What We Learned in 2019 (+ Pokemon Short Giveaway!!)
2019 was insanity! So much learning and going headfirst into the freelancer lifestyle. It was kinda like that meme with the dog, sitting at a table, engulfed in fire--
That being said, I wouldn't change last year because it made me into the person that I'll be this year: a much stronger filmmaker who has journeyed through some hellish situations and learned from her mistakes. Last year we shot some commercials, Music Videos, Short Films, and even took a trip out to Tennessee to film a two-part show about classic cars. I've learned in what situations I need to stand my ground and trust in my intuition and which situations I just need to step back, breathe, and have faith and trust in the team around me. For example, if a client says this: "I hate it. Can you write me up a new draft?" while you're already on hour 4 of driving down to the location, a day before you're supposed to start shooting... Don't freak out. It's important to remember that at every level of filmmaking there will be last-minute changing and rearranging. It comes with the territory. It's best to breathe as much as you can in those situations, problem-solve with your teammates around you, and then take a break to let your minds relax as much as possible before carrying out the solutions to the task at hand. That way, you'll have more energy and sanity to carry through what needs to be done and save the day.
But if a producer or client is pushing you too much and too far with little to no pay or respect... put your foot down. Demand those things, civilly. And a note to yourself: *never* to work with someone who gives off those kinds of warning signs again. So far in the past few weeks, you have seen two of the videos that we've done. Both of those were filmed quite a long time ago and we've come a long way since then. But now it's time to start unveiling all the awesome projects we have coming up this year! And we couldn't be more excited to share them with all of you. At the beginning of last year, we were a team that would step on each others' toes, talk loudly about internal issues in front of clients, and struggles to have confidence in ourselves and our work. All big ol' no-no's, if you ask me. But we've always been a team of improvement, too, and we openly talked about those issues that glared back at us, and I can say with complete honesty that through that communication and hard work, we've overcome these obstacles almost entirely.
We worked super hard on the Pokemon short we put out this year. It took a crazy amount of time, and still, without putting more money into the project, it could never get it to the level we originally intended and hoped it would be. So my tip for this is: it can be very important to consider whether or not you should be doing a certain visual effect if you can't stick the landing with it. We even now have a catchphrase as a team when coming up with elements to be incorporated into projects. If we think we're reaching too far to the point of it being a problem that won't pan out, we ask each other if we may have a Pokemon on our hands. Referring to our beloved short film, of course. Sometimes there are ways to sell an effect better by having it in low light or hiding it in the shadows. One thing I felt we did right was talking 360-degree pictures on set for lighting purposes and having a Charmander stand-in on set so that we could see how the lights were hitting him and the shadows he was casting in real life. Also, there are ways to sell a VFX effect better by having it in low light or hiding it in the shadows. Another thing we have learned from our Pokemon project is that objects, vehicles, and inanimate objects are much easier to sell than life-like creatures that you're trying to display as cute. It probably also didn't help that we were up against Hollywood with Detective Pikachu Whatever your opinion of that movie, I felt they did a wonderful job making the movements, textures, and lighting on their characters impeccable and life-like but at the same time cartoony enough to still look cute. Looking at the first model of Sonic from the movie you can see what happens when characters don't retain their original likeness. I'm proud of Sony for taking our criticism to heart and proceeding with the redesign. All in all, even though we're aware it's far from perfect, we are still proud of what we made and learned while making our Pokemon short as it was our first big project that brought us together as a team. But that brings me to my next thing we learned this year. Even bad publicity can be good publicity. While the comments are, as always, both awful & hilarious, we're so humbled and completely floored by the unexpected success that it brought in and we'll learn from the constructive criticism we have gotten. It's so cool for so many new other people to be cheering us on. It makes us even *more* excited to show what we've got comin' up next!! We plan to make 2020 an incredibly productive year with lots of creative shorts, videos about learning, filmmaking, and vlogs about staying positive and creative!! We hope to see you on this journey with us. This is Marguerite, signing off!
Marguerite Wasinski Filmmaker Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwaHzT7UvBi4xD6cKaboKvA Do you want exciting video content & learn about film production? www.stargazerdigitalmedia.com Instagram @stargazerdigitalmedia Facebook @stargazerdigitalmedia Twitter @stargazer_media