Filmmaking Theory

Last weekend, I broke up the usual monotony of sleeping until early afternoon, watching The Flintstones & pondering the ephemeral nature of the human condition by participating in a 48 hour film contest. For those unfamiliar with the frantic & fun 48 hour film contests, participants are given just two days to write, cast, film and edit a film. Rather than take the reins and produce my own, I decided to help out another filmmaker, collaborating partly on the script but mostly acting.

As a filmmaker who considers himself primarily a writer, acting in another director’s film provides a unique perspective, not unlike Slugworth sneaking a querulous glimpse into the inner machinations of Willy Wonka’s fabled factory. A few of the tasteful tidbits that I learned:

1. Other Directors Don’t Seem as Preoccupied With Picking Up Chicks

There are many ways producing a film can be used to meet women: Casting women in major (intermittently sexy) roles, telling women you’re a successful director, asking women if they want to see your films back at your bachelor pad.

Most, if not all, of my previous films were made to impress women, to various degrees. And yet I found that this weekend, that idea rarely came up, if at all. Every time I questioned a casting choice (such as replacing the rest of the cast with buxom women as diverse as the cantina from “Star Wars”) I was met with confused stares and more than once I thought I heard someone whisper “Let’s lock him in a closet until filming is over.”

And yet, despite all those obstacles, the film came together seamlessly.

2. Other Directors Don’t Write Large, Unnecessary Roles For Themselves

At first, it seems a counter-intuitive. If you don’t cast yourself in your own movie, how else will people know about all the work you did? But other directors seem much more interested in casting actual actors who can bring something to the role, rather than themselves. In this case, I didn’t mind, because it gave me more lines.

Just one more thing that they can’t teach you in film school.

3. Other Directors Rarely Call Their Actors “Talentless Hacks & Unruly Subhuman Cretins, Wasting Oxygen That Would Be Better Used To Start Forest Fires.”

But they still say it sometimes.

All in all, it was a truly eye-opening & enlightening experience, which I hope to incorporate into any future filmmaking endeavors.


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