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The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Lesson 14 of 17

Working with Actors - Rehearsals & Blocking

Francesca Gregorini

The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Francesca Gregorini

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Lesson Info

14. Working with Actors - Rehearsals & Blocking

Lesson Info

Working with Actors - Rehearsals & Blocking

I believe we have coming up on the screen here on nathan larson who was the composer of the truth about emanuel and nathan good how are you it's good that I can't see it here we're all naked over here yeah it's very exciting but you look like you got a dp to sort of like you like half your face is yeah you're looking good man I'm just sitting in the beverly looking good thank those curtains all right a name that I know you can't I know you can't see us but my name is chris I'll be disembodied voice for you right now but we're going a little discussion here in my first question this is for you francesca but how did you first hear about nathan and how did you know about his work and why did you select him for this role? Well, I heard about nathan through a coup e p on the truth about emanuel claudia castillo I gone through like I did with the dp like tons and tons of people's rials and you know I hadn't really responded to anyone and then claudia really at the last you know, minute like ...

set me nathan's rial and I like freaked out and I was super excited only after the fact that I realized that he worked with my friend compares um but yeah, I didn't know him at all and we actually didn't meet um at all because he he was in new york and I was in l a and there was just no time teo teo hang thing in fact we hung like two nights ago for the first time and even that was didn't really go so well because I had a friend and he started talking that friend I was talking to aunt and then it got super late yeah no it's fine man it was my fault too but in any case we spend like a total of like five minutes together still in real time in real life but he did an awesome job on the film literally awesome. So great now nathan how did you get into composing for film? What drew you into this occupation specifically? Well, I got really lucky it was things like that idea and so have you were sort of this seeking that there were a lot of easing felt picked working out of a particular house call post three nine one which was, you know, facility, we're back in the day we don't you know you would have to be the navid system was incredibly expensive so you'd have to goto a facility so it was sort of like this you go in one room and be todd haynes and going the next sermon and b um lisa chile denko who made a critical high art that worked on and kids are all right top salons so it was an incredible group of people kind of working at the same time this is in the late nineties and people were fans of my old band so which was called shudder to think nineties kind of rock band and I just sort of slid into it was very fluky and you know as I said, I'm very thankful because it's ah the only way I can think of to gracefully you know get a lot, get older and still make music yeah nathan in scoring emanuel were you working on lee with francesca? Are you also talking with the other heads of the department to kind of get a sense of the visual mood and the style of the film as well? Yeah, francesca and I had a really close, you know, bond, I think and anthony the editor certainly had a lot a lot of it when you say francesco yeah, definitely cause and all three of us are musicians, so we kind of could speak the same language and sort of knew what we're going for and I had sent nathan some some music that I really liked some agnes oh bell was one of the you know, main inspirations and other stuff so we kind of I'd send him stuff and then he write and send me stuff and I think pretty early on I realized that we were really on the same page sonically and uh yeah and what I couldn't explain anthony would sort of could explain and rest sort of like the three of us kind of found our way through great now francesca, can you talk a little bit more about working remotely with nathan? I think this is something that's coming up more and more as people are spread out around the world but how did that process work with you to not being in the same school? Initially I was a little bit reticent I thought that was going to be kind of a problem because I'm you know, I am a people person I'd like to connect and it's be in the same room and you know what I mean but it's like this wasn't an option and he was the best man for the job, so so that was just like I was just gonna have to, you know, have some faith that it was going toe work and, you know, and it did it really you know, it was really awesome and what the process looked like was that kind of sending it piece by piece or how how did that actual had actually work? Step by step you want to take that? Yeah, sure, I mean, you know, this I've done this a lot and there's a lot of ways to do it I've done remotely quite a bit I've got very remotely have been in scandinavia been working on something in l a I worked on australian films you know remotely obviously and uh you know, even right now doing this show time show and is in new york and you know, they're I'm uptown there downtown I don't never you know going e I might as well be in europe you know, but it's the sort of psychological thing if we needed to within you know, an hour we could be sitting down together that is there's a lot to be said for that but you know, it's um regardless of your in the same town same we're not there's there's this back and forth that's going have tohave and you're going to have to learn about the other person and the way that they when they say make it sound more young or make it sound more blue or something sort of poetic like that you have to come to understand what they mean by blue or young because what they mean by blue or young might not be with someone else means by blue or young and really that's the only way to talk about music there isn't you know, if you try tio theoretical about it, even if you're trained a trained musician I'm not come from punk rock so uh you really does require a lot of interaction whether it's remotely or or or or not now I'm just curious to know a little bit more about your creative process are you starting with a theme or a motif before scoring them to the scenes? And how often do you ever have to re edit or require scoring a second time to match that sequence? Oh yeah, well that's how often have I mean you're constantly doing revisions? I mean there's e think with emmanuel there was there was less of that but you know, I've done comes where I've done thirty versions of one q and one forty second piece of music and that's sort of a cost that really depends on how how, how a huge people are two moments and how much they want to hit it's with this particular film I kind of had a general sense of the way things looked they were sort of in process and in the middle of it I looked at it a bit of it and then I wrote a few themes just sort of generally based on the of the mood and were shot you know what? I what I saw of it but you know, it was sort of coming together as I was writing music just out of necessity, so I didn't have necessarily whole scenes so it was a little destroying in that sense, but I got a really you know, gotta move and I got a five and what I love to do is then just sort of get time with a couple of musicians that I trust and sit down and work out a few themes that I think you're going to be appropriate and then we threw everything yeah, just figure out a pallet of instruments and you know what makes sense? And in this case she mentioned this artist agnes of ballots from a danish artist really beautiful music it's mostly sort of piano based and vocals on was sort of lo fi haif by combo it's really cool self on dh so I sort of took I started there, and then I kind of want it ended my own version of that. So I had had a pretty good model to begin with, which was which was which is kind of rare. Sometimes you just start for absolute scratch. So okay, another another process question are you mixing all the audio yourself or are you hiring a mix engineer? And how closely are you working with that person if it's not you? That's funny, I was just discussing that this morning with the front I mix almost because I am like, you know, I'm a little more technical than I think some composers might be and I like the gear and the microphones and in this stuff and the mixing in the you know, audio ik stuff so I tend to be the person who mixes and also this budgetary constraints you know when you don't know much money you can you know hire folks and it's not fair to keep pulling favors so I tend to be the person who makes this thing's having said that if it's a sort of for example in the project him on now there's this big production number that doesn't sound anything like the rest of the score and it's supposed to sound like frozen the sport from frozen it's like a spoof on that and it's a big orchestral thanks so obviously I can't well not obviously but I'm telling you now can make big works nor report a big orchestra so so that's something that has to happen with the technician but usually I'm working with budgets that require I don't have to studios in in in new york I wanted broken one in harlem and I just go between him and once a very sort of punk kind of day place with drunk it's and loud and in the other places much more sort of refined and you know nice instruments and clean you know so it's is that's a that's a cool thing to I can sort of move between spaces like that I saw a hand come up here to our students have any other questions about this process go ahead going back to working remotely what tools do use or is there a certain processes it like dropbox google driver what do you do? I don't think these days it's it's super so easy or many of you have drop it really doesn't matter I hightailed dropbox it depends on what people have set up you know ftp side just e mailing stuff you know it's sze really quite easy what I tend to do actually is taking a scene do the piece of music in context and do do bounce the quick time with my music in place and send the quick time with my kind of get a mix to the director so they can sit there whenever they wanted their leisure and check out the music to picture I think that's the best way to do it that's what I do these days but the delivery mess that is he could be like whatever yeah dropbox great any other questions here when you come onto the processes it in preproduction while they're shooting or you getting dailies like what when do you come in? It really depends on it depends on the type of film for example trying to think we have recently was working but I did it from clothes all the gold mine which is sort of like a glam rock uh thank in there with you know there were these songs that had to be someone screen so obviously I had to do that prior tio that had to be sort of written into the script and that was part of the shoot so I came on really early without one also with the tv show girls that I had to write a bunch of songs for that that show obviously they had to take place beforehand having said that mostly for the most part of coming quite late so there's at least there might be a rough cut a director's cut you know uh which is great and people tend of attempts score, which is also a mixed bag because it's like very instructive sometimes but people get used to hearing the same piece of music as they're editing their film and watching it again and again and again and again, you know, so they get kind of married to it I guess you guys know about that which could be something to overcome but on the other hand, it's very I love a good attempts or because then you have a good direction and I just said with francesca and with emanuel this admissible stuff was a very, very in the sort of touchstone all right, any other questions from our students? Any final thoughts from you, francesca? No, I just can't thank this man enough really was amazing and you know and that the movie just wouldn't be the movie without, you know his music on it and and he was really a pleasure to work with and, you know, and a true artist is, is, you can tell just the way he talks about things and the way his eyes flutter and he's thinking, it's, just great to work with artists. I mean, it's, just such a privilege. And, you know, and he just brought a lot of heart to it and that's what I can say. All right, thanks, thanks a lot, okay, take care, you guys, I

Class Description

Independent filmmakers are often called on to not only write and direct, but to produce their projects. Wearing all three “hats” can be a daunting, yet inspiring proposition. In The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker with Francesca Gregorini, you’ll learn easily-applied strategies for balancing the demands of doing all three very unique jobs.

Francesca’s work has been officially selected by the Toronto Film Festival and premiered in the US Dramatic Competition at Sundance. In this class, she’ll discuss both the advantages and challenges of producing a film you’ve written and will direct. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to decide when its ‘right’ to produce your script and when to develop it further
  • Which "hat" to wear at what time from start to finish
  • Personalized paths for fundraising, production, and distribution

Francesca will explore the processes of writing, directing, and producing and how leading the charge can make these three unique perspectives more efficient, productive, and artistic.

The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker will help you develop best practices for all aspects of indie film production and inspire you to take control of your own destiny as a filmmaker. 

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I think there were TONS of marvelous takeaways, here, in this course. The examples she presented about Scene Cards, the hardships, and the beauties-- all of it was very beneficial information for aspiring filmmakers. However, the verbal hesitance; "um", "you know", "uh", "you know what I mean", "or whatever"-- that started to get really distracting really quickly. But the course and the overall purpose of the lessons, that was great!


The good - Lots of helpful info about pre-production, things to consider, and working with actors. The not-so-good - Not exactly self-sufficient. If you were to cut out all the " know..." clutter, the course would probably be about 30 minutes shorter.