Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Midgley 2010 - Rules for Filmmakers

Midgley 2010 rules for filmmakers.


Here is my latest film, Prank Call.

Over the last few years of making films, I have come up with a list of rules to make the filmmaking process more creative.

Rules restrict an artist. So why in 2010 does any artist need to be restricted? During the Classical period, Mozart had a set of strict rules for composition that he had to follow. We know Mozart today because of his genius. How he was able to take these rules and bend them to make his own special music that touches each person that hears it to this day. This was his gift to the world, to grow as a composer in spite of the rules.

By having a list of rules to follow, a filmmaker can focus on how to make the best film they can. The rules on the list, some were borrowed from Italian neorealism, French New Wave and Dogme 95 lists, help make filmmakers more creative.

Some rules are completely new, all I feel will make the next generation of independent filmmakers focus on the craft of film. With all the technology we have, something is lost. A bunch of CGI, fast cut, slick films that do nothing for an audience. It is time to get back to the story, entertainment and emotionalism that films can do better than any other art.


Here is my list.

Midgley 2010 rules for filmmakers.

Rule 1
Use as few as possible for everything in your film.

As few actors can get in the way of the film, use them only to help move the story and for a reason.
As few pages of a script. Tell your story as pithy as you can.
As few lines of dialogue, get to the point.
As few lights and technology equipment as possible. The more equipment you have, the more it gets in the way of filmmaking. Use as technology sparingly.
As few crew, using only the basic crew will make your filmmaking more efficient.
As few props, special effects, art direction, etc.
Less is always more.

Rule 2
Show it, don't say it.

Have the actors only speak when needed. Show us the story with sound and pictures. If you can't watch the film with the dialogue turned off and tell what's going on, it's not a film, it's a play.

Rule 3
Only real locations.

Building a set takes way from the realism of the film, use locations as you find them with as little art direction as possible. Locations should breathe life into a film. If the story is good, all you need is blank room. Any location that is right will enhance the film. Any location that is wrong should not be used or cheated to make it work.

Rule 4
Filmmaking is the gesamtkunstwerk, total artwork of the day.

It combines the best of all the arts and should use the best of the arts as possible in films. Acting, writing, music, dance, photography and art are all important in a film. Any weak area will lead to a weak film.

Rule 5
The Director is the Author of the film.

The Director, or the Author of the film, has the vision of the film, from the first thought of the idea to the last second of editing. The Filmmaker needs to have the inspiration of the way the film looks, to the framing of the picture, writing the script, editing, composing the music and acting in the film.

The Director/Author must take and use feedback from anyone involved in the film, from a PA, Cook, DP to the Actors, etc. Get the most creative people and focus on the best they have to offer. Use the best forget the rest.

However in the end, the Filmmaker is final voice in the vision of the film. The Filmmaker has to see the film in their head before anyone can see it on film.
An Author writes a book.
A Filmmaker makes a film.

Rule 6
Story, story, story!

If there is no story, all you have are a bunch of pictures. Say something, make someone feel an emotion, change the world, have a moral, etc.

If films were made correctly, one would never have to go to church on Sunday mornings.

Rule 7
Shoot, shoot, shoot!

A filmmaker makes films. No matter what equipment you have, you make a film. If you have no actors, act in it yourself. If you have a crummy camera, shoot. If you have no story, shoot. You work during the week, you make films when you are off. Shoot films with no excuses. Practice your craft daily.

The length of the film, whether it is five hours or five seconds, is not important as long as it is a film.

If you can not say what you have done in a day to better yourself as a filmmaker, you are not a filmmaker.

Filmmakers make films, period! If you don't make films, you are not a filmmaker.

Rule 8
Forget the Money.

Films are art, they can change the world. If you are only seeking a large paycheck, do something else.

Make your film as cheap or free as possible. Being hungry is where creativity flourishes. Money makes it too easy to forget who you are, a filmmaker. The lack of funds can make your film better than if you have millions.

Can you really put a price on a piece of art?


These are my eight rules for making films in 2010. Can you bend some rules, sure if it helps the film. These rules are not written in stone. I wrote these rules to help spur imagination, to foster creativity and to hopefully make better films. Thinking outside the box should help some of the filmmakers caught in a rut.

If you make films, perhaps you should write your own rules. Follow your heart, your passion and films will flow out of you like rain.

In Prank Call, I used these rules. I love this film and hope you do too. Let me know what you think. Also a special thanks to all crew and talent that helped make this dream come true. You all rock!

The Crew and Talent for Prank Call

Look for more of these films in the future....


Warning! Do to the subject matter this Short Film this is rated PG.
You see worst stuff on TV, however this isn't the G rated content I usually post.
To insure the artist integrity of this story, I have left the film unaltered.
Some films are for Adults, this is one....and there is a moral......

Herbert Midgley, The Internet Legend, presents you a psychological thriller for your entertainment pleasure. Herb shows why he is the best film actor in East Texas in this Oscar worthy short film!

One cowboy, one girl and one cell phone equals one prank call you will never forget!

Herbert Midgley stars in his most ambitious films to date. Herbert Midgley along with Kat Goins, give an Academy Award level performance in this ground breaking short film. This film will change how you look at your cell phone and how you use it.

In the world there are nerds, geeks and dweebs. Then there are the popular people, the ones that get everything they want because they are the beautiful people. One day all of that 'dissing' catches up to you all within one phone call. Can you survive the Prank Call?


Prank Call

Kat Goins - Girl
Herbert Midgley - Cowboy

Herbert Midgley - Director, Screenplay, Editor & Music
Chris Bookman - Director of Photography
Tommy Cockerell - Gaffer/Color Correction
Dylan Walker - Sound
Thomas Simpson - Newspaper Graphic

Copyright © 2010
by Herbert Midgley
All Rights Reserved


Prank Call - Short Film - Psychological Thriller

Prank Call - Short Film - Psychological Thriller - Director's Commentary

Prank Call - Short Film - Psychological Thriller - Film Noir Verison

Rock and Roll!

"Tom Dooley" with Cowboy Herbert Midgley

Support www.herbertmidgley.com! Pick Which Amount

1 comment:

Phil said...

The lighting and shadows you had in this film really made the story darker than expected. I love how the lighting in a film can also help portray emotions and tell a story by itself.

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