Friday, 26 February 2010

First blog.

My name's Dan.
I set up this blog to keep tabs on my progress in the field of being a very very amateur filmmaker. I will not pretend to know what I am doing, but I intend to stumble blindly on and see if I can actually achieve anything in this field. Maybe my mistakes might be of interest to someone... maybe not. I can't say why I've decided to do this, it had always been a pipe dream I had entertained since I was a teenager. But one week, aged 27, I seemed to have awaken with a burning desire to make no-budget films and shorts. I had no experience whatsoever. I began to devour books by low budget directors and guerilla filmmakers, and I spent a few days researching cameras before I spent £300 on a Panasonic NV-GS330, a 3 CCD miniDV camcorder. I was working in a bookstore at the time, not exactly earning the big money, so I opted for something affordable and well reviewed (Although as I browse around, it seems plenty of people hate this camera too) because there was every possibility that I was in the grip of heartfelt but short lived new-hobbyitis. So the camera is hardly a pro choice, but hell, if you can't work with what you've got, then you don't have what it takes anyway.

As for putting the footage together, I started with iMovie (such a great program) and am currently learning Final Cut Express. They have both served me very well.

So I took my camera to work and assembled some of my colleagues. We'd shoot small videos of ourselves messing around at work. One guy had a great realistic airsoft guns he'd imported from Japan. We went online and bought some cheap neon airsoft rifles and spray painted them black. We took them to work along with a samurai sword I bought on ebay for my flatmate, sneaked into a poster tube. After we locked the store up and the manager went home for the night, we let ourselves back in with my girlfriend in tow (assistant director!), deactivated the alarm and we just played around with the camera in the back room after hours, a huge cavernous room with bare brick walls and a dusty floor, throwing home made fake blood around and doing a practice run for a crappy but fun idea about guys with swords and guns fighting zombies. I didn't care that it was stupid as hell, I just wanted to see if the camera worked. Unfortunately the back room was only lit by a single fluorescent tube so the video quality was ass. Also unfortunately, I got caught by the manager who was a great guy, but was highly concerned that I was bringing guns to work and trespassing after hours on the property. It probably didn't help that me and some of the guys from work spent 30 minutes of work time shooting up some old damaged books (High School Musical - who wouldn't want to shoot Zac Efron) with my new airsoft rifle. We were encouragable oafs.

I got suspended pending an investigation from head office and almost lost my job. I kept it by the skin of my teeth, but handed in my resignation while on suspension anyway, as I had received a new job offer. It was a hairy time, no-one wants to get fired with no savings and with rent to pay. But I managed to move into a new job and I managed to avoid getting fired. I worked my notice amicably and I miss everyone there.

I hardly ever see the guys from the bookstore, and our highly enthusiastic plans of making a terrible no-budget action movie (I was highly motivated by Robert Rodriguez' book Rebel Without A Crew) died a death. But I still had my camera, and I was just waiting for the right opportunity to come along.

But you can't just hang around. You need to get out there and start making things. I need to be more MOTIVATED. I need to get stuck in. That's why I've started this blog... to talk about getting started with zero experience and zero credentials. Hopefully somebody might find it interesting!!

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