Monday, March 1, 2010

Spook Hunt - Scene 2 notes

We shot scene 2 recently, and it was a challenge to get this baby to work.

Charles gears up for the spook hunt - Canon 7D 17-55mm f/2.8 ISO 800 - all shots not color-graded

First, it is a dreaded exposition scene - in other words a scene in which I just need to give the audience some bits of info - mostly through dialogue.  Basically, the boys are gearing up for their spook hunt,  I introduce the infrared night vision camera that they are using (more on that in the next post), and we explain a bit more motivation behind why Charles wants to do this.

View from the Infra-Red POV cam (shot later with lights out)

 Some basic rules of exposition scenes:

1) Don't do 'em.
2) If you must do them, at least give the actors some other action to be doing while they are talking.
3) keep it short
4) Get out on a beat or a key bit of dialogue - DO NOT LINGER.

After fiddling with the scene a bit with my actors Rob & Charles, we managed to accomplish 2, 3 & 4.

Also making it tough was the challenge of shooting in a plain bedroom and trying to make it somewhat interesting.  I'm not sure we succeeded tremendously in this respect, but given our limited time constraints, and zero budget, we had to do the best we could and move on.  

Sometimes these are the hard decisions for a director - knowing when to cut your losses and not burn out your actors and crew on scenes that in the end are really not that crucial. 

Kubrick has been quoted as saying that to make a great movie, "All you need is six non-submersible units. Forget about the connections for the moment..."  What he means by this is to focus on the six or so essential core scenes in your movie that tell your narrative and your thesis.  Do your hard work in these scenes. If they are made well and hold up under scrutiny, then they will become the foundation upon which your movie is made.  Everything else is window dressing - don't blow your creative energy and budget on the window dressing.  This is where most Hollywood films get it wrong.

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