Actors' Filmmaking Workshop with Rodger Marion and Lee Coleé


Elements in a Film

  1. Idea
  2. Story
  3. Screenplay
  4. Pre-production
  5. Production
  6. Post Production
  7. Marketing
  8. Distribution

  1. Auditioning.

  2. Character backstory.

  3. The Bullet Points of Filmmaking.

  4. Writing the Short Film - Because of Moma.

  5. Basic Screenplay Formatting - The diagram below identifies the basics of formatting. Greater detail on format, presented in rather tiny type, can be found at Everybody's Write.

    script format diagram

  6. Storyboard.

  7. Scheduling.
  8. Acting on Film.

  9. Editing (The instructions found at this link expect you to have a CD with raw video files on it. One will be provided, if you wish to pursue this in earnest.)

  1. Script Writing Software and File Sharing - We will use Celtx for writing and for file sharing. To share files:

    1. Create a project in Celtx and call it your_name_today's_date. Example -- rodger_02-21-09

    2. Change the date every time you update the project. Over time this will give you a bunch of project files.

    3. Save/store your Celtx project files on your hard drive.

    4. We will use as a file sharing location. Everyone will be emailed an invitation to use Follow the directions you get in the email.

    5. You will have access to a folder called SMC. It is a place to share files. You can upload files there and download any file there to your computer.

    6. Upload any project file that you wish to share.

    7. We will be able to download and view your files in class. When you download a file you can either Save it or View it. If you want to change it and upload to you need to save it to your hard disk and then upload it through You cannot download a file, change it, and have the changes appear automatically in If you change someone else’s file, modify the file name when you save it. If you edited rodger_02-21-09, save it as rodger_your_name_today's_date.

    8. In general just upload Celtx project files. That will keep file clutter to a minimum and keep all of your work in one place.

    9. You can delete old project files as time goes on.

    10. Celtx Keyboard shortcuts. A summary of keyboard controls for Celtx is at this link. Note the sequence of commands, then use the Tab key or the Enter key to move to the next command in the sequence. Take the time to learn the sequences you use a lot and this will make editing very quick.

  2. Location Information

    Information Needed:

    1. Drawing of location with compass points (The compass points help to plan when the sun is best for filming)
    2. Contact info (owner name, phone, email)
    3. Photos
    4. Date and name of location scout (your name)

    General Considerations:

    1. The time when we use an exterior location is a balance between when the light is right and when the owners will allow access.
    2. The time we use an interior, since we will bring lights, is just dependent on the owner's druthers and when we are willing to be there.
    3. For an exterior, if we cannot use it when the sun is cooperative, then we need to find another location.
    4. For this film, we are unable to provide liability insurance.
    5. Exterior requirements:
      1. Avoid direct sunlight.
      2. Sun needs to be behind the camera.
      3. Actors cannot be in shade with bright light behind them.
      4. Avoid deep shade.
    6. Interior requirements - Access to electric power to run the lights and other equipment.

  3. Film Crew in General

    • Director – Responsible for coordinating the actors and crew to successfully create and record the script. Specifically, is responsible for dressing the set, lighting it, supervising the camera and sound crew, and directing the actors.

    • Producer – Responsible for everything needed to get to a location and successfully create and record the script. Specifically, is responsible for every, single, last detail.

    • First Assistant Director – Responsible for 1) keeping the shoot on schedule, 2) documenting every shot, 3) insuring that props and actors are consistent from shot to shot, and 4) taking still pictures and shooting behind-the-scenes video during the shoot.

    • Camera Operator – Responsible for 1) setting up the camera following the director’s directions, and 2) recording an image that logically connects with the previous and next shots, is in focus, and in frame. Note: if the director hogs the camera, let him, and don’t be offended.

    • Sound Recordist – Responsible for 1) setting the microphones so that audio can be successfully recorded, and 2) insuring that the audio is loud and clear.

    • Acting Coach – Responsible for insuring that the actors deliver realistic and consistent performances from shot to shot and scene to scene.

    Note: We all agree to this statement ---- Transportation, schlepping of equipment and props, supplying food and drink, cleaning up afterwards, and every other menial detail is a shared responsibility of the actors and crew. Nobody just gets to do just one thing. Everybody is willing to do anything needed and will take responsibility to do it as they recognize it needs to be done.

  4. Miscellaneous

    1. A filmmaking web resource.

    2. Student Filmmakers Magazine.

    3. Rodger's films as listed in The Internet Movie Database: