Leesa Dean: Adventures of a Web Series Newbie

directingChapter 68 – The Directing Workshop
by Leeza Dean

Last Sunday I attended an intense twelve hour workshop on directing motion here in NYC. It was a part of a nationwide tour featuring a well-known commercial director, Vincent Laforet, and since I’m gearing up to finally buy a camera in by the end of the year and start shooting I thought it would be be really worthwhile and fun.

It was and, in part, wasn’t. It was a looooonnnggg day. I was up at 5:30 am because the people who ran the workshop suggested everyone arrive at 8:15 am to get situated, get a seat, etc.

I got there and it was packed, about 200 people. Some even flew in from Europe to attend. It appeared to be a mix of producers, crew people and directors. And given the recent publicity about how few women directors there were, it was kind of depressing to be one of, probably, 20 women there.

The workshop focused on directing motion in film and episodic tv. There were sliders, dollies, movis and tricked out cameras. Canon was one of the sponsors so there were high end bodies (C 300?s) and great monitors, focus pullers, rigs and lights. The seminar went back and forth between lectures and shoots where “crew members” were picked from the audience. To his credit, Laforet made an effort to pick women for the shoots.

Some of the big take-aways:

–90% of the work involved in any project (film, tv, commercials) is prep. And the prep I’m referring to is, adjusting the budget, storyboarding, making a shot list, casting, location scouting, etc.

–Always have a Plan B that’s well-thought out cause sh*t happens. The director, Vincent Laforet mentioned a shoot he was on where a celebrity had been hired and two days before filming he broke his foot.

–Gear is great–and believe me, everybody in that audience was salivating over all the high end stuff there including me–but it doesn’t make good quality work. Preparation and something that’s directed and written well does.

–Regardless of what I just wrote, I want a Movi!!!! And I don’t even have a camera yet.

While I knew a lot that going in, it’s another thing to really see it play out with concrete examples in film.

He talked about the types of camera moves and when to use them, with examples. Pointed out wins and misses from films and showed us, essentially how to re-look at movies/tv, whether good or bad, to really analyze and learn from it.

In all, pretty worthwhile. The part that wasn’t mostly had to do with the length. Twelve hours is a long time to sit in a class. I knew how long it was going it. They actually had two sections, day and evening, and I signed up for both cause I got a discount and they threw in a free HD download of the entire seminar, which will really be worthwhile. But it was pretty intense to experience. That said, I can’t wait to dig back into the downloads.

Author: ChilltownTV

I'm primarily a writer. Sold a few series to tv networks and production companies but never had anything get on the air. So I taught myself how to animate and completed 3 digital series, launching two. The first, Chilltown has been named one of "Five Web Series That Should Be on Your Radar" by ABCNews/Univision and a "Show to Watch" by Tubefilter. The second, Lele's Ratchet Advice Show, garnered a fanatic cult following. As a result, I now do Lele's 60 Second Wrap Up, a weekly comedic entertainment report (which I write & perform) that airs on urban radio stations Rhythm 105.9fm and the Just Wake Up Morning Show on WWRNfm.

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