Saturday, April 30, 2011

Production levels: Where are you? part 1

With rapid access to better technology and greater access to audiences, this world of filmmaking is opening up.  So I think now more than ever there should be a conversation about how to gauge what level a production is at and what the intention should be when developing it.

First the different levels of production.

1) the Basement- so you have a camera, a youtube account and a lamp pointed at your face.  If you are lucky you have a friend to hold the camera and laugh at you during takes.  Please know I am not knocking this level of production.  Many have launched a successful career this way but it is important to keep in mind that this level always starts with the enjoyment of doing as the motivator. This guy did not upload his face to get paid by Geiko Car Insurance. But paid he was and 114,000 subscribers he has.

Brandon is a perfect example of a basement filmmaker who wanted more and now is working on indie films. He jumped over a lot of levels because of his success, but lets follow the step by step and assume that at some point you want to do more than vlog.  You want to see the sunlight.

2) Garden level living-  So now we are talking about pre planning.  The garden level filmmaker wants to tell a story and this requires her to actually think out how she is going to capture the shots.  With no training other than watching movies, she learns first hand that our intentions and the end result are vastly separated.  A small community is built off of necessity to create the vision. Grandma plays a role but I need a taxi cab for a scene and a trench coat for my actor.  Realization of the limitations this level has while pulling off shots is great experience for this filmmaker. You begin to realize what you have that Hollywood doesn't, mainly the possibility of great writing and the lack of bureaucratic direction. .  But strange enough, the odds of monetizing at this level your film project is even less than in the basement.   There are very few that purposely stay at this level, but those that have revel in their so called weaknesses and campy films.

3) The Bellhop-  or rather the film student.  This production level varies greatly but makes a difference in the quality of the filmmaking.  Now a production has access to film specific equipment(no more table lamps for lighting)  a wealth of practical knowledge, and a community all focused in filmmaking.  This is also a community that each member is trying to stand out from the herd so a good deal of conflict can be found here.  Projects that at earlier levels would have been impossible to pull off can be accomplished but now there are several issues that can kill the simplest film.  A professor may not grant access to equipment because the script has poor structure, you need heavy lifting done on set and now one is interested because your director is not the nicest of people.  Projects may have no point beyond the student wanted a grade.  Many issues can come up that will kill a project, but that is the greatness of this level.  Student films are supposed to fail.  Its much better to have your production fall apart here than out in the real world with other peoples money.  Which leads us to the next level... tomorrow!


Blogging Skater April 30, 2011 at 11:43 AM  

im the lowest level =(

Dav0h April 30, 2011 at 12:00 PM  

I've been stuck at Garden for years now :(

The Radical Chemist April 30, 2011 at 12:04 PM  

I don't even think I'm at a level >.< I'm no good at making videos, only watching them. =D

K April 30, 2011 at 7:05 PM  

damn. thanks for posting

Pony May 1, 2011 at 11:52 PM  

Haha funny stuff, but actually rather interesting, keep it up.


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