Now you have a great concept, a beginning, middle and [maybe] end, now you just need some great actors to pull off your masterpiece. Unless you are blessed with living in Hollywood you probably don’t have professional actors to pull from. A good place to start looking is in your drama ministry, if your church has one. If not, perhaps the people that work with kids, they often tend to be very expressive. If none of these work, you can do what we oftentimes do…the “fog” test. Hold up a mirror to someone’s mouth and see if they fog it…if so, you have an actor!!
Many people have a hard time acting because they have a hard time remembering lines, that’s why we generally shoot a concept not a script. The director’s job then becomes to coach the actors before each scene and let them know a general idea of what they are supposed to do, and let them go for it. Are you going to win any awards? No, probably not, but you are helping to include people in teaching the message in a relevant way, and chances are it won’t turn out half-bad. Besides, it is my opinion that people enjoy a lower quality video with people they know and recognize rather than a video that is well made but with people they don’t know.
Also, when you use people you know, it is easier to tie in inside jokes. For example we made a video called “Ministry Swap” where my lovely wife was a teacher in children’s church and she swapped places with one of our drummers. You may watch the video and get a chuckle, but when our congregation saw it they were rolling! The difference is that they know these people and know how absurd the “swap” really was.
Cut to the Chase
So, everything is filmed and ready for the cutting floor. This is probably one of the toughest parts of the process. First you need to digitize the footage and bring it into a non-linear editing program. If you don’t know how to do this, find a 12-year old kid and ask them to show you how.
As a rule of thumb, cut the video to be as short as possible. After you think it is finished show someone and get their opinion of the slower or weaker parts, then go back in and make it shorter. They say that great films aren’t edited they are re-edited!
As you are piecing together the clips of your blockbuster, please do everyone a favor…only use hard cuts and dissolves! There is no need for wipes, flips, 3D rotates and so forth unless the mood of the video calls for it or is you are going for the ultra cheesy look. When you go to the movies you never see those flashy transitions. In my opinion that is the difference of a pro and a rookie…well, maybe not completely.