Saturday, December 14, 2013

Misfortune and the Future

When I first pitched my idea for Misfortune, I had not given it much thought. I thought it was a great idea, and wanted to see it through, but that was about the extent of it. That is how many great ideas start. Note that I said start ... not end. Who knows how many hundreds, no, thousands of ideas died at that stage. The suggestion stage.
The real story doesn't end there. After that first pitch, I spent a few hours writing a script for misfortune. Then, I had to inform my crew of the first shoot. What had gotten off to a smooth start soon turned into a nightmare of day-by-day scheduling, with me shooting texts back and forth, and calling late actors. Once, my fellow crew members and I even tried to drive to an actor's house uninvited to wake him up.
Some of the best memories from the film making come in the midst of those stressful situations, though. I was so much happier with my camera in hand, shooting film and wondering how the next day's scheduling would go, than I ever was with a whole day to spare and a few bits of schoolwork. I'm strange that way. Give me some task that I want to do ... however hard it is, and I'll do it with enthusiasm. I spent two 8 - hour workdays voluntarily editing the video, even though I'd never get paid for it, and, as it turns out, few people even watched it anyway. But it was worth it.
If I don't want to do something, the opposite is true. What is it that makes doing one page of homework so difficult? I think that the answer to that question is different for everyone. All I know is that I've got to pull through and finish it to the best of my ability. But that's not what I live for. Soon, I'll be working harder than I ever worked at school.
More 8 - hour and longer days will come, but you know what? I'll be happy. My projects will reach completion. The stuff in between a great thought and a great result is effort. In the two weeks of filming Misfortune, I saw that effort was not always painful. It can be incredibly rewarding, and lead to great memories. That is why I push through those tedious moments before my graduation ... because I see the other side. And I want to be there.

If you'd like to check out Misfortune, you can find it under the "Gallery" tab of my website,, in "Videos." I hope that you enjoy it and find it meaningful!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I've Got a Website!!

I'm exhausted, but happy at the same time. Today I launched my website, It's taken months of building, tweaking, and sorting out details, but it's finally done. Not only do I have my own website, but it is also connected to a custom email domain (link in the "Contact Me" tab of the site) and features a fully functional photo gallery. I won't say anymore; go see it for yourself!

Friday, October 11, 2013

BTS of my First Short #3

I can almost feel criticism seeping out of fellow moviegoers when returning from a trip to the theater. People often have terrible things to say about movies that may have been fairly good. What causes people to hurl insults so freely? I think a part of it is that they don’t see everything that goes into a film.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s long or short, the length of any film pales in comparison to the time spent making it. Unless it’s a Vine, but I really don’t think that those count as “films” ...

The storyboards for Beckoning took about an hour to make, and the DIY camera gear was built over a period of two days. That’s already 2 days and 1 hour. Then there was the shooting. I found out just how important actor morale was, because my little sister (the main character) quickly lost interest in the project and just wanted to see the end result. That made getting good shots somewhat difficult at times.

After being spread out over two days, the shooting was finished. Thankfully, the final video was only about two minutes long, so there wasn’t a great deal of footage to shoot. That’s 4 days and 1 hour so far. Once all the footage was shot, it was time for post – production.

That’s a whole other beast in itself. Post – production finalizes the pacing, color, and sound of the film. In general, this is the most tedious part of filmmaking, because post – production determines the final product. Whatever comes out of post is what viewers will be watching. I spent about four hours on post – production, including the creation of custom sounds.

Thus, all in all, my little 2 – minute video was created over about four days and five hours. It’s no wonder blockbusters take years as well as hundreds of people to create!

I hope that this gave you some perspective on the time commitment required of filmmakers. I’ll certainly be busy in my future career, but I know it’ll be worth it!

The final video will be posted on Monday! Cheers!

~Sign Out~

Monday, October 7, 2013

BTS of my First Short #2

Filmmaking is expensive. With all of the gear, software, and time commitments required to produce a good piece, even short, low – budget works can really burn holes in the pockets. So, what’s a filmmaker to do!?

There are many tips and tricks to shrink a budget, one of them being do it yourself (DIY) gear. These are cheaper alternatives to more expensive gear, built out of home materials such as wooden planks and PvC piping. DIY gear can be either terrible or fantastic.

Considering that I have no job and live with my parents (Okay, at the time of this writing, I’m only 17, but STILL ...) I need every bit of budgeting help I can get. So, I made two pieces of DIY gear from templates I found online.

The first of these was a PvC dual shoulder mount. While it seemed too simple to be of much use at first, it actually was a huge help in steadying my shots. I was able to fake stable camera work, whereas if I had shot handheld, the footage would have shaken terribly.
My only complaint was that the camera had to be attached and detached using a screw, because I couldn’t afford an expensive quick release plate. This was a nuisance at times. All in all, however, the mount proved to be a valuable tool considering the price.

Here’s a video demonstrating how to construct the mount (Courtesy of Film Riot):

If you are into film making, I would highly recommend visiting their channel. They also have some cool short films.

The next piece of gear was a camera slider. I did not like it nearly as much as I did the shoulder mount. It did not produce smooth movement, and it was more cumbersome to use than the shoulder mount.


I’ll post the video for it anyway. The guys at Film Riot somehow managed to get theirs to work well, so maybe I was missing something ...

That’s all for now! Go out and build something of your own ;)

Daniel Freeman

Sunday, October 6, 2013

BTS of my First Short #1

The first step in developing any story is getting the concept together. I created a storyboard as the first part of the project, to help me get the composition and feel of my shots right. Storyboards are basically like comic - book versions of the movie (At least, that's how I like to think of them).

Here is my storyboard [SPOILER ALERT]. Right click on an image and select "View Image" to zoom in:


Basically, I wanted to create a movie that was both terrifyingly creepy and poignantly sad. I achieved this effect through the use of careful cinematography. For example, I never show the ghost's face until some time later in the film, giving the ghost an impersonal, and, consequently, a sinister feel. Other techniques which I employed in the final work included the dutch angle, color correction, and custom sound effects!

That's all for now. Tune in next time to hear me talk about (or rather for you to read about) my experience with DIY gear!

~Sign Out~

Monday, July 22, 2013

Let's get to work ...

I recently came back from a fantastic week at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design). Where I had the opportunity to find out what it will take to turn my dreams into a reality. I am impressed, inspired, and actually can't wait to get busy. People say that when you find your passion, you'll know. I didn't believe them until now. After visiting many colleges and hearing about endless careers, one gets rather tired of it all. SCAD did not make me feel that way. I almost didn't want to go home.

I know that in order to make movies, which is my long term dream, there are many short term goals that have to come first. I will talk about those later (so you'll have to come back ... muahaha!). In the meantime, I'm super excited because now I have an end goal, something to reach for. It actually made me feel good about school. Who would have thought!?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Rig

One can go far with Styrofoam. Yesterday I set up my camera for recording drawing videos. It hangs from two wooden pegs clamped to a desk. The case itself is a blueberry container attached to the pegs by pipe cleaners. Inside, the camera is held steady by box nails and a block of Styrofoam. It works ... although it is probably the corniest setup I've ever seen.

But, I'll let you decide for yourselves (You know you're jealous of this awesome rig :P):

That's all for a while. I am leaving for Georgia to attend a camp at S.C.A.D. (Savannah College of Art and Design ... awesome place.) on Sunday, and, right after that, I will be on a week - long mission trip to San Francisco. Hopefully I'll bring back some interesting stories.

Daniel Freeman