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Low Budget Movie Terms 2012 Redefined


Mark LeBlanc
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After reading "Strike the Baby and Kill the Blonde" I'd like to forward updated definitions to some common terms we all know and love...

Low Budget Movie Terms 2012 Redefined

-Room Tone: Those moments of clean audio that occur when the directors super hot girlfriend forgets her lines and stares off in the distance.. Generally, 5-10 seconds of clean room tone can be obtained using this method.

-Pre-Production: The month's or weeks leading up to the actual production of a movie where the Producer, Director and DP sit around the office and discus how super awesome the project is going to turn out without actually doing any work towards meeting that goal.

Director of Photography: Recent graduate of Full Sail University with at least 3 student production credits under their belt that empower them to shoulder the recently purchased Red Epic or awesome Canon 5d.

Gaffer: Also a recent Full Sail Graduate who is best friends with the DP who can provide a mini van full of the best lights Lowes and Home Depot have to offer. Qualifications include working knowledge of extension cords but questions what a "Stinger" is.. Also, highly adept at placing the putt putt generator right next to the set…

Roll Sound: 10 minute warning for the grip and electric to stop moving equipment around and for cameras to at least point in the general direction the actors will be standing..

Last Looks: Call made on the walkie channels for the set PA's to track down the location of talent and bring them to set...

Craft Services: Usually 2nd cousin to the associate producer who providers a box of Wheat Thins and 2 liter bottle of Diet RC Cola to assuage the crews hunger pains..

Work Trucks: Magical large white bulk carrying vehicles that have the ability to hide themselves from the DP's field of vision until the moment the 1'st AD calls Roll Cameras at which point they appear out of no where… "Whow, where did those trucks come from and how did they get into my frame????"

The Martini: Term used by the 1'st AD that the Director and DP have just added three scenes to the end of the day that were not on the call sheet..

Call Sheet: A sheet of paper given to crew with scenes that might accidentally be filmed today, but contain an awesome directory of all your friends and their departments on the reverse side.. Generally advised by AD dept to ignore all times and address on said sheet...

More to follow….

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Other indie definitions:

Sound Mixer: cheap source of humor and/or cruel pranks, like allowing them to set up all their gear, then tell them "sorry, we have to put a 12X reflector right where you're sitting," or "is it OK if we put this genny two feet away from the actors? That's all the cables we have." And wherever they hold their boom, yell at them and say, "that's in the frame!" or "we need to put a flag right in that spot," or "can you step back another five feet?" It's loads of fun for the entire crew.

Roll Sound: This is a term meaning, "we may or may not roll camera one to two minutes later."

Quiet On the Set: This does not apply to anybody in the middle of a cellphone conversation or a very loudly-whispered chat with the hot makeup chick.

Red Camera: The best camera! It has 4K! (And sometimes 5K! And soon, 6K! And a really noisy fan!)

Color Correction: the post-production stage in which skilled technicians can put bandaids on all the horrific mistakes made by your DP.

I think we need to compile The Indie Filmmaker's Dictionary...

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Audio post terms for low-budget movies:

Just run it through a filter: Instructions from producer or director when sound from the camera mic or Zoom is too noisy or echoey. If you don't have a filter that makes it sound perfect, they'll tell you the editor has a friend who promised he does.

Picture is locked: We're almost ready to do a final review, and will be editing for at least another three weeks. What are you waiting for??? Get started!!!

Picture is really locked now: Where's my mix? Why isn't it ready? Can I come by tomorrow and pick it up?

Yes picture is locked and you've already started, but we've had to make a few tiny edits: "Tiny" means between 10 frames and 3 seconds each... just enough that you can't smooth over it, but have to re-cut. "A few" means only a dozen edits... spread across the length of the movie. And by the way, our copy of Premiere or Final Cut X doesn't support change logs.

All we need is a quickie mix (1): Dialog is likely to appear on any track. Non-matching clips, recorded in different locations, are jammed together on the same track. Dialog edits are to the nearest frame, or so, but the editor did 3-frame dissolves so you hardly hear them. Music is spread over 6 tracks that also have dialog and sfx; sometimes the two channels of a stereo pair are actually on adjacent tracks. Music edits are to the nearest big blob in the waveform, no matter where they are on the beat, but the editor did 6-frame dissolves...

All we need is a quickie mix (2): All we have is a Quicktime, no individual tracks. What's an OMF? What's an AAF? Can't you work with just what we give you?

I have just a few notes (1): Attached is a half-page Word doc with a few lines like "On the scene where Harry's thinking of leaving her, fix the sound", or "Need better music on the stuff we shot in Jersey." Incidentally, Harry can't act and everything looks like Jersey.

I have just a few notes (2): Attached is a twenty-page Word doc, full of lines like the above. No timecode or scene numbers.

I have just a few notes (3): Attached is six pages of handwritten notes, mostly written while I was driven over here, taking form above.

We don't have that element any more (1): We didn't pay whoever worked on the project previously.

We don't have that element any more (2): A clip on the OMF has reverb or drastic filtering or inept noise reduction added to it, destructively, by the editor. But either the editor doesn't want to replace it with the original because of time constraints or jealousy, or we can't find the production original, or see (1) immediately above.

It sounds fine to me already (1): We've lived with the Avid / FCP / Premiere / iMovie mix for so long that we're used to all the awkward edits and ransom-note dialog, so don't hear a problem. Said problem will miraculously reappear when we see it in a theater (or are rejected for a festival).

It sounds fine to me already (2): The editor spent twenty minutes trying to jam these two pieces of music together, even though they're off the beat, and then spent three weeks cutting picture to it. If you fix the music, he'll think it's wrong.

2-pop: Wait... what?

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WTF! This came in email. Truly sad......

APOLIGIES FOR EMAIL DUPLICATIONS!! Wanted to make sure everyone got a copy of this, we are now on the ground in Birmingham in pre-production on Unknown Caller (formerly Who Am I?), a contained action/thriller feature. We are looking for the following crew positions with the pay noted, let us know if you would like to help and send your resumes/experience:

POSITIONS FOR JANUARY SHOOT OF “UNKNOWN CALLER” IN BIRMINGHAM

(Shooting 24x12 hour days Jan 7 to Feb 2, 2013, mostly nights, pre-production has started, would like to find local hires)

STUNT COORDINATOR & STUNTMAN/WOMAN

Pending script breakdown, we are thinking 6 days, $150/day and also needing a stuntman and woman, paying $100/day.

SCRIPT SUPERVISOR

Looking for an intern or prior assistant scripty with some experience, no pay but offering a $75 per diem allowance. If job is well done a credit will be given on the film.

CAMERA OPERATOR

Pay $100/day. Will be shooting primarily on Red Epic.

FIRST AC

Follow focus strengths a must, much hand-held camera, open lenses. Also a familiarity with Red Epic. Looking for someone with some experience/familiarity, maybe a second AC who would like to step up or quck reflex gamer who would like to learn. Unpaid position, but $75 per diem and credit on film as 1st AC if successful.

PROPS/SET DESIGN/ART

We will be buying most of the props, but need to have someone build, fabricate, possibly buy some and wrangle props on set along with helping with design/dressing. $650 total for preproduction work and $150/day for shoot.

PA to assist Props

Unpaid position, Assistant Props credit if successful and stays on film for preproduction and production helping Props person.

GRIP/ELECTRIC/SWING

With construction capability, small wall set pieces to be constructed etc. $200 total for preproduction work and $100/day during principal. Ideally could drive truck and maybe even a stick shift.

3 GRIP/ELECTRIC/SWING

$100/day. Ideally could drive truck and maybe even a stick shift.

MAKEUP/HAIR AND EFFECTS MAKEUP

Bleeding and minor burns makeup as well as traditional makeup/hair, $100/day.

SOUND MIXER

$100/day, we have equipment. VERY important department.

BOOM

Unpaid position but $75 per diem allowance for an intern who has had some experience with sound. If successful at job and stays for duration of filming, credit for Boom on the film.

PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS (PA’s)

Two PA’s needed now, unpaid position but gas paid for errands run out of production office, credit on film after at least 12 days contribution to film. Third PA needed 10 days before shoot, and a fourth needed five days before shoot, and four needed during principal photography. Gas and film credit applies to all PA’s. PA with most time on the film will get Key PA credit.

ACCOUNTING

Must be able to setup Quickbooks or similar for handling production accounting. Reports needed daily on actual vs projected costs, cash flows, payroll of 1099 crew as well as W-2 cast, handling W-2 taxes, SAG accounting, wrangling receipts, managing credit cards and preparing final book for submission to auditor for film incentive credits. Senior student intern, unpaid position but $75 per diem allowance.

Larry Olson, Partner

The Forgery, DV3 Productions, LLC, AL Productions LLC

1901 Blue Clay Road G-2

Wilmington, NC 28405

larry@dv3productions.com

910-262-6226 mobile

866-611-5703 fax

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SOUND MIXER

$100/day, we have equipment. VERY important department.

BOOM

Unpaid position but $75 per diem allowance for an intern who has had some experience with sound. If successful at job and stays for duration of filming, credit for Boom on the film.

Wow amazing. What I find funny (besides the incredibly low rates all around) is the fact they call the boom op "unpaid" but is only $25 a day less than their sound mixer who is "a VERY important". Perhaps they mean the boom op gets a $75 stipend for the ENTIRE shoot, in which case they obviously don't know what "per diem" literally means haha. People are insane...

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Wow amazing. What I find funny (besides the incredibly low rates all around) is the fact they call the boom op "unpaid" but is only $25 a day less than their sound mixer who is "a VERY important". Perhaps they mean the boom op gets a $75 stipend for the ENTIRE shoot, in which case they obviously don't know what "per diem" literally means haha. People are insane...

Haha, yeah, I also like how the boom op only receives the glorious "credit" "If successful at job...". They know this is a shit deal for professionals.....:D

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