Friday, September 19, 2008

Client's Corner - Ian Hutchinson

Many people confuse the terms "Down and Dirty" and "Guerrilla" filmmaking as somehow being inferior or half-assed filmmaking methodologies or philosophies that compromise quality and professionalism.

These are the very same type of people that marched the well-uniformed British Army in straight orderly lines across open fields while a ragtag bunch of American patriots whipped their ass with rusty muskets while wearing plain clothes and hiding and shooting from behind any available rock, tree or gulley.

It's not really these people's fault, they just have very limited imaginations, so they don't get it. It ultimately may take a few musket balls in the head and bayonets to the groin to make them realize the potential effectiveness of superior guerrilla tactics that don't depend on overwhelming numbers, superior weapons or endless resources.

As I see it as a bonafide DV Evangelist, guerrilla filmmaking (when done right) often takes MORE careful planning and execution to make the very most of limited resources. Every move has to be thought out, every contingency planned for, and every dollar stretched to make it up on the screen.

Sneak Preview
Down and Dirty Filmmaking: Guerrilla Tactics for Professional Results DVD

Down and Dirty Filmmaking DVD - Guerrilla Special Forces from Anthony Artis on Vimeo.

(*This full 1hr. 22min. Seminar DVD will be available soon on this website.)

So to the Down and Dirty guerrilla filmmaking philosophy is not about being cheap and taking shortcuts that make things easier and compromise quality. Rather, it's about being ultra-efficient and using creativity, labor and planning to make up for your lack of resources and find a way to match or emulate the big budget filmmakers with half the money and crew.

The video below was done by talented animator/filmmaker Ian Hutchinson, one of my very first consulting clients. I helped Ian figure out where to put the (very limited) dollars in the budget for this project, so that they would have maximum impact onscreen.

People always ask me things such as should I rent a stedicam? A 35mm lens adapter? A Red Camera? A jib?...and my answer is different for every case, because it always depends on the COST vs. VALUE that that element brings to a particular project. In this case the big ticket item was a Steadicam operator and it was money well spent to execute the concept.

So don't get it twisted, I'm not a proponent of cheap and quick...I'm a proponent of effective and efficient. Peep Ian Hutchinson's video, Chocolate Pom Pom, below and see what can be accomplished with a small budget using creativity, hustle, an smart planning...


Jeffrey Gayle James said...

This isn't directly related to the blog post, but this is the only way I know to get in contact with you.

So, just purchased Shut Up and Shoot and I only got through 10 pages before I decided to get in contact with you and seek camera advice.

Don’t worry; I plan on reading it all.

But anyways, I am looking for advice on media. Judging by the name of your website, it seems that you hold the DV/HDV format dear to you as being the bread and butter of low budget filmmaking, however, I am very interested in the Panasonic Pro AG-HMC150 as being my first so-call prosumer camcorder for various reasons.
Chef among them being the convenience of editing video on flash media, the readily availableness and inexpensiveness of SD flash, the supposed assertion by Panasonic that a 32 GB SD card can hold 3 hours of video at 1920 x1200, and because one can obtain such a resolution with a 3,500 dollar camcorder.

Now, I always hear that one should not look over the DV format despite the relatively newer ones, so my question is this: What are your thoughts on DV/HDV format and SD flash when compared to one another and what are your thoughts of the camera I am looking at?

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Anthony Q. Artis said...

Sorry for the delay in my reply. (See my last post.) You can hit me up at and we can discuss.