Posts by: "sshankel"

storyboardI have been active in Scary for two years both on other crews as well as producing and directing my own film Behind The Cow. I am looking for productions that will facilitate my goal to learn how the pros really do things and why. So I look for projects run professionally to set examples for me. I am also applying my new skills to my next film, Last Note, and I am already seeing better results and more levels of creativity.

In my time in the herd, one lesson keeps standing out for me: Pre-production is everything.  The action on set may be sexy, but it’s the least creative part of the process.  Post-production is also highly creative, but that is not what I am emphasizing here.  However post-production is limited by both what pre-production and production accomplish so we cycle right back to the most important phase: pre-production.

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I have been with Scary Cow for a year and prior to that I led and worked with many volunteer groups for a variety of projects and fundraising. I have developed some strong and highly successful attitudes and tactics for building volunteer teams and for assessing what team leader is a good one for me to follow as well.

There is no free lunch. You are going to have to give to get. All negotiations whether they are social or professional, artistic or intellectual need to work from that fact.  If you are not skilled at fair negotiating, it will show in your film as well as bring you a million headaches while in production and make it very hard to attract crew or get invited on crews.  Here in Scary Cow we are a cooperative.  You want your negotiating tactics to be cooperative, not entitled or sloppy.

In low budget filmmaking we tend to have no or very little money to use as a motivation and/or compensation for goods and services. So we make choices to work without the things that will only be traded for with cash or we use what little cash we have for the things and people that will not accept anything else. Learn what your choices are as well as other the forms of compensation you have to entice people to work with you.  There are many ways to compensate another person for their services, time and goods. Money is the most versatile and therefore most popular, but it is still only one. I personally find it thrilling to troubleshoot all this and find it a fun way to build lasting personal and professional relationships.

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