Well... not quite. I've so far been just talking about this project, and too much talk is well... boring. However, today was the first day of ACTION! Granted... said action took place in my friend's family room, and was just a crash course in how to light a set, but I felt like this was a huge benefit for me having someone who know's what the hell they're doing just showing me the basics. A few of the (many) lessons learned:
It may be simple, but it sure as hell isn't easy
Lighting is tricky. Its easy enough to deal with when you've got a flash (or 2) and need to take a picture, but its a whole different can of worms when you have to light for film and video. I pretty much have the best case scenario short of a 5DMKII with a f/1.2 lens, but even with a simple setup, a pretty fast lens, and a still subject there's quite a few things you need to take into consideration, be it the ambient light sources, the color and texture of the background, the color and texture of the subject's clothing, effect you are trying to achieve with the light, etc. This is the art of filmmaking well before one exposure is ever taken.
Do it now, so you don't fumble with it later
A lot of stuff I saw and picked up were just really simple things, like how to correctly set up a c-stand and how to correctly wire and string up some lights. Nothing was complex, and the art at that point was pretty minimal, but just those basic tasks make you realize how in a pressure situation they could get needlessly complex.
Sell your content correctly
I don't mean literally selling for money, but rather looking at the potential audience and maybe, just maybe, paying a little lip service in order get those all important views. There may be some great takes later with some neat people that just don't show up right when edited, and sadly those takes may have to go in favor of something with a little more audience holding power.
Goals are great, but flexibility is better
Going into a project without a goal is stupid, but going into a project with only a goal is not very intelligent as well. I'm not sure how much veering off I will be doing with this, but I know that I will need to be able to actively update my goals as the project goes on.
Give yourself WAAAAY more time than you think you'll need, cuz in the end you'll need it
No brainer here.
People like attention. Give it to them.
One of the things I got out of talking with Vanessa, who's the documentary buff of the group, is that in the end, people really do enjoy taking about themselves, even if they don't seem to be that way when you initially point the camera. All you have to do is give time, a little encouragement, and more importantly a little freedom for the subject to express themselves however they wish and sooner or later they'll do or say something interesting.