Thinking of making your first feature film? You must read this advice from Justin Schwarz, writer-director of “The Discoverers” starring Griffin Dunne, out on VOD, DVD and iTunes today.
Making my first feature was one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of my life. It was honor and privilege to work with an all-star cast and crew of 200+ creative collaborators who helped me learn these lessons that I hope will inspire other first-timers to realize their vision.
“Ultimately, as the director, your job is to become the emotional truth barometer on set.” – Justin Schwarz
Ultimately, as the director, your job is to become the emotional truth barometer on set. So when the camera starts rolling, forget about everything else and just try to feel the performance on each take. I liked to stand as close to the lens as our AC would let me to feel what the camera is recording. From editing to finding music to color correct and the mix, feel the movie you want the audience to experience.
Prepping “The Discoverers,” I shotlisted and storyboarded, but I knew we wouldn’t have time to do everything I imagined on paper. I developed a key frame system, which became extremely helpful on set. The idea is to try to distill each scene down to a single image that represents what the scene must achieve dramatically. It may be an extreme wide shot that acts like a punch in the gut, a lyrical tracking shot, or the close up you’re saving for emotional impact. When you have to start combining shots on set, you’ll know the essential image you’ll need for each scene to serve its dramatic function.
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