Sharing your creative work can be very vulnerable and intimidating. With this project I never felt like I could get to the point where I was happy with the final product, I felt like I had failed as a filmmaker. Every time I watched it all I could see/hear were the mistakes I made.
Attempting to make a low-budget satirical comedy with only two crew members is not easy. But I would rather try and fail, as even in failure there are valuable lessons to be learned.
Below is an honest look at the challenges we faced and the resources we had available to use on the Unfortunate Dating Diaries project.
We faced a lot of limitations going into this project, due to lack of money and resources.
- We needed to film the entire script in one day (18 pages of script).
- We live in an area where filmmaking is nonexistent, so it’s actually really difficult to find people willing to let you film at their property. So, we ended up utilizing 2 locations that were less than ideal (especially for recording audio) but at least available.
- We only had two crew members and we did the best we could multi-tasking but obviously some areas take a backseat and get overlooked when two of you are trying to manage, film, and record everything.
- Our equipment was not top notch, which doesn’t make it impossible but definitely can provide additional challenges at times.
Cameras Used for Filming:
-Canon rebel t3i ($300-500)
-Canon SL2 ($300-600)
-Zoom H4n Pro handheld mic ($170)
Lighting (We only used 3 lights for this project)
-2 soft box lights ($300 total)
-1 small ring light ($150)
Not everything about the video was a failure, we actually had moments that we were really happy with, but unfortunately, we had a couple key mistakes that didn’t do us any favors.
-Probably our biggest downfall was our audio recording.
-We didn’t have any wide-angle lenses for our cameras and because we were shooting in tight spots and smaller locations, it made establishing shots near to impossible.
-We also flubbed up the lighting on a couple of camera angles.
-We found good actors and they all did an excellent job; they definitely carried the project.
-We were organized, organized enough to film the entire 18 pages of script in one day.
-By pushing ourselves to try something like this, we learned a lot of valuable lessons and learned a lot about all aspects of filmmaking, things we never would have learned otherwise.
We personally have never worked on a creative project where the situation was ideal. We always find ourselves walking into challenging and less than ideal circumstances (finances, locations, etc.), and because of that we have had to learn to be quick problem solvers in order to make the best of what is given. But more importantly, as a Christian it also makes us rely and depend more on God than we might have a tendency to do otherwise.
From writing, producing, casting, pre-production and planning, filming, and post production; we did all of this while we both worked full time jobs. We knew going into this that the project was going to be a tall task, but we didn’t want to use any of the obstacles as an excuse. The final product is far from perfect, we made plenty of technical and filmmaking errors along the way. But I can honestly say we gave it our best shot and we were physically and emotionally spent when it was all over.