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The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Lesson 14 of 15

Telling a Story Using Imagery

Bill Megalos

The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Bill Megalos

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Lesson Info

14. Telling a Story Using Imagery

Lesson Info

Telling a Story Using Imagery

Welcome to this beautiful location. What we're going to do now is we're not going to really worry about lighting, of course we're going to make sure that our exposure is reasonably good things like that. We're not gonna worry about lighting at all, we're going it we've come up with a little scenario, a little story. Kayla is very generously offered to be our actress for this one, but she still will have input on the store on the decisions that we make. So we've come up with a little scenario, and what we're going to do here is tell this story and figure out what are the good choices in terms of what we show, and when we show it, do we want to be on a wide angle shot, we want to be on a tight shot, how do we mix it up so that we can tell this story really? Well, we're going to just get the shots now, but in the finished taping the finish class, they'll all be put together to one story. Ok, so here is the scenario it actually the story actually starts down below, but most of our work is ...

up here, so, like in many movie traditions were going to shoot this out of order, all right, so what? The story is this that as we see it, kayla is a gardener who is a kind of a vendor contracting gardener for this company she comes once a week once every two weeks to tend to the plants all right, these guys they're too busy to take care of their own plants so they hire someone to do that but she knows that she's been working here for a while and as she walks in downstairs at the reception is which we're going to shoot at the end not now but in the end she's gonna walk in and we're gonna tell this story by the way with no dialogue minimal dialogue it's not about the sound returns tell the story in pictures she comes in and she has a little interaction with the receptionist and when she receptionist you know saying something along the lines of what you look happy today what's up and she goes she's just gotten engaged okay so they have a little hug to have a little oh that's wonderful she goes so she comes upstairs will get one shot of her coming out tio here I don't think we need a shot of her walking up the stairs that's just kind of shoe leather but we will have her come out onto the thing and then what's going to happen in this story is going to start to get to work she's got some tools she's got a watering can I think she's got various tools she's got some some plants that she thought she could be putting plants in, but in the course of this work she loses the ring okay, now of course, at the end she finds the ring we have to figure out how she loses the ring I think what we thought would be a good way but you guys you can come up with a better roy again we want to tell this story without too much mugging without too much, you know, facial expressions like in silent movies it's her actions will tell you what she's thinking what she's feeling, but she somehow she loses the ring and then she has to have a period where she doesn't know if she's got the rich were wishy as trying to find the ring and then she finds it again what I was thinking and you guys can correct this if you're wrong what I was thinking was she's she's working in the dirt so she would put on her gloves all right, so either she finishes and takes her gloves off and notices that the ring isn't there and which doesn't realize that's in the gloves and on lee later does she find out in the gloves or the other way that she could do it is perhaps she's gets takes a phone call from her boyfriend or her fiance or whatever and then takes off the gloves and then doesn't remember that it's in there but somehow she has to remember that these gloves it's just to find it again later okay um what I was thinking was I like the idea of the cellphone because it gives us a chance to do some cutaways and some text in there that we couldn't do otherwise especially if it's coming from him I mean we could in a way have him be the one who finds it because what happens is she finishes we have the signal somehow that she's done with her work we have to show somehow that she's finished with their work something does that maybe maybe we look at the box and the box has no more plants in it and then we know that the work is done and then she takes the gloves up and then she starts looking and then he she can get a call from him and it's and she's put her gloves on top of the phone and when she picks up the phone booth thing falls out of her gloves after she's already been looking for something like that. So what do you guys think about the story and how do we end it once he comes out of the door I think we should establish that she's on the rooftop by having a scene and then uh ever get on her knees with the box and pan down straight to where she is okay, well, we're gonna probably tell that part of the story and different in different shots but you know, generally it's it's better storytelling is better if you keep it separate shots you know, you connect them but if you try to do it all in one shot that's where it starts feeling fucking comes one end of it's not going to be good but for now let's let's about that you know, you're an actor what? How do we how did she act this and how do we let's just figure this thing of losing and finding let's let's figure that part of it out quick is the losing and finding of it so that we can be comfortable and how we go forward? So he said we got were saying that she's gonna forget him in the gloves as she taken takes him off I think it's either that the other choices that she takes it off on purpose and but where would she put it? That she would forget it? She could take it off on purpose and put it in here she could take it off and put it somewhere would she put it it's a precious thing? So what would she do with it that when she tried to find it she couldn't find it well that's the problem with taking she could do like uh put it in here yeah then I should she's gardening it falls in and then gets in the soil with what she's which that how would you find it again later? Stick it in there I think she thinks like all right in here the whole time the only time she really leaned over was when she was gardening how do we remember that how do we tell that story again? This these air all I'm not being difficult I'm saying these are the questions that we have to ask if you want to direct to seeing if you want to shoot a scene how do we how do we do? You know way don't have dialogue to rely on she hits yourself she realizes that and then she she like because because that was that sudden movement she calls her boyfriend and was like, hey, uh you know, I just hurt myself I don't know what to do and then like she's about teo go leave and she's like where's my ring well see that's what we're trying to avoid and is the talking it talking because we're not doing sound here we're trying to tell this story without so we're trying to avoid the talk and how can we do it? You know silently that something that she can act, you know what? You know how hard it is to act things you can't act what if she goes to the bathroom and wash your hands? Yes, she does her work she thinks she lose lost it while she was gardening and after looking for it she gives up and goes to wash your hands well would she give up she's just this ring is more than it's more than a quarter it's more than the car keys I mean this ring is the relationship her whole thing in her life would she actually leave? What if you just get the gloves works just like leaves it in there and then we'll say forty years or thirty years later thirty years later right next to the guy has found some other girl and she's living alone she and she's miserable he finds it in the way digs it out see that's what we're trying what we're trying to do here is this story is just to help us start till we just need to know enough that we can start shooting I think she takes the ring off took the rings off she puts in a safe place next to the plant right there and while she's work king, it falls off in the back of the planner and she's looking all around the plant in the soil and she can't find anything uh and then she's you know, just frantic going back to the where she washed your hands doesn't see it there and eventually somebody comes and helps her and finds it behind there. What about you, zee? Using the reflection of the sun reflection of the sun okay? Oh, yeah. So, like, maybe it's in the pot. And then the sun reflects that limo. Yeah, just like oh, I don't know what I'm gonna do. And then she just, like, looks down there's no there's no, I don't know what I'm gonna do. Okay, well, that's gone, okay? That's cut. Yeah, so we're all right now we're planning each scene. We're planet where we've got to tell the story. Once we figure out what the story is, then we can start planning the scene. But we have to know what the stories we can't make it up as we're going along. So I want to do involve you guys, but I'm going to say no to what you came up with because they're all get more complicated. I'm trying to not go off into the bathroom, do another scene bomba will try to tell this story so we're gonna do this thing with gloves. All right? So let's talk about what she's actually doing she's gonna come up. We're gonna film the story downstairs below all right, one thing we want to talk about is this tension and release tension and release, okay? One of the things that we didn't really show today, but we can you can imagine it is that when you're on a tight shot on somebody or something that creates tension that's why, when you're looking at all these movies that there are now these action movies there's, so much more tight, then they used to be in movies of the forties and fifties and the sixties, where they used to have wider shots. Now everything is like this to kind of crank it up, but where is when you see a wide shot? There's release the tension, and the short shots comes from the fact that that camera angle is cutting something off the edge of the frame is cutting it offer it's pushing close to the edge of the frame. It feels squeezed, but when it gets wide releases, ok, so we need to think about when we're going to use wide shots and when we're going to use tight shots and how we're gonna. I can't get the story going okay so I think it's pretty common that the first thing that way should probably this section here should probably be like book ended by a similar shop right if we if we have a shot here where it's wide she comes through that door and carries her and it's wide and chose the whole city then maybe in the end we do the reverse we start we show the whole city will come and the door closes behind her that's kind of like a book it's got a kind of it's it's almost like you know it's like a piece of music that starts and ends with the same notes you know starts in the same key and the sides of the same court so let's plan on doing that um and let's plan on kind of getting our shots kind of tighter as the tension bills right like in the beginning when we see her when she's first starting we maybe we never see a much closer than we'll never see or closer than a medium shot and then as the things get going we get into here and me maybe when she's really thinks he's really lost it you know maybe we even get into here all right and then we can also use very tight shots when we get the text from the boyfriend or something like that okay, so let's so now that we've got that so here's what happened? She comes out way come out we reveal the city and she comes right to work way say see you get down and work on something so what do you feel comfortable doing with what we've got here looking look at our let's look at our we'll bring this back out in the sun here let's look at what you got here let's take the take someone take that someone take the uh uh the, uh watering can wade got three pairs of gloves in here so let's we know that the gloves were going to play a role so let's make our decision again it's all about making good decisions these gloves look no okay, these gloves may be new but they don't look knew those good work these gloves don't look new so they could work so first of all, why don't you get comfortable with your gloves to see which ones they're gonna work with the ring on way engagement ring's gone yeah, I don't know details so that those gloves work for you don't think you want to try the other ones just to be sure. Okay, we know ok, so good we're done with these these air the gloves all right, so all right, so here's what you can do in terms of the business that you're doing because you're basically just doing business until we get into the drama part of it right so we need some business for you to do you can use the watering can you can be making believe you're putting some plants and even though everything else is succulents and everything else is great I mean so there's going to be a certain amount of faking in this right? Because that's what those air all peanut those air all those air all peak p pebbles like maybe that box right there looks okay okay, so you can do that? The other thing you could do is, um we don't want to kill any plants but maybe you can use these tin snips these industrial tin snips on um or anyway so okay, so so we got to figure out where you're gonna work and what you're gonna do and we also need to figure out okay all right, so then the other thing that we need to do is we need to I have a way for you to take off the gloves, right? Why do you take off the gloves to discover maybe to answer your phone right? Because you can't really answer your phone with you with thick things maybe you can even try answering your phone and it doesn't work all right, so you take off the gloves to do the phones or something all right and ohio, you know, whatever it doesn't have to say that you put it back or you take off the gloves because it's the end of work that's probably better. How do we know? How do we say in this story that you're done working? Uh, she would pull up the pad, the knee pad and then okay, that's it. Okay, so we'll we'll have some close ups of her working. And then, well, maybe we can cut away to the city, right? Maybe we could make the city look a little bit of whatever we can cut away to the city. And then we come back to her and she's starting to roll this up, and so she rolls that up with her hands, and then she puts the thing away, all right? And then maybe she goes to make a or something and that's when she notices that his gun. Okay, all right, so let's, get started. I think what we should do is you guys said each, like one person after another, come up with a shot, you work together. So you know what the previous shot is? And we want to make sure that these shots, the one thing that we don't do is make jump cuts. Is there anything you'd like to pull out of there, I guess I don't need these clothes. Okay okay no you take it all okay all right um one of the things we're looking at we were thinking her hair is a little too to uh glamorous for for a workday just put it up well, you want to put it up rather than a basically a baseball cap kind of takes away from it okay unless you wear it backwards okay? It was like a strong good we'll know it's important that you feel comfortable in your character so that's the same way you're gonna have it downstairs with the unless you come in you know you should know what that could be part of our story too she comes in with her hair down you look great what's going on then when as you get to work that's you put it up to go to work and then you take it down when you're done we're or something like that I don't know if that works we're just looking for business here to tell this story so that we can have ways of of uh of uh you know, one of the things we want to make sure is that we don't end up with shot we want to make sure that when she's moving we kind of keep the screen direction together you know that if she's moving from left to right the next shot she's moving to left to right and we also want to make sure that we don't kind of cut from two shots that are very similar in size to each other all right, that's, that's called a jump cut. Generally, we try to stay away from that. It looks like something's missing, but if we change image size, if we go to him, close up to a wider why to close up. That will be a pretty good.

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.