2 Reel Guys - The Art of Visual Story-telling
Summary: Dedicated to the creative process of visual storytelling, 2 Reel Guys shows that telling a good story doesn’t require a lot of money, a lot of gear, or a lot of people. Mainly, you just need the knowledge of how to shape the story into something other people want to watch. Norman Hollyn heads the Editing Track at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts. Larry Jordan is a world-renowned digital media trainer, lecturer and Final Cut Studio expert. Each show illustrates a single storytelling concept in less than 10 minutes. New shows are posted every two weeks. Drop us a note and let us know what you think and what you’d like us to cover. www.2ReelGuys.com.
"What's the worst time you've ever spent in an editing room?" Sometimes, those times are easier to count than the good times. Why? Because the team creating the program don't know how to talk to each other. In this episode of the 2 Reel Guys, co-hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan share techniques learned from years of editing video and feature film projects. Larry shares his experience of editing video under the pressure of live and nearly-live deadlines, while Norman explains how he gets inside the head of the director to figure out EXACTLY what the scene is supposed to be about. Creating film is all about collaboration and this episode shows you how. "Improving Communication in the Editing Room" – this week, on the 2 Reel Guys.
How do you direct actors for the camera? It isn't rocket science, but it isn't as easy as you may think, either. In this episode of the 2 Reel Guys, co-hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan discuss the challenges of directing actors. Unlike traditional theater, film and video has the ability to really get inside an actor's performance. What can a director do to help them feel more secure, so they can give the best performance? How do you balance wide shots with tight shots, geography with emotion? What should you say as soon as a take is completed and who should you say it to? These questions and more are covered in this episode of the 2 Reel Guys. “Directing Actors for the Camera” – this week, on the 2 Reel Guys.
Filmmaking is a collaborative craft. Yes, you can do everything yourself, but the best movies involve a team of creative people. Actors, producers, directors.... and crew. But what's the best way to work with your crew? In this episode of 2 Reel Guys, hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan discuss why harnessing the creative ideas of your crew is so important, how to speak to them and how to balance between providing direction and micro-managing. Along the way, they'll share their experiences of working with crews on large projects.
Sound design is more than just sound effects. It is the entire aural environment of your movie. Sometimes, sound design can be simple -- just one person talking. However, most of the time, it is layers of sound all carefully mixed together to provide a greater sense of reality to your images. In this episode of 2 Reel Guys, hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan discuss what sound design is and, using the same scene, provide four different examples of how the "feel" of a scene is influenced as the environment of sounds it contains changes. Then, they discuss some techniques you can use to improve your own sound design.
Unlike feature films, most documentaries (or reality shows) are unscripted. In many cases, they start shooting with only an outline and the script is developed as the material is shot and edited. However, just because a documentary is unscripted does not mean it is disorganized, or that it can ignore the basic tenets of storytelling. In fact, just the opposite. As hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan explain, story-telling is just as important as scripted projects. And in this episode, they give you some tips you can use to improve your own unscripted projects.
Music, in whatever project you are creating, suggests the emotional response your audience should be having at that moment. But how do you use music, and how does your story impact the type and placement of the music you use? In this episode of the 2 Reel Guys, hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan examine the impact music has on a project, using several specific examples of the difference in emotional content and meaning that occur when you use the same music, but put it in a different place.
Editing is story-telling. While we can all agree with that, that sentence isn't particularly helpful. What editing is actually doing is telling your story by juxtaposing different shots so that your audience sees, hears, and feels what you want them to feel. This sounds so easy... but the choices are virtually endless. In this episode of the 2 Reel Guys, hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan examine how the process of editing can enhance your story. Along the way, Norman deconstructs a scene and shows how changing the placement of shots, the addition of close-ups, and altering the timing can completely change the emotional focus of a scene.
Shooting your film is a time of constant problem-solving. But how do you decide how to solve a particular production problem? Back in Episode 4 we discussed how to adjust resources based on People - Facilities - Time - and Money. Is that the best criteria to use? In this episode of the 2 Reel Guys, hosts Larry Jordan and Norman Hollyn look at how problems can be solved by looking at them from the perspective of the story you are telling. Plus, they supplement this with a few stories of their own.
In Episode 6 we acknowledged that many filmmakers are afraid to work with actors. And we learned that this is often because they don’t know how to talk with them. The same is even more true when you’re working with dancers. Yet a good set of dancers, working with a good choreographer, can have just as much impact on your story as actors. In this episode of the 2 Reel Guys, hosts Larry Jordan and Norman Hollyn look at how different stories can demand different discussions with your dancers — and help you to see that working with dancers is no different than working with any other collaborator. It all tracks back to your story.
There's an expression that there is only one correct camera position for a shot. We don't actually believe that, but what IS true is that an understanding of what different camera angles, positions, and the blocking of the actors within the frame, can help bring your story to a deeper level. In this episode of the 2 Reel Guys, hosts Larry Jordan and Norman Hollyn look at the implications on your story of your choices of where to place your camera when you shoot.
Color may not tell your story, but it certainly reinforces it. Color tells the audience what to expect in a scene before the first word of dialog is even spoken. And, as you might expect, different colors have different meanings. In this episode of the 2 Reel Guys, hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan look at the impact of color in a scene.
The first time a director really gets to see a character is when they first walk on the set. What that character looks like is, more often than not, the responsibility of the costume designer. How does a costume designer decide what an actor should look like? In this episode, we find out. Hope Hanafin, vice president of the Costume Designers Guild, joins hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan for this episode of the 2 Reel Guys. In it, we discuss the process of costuming; and what caught our attention is that it doesn't really start with clothes!
Real-life shooting issues like tight schedules, actor and camera problems, tightening budgets, and natural catastrophes, all conspire to limit the number and variety of shots that we are able to shoot for a scene, despite our best plans. (These shots are what we call "coverage."); When push comes to shove, how do you decide which shots you absolutely MUST have? In this episode of 2 Reel Guys, hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan show how to use a storyboard to convey what you want to shoot, then illustrate a great technique to help you determine those shots that are critical for your scene.
Every year, hundreds of films that are well shot, well directed, well finished and well acted fall by the distribution wayside because their poor audio makes it impossible for an audience to understand and enjoy them. Poor microphone choices, combined with poor techniques, create large roadblocks which prevent the audience from watching your story. In this episode of 2 Reel Guys, hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan discuss the basics of sound recording, including helping you to make good choices in microphones, in order to capture the emotions and content that are conveyed through well-recorded audio performances.
The heart of editing isn't technology; not even the software you use to edit your masterpiece. Instead, the essential part of editing is storytelling. A good editor combines all the different audio and video elements so deftly that the audience is captivated by the story, totally oblivious to the technology and craft involved. In this episode of 2 Reel Guys, hosts Norman Hollyn and Larry Jordan discuss the basics of editing, including deconstructing a short scene from a student film to illustrate how the editing decisions help the audience understand what is going on in the character’s mind.