I began looking to learn something about preproduction. I was determined I was to learn this semester about how to organise and run a film. Because, from past experiences, what I have learnt is that this is the corner stone to any successful film. Effective communication and organisation and I remain certain of this. However I also learnt many other things not in relation to this. You see as the semester went by my interests shifted and I became interested in the effect editing can have on an audience whilst also wanting to pursue learning about the craft of filmmaking. I made an incredible amount of mistakes.
I came to this course wanting to learn more about pre-production and how to get a film project moving. What I learnt was the you have to keep moving and keep rolling and shoot everything you can while you can. Organisation and dedication are key. You need it not only yourself but from everyone you work with. This was a major fatal flaw of mine. The people I worked with are my friends, not my colleagues. In the future this is something I need to fix. I also set out to learn more about editing and how it effects a viewer and tone. I strayed far from this and still learned about it. I still got practice and experience in places before where I had none. Before this course I’d never used a C stand.
Now having used them I can confirm they are a logistical nightmare. They are big and clunky and would barely fit into my car. This, now this is filmmaking. This was the studio for me, being an uncool dork with a truckload of equipment and sort of learning as I went along. It was a pretty embarrassing way to study. I’ve copped a few remarks from mates thinking that my whole going to uni was an elaborate lie and the booking of equipment an aspect of this rouse designed to fool them into believing it a little while longer. Until of course I got myself together and worked out what I was doing. I would have benefitted from planning more and ensuring people not only had the plan but also understood their role within it.
A brief story from my blog posts from the set will illuminate this:
“After arriving in Charlies garage and halfway setting up two new things occurred. Both somewhat unforeseeable and “game changing” as they say. Zac’s house turned out to be free as his mother had decided to go away for couple of days in the morning and Lachlan hadn’t showed up. So down a crew member and with a new location available I was faced with a choice. Stay here where awkward hanged in the air like a stale odour or spend the next two hours moving location . I took a show of hands.
The decision was fairly unanimous, if we’re going to move nows the time and everyone wanted to move. In the moment this seemed like a good idea to me as well. It was only just before midday, the day was getting on but there was still time. A free apartment meant more freedom and a less depressing and awkward atmosphere. What could possibly go wrong…
Once arriving things started looking up. The equipment was heavy up the stairs and tight in the cramped apartment but what can you do. I set up in the living room which was probably a metre and a half across with about three metres depth. Tight. Very tight. I set up everything alone as my mates watched scoffing down a thirty piece bucket of KFC. An army runs on it’s stomach. Charlie appeared with a six pack, already half plastered having drunk the other one on the way back from the store. If he was going to act he wasn’t going to do it sober.
Now if ever I was going to see cause for alarm it might have been at this moment, but I was much too engrossed in getting the lights right and audio working.I stuffed around heaps with the audio, but in classic fashion I didn’t bring a mixer. Thinking I had somehow outsmarted the process and found a shortcut I had actually inadvertently created more of a problem because for whatever reason the camera wouldn’t receive audio from it. Even with mic and phantom power on it wasn’t functioning. I messed around with this for close to an hour. I had to make a decision, I decided that it was taking too long and I didn’t care about dialogue or sound anyway.
The lights were looking good, actors were in place. I ran a rehearsal.
Oh my god these people can’t act, nor can they remember their lines. So the next two minutes of stumbling, mumbling and slurring was an awkward reminder that acting isn’t easy nor a natural talent.
My creative solution was this. It’s nerd talk anyway, where are the comic books. I put the scripts in the comics and said, act like your reading them.
Zac after three or so takes got fed up. Fine. I jumped in and told him when to press record etc. The full Ben Affleck.”
I have come out of this course with a deeper appreciation for the need to collaborate with your peers. The essence of filmmaking is exactly that, it’s collaboration. No matter how much money and control you have, you are always negotiating with fate, circumstance and actors as to what this movie will be. I did not accomplish my goal of shooting one scene with three different ways. I did not accomplish my desire to have an entire, perfected beautiful short film to show off. In the first weeks I said something along the lines of me wanting to “use filmmaking to have learned filmmaking” and I did just that.