Wednesday, November 28, 2007

#60 Howard Phillips Interview Pt.1

Howard Phillips is the Associate Director of the Filmmaking program at CDIA and has been my instructor in a number of classes, including lighting and Avid. No need really, to introduce him though, he does an excellent job himself in this, part one of the interview. Let me just say that his willingness to participate in this podcast is an extension of his generosity of spirit to all students at CDIA.

In this show you'll hear him talk about his own experiences learning production filmmaking techniques as well as some interesting tangents he's followed that gives him a unique approach to teaching. You'll also hear him explain the ideas and goals behind the curriculum.

I'll post the 2nd half in a few days. In that episode he'll talk about the present state of filmmaking, the role technology plays in the process of realizing your vision and the possibilities that lay in the future.

Friday, November 23, 2007

#59 Wk43 PreProduction

Another week in PreProduction. We spent a whole class breaking down a script based on the Hemingway short story, The Killers. We analyzed the characters, locations, figured out props, camera and lighting locations. In a future module we're supposed to shoot this script.

I think I've covered this ground already, so I'm passing on those details and keeping this show shorter. I've included some information on how to cast for actors and also explain how everyone communicates with each other, in both preproduction and once the film goes into production.

We're on break over Thanksgiving week, so there won't be journal entry, but I plan to post an interview with Howard Phillips, the Associate Director of the Film program at CDIA. It's pretty long, so I may break it up into two pieces a few days apart.

Things are good with me, how's it with you?

Friday, November 16, 2007

#58 Wk42 PreProduction

This is the first week of the PreProduction Module. This is the class where we learn how things work, how to really make a film. I know I sound kind of bummed out by all the details raining down on us, but that was me speaking from the gut level. After so many weeks of practical classes, the change to straight classroom instruction was a shock, and the depth of the information was overwhelming. This stuff is dense and deep, but also greatly appreciated.

J.P. Ouellette is our instructor, a director, producer and a great storyteller. His knowledge of the planning process that goes into preparing and shooting a film is outstanding. This is the first time in the program we've gotten any amount of this information and while at first it seemed formidable, we're easing into a comfortable learning position. It makes us realize how big a responsibility it is to make a movie. It also makes the process more real and more attainable.

PreProduction - What is it? It's all the planning that goes into a movie before you shout action. Budgeting, casting, scheduling, contracts, rentals, location scouting, storyboarding, shot lists and more. It's a lot to get through in 3 weeks, but at our current rate, we'll hear it all.

In episode #41, I listed a number of Screenplay sites Here's two more links with lists of additional sites, TopTenLinks and Lew Hunter. You can learn a lot about scriptwriting by reading scripts. Remember that every type of production, TV, movie and so on, has their own preferred format for scripts, and those are always evolving. It's a good idea, if you write, to check up on blogs that talk about scriptwriting.

Copyright issues are really important and because I'm way out of my depth in this area, I only mention it in passing. You will find a lot of interesting info in David Battino's podcast on public domain music in episode #16 of his podcast at O' Anyone involved in producing a movie should take the time to learn more about copyright restrictions so you don't end up losing time or money in court.

Production Note - In the beginning I spoke about the audio settings for this and last episode. I also boosted the amplitude to raise the volume of the quieter parts. Thanks to Dennis for helping me understand the compression process. I know it was a struggle, but I did get a lot of what you were saying.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

#57 Wk41 Directing Actors

Last class in this module, where we quickly edit the footage we shot the previous Saturday and then review everyone's work in class on Thursday.

Capturing to Avid was a lot of trouble, and this wasn't the first time. You need to pay close attention when you capture to your computer, if you want to share your media and project files with other people.

Despite the fact that this was a great opportunity to look at filmmaking beyond the technical issues, there was barely enough time to take it all in. Some issues remain, such as how a director works with the crew. Everyone felt there wasn't enough time to work with the actors as well, or for discussing our experience in general, during class.

I've tred to explain the reasons I think we're often cramped for time and feel we're not getting all the information we need. The most important reason is that there isn't enough class time in relation to the stuff we have to learn. Even with homework and whatever we can find time to do on our own between classes, there's just not enough time.

This is really a bootcamp. There are a lot of ways you could slice the curriculum to get more time at the expense of other classes, but then where would be be? Think of what you would be missing. As it is, there's a ton of topics we're merely touching on. I'm sure people in 2 and 4 year DAY programs feel as though they're not getting everything they want.

There may be tweaks that can be made to the content of this program, but you have to recognize that how you're learning is tied to the structure of the curriculum. As long as the end goal is to train people who have no experience in filmmaking to get a job in the field in 9 or 18 months, we're going to continue to careen through the material at breakneck speed.

This is what I signed up for and I wouldn't change a thing that would affect the final outcome. All the same, it feels good to complain, once in a while.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

#56 Podcamp Boston 2

This episode of the Video StudentGuy is about the day I spent at Podcamp Boston last Sunday October 28. This is my first time attending a podcamp and I was really looking forward to it. Over all, it was a good experience. I'm sorry I couldn't have attended the previous day, I was in class There were a number of sessions specifically on video casting that I know would have been interesting. To top it off I was really tired, it was a busy busy week on all fronts. I never would have made it through the weekend if I attended both days. Next year I'll be done with school and I'll have a lot more time for user events like this.

By the way, just after I posted this I found this link to a video recorded during lunch, Sunday I guess, from the sound of it. Fool that I am I went to the cafeteria and ate lunch! Anyway, its an ad hoc discussion about the value of the conference as the nature of new media and new media producers matures. I feel very strongly that those of us who are about to launch our careers in video should be up to our armpits in new media. This is our wave. Thanks to Bob Goyetche for recording and posting this video.

On a side note there is a podcasting meetup that takes place monthly in the Boston area. CC Chapman is the contact person for this. It was on hiatus during the summer, but I spoke to him at end of the day Sunday and he said there will be something coming up soon. Like all meetups, its open to anyone, not just people producing podcasts. I hear about them mostly from Mark and Bob on the Canadian Podcast Buffet show, but I don't doubt they're friendly, congenial get-togethers no matter where they occur.

One note about the show, I start out with a rant about the venue, the Boston Convention Center. I've got some pictures I need to put up on Flikr. Obviously it had a significant impact on me, but it doesn't in any significant way detract from the quality of the event, I just tend to notice UI issues and the convention center definitely has a UI problem. If you're not interested in listening to me go on and on about it, just move ahead to 4:18, thats when my review of the sessions I attended begins.

I understand attendance was smaller Sunday than Saturday, and it felt somewhat subdued, so I didn't get a chance to meet a lot of people, but everyone I spoke with was happy to talk and share their ideas and knowledge.

Guido Stein - it's a Purl, man - knitting podcast
Jane Quigley - Digital Grit - exchanged cards, though I don have a card yet
Ben Ortega - Phive Tacos - another card
Faye Anderson - Anderson@Large - Citizen Jouralist - local politics, we had a nice conversation about the role of podcasting in political action
C.C. Chapman - Managing the Gray, Accident Hash - go to guy on the local meetups
Chris Penn - FinancialAid Podcast - cofounder of Podcamp
Chris Brogan - cofounder of Podcamp
Neil Gorman - Broken Toasters, Will Shatner and Podcaster Burnout - here's a link to a similar presentation he made at Podcaster's Across Borders
Beth Lawrence - Grow See This - we had a nice conversation at lunch
Gary Marriott Grow See This videographer - Lead programmer at - he indulged my questions on videocasting production techniques

Sessions Attended

Recording Remote Interviews - Dan York
Software for recording Skype conversations:

Social Media for Business - Isabel Hilborn
Social Networking 101 - Chris Penn
Creating a Great Podcast Listening Experience - Jared Spool
-check out Chris Penn's site to see what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

#55 Wk40 Directing Actors

Podcamp 2 show coming up. Got me to thinking about how to make each show easier for someone to get into if they're listening for the first time.

Actors in the scene we directed and shot are Hannah Barth and Ed Hoopman.

Laura, John and I created a short film based on a scene from The Blue room. The class is about directing actors and I was the director, Laura the DP and John handled the sound. These soft skills are very different feeling from all the technology skills we've been learning. Its spinning around like a child in clockwise fashion, then reversing suddenly to a counter clockwise spin. You feel totally different, dizzy and yes nauseous.

I had a great experience in this new role, but to be honest, I had a lot of problems figuring out exactly what the responsibilities of a director are and how he/she relates to the production crew.

As always, there's never enough time, but in this module it seems everyone was frustrated by the compressed production schedule.
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