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    BillyBob wants to race cars...
    #1
    Deals in Lead PerroneFord's Avatar
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    Imagine the following conversation taking place at "F1Racing.com"



    ...Hi, my name is BillyBob and I want to race F1 cars. It's been a dream of mine all my life. I am 16 and I don't have much money, but I got some money from my parents, and I am working at a local restaurant to save up money to go racing.

    I don't have a driver's license yet, but I read all the magazines, and online forums about F1 racing, and I know that's what I want to do. I want to start racing this fall season, so I need to get started getting some gear.

    Here are my questions.

    1. Where can I get an F1 car cheap? I know I won't finish top 5 my first season so I don't need the top of the line, but I want to be competitive right away, so I need a good car. As long as it isn't too expensive.

    2. How do I get sponsors? I see a lot of the other guys have some cool sponsors and I know they pay for hotels and stuff, so I need sponsors.

    3. Do you guys think I should get a red car or a blue car? The red cars always seem faster when I watch the races.

    4. I see a lot of the guys have their friends working for them changing tires and washing off the windscreen. Some of my buddies are into this too and are willing to help me. Do you think the sponsors would help them with travel expenses and stuff too?


    Basically, I just need you guys to tell me everything I need to know to start racing so I can get started.

    See you on the track!

    -Billybob





    Sadly, this outlandish tale is what we see on every online filmmaking forum that new folks frequent. And those who've been around a few forums for a while will recognize how close this hits. If you are a long-time filmmaker, or someone with background in film, please try to put the brakes on this stuff. Just like in BillyBob's case, the problem isn't waht car to buy. The problem is that there is a complete and total lack of understanding of the principles involved in participating in the chosen hobby.

    If you are a newbie to film-making, don't be offended when someone experienced tells you to slow down, and learn the basics before jumping off the deep end. We can't tell you what microphone you need to shoot your movie, because you might need half a dozen for best results. And no, you just substitute one for another and have it sound decent. Sorry. We can't tell you what lens to get, because frankly, you might need a dozen to tell your story, or you might only need one. And until we see your storyboards (yep you need storyboards) we don't have any visual idea of the story you are trying to tell. And neither do you. We can't tell you which light kit to buy because frankly none of them is going to work to light a movie. There is no such things as a "Movie making light kit". We cannot tell you how to get everything you need to make your movie for $5k because it took us 10 times that amount of money and a significant number of years to put it all together. And we are still short a number of pieces.

    So here are some basic truisms to help new filmmakers along.


    1. The microphone you saw advertised in the back of the magazine for $99 and listed as "good for new filmmaker," really is targeted at new filmmakers because no one else would be silly enough to buy it. Real mics cost real money. And they sound good.

    2. $200 tripods suck. Really. A decent tripod costs about as much as the cheap camera you're about to buy. And a good tripod costs about half as much as a pro camera.

    3. If the lights you are about to buy have a fan built into them, they are not movie lights. They are fire hazards. Don't buy them.

    4. Good steadicam operators are paid by the foot they move the camera. They train for years to do what they do. You buying a steadicam and thinking your footage will look like that is about the same as you buying a golf club and thinking you'll play like Tiger Woods. Most indie steadicam work is AWFUL.

    5. No, your $100 NLE is NOT the same as Avid/FCP/CS5. No, it does not do the same thing for way less money. Sadly, you will realize this when you've got your "feature" already locked into it and you can't get it out without starting over.

    6. You cannot learn to make a film in a weekend, or a week. Despite what you might read in Filmmaker magazine.

    7. I don't care what ISO your new DSLR goes to. Light your film, or it will look like crap. Yes, there are some talented filmmakers who can make nice looking films without much light. Michael Schumacher can drive a rental car faster than you can drive a Porsche. You are not a master yet.

    8. Do not submit your first short to Sundance. Seriously.

    9. Take a beginners course in photography. It will answer about 99% of the questions you have about getting started. The other 1% has been asked 1000 times on the forum already, so search the archives.

    10. Those crotchety old guys who bust your chops in the forums are not trying to be mean to you. They are trying to keep you from walking off a cliff that you don't even know you're on. Listen to them, or proceed at your own peril.



    Sorry for the early morning rant, but after the 1000th time, I figured this was due.

    (moderate as required)
    Don't be a BillyBob...


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    Quote Originally Posted by PerroneFord View Post
    (moderate as required)
    If I was going to do any moderation to this, it'd be to make it a sticky.


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    Still Alive Mod Jack Daniel Stanley's Avatar
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    Great "rant". Though I would call it "preachin'"

    The only one I might take issue with:
    8. Do not submit your first short to Sundance. Seriously.
    Why not? They won't remember you if it sucks. You'll get knocked out of selection in an early round by a "screener" not a "programmer". And you might get lucky. One filmmaker's first film (a short) wound up on Sundance Channel website (he did not submit to the festival). It got their by doing everything else on your list.

    DO submit your first FEATURE to SLAMDANCE whatever else you do because that's ALL Slamdance screens in competition. Every feature in competition at Slamdance is by a first time feature director and many of them could easily play Sumdance. Some that get selected by Slamdance get cancelled and pulled up to Sundance when Sundance announces their slate weeks later.

    So I'd say go ahead. Only thing you have to lose really is they submission fee. Either you'll get knocked out early by a screener and no programmers will get a bad impression of you, or you may get lucky.

    Sure it's not likely. Like the fact that writing your first screenplay will likely not be worth the paper it's printed on. But just the submission process can be a learning experience and you never know.
    JACKDANIELSTANLEY.COM
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    Deals in Lead PerroneFord's Avatar
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    Why not? Because chances are it's terrible, you'll waste money you could better spend on buying that mic or mixer you didn't buy, and there's a LOT better chance you'll get into a local festival than Sundance. Yes, there's the 1 in a million story. You want to live by those odds? Submit it for $100 to be best festival in your state. If it's got the legs, people will know. Hell, put 2 minutes of it up on Vimeo and post it here. We'll let you know if you've got something. I've watched some of the stuff by guys here and frankly, a few have some real talent.

    Making movies is a tough business. Making movies without a clue is an expensive pursuit of folly.
    Don't be a BillyBob...


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    Dark Side of the Camera Postmaster's Avatar
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    Great rant Perrone.

    Much to offten when I look at the "new posts" here or in other forums it goes like :

    "What´s the best .xxxxx"

    I really like to help folks when I can, but a lot of people just want shortcuts to fame instead of learning the basics first, and than work hard and hone your skills.

    Frank
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    http://twitter.com/FrankGlencairn



    Real men edit their films in a hex editor.


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    Still Alive Mod Jack Daniel Stanley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerroneFord View Post
    Why not? Because chances are it's terrible, you'll waste money you could better spend on buying that mic or mixer you didn't buy, and there's a LOT better chance you'll get into a local festival than Sundance. Yes, there's the 1 in a million story. You want to live by those odds? Submit it for $100 to be best festival in your state. If it's got the legs, people will know. Hell, put 2 minutes of it up on Vimeo and post it here. We'll let you know if you've got something. I've watched some of the stuff by guys here and frankly, a few have some real talent.

    Making movies is a tough business. Making movies without a clue is an expensive pursuit of folly.
    Right. But after spending $5000 - $1000 on gear. $50 on a lottery ticket with such a prize is not that much. And that's all you lose. Since, if it sucks. No real programmers will ever see it. And I didn't say only send it to Sundance.
    JACKDANIELSTANLEY.COM
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    Senior Member J Davis's Avatar
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    lol f*ckin' lol
    J.Davis
    jdMAX.com


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    Deals in Lead PerroneFord's Avatar
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    Our film from last fall has been sent to about 35 festivals. It's screened in 14 of those, and been rejected by more than have accepted it. It was the first "real" completed short for the director. He's been in video for years. The film was decent. Sundance was the furthest thing from our minds.

    I wrapped another production with that crew a few weeks ago. MUCH better film. We watched the first cut last weekend. It's going to come together nicely. After another 5 of these or so, Sundance might be fun to get a rejection letter from!

    Nothing wrong with shooting for the moon... but get your ducks in a row first.
    Don't be a BillyBob...


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    Still Alive Mod Jack Daniel Stanley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerroneFord View Post
    Nothing wrong with shooting for the moon... but get your ducks in a row first.
    Who are you talking to?
    JACKDANIELSTANLEY.COM
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    Senior Member Hawk Teflon's Avatar
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    This was really good. I'm still a few shorts away from sending anything to any festivals even in OKC. With everything I shoot now, I learn a lot. Unfortunately, it's from botching SOMETHING, though. I'm almost done with an edit of something shot a week and a half ago. I think it'll be the first thing I actually post here for feedback. It'll be far from perfect, but I'm eager to know what worked, didn't work, etc. I'm ready for the old crotchety guys to give me what for.


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