This is a great interview from a talented filmmaker, Ryan Koo who is also the founder of one of the biggest filmmaking websites online called www.nofilmschool.com. The interview is conducted by Film Courage, I highly recommend subscribing to their channel as they have a ton of great interviews and filmmaking advice. Below are my key takeaways from the interview.
What you will learn:
- How to pick the right filmmaking gear
- Renting versus buying film gear
- Learning the craft of filmmaking from the masters
- $125,000 crowdfunding tip
- Tracking performance
- Getting film financing
How to pick the right filmmaking gear
Don’t worry about getting the latest and greatest tech to shoot your movie. Typically, it’s not your gear that will make or break your movie, but other aspects of filmmaking like having a good script, actors, directors, film marketing, etc.
Gear addiction is someone who is constantly buying the best gear and upgrading their old gear. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as you are investing your money with the gear that helps you become a better filmmaker or to tell your story in a specific way. Don’t buy gear for the sake of having the best gear with the illusion that it’ll make your movie look more ‘pro’. It’s not the tools you use, but how you use the tools that matters.
It’s important to research which gear to get since it can possibly save you a lot of money. Ryan Koo mentioned he bought a RED camera by applying for a credit card with 0% interest for 21 months. So, each month he only had to pay $300 to own a brand new RED SCARLET camera under his name. At the same time he would be sub-renting his camera so he could pay off the entire RED camera before the 21 month period to avoid paying any interest to the credit card company. Ryan mentions it’s important to be business savvy and understand how to invest in gear the smart way. He says, “It (gear) should be paying you, not vice versa.”
The reason why Ryan Koo chose to go with the RED SCARLET than all the other options available, is simply that it offered more options, more versatility when it came to shooting in 4K, with editing, the flexibility to shoot all sorts of mediums. Other cameras are much more specialized to certain types of filmmaking like weddings, feature films, documentary, etc. So, it’s important to pick the camera that you believe is the best fit for your goals. Some key questions to ask yourself when choosing a gear is, “How much use can I get out of this? And for how long?”
Renting versus Buying Film Gear
Ryan Koo mentions he prefers to buy gear than rent gear since like most filmmakers, he loves the idea of owning all this great filmmaking gear and having the ability to go out any time they want and film something cool. Rather than, setting up a budget and getting insurance and all that which comes with renting gear. Although, either option is completely fine, it comes down to your needs. If you know you are only going to use the equipment for a limited amount of time throughout the year, then, maybe renting is better.
Learning the craft of filmmaking from the masters
Ryan Koo’s favorite way of learning about the craft of filmmaking is by listening to filmmaker’s commentary of their own films. Stepping into their shoes and seeing things from their perspective. I also enjoy doing this, since I never went to film school. I would watch all the special features in DVDs and Blu-rays, including the commentaries. My personal favorite documentary on the craft of filmmaking has to be the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition DVD/BLURAY set, including The Hobbit Trilogy Extended Edition DVD/BLURAY set. I’ve watched these documentaries so many times and learned a ton from them and also developed an appreciation for all the different areas and artists involved throughout the entire filmmaking process.