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.

 

In the Name of Sanity…

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is a fantasy action film directed by Uwe Boll in 2006, apparently inspired by the Dungeon Siege video games.

Set in the fictional kingdom of Ehb, the story follows a man called Farmer (Jason Statham), an orphan who was adopted by a village…seemingly the only village in this fantasy land.  When Farmer’s wife, Solana (Claire Forlani), and his son leave to sell vegetables at the town of Stonebridge, his farm is attacked by creatures called Krug (If you don’t know what a Krug is.. think Uruk-hai from Lord of the rings, but far lamer looking and noticeably shorter/unimposing.).  With the help of his friend Norrick (Ron Perlman), he fights off the Krug and travels to Stonebridge. However, the Krug manage to kill his son and capture his wife. Accompanied by Norrick and Bastian (Will Sanderson), his brother-in-law, Farmer intends to find and rescue his wife.

The Krug are being controlled by the wizard Gallian (Ray Liotta) who is amassing an army to overthrow King Konreid (Burt Reynolds), with the assistance of the King’s nephew, Fallow (Matthew Lillard).

That’s basically the gist of the movie. This is what a budget of $60 million seems to get you in Hollywood.

This movie obviously boasts some well known actors, such as Ron Perlman (Hellboy), John Rhys-Davies (TV’s Sliders, Lord of the Rings), Burt Reynolds ( The Longest Yard, The Dukes of Hazard) and so on, so you would expect that this movie would be epic or at least nearly epic, right? Well you’d be mistaken; sadly mistaken.

From the beginning, this movie seems to have been pieced together out of weak plot and sad effects. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this movie solely relied on the big names of its actors, not its script, effects, plot, and overall feel. I guess I don’t know any better because that’s just what I think. Don’t get me wrong though, this in no way is me badmouthing the actors in this film. Each and every one of them played their part perfectly, but even well trained and experienced actors can’t turn trash into gold. If that’s something you didn’t know before, take a look at “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale” and you’ll find it out for yourself.

After watching the movie in its entirety, the only thing on my mind was how soo much money produced such a substandard film. I’ve seen movies with noticeably smaller budgets and less well-known actors in it that could run circles around this piece of fantasy garbage. There’ve even been Sci-Fi originals made by the Sci-fi(now Scy-fy) channel that were more enjoyable and well thought out than this film.

If this movie in of itself wasn’t bad enough…. there’s a sequel. That’s right.. a sequel. Now.. I’ve yet to see the sequel titled “In the Name of the King 2″(to the best of my knowledge that’s the title), but here’s what Wikipedia says about the film: “Uwe Boll has confirmed that the film will have a time travel story where Dolph Lundgren will play a former military officer who is attacked by ninjas and sent through a time vortex where he gets stuck in medieval times. Boll has also gone on to confirm that a dragon will be included in the film.” If the first movie wasn’t ludicrous  enough (and it was…. oh how it was.) then this must surely be more-so. I mean Ninjas, time vortexes, dragons, and Dolph Lundgren? How could this get any more ridiculous? Wait.. they could throw in trained bears that dance around whilst preforming acts of acrobatics on giant red rubber balls, but that’d be overdoing it just a bit, don’t you think?

Zombies and Magic and Line-dancing ..Oh My!!

Six friends take an ill faited road trip to Galveston, Texas in an RV for the wedding of their friend, Kelly (Portia de Rossi). The driver, Johnny (Oz Perkins), gets lost and they arrive in the small town of Lovelock and his friends Sara (Ever Carradine), Kate (Bianca Lawson), Melody (Gina Philips), Christian (Jeremy Sisto), and David (Erik Palladino), decide to spend the night in a bed and breakfast owned by the creepy Mr. Robert Wise (David Carradine).

David has an argument with the chef of the inn, Henri (Diedrich Bader), and when the chef is found dead and Mr. Wise has a heart attack in the middle of the night, the local Sheriff (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) suspects the group of travelers have a hand in it . He instructs his Deputy, Enos (Mark Kelly), to confiscate the keys to their RV and tells them that they have to stay in town for the duration of the investigation. The Sheriff then arrests a mysterious drifter (Brent David Fraser) [Gotta love those mysterious drifter characters…] who soon becomes his prime suspect in the murder. When the clumsy Johnny accidentally breaks an ancient exotic wooden box belonging to Mr. Wise, he releases the terrible, monstrous “Kuman Thong” (A take on the Thai Guman Thong or Spirit Child) which possesses all the local town folk, transforming them into zombies. Ultimately, the mysterious drifter becomes the hero. He is a long time student of powers from “the other side”, and is the only one who knows how to fight and kill the evil spirit. He sets about doing this with the help of Sara and Melody. Only they survive, leaving the bed and breakfast in ruins and what’s left of the town behind.

In so many ways, this film is like most other zombie films. Mysterious things happen and of course nobody involved wants to believe in the existence of the zombies or of the “Kuman Thong”. Unlike most other zombie films though, the only initially likable character is to blame for all the misfortune that befalls the cast of characters. If that’s not enough, this movie unlike most zombie movies boasts redneck zombies. What’s more, these Appalachian-like undead dance. While it’s just plain sad, you can’t help but watch it and laugh. It brings to mind Michael Jackson’s music video for Thriller.

As far as acting goes, the only real actor in the movie seems to be Mr. Carradine, though he has a limited appearance in the film. After watching this movie I was left solely with George Takei’s famous catchphrase. “Oh My!” Anyway, if you like movies that are loosely glued together with zombies, David Carradine, line dancing, rednecks, and seemingly random introductions to quasi Asian paranormal beliefs,  or movies that are so bad they’re possibly good then take a look at this movie and make your own opinion.