View Full Version : I have to RANT.

J.R. Hudson
12-02-2003, 10:57 AM
So, I finally get the DVX100. THis amazing tool that will help me realize my passion for filmaking by giving me hands on access to working and learning at will.

I have so many ideas that have stacked up over time that I want to do; horror films, sci-fi, action, intrigue. You name the genre or the storyline and I have envisioned it in my dreams.

Those of you that know me, albeit virtually, know that I am not the expert and am learning. My film experience comes from working on "everyone else's films" as a GRIP and/or P.A..

So, I'm not a stranger by any means to filmaking, hell, I even drank beer with Pierce Brosnon and Tom Skerrit. But for all practicality, I am a fucking newbie when it comes to "Having a camera and being in the position to Direct and D.P.". Yo know, to really create and become an artist.

My art background consists of Oil Painting, Watercolor, Guitar Playing in a band (sigh... to be 24 again) and basically reading and sponging everything that has to with with films my whole life. (sigh... to be 14 again with my Super 8).

Getting this camera was a major fucking big deal to me. It's not often I am in a position to drop 3 grand on this kind of TOY. I do not want to "make money" doing this; I just want to make films.

We all know that I need certain things (VEGAS, TRI, MIC and the other accessories that can complete my mini-production needs) and I know in time I can gather these items.

The problem I am facing now, is with what I want to do, and what I should do.

I want to make the films I have always wanted to make. I know, I am not ready to do that just yet. I feel it would waste mine and everyone else's time if I tried to pull "those" off.

What I should do, is short films that are very limited in scale. Films that I can learn from, and hone this craft. The problem is, I am so not motivated by doing these types of films. I want so bad to get busy doing the real deal. I know that I should write, shoot and edit a film that is realistic to my current level of knowledge.

That's my rant. This is the cafe. Thanks for listening.

12-02-2003, 11:24 AM
shoot.. get off your ass and shoot something. (with your new camera)

Neil Rowe
12-02-2003, 11:27 AM
nice rant *..i give it a 8 out of 10. :)
best of luck to you john. i just want to encourage you and tell you not to sell yourself too short though. always aim high.if you dont aim for what you want.. youl never hit it. *if you never step out on a limb and take the risks, youll never know how far you could've gone . youll learn way more by trying to do the unimaginable than you ever would by doing the easilly obtainable. *just do whats in your head/heart to do and figure out a way to make it work. there have been hundreds and hundreds of filmmakers that get stuck in the mode of "playing it safe" and never really going for it. and therefore never really achieving anything.* it may be painful to learn some things the hard way. but your skills will come out of that fire pure and refined. *go for it man! *just a little pep talk. .. illbe the guy in the adma sandler films yelling "yoouuu can dooo iiiiitt!!!" ")

J.R. Hudson
12-02-2003, 11:34 AM
Thanks guys. I was going through a mini-depression. You are soooooooooo right. Both of you; I need to shoot something (my dad? doh! I meant with my new camera) :)

And IAL, you know what. I have spent my life playing it safe and doing the right thing (not like the Spike kind). Okay. I am encouraged. So, failure is an option? :)

I will.

12-02-2003, 11:41 AM
yes.. look in the paper for a public event today... then go out and pretend you are being paid to shoot it, or even that the event is a set and its your talent walking around. Shooting isnt the hard part, framing, learning your axis, pulling focus and remembering focal length is when it gets interesting.. and then there is a whole other ball game called lighting :P

Neil Rowe
12-02-2003, 11:48 AM
..well you should still do the right thing.. as far as morally goes.. but just spread your wings man .. reach the heights -touch the sky. grab the stars and put them in your pocket. the biggest enemey and obstacle of any artist is themselves. .. yes failure is an option.. you brush yourself off, and you walk away a little wiser-stronger-closer to your goals. your failures will never kill your dreams unless you let them, but you can kill your dreams without ever failing once, simply by never even trying.
again good luck

J.R. Hudson
12-02-2003, 11:52 AM

I love this place. :)

It's like Cheers. Except different.

12-02-2003, 11:57 AM
JOHN, MAN! And you were complaining about me being indecisive about the DVX!! :P ;)

Go and shot, go, go, go, go.... 8)

The way I figure, if you don't get right the first time, try it again. If it doesn't work, try it again, and again, and again. All the while modifying the way you do things at each itteration. Successful people fail 7 times out of 10; that's how they become successful; they don't quit at the first sign of difficulty, lack of knowledge, or experience. For humans in general, trial and error is a big factor in our learning process. And, if you can learn from the mistakes of others, so much the better. That is why wonderful forums such as this exist.

You have learned so much already by reading books, magazines, and in actively participating in this forum and others. What makes you think you can't continue to absorb all this positive energy to buildup your confidence. We all believe in you John; we all know you can do it, regardless of the obstacles. And donít chase 2 rabbits at the same time; youíll end up loosing both of them. Just take it one step at a time, and youíll get there.

12-02-2003, 12:01 PM
Damn! Took to long to reply. So many replies popped up in such a short time.

Anyway, if you start ranting like that again, I'll just cut and paste the text. *;D

12-02-2003, 12:12 PM
hey where did you end up buying it?

I suggest making a fake commercial before short.

12-02-2003, 12:17 PM
Yeah! And you can be surprised at how long it can take to do a 30-minute commercial. Another good starting project is to make a music video, and match the clips to the beats, all the while trying to convey a story. Ever think of getting that guitar out of the attic?


Damn! *I meant seconds, not minutes. Sorry! *:-[

12-02-2003, 12:24 PM
screw 30 minutes... youd be amazed how long a 30 Second commercial takes.

12-02-2003, 01:09 PM
"The problem I am facing now, is with what I want to do, and what I should do. I want to make the films I have always wanted to make. I know, I am not ready to do that just yet. I feel it would waste mine and everyone else's time if I tried to pull "those" off. "

You have just expressed wisdom far beyond your years (and I don't care how old you are, it's wisdom far beyond almost all indie filmmakers' years!) 99.999% of "indie films" (defined as homemade no-budget camcorder movies) are flat-out unwatchable (some would say "horrible crap") because people are too fired up on desire, and have no idea what they're doing. Desire is necessary, but it's not enough. It's like in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure": they wanted so bad to be The Wyld Stallyns rock band, but it wasn't until the END OF THE SECOND MOVIE that they bothered to learn how to play their guitars!

Read. Study. And shoot, shoot, shoot. Don't worry about making your opus yet, because if you do it before you're ready, it'll probably not turn out like you want, and THEN you'll have depression. Make some commercials. Make some shorts. Learn how to work with actors. Find your groove, your style. And read, read, read. Read "The Writer's Journey" and "Story" and "How To Write A Movie In 21 Days" and "Film Directing Shot-By-Shot" and "Cinematography" and "Feature Filmmaking At Used-Car Prices" and "Rebel Without A Crew". Watch "Bowfinger" and "Ed Wood" and "Living In Oblivion" -- those aren't "comedies", they're practically documentaries! ;D

You NEED hands-on experience, but hands-on experience is not enough. You NEED book-learning, but book-learning isn't enough. You have to have both. Then, when you're ready, write that great screenplay, and submit it to contests. If you win the top prize, THEN you're ready. And you'll make something that will not only "not waste everyone's time", but it'll be a lasting legacy to you, and it will be the most satisfying feeling you can imagine. And it'll sell, which will give you the foot-in-the-door and the cash-in-the-pocket to pursue your next film. And your next one.

Good luck!

J.R. Hudson
12-02-2003, 01:25 PM
I am honestly overwhelmed by all the great feedback. Wow. Support.

Thanks everyone. I am all fired up again. I am going to start shooting this weekend (day job tends to get in the way!) for real. A legit short. A legit attempt to say" Hey, check this shit out"

Serious. Your words of encouragement kick ass. I hope to one day look up and not only have the skills and talent to make quality films, but to owe to all of the support and education I get here!

Damn, I'm stoked. Why do you all have to live all over the states and canada. I wonder if we can make a town called DVXville? :)

12-02-2003, 02:26 PM
Hey John.. Ill be in LA on tuesday.. maybe you should go for a little drive to check out the new dvx100a :) (if in fact they have it at DVexpo)

Taylor Moore
12-02-2003, 03:15 PM
Congrats on the camera, I am picking mine up in Houston this weekend.
Regarding shooting, the best thing is a commercial. It's easy conceptually and it makes you think a simple story through to the finish. Do a simple storyboard to block it out.

Shoot it so you don't have to fix in post and don't forget the 180 degree rule.

Good Luck

12-02-2003, 04:37 PM
screw 30 minutes... youd be amazed how long a 30 Second commercial takes

Aw shoot! I meant 30 seconds. I must be in a time warp, or something. Why in the world did I ever write that? Must be the carribou sightings this time of year. They can really shake you up! ;)

David Jimerson
12-02-2003, 08:16 PM
Here's a suggestion -- first camera I got, I followed my girlfriend around the apartment and complex, having her narrate a little tour. Then I edited the footage into a 10-minute mini-movie that she was able to send to friends and family. Did it in the style of a TV show -- teaser, credits, establishing shots, transitions, the whole works. Used some funny and appropriate music, sound effects, etc.. It was nothing, but it was a whole lot of fun, because I was creating something that felt like a mini-movie -- or a sitcom pilot, at least. Got to set up shots, do retakes, film out of sequence, be a director.

Next thing I did was adapt individual scenes from favorite stories and books -- Asimov, Heinlein, etc.. Five-minute shorts, usually with only two characters in one room. Again, they weren't art. But they were fun and a learning experience.

What I've ended up doing to make some money is commercial real estate work. I've been chronicling the conversion of an old textile mill into retail and office space, and I did some promotional shorts for it; I'm also working on a video diary of the project. What really helped is to think of movies I've really enjoyed the style of, and tried to emulate it in editing. A very good learning experience, and heck, who wants to watch a boring, lifeless documentary of a construction project? People watch movies and TV; it's kind of what they expect from their entertainment. Why not give it to them in that style?

Don't know if that helps at all, but it's some things I did which really helped get the juices flowing.

01-03-2005, 04:03 PM
I offer this oldie up for a re-read. Well worth our while IMHO.

David Jimerson
01-03-2005, 04:07 PM
I got a topic reply notification for this . . . . :o

01-03-2005, 04:16 PM
Wow, this is a great one with words to shoot by.

I feel all tingly.

No, wait...my foot fell asleep. :D

01-03-2005, 04:19 PM
i hope I didn't read this too fast and am repeating something..

but another idea for inspiring stuf to shoot is to shoot work for other artists.. of their work, them at work, their movtivation for their art, etc..

painters, singers, makeup artists, photographers, sculptors, welders? etc.

..and some of these artists can end up working for you in trades...

( I see the thread started before "pooh" was born..John..seems you've come a LONG way!)

I have way too many things I want to be shooting..and realize though if I try to do all the "genres" I will get nowhere...

J.R. Hudson
01-03-2005, 04:59 PM
The ressurection! Wow!

For what its worth:

"Tales from the Apocalypse" starts this weekend. :D

01-03-2005, 05:04 PM
The ressurection! *Wow!

For what its worth:

"Tales from the Apocalypse" starts this weekend. * :D

This is GREAT news!

For two reasons - Glad you worked through your original concerns and glad you started your project! :)

Clips soooon please.

01-03-2005, 05:12 PM
Hi John

What you are going through is a very common phenomenon that not only artists struggle with, but I think everyone does. Heck man, depression is the number 1 health problem in US!

What we are doing - making films - is probably the hardest thing in the world to do, and to do well. You can be a painter, computer graphics artist, sculptor, composer - and do it well all with some basic gear and lots of time by yourself, but to make film - you gotta go out and collaborate, lead, interact and account for all the possible contingencies and situations - deal with bureacracy, deal with money, deal with food, with payment, with legal issues...you know what im getting at. And even with that, you can spend $150 million on a film that falls flat on its ass.

It's a tough, rough craft we are in bro. But then again, its also the best thing in the world if you can do it well. And how do you do it well? I really liked what Barry wrote. Read, study, do. Watch lots of films, read lots of everything (fiction, non-fiction, technical manuals, articles), live life to the fullest and go out and freaking do it!

I can relate to how you feel though - You know prior to doing those Chinatown scenes (the fight and the chase and all that) - I was paralyzed by fear for almost 3 months. I was still in school but everytime I thought about going out to film that scene, it made me sweat.

"What if the cops come?
What if someone gets hurt?
What if someone cancels?
What if the crew doesnt show up?
What if my camera breaks?
What if it rains?"

I asked myself these questions and repeated them over and over again - and you know what happened?

Over time, depression built, feelings of inadequacy, feelings that I am a failure, feelings that I am nothing, worthless, a stupid piece of shit that shouldn't even exist, and all sorts of horrible horrible self-destructive thoughts.

Finally, I realized that, it was now or never. IT WAS NOW OR FREAKIN NEVER DAMMIT!

So I gathered all my courage, called up all my friends, went out, scouted for hours, prayed, scouted all over DC, prayed, talked to friends, planned, visualized, wrote, read, watched movies...and then I had a plan.

I came up with a flow chart (finally a use for my Comp sci degree ) detailing all the requirements that I needed to make the scene work.

Then connected arrows, and organized my thoughts. I went out again and went to the actual locations that I was gonna shoot in. Scouted more, spent hours at the locations (if you look at one of my first posts on DVXuser, it was that long ass post on Chinatown - that was my first major test shoot day). http://www.dvxuser.com/cgi-bin/DVX2/YaBB.pl?board=Clips;action=display;num=1099680352; start=0#0

Then after spending hours at the locations, came up with a sequence, step by step, shot by shot of the actual action on the film.

Then, I held rehearsels with my buddies, called up local friends to help crew, and through lots of phone calls, preparations (making fake blood, storyboarding, prayer) it fianlly boiled down to the first day. The first day of shooting.

It was a Sunday. I haad 10 people come out for me, all working for free. We went out to the alley, and setup the first shot.


Roll camera, action! After the first shot - I cant even describe the feeling of elation - its so magical, getting the very first shot down, its like, you just opened up a can of magic and the flow has started!

Then, it was hours of hard work, exhilirating, you forget to eat, but also you forget your fear. You are living your dream! Having a blast (assuming you are well prepared), and of course, LIVING YOUR DREAM

Let the flow of the work consume you because its one of the greatest feelings in the world. And remember it - because you will feel down again one day.

And after that first day, what went through my mind was, "holy shit, I am stronger than I thought, I could do it! (and in the words of Herbert) There is hope for me after all!"

And I looked at my dailies, edited together a small clip and the magic started to happen, when your film starts to come to life...its just liek you want to run out and scream! Then you add sound, like Kurosawa says, "when I add the sound, I tremble." And then, man, you forget how hard it was to prepare for the shoot, you forget all the pain, because all you feel is satisfaction, watching your baby film loop continuously over and over again, with tears in your eyes and all you can say is, "this is mine. I did it."

Enjoy that moment man, because you will need to go out and face even tougher challenges later. My next challenge was to go out and shoot the cahse scene. Now...this got my nerves racked to the core.

The alleyway fight scene - it was in this deep alleyway, out of public eye, but the chase scene on chinatown street - was in the middle of everywhere!!!

Hundreds of people pass by one of the most touristy spots in DC - where we are filming!

Fear of the unknown plagued me once again John...but you know what? Having my previous mini-success of the alleyway scene in my belt - it boosted my self-confidence. All I prayed for that day was, "Lord, please dont let the cops arrest us!" And I went out on a limb, and am so grateful to have actors and crew share the same amount of courage to believe in me and follow me out there.

And we shot the chinatown chase scene in about an hour at 9:00am to 10:15am. And just got out, ducked behind the buildings and shot the dialogue.


We damn near ran over some old ladies and stuff, and tons of people (including cops) were staring at us like we were nnuts, but you know what? I just didnt care that much! It was that fun. I'm just happy no one stopped us and no one got hurt!


If I ever finish the rest of the film, I'll add all the behind the scenes stuff, some crazy things happened, but in hind-sight those moments are the greatest moments of my life.

I checked out your website and saw a music video as well, and I thought that was really great, so I think you are already onto something, so take heart! You can do it!

I'm a beginner myself, with lots to learn, so we are all in the same boat - I hope my words gave you and whoever is reading this a deal of encouragement, because "

But when the night is falling
And you cannot find the light
If you feel your dream is dying
Hold tight
You've got the music in you
Don't let go
You've got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don't give up
You've got a reason to live

And lastly, I have a short film I made 2 years ago - thought I was down in the dumps with it cause so many things went wrong, but in the end, it allworked out, you can watch the short film and read teh whole "making of section" here


Best of luck to you ;D

01-03-2005, 05:17 PM
shoot.. get off your ass and shoot something. (with your new camera)

What else can you say?

J.R. Hudson
01-03-2005, 05:24 PM

That was a well thought out post; thank you.


That was a well thought out post; thank you!

Yes, the last year has been brutal on this filmmaker (partner stealing from company was fun) and I went through the classic "Now what?" scenario.

All is good now.

David Jimerson
01-03-2005, 05:26 PM
Yeah, I think it should be noted that this thread is more than a year old. Check out the dates -- December '03.

01-03-2005, 05:34 PM
Somebody jumped in the way back machine. ;)

J.R. Hudson
01-03-2005, 05:38 PM
It's Retro NIght at Dvxuser!

01-03-2005, 05:52 PM
Peeking at the older posts is like looking thru old photo albums.


01-03-2005, 06:43 PM

I didnt notice that at first - was wondering how John got to be a moderator if he just got the DVX recently


J.R. Hudson
01-03-2005, 07:41 PM

01-03-2005, 08:01 PM
The board was so dead over the last couple of days, I too was digging around in the archives, came across all kinds of strange names I don't see anymore and wondered what happened to them...Like Flintstone?

01-03-2005, 08:12 PM
How 'bout Slapdragon?

01-04-2005, 03:18 AM
Yeah, its an oldie, but I thought its such a common position for many of us to be in, and Barry stepped in like Merlin to Arthur and layed down some perspective I thought was well worth a second life.

Its real easy to just sit around plotting your "opus" and getting your ideas down, but meanwhile not taking advantage of some great "practice" time and getting your suckiness out of the way on some less vital material.

01-04-2005, 06:36 AM
Slapdragon appeared like he was shot out of a canon. Made platinum and moderator in about a months time and then disapeared in his move.

Perhaps they just haven't opened the box he was packed in.

01-04-2005, 09:32 AM
Yeah, at one time Ol' Slappy was working on collecting, organizing and disseminating all video knowledge in the Universe.

01-04-2005, 09:34 AM
...and Barry stepped in like Merlin to Arthur and layed down some perspective...

What does that make us... the Knights who say "Neep"?