Movie Making for Dummies

I’m sure that almost anyone who’s made a film knows the following keys to making a movie, but it seems like some in Hollywood have forgotten the basics. So for those of you who don’t know or may have forgotten, here’re my steps to making a movie.. you dummy. (Sorry for the insult, but this IS called “Movie Making for Dummies”. )

 

1)      Decide what kind of movie you’re going to make- Will it be a narrative film, documentary, or will it be a film that tells a true or fictitious story? If you want a narrative, decide if you want to write a story yourself, base it on a book or base it from a real life story. Either could work. Don’t confuse a documentary with a narrative. Narratives tell the story with characters and plots, so you can make a real life event into a narrative. Documentaries, on the other hand, provide behind the scenes footage of events or a person’s life, with real life people discussing these things, while providing information to the audience about a person or an event.

2)      Decide on your theme or plot and genre of your film- While TV shows about nothing may seem to work, movies about nothing will do the absolute opposite. Almost every story has a lot, be sure to be very descriptive about what the movie is…about. The more interested you are in the film, the more it will cross over to your audience.

2.5) Knowledge- Be sure you know what the hell you’re talking about. If you don’t know horror movies from the back of your hand, you probably shouldn’t be making a horror movie. Just like with writing.. sometimes it’s better to stick to what you know.

3)      Write a script- Without a script, there’s nothing for anyone to rehearse. Your script should detail every scene, the actions performed by the characters, the settings/locations, and when each scenes changes. The stage term for that would be blocking. If you’re unsure of how well your script reads, have someone else read through it for you. Sometimes it helps to have another persons opinion.

4)      Story-boarding- Plan the shots you want to make in the film. This will help the film go along a lot smoother.

5)      Cast & Crew- Without a cast of actors or people to speak in your documentary and a film crew, your film will go nowhere. Just because someone’s got a pretty face most certainly does not mean they should be in your movie or have the lead role. Substance over flash wins every time. Be sure the people you have in mind for your film are willing to work for whatever film budget you have. It’s also important to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and knows what they’re supposed to do. And make sure everyone involved is properly paid and or accredited.

6)      Location, location, location- Location is key for any film. You can’t shoot a film about living in the city if it’s shot in the country, and visa-verse. If you can’t find the right location, create the sets you need.

7)      Equipment- Make sure you have equipment. Without it, your script, cast and all the above is pointless. Make sure all the equipment you’re using for your film is in working order. Useless equipment makes making a film rather difficult. Equipment needed for a film shoot: Video camera(s) and tripod(s), additional microphones, lighting equipment, and spare tapes/discs.

8)      Roll cameras, and…action- Now it’s time to make your film.

9)      Most important of all- Know your audience. The people who will watch your film are one of the most important elements of the film. Be sure not to pander to them. It’s true, some people love fan service, but just remember… fan service is fan service and pandering is just downright… irritating.

 

How to Survive a Horror Movie.

Every time I sit and watch a horror  movie, I think about all the things the characters do wrong. All the things they do but shouldn’t do. All the things that no rational person would do in those sorts of situations.

So, I give to you dear readers my list of Horror Movie Rules. (In no particular order of course.) Sure, 10 rules may be sufficient enough for survival under most circumstances, but I feel that 30 rules will get you a hell of a lot further than 10.

1. When it appears that you have killed the killer/monster, never  ever check to see if it’s really dead. If you have a gun, shoot it in the head repetitively. If you  have a knife, you might as well have nothing unless you’re skilled with it. Even then.. assume the killer/monster is still alive.. That is.. until you see its head detached from its body. Basically… overkill

2. Never ever read any sort of ancient books of the dead or of demon summoning aloud, not even as a bad joke. All you’ll get in return is those you care about possessed by whatever evil you call forth. They’ll die, then you’ll die. Unless of course you happen to be an occult expert. Even then.. it’s a risk not worth taking.

3. Avoid the basement at all cost. If your power goes out and your fuse box is in the basement.. skrew the power. Grab a flashlight and make sure you have your eyes on every possible exit from whatever room you’re in.

4. Never leave the large group you’re in to venture off on your own. They say there’s strength in numbers for a reason. The more of you there are, the more difficult it is for you to be picked off… usually.

5. As a rule.. always avoid graveyards, cemeteries, tombs, crypts, or any place where the dead are laid to rest. It may be hallowed grown, but that sure as hell doesn’t mean you’re safe there.

6. If anyone is bitten by a zombie, even if that anyone is your best friend, husband, wife, child.. they will become a zombie. (Unless they’re somehow miraculously immune to the infection.. which is unlikely.) This of course means you kill them or you will be killed. Regardless of who they may have been.. they’re vicious, bloodthirsty, and they want you for dinner.

7. If you’re alone in your house in the middle of the night, you know your significant other is out of town for a few more days and you hear your name called; leave the house… through whatever exit is opposite direction of the voice. If there is no exit.. make one.

9. If you’re going to shoot something.. shoot the hell out of it.

10. If you think your house is haunted, it just may be. Treat it as such. This of course means get a priest, rabbi, monk, pastor.. whomever is a person of authority or respect in your perspective religion and have them come over immediately if not sooner. Even simpler… just leave. grab your things and leave.

11. Creepy music means something bad’s probably going to happen. If you can’t hear it.. then you’re done for.

12. For the love of all that is holy.. do not, under any circumstances take or accept anything from the dead. It didn’t do them any good while they were alive and it’s certainly not going to help you out. Besides, if you steal from them, they’ll come back and kill you and there’s not a lot you can do about it.

13. If you do decide to run from what’s chasing you, be sure you have someone with you and while you’re at it, be sure you’re faster than them. It’s all about survival of the fittest. Be the fittest.

14. If you have large boobs, natural or fake then you’re doomed. Your bf/gf may like them, but they’re sure to get you killed. Try climbing out through a tight space to escape the killer/monster with those giant sweater puppies.. it won’t work.

15. Listen to your children. If they tell you their “imaginary” friend wants them to do bad things or that they’re afraid of said “friend” the best thing you can do is believe them. Children are more susceptible to the supernatural than adults are. Especially if you’ve just moved into a new home.

16. Always be prepared. One of the worst things you can do is give in to your fear. That leads to mistakes being made and it only takes one mistake to end up dead.

17. Always ask why the house you’re buying is being sold at such an amazing price.

18. Your dog can take care of itself. Worry about yourself, not about it.

19. If you’ve been traumatized in the past and have recurring nightmares about it and are seeing things that aren’t there… you aren’t crazy!  Relax, you’re just in a horror movie.

20. If the camp you’re staying at for the summer has rumors of deaths, mysterious disappearances, or other unexplained happenings… leave. Either one of your councilors is a psychotic killer, there’s a killer who frequents the camp grounds, or the camp is haunted.

21. Campfire legends are true.

22. Don’t bury your loved one or pet on any land that’s sacred to any people. They come back.. and they’re not nice about it.

23. If you have a dog and it  starts barking like crazy in the middle of the night, trust it. Even if you don’t see anything at all for it to bark at. The one time you ignore it, you’ll wake up to the sight of the Supernatural Menace turning your companions into jerky.

24. Local legends surrounding death, suicide, murder, ghosts, or supernatural entities where you are planning to move, vacation or visit should be accepted as fact. It’d be really sucky for the last words you ever hear to be “I told you so.” before you die.

25. Premonitions, dejavu, odd sensations or feelings of intuition: intuition is moreimportant than logic in Horror Movies. Logic will get you disemboweled. Listen to your gut.

26. On no account do anything because someone dares you to. Many a person has died in a horror movie just because of this. Don’t be one of them.

27. If something bad is chasing you, bear in mind that when you try to start your car, no matter how reliable the vehicle is normally, you’ll have to crankthe engine over many times before it will fire up. So, don’t be surprised.

28. Never use a Ouija board. It may seem like a harmless game amongst friends, but as with reading aloud from books about summoning spirits and demons, it can only end poorly.

29. Always always be nice to the unpopular, pale, creepy new kid. They almost always turn out to be the killer, and will massacre the bullies, while you get out with a nice thank-you and a hug. Hopefully.

30. Lastly, yet far from least is listening to the advise of locals, especially the random older local who comes off as strange. There’s a likely chance that you’ll regret it if you don’t.

Well.. this ends my list of horror movie rules. There’re a ton of others that I could have added, but they’re mostly covered by this simple rule: Don’t be stupid… which means don’t say stupid things, do stupid things, or be stupid.Follow these rules and you just may survive your horror movie…. I hope.