can help to recoup expenses.
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Old May 3 2011, 04:00 AM   #127
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

FalTorPan wrote: View Post
Legalese - Whether you pay them or not, should cast and crew be required to sign release forms? Breaking even, much less making a profit on a super-low-budget film is not a likelihood. Still, selling a DVD or access to a digital copy can help to recoup expenses.
Ah, good topic. May I expand this to include a discussion of any kind of legal agreement that should exist between parties participating in an independent film production?
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Old May 3 2011, 04:53 AM   #128
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

FalTorPan wrote: View Post
Oops. I completely misread your previous post. My apologies. I can't find the "Totally Undo" button.

Back on topic...

Legalese - Whether you pay them or not, should cast and crew be required to sign release forms? Breaking even, much less making a profit on a super-low-budget film is not a likelihood. Still, selling a DVD or access to a digital copy can help to recoup expenses.
RELEASES
You want talent releases from everyone who appears on camera. If you don't, your ability to show the production publicly can hinge on the whim of someone who may, at some point, decide they don't want to be seen in the film after all. It doesn't matter that you may or may not make money.

Frankly, contracts are always a good idea, even between friends, because they spell out clearly to both parties what is going on, and eliminate a lot of the "but you said" types of incidents that can occur otherwise.

Here's some language I use:
TALENT/MODEL RELEASE
FILMMAKER/COMPANY
ADDRESS
CITY, STATE, COUNTRY

I, being of legal age, hereby give FILMMAKER'S NAME/COMPANY, his/her/its licensees, successors, legal representatives, and assigns the absolute and irrevocable right and permission to use my name and to use, reproduce, edit, exhibit, project, display, copyright, publish and/or resell photography images and/or moving pictures and/or videotaped images of me with or without my voice, or in which I may be included in whole or in part, photographed, taped, videotaped, and/or recorded on DAY of MONTH, YEAR

I hereby waive any right that I may have to inspect and/or approve the finished product or products or the editorial, advertising, or printed copy or soundtrack that may be used in connection therewith and any right that I may have to control the use to which said product, products, copy and/or soundtrack may be applied.

I hereby release, discharge and agree to save FILMMAKER'S NAME/COMPANY, his/her/its licensees, successors, legal representatives and assigns from any liability by virtue of any blurring, distortion, alteration, optical illusion or use in composite form whether intentional or otherwise that may occur or be produced in the making, processing, duplication, projecting or displaying of said picture or images, and from liability for violation of any personal or proprietary right that I may have in conjunction with said pictures or images and with the use thereof.

AGREED AND ACCEPTED this DAY of MONTH, YEAR.



Signed

LEGAL NAME
FULL ADDRESS
PHONE NUMBER
Since such things are legal documents, do NOT use a company or production company name unless you have an actual company, because a legally non-existent entity can't really have rights signed to it. It's generally safer for the filmmaker to have the rights signed over to herself, especially if they are the copyright holder of the production.

It's actually good to have a liability waiver, too. It's also good to have Production Insurance. I think Dennis can address that.
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Old May 3 2011, 06:44 AM   #129
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

We use both.
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Old May 3 2011, 11:23 PM   #130
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

We found that we simply couldn't rent equipment in the price range we needed nor rent stage space of the kind required without production insurance. The insurance generally offered for this is called "inland marine insurance."

In order to do our location shooting it's also been necessary to purchase liability insurance. This probably would have been a good idea all along, but it was required by the property owners in this case. We are a legally incorporated entity, United Worlds Entertainment, LLC.
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Old May 4 2011, 08:50 PM   #131
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I don't want to stop the topic of releases and contracts and insurance, as they're all important, but let's talk about some practical matters regarding how to shoot.
ON-SET TIPS 1: How to minimize eyeline problems

One thing I've noted repeatedly in fan productions is a tendency to break "The Line" so that characters who should be looking at each other do not appear to be doing so from the camera's perspective.

I suspect there are two main reasons this happens:
  1. The filmmakers don't think in terms of The Line (aka the 180° Rule)
  2. The realities of many fan productions means parts of the same scene are shot days or weeks apart, and it's easy to forget how the shots were set up in order to match them
We had a bit of scenario 2 on Starship Polaris, when, in order to get back on schedule, I pushed to get all of the dialog for the background players shot in one day, even though the main characters they'd be talking to hadn't been shot yet.

Naturally, doing so can be recipe for disaster re eyelines and matched looks, since we didn't know where the main characters would be in the shots that would be cut in.

The solution: each time an actor delivered a line or lines they would switch from one eyeline to another.

First to camera left...




Next to camera right...



Which meant we have every line in both screen directions, so we could match up with wherever the character being addressed ended up. Once you're rolling, it adds very little time to the schedule.

It's a simple trick, but it will save a lot of problems in editing.
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Last edited by Maurice Navidad; May 5 2011 at 02:43 AM.
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Old May 5 2011, 12:55 AM   #132
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

^ Great tip, and beautiful images. I'm very impressed.
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Old May 5 2011, 01:50 AM   #133
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I really recommend the three good takes approach as well. Getting one good take is not enough. We get three. That way if there's a glitch in the playback of one take, or some sort of audio drop out in another, our editors generally have three takes to choose from. Even when we shot on location recently, I recorded the audio once while sitting down outside and reading from the script and once while the actors were sitting in the car with the windows down after we'd shot the episode. The more takes the editor has to choose from, the better the end result will be.
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Old May 5 2011, 06:10 AM   #134
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

^^^I agree, ONE good take isn't enough, because while it might look good on the monitor, in post you sometimes realize there's something that doesn't work, so having a "safety" take or two helps.
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Old May 12 2011, 09:54 PM   #135
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Ok, not much said here in a few days, so let me ask...

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. 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?

I'm gearing up for production of the 1st episode of New Gods in a few days. Right now I have 4 people in front of the camera and 5 people behind:

4 Actors
2 (me and a colleague) handling directing, sound, lights, props, script editing, etc... pretty much everything
1 makeup artist (actors are doing their own hair, and costumes come from eBay)
2 others who are mostly spectators, but may also do some production photos and behind the scenes video

What am I missing? Thanks for the advice!
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