Things To Consider When Filming Outside USA

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3 passportsFilming is a challenging yet rewarding occupation. The world is magnificent and offers all of the places and backdrops to create the most unbelievable yet real scenes. Since the art form of making films began, cinematography has been a major part of making a film. The viewer is captured by not only the story line, characters, and music, but it is the back drop, and cinematography that keeps the viewer interested as well.

Traveling the globe gives way to allow creators of films to get exactly the surroundings they see in their minds. When all of the elements of a scene come together it can be an experience one will never forget.

Here are some important things to consider when filming outside the USA.

First, depending on the location it is mandatory to check with the CDC for transmittable diseases in the area. the crew may be required to take vaccines or immunizations to prevent sickness and or infection. Examples of this would be if you were going to film in a tropical environment that had yellow fever, cholera, etc. or malaria. There are several precautions that must be taken to keep the cast and crew safe and protected. Check with the CDC and do research on that particular part of the world.

It is also wise to do research on the water in the area you plan to visit. It may be necessary to import clean water to consume. There may also be certain foods that are not indigenous to the people who are traveling with the crew and cast that they may not e able to consume. Check for food allergies and the like. It may also be a good idea to pack food when you are in a remote area as it may be hard to return to a civilized area.

Also prior to leaving the country there must be search to see what visa’s may be needed and your passport must be up to date. It may take time to acquire your passport so it is necessary to get your passport well in advance of your departure.

Be sure to plan ahead and make sure there is internet access in the area where you will be filming. In remote areas it is necessary to carry a military style cell phone.  Another internet related concern is hackers and others people accessing your personal data.  Other countries don’t have as much control over internet usage as the US.  For this reason you may want to get a VPN in order to encrypt all of your internet usage.  An added benefit to having a VPN is being able to unblock US content while abroad.  Once you leave the US you will no longer have access to sites such as Hulu or USA Netflix content library.  Fire up and VPN an you can get around these restrictions.

It is also a good idea to check with your personal phone carrier to see if they cover the area prior to going. Make sure that your cell phone plan includes international long distance calls incoming, and outgoing. It would also be a good idea if you don not have one to get a water proof phone for added protection and the limit the risk of not having communication with the outside world.

When you travel to other countries one of the main things to keep in mind is the other countries laws, always research the laws of the land in your destination.

Currency Exchange is also a very important matter, as the rate of exchange effects every purchase that is made. Be sure to research and make sure that the budget allows for the necessary adjustments.

The rate of exchange could be lower or higher than American currency. it would behoove you to plan your time wisely as other countries take their time to do everyday chores, for example, in other countries a simple trip to the bank could take four hours, a simple local phone call from a booth or center can take all day, traveling from one destination to the next can take a day or so, as opposed to just a few minutes or hours here in the United States.

These differences are due to their access to technology and internal infrastructure issues, as well as economics. Always keep this in mind and take a pack of true patience along to make sure that your trip is pleasurable.

Be mindful of natives and indigenous peoples cultures as to not offend them in any way, this could lead to an unpleasant experience in the least.

Knowing your surroundings is very important no matter where you go, especially if it is a place that you have never been before. Traveling within itself is rewarding, traveling with the purpose to create something that could potentially change the world and the people in it is even more rewarding to be a part of.

When you are traveling with film gear it is necessary to have protection from the local authorities to avoid theft, damage, or being hassled. Be sure to have rechargeable batteries, and plenty of backup equipment for the unseen situations that are guaranteed to occur. Aside from that film making abroad can be one of the greatest experiences of a lifetime.

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How To Create Scene Suspense for a Movie

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4473134359_970274f964_zEvery story has a plot line in which characters, themes, and obstacles create suspense. In order to grab and hold a viewer’s attention, a story line must be suspenseful, as this will leave viewers wanting to know what happens next in the scene or plot.

Creating a suspenseful scene will bring to life the plot of the story. There are a few shortcuts or tricks a screenwriter can employ to ensure a script is appealing and engaging for viewers. Two of the easiest ways to introduce suspense are to implement complications and introduce hazards. By doing so, viewers are able to empathize with the story’s characters, enabling the story to flow more accurately.A story will have a very basic, lifeless plot without complications and hazards. To introduce this suspense, a writer must introduce something of significance to the main character, or perhaps viewers’ favorite character. Once that is introduced, it is essential for writers to jeopardize it, or constantly put it at risk. Doing so will increase suspense. For example, a screenwriter introduces something of significance to the character early on – a relationship, a game or toy (depending on the age of the character), a job, assignment, or presentation. Once the importance of this is established, viewers will engage and constantly worry about its safety, or wonder what happens next when it is put at risk.

Suspense scenes are suitable for all movie genres and all ages. Let’s examine a simple example. If your character is a teenage boy competing in a swim meet, viewers will not engage if he is simply stuck in traffic, causing him to be late to the swim meet. However, this is not an ordinary swim meet. Perhaps your swimmer is competing for a national record, or against his rival for a scholarship to his university of choice, viewers will connect and root for the swimmer’s success. In this scene you, as a writer, have identified swimming (and success) as something of significance to the character, which was then jeopardized by his potential inability to make it to his swim meet on time. This plot twist, or introduction of suspense in the scene, will leave viewers wanting to know what happens next. With this, you’ve developed an ordinary scene or story line into a more suspenseful plot twist. This is a successful option for introducing suspense, because viewers can identify with the problem presented, as the audience will empathize with the swimmer’s struggle with traffic, or potentially being late to his swim meet, obstacles viewers will be able to adapt to their own lives.

The introduction of these obstacles, or hazards, allows writers to write suspenseful scenes. A plot will be dry and unentertaining without goals; characters must have goals to give them something to achieve. Without the attempt(s) to achieve, it is difficult to introduce suspense, as the character will have no true assignment or purpose.

The purpose of the hazard is to provide something that will impede the success, achievement, or completion of the characters’ goal(s). The plot will become inherently more suspenseful as hazards are presented; the more obstacles your character(s) must defeat, the more he or she gets to do, which will allow for additional hazards to present themselves throughout the plot.

To introduce hazards, a writer must give a character something to do, and provide a necessary reason this task must be done. Without giving the character something to do, the plot will idle and leave the writer with a languishing plot and disconnected audience between suspenseful scenes. By giving the character something to do, the writer is then able to add an obstacle or introduce hazards the character will need to triumph over. This will add suspense to the story line. As stated previously, writers can additionally jeopardize or put at risk something significant to the character.

By doing this, writers will be able to produce a script that will better engage and connect the audience or viewers. By raising the bar and introducing steeper obstacles for characters to overcome, writers will strain anxiety levels of their audience members, forcing them to wonder what will happen next in the story or plot. To write in a suspenseful manner, writers should implement complications and introduce hazards by broadcasting information sensitive to viewers as early as possible. In doing so, the audience will not only connect with the screenplay, but will adhere to your plot until the closing scene(s). Picture credit

Basic Film Gear On A Budget

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9786916956_07a27e4ac6_zStarting up an amateur filming project can be an exciting endeavor for people to consider. Some students and indie film makers will want to try out how their film gear may come together over time. This film gear will incorporate some distinctive features that will make for a truly unique experience. But some student and indie film makers will be on a budget, which will constrain the different types of equipment that they can secure for themselves. If people want to make the most out of their film projects, they should contact a reputable agency in their area. This will make for a truly unique experience that film makers won’t want to miss in the long run.

First, every film team will need to secure the right set of cameras for this project. They should try to get different cameras that can be hand held and may be mounted on a tripod. Leaders of the film team will naturally want to get these kinds of gear together ahead of time. They can view customer reviews and ratings for some of the top brands on the market. There are now compact cameras that can still generate a surprisingly high quality film. Teams should look for different types of filming gear that can showcase all of the distinctive filming elements that they want to see. Investing in this kind of equipment will require some up front capital, but it will be well worth it for the final product.

Setting up the best all around sound equipment will be a valuable asset for these teams. Mic sets and sound booms will need to be purchased and arranged in advance. It may also be helpful to purchase the right array of sound editing equipment for these types of projects. This may sound like a lot of work, but amateur film teams will actually be saving themselves a lot of time by doing so. They will need to understand more about the unique sets of gear that will incorporate these kinds of elements. This will give people all the guidance that they need to understand more about how these projects can come together.

There are other types of ancillary equipment that teams will want to consider for themselves. They will want to bring together some lighting, which can make it easier to film in different conditions. Barriers and backdrops can be set up in just a short amount of time as well. This will make for a unique experience that film teams won’t want to miss out on for their project. This will provide a more professional appearance to the production that they are generating. When the project is complete, it will also make it easier to edit the film and produce workable results in the end.

It may be helpful to pick up some storage gear for the different types of film stages that teams are undertaking. There are storage bags and containers that can make it easier to transport a lot of gear at the same time. This can also prevent damage to the more expensive and important tech products that teams have purchased. People will want to consider the unique components of the film strategy that teams are undertaking. This may determine what kind of gear the team needs and how it should be properly stored away. Securing a storage locker or safe will help keep materials organized until they are ready to be used.

Best Place For Your Next Inspiration

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Holding a stack of documentariesI get a lot of questions from readers asking me where they can find some of the best indie films for inspiration.  It may surprise many of you that my answer is Netflix.

Netflix used to be a small time player in the films and documentary industry but not any more.

There are literally thousands of documentaries and Independent films available to be streamed through a smart TV.  It really couldn’t be easier.

A small budget film I recently watched and enjoyed and got me thinking is called “The Giant Mechanical Man”.  This was a quirky romantic comedy that was well done and entertaining.

This was not an independent film but it there was no reason why an amateur could shoot a similar film with the current availability of technology.

There was zero special effects.

All this film took is a few good actors, a well written story/plot and some decent gear.

Now if you are looking for some real gritty stuff that was produced wit the bare minimum of capabilities then look no further than some of the documentaries that have come out over the past few years.

One of the most successful indie documentaries was “Super Size Me”.

If documentaries are your thing then look no further than Netflix to get some inspiration.

You can also get your hands on some old films that are available via Netflix.  These older films had to tell a story with less than adequate equipment, which proves that equipment should never be the limiting factor in telling a great story.

Heck, you can even shoot silent films that are successful nowadays.

This site has quite a few international readers so I have given some thought for you as well.  I was made aware of the fact recently that Netflix is not as good outside the USA as within USA.

I have a Canadian friend who brought this up to me recently when we were talking about the best place for easy inspiration.  He said the Canadian Netflix Library is much smaller than the American Version of Netflix.

However, he found a way around this restriction.  I’ll let you check it out and decide for yourself if its something your are interested in.   My buddy can confirm that it works and is worth it.

He also believes that this method should work for any other Netflix Libraries that are outside the USA.

A small disclaimer.  This works today but I have no way to know if this will continue to work in the future.  Don’t shoot the messenger.

So whether you live in the USA or international I say the first place to start getting your next independent film inspiration is from Netflix.  It may not be the most popular option for the hard core indie film fan but you cannot disagree about its ease of us and its wide availability.

A great place to discover and find the most popular indie movies is a site called www.indiewire.com.

This is a great site to make a list of the films that spark an interest in you that you want to watch for inspiration.  Then you can take that list to Netflix and begin to determine which ones are available to stream immediately.

Worst case you get the Netflix package that lets you order DVD’s and you que a few of these newly discovered gems to be shipped to your home….if you still have a DVD player!

If you know of any other great sources that are available that you want to share, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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Go Pro: A Great First Film Tool

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Go Pro Film ShotYEEEEEEEEEOW! Go Pro

It is a rare combination of technological genius, creative savvy, and a knack for finding out-of-the-box solutions that resulted in the humble beginnings for Go Pro. Formerly known as Woodman Labs, Inc.,
Go Pro was originally named after the now publicly traded company’s founder, Nick Woodman. Woodman began the company after he passionately devoted his time and effort to coming up with a way to effectively mount an action camera to himself in order to record videos of his surfing escapades.
What he ended up perfecting was a secure way to mount to a small very reasonably priced action camera he purchased from China onto himself or his equipment. What ultimately evolved was an innovative action camera that is small, sturdy, and able to be mounted on just about anything.
Word about the little action cameras seemed to have spread like the speed it took for athletes and vacationers using the cameras to post their video footage on social media sites, and viewers to look and be in awe. This especially was the case as more and more Go Pro users began to post their video content, making it easier for viewers to imagine how they too could create quality personal and professional footage of their own.

According to information already published about Nick Woodman, he grew up as a product of the Silicon Valley, and was known for challenging the thinking of his peers and those in authority when it came to doing almost anything. His ability to envision what has never been but could be when it comes to the use of personal action cameras is changing the way the common man and the business man are using these terrific gadgets that caught the big names in the camera industry a bit off guard.

It is as though they didn’t see Go Pro coming for more than 10 years before they took Woodman seriously. Maybe Woodman disarmed them all by his boyish persona and trademark yell, “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOW!” when he gets excited about an idea or a moment in time. Woodman, like Go Pro, is about enjoying life to the full and recording the journey so you can easily share it with the world around you.

Any one looking for a unique way to document any event on land, in the sky, or under water, Go Pro is the way to go! Break tradition, and make a movie video from assorted vantage points using Go Pros strapped to anything or anyone standing still or in motion. Can you imagine a wedding video done the Go Pro way?

It would be awesome to say the least, and far from boring. Likewise, would the Go Pro video of a toddler taking her first steps, or a boy learning to ride a bike. The possibilities are endless for personal use and in professional or business settings. Close your eyes and let your mind think up the unusual, the unexpected, and the best videos you have ever been able to create – by using this reasonably priced action camera.
Maybe you too will find a reason to yell, “YEEEEEEEEEEEOW” when you see what your Go Pro captured for you. And, by all means, share your Go Pro footage online using social media and video streaming sites.
You will be so glad you did.