Over the past five years, independent film making has become an art. No more will you find buddies filming each other over the shoulder with low definition cameras and amateur level cinematography. All of that has been replaced with high definition cameras and professional level artistry and technique. With that being said, after having filmed hunts as an amateur since 2008, it was more than time for me to step up my technique. Filming in front of the camera with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Team Elk television show made the journey to learning what is really behind quality production work even more important.
The Full Draw Film Tour is bow hunting cinema experience that showcases archery hunts from independent film makers everywhere, fueling the excitement for bow hunting and the great outdoors. The FDFT provides an opportunity for outdoor filmmakers to showcase their masterpieces. In an effort to encourage the progression of cinematic quality as filmmakers towards professional level producers, the founders of the Full Draw Film Tour began a film school, rightfully named the Full Draw Film School.
The FDFS is taught by two of the brightest young independent producers in the industry, Grady Rawls and Kody Kellom. The attendee list at the school was nothing less than impressive, The Born and Raised Outdoors Production Crew: Steve Howard, Ty Stubblefield, Josh Keller, Trent Fisher, Stalker Stick Bow manufacturer and mule deer hunting expert South Cox along with other outdoor film making enthusiasts like myself: Joe Sanchez, Walt Ramage, Anthony Spencer, Brian Call, Mark Brownlee, Jason Phelps, Forrest Cox and Morgan Gregory.
We were split into five teams of three. My team consisted of BRO Josh Keller and Brian Call. Each team was assigned the task of producing a 30 second commercial of an assigned product and a one-three minute short film. Each feature film had the added task to include at least one time lapse. At the end of the weekend our commercials and short films would be judged based on overall production quality and creativity.
First things first...we are here to learn and learn we did. Everything from pre-production planning, creative strategy, and execution of field production, capturing the adventure and telling the story in post-production was covered.
When I arrived at the school with my DSLR camera that I purchased one over a year ago and I still hadn’t the faintest idea how to use it. Grady walked the group through the various camera functions, white balance, and aperture, and shutter speed, ISO and time lapses. Thank you very much, I now know how to operate my camera in manual mode.
Next we discussed the importance of lighting, audio quality, camera angles using everything from a monopod, tripod, slider and glidecam.
Telling a story with your production is no easy task, you must first imagine and visualize what you would like your production to “look” like before you can film it into reality. Your goal as a cinematographer is to tell a tale without words. Grady reiterated the importance of thinking before you shoot. The best way to do this is by creating a “story board” of what your production is going to look like.
After getting together with my group, we collaborated and created a story board for our 30 second commercial and submitted it for approval so that we could begin filming. For our short film, the three of us put our heads together and came up with the theme “I am…” for our short film.
If you went to college and lived in a frat house or dorm room, then you can visualize what our cabin looked like over the weekend. Everyone had computers out, hard drives on overload, cameras everywhere, tripods scattered everywhere, no one sleeping, everyone taking turns at editing, filming, brain-storming, eating, drinking coffee and drinking more coffee, passing out on the couch, passing out while sitting up or not sleeping at all. In order to meet deadline with a quality production, you get out what you are willing to put in. Everyone at the school gave the project 100%.
Our team worked together perfectly but Brian was the glue that held us together. He is an editing genius and the quality of our production simply put would not have been possible without his talent.
The Full Draw Film Tour is launching a new Short Draw Film Tour in June of 2014 that will be online based and open to anyone who would like to submit a production. All of the videos from the FDFS will soon be showcased on the new Short Draw Film Schools site.
This was a truly unforgettable experience. If you are an outdoor filmmaker looking to improve upon your current skill set, I highly recommend that you register for the next Full Draw Film School.
For more information about the Full Draw Film Tour, Full Draw Film School or Short Draw Contest go to: www.fulldrawfilmtour.com.