We all still have messages to get out and stories to tell. Even when we’re embracing our limitations it’s our stance to keep creating… and we hope you do too. I challenged myself to create some fun and professional content with just my phone. As filmmakers, we generally scoff at the idea. I mean, we’ve all heard how powerful they are but… it’s still a phone. Putting ego aside I undertook the challenge and it actually allowed me to focus on the shots, the story, and having fun. Here are my takeaways from forced phone shooting!
You want your next project to be bigger and better than your last. You imagine the grandiose of what it could be. While it’s always worth the planning, storyboarding, and coordinating to create your vision, sometimes it’s better to JUST SHOOT. I wanted to create a stop motion series utilizing my, uh, support for San Diego beer. Beer cans battling each other like a 90’s fighting game. At first I wanted a legit video game look and background. I wanted to shoot using our DSLR to take higher resolution photos. I started thinking – should I have someone do some sound effects?! But I put aside the overthinking and just got to creating. Stop motion is one of those genres that looks seemingly simple but is very tedious and a lot of work to do right. I actually like the inconsistencies in these photos. It gives it a raw feel and some character to the overall piece. More importantly it got done and I was able to make something I’m excited about.
Use What You GOT!
Now is the time to try that outlandish shot that could never work for client projects, or find a way to simplify a story you’ve been yearning to tell. With the acceptance of lower quality content, you can get away with your BIG ideas created through a small lens. I’m not saying you can make crappy content – just the bar is very low and people are watching. SO film with what you got! I’ve seen creators use family members as their talent, utilizing ZOOM for a creative music video, or if you’re like me there was always an empty beer can or wine bottle nearby. The mere act of creating is the goal here and THAT can lead to even more ideas. Think of these as tests for the next BIG idea.
Be Ready to EDIT.
Digital video lets you shoot A LOT, but in turn we end up with a ton of footage, and then editing becomes a monstrous task. We’ve all seen those tourists carrying around a camera for an entire day! Do you think they’ll ever edit that down to something watchable? Probably not.
I wanted to undertake a simpler editing project but still telling an interesting story. I decided to piece together one-second from each day in quarantine for the month of April. Being stuck inside actually helped me plan some of my shots & to not overshoot. For example, I was able to really observe the lighting to lock in the exact time for shots in certain rooms. I knew I wanted an overhead shot washing the dishes, but I waited till they really stacked up for a more dynamic shot. Sometimes it was all about good timing & catching a spontaneous moment. Reducing the barrier to create can be very freeing and even quickens the process. But after a month, I had a lot to work with.
The real work was finding my best slices of life for each day and organizing them. Some days I had a lot to choose from and some days were slim pickings. Yet it was in editing where they all (literally) came together. Since my edit was all one-second clips it leveled the playing field allowing some epic shots to shine while also making some dull moments stand out!
I know this is CORNY AF but it is one of the things we thrive on. We seriously enjoy every second of the process. Even the headaches because they make the final piece so much more valuable. Be grateful to be able to keep creating and expressing yourself. Step outside your comfort zone, try things you couldn’t before, but keep creating. Oh, and stay calm. We’ll power through and be on set soon enough.