Ever wonder what it would be like to shoot a 3 minute short film everyday? The goal — perfect your abilities as a filmmaker. In 2010, Preston Kanak produced and posted a film a day. By the end of the year, he produced 365 films — ranging from nature films to corporate documentaries!
No matter what you do, the more you do it, the better you will get at it. Preston decided to see how his work would evolve when dedicated to the art of film-making for 365 consecutive days starting in January 2010. The evolution in films was remarkable!
Thanks for checking out 3 Minute Shorts. In this section, you will find out how to shoot a film a day for an entire year using 10 easy steps. If you have any questions about this project, please do not hesitate to ask!
My name is Preston Kanak and I’m a filmmaker based out of Saskatchewan, Canada. In 2010 I produced and posted a short film everyday for an entire year.
Previous to undertaking the 3MS+ project, I read a book by Malcolm Gladwell that introduced me to the 10,000 hr rule. This rule stated that, the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practising a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. After reading this book, I decided to attempt to produce and post a film everyday for one year while also attending a 4-year film program. With the 3MS+ project, I wanted to see how my work would evolve when dedicated to the art of film-making for one year. By the end of the year, I ended up producing 365 films — ranging from nature films to corporate documentaries.
With this program, I want to give you the necessary information you will need to avoid the mistakes I made during the project. I also want to give you a few tips that will hopefully aid you on your journey of producing a film a day for one year.
Before embarking on producing and posting a short film everyday for a year, I came across a book by Malcolm Gladwell titled, “Outliers”, which mentions many times throughout the book a concept known as the 10,000 HOUR RULE.
The 10,000 HOUR RULE was derived from a study by Anders Ericsson, a psychologist who researched the success of violinists at the Berlin Academy of Music. In his study, he found that in every case the violinists that performed the best spent more time practicing. “Outliers”, further describes how the magic number of 10,000 hours was the average number of hours the violinists as well as athletes, composers, writers, artists, even criminals spent to achieve their success.
The hardest part of the process is determining where to start. If you are desiring to shoot a film a day, there are a few things you will need to do first:
1. Determine what you hope to gain from the experience. Shooting a film a day may not be for you. Like anything, it is key to have a purpose and drive behind anything you are doing. Dedication is essential if you hope to be successful with this project.
2. Tell your family and friends about your plans. If you hope to be successful with the project, you need to get your friends and family on board. Having these people on board and supporting you along the way will help you get through the days where you just want to take a break and/or give up on the project.
3. Develop a system. Storage is the biggest challenge with this project. Make sure you develop a system early on in order to stay organized. As you work through these shorts, you will find out what works and what doesn’t work in regards to content management. Having a starting point will help you refine your skills.
4. Financing. Another facet of the process you will need to consider is budget. Data management is cheap but when you are shooting a film a day, it can get expensive. Plan in advance to ensure you have enough resources at your disposal.
5. Find collaborators. Finding people that can help you along the way will make the process much easier. Whether their are filmmakers or other multi-media artists or even people that simply want to contribute, make sure to include them in the process.
6. Create mind maps. Spend some time determining what is important to you and what you want to investigate with this project. Mind maps are a great way to develop a blueprint for the project.
7. Build A Website: Sharing your work online during the project will help build an audience and a support system. As your audience grows, people will start to support you along the way. By doing this, you will also be open to potential work opportunities.
Shooting a film a day can be accomplished through 10 easy steps. These steps will be a little different for each person that goes through the process but the fundamental elements remain the same.
1. Find a Mentor
2. Define the Scope / Project Blueprint
3. Determine What Resources are at Your Disposal
4. Develop a Workflow / Policies & Procedures
5. Breakdown the Elements
6. Develop a Plan of Action
7. Put Your Plan into Action
8. Monitor Your Progress
9. Track Your Progress and Set Goals
10. Inspire Others
CAREFUL SELECTION: The most important aspect of using the 10,000 hour rule is to find your passion. Ask yourself what do you absolutely enjoying doing. Discover what it is you love and could see yourself doing for an extended period of time.
TIME SPAN REFERENCE: 10,000 hours is about 3 hours a day over a 10 year period. Spending this kind of time on your passion will not feel like work nor will it feel like 10 years.
FLEXIBILITY: Make adjustments to your 10,000 HOUR SCHEDULE, if you are working part time, try putting in 4 or 5 hours a day. Add additional hours on the weekend or any other time you have off.
FOCUS: Ensure you stay on task and are maintaining a level of consistency in the work you produce. This does not necessarily mean embarking on similar projects rather focus on how this will help you grow. Collaboration is key to ensuring you are successful when attempting the 10,000 HOUR REGIMENT.
COMMITEMENT: The most important trait you will need if you hope to be successful with this project is commitment. Embarking on shooting a film a day takes a level of commitment that will not only change the way in which you approach your career but also your life.
Shooting a film a day is NOT easy. It takes a high level of commitment and a desire to grow your skill set. There will be times when you feel overwhelmed and want to quit – where you don’t see a lot of progress in the quality of your films. However, if you stick with it, you WILL see improvements and you will come out of the project as a totally new person with a totally new outlook on your career.
During the project, I went through six stages – very similar to the six stages of grieving:
1. Shock: Once you have committed to doing the project, the first feeling you will experience is shock. When you start the project, you don’t quite understand what you got yourself into. You don’t know how to react. You become confused, disoriented and overwhelmed. However, what carries you through this stage is the understanding of what you will gain from the project.
2. Denial: The next stage is denial. You will try convince yourself that it really isn’t THAT much work but it is. It is key to understand that it does require a lot of work and does require a lot of time and effort. Once you embrace this, you begin to work to improve upon each film. At this stage you will start to see progress in your films.
3. Anger: The third stage is anger. Once you begin to accept the truth of the situation, you go from denial to anger. During this stage, you experience feelings of hostility over the lack of control you have. It is key that you take control of the process and force yourself to learn from every film. If you have developed a strong support system, this is the stage when your family and friends usually step in to support you and push you when you need it.
4. Bargaining: During this stage, you will find yourself trying to procrastinate and put off your project until the next day when you will produce two films. This is totally acceptable but do not make this a routine and it will push you too far behind and could end up with you giving up on the project.
5. Grieving: This stage can last over an extended period of time. It’s also important to understand that everyone grieves differently. Don’t try to compare yourself to others who have been through similar situations.
6. Acceptance: The final stage is the most important step of the process. At this stage, you have accepted the process and getting to the end is simple when you have accepted the process and the change that was required in your life to attempt this challenge.
Everyone will reach each stage at a different part during the process but I guarantee everyone will go through these stages if they are truly dedicated to the project.
Interested in attempting to shoot a film a day? Feel free to contact me for more information.