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Setups and Payoffs

Lesson 31 from: Guerilla Filmmaking

Ryan Connolly

Setups and Payoffs

Lesson 31 from: Guerilla Filmmaking

Ryan Connolly

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Lesson Info

31. Setups and Payoffs


Class Trailer

Day 1


Writing Your Story


Script Breakdowns and Shooting Schedules


Finding Cast and Crew


VFX in Pre-Production


Filming Gear: Audio


Filming Gear: Camera


Filming Gear: Lenses


Lesson Info

Setups and Payoffs

we talked about setups and payoffs and the writing phase. I'm going to bring it up again because it's a big part of the directing face. It's slightly different, but kind of the same and extremely important. This is my number. One thing As a director, everything is everything is payoff. Same thing as a writer. And this is something so massive that people just don't do so often. We talk about Chekov's gun. It's not in there. Don't put it in there. I'm staring at this note, wondering it What's in this note, and you never tell me what's in this note. But everything is a payoff. Proximity, the explosive shackles. Those are set up in a payoff. Rather, everything's set up in a payoff. Those air set up and pay off the set up is I let you know I drive home. The premise. The idea off these shackles connected to people together, right? So we spend the whole beginning letting you know exactly what these things are, What they do, we get up. He starts to back away from the one character, cause the o...

ther to run away. It switches color, so that's already tells us something's happening with the proximity pun intended with the guy on the floor. Then he turns and looks. He figured it out. We see the guy get his ankle blown off, puts it all together. Now we really set up what the stakes are here. He has to keep this guy with him no matter what, and now we can just go. We spent a little bit of time made it interesting that make injustices boring. Exposition will seen. We made it interesting, but we spend a little bit of time really driving the idea home of what these things will do, why they need to stick together than the rest of time. I can play with the tension off those shackles and drive the entire story forward. So it becomes a McGuffin almost in some way as well. On a point of tension that I can constant play with. We have a fight scene at the end, which is an interesting fight scene. It's fun to watch, but with the added bit of the shackles and that constant beat because of what we set up, it's 10 times more intense because of it. Then, of course, we have the tattoo that we see on the prisoners ankle, right? If we never address that again and dealing with the house with the tattoo. But if we didn't set it up, which just to explain? In case you haven't seen my film proximity, we find out the end. What's the shackles come off that Todd, the lead character, has the same tattoo on his ankle as the other does. It's a prison tattoo we realize. OK, this guy was actually in his position at one point, and we switched to the end to find that our lead character is now in the hunter position, right? So without that little moment of looking at the tattoo of the ankle, that's like a couple of seconds long, and we hardly even show. It's very subtle, but without that would popped off when he just looked at it and had been a very, very odd moment. But instead we took had just three seconds to set that up and totally helps for that. But even talking about good guys and bad guys like an evil villain, if you don't take the time, which you can think of a movie where the conflict at the final resolution that the climax of the villain and the hero coming together didn't really feel all that impactful. You're just like Oh, yeah, Killed the building is probably cause they didn't set up the villain. You didn't really care. You weren't intimidated, Intimidated by him. He wasn't really someone to fear they didn't spend a long time. There's a recent movie that did that home name it. No, but set ups without payoff is what's up with the note payoffs without set up eyes? Well, that was convenient. Where did the gun come from, or tell is a great example. The knife we set up the knife in that one scene of terror were really tearing to come over for us to get a bit of exposition. We made it more interesting by presenting the knife. Is he Isn't he going to kill her? Of course he doesn't. But now we know the knife is there. So when the cop comes over any standing next to it, the first thing you're thinking is Oh, yeah, the knife is there, so I'm able to use at this point of tension. But then, of course, in the end, he ends up killing the cop of that knife. But if the knife just would have suddenly appeared, he killed her again, which were believed already talked about. That wouldn't have been that off. Of course, it probably couldn't find it. But again, it's something that could take your audience out for a second. So you think of everything, absolutely everything. As a set up in Pale, every single character is a set up in pay off. Every moment is a set up in pay off if you have a moment out of nowhere that supposed to mean something and it was not set up is not going to be impactful, which I will continually drive this home over and over and over again because I really think this is one of the most important aspects of making a film. If you want to make a film that's gonna resonate with your audience, give him an experience. You have to have set ups and you have to pay them off. So don't give visual weight the things that have no purpose and don't try to have something with purpose without first setting it up. Hitchcock cutting. I'm sure you guys have heard of this before. Yes. No, we have, like, a candy bar. Something in here? Let's Ah, grab that J K. Josh, come on over here. You stand right here. Josh. We have, like, a muffin or a candy bar, Something delicious looking. And let's grab the gun. Can you grab me the problem we were just using as well. Let's frame up, Josh. Let's get a little bit of that that backdrop in and that's more interesting. But not enough to where we see that works, right? There's good. We're gonna frame right except exposure yet. No, that's good. We can leave right there. That's fine. That works, All right. I want you to give me just somewhat of a sinister sort of smile, but subtle. They'll put too much into it. Let's leave it blank a little bit. And that's actually a lot of direction that I gave Todd when we were doing tell if you notice if you haven't seen tell, watch it and think about this. I wanted Todd's performance to be kind of ah, canvas for you to paint on. I didn't want to force every bit of what he was thinking of doing. Actually seeing that we saw. He's pretty blank face, right? He's just looking at this. I wanted you to kind of put that emotion in for him. So it was a delicate balance of with you in camera. You look like you. What do you dio God start? Can you grab that? Eso is a delicate balance of not going too far with the monotone acting on, not letting him do too much emotion and ruin that idea because he was a monster. And I did want to figure out a way Teoh for you to, like, be on board with him and kind. It was fun to play with the idea of Can I get the audience to not want him to not be caught? And if at the end of the thing, the cops going up and they kind of don't want him to get caught, Why why? Why are you thinking that? I thought that was kind of a fun experience experiment, and there was a lot of people who did. It was very, very split. There were some people at the end that were like, Yeah, I didn't want him to get caught. For whatever reason, there were some people were like, Oh, no, the cop. So there was, like, this split thing and that I thought that was very, very interesting that you would have won reaction or the other. Actually, let's do it on the table. Let's look right here. Let's fix that a little bit, actually. Step, step, step that way a bit So we can fix the exposure. Okay, You're gonna look here and let's roll. And you just looking. And now it's kind of give us half smile. Sort of creepy like. All right, let's go blank again. Just like that. Let's do 25% more of it. Ready and looking and switch. Let's go ahead and get give a lip lick. Perfect. Okay, great. Okay, let's come over here to film this bagel. Delicious bagel, which I believe has raisins. Trash loves the raisin bagels were about to prove that we're also using that location idea. We're making the location work for us. This is obviously not right in front of them, but we're totally gonna make it look like that. Um, go ahead and roll on that. We'll just take a second of it. Good and cut. Flip it out with something a little Wait. Good. All right. You can get that. You can go ahead and stage that back. It is a really simple idea, but a really powerful idea, Which kind of changed the way that I shot and cut, Um, after I kind of grasp it. And why I import this guy as well. Do we have any questions from you guys or any questions from you? I don't have questions. All right, so someone had said that everyone in the chat room is arguing about this. Basically, this goes back to the gear thing. But watching all of these moving pieces, the argument is, would you rather have to to cheap gear items or save up for one really good and expensive one further down the road? That's really difficult to I think people get hung up on small things, which kind of frustrates me a little bit. What's your project? What do you trying to accomplish? What story? You trying to tell what experience we try to give your audience build? On top of that, that's number one. People focus so much on gear, The price of gear, how much gear on it? And it really frustrates me that has nothing to do with it. If all I have is a camera, I'm gonna make something. We made proximity with basically a camera and friends. We didn't have any lighting gear. We had some bounce and we had a rig and we could have done it without the rig. We could have shot proximity with DSLR. I just would have been have been a little bit more careful with how much I was moving the camera. Since we're shooting on the C 500 that moved, that has less of an issue with Rolling Shutter. So it has nothing to do with gear. If all you're focusing on is how much gear you have, what price of the gear it is that you have, you're setting yourself up to fail. That's not how you should be thinking. That's one of the only frustrations that I have with the current sort of landscape that were in that we've been talking about is everything has become so accessible that people are turning everything into gear. What gear? How much is the gear that's too expensive? You know, it's it's not about that. It's about the experience that you're giving your audience what it is you want to say. Build on top of that. So if you need a slider, if the towel your story, you need really smooth, solid moves like we did with Adobe in the proper, then, yes, go with that. But if you have a story where there's a lot of moving parts, you want to move things around, go with that because I can tell you right now I have seen stuff that was really, really sloppy. And I have friends that are currently, uh, way further along that I am in their career who have also seen those things. Same things that we have talked about. And it was just the technical side was so sloppy. But the ideas behind it, the theory behind it, the story they were telling was fantastic and we loved it. And then we've seen a film where everything was polished, look fantastic. The moves were great, clearly done with money, and it was terrible. And we didn't care to know who made it, because they clearly didn't understand the story. They were trying to tell them what they were trying to do with it. So that doesn't matter. The type of attention that you're going to get is gonna be based around what type of story you're trying tough. I just ranted for a minute because the way that we cover that now, I guess the case is closed on gear. You want another question? One more. All right. Any tips on directing while being in the shot? Uh, ask milk Gipson, you you have to do It's really difficult. It comes with practice, I think. And it's, I think, even when you're acting and Josh wanted to come here for a second. Even when you're acting, which Josh is an actor, I am not an actor. I will do it sometimes, but I have never done serious acting. Or will I? Because it would be horrible, and I would have to hide him every crime forever. I just do comedic acting just because it's fun and I don't care if I look like an idiot. But for me, it's all about knowing what your face is doing just by feeling what your face is doing. So when I'm in the scene, I'm able to direct myself because I can feel when I nailed it, I can hear myself clearly and that you've actually feeling what your face is doing right at that time. And the way that you do that is by, you know, doing some mirror acting, which will let Josh talk about its second. The other thing is toe have people that you trust like Josh, who is actually a solid director in his own right. That'll tell you crap, do it again. Clearly not crap. Do it again, because then you'll just wanna curl into a ball and cry. But we'll able to steer you in the right direction that you can trust what they say. No, you got it. Move on. Because it's really hard to not want another take when you just feel like that was terrible. Let's do it again. But if you have somebody that you trust could be like No, you're good or studio in the right direction. If you're not quite there. Those those in the main two things. But why don't you talk about, um a little about about acting with the face and exactly how you do that. The mere acting idea. What did I just started? A hard core. Okay, well, I mean acting for me is understanding your faces. He said, like completely. Um and one way to do that is you kind of already said it is practiced in the mirror. A lot to kind of understand what your face is doing. Um, I actually like to stare in the mirror. Oh, yeah. And just act. Yeah. And what level of stupid do you feel at that time by myself, So not fully stupid. Didn't Todd talks about that? Yes. Yeah. Is there anything else you do like shower? Acting will tell. Lie? Oh, no. I literally. Every time I'm in the shower, I'm acting. I'll make up scenes in my head. I actually act out some of my favorite scenes from movies, which is ridiculous. But it's a great way to practice. I mean, you're in your Adam State. No one's gonna walk in on you, and it's gonna feel uncomfortable. I do it in the car just in my bedroom when I'm alone. Just any time. Aiken act in practice and get in my own element and understand what I'm doing. And I'll watch past things like proximity. I watched that Probably 150 times. And I hate it now Because I just see all my faults and all the things that I did wrong and things that I wish that I could have done and could have changed and so kind of going back and watching all of your old stuff and, um, looking at what you did wrong and seeing what she could have done better, is a great way to learn to, uh, as he said, the best way Teoh to get better is to doom or and just keep practicing and practicing and watching what you did, seeing what you did. Wrong thing. Which you could do better. Um, but yeah, a lot of lot of a lot of practice all the time. Actually, one question that I'm interested in that I don't think I've ever asked you. Uh, what about your voice? Do you practice that at all? Like hearing your voice and knowing what you're doing? I know nobody asked this question. I just got interested. I'm sorry. Understanding your voice is one of the most difficult things. Um, I think void acting with your voice is probably around 50% of your acting, because if you know if, um, your inflections completely different from your face. It's going to sound really weird. So if, like, you're doing a really intense scene and your face is intense, but your voice is like shaky year doesn't even remotely sound like your face. It's kind of off putting. So understanding your voices is a huge part of acting. Go and we can we can jump over to my screen now. Still got Bill on there. Okay, so we have Josh looking gun. You come back so sinister and evil, and now he's gonna kill someone forever. Let's get Bill out of their cause. That's really distracting. That was all I was looking at. A my alone in that. Or were you just staring at Bill one more time? So, Josh Gun and obviously this has played a little comical. But what does that tell you? Right. Let's go back. Josh Bagel. What a fat kid Or Josh Bill. Another love connection. What? You know what? Let's take it one step further. Do we have audio on my system? Let's try this out, Josh. Yes, that's a thing

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

1080p Screen Insert
2.40 Aspect Wide Screen Template
Rule of Thirds
Storyboard Template
Storyboard Template
Class Footage - 1
Class Footage - 2
Class Footage - 3
Class Keynotes
Stark Assets
Guerilla Filmmaking Outline
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Samuel Befekadu

I bet this class will be awesome. the course is given by Ryan Connolly!! I have been watching this guy for more that 5 years. I just wasn't serous about film making then. but now since i love film making why not try to be one of them by learning form the best in the field like Rayn. he has been inspiration for a lot of film maker from his YouTube channel Film Riot. his way of teaching so funny and entertaining . I bought this course to learn Ryan Connolly's killer skill. Thanks creative live and Ryan Connolly!

Will Green

Great class! It starts at a very simplistic level and covers the full spectrum of filmmaking. I would not necessarily buy this course for advanced film students, however it is an amazing review for beginner students to intermediate students. I would love to see a BTS of a short film from start to finish. I've seen all of Ryan's BTS shorts and I would greatly enjoy a much more intricate play by play of the short. THAT"S SOMETHING I WOULD PAY A LOT TO SEE. An 18 hour compilation of prepro - post of a short would be awesome.

Jonathan Beresford

Love Ryan and everyone at Film Riot. Excellent course of the excellent quality I've come to expect from them. I just wIsh he'd act more. So funny.

Student Work