Production-Now.com Media Production Mentoring

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12.27.2007

Ten Hours (Day 2)

Movies take a lot of time to make. If you consider the amount of time "Lord of the Rings: Two Towers" shot for the battle of Helm's Deep, our schedule seems like nothing. And maybe that's the point: We have eleven shooting days to complete what is likely to be a three hour DVD (it could easily be much longer, but I haven't had a chance to come up with an accurate guesstimate yet). The sequence of Helm's Deep is certainly lengthy, but the whole movie is not even three hours (unless you're watching the Extended Edition, which is really the way to go, but hardly the point here), so we are attempting quite the feat.

During lunch we talked about how the shoot was going. We all agreed that if we had not had the time we did to prepare as well as we have this project would not be happening. However, despite all of the time we put into pre-production, we under-estimated the significance of rehearsals. For the last short film we did for a festival we practiced three to four hours twice a week for three weeks. That film ended up under 15 minutes in length. How many rehearsal did we have for MathTacular4?

None.

Well, we practice the lines on set before we roll the camera, but that's not a rehearsal; that's a necessity of working with a script. Most of our other educational projects have been almost completely ad lib, which is a major testament to our actors. If we were to do this again in a perfect world, we would have rehearsals.

The stress level on set is rather high because we all feel the crunch. I'm forced to make decisions that could severely diminish the video quality while the actors frantically try to memorize their next four lines. It's insane. It's the great and terrible thing that is film making. Taking breaks is very helpful, but the later it gets the higher the stress becomes as we all slowly wear out. I guess ten hours will do that to you.

Tomorrow we get up to do this all again. However, for the next week we will be working on finishing up MathTacular2 and 3. There are a lot of little pieces that need to be put together before those will be done. So it will be a while again before we hit MathTacular4.

The two points of all this are:

1. Rehearsal/memorization time is an important part of filmmaking.

2. No matter how prepared you are, making a movie is hard, time intensive work.

Keep that in mind as you think about projects you may want to pursue. Videos are not things you can "just do a minute" as my mom is fond of saying. We're doing remarkably well with our tight schedule, but I am all too aware of my shortcomings.

And that's another good reminder (lesson): There is always room for improvement and there will always be more to learn.

~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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