What We Learned While Filming Our First Short Film
Updated: Jul 27
It's a wrap on Private Conversations! We were able to complete primary filming in one weekend (though we set aside two, just in case). A lot of hard work goes into making a 10 minute film, and even though I thought I had most of the bases covered, there were still things I forgot or didn't consider. Here are some lessons learned while filming our first short film.
We were filming in a residential property in order to eliminate as many outside factors as possible. So here are my thoughts on interior shots, plus a little extra. Hope you enjoy!
Tip #1 - Always remember to turn your fridge back on
No food was harmed during the making of this film, but it was close! We turned the refrigerator off at different times during the day due to the background noise it created. At the end of the day Sunday, I neglected to turn it back on and didn't find out until I went to the grocery store on Monday. So add this task to your to-do list!
Tip #2 - Be a good neighbor
Always be a considerate neighbor. You never know if you're living next door to a film maker. So don't rev your engine, pump up the jam, or let the dogs bark all day. I tell you what, you never notice the little noises until you have to wait for them to be over.
Tip #3 - Be over prepared
Fortunately, the professionals working with us on Private Conversations were over prepared. We were able to get the right lighting, sound, exposure, and shots due to their experience and preparedness. I learned so much thanks to them!
Tip #4 - Keep the chihuahua out of the shot
Our Third Rate Productions mascot, Sancho, was determined to sit at my feet during much of the filming. We were able to aim the cameras so that he was out of the shots for the most part, but there were times he would pop his little head up to stretch and we would have to re-shoot the entire scene! Maybe we should add puppy wrangler to our future shoots...
Tip# 5 - Don't touch the props
First and foremost, don't touch the props! We had some fun making fake labels for our beer, liquor, and wine bottles. It proved to be a little too tempting for one of our actors not to examine the props in between takes causing us to reset (as closely as possible) every time!
Tip #6 - Above all, have fun
Private Conversations is a serious drama. We could have kept that tone off set screen for the actors' sake, but we let loose and laughed and joked and had a good time. Even though this was a dramatic piece, we made sure to have a good time or all this wouldn't be worth it.
It's a process
Never think you know everything. I went into this process knowing where my expertise lies and was willing to learn new skills. I had a little fun with this post, but in reality, always be willing to learn and you will always have fun on a shoot. You'll find yourself talking to more people, learning new skills, and sharing experiences while making lifelong friends.