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Filmmaking Video: Rutger Hauer Intro to Short Film Making

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This filmmaking video features the renown Dutch actor and writer, Rutger Hauer as he offers his professional insights with an introduction to short film making. He begins the video with a memorable quote by a colleague, Robert Rodriguez: “what you need to know about filmmaking can be taught in a week.” In response to that quote, Hauer proposes to create this video with the objective of teaching the essentials of film in a 13-minute video.

Hauer starts by proclaiming that if you want to be a filmmaker, then just print your name and the title, “filmmaker” on a business card. Pass around the card to your friends and tell people that you’re a filmmaker, because once you convince yourself that you are, you will be. Seeing yourself as such is important to embarking upon your filmmaking career.

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Rutger Hauer
Photo: http://oiff.com.ua

In addition to seeing yourself as a filmmaker, Hauer adds that you need the right blend of creativity and technical knowledge. Creative people are born creative, says Hauer, that’s “luck” as he calls it. Most technical people haven’t a clue about creativity. On the other hand, creative people have a difficult time thinking high-tech and they often rely on tools and methods they don’t fully understand. However, as Hauer emphasizes, if you have both creativity and some technical skills, then no one can stop you.

This leads to Hauer’s second point of insight: you already have some experience by watching movies, but watching films isn’t enough if you want to make them. You need to grab a camera, make movies, and more importantly, make mistakes. Making mistakes is what makes us good. If you have a scenario in your head, just start writing.

The following are some of the topics that Hauer covers, with the intention on touching upon all the essential aspects of making a successful, budget film.

Making a cheap film. Making budget films always force you to be creative, especially when it comes to finding the right location. Hauer suggests that you write a screenplay that doesn’t require a lot of money. Instead, look around you and evaluate what you have in your immediate environment for use: a pet, your parent, a butterfly collection, a garden, etc. “Even the smallest balcony garden can be your film jungle” he says. Hauer’s first film, Starfish Tango, involved a small story, two dancers, two actors, a village, and seven dolphins and yet was a success.

Getting the plot “out of your head.” Hauer’s third point of insight involves creating storyboards for getting the film out of your head and onto the screen. More importantly, you need to think about the frames and what needs to be present in each scene in order to tell the story–close your eyes, focus and make up the pictures, don’t just pick from some royalty free photos you find on the internet. You should also think about whether or not the story moves you, if all the characters are present, or if the plot is too fast. More importantly, creating a storyboard for the movie allows you to see whether or not it makes sense. The quicker you get your idea onto the storyboard, you quicker you can begin to shoot.

Cameras. You don’t need a sophisticated camera for your first or second film. In fact, just using a Flipcam is enough, and if you need to create steady shots, just use a tripod. If you want more movement in your shot, you can try mounting the camera on a skateboard, having someone push you in a wheelchair, or drag the camera on the floor atop a towel or blanket. Lastly, act “softly” in front of the camera: avoid overacting or crowding the camera with too much action. As a rule, the closer the camera is, the less acting you need to do.

Lighting. Experiment with the lighting. Walk around and see what spots are best left dimmed and which ones need a lot of light. As you move the light around, do it softly so it will look nice and natural on camera. You filters like curtains in order to get a dim effect. Use the reflections in cars, windows, the color of a table cloth, or even the movement of leaves to help you play with lighting. Hauer demonstrates how one can play with lighting by placing a towel over his computer’s camera and noting the slight, but important difference it creates.

Editing. It’s important to be patient and take your time in order to ensure a film of high quality. This is where you can add sound or music (either make your own music or own it, so as to not infringe on copyright).

After all of this you will have your first, simple film. He ends with saying that while you cannot make simple films in Hollywood, you can make them in school and on your own time, so take advantage of this freedom. He wishes the viewers success and fun in their project endeavors.


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