For the rest of semester I am planning to do test shoots for the short film I am DoPing, which is written and directed by two people from my work. The film is called ‘Touch On/Touch Off’ and it is about a 20-something-year-old guy called George who decides not to go to work due to his negative Myki balance. Instead he chooses to go on a ‘Ferris-Bueller’-esque adventure around Melbourne, bumping into an ex partner and meeting a new ‘flame’ on the way. This light and dreamy storyline is paralleled with the storyline of his work friend, Claudia, who does actually go to work, which ends up being extremely chaotic and comedic in a slap-stick kind of style. After many angry calls from his boss, George finally manages to make it to his job. By the time he gets there the cafe has already settled down and George is feeling a new sense of enlightenment after his morning off.
One of the writer’s main wishes for this film is that it becomes something that people will want to watch more than once. So there are a few characters who turn up in the background of various scenes and little sub-plots happening behind the main point of action. This is something I will need to keep in mind when I am planning and shooting the film. A lot of shots will need to be framed as long shots, or I will need to shoot them with a wide angle lens, so that the audience can view what is going on in the background of the scene, as well as the foreground.
In terms of the logistical and technical means of shooting this film: we are shooting half of the exterior scenes on Saturday 14th May, the cafe scenes on Sunday 21st May and the rest of the exterior scenes on Sunday 22nd May. I will be using my DSLR camera and tripod, we are hiring sound recording gear and lighting (this hiring also comes with the people who will be doing our sound recording and lighting for the film), I will hire a dolly from RMIT if we need it and the props for the cafe are being organised by our two production designers. The catering for the three days of shooting, as well as some of the props and gear rental will be funded by our Pozible campaign of which we have already raised two thirds of our target and we still have 21 days left to go! We also have a producer, first AD and sound designer on board, which will make things much easier for all of us.
So, my plan from now on will be to create storyboards for every scene of the film in collaboration with the writer-directors. Every week I will choose a scene from the film to test shoot, working off the storyboards as well as doing some more improvised kind of camera work. Where possible I will try to do the test shoots at the actual location they are set in, using the actors we have already cast, but if this is not possible I will use whatever and whomever is at my disposal. The purpose of these test shoots is to make me feel comfortable shooting the scenes on the actual day, as well as giving me a feel of what shots will work best with the story. As a result of these test shoots I am hoping that the film, and more specifically the cinematography, will turn out to be something I am proud to show my family, friends and fellow peers.