Film Riot’s CreativeLive Class – Guerilla Filmmaking Review

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If you are just getting started in diy filmmaking, the name Film Riot should be very familiar to you. Led by host and filmmaker Ryan Connolly, Film Riot has helped thousands of diy filmmakers learn the bare bones of writing, lighting, directing, special fx, and editing. When it was announced that Connolly would be hosting a 3 day seminar for guerilla filmmaking, we couldn’t wait to see what they would come up with.

We start the class with a discussion of the creative process. Connolly talks about screenwriting and gives some good online resources you can find online.

Suggested Screen Writing Software:
Final Draft 9
Fade In Mobile

Suggested Blogs & Podcasts:
Scriptnotes Podcast

Reading Scripts
Weekend Read app – iOS

Ryan’s Suggested Screenplays:
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Die Hard

Ryan’s Suggested Reading:
Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting
The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell)
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting

From there, Connolly also discusses screenwriting techniques such as the 3 act structure, noting that there are many structures around depending on what you want to write. He also talks about plot devices such as a Macguffins and Chekhov’s Gun. When it comes to writing characters, Connolly mentions that one of his tricks is to use popular movie characters that are close to your characters. That way all of your characters don’t end up sounding like you. He also mentions the importance of listening to music while you write.

There is much more information about writing here that I won’t go into. Suffice it to say Connolly covers a lot and answers questions from the audience.

Camera Plots:
Shot Designer Pro

Ryan’s favorite tool for creating a shooting schedule is Shot Lister.

Cinemek HD
FrameForge Previz Studio 3 Pro Version

Other Concepts Connolly discusses:

One Page isn’t always equal to one minute. You should read your screenplay with a stop watch to gauge the pace. (With your AD if possible). Shoot your easy scenes first to ease into production. Try to avoid moving locations. Space out difficult days (special effects, makeup, etc.)

He discusses Stripboards and their importance when working with a DP.

Then we talk about casting where Ryan shows clips from this video.

To go into everything that is covered in this training video would take a long time, so I will include some helpful videos below from Connolly and company. I will go on record as saying this is probably the best fimmaking traing course that I have found online. Connolly, together with brother Josh and Visual FX Designer Michael Stark take you on a journey through almost every aspect of a small production. Their lighting tutorials are pretty amazing and even shows how much you can accomplish with even lights from Home Depot. Shane has obviously been very influenced by the work of Shane Hurlbut and even shows some of Hurlbut’s techniques such as Book Lighting and shooting through a bed sheet.

Other topics they go over:

Sound Recording
Lighting Design
Camera Direction
Green Screen
Color Balance
Camera Motion tracking with After Effects

And much much more.

Below are some links to Film Riot episodes that feature some of the content of the class. But I cannot recomend this series higher. I am not an affiliate or related to Film Riot or CreativeLive. I simply think this is the quickest easiest way to get up to speed with indie filmmaking.





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