movie monday: a “guest post”

ever since i discovered them last year, i have been a huge fan of the “olive us” mini-movies.  they chronicle the everyday adventures of an american family with six children, currently living in france.  this is the first episode i watched:

(i noticed that for some reason, my embedded video didn’t come up in feedly on my phone, so if you’re not seeing a video above, try this link.)

awesome, right?  part of the reason they’re awesome is because they are produced by tiger in a jar (one of my dearest wishes right now is to be able to attend this upcoming workshop with tiger in a jar, but it’s a bit outside of my budget at the moment.  le sigh.)

i have been inspired by the olive us movies and have tried to emulate some of the techniques i see them use in my own little films.  apparently, i’m not the only one!  they’ve decided to run a contest for fans to make their own “olive us inspired” movies.  i was so excited!  I’ve entered four movies already and got a complimentary little e-mail back from the dad thanking me for my submissions (squee!).  i think i’m actually more excited just to have the opportunity to share my movies with these filmmakers that i admire than i am about the remote possibility of winning anything. if you’re inspired by their movies too, the deadline to enter the contest is april 30.

i asked if there was any chance they’d be offering any film tips or tutorials on their blog during the contest and they have done a few posts on techniques that i already knew about (shot lists and storyboards) but which are tricky to do with a three-year-old.  (although i can aspire to do these for more pre-planned movies).  here are a few other stylistic things i’ve gleaned just from watching:

–there is something elegant about a movie with no spoken words, just music.  if you do have spoken words, you don’t have to show the speaker the whole time they’re speaking (it can be done voice-over style).

–awesome fonts (and hand-drawn elements) can really boost the visuals and captions can add to the fun.

–vary your camera angle and amount of zoom.  focus on faces and hands (or feet or whatever).

–quick cuts are generally more interesting to watch than really loooooong scenes.

–reduce or eliminate background clutter whenever possible.

–it would be helpful to have another person running the camera if you need to be in the shot yourself.

–france is just a beautiful backdrop for just about anything.

what else did you notice?  are you inspired to enter their contest?  if you were me, which of the movie monday films would you enter?

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