7 Films in 7 Weeks: My New Project!

4 Jul

The most frustrating thing about being a filmmaker is the fact that I rarely make films.

If I was a music composer, I could easily sit at my piano and mess around all day, developing melodies, arrangements, and sounds.  It wouldn’t cost me anything but time.  Narrative filmmaking, on the other hand, often demands a ton of resources, so you can’t tinker around all day.  As a result, filmmakers like myself rarely develop their craft and find themselves frustrated.

This is why I decided to turn up the heat: beginning this Thursday, July 7, I will make one film per week for seven consecutive weeks, with a screening of each film on FollowMyFilm.com at the end of its week.  

You may be thinking, seven films in seven weeks?  Come on!  Well, the key lies in my production approach, which will be kept incredibly simple; most films will take place at one location with 1-2 actors.  My goal is not to wow the world with fancy production elements, rather I simply want to cultivate my craft and voice as a filmmaker.  

I’m eager to start the project this Thursday and share the first film with you the following Wednesday, July 13!

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10 Responses to “7 Films in 7 Weeks: My New Project!”

  1. Thom July 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    This is an excellent exercise and works well with any creative process. I actually drew up an assignment for an ethnographic documentary class where the students would be required to capture the video in a class session and edit it in time for the next session. Practice is the best teacher.

    You have encouraged me to jump back into a couple of my own similar efforts: music creation – one a week (I overwhelmed myself) and film.

    Also, I like that you have limited yourself to focus on directing and not cinematic/camera techniques or lighting – all of which can be important story-telling techniques – but to execution and voice.

    • Christopher July 7, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

      I’m so happy this got you thinking about your own projects, Thom! It also sounds like you’re my kind of teacher. I also believe giving students extreme limitation and restrictions helps them focus and not procrastinate! LOL

      Please let me know when you have a project up and running and how I can check it out :)

      cB

  2. Jim July 6, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    I admire the spirit, but I’m not so sure about the plan. It can’t hurt, but my approach to developing my skills is to work on as many different projects for others as time and networking allow. Watching another director work, watching a DP light a scene I learn something it’s hard to learn when I am the one doing it.

    Watching films counts in this effort as well, but probably only the time spent watching the film for the second or third time or with other filmmakers.

    • Christopher July 6, 2011 at 11:15 am #

      Thanks for the comment, Jim. I believe we are both “correct” in terms of developing skill. No doubt, as you say, learning by observing with a little hands on mentoring is invaluable.

      In the case of 7 Films, my primary goal is to develop my directorial execution and voice, which I believe is best done on ones own project. I’m not going to concern myself too much with cinematography, production design, etc.. My main focus is what I do with the camera and the actors. Also, and more importantly, this is a creative exercise where I am exploring the creative process itself within the context of narrative filmmaking, i.e., how should I go about developing and actualizing a film outside the traditional story-driven approach?

  3. Chuck Norton July 5, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    This really is a good idea CB. Have you read Malcom Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’ book? I wonder how long it would take for a filmmaker to get to 10,000 hours?

    • Christopher July 5, 2011 at 11:02 am #

      I’m familiar with the book and have wondered about the 10,000 hours in light of film myself. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to do with this project: put in the hours, as they say!

      It’s just so darn hard to do that with conventional narrative filmmaking. So one absolutely must strip down all elements and make multiple films to work on their craft.

      My goal is very simple: work on my directorial and artistic skill while having some fun :)

  4. Anders Kjaer July 4, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Great idea – verily like this concept, but for sure it will be hell of lot of work to pull it off.

    I totally agree with you that making enough film, because its a collective effort, is major problem for me to. But I have to say that’s also a mental problem – having a lot of ideas but not getting enough don.
    For the locale video club (all amateurs) I have set up a competition that rewards you with higher point the more films you submit. It’s not as ambitious as your goal, but is a small 5 x 5, where you produce a film of 5 shot of 5 seconds. I aim at that we get a film every two weeks.

    I look forward to follow your effort and will be flowing you closely ;-)

    • Christopher July 5, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      Thank you, Anders. The only way I’m going to be able to pull this off is by keeping production elements to a minimum. So please don’t expect too much wow factor, though, hopefully you’ll see some well-made films regardless..

  5. Chris White July 4, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    GREAT IDEA!

    I’ll be sure to share your films with my network, Chris. LOVE this idea.

    • Christopher July 5, 2011 at 10:58 am #

      Thank you! There’s nothing more encouraging than sharing!

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