Wednesday, April 23, 2008

5 rules for managing volunteers at a film shoot

Some people need a good old-fashioned wedgie

I was clearing out old e-mail and I came across this little diatribe I wrote after my involvement in a student film a couple of years ago.

It's good to laugh about it now.

5 rules for managing volunteers at a film shoot
I volunteered to assist a fellow-film student with his shoot over the weekend and it was a good exercise in witnessing how people & time management skills apply equally to film projects.
Here are some rules that every budding director/producer should be aware of:
1. Make sure you know how to operate your camera before the shoot. Hire the camera for a few days before the shoot if you have to.
2. Make sure there's a prepared timetable so that people know what to expect and when they are likely to finish. They have lives outside of your film shoot.
3. Volunteers don't want to hear the struggles you are going through as a creative genious as you decide what shots to take or how you might edit the shots later. They don't care, they just want to shoot the scene and move on.
4. Don't spend hours in idle chit-chat, stick to the timetable. That's why you should have one.
5. Don't expect other people to spend money on your project. Since people are already more than generous in volunteering their time, then don't take advantage of them by expecting or hoping they will also spend their money on things like catering and props. At least offer to reimburse volunteers for every expense they incur for you, even if it's as simple as a battery. Otherwise you can guarantee they won't help you again.

Finding Inspiration with Anthony Eaton

Anthony Eaton - not typing for this photo

I was a little ambivalent about attending a half-day seminar at the ACT Writers Centre entitled 'Finding Inspiration' with Anthony Eaton. It was a gamble to know what I would get out of it.
But I'm glad I made the effort.
I'm accustomed to writing technical material on a daily basis, but creative writing for me is a hit and miss affair - there are times when the words just die on the page.
Hearing Tony's similar experiences and how he overcame them was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.
Those times when my words die on the page - I secretly thought that there was something wrong with me and I lacked the necessary talent to be a creative writer, but I discovered from Tony that I was simply jumping in too soon with my ideas and needed to build the ideas more before putting a story together.
Boy, what a relief!
With the simple practical strategies that Tony gave us, such as gathering ideas into a single folder for a book project, I know I can keep building-up a story idea for a time until it's ready to work into a manuscript.
I've now purchased two folders for two manuscripts that I'm keen to work on.
When a seminar gives me practical strategies that change the way I do things, then it was DEFINITELY worth the time and effort.
Thanks Tony. Now I'll read your books too!