The following is an excerpt from the free DIY filmmaking guide “The Quick and Dirty Guide to DIY Moviemaking”. You can download the complete book for free by clicking here: “The Quick and Dirty Guide to DIY Moviemaking”. For more behind the scenes info, view the SHIRO’S HEAD DIRECTORS’ COMMENTARY
SHOTLIST & SCHEDULING
Get ready to juggle your cast’s work/school schedules in order to maximize your shotlist efficiently. This means that you’ll be shooting your movie out of sequential order to keep everything productive with little down time. This is where continuity comes in to play. Make sure that you keep track of the actors’ wardrobe, blocking (the movement of actors), props, etc.
Shiro’s Head Fact: The baseball field scene in Shiro’s Head was a result of five whole nights of shooting due to our continuity screw-ups.
REHEARSING AND BLOCKING
Non-actors always feel awkward when delivering lines and movement in front of a camera. Take the edge off a bit by taping their rehearsals and playing it back for them.
Shiro’s Head Fact: The performance of our non-actor Matt Ladmirault improved greatly after watching himself on the screen during playback for the first time in one of our test scenes.
Treat them with respect and don’t waste their time. Keep it simple and to the point. Just break it down to the basics by figuring out each of your cast members’ strengths and direct it accordingly to each scene. Focus more on facial expressions and subtleties.
Shiro’s Head Fact: Don would coach the non-actors by acting out the scene first and giving them an idea of what we needed for the scene.
B-ROLL and DETAIL SHOTS
Random B-roll and detail shots will really save you when it comes time for editing. They can save your scene’s fluidity and help the transition of scenes greatly. Skies, trees, surroundings, tight shots of actions, etc.
Shiro’s Head Fact: When we couldn’t shoot any scenes due to conflicting cast schedules, we went out and shot random island scenery that ended up making the final cut of the movie.
One thing audiences won’t forgive is bad audio. When recording scenes on location, always get at least 30 seconds of ambient audio at each location. Be sure that when you do record this, everyone must keep completely quiet. This will help smooth out your editing if you need to intercut the audio from multiple shots or do ADR in post. You may also want to record the sound of each action that takes place during the scene (car door opening/closing, beer bottle opening, etc.). This will give you the freedom to manipulate them in post as needed.
Shiro’s Head Fact: We couldn’t afford to hire a boom operator, so we decided to shoot the movie without any location audio and replaced every single sound, including dialogue, in post production. Over 5,000 unique sounds!
Use a boom pole for close ups. Use lavaliere mics for wide shots. Or just use a shotgun mic placed on your camera.
Shiro’s Head Fact: Because we couldn’t afford a boom operator, we were forced to bring the entire cast back to record their voices during post production (ADR).
Nothing beats the sun. Use it to your advantage by shooting interior scenes near large windows. The window serves as a minor diffuser. And it’s free.
Shiro’s Head Fact: Most of the movie was shot using just natural sunlight.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Kel Muna makes up half of the Muña Bros. duo. He is an independent producer, writer and director with over 12 years in the multimedia trenches and a feature film under his belt. Kel graduated as Valedictorian of his film class along with various honors and holds a degree in film from the super-crazy Full Sail School of Film.