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Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you some behind the scenes commentary on filming on an iPhone.  Why? Because it’s totally doable, I recently did it, I’m already planning another video, and why not?

I recently had an assignment to make a “How To” video.  Of course, this meant all thoughts of possible tutorials went right out the window.  Such is the way these things go, right? Add to this that I was in the middle of working on an independent movie filming in Richmond, VA, and where was the time? Never fear, in true Lady Ozma fashion, I quickly recovering from artist’s block and got to work.

Enjoy the film (it’s only 3.5 minutes)

The Filming Process

There’s a lot that goes in to making a movie, even a little three and a half minute short like this. You need to come up with an idea, create it, find actors and props, scout locations, gear up, and finally film.  Sounds easy?  Well, it is, but it isn’t. 

Lucky for me (and unlucky for my classmates), I have worked in the filming industry so I didn’t have any real concerns for my capability of pulling this stunt off. Not-so-lucky, however, all my contacts are not local enough that they wanted to come hook a sistah up.  Bummer.  Well, I’m not afraid of a one-woman show.  Thankfully, I had some unwilling victims…uh I mean friends from Church that were willing to help me out, even the ones who had no idea what I was plotting for the end scene.

First, I created a storyboard that listed out camera angles, setting, actors needed, basic script, and props.  After figuring that out, it was time to film.  In true 48 hour film style, I spent roughly 24 hours filming. I started Tuesday evening, did more on Wednesday afternoon, and finished on Wednesday evening.  (B Roll footage at the local bookstore taken on a whim while at a write-in for my NaNo group the weekend before.) 

I absolutely did multiple takes and multiple camera angles just like on the professional set.  However, I did try to embrace my inner Ed Woods and limited the amount of takes for time sake of my volunteers. Never film without multiple takes and camera angles. You need it for whatever mistakes are made.  (Ex: slurring “nervous” into “dervous” like the RSP did twice.  Oops.) This will also give you the freedom to cut where you need to in case something weird happens.  Using my busy Church is a just begging for something weird to happen. 

Since it was only me editing and I had other projects to work on, this took me a couple of days. I probably could have achieved this in one long day if I’d had the 48-hour film project window, but I would have been tired and not accomplished anything.  Editing takes a while, especially when you are searching for background music, matching up audio tracks to visuals, and splicing take footage together. 

In the end, I think this came out pretty decent.  I sent my camera woman “homework” to watch and I coached her in what I wanted.  I didn’t right a proper script knowing I was working with people who might not be up to the challenge of lines. I don’t recommend this, but I have enough directorial experience between dance, stage, costuming, and filming between being directed and directing others that I felt safe in doing so.  I also have a lot of improv skills, so figured I could improv well enough.  I had a basic script idea that I went over with each of the two women with speaking lines and made sure they knew the succinct lines I needed them to say.  The benefit of this is they were able to make it very natural to their native speech flow. Everyone deserves a shoutout for being so fantastic. 

This is a the first in a four-part series about the making of this video

–Lady O