This week’s feature for Shortie of the Week is “Hostile“. Hostile is a fast paced drama involving the hostage negotiation of a woman who has been pushed to the edge in the most compromising of situations.
This week’s feature for Shortie of the Week is “Hostile“. Hostile is a fast paced drama involving the hostage negotiation of a woman who has been pushed to the edge in the most compromising of situations.
Check out our First Blab with special Guest Lenore Coer of Coerlesslyink. This is our first behind the scenes blab covering the Topic: Stepping into Filmmaking what’s next?
Hailing from a small town outside of Atlanta, GA, Lenore Coer is a natural-born storyteller. She is self-diagnosed with the middle child syndrome: the forgotten one, the one that was ignored. Because of this, her imagination has always been a place where young girls receive the admiration and acknowledgment that she so desperately wanted to feel growing up.
Her stories reflect the lessons she learned growing up in a Christian, two- parent household, and the secrets she’s carried about life choices, sex and sexuality that she was too afraid to live out aloud. The goal of her writing is to explore the complexities of what it looks and feels like to be a woman of color in today’s world. Lenore paints a picture that most women, no matter where they’re from, can identify with and feel.
Lenore has honed her gifts in front of and behind the camera by completing a B.A. in Spanish from Sewanee: The University of the South, studying acting at The William Esper Studio and completing a screenwriting certificate from The New School, culminating in winning the Rena Down Memorial Award for Screenwriting Excellence.
Lenore wants young girls and women around the world that look and sound like her to see themselves reflected back at them in the media. With her studies behind her, Lenore is ready to delve into the world of screenwriting, determined to make a mark on the industry with her unique style beginning with her newest web-series “Stepford SideChix.”
When I decided to pursue screenwriting I didn’t have a friend, family member or associate that I could consult pertaining to how that journey would look. I had no formal training outside of being an avid journal writer and a published author. I just had a dream and I knew I needed to pursue it.
I opted to take the traditional route and went to school for my Master’s in Screenwriting. I was the lone woman of color who was proudly raising her hand saying I’m a screenwriter (even though I didn’t have a clue about the world of screenwriting).
I survived that process and found myself with my eyes wide opened to the distant fairy land of film and desiring knowledge and experience on the production end. So that meant more school, more loans but still not exact hands on experience.
I knew I had to get some experience in directing and knowing what went into making a film before I started my final project and directed my first documentary. So I decided to reach out to someone who was in the process of producing her film.
In reaching out I kept it short, sweet and to the point. One I didn’t DM her asking to get put on (newsflash DM’s aren’t professional) I showed genuine interest in her project along with letting her know who I was.
After exchanging pleasantries with her I was given the opportunity to be the script supervisor, working on the film set for a week.
Here are some of my takeaways for those of you who are seeking to get your foot in the door.
There are so many local production moments going on in your city. Ask can you work on the set. Even if it’s just assisting with food services. You still can learn so much by paying attention.
The first shooting day it was windy and downright cold. Hoodies are your friend with pockets. Pockets are important because you have so many random things that you need to toot along with you. Layers of clothing are a plus and comfortable sneakers or shoes are a major key.
Know Your Job.
When in doubt reference google. The day you step foot on set you should have a good idea of what is expected of you. I also suggest looking at what other jobs do because you may be pulled to assist beyond what your duties are.
Know the Lingo.
Of course everyone has heard quiet on the set. But there are other key terms that are just good to know. So you won’t get blinded by the lights as they are being turned back on.
I’m sure you want to ask a million questions but this isn’t necessarily the time to pick the creative brain of the director or the director of photography. They won’t be in the mind frame to do so. Instead pay attention to the gems they offer. Pay attention to the instruction they give you specifically as well as others. During your break, but the notes in your phone and go over them at the end of day. Arriving early may also afford you time to gain more gems.
Don’t think you’re above any job.
If you’re the script supervisor and they need you to work the boom then do it.
Follow the rules.
You are a professional. If you signed an agreement and they asked you for no pictures on the set or disclosing information about the film. Then don’t break the rules. You are not there as a fan put a professional.
Thank goodness I had a great experience while working on the film set. It was an awesome crew and cast. However, on my journey as a screenwriter I have run into people who don’t want you to win, those who are rude and others who believe they have arrived. Don’t let someone else stop you from getting to where you desire to be.
And some will be demanding to see if you can handle the pressure. So don’t take it personal.
I could go on and on about my first experience working on a set. But these are some of the keys that stuck out to me. Getting the hands on experience will show you if this is for you or not.
Shivawn Hill is currently in pre-production with her short documentary, Lifting Crowns. She is also trying to figure out how to form a team to help her be the voice of so many women’s untold stories. You can follow her on INSTAGRAM
20 Filmmaking Terms Every Aspiring Filmmaker Needs To Know
This little resource is particularly for true aspiring filmmakers. Those of you who didn’t go to film school and who may have zero film credits to your name BUT you are dying to launch your dream, bet BIG on yourself, and enter into the world of filmmaking.
To boost your confidence, you need to know lingo when it’s dropped while you are in negotiation to work on your first film and while you are actually in the throws of working on a film.
These 20 filmmaking terms will give you a frame of reference and allow you to feel somewhat ready (because it will still be a little zany and nerve racking working on your first film) to tackle your first real world introduction into becoming a badass filmmaker.
To keep this easy and organized to read through, this post is divided into three categories: Directing, Writing, and Technical.
These three areas shape films and television. They work in concert during pre, actual, and post production.
A listing of which actors will be required for which scenes, and when they will be required.
List given to the film crew of all the shots to be filmed during that workday.
It is the transition between shots or scenes while filming. It is often used to help intensify character changes and emotional shifts.
A shot, usually from a distance, that shows us where we are. A shot that suggests location. Often used at the beginning of a film to suggest where the story takes place. For example, if our story takes place in New York, we might use a shot of the Manhattan skyline as an establishing shot.
Unedited rough cuts of the day (or from the previous day) which the director reviews to decide if a re-shoot needs to take place.
Sequence of pictures created to describe each scene in the film production. Usually indicates camera angle and movement, blocking of actors, and size of the frame.
It’s the one or two sentence summary of your film that not only conveys your premise, but also gives the reader emotional insight into the story as a whole.
An abridged script; longer than a synopsis. It consists of a summary of each major scene of a proposed movie, and may even include snippets of dialogue.
Many scripts will use the parenthetical (beat) to interrupt a line of dialogue. A “beat” suggests the actor should pause a moment, in silence, before continuing the scene. “Beats” are often interchangeable with ellipses “…”
The text in all CAPS at the beginning of a scene that briefly describes the location and time of day.
INT. JIMMY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT
Note: sometimes sluglines are abbreviated to something as simple as “LATER” or “BEDROOM” to maintain the pace and flow of a sequence.
Voice Over. This abbreviation often appears beside a CHARACTER’S name before their dialogue. This means the character voices that dialogue but his or her moving lips are not present in the scene. Voice-over is generally used for narration, such as in the beginning of The Mummy. Or a character’s inner thoughts said out loud such that only the audience will hear.
The final script which is used for the actual filming.
If a writer finishes his/her own screenplay outside the studio system (it isn’t an assignment) then sends it to the studios for consideration, it is a spec script.
A mechanism on which a camera can be moved around a scene or location. Simple dollies involve a tripod on wheels. Dolly shots are moving shots.
Chief lighting technician who is responsible for designing and creating lighting plan.
A long pole with a microphone on the end. Controlled by the “Boom Operator.”
COMPUTER GENERATED IMAGERY (CGI) The use of 3D graphics and technology to enhance special effects.
Is supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot. In fiction film, it is a technique used to indicate simultaneous action or flashbacks.
Person responsible for the set-up, adjustment and maintenance of production equipment on the set.
Remember these 20 terms because you will hear them tossed around often as you embark on your filmmaker journey.
Did we miss any?
Share terms that you think aspiring filmmakers should know in the comments.
CJ Childress is currently in pre-production for a silent short film, a commercial, and several photography projects. She is also trying to figure out how to be the cinematographer for Beyonce’s next video as she writes this post. You can follow her on INSTAGRAM.
This week’s feature for Shortie of the Week is “Of Music and Men“. Of Music and Men is an American comedy-drama series that chronicles the life of a young single female entrepreneur and her experiences with men as she tries to succeed in the music business and in love.
As a multi-hyphenate artist, my journey began with the simple desire to tell stories. I was 8 years old when I started on this path. Today, I use a myriad of platforms, from novels and screenwriting, to acting and directing for stage and film. My experiences have contributed to the gift I hope to share with the world and the legacy I plan to leave.
This past November I had the good fortune of working on my first feature film.
I snagged this mind-blowing gig after only being in Houston for three days. I served as the Script Supervisor and after two days on the film was asked to be the 1st Assistant Director.
As an emerging photographer, I had been dying to also become a filmmaker too, particularly a cinematographer.
I honestly had almost given up hope. I had left life get in the way. Allowed relationships to supersede my ambition.
Felt that I was too old.
This film reignited my passion for filmmaking. I know that I can still do it.
After all I did originally major in media production in undergrad and pursue my MFA in Screenwriting. I am a total film nerd. I always study in OMG detail the cinematography of every web series/TVshow/movie I watch. Mother God has totally prepared me for this.
Giving myself permission to be a fledgling filmmaker was the first grateful lesson that I learned while working on this film.
And once that “aha” moment hit me, a slew of others did too.
But there were five pressing lessons that just SCREAMED share these that stand out to me.
So here goes:
Be Prepared for the Unprepared
One of the most critical elements of making a film is a concept called, continuity. In essence, it is the art and science of making sure that every scene has consistent prop placement.
Have you ever watched a movie and noticed that when the camera went in another angle, the coat that was on the couch seconds before from the last angle is no longer there but technically the film is still in the same scene?
Well, that means they had a continuity problem, no ummm major oversight, is more like it.
In life you have to stay consistent and prepared for the unprepared.
We almost had a major kerfuffle a few times when in one scene the day before we had lemons on the kitchen counter and the next day when we needed to film more scenes in the kitchen, our Production Assistant bought limes instead that morning (because the lemons had started to go bad).
This caused a major issue on set. We wasted time. Production was halted.
I had to go and buy lemons because our production assistant was not there that day. Even the size of the lemons was important. We had to get it right.
Continuity was not going to kick us in the derriere and embarrass the heck out of us. Film reviewers notice EVERYTHING.
Life is like that too.
Your haters AND fans notice EVERYTHING too.
So be prepared, to hush the naysayers and make your cheerleaders say “damn skippy” I think she’s dope because she’s got her sh** together.
Scheduling makes all the difference
Life doesn’t always flow. The sequence of events gets mixed up sometimes.
BUT that doesn’t mean that you can’t schedule as tightly as possible, especially when you’re diving into a major “this is going to put me on the map of all maps” magnitude of a project.
While filming, a solid director will have a daily call sheet sent to cast and crew the night before that provides the crew/cast call times for the next day (often at the crack of dawn) and the scenes that will be filmed that day.
As time went on during filming the director got more and more detailed with providing me the details of the scenes that needed to be shot that day.
He even included key beats and shots that were needed for each scene to me separately as his script supervisor and 1st assistant director.
This helped tremendously in my opinion with getting things done.
Films are not shot/filmed in chronological order of the story line of how the movie was written and surely not what the audience sees in the finished product, and this movie was no exception.
When you are tackling tall orders and the flow is coming each and every way but straight, the best thing you can do is schedule the heck out of all possible tasks that need to be checked off your list.
That way you will still feel like you are being productive, even if it looks like chaos on the surface. At least it will be organized chaos.
Use Your Voice
On film sets: scenes are debated, actors want to get adequate camera coverage, dialogue is sometimes just not stacking up and the list goes on.
These moments are prime time to add your two cents.
Yes, you may be a green script supervisor that has only written 9 and a 1/2 film scripts and have only worked on a couple of music videos, that’s no reason for you not to still SPEAK UP when problems need to be solved.
About 68% of me is an introvert, so speaking up is something that I have struggled with in my 36 years.
Often times I zap up solutions in my head when problems arise, but I have had a long history of keeping them to myself.
And where was that getting me in many situations when I could have been the winning quarterback?
This film really pushed me to at least add to the conversation.
You don’t have to be the long-streak winning champ, Ken Jennings from Jeopardy, providing all of the right answers but you do need to in certain situations share your ideas, solutions, anecdotes, and logic.
Don’t stand mute, keeping your brilliance to yourself. That’s selfish actually. It screams, not “team player hungry enough” in work situations.
So words to the wise, SPEAK UP. Do so and watch your confidence soar and your status as a valuable member on a film set shoot through the roof.
There Really Is A Difference Between Acting & Reality
Actors perform. And when you really think about it, everyone is an actor.
When we are on jobs and even in relationships, we are acting.
Putting our best selves forward. Trying to win the hearts and minds of bosses, CEO’s, girlfriends, fiancés, your rich Uncle.
We think that by acting our way into their good graces we will be awarded all kinds of goodies. Like five figure bank balances, an engagement ring from Jared’s, free yoga for a lifetime, a seat at the cool table, a BMW, higher self-satisfaction, righteous cockiness, an inflated Instagram following.
But in real, real life, that’s not reality. We spend so much time acting and avoiding our real selves. So much so that you can find yourself questioning that fine line between what’s/who’s real and what and who is not, yourself included.
Towards the tail end of filming, one of the co-stars was growing to be quite frustrated with the interruptions that were happening on set during his scene (door bells, phones not being silenced, shit like that) and he kind of had a “moment” when his frustration blurred the lines between acting and how he really was feeling while holding a knife in his hand (it was a prop in the scene) and telling us he wasn’t afraid to use it if things didn’t start ironing out, and quickly at that.
Before I knew it though, he seemingly snapped out of that funk and went right back into the scene. He did later apologize for the outburst.
It was that moment that got me thinking about just how much we “act out” in life and neglect to keep it real. Even though in this case, I think he was keeping it real, he’s just a classically trained actor so he knows how to get away with such antics with finesse.
The rest of us however, are acting our way through real life and often times not succeeding. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Take a closer look at your life. Imagine a life where you can totally be you, the aspiring filmmaker with an endless supply of good ideas and the work ethic to back it up. Remember her always and live the life you envision.
You Have To Keep Going Until You Get It Right
On our third to last day of filming there was one shot that took us all the way to U in the alphabet.
Films are filmed like this:
Scene: # (the chronological number from the script)
Shot: A (shots always starts with A and go to Z or AA if you go beyond Z and so forth)
Take: 1 (takes always starts with 1 for obvious reasons)
This particular shot began to require so many camera angles (every time you move the camera to film a scene you go up the alphabet) that before we knew it we were on U. That’s 21 shots, not including takes.
That’s a ton of angles folks. But, we refused to settle until there were enough strong camera angles in the can. Granted, we had some good ones peppered in, shot U was by far the most solid shot.
Life deals us decks of cards like that. You may be in the thick of something and really want to call it a wrap, but you just simply can’t that easily.
You push. You go beyond the level that just an average person will go.
You become determined to keep going until you get it RIGHT.
That means that you scrap your entire Wix website right before hitting publish and decide to go with WordPress because it finally dawns on you that doing so will make your life that much easier in the end.
Or you may rewrite the first sentence in your novel 316 times but you do so until you get it right because you know that a weak first sentence will make a reader put your book in between their Farmer’s almanac and their high school year book on their book shelf, never to be pulled out again.
Let life push you.
Get it right.
My foray into official filmmaking was not just a crash course in feature films, it was a needed crash course in living life on my terms right now.
What do you think of my five? Do any of them fire you up or serve as a much needed reminder to get cracking on a building a career as a filmmaker?
CJ Childress is the proud co-founder of Creative Outsiders and is currently obsessing over the cinematography of the hit WGN show, Underground while mapping out her next photography project. You can follow her on Instagram.