A much needed and easy way to make your films look much more professional is to add lighting. If you don’t have the bucks to dish out for a $1000+ lighting kit, I’ll show you how to make a kit that will definitely do the trick for about only $35!
What lights to use?
- Go to your local Home Depot or hardware store and pick up three 500watt work lights (about $10) like these ones. Try to get ones that have a low and high setting. Usually one push to the button on the back will give you 250watts (low) another push will give you 500wattts (high) and a third push turns off your lights.
Get your work lights looking better!
- Make sure to take the cover (black bars) off the light.
- To kick you lighting up a notch put wax paper over your light to diffuse it and give it a softer /warmer look.
- You can also go to the 99cent store (or any store that sells folders) and buy see-thru colored school binders/folders, cut them up and place them over the light to set the mood in blue, red or any color you can find. This acts as a filter.
How do I use this kit?
- This kit works great for Three point lighting [web info on 3 point lighting] [youtube tutorial]. Simple terms: in three point lighting you aim one light on the actors left side (Key light, 500watts) another light on the actors right side (Fill light, 250watt) and another light on the back of their head (Back light, 500wats).
- Set the lights on a chair, table, anything that will get the light off the ground and to the height you need.
- Pick up two more work lights and use them to light your backgrounds. This works great with the colored filters (see-thru folders). CSI is notorious for this (notice the blue lighting in the background on the image below).
Play around with your set-up and see what works best for you. Hope this simple tip helps you out in your quest to express and entertain!
This formula has been applied to short 5min movies and more often than not 2hr Hollywood blockbusters new and old. If you have seen a movie that has a galactic ending battle sequence (showdown) between the good guy and bad guy or where the main character faces a huge set back and all hope is lost toward the end of the movie or the stakes always seem to get higher…Well that’s almost every movie out there, below is a break down of how this classic formula is structured.
THE SETUP (0-10%)
- Capture the audience (Hook)
- Show the everyday life of the hero (main character)
- Establish your hero’s identification (sympathetic, likable, funny…)
TURNING POINT 1 (10%)
- Present an opportunity that creates a visible desire (does not necessarily define story’s concept)
NEW SITUATION (10-25%)
- Reacts to a new situation presented
- Hero gets acclimated and Formulates a plan for the new situation
CHANGE OF PLANS (25%)
- Transform original desire to an easily visible goal with a defined end point (rescue the dame in distress)
- Hero is extremely motivated
- Hero takes action to achieve goal
- Things seem to be going as planned (everything is going their way)
POINT OF NO RETURN (50%)
- Hero had an opportunity to turn back to their life before this goal, but now is fully committed to goal
COMPLICATIONS AND HIGHER STAKES (50-75%)
- Achieving the goal becomes far more difficult and now has more to lose
THE MAJOR SETBACK (75%)
- With goal insight (nearly there) a new obstacle presents itself making it seem all is lost (impossible)
THE FINAL PUSH (75-99%)
- Beaten and battered the hero dives in head first to give everything he/she has left
- The pace is accelerated and everything is working against the hero (counting down bomb)
THE CLIMAX (99%)
- Hero faces the biggest obstacle/bad guy
- Hero determines own fate
- Goal is resolved (hero has reached goal)
THE AFTERMATH (99-100%)
- Now that the hero has achieved their goal what is he/she going to do with this new life
When writing a script keep in mind to stay true to your story and add elements on top of the main story line, not the other way around. Many student films I’ve seen were funny or moving but there was no point to what was going on. If you have clear goals and take the main character on a journey physically or emotionally you will end up with a great movie! Again, have fun, stick true to who you are, and don’t be afraid to work outside the box (outside comfort level).