This past weekend, my roommates left town and my girlfriend was busy working. The sky was overcast (perfect light!) and I was slowly sinking into boredom. So, I dug out my Canon T2i camera and thought about what I could shoot. But I wasn’t getting anywhere fast.
Suddenly, I remembered a tip that Michael and I often times recommend young filmmakers but had forgotten to implement myself…
Consider your resources.
For any filmmaker trying to get in the game, this is one of the most important lessons to remember. The resources you have available to you are a great place to start when germinating ideas because they’re completely unique to you and your situation. Have a monstrous Chevy Bronco? Access to a pool? Maybe you have a bunch of fake weaponry or some outrageous costumes. These are all great resources that can be used to tell a story. So when you’re starting to ideate, look around at what you’ve got. It may help spark an idea.
I had a bow and arrow and a foam target at my disposal. That, and an empty house. But that’s about all that was unique to my situation. And it was plenty. So I wrote a story around the first idea that came to mind. The premise:
A guy misses his ex and reaches out to reconnect.
I shot the entire film in four hours. But the hardest part was being my own cast and crew. I didn’t know exactly how shots would look without someone standing in and I had to try and fail at several different setups before it would all come together. Another difficult part was finding focus. At one point, I wanted to put the camera in a drawer facing up at me. But without a monitor, I had no idea if I was in focus or not. I made several attempts before I realized something helpful…
I could hold the camera at eye level and set the focus on the drawer below me before placing it back inside. This way, the distance between the drawer and the subject (me) would be the same, and the focus would be fixed correctly.
I had a lot of fun making the short and learned that there’s no excuse not to make something for free or for fun when inspiration strikes. I hope you have a rainy day soon and feel encouraged to go out and make something. Let me know what you think in the comments.