Frequently Asked Questions (Page 2)
(Archieved from ezBoard MB Jan 02-Jan 04)

Why should I write?
Creating a story on paper is part of the tuning and tweeking of the story. Just think of how many great ideas are thought up, only to be dissolved by the mind's fading memory?

In any writing process, throw out all the "rules" to writing. There's no need to correct spelling or punctuation. Getting your thoughts on paper is more important than potentially losing that spectacular idea. In Sketching your story our, try to hit the basic points or scenes in the story. If you dont know the whole story, say just a scene, then write that down.

Still having trouble with the writing of the story? Maybe you think in pictures? Try drawing little scenes on paper in a sequence. This is called storyboarding. It is very popular in film production. Storyboarding helps the director "visualize" the story before the high cost of production begins.

As most stories take shape, they have an end goal that needs to be visible or understood near the beginning of the film. This helps the audience know what the focus is and then the audience can cheer on the main character(s) as he or she struggles to reach the goal.

There is so much more complexity to creating a story that stated here. There are many books and web sites to consult on script writing or general fictional story writing. Telling a compelling or believeable story is more important then specific formats and page layouts which you may find overly discussed in scripting writing books.

Why Storyboard?

To share and focus your VISION. Your film will begin with your vision, be carried by passion and delivered with enthuasism. The creation of an idea into a sequence of parts begins in the mind, but to share this with others and to identify the key parts requires communication. Sure, you could pitch your idea verbally, however, sharing your vision should always be accompanied with visuals. Movie poster ideas, location pictures, or a detailed picture shot list can all increasingly help communicate your VISION. A movie is a collaboration of efforts and an agreement of a common goal. To reach a clear perspective requires some form of tangable, and editable hard copy. Storyboarding is the most commonly used visual in the pre-production phase. Benifits of this format include a very clear idea of the storyline, (possible) camera angles, production design and a beginning to end, scene by scene delivery of the story. You can almost think of your final movie as a detailed version of your original storyboard. (Some changes may have taken place, its almost impossible to think of everything during pre-production.

To make your own storyboarding sheets start by making boxes on a sheet of paper. Something like four to six boxes on unlined paper all about 2 inches square. Spread these out evenly. (You can make a master template of this and make copies so you dont have to recreate this sheet every time.) Now, in each box, draw a rough sketch (I like stick people) of how you see your idea in your head. Everytime a scene changes, move to a new box. Below the box, you can write notes to help explain specifics like camera angles or dialogue or props needed.

Now take your rough sketches, clean them up a little and share them with your production team. Remember to take notes during this session because will you may fell very strong about a specific detail almost coming close to argueing. Remember to be respectful of the other's perspecitve. They are helping make this happen too. Take these notes and think about this on your own.

You may also try putting each scene on index cards and then you can rearrange the story in various orders.

New Storyboard pages to download
Looking for a blank template to use for your storyboards?

Check out
Then click on Filmmakers' Tools

This was emailed to The Young Filmmakers Club. Response included.

I have a 12 year old that is interested in filmmaking. He has already written a 50-75 page script.

We are very interested in getting him headed in the right direction on this.

Please advise,


Hmmm.? Not sure what you are asking, so I'm not sure I'll give you the response you need. Here goes.

To aspire, or to desire to reach is to realize that where you are at now is going to change in some way. The seeds for progress and growth take place here. They are fostered by a sound backing of fundamental technique followed by tests and trials of increasing difficulty at appropriate times.

First step is to realize that this is a growth process. Stage one is "Exposure". Learning terminology, technology, basic methods, applied formulas, and to be immersed in this foreign craft. Here also is to "feel" the art, picking up the ebb and flow from the masters. Stage two is "Practice". To repeatedly do until the ideal is reached or close in sight. Stage three is "Working Stylistically". Here one is honing their craft and defining their vision.

Around Stage two , three or four, the filmmaker reaches a point of understanding, a simple form of "Enlightenment". This understanding is based on the connections of the parts coming together. Some filmmakers may have this understanding escape them because of their choice in challenges have not be significant enough or the challenges were too defeating.

Stage four is "Melding". Melding links all that has been learned, together, and putting that into a project. Stage five is "Repetition of Melding" or Continuing to produce successive products. It is here and only here should the artist consider publicizing/ marketing his work.

Up until now, the artist/craftsman (a filmmaker is both) has worked on internal development, taking criticism and developing his or her own style. Now, one may toot one's horn, a.k.a. "Marketing". My problem with this skill is that all too often the public is sold a Piscasso when the work is actually a finger-painting. (try getting your money back after seeing a bad movie.)

It is a great feeling to show one's craft. Pride of accomplishment in the lime light. WOW! This transition for the filmmaker can be beneficial, harmful and both. Choices are important and so is perspective.

Where to start? The generally followed steps are Developing of story, pre-production, production, post production and then distribution. The sequence of choice is: Development, where all the story elements are well thought out ("the script") and a detailed plan (as possible/plausible) is created for what the final look will be ("Storyboarding"). Next, all the things needed to get this "ideal vision" onto tape or film are planned out ("pre-production") . This includes budgeting, getting help, getting equipment, securing locations. Then as all comes together, production should run like a well oiled machine. (It never does and I budget that 10-20% of all equipment, people, events, will fail at some time in the production.) ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP PLAN! Post-production is the editing, adding voice and sound and adding music to the final cut of the edited movie. All this time you have tried to line up a way to get people to SEE your work. Film festivals, rent a theater, show at school, etc.) This was called earlier as "Distribution". Many films are made, but fewer are seen and seen repeatedly. Don't let your work end up on a vault room's shelf.

And that is the filmmaker's game! (also known as the filmmaker's disease. Prognosis: Make a film or go bananas.)

Have you see "The Young Filmmakers Club: Video Camera Techniques" ? Order your VHS or DVD copy. Send check or money order of $19.95 or 29.95 for DVD (Ground Shipping included, three day is $6, next day is $11) to Golden Zah Productions, PO Box 642897, LA, CA 90064.

Where can I show my film?
Show your Film at
Do you have a film to show and no web site to host it? Selected films can have their own link to the web site and a place to call home.

Basic Criteria:
1)The film/video is wholely owned by the sender.

2)No copyrighted music was using in the film.

3)No nudity, alcohol or drug participation is depicted.

4)You can send a VHS copy (which will not be returned) to Los Angeles, CA.

Golden Zah Productions will have the tape converted to a digital film and uploaded to the web.

A detailed release form must be signed before you send your tape.

Email youngfilmmakersclub for more info.

How do I hold a Screening?
Have you made a couple of movies? It's time then to hold a screening. Have your own festival with your works. Ask others if they haves video projects too. You can make it a group screening.

Find a location. It can be a house, a church, a classroom or you can rent a screening room. Set a date and announce it. Make invitations for all your friends and flyers to post at your school.

Should you charge admission? It's up to you. You could ask attendees to bring something like creating their own ticket or a item for donation like a can of food. Try to tie a theme with your request.

Dont be afraid to announce you screening more than once. People often forget and may have more questions if you remind them.

What is the Magic Hour?
Free Lighting : The Magic Hour
Good lighting at a cheap price is difficult to come by. Daylight and specifically high noon light can be too harsh for your scene. Try holding your shooting during "the magic hour". This is the time before the sun sets. Begin you shoot approximately 3 hours before sunset and finish before the sun dips behind the horizon. Remember to white balance every ten minutes as the light is constantly changing.

This can also work in the morning, but you will need to do your set up in the dark so you can take advantage of that first light.

What are the parts of Productions?

Let's agree on some terms to use so when a situation comes up, we'll all be talking the same language.

Production can be broken down into Principal Photography, B-Roll footage and In-Field sound gathering (a.k.a.- Live Sound, Loaction Sound or Ambient Sound.

Principal Photography involves the filming or video taping of the main or principal scenes from the script. This can require the need of specific jobs including a camera operator, director, actors, lighting specialist, sound specialist, make-up artist, props wrangler, set dressing, location manager, special effects creator/supervisor and plenty of assistants.
When you get as many people as this, you'll also need a production coordinator and a production manager. The person who organizes all of this is the PRODUCER. Yeah Baby. PRO-DUC-ER! Say it. Do it. Be it.

B-Roll footage is specific visual images that helps to establish the upcoming scene and doesn't require sound. For example, a city scape or broad landscape, a picture of the outside of a house or a distant shot of a car moving. These do not require a highly experienced crew so the B-Roll team is usually a less experienced group that is given specific locations and desired frames to shoot. Check what the come back with just to be sure you got what you asked for.

In-field Sound Gathering or Location Sound Acquisition is the process of recording sounds that naturally exist at the location. Birds, cars, and wind in trees all make sounds and if you need these sounds to underline dialogue during a scene, they really come in handy during editing.

Shoot first, ask questions later.


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