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The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Lesson 1 of 15

Class Introduction

Bill Megalos

The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Bill Megalos

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:14:31
2 The Three Eyes of Filmmaking Duration:18:59
3 Basic Film Terms Duration:12:18
5 Camera Mechanics Duration:20:32
6 Depth of Field Tools Duration:20:19
7 Framing & Shot Sizes Duration:12:55
8 Camera Holding Techniques Duration:19:24
10 Sound Basics: Learning to Hear Duration:24:45
11 Basic Interview Setup Duration:18:23
12 Interview Techniques Duration:17:59
14 Telling a Story Using Imagery Duration:17:10
15 Creating the Shots Duration:1:08:27

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

My name is bill nogales uh like to introduce myself just a little bit and talk about why this is a great workshop why this this works for me uh my career I've I've been ah I work is a documentary filmmaker more than anything else although I've done all sorts of different things um I've been really fortunate to travel around the world doing this work it's really given me great satisfaction and I like I like making socially conscious socially social advocacy films and in the latino when I first started working working for the bbc working for pbs filmmaking was pretty it was very expensive and it was really very technically oriented and it was pretty hard to dio you needed a larger crew you needed wth the expenses of the materials was just to shoot an interview was quite expensive a couple hundred dollars just issued a couple minute interview and it made for a certain type of filmmaking but what what what's happening is we didn't really get to hear a lot of people's personal stories and s...

tarting about fifteen years ago I started getting these little digital cameras that the quality just kept getting better and better and that with with the with the addition of non linear editing systems that were affordable all of a sudden basically the gates were open anybody could could make a film anybody could get their hands on the equipment and make the film so I've spent a lot of time working that way and it's given me great satisfaction and I've spent a lot of time teaching people how to develop yourself to become a filmmaker who can really tell stories and tell other people's stories and tell your own stories a lot of the techniques that were going to be talking about in this course will be very much used for you'll be able to translate them into into dramatic filmmaking into fictional film making, but my personal focus has more been about telling true stories about telling other people stories and clearly as you as you start if you start working in dramatic filmmaking, there are many, many more elements involved there's production design costuming a lot that's something where you really need a lot more collaboration but I found that personally like I could make films pretty much by myself. Um, and but one of the more recently I was in I went to sierra leone uh doing films about ebola were basically working alone, you know, picking up a local translator there but making these films that are now available, you can see them on I survived ebola dot or ge but the's same skills that I've developed over this time has allowed me teo t really have tremendous experiences around the world and not just around the world but at home it's faras the lone wolf concept you were never really alone, right? We are working with other people, but the idea here is for us to develop the sort of skill set so that we can really make the films that we want to make and not have anybody say you can't do that you don't have enough money, you can't do that, you don't you're not qualified, you can't do that it's really about empowering ourselves but also using ourselves to tell these stories that that need to be told whether it's ah, whether someone in your in your community or it's someone else, whether it's someone who's poor, whether it's someone who's sick, whether it's someone who has no problems whatsoever but they have an interesting story to tell um, so one of the reasons to develop the skill sets that we're gonna be talking about here is so that you can you can really have an intimacy with your subject, right? If if let's say there's someone, um there's someone who maybe she's, maybe she's an older woman who has had a remarkable life she was a follies dancer, whatever, but maybe she's a little afraid of outsiders at this point in her life if you're working alone you khun get a relationship with her, you can build a relationship that would be very difficult to do if you had a larger crew in there so that's one of the primary reasons for for learning the skill sets and learning to work alone um another one is I talk here about I hear talk about opportunities um the opportunities I had recently to go to sierra leone that would never have been open to me if I hadn't been able to work alone there's not enough money to go to places to take a whole crew very often you know, some of the films that I make I make my money working on other projects here in the states and then I'll take that money to go work somewhere else but the it's just not it's just not feasible to bring more people um you know when I went to sierra leone all the commercial flights were closed because of the ebola crisis and so you had to fly on the special airline that you know, one flight a week would go in there it was for you and workers it was for doctors without borders workers and that was pretty expensive couldn't have taken another person so working alone you are flexible and you've got this and that part of that is that money thing in there but the real reason is that you get to make the film that you want to make that you get to tell the story the way you see it as opposed to becoming a film a committee film and you just have more um more one of the things we do and when we're when work as artists as filmmakers of any sort is we're always on a constant uh journey of self discovery we're trying to find out who we are we make this other work we make this work whether you're making a work as as ah sculptor or maybe you're a writer and then after you finish the work you kind of look at it and it's like a mirror to see yourself so this this personal type of loan will filmmaking allows you to develop yourself and to find out really who you're saying and what you're here for um but the bottom of this slide I talk about skill sets in order to make a film to be the captain of the ship and the crew members of the ship and the owner of the ship and the person who repairs the ship you really do need to work on a whole bunch of skill sets you need to be able to have some facility was working with the cameras some understanding of getting audio uh you've certainly need to know what your film was about you need to have a director's mind you have to have a producer's mind we'll talk about all these things in the course of this class um you certainly need to think ahead to the editing how is this all going to come together um and frankly it's a tremendous it's a tremendously broad range of skills that you need you also need certainly need to be able to get along with people you need to create the physical the personal relationship so that people trust you and that you can get things going and so that you're making this so the so the film fulfilment you're making his excellent worthy that it's actually good that it's worth seeing one of the things that you're doing when you're a filmmaker like this is you're basically making a promise to the viewer that you're going to give them the real dope the inside information you're not going to give them what they see on the nightly news where the camera crew shows up they talked to you know to the woman whose kid was killed you know when the drive by shooting and they talked to the neighbors and they fucking tow this one's house was damaged they come down there and there for five minutes and then you go away and then you've got this two minute piece of the end of the news we're not doing that we're making a promise that we're going deeper and we're doing that so clearly that that requires the ability to interact with people and to really feel what they're feeling and to and to tell their story truthfully so as far as the skill says very it's um it's it's unrealistic to think that you have the skill sets right away you have to really work on them you have to build them, you have to make them I have to make them to develop them inside you find out which ones you have if I'm missing this one, how do I get it? How do I work on it? And if I can't work on it, how do I bring someone else in to help me work on that? Okay, um but even right from the start right from the very beginning of conceiving of film and the first film you ever make, I know that most of you have made films before at least on some level. Um it's really about choices you're making thousands of choices you're making hundreds of choices every day, sometimes thousands of choices every day. Where do I put the camera? What size frame do I make? What where what's the point of this that I'm showing and and it's really the first thing that that I'd like to help you start working on is how do you, um, how do you ask these questions that you need to get the answers that you need? How do you start making these choices? How do you identify when you need to? You need to do this this way or do it that way and what what and the effect that that has on your film all right, um there's in the course of this class that we're going to, we're going to talk about today what we are going to do is have a balance between the intention and the craft we're going to show you enough of the craft so that you can make things happen, but really the first thing I want you to work on and this is the inside work is how to figure out what you're going to shoot, all right? It's very it's one thing to put a camera in somebody's hand, but what are they trying to say with it? What are they shooting? So that's, what? We're going to work on that and at the same time, we'll we'll show some of the tricks that you learn, um, that will allow you to bring that fourth, but one of the goals that we want is too, we wanted you know, this is very daunting working with this physical equipment, this some people really have a hard time with it and mastering it, and you see a lot of films where you wonder is this really what people were trying to do is this is just they're just they just don't have the control of the medium that they want, or they just don't know how to use the equipment, so we will show you enough of that to give you a comfort level, but one of the goals as you develop a cz filmmakers is to get to the point where this craft really disappears where you stop thinking what f stop should I use what letten you always thinking what len should I worship you always thinking where should I be but you want it to just disappear to the point where you are almost dancing with with the material that you've got that you know it well enough that you don't have to stop and say okay what should I do here? What what if I do this what if I do that so obviously that's a lot of homework I'm going to give you the key points toe look at and hopefully present the material in such a way that you will recognize hey, this is this part I have to take care of but these air that these are the things to work on and um most of all that I hope we get out of this class here is um that you guys can teach you can learn to ask the questions so that you can get the answers you need so you can make the choices that you want to make and that your film turns out the way you want if I were here and we were talking and we were doing in class together I would keep asking you these questions that would focus you and that would put you on to where you need to go to to help you solve it to find the answer this really inside you already so hopefully in the course of this class will be able to you'll be able to start figuring okay, how do I start asking these questions? How did they you know, how do how do I get to the answer that I need inside myself? Um, and one of the things that were going to try to avoid this uh this ready fire aim all right? We're going to try toe get ourselves so that we can really get where are we going? It's it's very common, especially if people are on the set, you ready? You've gathered all these people around you are you're just when you're ready to go and if you haven't taken care of that aim part and you just start shooting and you just start firing it's not a recipe for success, so hopefully prepare yourself, figure out what your story is and will you know these answers will start becoming a really organic process and you'll find that your films really profit from it. Um, I want to talk about this before I'm going to show you guys a film that I made about a year ago, a short film that incorporates a lot of the things that that we're going to talk about today I think it's really good if I show you some of the work that I've done, because you'll understand what my process is and the kind of questions I asked myself and where, how I got to where I got. So I'm going to show you film us about four minutes long. Um, and before we, I'm going to give you a little bit of what the background of the film. So as you're watching it, you understand? And then we can talk about the film at various parts, and later in the day, we'll we'll use that film is an example.

Class Description

It is common to "postpone" your filmmaking due to insecurity and doubt: Do I own the right camera? Do I have access to the proper resources? Can I support my vision with a strong artistic/technical point-of-view? Those fears are why so many film and media projects never get off the ground.

In The Lone Wolf Filmmaker with Bill Megalos, you’ll learn camera, sound, and storytelling techniques that will place you on a simple, yet sophisticated path towards completing a moving-media project. 

Bill will help you:

  • Choose the best camera for your project and budget
  • Use the camera on a technical level, with an artistic intent
  • Develop an aesthetic and technical approach to sound recording

The class will demystify the distance from the first step to the completion of a formidable, marketable piece of media. You’ll learn techniques that will simplify your process, no matter the scope of the project or your experience as a filmmaker.


Mulk Raj

This was excellent. I’ve been learning filmmaking up until now from watching YouTube videos and from my own practice which has been great. But I found these lessons to complement everything I knew and filled in much of where I was going wrong or wanted to know, and all in one convenient place. The course covering both the technical aspects as well as telling the story. There were lots of great techniques, tips and information from all aspects. Shooting mainly on the Sony Camcorders but I didn't consider this to be an issue, and the course also provided an excellent side by side comparison with the Digital SLRs. You can see from the lesson list that many topics are covered from the different types of lenses (one interesting question Bill asked was “what type of lens was that photograph taken with?” I had never thought you could discern this from the photo). Other great lessons was on sound tests, covering reflective sounds and comparisons with booms and lab mics and the ideal placement. The emphasis was always on telling the story and the reasons why you would choose one over the other. I learned a heck of a lot from the interview section. How to set-up, where to set-up an interview, looking at all the different aspects and backgrounds open to you from a location, how to conduct an interview, how to ask questions, lighting from the far side, the concept of slow disclosure, and the final hour being a fly-on-the wall on getting the shots was really interesting if you’ve never worked on a filmed set before. I personally thought this was an invaluable insight into filmmaking, well worth the investment. Great work.

jamie applegate

I have seen a couple other film courses on CreativeLive, but I think I have enjoyed this one the most. It was very informative, Bill's personality is great. I loved how hands on he really got with his student's including seeing them actual film. It had some good laughs. Well done!

Josh Moore

Great overview of capturing video from a one-man/small production team perspective. And great insight from an expert who's done it all. The Making One Location Look Like Many episode was fascinating to see how Bill spontaneously approaches creating shots in a location.