Jamie McKeller - Director for RedShirt Films


(Jamie McKeller) #61

Get a good team around you, or better yet… take the time to find an actor. It can be very taxing to split your brain between the two. When I worked as an actor, I wanted to give that all my focus. More so with directing. There’s no space in there for much else.

If you have to do it, consider a co-director maybe.


(Hailey Harper) #62

Actually this brings up another question I had! Is it too boring to just do over-over for a scene of dialog? I know my project isn’t like Citizen Kane or whatever but I also want to make something unique that shows I can direct and not just stage actors, you know?


(Jamie McKeller) #63

We have a Facebook production team group. Lots and lots of spreadsheets. Coffee. Trello is an amazing app for keeping track of everything.


(Jamie McKeller) #64

The best starting genre is the one you love the most. Cheesy answer, but true. I wouldn’t ever tackle a political thriller.


(Meg Carroway) #65

Are the other people on your team also full-ish time creatives? Or just talented friends lending time?

Also- are any/all of your team official “employees” of RedShirt?


(Jamie McKeller) #66

I started out in the sticks. A small village in North Yorkshire, no internet. The people I started working with weren’t in the industry, they were fellow graduates who just wanted to make some stuff. They’re still with me now, over half a decade on which is cool.


(Jamie McKeller) #67

Here’s the pitch we did - https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-book-club-grim-comedy-horror-film#/ :slight_smile:


(Jamie McKeller) #68

Depends what the dialogue is. I’ve done shot reverse stuff, but also love doing long shots with actors in frame. Make them work! :smiley:


(Blair Hunter) #69

JUST MADE IT IN TIME! Hey Jamie! What’s the easiest and most overlooked thing new filmmakers can be doing to make their productions look more professional?

(also… is DailyMotion still a thing? For some reason I thought they were defunct?)


(Jamie McKeller) #70

Two of us are full time, we have several freelancers we bring in project by project. A composer who we hire for everything we can.


(Hailey Harper) #71

So you don’t think an over-over is too boring? I’m also afraid of the alternative- the going TOO film school with it and adding overcomplicated shots for the sake of looking impressive. How do you strike a balance for that?


(Jamie McKeller) #72

DailyMotion is still alive I think? I haven’t checked in a while!

Sound. Sound recording and mixing every single time. Ears are upset far quicker than eyes. Blair Witch is shot on old potatoes, but you can hear every line.


(Bri Castellini) #73

Do you think there’s a future in web series as a more sustainable career model, or do you think we’re always going to need to use them as proof-of-concepts/leg-ups to larger opportunities?


(Blair Hunter) #74

#Truth. What about on-set stuff? Like vibe/atmosphere/things that are avail?


(Jamie McKeller) #75

There are ways to make any shot look amazing. It’s how you frame the reverse shots, how you fill that frame. Blank walls in the background can be dull.

We did a lot of shots like that in The Away Mission but used them for comedy reasons.


(Meg Carroway) #76

Do you think you’re going to keep making web series or are you moving forward to more feature-length things? Where’s your particular passion? What’s next?


(Jamie McKeller) #77

I think that they’re the new short film. It’s a great proving ground for working with longer arcs, bigger casts. I’d love to see them thrive though. We knew that we could’ve gone ahead with Chestersberg as a series, but it will serve us much better as a full feature.


(Hailey Harper) #78

Cool- I’ll check that out! And thank you! I know I probably sound kind of silly asking all this and I know my first project will be bad compared to my second and then my third etc etc but I really want to make this first one count, you know?


(Jamie McKeller) #79

Make sure it’s fun. Buy a big tea urn so hot drinks are on tap. Make sure the food is BIG. Our stuff is fairly ridiculous, so it’s almost always a good time on set.


(Bri Castellini) #80

How has the feature process been different from a series, in terms of pre-production and production? I have a sound tech friend who really wants to make a feature with me and a few people but it just sounds so daunting