The 7 Deadly Sins New Filmmakers Make

1) Neglecting Sound
2) Hiring Friends
3) No Script
4) Using Music without Rights
5) Making Blockbusters that Aren't
6) Writing Outside of What They Know
7) Ignoring the Art of Filmmaking

I've just posted the names of the 7 sins here. The entire article with details is on behindfilm.com (It's longish).

What do you guys think? Agree or disagree?
 
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1) Using Digital
Just silly, 95% of us could never make a movie otherwise. I'd LOVE to shoot film, and as soon as somebody wants to give a couple hundred grand I'm happy to do it.

2) Hiring Friends
Only if they aren't talented. My sound guy is a good friend. He works for free, has excellent gear, and has become a pretty decent recordist and sound editor.

3) No Script
Well, yeah, hard believe this actually happens (shooting with no script)

4) Using Music without Rights
Yep.

5) Making Blockbusters that Aren't
This is true. I don't have the budget to do an FX driven movie, so I don't try to do it with crappy green screens and Blender.

6) Writing Outside of What They Know
Well, in what way. I don't know what the world is going to look like in the year 2261, but I could still write a sci fi movie set there.

7) Ignoring the Art of Filmmaking
Not sure what this is supposed to mean. All filmmaking is art, some of it is just bad art.
 
1) Using Digital
2) Hiring Friends
3) No Script
4) Using Music without Rights
5) Making Blockbusters that Aren't
6) Writing Outside of What They Know
7) Ignoring the Art of Filmmaking

I've just posted the names of the 7 sins here. The entire article with details is on behindfilm.com (It's longish).

What do you guys think? Agree or disagree?
I think you have a decent list here. EXCEPT for number 1. Using digital is absolutely fine. Do you realize how much it costs to shoot on film? Have you looked into many quality HD productions? I don't think you have, otherwise you wouldn't have number one listed. If you know how to shoot, light, and edit...and fine-tune in post...digital video is absolutely acceptable.

I would replace your number one with 1. Bad acting. And I would put on the list bad sound (both in terms of dialog recording, overall sound design, and quality appropriate music).
 
Said it more than once. You could give a talented and experienced DP a $399 consumer SD cam (and plenty of lights) and his footage will look better than footage shot by Joe Newb filmmaker with with a panaflex.
 
I think it all depends on what you want to do with the film. If you're making a short film then by all means shoot digital. Chances are that it'll only be screened online and at festivals.

However if you compare the costs of shooting Digital and shooting Film for a Feature film then you're getting into territories that are more comparable. Many people I've spoken too have told me that in order to get a digital video ready for screenings and distribution you're going to have to spend a lot of money. And it won't look as good after the process is complete.
 
I think it all depends on what you want to do with the film. If you're making a short film then by all means shoot digital. Chances are that it'll only be screened online and at festivals.

However if you compare the costs of shooting Digital and shooting Film for a Feature film then you're getting into territories that are more comparable. Many people I've spoken too have told me that in order to get a digital video ready for screenings and distribution you're going to have to spend a lot of money. And it won't look as good after the process is complete.
Not true.

You can four-wall a digital film no problem. In fact I'd say it's easier and much cheaper than film. We've shown our digital feature films in many different theaters, and all you need is a DVD or Bluray.

What cost are you talking about? Are you referring to the cost of a full national release? If so, that's completely different. But less than 1% of us will ever see that.
 
I've thought about it and admit I was wrong. You guys are correct. The article is supposed to be about new filmmakers not filmmakers who are creating feature films they want to sell.

I've changed number one to "Neglecting Sound".
 
I read your article, and geeze, can you be anymore of a joykill! :D

Deadly sins? A deadly sins is something that will land you in burring torment for eternity... a stupid film that nobody sees will land you a few moments of well deserved ridicule.. meh..

Seems to me that beginning filmmakers are SUPPOSED to make mistakes.. no "nooby" film maker is likely to land an international distribution require the magic of film projection. . :P


Seems to me your trying to put up some arbitrary "barrier" of your own construction to keep the little people away from your private playgound.. what, you going all Howard Hugues on us?.. watch out.. GERMS ARE EVERYWHERE ;) Now go wash your hands.. !
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Since this is meant for new filmmakers and not those making
features they want to sell, I only agree with number 1 (the new
number 1) and 4.

Hiring friends is the best way a new filmmaker can start their
journey. It’s rare that a 14 year old with their first camera will
be able to hire working professionals. It’s rare that a 24 year
old beginning filmmaker can hire working professionals. Using your
friends can create challenges but it doesn’t rise to a deadly sin.

I see what you’re getting at with numbers 3 and 5. When I was a
new filmmaker I make several (about 7) films (on film) without a
script. We just made it up as we went. The final products range
from really stupid to surprisingly cleaver. And what a great way
to learn. As I was editing I began to see what I was missing and
tried something new on the next one.

And I tried to make movies MUCH bigger than I was capable of
making. Far from being a deadly sin, trying it made me a better
filmmaker. I learned how to do things on no money and I learned my
limits.

Writing outside of what you know can be very enlightening. It
forces a writer to research and start that journey to learning
about something they don’t know about. A beginning filmmaker who
writes about something they now little - or nothing - about is
almost certain to learn something.

I don’t understand number 7. The “art” comes with experience - and
the “art” often comes from innate talent. Learning the tools and
the craft are the first steps. Discovering the “art” comes later.
So what do you mean by the “art” of filmmaking? And how is
ignoring it a deadly sin? Especially for a new filmmaker.

In my opinion most of your list doesn't rise to the level of a deadly
sin - or even an egregious mistake. A new filmmaker who tries
most of your list - hires friends, shoots without a script, tries to
emulate the "blockbusters", writes outside of what they know and
ignores the art may make a terrible movie. But they may make a
good one, too. And they will certainly challenge themselves.

I always advise new filmmakers to really go for it. If they fail they
can try a different approach. The reality is, most first films are
pretty poor. Even if a new filmmaker were to carefully follow your list
they may make a terrible movie.
 
2) Hiring Friends
Well, if that were a sin, then I guess:

- Lucas committed a sin when he asked advice from Spielberg to storyboard the ending fight scene of Episode 3 between Obi Wan and Anakin on the lava planet.

- We wouldn't have the movie "Swingers".

- We wouldn't have the opening scene to Austin Powers 3 (with the A-list celebs playing the roles).

- We wouldn't have every single movie Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller have made in the last 10 years.

- All sorts of fun cameos would be lost.

What do you mean by not hiring friends?

I love how neglecting sound is #1 now, though :) That makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

p.s. Spielberg's first movies where he learned how to do filmmaking were almost all his friends and even his Dad was in a couple of them.
 
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I wrote this on the website under the "Hiring Friends" heading:

Every filmmaker ever has hired friends when making their first few films. It’s unavoidable and it’s usually even fun to have close friends sharing with you the experience of making a movie. However the problem starts when you start hiring friends to do jobs they are not qualified to do. If Joey can’t act then don’t put him on screen. If Sarah can’t hold a camera steady then don’t make her camera operator.

Of course sometimes you think to yourself that you have to use your friends, who else is there? Well I would recommend that you wait until you find qualified people (check your local Colleges, many eager film students there) before starting production on your movie. Do you simply want to make a movie at any cost (including quality) or do you want to tell the story the best way you possibly can.
 
On the other hand, if you have friends as the dedicated editor and DP who can understand your style of filmmaking, it seems it would be awesome to make many many projects with them. You may see some kind of style emerge that represents you and your group of friends.

Just something I've been thinking about.
 

sonnyboo

Pro Member
indiePRO
IOTM Winner
However if you compare the costs of shooting Digital and shooting Film for a Feature film then you're getting into territories that are more comparable. Many people I've spoken too have told me that in order to get a digital video ready for screenings and distribution you're going to have to spend a lot of money. And it won't look as good after the process is complete.
This is only true, and even then only half true, in regards to a THEATRICAL RELEASE to movie theaters. That is also singularly to getting a 35mm film print made, as all the digital projection, especially the real DLP projection, there is very little truth to this.

InDigEnt was entirely based on the OPPOSITE of this theory and they were very financially successful with their theatrical 35mm film prints of DV movies.


If more filmmakers making features were to be spending money on shooting on actual film instead of learning their craft on video/digital, then they would be foolishly wasting a lot of money on celluloid. An incredibly small number of indie films will ever need a 35mm film print from now on even to get theatrical distribution.
 
I spent a couple years at Catholic school. And yeah, we learned about the 7 deadly sins -- sloth, envy, etc. -- I assume we've all seen "Se7en".

However, any good Catholic knows that the 7 deadly sins are meaningless, if you just live your life by the Cardinal Rule -- Love your neighbor, as you would love thy self. Or, in other words, the widely-accepted secular Golden Rule -- Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

Likewise, though your 7 deadly sins are worth reading about, and discussing, if we were to condense them down to one Cardinal Rule, one which is true for zero-budget indies and mega-budget blockbusters alike --

Tell a Good Story.
 
I agree that these seven sins are something a lot of new filmmakers may make, but they're not necessarily detrmiental to a film's success if they are mistakes to learn from and grow. I know i've done all of these in the five years i've been making short films now, and while I wouldn't do them all now, they're certainly not something I look back on and damn!

Also, where would a good filmmaker be without mistakes? You usually cannot be made an instantly good filmmaker, it takes practice and experimentation and some of these "sins" are taking away those. For example, if a noob shot on a 16mm Bolex, what would be the point? He'd probably expose the film to light, tear it up in the sprockets and just have a generally shit film. Digital is fantastic for looking at your scenes, and rethinking them.
 
1) Neglecting Sound
2) Hiring Friends
3) No Script
4) Using Music without Rights
5) Making Blockbusters that Aren't
6) Writing Outside of What They Know
7) Ignoring the Art of Filmmaking

I've just posted the names of the 7 sins here. The entire article with details is on behindfilm.com (It's longish).

What do you guys think? Agree or disagree?

Hiring friends? Maybe thats all they have at hand. Y'know they were making a short indie here a few years back and 'hired' out the actors from the local theater. Most didn't show up! So the director had to get family in from out of town. So sometimes thats all you have at the end of the day.

As for the rest I would agree...except number 5 because I don't know what that means...making blockbusters that aren't? Most movies aren't anyway.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I wrote this on the website under the "Hiring Friends" heading.
"Of course sometimes you think to yourself that you have to use your friends, who else is there? Well I would recommend that you wait until you find qualified people (check your local Colleges, many eager film students there) before starting production on your movie. Do you simply want to make a movie at any cost (including quality) or do you want to tell the story the best way you possibly can."
What you write on your website is exactly why I feel it's not
a deadly sin to hire friends.

Wait? Wait until you find qualified people? Not for me. When
I was a beginning filmmaker I made films (on film) every
weekend using my friends. I learned to tell the story the best
way I possibly could by making film after film after film. None
of us could act, none of us knew a thing about sound or lighting,
none of us could hold a camera steady. But we got better and
better because we didn't wait until we found qualified people.

I wanted to make movies at any cost. I sacrificed quality in order
to not wait.

Sorrry, Visual Typist, I don't like what you wrote at all. The
beginning filmmaker should never wait, they should shot and shoot
and shoot. And they should use their friends. After a few years,
when a beginning filmmaker is ready to take the next step that's
when "hiring" qualified people is the way to go. I found that qualified
people (eager film students) were more willing to help me when I
showed them I had been making films with my friends for a couple
of years before I asked for their help and experience.

Where I do agree with you is that at some point a filmmaker will
need to work with experienced, qualified people. But beginning
filmmakers shouldn't wait. They should be making movies. Even
crappy ones
 
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