We recently had the opportunity to interview independent filmmaker Jed Brian for our PODCAST, Cinephiles and Cenobites; afterward, Ono had a few other questions regarding pre-production, as it pertains to FOUND FOOTAGE FILMS in particular.
Jed was gracious enough to answer those queries, and below is the resulting information. We hope you find it as useful as we do.
NEKKO MEDIA: What’s the most challenging aspect of pre-production for a found footage film?
JED BRIAN: I would say the most challenging part of pre-production for a Found Footage film is figuring out how to do your special effects scenes. In Unlisted Owner we had to build a set/fake room for the film to be able to have the attic space scene for the film. So trying to figure out how to tie that in was very challenging but by using blend edits we were able to make the scene be seem less.
NM: Would you consider pre-production for a found footage film to be more tedious than a regular film?
JB: In some aspects yes, because in Found Footage you don't have different cameras to cut back and forth between. If you have a mistake in one shot in Found Footage you have to do the entire scene over again where as with cutting back and forth between actors you can cut out mistakes more easily.
So trying to figure out when you will stop the scene and not make it too long for your actors is a very challenging task, because if you don't do it right it will take forever to do one scene.
NM: Do you pre-plan camera movement/shots when filming scenes or do you leave it up to the camera man to decide?
JB: Well in Unlisted Owner I was the camera man as well for the most part so I was able to have more control over my vision as to what I wanted. Before hand I had story boarded certain scenes that were key to the story but most shots where the actors were talking I would just switch back and forth to whoever I knew would have the next line.
NM: How about the characters within a scene? Are they free to play out a scene or is each move dictated before hitting record?
JB: As far as the movement of the characters I would try to preplan where they would walk too for the most part. In the night scenes this was very key because of lighting, for instances in the road tripping scene Tyler and Gavin take Jed's camera and go under a dusk to dawn light.
This wasn't done by chance we needed more lighting for the scene so I scouted the location at night to a spot where we would have light for the scene and figured out how far out they should go for the best lighting.
NM: What keeps a found footage film fresh and entertaining?
JB: Reinventing how it is used in film. For Unlisted Owner we used it as crime scene evidence that was edited together by the Lawford County Sheriff's Dept. I had never seen that in Found Footage and knew if we made a movie about kids walking around in the woods looking for ghosts that it would be stale and had been done before. So figuring out how to make it different is very key.
Thank you very much, Jed, for your time and insights. Good luck with UNLISTED OWNER.