Hey all! My name is King Lu and I was one of the participants (Editors Note: and Winner of Best Director and Best Movie) in last year’s 2012 Froshlife competition. I just wanted to take a moment with this blog post to share with you all some tips for Froshlife that will hopefully assist you as you make your own Froshlife films!
1) Do not try to do everything yourself! Collaborate with people in your dorm, put together a strong cast and crew, and get the whole community involved.
2) Really reflect on the first-year experience and try to convey that experience through a visual story.
3) Froshlife is only three weeks and people are incredibly busy here at Duke. Make sure that you schedule your shoots ahead of time and take into account when actors, crew members, and extras are free. Be sure to communicate with everyone and ensure that shoots do not fall through because of poor planning.
3) Show don’t tell. Film is a visual medium, so write and think in images and actions!
4) Dialogue is not necessary for a powerful film scene
– Ex: no words are spoken in this scene, but see how compelling the tension is between the two characters on the subway: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-sU8GWoD3w)
5) Comedy is hard. If you are going to attempt it, attempt it right. Don’t go for cheesy – that doesn’t win over audiences. Try to write and capture comedy that is witty and relevant!
6) You don’t need the best camera to make the best film. A good story told through the appropriate shots on an average camera trumps a collection of “pretty shots” any day.
7) Find creative ways to light your scenes so that they look good. For indoor scenes, you can use lamps with extension cables and, for outdoors, you can use a white poster board to bounce and reflect sunlight onto a desired subject or area.
8) Use the wireless mics – not the built-in camera audio. Sound is incredibly important, so be sure not to overlook it during shooting.
9) Arrive late to a scene, and leave early. Cut out the unnecessary parts of your film and stick to what’s important.
– Ex: you don’t need to show someone walking into the BC, saying hi to friends, buying a coffee, and walking out. If what’s important in the scene is that the character has not slept in two days and needs a caffeine boost – just show him or her buying coffee and that’s it! You have 7 minutes to make a good film, use every second wisely.
10) If possible, make sure your sound levels are consistent and your audio is clean.
11) Give credit when credit is due. Credit everyone who worked on the project and who helped make your film possible. Part of being a good filmmaker is being a good person and collaborator.
12) You can find resources to help you along the way here: https://sites.duke.edu/froshlife/resources/
13) If any of you have general filmmaking questions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not spam me with too many emails though, but I would be happy to help you out if you have any questions.
Thanks, everyone, and I hope my tips were helpful. Best of luck on your Froshlife films and remember to have fun!
– King Lu
Duke University, Trinity Class of 2015