Useful Resources for Filmmakers:
To assist you in your planning, The YOUthFILM
Project Team has compiled links to some online
American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters:
- Have an idea but need a camera or software to help make it a reality? Here are some resources for camera and editing equipment:
1. If you live or attend school in the East Metro area, then MetroEast has varying levels of equipment and editing software that you may use to create your film. More sophisticated cameras require some training, which may require coordination with a parent or other chaperone.
2. The Multnomah Bar Association has a camera on-hand, which may be used for YOUthFILM. Please contact Kathy Modie about availability.
- The American Bar Association has information on the theme, "American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters," available here.
- If you aren't finding the help you need, please contact us at email@example.com and let us know!
Advice from the Professionals...
At the 2008 Kick-off Event, The YOUthFILM Project Team asked a panel of three filmmaking experts to share a few of their best tricks for making movie magic.
Professional documentary filmmaker Don Colliver believes that great documentaries rely on effective, compelling interviews - and a critical and often overlooked foundation for an interview is sound quality. Don recommends the following simple tricks:
1. Mic your subject with a lavalier mic. Your audio will sound far better than from the on-camera mic. Radio Shack offers inexpensive, wired, lavalier mics.
2. Monitor the interview in real-time with headphones. If there's an ambient noise (such as a plane or car) or your subject stutters, ask them to repeat what they just said.
3. After the first question, pause the interview briefly to check your tape to make sure everything is recording properly.
4. At the end of the interview, record 20 seconds of silence (room tone) with the subject sitting quietly in their interview position. In your edit, you can use this sound of "silence" to bridge edit gaps in your film so breaks seem natural. (The absence of any sound in your film will sound different than the recorded sound of "silence.")
Documentary filmmaker Nancy Miller agrees that interviews are critical. She advises that young documentary filmmakers should be confident: "Do not be afraid to make your interviewee uncomfortable. That is to say, it is okay to leave the camera running during an uncomfortable silence or an unusual outburst. It is important to get past the prepared, canned answers to create a true moment on film."
Nancy advises that if you are working with a team, "it is ideal to discuss the topic and your individual responses/approaches/opinions during the early stages. As I learned, it is very time consuming - and really too late - to have such discussions during the editing process." Finally, Nancy suggests that regardless of the type of film you make, advance preparation makes a huge difference in the end product: "For all filmmakers - as many past participants stated, planning is important! Picking up a camera to interview subjects or film a particular scene is much more fun and much more exciting than writing down a shooting schedule or a detailed story board - but you will be very glad that you had a game plan in place before starting to film."
When asked about the secret to producing an engaging film, Lisa Hunt, a feature filmmaker and college film/acting instructor with a Masters of Fine Arts from UCLA's film school, focuses on her specialty - directing. For filmmakers relying on actors, she recommends clear and careful communication: "When working with actors it is helpful not to ask them merely to mimic or copy what you show them to do, but instead to relate the experience they are supposed to be having in the scene so that they can find the emotion and movement themselves as an experience rather than as a puppet. Also, it is helpful when coaching or directing talent to begin your comments with what they did right and what was great about their performance so far before discussing the aspects of the performance you want to see changed."