What I learned from the making of backyard tenkara

The first time I attended an international fly fishing film festival, my mind was absolutely blown away. I was inspired, in complete awe, and totally consumed in the films. As the festival ended, I turned to a buddy of mine and told him, "I will have a movie in a fly fishing film festival someday."

One of the films that really stood out to me that night was called "Good As Ever," by Outsmarting Fish. I have followed their blog and vimeo channel for years but the film stood out to me because of it's simplicity. The film is just over five minutes and I'm sure it was filmed without a hefty budget. No over the top fishing lodges, heli rides to the backcountry, expensive guiding services, or traveling to places half way around the world. Just a message about how awesome fly fishing is, filmed on a public trout water where anyone can camp and fish. I will embed the video below this post.

I'm an average Joe fly fisherman. I don't have all of the latest bells and whistles of fly fishing, no sponsorships of any kind, just a few rods and a passion for the outdoors. Those things didn't stop me from trying to pull off a film like Outsmarting Fish. I spent a good year and a half trying to put trips together in amazing places that would be the setting of my international fly fishing festival film. After a bunch of setbacks and no luck putting together a good crew, I was ready to give up. I had a buddy tag me in a f3t short film contest post about a year after my summer filming plans fell through. It was early fall and I had one month to get a five minute film shot and edited for this contest. This past year (2017) had been a very different fly fishing year for me than years past. I was introduced to tenkara fishing at the beginning of the year and it was totally up my alley. I'm a huge fan of fishing small creeks and rivers. The solitude and adventure is just way beyond that of combat fishing large rivers for hogs. Tenkara took over 2017 and I found myself in small water all year chasing little brookies and cutts. As I thought of ideas for my film I realized that I don't have to travel to the ends of the earth for a great fishing film. I don't even have to leave my own backyard. I wanted a simple film to begin with and what could be more simple than fly fishing with a tenkara rod in a local creek.

Finding the right crew for a film is really one of the more important things to consider when getting started. You need to find a crew that cares as much about what you are doing as you do. I would like to say that everything goes perfect when you are filming. I would like to say you get every shot you need the first time around, but that almost never happens! The first day that we started filming backyard tenkara, the fishing was super slow and we only got into a handful of fish. I was planning to film for only one day and we ended up on that creek filming for three days. I was so grateful to my buddies that helped me out because it was not an easy time of the year for all of us to meet up three times in one week.

I'm the type of person that is never happy with my work. I spent around a total of 50 hours compiling, color grading, and editing backyard tenkara. I exported the film 4 times thinking that I was finished. The first three times I exported the "final" file, I would find a shot that I didn't love or a clip arrangement that needed to take place. In the end I was pretty happy with the final product, but if I had a little more time I would have redone a few shots. The point being, give yourself time because you may need to go back to perfect those small details that will make your film pop.

Finding music was probably one of the greatest challenges for this film. I ended up using a site called soundstripe for music licensing rights. The site has a monthly fee and you can download, license, and use as many royalty free songs as you want for the entire month. Overall I would give the music from the site a B or B+. I didn't have $700-$1000 sitting around for licensing popular music you might hear on Pandora or Spotify. Soundstripe is definitely worth looking into, I believe I paid $15 for one month. The music is a lot better than audio jungle or similar sites offering royalty free music.

I wanted to share a few things that I learned from filming backyard tenkara. I could go on and on about things I would do differently or the same. I submitted the film into the F3T fly fishing film tour short video contest. Our film was not selected this time, but we are going to learn from this experience and prepare for another short film this upcoming summer. I would love to hear from you about your filming experiences. If you are the person that has no interest in filming and making movies, the link to backyard tenkara can be found above this post. Let me know what you think! Leave me a comment and don't forget to subscribe to the fishiki youtube channel.

Thanks for stopping by Fishiki today!


"GOOD AS EVER" (IF4) // Full Film from OutsmartingFish on Vimeo.


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