Field Notes #100: Great Minds Come Together

Field Notes #100

Since we started our Field Notes series in 2014, we have amassed an invaluable amount of wisdom from composers, filmmakers and creatives across the nation, and even the world. To celebrate our 100th edition of the Field Notes Interview Series, we wanted to do something a little different. We know that filmmaking can have its peaks and valleys, so we chatted with seven inspirational artists and filmmakers from our creative community, and picked their brains about the different stages of a film project. Below, you’ll find our favorite quotes from each interview, with links to the full interviews as well. Dig in, learn and enjoy.


Do you seek new project ideas or do they just come to you? 

“I don't have any lack of ideas. I have come up with ideas for stories, for films, and sometimes those are more well suited to a short, and sometimes they're more well suited to being feature length. I take notes and I write them down. I have a "film ideas" application on my phone and if I have an idea, I just sort of write it down. The vast majority of the ideas aren't very good.  -- Anson Fogel, Director and co-owner of Camp4 Collective




Do you feel like, beyond the promotion and everything that you didn't have any limitations in what you were filming? 

“The travel cost of any film is what can really skyrocket things quickly. That's what you have to be ready for because as soon as you have airfare, traveling as budgeted as possible just adds up quickly.” -- Rebecca Hynes, Filmmaker/Producer



How do you know when you find a good idea that you want to develop?

“I think the most important criteria is how much passion do you have for that idea? For me, is it something that I feel really strongly about emotionally, intellectually?” -- Anson Fogel, Director and co-owner of Camp4 Collective

“I don't ever go into production without knowing exactly what I'm going to do. There is never a process where we just show up with a camera and start shooting.” -- Anson Fogel, Director and co-owner of Camp4 Collective



Is there an instance where you thought something would be really difficult in pre-production that turned out to be easy? What about vice versa?

“You plan and think it’s going to be easy, then some variable is thrown at you -- rain, gear breaks, behind schedule etc., which makes things harder and you have to go to 'plan b' and start making things happen. This is a big part of being a filmmaker -- thinking quick on your feet and being able to problem-solve and make changes on the fly.” -- Joe Simon, Director & DP for The Delivery Men



What has been your biggest learning lesson while in production?

“You can never plan too much. Without a solid plan you always run into issues in production and these can kill a project. Be prepared, have a shot-list and a back up plan, so when you run into issues you can still create the film you set up to make.”  -- Joe Simon, Director & DP for The Delivery Men


Is there any part of post-production that you think is often overlooked/not focused on enough that probably should be?

“We think that the first step to an edit that is often overlooked is creating something that we call a ‘skeleton.' When starting any edit, we try to use carefully chosen music and interviews and/or VO to create a cut with no visuals. We try to have 3 acts that have naturally occurring valleys and peaks to keep the audience’s attention. If the video works from a storytelling perspective without visuals, we are on our way to an impactful edit. The idea is that we then have to use visuals to inhabit that skeleton with a benevolent ghost that will make the bones dance for the viewer.” -- Dan Riordan, Producer at Gnarly Bay Productions



Do you prefer more or less direction when composing music for picture? 

"I think that it depends on the relationship and experience that you have. It's great to work with a filmmaker who is like, 'I don't want to prescribe any direction. I want to see your take on this.' They have to really mean that." -- Paul Damian Hogan, Composer



What obstacles come with choosing music for your films?

"From logistical to creative obstacles, there are a lot of hurdles that come with choosing music for films. Logistically, some of the more common ones are working within the limits of the project, which isn’t always easy or fun. You can dream up the ideal piece of music for a project and realize it’s way over your budget, or the artist or composer doesn’t want to license it out... I’ve found with myself and other filmmakers that thinking about music as early as possible in pre-production is hugely helpful."  -- Emilee Booher, Music Supervisor at Marmoset/Filmmaker


Would you say that in the past couple of years, with everything happening with social media, that affected how you share your work?

“I think social media has become vital to the distribution of any documentary film, whether it's long form or a short. I don't think I know a filmmaker who's not using social media.” -- Jeff Gersh, Founder of NarrativeLab

Posted on October 25, 2016 and filed under Field Notes.