Filmmaking Dabble – Part 1

I love learning new things. It’s a huge part of the premise behind Hobby Dabbler. I don’t learn in order to become an expert but rather to have the ability to go just below the surface of something to make it less intimidating to approach. Instead of mastering whatever I’m learning, I enjoy simply gaining a better understanding of how things work so I can feel more confident.

A few days ago, I purchased a $48 online filmmaking course. (14-Day Filmmaker at, if you’re curious.) Yesterday, the practice for the composition lesson was planning and filming the making of coffee. Planning, suprisingly, took me about 30 minutes. You don’t even realize how much thought goes into it:

  1. Listing out each action – I had never considered each step of making coffee before. I will say, the story-telling lesson is on day 8. Maybe I’ll learn more about planning a scene then.
  2. Thinking about how you want to show that action and which techniques you’ll need to apply
  3. Making sure the scene continuity works between shots – Did I move something to get a shot and place it back correctly for a different take? The heavy creamer container is not consistent from pre-brew to post-brew, for example.
  4. How to technically execute the shot – Some things I envisioned but didn’t account for the execution itself. I hadn’t thought to bring a tripod down because this was a quick practice but it would’ve been helpful for some of the shots where you can tell I’m hand-holding the camera.
  5. Considering the noises things make and how/if you want to capture them – Paul noisely unwrapped a package several feet away while I was filming the close-up of the coffee brewing. I forgot about the “Quiet on the set!” command you think of when you picture a studio filming. It worked out fine for this practice because I sped up the video because it was too long anyway, so the noises came out as just blips. Plus, I ended up adding music over the whole thing.
List of actions and composition ideas for making coffee
Shot list for making coffee

Like many people, I am normally a person who strives for perfection which often inhibits me from “practicing” at all because I won’t be content with a less than perfect result. Publishing this video is out of my comfort zone because I can see the mistakes I made and I didn’t apply the editing rigor I would have preferred. But, without those mistakes, I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much. So far in this filmmaking dabble, I’ve learned things that I can’t unlearn and will definitely be applying them to my day-to-day personal recordings.

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