If you don’t know Dan Mace, he’s a young filmmaker from South Africa who recently relocated to NY to work with his buddy Casey Neistat. Mace’s work is self-described as ” A practical filmmaker, [who’s] style is woven around each narrative.” On May 30th of 2018 Mace launched a vlog series, currently on episode ten, which tackles a new topic each time. Episode 9 marked his first in filmmaker collabs, featuring Matt Komo, a fellow YouTuber described by Mace as “…visually remarkable. He does things with the camera I don’t even understand.” In this episode they work together to break down the 5 Steps of how to make a film.
Mace sets the stage with referencing the famous viral video called The Watchtower of Turkey by filmmaker Leonardo Dalessandri, which is described as “a film so infectious it literally reshaped an entire decade of filmmaking.” He continues “This kind of film is also known as the purple cow of it’s era. So uniquely different to the curious eye that it literally cannot be replicated.” This video however was aggressively replicated leading Mace to coin the movement he calls the “Over-styled Lazy Idea Era” which are films that look pretty with no substance whatsoever. With the stage set, Mace and Komo go on to distinguish what steps to take for your film to stand out from the many empty, pretty films in the world.
Step 1: Develop an idea
Remove your ego from the idea process and focus on what is useful and what your viewer can benefit from. Entertainment is a large benefit to many viewers. Ideas can be drawn from the many experiences we gather throughout our lives, either from our upbringing or from absorbing the information around us such as art, books, or even talking to other people.
Step 2: Write down your idea
Off the bat, Mace drops a great resource, I highly suggest checking out The Most Dangerous Writing App, which forces you to write down your stream of consciousness in a continuous manner. If you fail, it self destructs. I tried it, and your deepest thoughts start surfacing, sometimes in an overly honest way. A very successful creative exercise. After the initial idea is written down, Mace suggests following this with a thorough research phase.
The final stage to writing down your idea would be the actual script/ narrative structure. Mace uses 3 specific acts which can be broken down into “Impact, which is the reason to watch the film until the end. Communication, speaking open and honestly with the audience. Persuasion, which is the climax, it’s an emotion. You should always leave the audience with a fever.”
Step 3: Turning Words into Video
Like most professional films, Mace recommends forming a shot list so that you don’t have too much trouble sticking to the idea. He brings up a common problem called “Location Sickness” which essentially means allowing your location or surroundings to start dictating the content and direction of your film even if its not really working with your film idea.
Step 4: Cutting Video Into a Film
Komo explains that the most important part of cutting a film is using imagery to evoke emotion from the viewer. Sometimes they won’t entirely piece together why they’re feeling the way they do from a film because an edit done well should be able to create a seamless and subconscious connection from visual to emotion right away. Komo poses the classic example of the Kuleshov effect in cinema where a different emotion would be evoked depending on the order of images seen. It would start with a man with an emotionless expression on his face and then followed with either a bowl of soup, a girl in a coffin or a woman. The viewer would then bring their own emotional reaction to the sequence but in fact, the man’s expressionless face never changes.
Step 5: Releasing Your Film to the Internet
The two most important things when uploading to the internet are your thumbnail and title since this is all you have to get someone to click on your video. However, more than anything else, this final step requires confidence. You’re putting your work out there to be judged by the world. But Mace assures that over time it will get easier, so just do it BRU, hit that publish button.
See the whole Episode 9 here: