Making a Movie about the Drums


"Uncle Larry"
I can't offer advice on the directing end, but when you ask if there's anything a (novice) drummer should learn before filming a short on drumming...

I would want you to understand what it's actually feels like to be a working drummer. Since that would take too much time, I'd suggest you get the most qualified and experienced drummer/consultant that's available to you. Someone who actually knows. If you want drummers to like a drumming film, you have to make it real. Drum battles are so cliche and really not relevant anymore. Drumming is about mastering oneself, not beating others.

Me, I'd fill the 12 minutes with succinct, 30 second clips of every crappy thing a drummer has to deal long as it's the real deal, with the end being some sort of payoff scene. Or ripoff scene, you decide. 12 minutes is just not long enough IMO to make a worthwhile film that includes all the elements you want.

But since the stage for the plot is set already on the crowdfund page, you're locked into it. You'll have to condense all that stuff masterfully to fit in 12 minutes.
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Vintage Old School

Gold Member
And drummers are a solid clan. We help each other out at gigs and watch each others back. And we know who is hot on the drums and who is not.
This is truth. I realize there isn't a lot of room to develop characters and plot in a short film, but having an older drummer as a mentor for your female lead character to encourage her would be much closer to the norm. Consider having the mentor put her in an unexpected live situation in front of an audience on a song that forces her to confront her own fear/anxiety/insecurities. Fight or flight. Let her "battle" her fears in a live playing situation that is over her head. My two cents.


Platinum Member
I see a movie starting with a Drummer Sensei using drum sticks to catch flies as "incense" (wink, wink) smolders in background. A young lad wanders in and the Drum master throws his sticks pinning the kid to the wall. Thus is their introduction...... but they become fast friends because the young lad is a incredible funk up and loser so Sensei sees he needs an ego booster-learning the drums. Lots of scenes of training, lots of bloody hands and Sensei beating the lad senseless. But Sensei has issues to-too much "incense" has fogged his senses so working with the young lad Sensei finds redemption and starts playing in public again. So he no longer plays with himself but once again plays with others in public. The lad gets his act together, impresses everyone with his drum skills, joins a band and becomes famous-then crumbles back into funk up and a loser-however before he collapses into complete desolation he too meets a screwed up kid and he passes on what Sensei taught him teaching the lad drums. The movie ends in a smoky back room with "incense" burning and all three have a drum off with all three amazing skills. Another lad stumbles in and all three throw their sticks pinning the new kid to the wall. Call it Samurai Drummer.
A thought that just occurred to me: if you're really set on having a drum battle, have the first drummer play all sorts of crazy impressive complicated stuff. Then when it's your protagonist's turn, she proceeds to play softly, subtly, with an amazing feel. The first drummer looks amazed and confused, can't believe how easily he's winning this thing. And when it's over, you've got some seasoned professional drummer who's been watching who walks right past speed demon drummer to tell her how great she did, and says he knows someone who's been looking for a drummer and he's going to recommend her.


Well-known member
Regarding drum battles. They do happen. I’m thinking of when Will Calhoun and Neil Peart were supposed to trade licks and Will Calhoun felt he had something to prove and didn’t follow the script. I wasn’t able to find any documentation on this in a quick search, but it’s out there.

My point with this though is that in this scenario there’s never a winner like in Rocky. Everyone loses.

A drum duet is quite common and it’s an amicable trading of licks between two drummers. There’s nothing competitive about it, and when it goes in that direction it just sucks.

I would think of another way to resolve the film rather than a Rocky like drum battle.


Gold Member
…she proceeds to play softly, subtly, with an amazing feel.
This reminds me of the tracks The Drum Also Waltzes on the Burning for Buddy album. Here’s all this blazing-hot drumming then Max Roach comes in with these solos that are really graceful and moving.
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