As I near completion of my first feature film, I’ve learned quite a few things about what not to do while making one. If you’re considering making a movie, here are five important things you must never do.
1. DO NOT SHOOT WITHOUT A FINISHED SCRIPT
While ad-libbing scenes can be a fun and creative way to create scenes with actors, and while there have been some great flicks made by simply having a treatment or outline, this is not how you want to make your first film. Chances are the actors you can afford to cast are not the wonderfully trained ad-libbers they think they are. The more structured — your first filmmaking experience is — the better.
Also, shoot the script. Shoot what is written on the page. Anything else can be done in pickups or re-shoots. The bulk of the performances on your first film will be shaped entirely in the editing room.
2. DO NOT HIRE PEOPLE FOR YOUR FILM THAT CAN’T COMMIT THE TIME TO DO IT
When you are making your first film people will have a tendency to view it as some sort of hobby or extracurricular activity — even those folks you ask to come aboard, to be part of it. Until they see some progress, or a rough cut, most won’t see it as a serious endeavor. Do NOT bring people into your project that aren’t going to be available on days you need them. That family day at the amusement park should have to wait until you get the shots you need. The actress who can’t find a babysitter needs to find one, and show the fuck up when she’s called to set.
3. DO NOT USE ON-CAMERA AUDIO
Audio is the most important part of your first feature, because chances are it’s not going to be a cinematic masterpiece. It’s going to be a stepping stone. Clean, external, audio will make your production stand out next to the kid shooting his on the camcorder. According to one of the board members at SXSW, clean audio makes a huge difference in whether or not a film is chosen to screen there, regardless of what it looks like. In other words: Your movie can look like crap, but as long as it has clean audio, that people can hear, and isn’t distracting, your movie is already better than one that looks amazing except for the fact that people can’t hear anything.
4. DO NOT ALWAYS RELY ON EXISTING LIGHT
This is a given, especially with DSLR technology. Some cameras are great in low light, but sometimes you have to light the shit out of things in order to get that clean digital look. This can always be adjusted in post by adjusting gamma, brightness, and contrast. Light, light, light.
5. DO NOT KILL YOURSELF
Making movies is a very difficult thing to do. Your first flick should be super-fun and engaging, but do not beat yourself up over things you can’t control. Making movies is fun. And if it becomes not fun, then you should probably find something else to do with your time. Relax. Enjoy the process. Good luck.
Copyright © 2014 Matt Croyle. All Rights Reserved.
This is an essay. This is an essay about being ordinary. This is an essay about being ordinary in a world where you are supposed to be ordinary — a world that teaches you to follow the status quo, to follow expectations derived from centuries of people telling other people what to do — and when and how to do it. This is your life.
Social norms are not written down. You tend to follow them, but they’re not written down. How has this happened? To quote Emerson:
“Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
Take a moment and clear your head. Clear your head of everything that surrounds your daily life: your family, your job, your bills, your mortgage — everything outside of your own body that externally defines you. Push it out of your mind. Is it gone? Now, look at yourself without those things. Who are you? Who are you without those external forces in your life? Do you know? Do you recognize yourself at all? A better question: Do you even want to recognize yourself without those things?
You are a person. You are an individual. You came into this world with very little information, with no character, without knowledge, without hope. The mind of an infant cannot process what hope is. It’s only after you’ve been nurtured that you gain a sense of it. And while you’ve been nurtured into a full-fledged human being by your surroundings, you still grew with a sense of wonderment and self. Do you remember seven, eight years old? Perhaps specific instances, a few flashes, but do you remember how you thought, how you felt about the world, how you felt about yourself? Have you forgotten who you are?
First things first. I am NOT you. Do NOT judge me for not being you. I CHOOSE to not be you. I’m not saying there is no merit in being you. You are awesome. I’m just different.
I’m searching for something. I’m searching for something more than just the everyday motions we go through: Get up. Take shower. Go to work. Do “job”. Come home. Hang with kids. Eat dinner. Watch TV. Go to bed.
Life needs to be more than that to me. For some it’s fine, even admirable, but my mind is not content with that. I am not “better” than anyone else, but ordinary lives are forgotten. I don’t want to be forgotten.
When was the last time you truly challenged yourself with some extraordinary task? When was the last time you expressed yourself in a way that truly shows the world who you are and why you deserve to be remembered? I think the everyday motions we put ourselves through has numbed us to the point of complacency in thought and expression, and I think it is up to us to find a way to bring a passionate expression of who we truly are into the world.
I’ve recently started living “on my own” for the first real time in my life. Earlier in my “adulthood” living “on my own” would consist of a significant other. This is the first time I’ve been truly on my own. So, I’ve enlisted a couple of roommates — not your normal household setup for someone in their late thirties — to help on the start of this venture, and we’ll see what happens. I have started my life four times: Birth, my divorce, the split of my son’s mother, and my last fiance. With the recent death of my father, and with my mother not having long to go, it’s fitting that this journey may, again, take a new beginning. This new beginning won’t be a normal one. I will do it with the reckless passion I’ve always had for life and its pleasures, its heartaches, and its overrated expectations.
For those of you who question who you are, what you want and need — I urge you to close your eyes, strip everything away from your life as you know it, and look at yourself. Who are you? Who were you? Who do you want to be? Do you know?
Copyright (C) 2014. Matt Croyle. All Rights Reserved.
An Opinion Editorial By Matt Croyle
So, there’s this saying about knowing the sour before you can appreciate the sweet. I’m not good at paraphrasing, but I’m sure you get the point. After looking at my friends’ Facebook posts on a daily basis, and seeing how miserable most of my younger friends are, I’ve decided to take a bit of my knowledge of the female sex and break things down for them. This editorial could very easily switch genders, and if you feel the need to want to share any bit of it I encourage you to take as much liberty in that department as possible. I’m a straight guy, so this is about girls for me.
I could call this a breakdown, but it’s more designed to be a set of examples of who girls are before they mature enough to actually become women — which in my experience is somewhere around the age of twenty-five. The following examples are not the complex, amazing women that most girls develop into. These examples are the girls you will likely run across while searching for those truly wonderful women out there. And they are out there, but I’m confident you won’t find them nearly as easily as you’ll find these girls. Read on.
These are examples of the girls that I’ve come across in my life, who are considered “red flags” — not because they won’t eventually mature, but because they’re probably not someone who you’ll find meaningful coexistence with before they do.
THE SLUTTY PARTY GIRL
We all know the girl that likes to get her drink on a little too much. She’s the one at the party who is always a little too wild, a little too flirty, and a little too ready to take off her pants. Bottom line on this girl is that drugs and alcohol, more often than not, seem to just go hand-in-hand with sex. Sure she’s a blast to drink with, but she’s always looking for the most fun time she can have — and that’s usually the guy with the biggest sausage or the most money (because she’ll need more alcohol or drugs later) — so, you best be packing a fire hose down there, and have a wallet full of mommy and daddy’s credit cards, or she’s going home with someone else. This girl knows no emotional attachment because she’s constantly hammered. Feelings are drowned by liquid horniness.
THE DADDY’S GIRL
There are always those girls you come across that will constantly compare their current boyfriends with their past boyfriends. Guys having to live up to other guys’ experiences are doomed from the start. Well, The Daddy’s Girl is kind of like that except you have to live up to unattainable expectations that have been planted into her head by her father. Creepy. If a girl is constantly, subconsciously comparing your success — or lack thereof — to her father’s, turn around and run away. Run fast, because this will be something she will do for the rest of the time you are together. It’s not fair to you, and it’s definitely not fair for her to do that to herself.
THE NO SENSE OF SELF GIRL
This is the girl who defines who she is, as an existing human being, by whether or not she’s in a relationship. The “single” status defines her being every waking moment. She obsesses about it, she complains about it, and she longs so much to be in a relationship that she doesn’t even know who she is without one. She needs someone ELSE to define HER. I’m sorry, but if you don’t know who you are, or can’t be happy with yourself being alone, there’s something going wrong up in that noggin. Find a hobby.
THE OVERLY-ATTACHED GIRLFRIEND
Okay. I’m sure you’ve seen her on YouTube, but people like this exist in real-life. She’s super-clingy, and shares the whole “defining who she is” thing with the No Sense of Self Girl. Here’s one that won’t let you out of her sight. Not because she’s psycho, but because she’s REALLY psycho. If you’re lucky enough to find time to be by yourself (to read, work on returning emails, check out some awesome porn sites) it won’t be for very long. This girl has built-in sonar when it comes to finding you, and wonders why she isn’t included in your every waking moment of existence. If you have any sense of individual freedom, this is not who you want to be with. If you’re looking for someone to be up your ass twenty-four seven, she’s your soul-mate .
THE OVERLY-EMOTIONAL TRAIN WRECK
This girl is pretty self-explanatory. She’s the girl constantly in question of whether you actually want to be with her, getting either really sad or really pissed-off if she doesn’t know. You will constantly have to tend to her emotions and reassure her that you want her, or that you’re happy, or that you remember where you were the first time you kissed her. Remember that women are emotional beings, but this girl can’t keep her emotions in check at all — at all. If you make her too upset, she may burn your clothes or break windows in your house. Probably best to steer clear of this one altogether.
THE MANIPULATIVE HOT GIRL
The femme fatale of all girls. She knows how hot she is, and will use it to every advantage she possibly can. Sex is a powerful thing, and if you’re willing to put up with someone taking your pants in the relationship (literally) for a little bit of action (when she feels like it) then she’s your girl. However, you must remember that she will only put up with you as long as she’s getting what she wants. She can get it anywhere else, and she will — along with more pants. Nobody needs a mind-screw like that.
What to do?
The thing about all of these women is that they all exist (in one form or another) in combinations. Some will have aspects of a few of these women, and some may have aspects of all of them. The point is to find one that has the least amount of these qualities. These qualities will kill a man’s soul — not to mention any sense of self-respect.
The point of “pointing out” these traits is not to rag on women, or degrade them, it’s to be aware that there are things that you should and shouldn’t accept when dealing with the opposite sex — especially in dating/marriage. Relationships are a difficult thing, and finding one can be even harder. The point is: don’t give up, shoot for someone you think is out of your league, and don’t let your past relationships dictate your current ones. Happy hunting.
Copyright (C) 2014 Matt Croyle. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of this article, in any form, without permission by the author.
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Potential Inertia on the web: http://potentialinertia.onefishfilms.com
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(OIL CITY, PA) – Erica L’huillier, Copy Editor of The Derrick and The News Herald, recently sat down with ‘Potential Inertia’ writer/director Matt Croyle to ask him some questions about his upcoming debut feature film. ‘Potential Inertia’, which is being shot in Venango County, is due to be available for the festival circuit this Summer.
EL: Why should people watch your film?
MC: Why? That’s a simple, but really good question that can’t be answered as simply as it’s asked. Well, there are a few reasons. Firstly, I think we have a solid, meaningful story to tell. A lot of my writing deals with loss, and this story is something that everyone can relate to since we all have to deal with it at many different junctions of our lives. I guess we tend to forget, sometimes, that we all share the human condition. Hopefully, this story, this film, can give its audience a sense that they’re all experiencing something together — both in viewing the movie, and outside of it. Secondly, I think people like movies, especially movies that are different from ones they are used to seeing. This isn’t your typical “Hollywood” film. Thirdly, I think people should watch our film because a group of very talented people all came together to make something that we all truly believe in — to tell a story we all believe in. They’ve worked very hard, and I don’t feel that their efforts should go unseen.
EL: What makes it different from what audiences are used to seeing?
MC: It’s different in a lot of ways, but in ways that are not typically noticeable on a first viewing. The obvious difference is that it’s in black and white. Not too many feature films are made in black and white today. This was a conscious choice. People are definitely going to notice that there’s a lot of dialogue, and a lot of times too much camera movement, flashy lens flares, things like that take away or distract the audience from dialogue whether they realize it or not. I think stripping it down, making it black and white, keeping camera movement to a minimum really helps keep the focus on what the characters are saying. I shoot a lot in closeups, as well. It gives the film a more intimate feel. I’m not saying I’ll shoot everything I do like I’m shooting this film, but it works for this particular story. One major difference between ‘Potential Inertia’ and your “typical” Hollywood script is that while it follows a conventional three-act structure, the rising and falling of action just isn’t there. I never wanted it to be. This is a story of loss, so I wanted to come on this journey with Declan as he repeatedly experiences loss in many ways. Luckily there is some comic relief in the film, otherwise someone would probably end up wanting to put a gun in their mouth by the end of it.
EL: If you could start over, would you do anything differently?
MC: That’s a very difficult question to answer. The short answer would be, “Yes.” I’m sure there are plenty of little things that we’re doing that could be streamlined. I’m sure the whole process of pre-production on my next film will be completely different. With this feature we’re kind of winging it with locations as we close in on post. I think there would be some value in having those locations locked, in taking time for rehearsals in those places. The thing with this film is that it feels “real” because it is. I’m pretty much putting my actors in those places for the first time, rolling camera, and letting them go. Each scene feels new to them. And while that’s good for this movie, it may not be good for every movie. This is a very grounded, organic film in many ways. Projects that I’m developing will need to take a different approach because they have a completely different feel to them.
EL: What has been the most challenging part of making ‘Potential Inertia’?
MC: The hardest parts of making this film have been two things: Logistics and Sound. It’s really been a logistical nightmare, and I’ve said that all along. When your actors are not getting paid, have real jobs, and real lives, and they’re trying to come from Jamestown, Pittsburgh, and these places over a hundred miles away – just to shoot for a day – it can get strenuous and time-consuming. That’s the main reason it’s taken us this long to make the film. The upside is that we’re almost finished, and they’ve dedicated themselves to making this movie happen regardless of the time frame. The other real challenge has been sound editing. I did learn lot about it shooting ‘Monster’ but it’s always tough, and so important. I’m doing everything myself, which is important on a first feature, because then I can really feel that the film is mine. Anything anyone loves, I can take credit for. Anything anyone hates, I can take the blame for and try to correct it on my next project. Plus, in doing as much as I can myself, I get a better understanding of the overall process of making a feature. I have a hand in everything, and it prepares me better for whatever projects I will work on in the future.
EL: Why ‘Potential Inertia’? Why this story?
MC: I was at a point in my life where it just seemed right that I make it. Loss is something we all share in, and it’s truly universal. It fascinates me how everyone seems to deal with it differently. The story is very much me, an internal reflection of myself. It just felt right to remind people they’re not always alone when they lose something or someone.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT POTENTIAL INERTIA ONLINE AT: http://potentialinertia.onefishfilms.com
Interview Copyright © 2014 One Fish Films. All Rights Reserved.
(OIL CITY, PA) – Today, One Fish Films announced its plans to to shoot its first episodic pilot. The previously untitled project now has a title: “Circle, Michigan”. No immediate details about the plot are available, but it will be written, directed, and star One Fish Films’ Creative Director, Matt Croyle. One Fish films released the title card for the pilot upon the announcement.
Filming will take place this Winter, in Venango County, in western Pennsylvania. All media inquiries are to contact One Fish Films at: 814.319.5581 – or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(OIL CITY, PA) Author and Hustler Magazine Cover Model/Centerfold, Victoria James, has joined the cast of the low-budget, crowd-funded, independent drama “Potential Inertia”. She is featured in a cameo role written specifically into the script for her by writer/director Matt Croyle.
“She is someone who really has everything together,” stated Croyle. “She came up to Pennsylvania because she really wanted to be a part of our project. She is intelligent, focused, was very professional, and I’m very happy to have her on board with our film.”
She is currently pursuing her graduate degree, and resides in South Florida.
James is featured as the cover model and centerfold for the March 2014 issue of Hustler Magazine.
The film is being promoted for the 2014-2015 festival circuit.
Visit Victoria online at: www.missvictoriajames.com
More information about the film can be found at:
I’ve toyed with the idea of revisiting my web series ‘Monster‘. We’re all constantly, regardless of whether we want to admit it or not, looking inward to figure out exactly who we are – some more than others. ‘Monster’ enabled me to travel to Los Angeles in early 2012, was fun to shoot, and was such a productive and freeing way to let me share my feelings with everyone who watched. It was a very positive project for me in many ways.
As an ever-evolving person, change in my life is inevitable. The loss of my father really made me want to say something about it. ‘Monster’ seemed the most viable path to saying what I need to say – not only to myself, but to everyone else. An Epilogue episode was planned last month. I was reluctant to write, because I didn’t know exactly what, or how, to talk about what has happened to these faux-fictional characters in the past year. But, the other night, in a writing frenzy, I finished up a fifteen-page script that I hope says something to people. It felt good to write it.
We will launch the epilogue episode of ‘Monster’ this weekend. It’s entitled ‘Until I Can’t Breathe’. I hope you all enjoy it.
The episode will launch on the official ‘Monster’ Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/monsterseries
Please give the page a “like”, and thanks again for the continued support.