Monday, August 31, 2015

WTF WEEK: Teaching, Learning, Filmmaking Drills - Basic Filmmaker Ep 146

     Wow. This video was sooooo long before editing it down for consumption, like over a half an hour before I decided most of it was a lot of rant.

     Well, I'm glad saner minds won out.

     I'm am so very passionate about education. You've heard me say I am passionate about helping other filmmakers, and frankly, I cannot overstate that.

     Hell, I feel it is my job to help others, period. My pay? A better world.

     Yeah, it sounds all noble and heroic and all that, but really, I don't do it for any other reason that I like to help people and I think helping others is a gift that anyone can use. Plus, it's an awful lot of fun to see smiles and light bulbs go off and all that.

     I should mention the shots of me talking to myself.

     My goal WAS NOT to create some epic me talking to myself thing. My goal was too see HOW FAST I COULD SHOOT AND EDIT TOGETHER a little skit of me talking to me.

     That's an entirely different purpose, so if you don't like it or think it's cheesy, well, I understand. I'm not paid anything for doing this channel, so the client is you, and me.

     I also have a lot of fun playing around with stuff like this - SPEED DRILL! :)


     That's in quotes as it's not really a behind the scenes. Let's call it a "Behind the scenes of all the crap I cut out and some additional thoughts" thing.

     I hope you watched the video first, or you'll get lost on these.

     To make my point(s) in this video, I had whole sections of examples, where I am dressed up as a waitress, the boss of a restaurant, a programmer, and all sorts of things that got cut.

     Here's some of the text and cuts (photos) from that video.


     Let’s take a waiter or waitress in a restaurant. You ask them how they are doing and you get a download of how shitty their day was. They ignore you because they are busy texting or talking. They come over and act like they are put out having to take your order. They don’t WATCH to see when you need a refill on your drinks. They bring out food that is not cooked right or not what you ordered.

     You may think they’re freaking stupid. They may be.

     But I promise you – they don’t know what their product is, and the person they are working for never made sure they knew what their product is or worse - no one cares.

     You ask them what their product is - their job, and you’ll get amazing answers like:

     “To serve people food.”

     “To show up on time.”

     “To get good tips.”

     “To make sure the cooks don’t screw things up.”

     “To sell liquor, it’s the money-maker.”

     More often than not, you’ll get this. You ask, “What is your product, your job, as a waitress?”

     “Ah, well, you know, ahh...taking orders, and ahh, said sell lots of drinks, and ahh...”

     No one gets off the hook here.

     That’s a fail for the waitress not insisting on a clear cut definition on WHAT her product is, the thing she is supposed to DO.

     AND that’s a fail for the boss or owner for not having clearly defined, AND MADE KNOWN, what the product is of the waitress.


     If I were running a restaurant, I would clearly define what the server’s product was – their job, what they DO, and let them know what they were in for before hiring them.

     Then I would constantly remind them that they were doing their job well. I would gently correct any mistakes by reinforcing what their job is, I mean, I’m not going to beat this person up – I want a server not a slave!

     I would gauge how they were doing using this description. I would make sure that they practiced it until they became an expert.

     Heck, let me work that out right now.


     Hi. I don’t know what you’ve done at other restaurants, and don’t care."

     You are server – a waitress. That means you serve. Not just food, you serve the restaurant, the customers, the owners.

     Your job is really important. Your actions could elevate this restaurant to new heights, or crush it into dust.

     If you’re up for the responsibility, here’s what your product is – your job.

     To warmly greet customers, give them a reassuring smile, to make sure their dining wishes are fulfilled, to make sure they are attended to, to make sure they are treated like they are the most important people in the world, to make sure they have a dining experience they remember.


     Now the owner or boss has two choices. They can be really lazy, and spout all this crap off, and think the new waitress is going to take all this in and do a great job.

     Or, if he cares, he takes the next step and SHOWS her how it’s done.

     He walks up to the table, and it’s BETTY, a regular. She’s talking to her friends about her cat. He waits until she’s done talking, or until she notices him standing there.

     It’s not about him, or his time, or how he’s got other customers. At that moment, it’s all about Betty and her friends.

     He explains this to the new waitress by demonstration. He has her practice this, first on other employees in the restaurant, then finally on real customers. He has her recite what her job is until she knows it cold.

     He NEVER EVER makes her feel wrong for not knowing. She’s being educated – so – she isn’t going to know things.

     He is CREATING a top notch waitress, who knows her job.

     He lets her know that if ANYONE ever tells her that her job is something else, she can ignore it with enthusiasm.

     He got his product – an excellent waitress. She has her product – an excellent waitress.


     Now Mr. Owner has a gauge. He sees customers being happy. He see the waitress doing her job.

     Waitress #2 comes up to him and starts nattering about the other waitress, takes too many breaks, blah, blah.

     He ignores it. Waitress #2 is not doing her job, she’s nattering on about someone else who IS. So he calmly sits down with her and asks, “What do you think your product is, your job?”

     “Ahh, err, ah...”

     And he runs her through the same drill.

     Or she keeps nattering, won’t do HER job despite all attempts to help her.

     He knows that the livelihood of the restaurant, all its 50 other employees and their families and children, are dependent on the restaurant doing well...

     ...not the hurt feelings of some bitchy can’t do the job you want me to - cause I’m entitled to money for showing up lady, so he gets rid of her...

     ...and either hires someone else who is willing to do the job, or gives a pay raise to the others who are.


     Ahha! We’re back to education, and we are going to hit filmmaking in a moment.

     Would you say education is an area of unusual “solutions?”

     I could rant on about these solutions forever.

     We have an education system that thinks they can blabber on about something and some mysterious magic will occur where the student will fully understand what they are talking about.

     And if the student does not, there must be something wrong with the student. Or the teacher. Or the this or the that or the other thing.

     We have teachers responsible for educating our future workers, company leaders, and government. For that job description – they are way underpaid.

     We have students, who are the future workers, leaders, government officials, that can’t balance a checkbook, and can’t wait to get credit cards in their hands.

     We have teachers that can be sued for hurting little Johnnie’s feelings, because they stopped him from beating the shit out of Sally.

     We have students that are put on the latest wonder drug to make them sit quietly in the chair so they “learn”.

     We have a lowering the bar system so the failing students don’t feel excluded – everyone gets an award.

     We have enormous budgets for education, yet have all these educational “problems.”

     Let’s stop the blaming and finger pointing, yet another unusual solution that hasn’t worked.


     This video could have been really short, too short. The whole point was I wanted to put my foot down a little bit about educating, educators, and the student being educated.

     Dump all the stupid confusions, and pandering to the 2% who are making the problems, and leaving the 98% who, if given a chance and a good reason to learn, would learn.

     When you teach someone, realize that that person is TRUSTING you to give them valid, workable, usable information, that they will carry into later life.

     What a mean trick to ACT like you know something, and try and teach someone else something you don't really know about, and can't do.

     What a STUPID trick to act like you've learned something for a passing grade, instead of insisting that you BE TAUGHT to do things that you will be able to do.

     Basically - it's the product of education, the teacher AND the student.


                         My Best,

                         The Basic Filmmaker

Sound Video Featured On No Film School

 No Film School Post

     I was honored to be featured recently on their massive filmmaking site, No Film School.

     So there's no confusion, I'm the guy in the middle.  

     And here's the video they featured about sound, in case you haven't seen it.  If you haven't, watch it.  It's one of the best sound videos that have ever been made.  OK, I'm overselling it a bit.  Get used to my dry humor, I come from Scottish and English roots. :)

     I don't ever go to sites or other creators and say, "Hey!  Can you [post/watch/review/whatever] my video?"  I don't know, maybe that's OK to do, but it just feels a bit weird to me.

     I get requests like this all the time that fill up my email in box.  Some I take a look at, some I don't, but most, especially if they are NOT subscribers to my channel, I just delete.  Nothing personal.  I would rather make my videos than read through a nautical f-ton of "Hey look at me!" requests.

     Again, nothing personal, and I get it.  If you don't get someone's, anyone's attention, you stay unknown, and no one ever watches your videos.

    That being said, when I saw my inbox filling up with volumes of emails and subscribers, more than the usual, I wondered what happened.

     Sure enough, I saw that No Film School had retweeted my video to their followers.  Cool, and awfully nice of them to do so.

     Then D4Darious (Darius Britt), a channel you should subscribe too, and a cool guy, say's how cool it is that I got featured on No Film School.  So I go there, and I see that middle photo (shown above at the beginning of this post) on their site, and I'm like, "Wow! That's really nice of them to do that."

     I move onto pressing work issues (I've got 36 projects in the queue right now, and that's just my real work). 

     I get another notice about the "article" posted by No Film School on their website.  Cool.

     Wait, what?  An article?

     I go back to No Film School and click on that middle photo that I thought was a middle photo.  And sure enough - there's a whole article, written by someone, breaking down my video, with a way better title than I have.

     There's three things I learned this week.  

     One, pay frickin attention to things others post about you, really take the time to take a look at what it was, and thank them a lot for taking their time to do it.

     I would normally do that anyway, but having not done the first thing - pay frickin attention to things others post about you - I could have missed this.

     No Film School gets nothing for finding, picking up, writing about, and posting these videos that I know of.  And I certainly didn't ask them to, which makes that act even more awesome.

     And that makes them a real friend of mine - helping filmmakers - which is really what my videos and my channel is all about.

     Thanks No Film School!!!

                                         Warm Regards,

                                          The Basic Filmmaker

#filmmaking #nofilmschool #d4darious

Monday, August 24, 2015

6 Editing Tips, Tricks and Drills - Monday Filmmaking 101 - Basic Filmma...

      This is the first real website entry for me, so I hope you'll be gentle, and like this format.

      In the past, this has been a repository to dump my videos and have a website for later, where I could provide more information to filmmakers who like that sort of thing.

      It was intended as a place for you to get additional info on my videos, some dry humor, opinions, bad analogies, behind the scenes, jokes that make a 5-year old laugh, and even lame excuses for why I did or didn't do things.

      Well, fast forward YEARS later - maybe it's time I actually start doing it.

     Oh, and just so we set the mood for these, let me say this...

     Some people say I am not a writer.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But at least I'm writing.  So, to all you "experts" on writing (usually by people who don't), [insert bad word] you if you don't like how I write.

      Let's start with this "BECOME AN EDITOR" video.

      As with many of my videos, this was also a test of, "How many cut/zoom shots can a person tolerate? What's the breaking point when doing cut shots, and how far can you zoom in when doing them?"

      I do a lot of "testing" (playing) around to get feedback. Feedback is really useful as long as its really feedback, and not a bunch of blah-blah.

      Now, that doesn't mean I use subscribers or viewers as lab rats.  What I do is see what the bottom line or threshold is for the moving pictures and sound on videos I produce for YouTube.  Once I've nailed that, I then know to NEVER cross it ever again.

      I don't know if that disturbs you, but that's what I do, and it gives me information.  Let's say most people hate the sound quality of my wireless mics.  I use that, such as, "I'm going on a shoot and it's a live gig for my subscribers. I have a wireless system, and they've commented they don't like the sound.  That means I am going to haul my recorders and shotgun mics with me."  Like that.

      Anyway, this editor video is something I knew editors do, and have seen editors do, but it never occurred to me that no one knew this.  It's one of those "everyone knows [insert something here]" things, that you find out everyone does not know.

      So I isolated what that thing is and turned it into something simple - a drill - that anyone can practice day or night, editing, or not.

     The thing I DID NOT go into length at in this video is  how this applies to all sorts of activities - music, art, painting, writing - you name it - this can be applied to all facets of life.

      And it's something REALLY useful to one-man-band filmmakers, which is the majority of my subscribers on my YouTube channel.  These guys/gals are a marvel.  You think having a job in Hollywood is hard?  Well, it's usually just ONE job.  Try being the EVERYTHING.  That's the one-man-band filmmaker.

      The drill here is basically looking at your video, playing a segment or a bit, and looking at it as if you know nothing about it (other than the video's message and intended audience), and chopping the hell out of it.

      And doing it again.

      And then again, and again, and again over and over and over.

      You probably need to watch the video to fully understand the concept on this one.

      I also really drive home this is a "drill." It is something continually practiced until you don't even have to think about it anymore, like driving a car.

      There are also some things I cut out of this video as it was too long, but you might find useful as background.

      I was coaching a subscriber on editing. He had an 8 minute video, really funny idea, about an alien conspiracy.  As an exercise, I told him to cut everything not needed out.

      He came back with a 4 minute video.  Did a great job. 

      To show him what I was talking about, I downloaded the video straight off YouTube and cut it to 2 minutes.  

      I left the opener, kept the funny conspiracy shots, some humor shots, let it buildup, and the shocker at the end.  

      He was probably thinking about all the time he put into the shots, his daughter, which I ended up cutting down to 5 seconds, and frankly I didn’t want to piss him off, as her part should’ve been a 1 second cut shot at most.

      It’s not that I am “better” at editing than him.  It’s that I was editing like an editor. 

      I saw the message, or in this case the story, that would be delivered to a specifically defined audience - people who like funny and ridiculous conspiracy skits.  Didn’t give a crap about his daughter, at least as an editor.

      I showed another silly example of someone doing a video on exposure.  

      It was really long, as I cut each part out and then did the drill, and although that really is part of video editing until you get really good at switching from your editor "hat" to your "audience never seen it before" hat, that's kind of what it is like.

      But I cut most of it, as I didn't want to scare anyone. :)

      The other thing I cut was a shame, but again, the video was getting too long and would have been too much information for one video.


      This one always breaks my brain when I remember to do it.

      It’s a brand new second pass on your video after you’ve cut all the fluff out.   You start from the beginning, editing as if you’ve never seen it before, and you switch to being the intended audience.  You play the first 5, 10 or 15 seconds of the video. 

      Now you ask yourself, “Am I interested enough to continue watching?”   No?  

      Then re-edit the video, watching it newly as the intended audience, fixing it until it works.

      Now watch again newly from the beginning, for say 30 seconds or a minute, being the intended audience. 

      Ask yourself, “Am I interested enough to continue watching?”   Just keep doing that over and over until you’ve nailed it as best you can.  

      Or chalk it up to experience and keep that in mind for your next video.

      In my real work, let’s say I am doing a commercial.  I may be watching the 750th edit, but, I have to watch it newly each time as the intended audience...and ask myself if it compels me to continue watching along the way.  If not, it’s back to the editors.

      It's really the only way to go if  you want something that is watchable by the intended audience and does what it is supposed to do, get a message across to the viewer, whether it be teaching, selling something, or simply informing.

      Unless you don't you don't have a message or intended audience!

      I really hope you like these "behind the scenes" notes from the Basic Filmmaker's mind - something a few people have questioned the existence of. :)

                                      Kind Regards,

                                      The Basic Filmmaker

#filmmaking #editing #tips #tricks #drills

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