Learn Filmmaking From Home In The Time Of Coronavirus

Here are some pro-tips and/or crash course material on different filmmaking aspects at four stages of filmmaking
Learn Filmmaking From Home In The Time Of Coronavirus

As the COVID-19 is hitting the world hard, I hope you all are reading this in the comfort of your house, isolated from the world and of course, in good health. For aspiring filmmakers, staying at home can be frustrating for they can't practice what is mostly an outdoor and group activity. However, you can utilise this time to learn different filmmaking techniques so that when you eventually step out, you are armed with more skills than before. In this curated list, I present some of the videos that helped me a great deal in acquiring filmmaking tips to navigate successfully on a film set. These aren't video essays. They are more like pro-tips and/or crash course material on different filmmaking aspects at four stages of filmmaking.

Scripting Stage:

1. Screenplay Formatting

The screenwriting software like The Final Draft and Celtx has made sure that the writers don't have to bother with the formatting of the screenplays. However, for the beginner writers, knowing how to creatively use it is of the utmost importance if they want to communicate their writing with clarity.

2. How to Write a Logline

Before writing your script, you need to know what your script is. A logline helps you know who and what your script is about, where and when it is taking place, and why and how it is taking place. 

3. Taxi Driver & Raging Bull's Writer Paul Schrader | Screenwriters Lecture

All screenwriting books are written in hindsight. What works for one writer may or may not work for another. In this precious lecture, celebrated screenwriter Paul Schrader shares his writing process.

4. Inspirational Writing Advice From Charlie Kaufman | On Writing

If you ever start to think that there's a screenwriting formula, watch this lecture by the great Charlie Kaufman where he breaks all the conventional notions of what a screenplay is.

Pre-Production Stage:

1. Script Breakdown 101

Once the shooting script is ready, it needs to go through a process of breakdown to draw out the budget and schedule the film. This is where creativity is broken down into excel sheets.

2. An Introduction to Film Budgeting

Filmmaking is an expensive endeavour. Everything costs money. No matter how much you have it, it is never enough. It is then important to know how much money you should devote to individual departments so that your vision isn't compromised much.

3. How to Hold an Audition

Casting can make or break a film. Invest time to get the right actors, be it for the lead part or the extras. Holding auditions efficiently will help you achieve that.

Production Stage:

1. What Happens When a Movie Has No Gaffer?

A gaffer is a cinematographer's right-hand person. He/she is directly responsible for achieving the lighting visualised by the director and the cinematographer.

2. Grip Hardware Essentials

If you want to be a cinematographer, you must know the hardware involved and its use. Yes, there's more to cinematography than camera and lenses.

3. What Happens When A Movie Has No Script Supervisor?

Almost all the films are shot in a non-linear order. It is a script supervisor's job to make sure shooting remains consistent with the script throughout the production.

4. How a Director Stages and Blocks a Scene

This is where you can separate a good director from a great one: the ability to take a simple scene and turn it into an effectively great one with staging and blocking.

5. Shots vs. Set-Ups

If you want to finish the shooting on schedule, you must plan your individual day's shoot smartly. The best way to do that is by managing your setups and shots.

6. What is a 2nd AC? – 3 Things You Should Know

Although this video is about 2nd AC, in India, the job can be divided among different people. The tips, however, can take you places.

7. 20 Film Terms You Should Know Before Stepping On Set

A film set is chaotic. Knowing the right lingo helps you communicate with clarity and brevity.

8. Recording 101: Microphones

Know your locations and potential shooting environment during the pre-production stage. This will help you select the right microphones for the job.

Post-Production Stage:

1. Thelma Schoonmaker Interview on Film Editing

Thoughts behind some of the greatest editing work with the commentary from the great editor herself.

2. Walter Murch: Making the Right Editing Choices

Murch is not only a great editor but also a great sound editor. His insights into editing are equivalent to receiving a filmmaking sermon.

3. Everything you hear on film is a lie | Tasos Frantzolas

The job of a sound designer/editor is to create sounds during the post-production stage that couldn't be recorded during production. Creativity at this stage can help you immensely in storytelling.

4. SoundWorks Collection: Sound Effects Master Class with Mark Mangini

Listen to Mangini – the sound designer of Blade Runner 2049 – explain how sound editing choices can help you tell great stories or turn a regular story into a great one.

5. Colour Grading – Getting Cinematic Colours

Grading is where you achieve the look of your film. However, you shouldn't take this stage like a magic trick where whatever you shoot will be turned into gold. It is a stage where your footage is enhanced. So shoot keeping the final look in mind.

6. How to get the CINEMATIC LOOK in Premiere Pro Tutorial

Most of us can't hire heavy production studios and labs to grade our films. However, with Premier Pro, which I use, you can achieve decent results just like in this video.

I hope these videos will help you gain insights into the process of filmmaking during the times of self-isolation. However, as I keep saying, you can't become a filmmaker by reading a few books or watching a dozen filmmaking videos. Filmmaking is a craft. It can only be honed through practice. Use these videos a reservoir of tips to be implemented on the field whenever you get the chance next. Till then, stay healthy.

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