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Thursday, September 8, 2011

You Were Psyched Once

As a video editor/writer/producer/ all-around do everything myself guy, I read lots of stuff about how to create good video, great lighting, working with actors, etc. Along with all of the great information out there, I come across lots and lots of lists; checklists, to-do lists, don't forget lists... you get the idea.

Being knee-deep in a project right now, I've discovered a few things. Most, I'm sure are on other lists. Obviously, I didn't pay enough attention to them. So, for all of you, (like me), who think you know it all already, here is a real life short list that might help you stave off what I like to call the "Oh crap" moments.

(Full Disclosure - I actually used some more colorful words - a lot - when I discovered these things).

1.) Nobody Cares Like You Do
Nobody cares about your project the way you do. Stop shaking your head... you know its true. Clients care about budgets and deadlines. Actors care about how they look and perform, and - news flash! Your spouse doesn't really care if that key light has too much spill.

It's kind of like when one of your guy friends comes over with his girlfriend to see your new baby. The girls "ooh" and "ahh" but the guy looks at you like, "So, does this mean we aren't going to Vegas next month?"

2.) Quantity Does Not Equal Quality
On this project, I have about six hours of footage for a thirty minute program. While I was editing the first scene - the first scene! - I realized that I forgot to shoot a character saying a few lines. I could have fifty hours of footage, but without that thirty seconds that I need... well... see Full Disclosure above.

Make sure you get what you need. Then be creative and artsy to your heart's content.

Which brings me to...

3.) You Suck at Something.
Some people are great at lighting, but can't level a camera to save their souls. Others are excellent at coming up with innovative ways to capture a moment, but can't seem to remember that you're losing light while they craft the perfect whatever. For me, I suck at remembering the difference between what I've imagined and what I've actually shot.
I need another me, (better looking and about 40 pounds lighter), that can say, "Dude, don't forget page five!" or "We still need that close up - you know, the emotional heart of the whole thing?" or "Great idea - but, do we have a helicopter for that overhead shot?"

Find the people you need who are better at the things you suck at. Pay them if you have to, but get them on board.

4.) Remember the Good Times.
When you're on set or at the editing deck, try to remember how you felt when you were envisioning this train wreck. Before the makeup was melting under the lights, or the costume headpiece looked like, well, a costume headpiece, you were psyched! You had great ideas and cool new ways to show off your storytelling.

Try to remember how confident you were in the pitch meeting. Try to get that feeling back after a few attempts at fixing over-exposed footage.

Go ahead, try.

There you go. Practice these rules diligently and you'll be on your way to being a well-respected, award winning, uber-rich celebrity visionary... or not.
It's up to you.