It may have been a while since I last posted here, but I’ve been continuously filmmaking…
I shot and edited the above film over a couple of hours yesterday morning, as a test for my new lens and also to scratch a bit of an itch. The week before last I AD’d and sound edited a short horror film for the ABC’s of Death competition, and a few weeks before that I was camera operator on a short showreel piece, a period drama which is still being edited. I also took my first paid role as camera operator for a day on a music video shoot, and most impressively made the finals of the Raindance/Collabor8te 48 Hour Film contest, which led to a screening in London. I have blog posts about all of these things planned, but as you could probably guess, I’ve had little time to write any of them.
Speaking of blog posts, I’m also back at uni. As an aside, my advice to any HND students considering doing the top-up year is don’t. Go and get a job instead. Intern. Start your own company, whatever, just don’t get sucked into the quagmire of academia and ego.
I sure wish I hadn’t.
Anyway, for my course I’ve been keeping another blog, outlining my production process. You can read it here, but I warn you now that the idea is currently being reviewed for an overhaul.
Or at least it might be, if I can get a clear answer on what exactly it is I’m supposed to be doing…
I did say I’d start showcasing other short films on here; makes sense to start with something from someone I know!
This is a music video by my coursemate and frequent collaborator Alexandria Jones that deserves a bit of attention. She’s a hard worker whose camera work has improved massively over the last two years, and I’m really impressed with a lot of the shots and the editing in this film. Furthermore, as a fellow independent filmmaker I have massive respect for how she’s executed the concept. With just one actress (the talented Lizzie Mounter), I’m guessing that the whole thing was shot in one day with just the two of them, the sunlight and a camera. I’m constantly trying to scale productions back to make them possible, but here’s an example of using the bare minimum from the concept stage to maximum effect.
I’ve worked with Alex on The Arsonist’s Daughter, Renew and How She Rolls, and would happily do so again. Give the film a watch and let her know what you think!
LOCAL is finally, actually, finished. The edit took more tweaking than I thought it would last week, and there are some issues with it that I don’t think I’ll ever be entirely happy with, but it is finally done.
Regardless of its flaws, LOCAL has been a massive step forward for me in terms of understanding both narrative and production processes, and as I look at the completed product I can’t help but feel proud of what myself, the cast and the crew managed to pull together in such a short space of time.
Even with the stress and sleepless nights to get it finished for the deadline, I still had a blast making it. I hope you enjoy it even half as much!
When I posted yesterday that LOCAL was very nearly complete, I can understand any scepticism you may have felt – I have been saying that for months, after all. Hopefully this proof of the first completed DVD case can help change your mind on that score…
After further tweaking over the last two days, refining the audio mix and credits, I’m happy enough to call the film pretty much finished – I’m going to give myself a few days distance from it, see how it looks with a fresh pair of eyes, and call it after that. Then I burn the DVDs and get copies to the collaborators, before finally, finally getting it online and turning my attention fully to the next project.
At this point I can’t wait for people to finally see the finished cut of LOCAL. I hope it’s worth the wait.
On the subject of next projects, I’ve recently started a new Moleskine journal of film ideas. I love these notebooks, having completed two already, and this one’s off to a good start with four different film ideas taking basic shape. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging though, I’m just really excited for each of these concepts.
I think all writers suffer crises of confidence at points. I’ve gone through about a year of having to force through story ideas when nothing seemed to flow naturally, and I’d started to run out of my stock of half-decent older concepts. Regardless of my technical ability, a period like that really made me begin to question myself, and I felt like a fraud amongst so many other talented filmmakers in the area. Having fresh ideas that I know have an energy to them has been a shot in the arm for my creative aspirations, but now I need to do more. LOCAL was worked and reworked against compromise and deadline, and it was this process that refined it into the narrative it is. Each and every idea needs the same attention and work to get the best out of it, or I risk ending up with half-rendered crap that won’t fly.
So seriously, I’m not bragging – that little Moleskine is going to equate to a lot of work…
I actually took this photo. Feel free to use it for your inspirational blog post called ‘Just Dump Him Already’ or whatever.
For the first time in a while I don’t have a film to post, and that’s because it’s been an all-round rubbish couple of months. I have written up a long post detailing the various lows, but having slept on it for a week or so, I’m OK with not sharing that with the world. So instead, on to the positives…
- I feel like I write this a lot, but LOCAL is almost, hand-on-heart finished. The edit’s done, and I just need to tweak the soundtrack a little more before I’m happy enough to release it.
- I’m continually gaining commercial videography experience, with another shoot on Thursday. Now I need to figure out how to get paid for it.
- Over the last few months I’ve learned a lot about what you need to pull a production together, by being involved in productions that haven’t pulled together. Hoping I can get a success story out of it at some point soon.
I’ve been watching a lot of short films of varying quality recently, I think I’ll start posting some of the better ones up here. If anything, it at least keeps them all in one place for my own viewing pleasure!
Super 8: J.J. Abrams got stick from some quarters for making a film influenced by the films and filmmakers he loves… I’m not going to start with what’s wrong with that. Super 8 delivers a chaotic action movie with a big heart, and features a group of adolescent protagonists the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Goonies. It’s visually polished and sufficiently dark enough to exist in the 2010′s without being a complete throwback to the 80′s, although it’s not flawless. I got the feeling it didn’t go quite deep enough with the main character and his sense of loss, or his relationship with his best friend, and the PTA meeting (straight out of Donnie Darko) where the panicked woman blames the Russians – that felt out of place. All-in-all though, thoroughly enjoyable – between this and Star Trek, consider me an Abrams convert…
Post-production periods have been painfully long this year (see: How She Rolls, LOCAL), and whilst The Damned was held back from release as we tried to get it into various festivals, rather than due to it not being finished, it sure is nice to finally be able to share it with you all. The entire production team, actors and crew, worked tirelessly and incredibly hard to bring this film to life, and I think that our efforts show. I think it’s safe to say that we all had fun as well, and that has to be the most important reason for doing this.
I’m still blown over by Michael Magee’s edit, and I’m incredibly proud to see one of my scripts looking so good. I hope you enjoy it!
That day of multiple music videos I posted about a couple of months ago came to complete fruition this week with the launch of Ceaser’s video for Not More Than A Child. I’m really impressed with what the Giant Dwarf guys have done with this project; they’ve covered multiple narratives with a sense of style and locale to make something widely understandable and yet unique to the UK at the same time. It’s a real step forward for them, even more so considering I know how long they had to shoot it (and how many other projects were going on during the edit)…
These guys are my peers, and they’ve stepped up a gear. I need to do likewise.
Final thought – at 1.29, I’m the guy in the hat. And yeah, my lady drinks pints!