After watching Losses, Film Riot host Ryan Connolly’s short action film shot on the RED Epic, you might wonder how he was able to do all the things he was able to do in such a short amount of time.  As he says in Episode 129 of the series, “We had three hours for each of the four days to shoot at the location we were given.”  Only three hours and four days?  And with a crew that consisted of family and friends?  You better be prepared when you go on a shoot with those kinds of limitations, and for the next few episodes of Film Riot, Connolly will be taking us through all the aspects of the quickie production.

Episode 129 is an overview of the making of the movie.  We get a nice little montage:

Quick Tips For A Quick Production

Ryan has a couple of tips for this kind of shoot:

  • Make lists.  Connolly stresses the importance of making a list of gear that you know you will need for the shoot, but most importantly, make a list for all the props you are going to use.  An easy to thing to forget is that for every action in the script that requires some sort of item, i.e., the bag that goes over Josh’s head or the handcuffs, you need to have it with you on the shoot, or else then you’re making a trip to the store or back home to find them.  And that uses up your time.
  • Much of your crew likely doesn’t do this professionally, so treat them right.  Connolly acknowledges that it’s frustrating dealing with people who don’t know anything about shooting films, but still, these people are doing you a favor.  In the short amount of time that you have, someone making a mistake does hurt, but berating them ends up making it worse.  Be positive.  Also, make sure everyone has drinks and snacks.

The Guns of Losses: How To Make Them Real Without Being Real

Episode 130 of Film Riot is about the guns. In the past, Connolly has been unhappy with the gun play on the show itself, because the guns didn’t look real, and they had no kickback, something that had to be (unrealistically) recreated by the actor when they shot.  Also, the gun’s slide had no motion, so if an actor had to time their reaction to being shot, they had nothing to time it correctly.  So he went to, which gave him a nice selection of fake guns for his shoot.  The ones in Losses are called “gas blow-back guns,” which:

  • Look real and perform with a kick
  • They’re safe.
  • They even have smoke that comes out, so you don’t have to create it in After Effects.
  • They have audio-visual cues so the actor can react.

Connolly then goes over the inventory of guns that he got for the shoot, including a revolver where you can empty the shells.  He said one problem with the guns is that they have a tell-tale hole on the bottom of the handle where the gas goes in for the mag.  No worries, some simple After Effects work covers up the hole.

Why You Don’t Use Real Guns On A Shoot

There are obvious reasons why you wouldn’t use a real gun in a shoot.  Death seems to be one of them.  But there are other reasons, like:

  • Getting extra permits and permissions, which boosts production costs.
  • The gatekeepers of your location may not be too keen on real guns getting shot at their place.

Despite the fact that they use fake guns, they look real, and you should be careful even then because if you are on a shoot where neighboring houses/businesses can see you pointing guns at each other, you could get into some trouble.  Ryan relates a personal story:

The next few episodes of Film Riot will be taking us behind the scenes of Losses and we’ll get tips on all of the other aspects of the production.  Can’t wait.