“Nothing, like something, happens everywhere.”
I found the preproduction one of the hardest challenges we faced when making this short film, the first hurdle being the inability to stick with a film idea we all liked and agreed upon. From a short film about being stuck in a video game to one about an unreliable narrator- an usual concept that none of our peers had gone for, we as a group definitely upped our game by going for an arguably simpler idea.
“ There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness.” Frank Capra.
This lead to the search for the correct actors, the male lead needing a convincing unreliable narrative whilst also having the right balance between shy and unsafe appeal on camera. Matthew was the perfect fit and everyone agreed. Aizah Khan had the correct look to stand by Matthew and make it look like they could have been a couple, we needed a pair that was believable. It was important for us as a group to make sure no one had any doubts about our actors. Though we made reasonable progress with our actors I believe that without setting ourselves deadlines for each section of preproduction – script, storyboard, location, shot list etc, we fell slightly behind come filming. This has made me realise just how important the preproduction is to staying on track. Also with the constant feedback we received from our tutors on our script, I consider the process to be most useful and enlightening at times where we found ourselves lost in our ideas.
The test shoot was one of the things I hadn’t previously done before however I have positively learnt the need for them. It allowed our director and DOP to play out their artistic visions, seeing what shots worked and utilising the small space we had. During the test shot it was decided that we would film officially in the evening, which would bring out our main character Jake’s personality as you see him using the dark in order to hide from his Ex, also it made the storyline of breaking into a house more authentic as it is not often done in the daylight. Working in the evening allowed me to first hand see the affect of lighting and how it could be exploited to intensify the mood and give an overall high quality look to the film. Yet we ran over a lot longer than expected which has made me realise the benefit of keeping organised and communicating with the first AD and producer in order to find out how much time you can allow for each scene. Team work is heavily required when on set as everyone has their own individual role to play and if someone is slacking you will know or find a disadvantage somewhere along the lines be it bad sound quality, running over or a shot not in focus.
Post-production was relatively easy in comparison to post as although our deadlines previously weren’t always met we made sure to assign at least a week in order to edit on time. This had made me notice that when creating a film you can’t just focus about the shooting days, you really do need to consider what you will do when it comes to editing and what changes will be needed, be it incorporating Foley sound or changing the colour temperature. It made me take note of the need for the right amount of people doing the job, as having three editors allowed us to keep on track for time but also not have too many people sat around a screen.
Generally this module has made me realise that short film isn’t nearly as easy as one would think. Just because its not a feature doesn’t mean you wont have problems with timings, you really need to consider each element and deadline you set in order to shoot otherwise things will fall apart. I’ve learnt more about short films and how you would distribute them and it has made me deliberate the possibility of me creating my own one-day. I’m not naïve in thinking I’ve learnt everything there is to know about cameras, lighting and sound when on set however I know for a fact it has opened my eyes about what you need to consider and research and the need to find out what’s already out there, it can both help and dismiss your thoughts about a particular artistic vision. Our film for example has a heavy influence from the film ‘Submarine’ as our director was inspired by the shots, narrative and lighting. In future I will make sure to keep organised, communicate with my group- who I would be honoured to work again with, research into current films and critically acclaimed past ones, and take out equipment on my own and experiment as although I’ve become more confident with the camera and numerous tripods I would like a chance to do it without a set time.
“So this is my story, it’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth..”