Watika Lemon is making a movie! Or at least a short horror film. In this series, we will walk you through the behind-the-scenes process. One warning: we have no idea what we’re doing, so please don’t take any of our advice to heart.
We had no idea how long it would take to shoot our roughly five minute film. To be safe, we booked the actor for the day (9 to 5). After picking them up at the train station, we headed back to the bedroom that was to be used as a set.
The producer and I had done a lot of tests ahead of time, even going as far as to film about a minute of the movie, so the set up was easy. We didn’t have a formal script (this being a dialog-less movie and all), instead, we just explained each shot to the actor, had them try it out, then filmed it (and possible re-film if we wanted to see it another way)
Shooting went pretty smoothly and we ended up finishing around lunch. While eating, I went through the footage and found a few shots that I wanted to redo (some were out of focus, and some I thought would be a bit choppy). Reshoots were finished in about an hour, and filming wrapped by 2:00PM.
Some things I learned:
The image you have in your head may not translate to real life; or the actor may play a scene in a different way than you anticipated – be prepared to change your plans on the spot.
Be really careful when framing – make sure the producer’s hands or the storyboard aren’t visible.
Longer shots are easier to work with. If you want to cut between two angles, shoot the full action in each angle, then edit – don’t try to film just the quick action you think you need.
I supposed the lesson I’d most like to take though, is take your time. But that’s a hard thing to do when you’re working on a tiny budget and have to finish in a day.