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Planning Our Film

Lesson 16 from: The Cinematic Filmmaking Workshop

RJ Bruni

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Lesson Info

16. Planning Our Film

Next Lesson: Planning Our Scenes

Lesson Info

Planning Our Film

(upbeat music) So now that we've gathered a ton of details about the story, now we have to start planning our project. All the elements that we are about to go through will eventually be put into an incredible looking document filled with images, inspiration, something that we can use for ourselves, that we can use for everybody on set, that we can use for our talent and possibly use to get sponsors or companies to come on board with the project. So for now, we're just gonna be working in a document. You can be working in Dropbox like me or Evernote or Google Docs or whatever. And then eventually when everything is put together, we'll put it into a beautiful document that everyone can see and it'll help everyone be on the same page when we're out there shooting. So, let's get into it. So first we start with our title. I'm not a big fan of working titles because sometimes they can stick when they're not the best title and we end up using them anyways. So for now I'll put TBD and just ...

put her name, Cathy Terepocki. But if we run into an idea of a title that we really like let's slap it in there, but for the most part let's not use working titles. Story overview, just so everyone's on the same page. Cathy is a ceramic artist from Sherlock BC. She is known for her use of local clay. She is ambitious, thoughtful and grounded. Through her craft, Cathy has a unique relationship with the earth and aims to make objects that are meaningful and have a story, fantastic. Objectives, so this is what essentially we want to get outta the film. What do we want to inspire? What do we want people to feel? And here are a few ideas that I have so far. Remember, this is a moving working document and that we can keep adding to as the story develops. So objective so far is to simply tell Cathy's story inspire curiosity of where our products come from, showcase an element of connectivity with the earth and touch on the idea of eat local and take it one step further of our products being local as well. So, so far, these are just a few objectives of the film that all relate and intertwine with each other. And yeah, maybe we can add to this later. Tones of the film, this can be brought. This could be anything from feelings, emotion any sort of energy, just words that we can use to describe our film. So far I have minimal, textured and subtle. These are things that we got from Cathy's response to our email, thoughtful, sense of peace and earthy. Maybe we'll add to those later but I think that's a pretty good list. Colors, so if we had to make a color palette for our film, what colors are we seeing? Sometimes it's instant. We have these images and these ideas of colors in mind and sometimes we have to work and break it down of, okay what do we think is gonna be shown? What's the feeling, all this stuff, but here are few that kind of came to my mind instantly was green 'cause we're gonna be working with the earth a lot. So I took green from being the earth and we have luscious forest here that is usually looking pretty green. So, that's my first color. Second color is gray, just from the clay. And blue is the last color. I chose blue because I thought if I went with a warmer feel for the film, that it would turn things like our gray clay to a bit of a muddy color and I wanted to keep things looking very clean. So I feel for this film that it's a good idea to choose more blue tones and keep even the color grade a little bit more on the blue side, opposed to a warmer feel. Hardships, working with clay can be a hardship for her, recent death of her sister-in-law once again, not sure if we're gonna use this one, but it's good to have in here and possible artist struggles. Being an artist myself, I know there's lots of different doubts and mentalities that can kind of creep into us. And I wanna ask her about that if she deals with self-doubt of her work and what that looks like for her. Accomplishments, once again, these are just what we had from the email. And we may not put that in the story but it's good to have on here. Target audience of the film, this one I kept it pretty broad. So it's a pretty broad audience. Anyone interested in art, the outdoors or healthy living. Key characters. We have Cathy and then we have Cathy's family. We might add to that. We might add other artists, possibly. We might add a chef to cook local food and plate it for us but for now, and for everything that we have planned, this is all we have. Key activities, we have mining for clay, working in the studio gardening with family, eating on a plate and some sort of studio tour where she walks us through some of her tools would be really cool as well. Once again, we can always be adding to this list. Key objects, we have her tools for mining clay and gardening showcasing the life of these tools have lived, tools for her ceramics. And also the final products will be an object as well. Very important object. We have era and decade. For us, this will be timeless. This will tell us that we don't want to showcase logos and whatnot that'll date ourselves. But if you wanna create a world that's based in a certain era or decade whether it's the future or the past, you can decide on that here and then make decisions for wardrobe and anything on set that'll fit that world. For us, we wanna make something that looks like it was made 50 years ago or it also could have been made 50 years from now. So we're gonna stay away from things like logos or anything else that might date our film. Mood board, this is something we're gonna get into later but we'll keep it there for now. Inspiration, so when I'm starting this process of making my film constantly looking up films on Fimeo or even taking ideas that I saw once in movies and writing them down, adding links, going back watching new movies, watching new films searching through different directors that I'm interested in and constantly getting ideas. So these are just a few that I've done so far. First one is owed to desolation. So when I started to put together the feel of this film and it was aiming towards a bit more of a peaceful feel, I remembered this film that was released last year on Vimeo called "Ode to Desolation." And the film is about somebody working in a fire lookout. It was very peaceful and lots of heavy sounds. And it wasn't big on heavy music and fast-paced scenes. It was really just immersive and it felt like you were there with them. I really liked that feel. This one just came to mind. So I added it to the inspiration. Second one is called "Holy Dog." This one, I just stumbled on on Vimeo while I was trying to get inspiration. And I basically put it on here just for the intro. The intro is very peaceful. It's just a male going in out to a ranch and petting a horse. But throughout it, they have these very fast cuts and it's a cool contrast for the scene. And it made me think of an idea that we'll touch on later, when we're going through the exact scenes. But for now I put it in the inspiration. In this section you could put anything from photos or songs, anything that inspires the film for you. Length so far, I just wrote seven minutes approximately but that's a loose timeline. Our length is decided on how interesting we can keep the film for however length of time. If it's interesting and engaging for 15 minutes then we can make a 15 minute film. But for now I see it being around seven minutes but it could either go longer or even shorter than that. Next we have what creative elements, we'll let this project stand out. For me, I chose slow and peaceful, heavy on sound and unique story. This is one I'm gonna keep adding on as I get more ideas, maybe we might use some film. Maybe we'll get somebody to design the soundtrack. These are all unique little things that can help our projects stand out. And we'll definitely be adding to this list as we go on. Next, we have scene structure. So this is a basic understanding of what scenes we're gonna include in the film and a bit of the order that they're gonna be in. This is absolutely able to change. But so far, this is what I have written down. First, we have an opening scene. I want a slow shot coming into Cathy's studio and we quickly see Cathy on her wheel. As we get closer and see her hands on the clay, we have a quick flashes of natural wilderness to allude to the idea that this clay is very much connected to the earth. So I came up with this idea as for the opening scene when I was struggling with the idea of making this film just completely chronological. If we're telling the story of a plate the basic thing to do would just be start with her mining and end with her seeing the plate or plating the plate. I wanted to go deeper and get a little bit more interesting. So I thought of this really small quick scene where we see Cathy just as an artist not just mining for clay right away, but we get introduced to her and we slowly creep into her world. This is an idea I'm pretty pumped on and I'm excited to see how we execute it. Next, we have mining clay with Cathy. That'll be our next scene. After that, I'd love to change it up from the ceramics and just simply go into gardening with Cathy where we'll meet her family and we'll see the whole family in the yard. Next we see Cathy's journey to Indonesia through old photos. An idea I had was maybe we print them out and she's flipping through them. I said here, see "Ode to Desolation." Just because they do that in the film really well, where they can showcase old photos. So I'm gonna refer to that when I get an idea for how to showcase the photos. Next, I wrote an oxymoron scene. An oxymoron scene is something that I kind of made up. It's something to me where the music and what's happening on screen, don't quite fully match up. So in this case, we're probably gonna use a faster orchestral style music and then we're gonna do these super slow motion shots of her working the clay and seeing the steam come up during the process. All those really beautiful, slow visuals. This is a scene where we'll probably use intentional slow motion. I use this technique and the scene every now and then, and it gets me pretty excited when we can find a way to fit it into a project. So for this one, it's a bit of a no brainer. I'm pretty excited. I wrote here see scene from the field is just a project we did and we used a similar scene. So I'll probably refer back to that when I am planning out this scene. Plating food for meal. So this will definitely be a scene where we just see the local ingredients come to life on the local plate. Seeing where people are enjoying incredible meal on Cathy's plates, pretty straightforward. And I have here final ending question mark. So it's totally okay to have a few question marks on our creative brief as we start to develop the story. Not everything is gonna come into place right away and it's okay to leave some blanks that we know we'll fill in later. For me, I'm not entirely sure what the last scene or shots of the project will be. This is something I'll figure out later but it is a priority, but for now we're totally fine with keeping it blank as it all progresses. Next, we have team. This just gives you and everyone else an idea of who's gonna be on the project. This could absolutely just be yourself and you can execute a project by yourself but I find it so fun to get other people's expertise and ideas involved. So for this project, we'll definitely have a bit of a team. Here we have Nolan, he'll be producing Dawson. Dawson's the one that linked me up with Cathy's story and he's an incredible photographer. So he'll be coming along and maybe helping with some photos. We have Graham, Graham's directing the workshop behind the scenes, and then I'm still looking for a DP for the workshop behind the scenes as well for a second camera. And then Joel will be on behind the scenes photos for the project. So this will just give everyone a good idea of who's all gonna be coming along. Notes, these are just a few final notes that you want to remember. Maybe it's an idea that you quickly wanna jot down and you can throw it in. Right now, I have not fully chronological. This is the idea that I was touching on earlier where it would be really easy and basic just to start with the mining and end with the plating. But I think we can get a little bit more creative than that. So I just wrote it down in the notes. Second is I want a very natural handheld feel for a lot of it. Third is I want it to be heavy on sounds. And the last one is lots of high detailed shots. I think that is supposed to mean tight. So I will fix that. So that is lots of tight detail shots. So that's pretty much it for the project overview. Remember, this is fluid and we'll constantly changing and added to but so far I'm pretty excited with how this is going. Next, we're gonna go into scene planning. This will help us know all the details of what it'll take to execute each scene and do it the best we can based on our story.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Live Lesson: Feedback and Q&A Session with RJ
RJ's Final Film | SHARED EARTH
Email Questionnaire
Project Breakdown
Scene Breakdown
Creative Deck

Ratings and Reviews


I LOVE this workshop - I have been wanting to film my own 'home life' movies as I am a photographer but I wanted to add even more memories. This workshop has added so much value to how, why, when, and what the process is of film-making for film-making. Thanks to RJ for sharing all his amazing information while being clear, precise, and informative. I am excited to film my next 'home life' film!

Alex Bocajj

Great insights into Rj's process. Really enjoyed it all. Rj is smooth and easy to learn from. Loved the "in-field" BTS and going thru the motions live. Looking forward to more material.

Patti Sohn

Really informative and inspiring. One of the best video tutorials I have watched.

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