Friday Friends: Learning to Swim
CowboySpirit.TV- This week's edition of Friday Friends features an article from FilmCourage.com, "Learning to Swim: A Filmmaker's Journey from Film to Web" on our friend, Jason Braiser. Jason is a fellow filmmaker based out of Springfield, Missouri.
I’ll always remember the standing ovation I received at my hometown theater when we finished premiering my hour-long western film, “The Money Maker.” It still brings a smile to my face to see the sold out theater standing to their feet as they clapped.
That was July of 2005 and what I consider my first true filmmaking experience. Though, a year before in high school, I found a film called “Fight Circle” that was the first American martial arts film only viewable on the net. This concept made my gears begin to turn. After “The Money Maker,” I wanted to pursue an online project, but when I first transferred to Missouri State University, many people thought I was crazy, except my screenwriting teacher. She encouraged me to do an online production, as she believed the same as I did, that production was quickly heading in that direction.
After a few failed attempts, which helped me meet the right people to work with, I took an old civil war based western idea I had and decided to give it a sci-fi twist. Basically, I took the concept and placed it in an alternate “now”. As I wrote the script, I pictured an actress I had become friends with a year or so earlier, Vanessa Leinani. I pitched the idea to her one-day, and it just took off, and I never looked back.
After many rewrites, the concept was solid. Drifter befriends the owners of a trading post on her trail to revenge, five years after a second civil war. It is here that some of Drifter’s recent actions and past come back to haunt her. The project features classic western themes set in a post second civil war America. I knew I could have a lot of fun with this series. I immediately started putting a team together.
We shot “Drifter: Broken Road” in about eight days time. In fact, one of our longest days was fourteen hours. It was a lot of fun and very exhausting. My approach to directing this project was quite simple: get up early and be ready for the day before everyone else, go over shot lists, walk around the sets, and ready myself mentally for the day ahead. My approach with the actors was to really help guide them through creating their characters. Give them the freedom to create, but with notes and guidance from me. I have always found that giving them the guidelines of a character first, then letting them do some molding, followed by more notes and changes from me helps them greatly. Plus they bring out things in the characters I never thought about, which is always fun, and helps them feel a little more comfortable with what they’re doing on set. Which leads me to improving. I have no problem with actors taking lines that they feel their character would say differently. I always listen when they ask questions. Directors have tunnel vision; we only see the light at the end of it. So your actors and crew will point out things that you may not have realized. You have to be flexible enough that, if the idea is right, to go with it and say, “Yes, I like that better.” It’s collaboration; they’re there to help bring your vision to life as well. Of course, if you’re not keen on the idea, you just simply state why and keep on moving forward.
[Read the rest of the article at http://filmcourage.com/node/842]
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