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Mar 10, 2023


I’m J Horton I make movies that make money this is how today I’m gonna tell you how you can shoot a feature film in one day one 12-hour day yes it’s possible I’ve done it three times now I’m not saying that these are particularly great movies and I’m not suggesting that anyone should be making movies like this I’m simply saying that if you’re in a position that it has to be done that it can be done and it can turn out much better than you’d think and I’m gonna tell you how while these movies certainly didn’t redefined cinema they are movies with proper coverage lighting locations they had full casts five or more main actor interior locations exterior locations well the exteriors were a little limited but there were exterior locations see I had worked for this particular company and I had directed over a dozen movies for him so how did we do it first off we found a soundstage a very cheap soundstage it was basically a warehouse with no soundproofing but it had three or four pre-built interior sets some interior houses and a diner if I remember right this particular movie took place in three different house locations in an office so we use the house sets and then converted the property managers office into our office set so we used three cameras and lit the stages we’d light one side and set the cameras and do each scene two times all the way through then we’d move on to the second set up and change angles and lenses then we’d flip sides and do it the other way if necessary on average we’re covering each scene two times and got at least five full pieces of coverage certain ops were better at fishing so we’d usually assign one guy as the Fisher then the other two ops would have set shots you know a wide a two shot single single my background in editing and life TV directing helped out a lot here we do a blocking and a camera rehearsal at the same time and then we’d shoot I’d say we’re averaging three takes a scene and the trick to this is to just keep rolling if someone flubs you pause but you stay rolling you get back a few lines and then you continue on did you keep in mind you got three cameras continuously rolling so you’re always gonna have a good cut and I actually found that some of the actors really liked the fluid energy that this creates I actually later in my career you know as I was back doing you know single camera shoots I found that I would still use this same technique sometimes to keep the energy up on the set then once we’d finished the final set up on a scene one of the apps would stay behind and pop inserts while the rest of the crew had moved on to light the next set and occasionally when we were on a more simple scene we would just do it with two cameras and we’d have another op break off with certain actors and a producer and they would go out and grab quick exterior shots throughout the day the producer would second-unit direct and they knocked the scenes out the main thing that you need to pull something like this off or really any quick schedule movie is the right kind of actors not just good actors but actors that understand what you’re doing and can perform under that kind of time pressure with little to no rehearsal I’ve seen some very good actors named actors crumble on these kind of sets one actor in particular actually broke down in tears because they didn’t have the time they needed to get where they needed to go now there’s nothing wrong with that it’s a very valid acting process but their particular method did not lend itself to shooting a movie in one day now in that particular case you know I pulled the actor aside I talked to him and we ended up working it out and we got through the day but if you’re gonna try and knock out a movie in one day you need actors that are gonna understand and that can handle the schedule you need allies in this battle because it is a battle stage experience is also a big plus for them and you got to keep this exact same thing in mind when you’re crewing up if you have a really good DP but he can’t rip out a decent set up in 30 minutes with two lights you might have to look somewhere else doing a movie like this there’s gonna be a lot of good enough compromises that have to be made if you’re not willing to make those then definitely do not attempt to make a movie like this in one particularly heavy month I directed not one not two not three but four feature films for them for feature films in a month we did two movies in one day one movie in two days and one movie in five days and if I remember right this was all back to back I think we might have had one day off between the five day feature and the shorter ones but we literally shot four movies in like nine days and one of those one day features ended up being a pretty major release it’s been on Hulu Netflix Amazon video stores everywhere and it has named talent and while I’m not privy to the final sales numbers on that one I’m pretty sure it did well for the producers let’s talk for just a second about why on earth someone would shoot a movie in one day I mean why would you do it see the company I was working for they were producing a lot of features and they wanted to produce more features that had named talent but they really couldn’t afford their day rates past one or two days of shooting see a lot of companies will hire a name actor and then they’ll shoot all of that actors scenes in a day or two and then they’ll pepper those scenes throughout the movie but the actors are really only appearing in maybe five to ten minutes of the movie by 2014 distributors were getting very wise to this trick and it just wasn’t helping in the same way that it used to see for the name talent to really carry some weight they couldn’t just be in a scene or two throughout the movie it had to be a little more than a cameo so I was working with a producer that decided to try to do some more of these movies in just a day so they could cast a named Talent actor and then legitimately have them star in the movie appearing in almost every scene and still only pay them for one day their original idea was basically to do a filmed stage play but then I came into the picture and thought I could deliver something a little bit better I want to reiterate that I’m not suggesting that you should make a movie like this or that this is of my preferred method of making movies but if you find yourself in a spot and you have to do it this way it can be done if you’re enjoying my videos please subscribe and don’t forget to hit like and if you’d be so kind consider supporting my patreon especially if you’d like to see me increase the quality and the quantity of these videos if possible I’d like to start uploading three to four times a week but whatever you do keep making movies