Boot camp teaches how to pull a short film together 

Course taught by Angela Nolan, part of professional training program taking shape at LB Productions

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - REady? AaAnd Action! A new filmmakers boot camp aims to teach how to put together a short movie. Angela Nolan's crew at work making Adventures In Loonieland (2013).
  • Photo submitted
  • REady? AaAnd Action! A new filmmakers boot camp aims to teach how to put together a short movie. Angela Nolan's crew at work making Adventures In Loonieland (2013).

Budding filmmakers can now learn what it takes to make a short film in a short time, thanks to a new boot camp being offered at Millennium Place.

The intense approach was the idea of local actress and filmmaker Angela Nolan, who says the boot camp will teach how to pull a whole complex movie project together, from working with actors, camera and recording techniques, logistical planning, and editing the final story.

It will not teach the technical side of moviemaking, like how to turn on and focus your camera, but what happens once you know how.

Nolan is offering the Filmmakers Boot Camp through LB Productions to prepare those wanting to enter The 72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown, part of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF), though the boot camp is unaffiliated with the festival. It is also for anyone wanting to learn more about the finer points of making a short film.

The boot camp runs April 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and costs $225. People aged 16 and over are welcome.

Nolan says it is a crash course not about specific camera types but about camera angles and using the script.

"I've been teaching acting classes over the last couple of years and gotten a really great response, and we do the Chairlift Review as well. The 72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown and the Chairlift Review (which has been moved to May) are done without professional actors, my 72 Hour is, anyway," Nolan says.

"There's a real interest from participants to get better. There are so many people who enter (the showdown) who have never been to film school. They're trying to make short films but there may be some things they can't figure out, like what it takes to win. That's where I come in."

Nolan adds: "But it isn't just for people wanting to do the 72 Hour."

Nothing, apart from the screenplay, can be planned in advance for showdown, says Nolan, so it helps to know what needs doing in terms of filmmaking tasks.

The course covers acting, and the finer points shooting, like angles and shot sizes.

"Things like how to use the light, or use the camera if you are the director or the actor, to the best of your abilities in a shorter period of time. There are a lot of tricks to convey your story using your actors and using various types of shots and thinking ahead, where you're going to edit, etc.," she says.

Nolan has been in the 72 Hour competition since its first year, has made it to the final "four or five times" and she won the People's Choice Award in 2013 with Adventures in Loonie Land.

But she took the time to learn her craft over the years; before that she had experience as an actress on larger sets but little knowledge about making her own film.

"The first few years of the competition I didn't make my own. I would help on somebody else's," she says.

And this is not unusual.

"I think at least half, maybe even more, who join the competition each year have never tried it before. There's always a couple, they get an idea and want to try," Nolan says.

With all her experience, Nolan says there are a few things that remain constant about doing well.

"It's a story, a clean and concise story, and what can be accomplished over a short period can amaze people. The undertaking and the execution, and visuals and sound," she says.

Is it brave or foolish to use the festival to make a movie when you're inexperienced?

"I think it's both!" she says, laughing. "If you have no idea how to make a film it is the best learning experience, but it can be heartbreaking as well. People are so tired and exhausted by the end and you might not make the final. And unusually not if it's your first time, unless you're some kind of genius."

But those who take part get something out of it, right?

"Well, yeah! They get a film out of it," Nolan says. "Regardless of whether or where it gets seen, you've created something."

Anita Burleson of LB Productions calls the boot camp an opportunity for filmmakers with a small amount of experience to learn more. She added that the boot camp is part of their developing professional series of classes.

"It's a great opportunity for people to get started in filmmaking. In the future, we're going to be doing more workshops, including an audition workshop, auditioning by video tapes. The great thing about the Internet is that you can film and edit something, then send it off. That can be a real benefit to people in this area," Burleson says.

Burleson is also offering a similar week-long film camp for youth this summer.

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