A Quarantined Filmmaker

Tl;dr - Without being able to go out and film, what do we do?
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Table of Contents

COVID-19 in the Industry

This global pandemic is horrible in so many ways. My heart certainly goes out to everyone affected by this virus. I know we are all in this together, but sometimes (especially when quarantined alone) it can feel very isolating.

The industry has essentially gone into a all-stop phase, where productions are packing up and heading home, projects in pre-production are all-but shut down. There is, quite literally, no work to be done for people outside of a post-production or animation realm.

So, for filmmakers who are made to stay inside – what are we supposed to do?

The Pen is Mightier

Over the years, I’ve heard this phrase so many times (out of my own mouth, primarily) – “I just don’t have time to write.”

I’ve come up with dozens of script ideas for film and series. I have a whole database of ideas that I haven’t touched.

And, in the past, my excuse for not getting to them has always been that I need undivided focus to write. That’s why, when I do actually write, I do so up in the woods, in a cabin, with no distractions except for my writing partner Trevor and a 30 pack of beer.

Right now seems an awful lot like being in a secluded cabin with nothing else to do but write. Why not take advantage of this time and get some projects down on paper?

Create Pitches

Another thing you can focus on right now, if writing finished scripts isn’t your game, is creating pitch materials.

Use this time to flesh out business plans, complete budgets, create pitch decks and concept posters.

All of these things will be useful when the day comes that we can all resume our work.

Plus, it’s important to note that the execs from major studios were not laid off – they are working from home. So they are still developing projects, reading scripts, and taking pitch materials.

If you have a way to get your projects to those executives, then now is a great time to send them. 

If you want to watch a brief tutorial on how to create concept art from photos, you can check out my online workshop on the subject below:

Continuing Education

As you know from my previous posts, I am a HUGE advocate for continuing education.

I believe that one should never stop learning. Take in as much new tips and techniques as possible. Go back to school, take a class, sign up for an online course, watch a short tutorial – it doesn’t matter – but always continue to learn and improve.

Now is the perfect time to do so, AND so many of the companies that provide online training are doing so at discounts or sometimes for free in response to this crisis.

Here is a brief list of some of my favs:

Shane Hurlbut’s Illumination Workshop

Aputure Lighting Certification

Arri Academy: HDR Masterclass

Arri Academy: Large Format Masterclass

Plus, don’t miss out on some of the great offers by companies:

3-months free Avid & ProTools

3-months free Adobe CC

3-months free Frame.io

3-months free fTrack

Did I Miss Any?

If you know of any other resources, discounts, or freebies that people may be interested during this time, share them in the comments below!

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Alex Darke
Alex Darke
Alex is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker located in Los Angeles, who has spent the past 7 years working with the legendary broadcaster Larry King and shooting thousands of episodes of television as a camera operator and director of photography. He owns the motion picture production company Gilded Cinema and co-hosts the No-Budget Filmmaking Podcast.
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