Filmmakers & Filmmaking Stories: James Dilg

We filmed the outside scenes downtown Great Falls around 12-1 pm. A lot of workers have their lunch at that time which was funny, us being outside w/ a gimbal operator on a wheelchair going backwards to film our talent walking w/ a big boom mic and great falls being on their lunch to watch was fun, prolly the finest part of the day… 

James Dilg

When I looked at a small crack in the trophy of one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, I thought: Why all this? Really, what is it for? Perhaps the answer to this question should be quite witty. But while we’re looking for an answer, let’s hear the story of James Dilg, a musician, and filmmaker. The director of a short film “Perfectly Time” the trailer of which you just watched.

James was interviewed by Aliaksandr Martyniuk.

Do you remember where your journey to cinematography began?

Yes. In 2013 I moved from Florida to Montana. I’ve always had a big background in music being as how my father was a musician. I was making my own music and traveling when I first moved there. I was getting into hiring video ppl to do my own music videos, saw the process and thought it was cool. Only maybe a month or two being in Montana we had gone on a few road trips. One day we were traveling along I-15 and stopped off along the Missouri River. I remember looking at how beautiful it was, wandering around a bit, laying down and looking up. I remember I turned the camera on and the image I saw was just gorgeous, the sun shining brightly on the river. It was at that moment when I saw that image when I turned the camera on that I knew I wanted to make films.

Did you have to sacrifice or give up something in the name of making films?

Yes, music. ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved music, it gave me feelings that resonated w/ me very very VERY strongly. Focusing my attention on filmmaking was great and all but music is definitely something I love. When I give something my all my return on investment seems to be much greater. In order to focus on film, I definitely cut back on music.

How many films have you made?

A couple of short films, our latest “big” one is called Perfectly Timed. Follow us on IG @perfectlytimedmovie.

How have they been financed? Have the production costs paid off?

As far as financing not really, we utilized our resources we had, me and my screenwriter and good friend Joshua W Dowdy, who wrote the majority of the shorts I directed. I’d say the production costs paid off for the sake of making some very nice pieces of work.

Tips for filmmakers

Some tips for filmmakers.

Great question!

  1. Knowledge is power, the more you know the better. Don’t be afraid to try things, work hard, become a master of the camera so you can utilize it its full potential, shoot in LOG for color grading purposes;
  2. Be respectful of your cast and crew! Find people who’re great at what they do and build a team. Know all the positions of the crew (DP, Gaffer, AC, Director, AD, BTS, PA, etc);
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask a rental house for a discount on renting gear if you don’t have a big budget;
  4. Get an array of shots, wide, closeup, gimbal, drone, tripod, handheld, etc (it adds production value). Put your shutter at double the frame rate, for example if you’re shooting at 24fps, shoot at 1/48 or 1/50 shutter (this is the standard for film). In post 2.35:1 is a GREAT aspect ratio to crop. Understand lighting, really understand lighting. Check out and use code “JAMESDILG10” for a 10% discount ))));
  5. As soon as your done shooting go home and work on the edit ASAP.

What significance did these films have in your personal life?

As far as significance this is a big one. First off, on Perfectly Timed there was a number of crazy coincidences. The main characters name was James (my name), second, one key element to the film is a wristwatch that the character receives in the beginning. Josh wrote the watch being a Bulova Acutron, our main talent we cast just so happened to have that same brand of watch! Crazy, I know, it gets better! And there was one scene when a watchsmith works on the watch and when he’s done turns around w/ a devilish grin. When Alex, our main talent received the watch in real life the girl that gave it to him gave it to him w/ a devilish grin. There was just a number of crazy coincidences. They held significance b/c we also received a front page newspaper feature in our paper “The Tribune”. Great Falls, Montana was where it was filmed. A city w/ about 70,000 people. This was my first time having a bigger cast/crew to overlook for a production.

We filmed the outside scenes downtown Great Falls around 12-1pm. A lot of workers have their lunch at that time which was funny, us being outside w/ a gimbal operator on a wheelchair going backwards to film our talent walking w/ a big boom mic and great falls being on their lunch to watch was fun, prolly the finest part of the day. One other cool thing that happened is when Greyson, our drone op was getting the drone shots, a group of birds were flying around. One got REALLY close to his drone when were coming down rather quickly. We were both looking at hotel image when that happened and went woah! Than I said did you see that?! Definitely gonna have to use that for the film.


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