Last year I decided to make a short film. I wrote the 5 page script in June 2016 and shot the film in October 2016. I have not made a fictional film between university (studying film production) and working on film sets (as a Script Supervisor).
I thought it would be good to see what I could make with the skills I have 5 years after graduation.
I really should have written this post around the time I was filming, so I am trying to remember everything correctly, thinking back to 6 months ago this is how I felt.
It was my intention to keep making films after university, but unfortunately I didn’t have a solid plan. In reality working on film sets was all too time consuming. This break between film work and filmmaking had a negative effect. I found that I was very doubtful of my ability to make this film.
I am not a director yet so I felt anxious giving people orders.
I had a great guilt filling inside of me throughout this whole production. Was I wasting everyone's time? Getting people up in the mornings to work on a short film for me?
It is fun to make a film when everyone is a student and there is no real pressure to make something good. Now my cast and crew have become more experienced. I feel that I owe it to people to create something good for the sake of their careers. For the sake of giving up their free time for me.
Originally I was going to shoot the film over the summer when I had a few weeks off work but the shoot kept on getting pushed back. I had to organise the filming around my full time day job. As well as everyone else's film jobs. I could not afford to pay people to work for me. This made organising very stressful, Everyone had other commitments, so what could have been shot over three consecutive days took 5 weeks to complete.
The film was shot over 5 days stretched out over 5 weeks
Bit by bit
The first day was cancelled over bad weather, the next day we only shot half of what was planned. It is so hard to get everyone to show up on time and get to work. It took on average 2 hours after call time to get set up and when we began the filming was slow. I forgot how long it took to shoot a film.
I need more people
I had a small crew of three people to help out on camera and sound, as well as drivers and general help but I need more people. I played Director, Producer, Art Director, Costume, Continuity my mind had too much to think about.
And the previous work I did as a Script Supervisor showed up ugly. I could not get the small details out of my head, moving the actress's hair to match the previous shots, moving props to their places after every shot. The work I did as Script Supervisor made me mad for detail. But if I didn't do it no one else would.
I needed to focus on the story and actors. My head hurt. I desperately need someone to take care of Continuity for me especially since I have spent so long doing that job myself.
I Enjoyed directing
Ok so here are the positives, I enjoyed the actual directing. When it came to auditioning, rehearsing and working with actors on set I had fun. The actual directing, the working with actors and using your imagination to create the image from your mind onto screen is fun. It is a shame that most of filmmaking is organising and disappointment.
A Better story
My story is not strong enough. I new this from the start but I just wanted to make something anything. I am definitely not a screenwriter, I am a very visual filmmaker, but I have not developed my skills to write a good story. I will need to work with a screenwriter in the future.
I have completely scrapped any plans of placing my short film into film festivals. I will not be moved on this, my film is just not good enough and entering into film festivals will surely be a waste of money. When I finish the film I will place it up online. This film was simple practice to see what I could do.
I have been far too busy to finish editing my short film. I aim to carry on with post production later this summer. As it turns out having a full time job, blogging and making films is too much for me, I need to focus my energy on one thing at a time.
I am not making a film again if I have a full time job to organise the shoot around. I am not making a film again unless I can pay the cast and crew 'I feel far too guilty making people work for me, for free just so I can experiment'. I definitely need more skilled crew and help during production. I need more money. So it will be a while until I make a film again and I am happy for it to take a while so long as the next film I make is a more professional production. I hated the guerilla style filmmaking.
I will put the film up online later this year. It probably won't be that bad either, definitely the best thing I have made, so I guess my experiment was a success.
I hope this has been a somewhat helpful and interetsing post to read. I wanted to be as honest as possible with the struggles I had making this film, most of them were in my head, my lack of confidence, the guilt I felt for making people work for me.
Leaving Film Production behind for several years whilst I pursed film work made not for an easy transition. I am not a student anymore so I wish to make better quality films. I am definitely aiming higher and in doing so giving myself far too high standards to meet.
I am still going to be making films, I have definitely learnt a lot from this experience. I like a slow pace to a film production, I like a professional film set. I can't see myself being the indie filmmaker making low budget feature films and relying on favours. Perhaps this wish for a quality production is a blessing or maybe the curse of working in the film industry before becoming a film director.