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Technique

Any 8-year old who makes videos on a smartphone is technically a filmmaker. However, if you want your project to have a slightly higher artistic standard than the average tween’s Vine, the director should understand certain fundamental techniques.



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Some filmmakers are so beloved and charming their actors will bend over backwards to work with them, even when the role doesn’t call for the talents of an eager-to-please contortionist. Other directors (including one whose name may or may not rhyme with “witch rock”) have resorted to psychological tricks or even outright manipulation to get the performance they want from their cast. Whether the director chooses to rule through love or fear, or even just plain old professionalism, there are different approaches to consider when working with actors.

TOPICS COVERED IN DIRECTING YOUR ACTORS:

  • COMFORT VS. CRUELTY
  • JUST PRETEND THERE’S A WALL IN FRONT OF YOU
  • ACTORS, DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY

Hopefully the director knows that selfies are not the highest possible form of camera work. In fact, there are so many different cinematography techniques that it can be tempting just to make every scene a simple shot and reverse-shot combination. After all, what’s easiest is usually best, right? Well, think about how many times you’ve watched something and wished there were a less visually interesting way to tell that story.

TOPICS COVERED IN DIRECTING THE CAMERA:

  • LENS CHOICES, ANGLES & BLOCKING
  • COVERAGE

In the art of lighting, less is usually more. Of course, it always comes back to what the story needs and what you like. If there are scenes that inspire you, spend a few minutes on Google to learn the how about the lighting. When in doubt, or pressed for resources, light the background.

TOPICS COVERED IN DIRECTING THE LIGHT:

  • LESS IS MORE
  • LIGHT THE BACKGROUND & MOTIVATE
  • HARD VS. SOFT

Recording good sound on set will prevent some literal headaches in post. And remember, the sound crew’s work should always be heard, but never be seen.

TOPICS COVERED IN CAPTURING THE SOUND:

  • GETTING IT RIGHT
  • HIDING IT RIGHT
  • BEST PRACTICES

Resources

Article

Almodovar on Directing Actors

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Article

The Camera as Storyteller: Considerations for the Director

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Article

Lighting “Persona”

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Article

Sound 101: Building Your Sound Kit

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Article

How to Create and Use Hard and Soft Light in a Studio Setting

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Article

Cinematography Coverage

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