Day 4: Continuation w/Light (30 Day “Film School” Challenge)

Ah, I know my thousands of viewers might be absolutely livid that I haven’t been posting about this challenge in over a week and that the paltry content I did post barely qualifies as acceptable. Rest easy, I’m resuming this challenge with full steam ahead.

Today’s Assignment:

-“Three Point Lighting” 
-Watch 3 videos, 2x each X
-Take 50 pictures, 20 w/window lighting 

Videos Watched:

  1. Filmmaking 101 – Three Point Lighting Tutorial
    • Watched twice? NO
  2. How To Set Up 3-Point Lighting for Film, Video and Photography
    • Watched twice? NO
  3. Let’s Talk Film Lighting: The Basics
    • Watched twice? NO

In all fairness, I read 5 additional articles and watched 1 or 2 more videos on this subject.

It’s pretty straightforward – additional information learned:

“Back Light” is also called “Rim Light” and sometimes incorrectly called “Kicker Light.” While the former two both seek to show light around the outline of a subject, the “Kicker Light” seeks to cast a shadow or add more dimension to the subject.

Also, there is the optional 4th part of 3 Point Lighting, where you may light the background. Other than that, I felt pretty confident and strong in these.

But, I will eventually force myself to rewatch these videos to make sure I get all of the details.

Pictures Taken:



It was a bit awkward taking some pictures with window light using a fill and back light…

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if I was supposed to take window light only pictures or treat window light as my key light and supplement the other two points with fill and back…

Well, it’s done. And, I mean, the assignment is Three Point Lighting, so it makes more sense to practice these concepts.

My window shots were pretty cool besides the fact my subjects clearly had fuzzy dust on them. I tried to clean them but no luck!

Moving back to the classic Three Point Setup after that felt much better. I was entirely more comfortable utilizing this setup and got the right kind of shots with that beautiful rim around my subjects profile.

Until tomorrow!


Breaking News

An old, old friend showed me around her job today. She works for a news station as a meterologist and reporter and is quite accomplished and experienced.

Knowing that I wanted to learn more about what’s on the other side of the camera, she brought me in and gave me the full scoop of how they do things.

And let they do a lot.

The entire process is as streamlined and automated as possible:

Once a reporter gets his/her story, he/she edits it and submits it for feedback.

Once it fits the vision, it moves into a “show,” owned by a producer. The producer lines all the stories, segments, camera shots – everything – into a timeline. Say, a 30 minute timeline that makes the 5pm news.

Once all these details are fitted into the timeline, they essentially self-trigger.

The anchor starts the show for 60 seconds, then the system automatically (or manually via the director) triggers the first story to start.
The first story airs for 60 seconds, and the system automatically cuts back to the anchor.

Meanwhile, in the “control room,” the producer, director, and some teammates fine-tune the cameras as needed, and inform each person on camera how much time they have or other instructions. They basically quarterback the entire show.

It’s very fascinating to watch and impressive to see how well all the moving parts come together to broadcast a professional news show to the public.

I’m so grateful to my friend and the network for giving me the opportunity to be able to learn all this and ask some questions (more like a hundred questions)

Day 3: Light Is Spiritual (30 Day “Film School” Challenge)

Today I had some very special guests join me to help me get enlightened with today’s assignment. They were absolutely wonderful and I will mention them in my Oscar speech.

They were absolutely wonderful to have over and work with and I will mention them in my Oscar speech.

Today’s Assignment:

-“Three Point Lighting” 
-Watch 3 videos, 2x each X
-Take 50 pictures 

Videos Watched:

  1. Filmmaking 101 – Three Point Lighting Tutorial
    • Watched twice? NO
  2. How To Set Up 3-Point Lighting for Film, Video and Photography
    • Watched twice? NO
  3. Let’s Talk Film Lighting: The Basics
    • Watched twice? NO

Pictures Taken:


On Videos

I need to rewatch the videos. The red text above glares back at me into my soul and I feel very guilty.

Now… The concept of three point lighting was fairly straightforward but that doesn’t justify my gross negligence! My bad!

The concept was fairly straightforward but that doesn’t justify a rewatch getting sidelined. My bad!

My bad!


I made the most with what I had at home.

Two Walmart floor lamps and a tiny reading lamp I procured at a thrift shop years ago were what I used to light my scenes today!

I can see that adding lighting definitely makes a difference on how my photos turn out.

But, I do have a strong sense that my backlight was way too strong, my fill light not soft (or diffused) enough.

Therefore, now that I’m armed with this knowledge, I think I can do better in the future when I have a better lighting setup.


Friday, tomorrow, I will have the lovely opportunity to have some more light practice in my studio (aka my living room aka my kitchen aka my roommate’s other sleeping refuge area) by not only practicing more with three point lighting but… drumroll… window lighting!



Day 2: It’s Over 9000!! (30 Day “Film School” Challenge)

I took way more pictures today than I was supposed to. But, no, not 9000.

Today’s Assignment:

-“Composition and framing” 
-Catch up on videos and rewatches from Day 1 
-Take 42 pictures from Day 1 + 50 more pictures = 92 pictures 

Videos Watched:

  1. Composition + Framing – Storytelling with Cinematography
    • Watched twice? YES
  2. Understanding Composition
    • Watched twice? YES
  3. Filmmaking: Composition and Framing Tutorial
    • Watched twice? YES

Pictures Taken:



Ahhh… Not only did I cash up on the pictures and videos I missed out on yesterday, but I shot two different locations.

And, I shot a whopping 338 pitchas! Who’s da man? You da man. Me da man. We da man.

I don’t think that was way too many pictures. Practice makes perfect.

Moving on.

The first location was the same as yesterday – shot for 15 minutes, although I did get some better shots.

Next, my roommate took me downtown to go try out his gym. Traffic was pretty heavy and his car was a mess. So I only felt like I had one or two shots there.

He’s always wanted to be a hand model. Today’s just been a productive day, hasn’t it?

Once we got to the gym, I had some time to kill before my class was to start. I roamed around within a one block radius and shot the majority of my pics.

Granted, I felt a lot more comfortable and motivated taking pictures around this gym.

This would be because, according to Mike Browne (mentioned below), it’s a new place!

Of course, no one wants to take pictures of a place with things they’ve seen a million times.

But, it should be possible to find a decent pic anywhere one goes… Anywhere except my roommate’s messy car, that is.

Knowledge Is Power

I also had a bit of time to watch some extra videos and stumbled upon an amazing photography YouTuber, Mike Browne.

Not only are he and his wife very entertaining, but he gives excellent lessons on taking a proper shot.

What I especially like about him is that he takes the time to walk you through each shot he clicks, so you can understand what he’s thinking and doing to get the shot.

He even patiently tries a few different shots that aren’t quite “it,” a kind of trial and error, if you will. And, he gets so passionate about what he’s doing that I’m reminded of Steve Irwin.

Other Videos Watched:

  1. Photography Tips: Positioning & Framing a Composition
  2. Photography Tips: Composition can be practised anywhere
  3. Photography Tips: How to find photos when the location’s ‘boring’.


I realize I still have a lot to learn but I’m seeing a clear difference in yesterday’s and today’s pics. I’m finding that immensely motivating and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s going to be really exciting.

I’ll be learning about three point lighting and taking some shots around the apartment of a very special guest, who gladly volunteered to shoot with me.

Oh, I can’t wait, it’s going to be a blast.

Day 1: What Was I Thinking? (30 Day “Film School” Challenge)

Today’s assignment:

-“Composition and framing” 
-Watch 3 videos, 2x each X
-Take 100 pictures X

Videos watched:

  1. Composition + Framing – Storytelling with Cinematography
    • Watched twice? YES
  2. Understanding Composition
    • Watched twice? NO!
  3. ………Um.
    • Listen. #2 was 30 minutes long, okay! Don’t you patronize me.

Pictures Taken

58! Not 100!

I’m really hoping you’re not the type to judge because a judge would be judging me so hard right now.

Silver Lining

And, I’m really glad I’m not paying to take this as a class. I wouldn’t want to know what my grade is – a teacher would probably be failing me.

Jet Lag

Adjusting overnight to meet the demands of today’s lessons was clearly not easy. It seems almost yesterday when I said…

Look, there are 168 hours in a week. And 720 hours in a month.

You’re telling me I don’t have enough time to be able to do something like this?

Oh, that was yesterday? About that.

This will take up a lot more time than I originally had expected. I really thought I could devote an hour, maybe two, per day, to accomplish each lesson.

It turns out, that film school ain’t a joke. I’ve got an insane amount of material to learn and I need to balance it out with my other many commitments and work going on right now.

I’m not sure I mentioned it but I’m also in the midst of moving right now. Moving typically is a joy, especially when you have a job to go to, so that your life solely consists of moving, job, and moving. Now, with my 30 Day Film School Challenge!, moving gets an even more special place in my heart.

Moving Forward (see what I did there?)

Since I’m behind on watching my videos and taking pictures, I’ll catch up tomorrow (no this is not your typical procrastinator’s paradox). After all, tomorrow’s assignment is only 50 photos. Thanks, D4Darious! Keeping the Day 2 load light. Coolest teach ever.

Below are some pictures I took for my framing assignment, trying to make the image aesthetically pleasing. Keep in mind these pictures are RAW and neutral so they may appear dull or colorless. That’s intended. We’re just focusing on framing and composition right now, folks!

Day 0: I Have An Idea (30 Day “Film School” Challenge)

Ft. Kochin, Kerala

I don’t know what I just got myself into… These are some words I’ve said many, many times over the last decade.

I think I started saying this when I joined the Bollywood Dance Club. Then when I backpacked to India. And, after that, when I’m pretty sure I accidentally joined a cult in Korea, too.

This time, it’s because I’m starting the “30 Day “Film School” “Challenge”” Okay, you’re probably wondering why this title looks ridiculous with so many quotation marks. It’s because it’s not even a real “challenge” and is more like a “class.”

But, how fun does that sound? I enrolled in a month-long film class I found online because I want to learn how to film better.

Noooo thanks. Sounds pretty dull. 30 Day “Film School” Challenge it is!


A favorite YouTuber of mine, Darious Britt, aka D4Darious, has a channel where he imparts his vast knowledge of film to would-be filmmakers.

A lot of his knowledge comes from film school and his own experience.

Every single one of his videos is priceless.

He educates and mentors his audience by keeping it short, direct, simple, and highly entertaining.

I’ve rewatched and taken notes on countless of his videos, I think they’re the best.

The Challenge

A few weeks ago, he uploaded How to Learn Filmmaking FAST! – Without Film School.

As usual, I checked it out. And, oh let me tell ya, it’s good.

In it, he breaks down filmmaking basics by offering a 30 day lesson plan, focused on teaching the foundations of film techniques.

The class (or shall we say, challenge?) is geared for a complete newbie, and will end with said newbie completing his/her first microfilm (microfilm: a film that is typically less than 5 minutes).

Oh, and, it’s free.


Now, I already shot my first short film a few months ago, and honestly, I hadn’t a real clue of what I was doing.

I faced a tremendous learning curve that cost my crew and I a lot of time.

Granted, we made the entire film from the ground up to export in 6 days, but a lot had to be sacrificed (uhh… subtitles, color-grading, sound mastering?!).

So, what’s the point of undergoing a challenge for a newbie when I already have some stripes on my SD card?!


It would be foolish to continue on, ignorant of the best practices and basics that any master needs, assuming I’ll just figure it out. I need this.

So why not start tomorrow?

Well, I have my own commitments (like, a job?). It’s not exactly easy to just commit to a huge 30 day challenge, right?

Except, it’s time for some maths… Look, there are 168 hours in a week. And 720 hours in a month.

You’re telling me I don’t have enough time to be able to do something like this?

Am I crazy for talking to myself?

Challenge Accepted!

Then, I’ll do it. Fine.

Here’s to Day 0, kid. This will be an interesting month.

Want To Do This, Too?

Some competition is always healthy and well, you see, I’m a kind person, so I took the liberty to write down each assignment in D4Darious’s lesson plan and put them in a spreadsheet.

You can have a look at it here if you’re curious or daring. Let me know what you think!

Continue reading “Day 0: I Have An Idea (30 Day “Film School” Challenge)”