On the day of the shoot.

A few pics from the day of the shoot.

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Enjoying a brew.

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Setting up opening scene

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Director and cameraman conflab

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Leading lady, Holly Ashman. Leading man, Neil Simpson

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The ladies, Holly Ashman and Anna Reeve Cook

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Nigel Rogers, the most excellent cameraman

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Directing one oh one

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More DIY directing….

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Need a bigger tripod…

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Always know where the camera is.

Fingers and all available appendages crossed.

There is just over a week until my second foray into filmmaking and I cannot wait to get it done. I am a little more apprehensive about this film as, like anyone else who has been in the same position, I want it to be an improvement on the first. I want the pace to be better, the performances better directed, the story to punch more, I just want it better. Hence the apprehensiveness. Plus I have been reading Syd Fields and have recently finished reading Blake Snyder, so my brain is awash with story structure and plot and conflict and moving the story forward and…well you get what I mean. You can almost study too much. The sheer volume of opinion and ‘right’ way to do things can be overwhelming. There are a lot of people, writing a lot of stuff, doing seminars, sending ezines, all purporting to be telling you how to break into television, film, Hollywood or all of them.
The thing is – and this why the market is SO big for filmmaking guru-ism – they are all right. Pretty much all of what you read or hear in seminars, online, in documentary interview or whatever, is well intentioned worked-for-that-person, nuggets of wisdom. Of course there are necessary elements; story craft, framing, beginning, middle and end, the things which should always be present. At some point, you have to do the deed and, if you enjoy it, want to make a career, do it again and again until you get good – or maybe – even great, at it. My road to ‘good’ begins next Saturday.

Done it!

And so it ended. I finally finished my film and it was a brilliant experience! You can see the film here.
On a very sunny Saturday in April, four strangers – the actors, a sound man and a cameraman, descended on my homestead. We – well I had anyway – planned to start at nine o’clock, under pressure to get the film shot because, for various reasons, I only had the one day to get it done.
One needs to understand, this was my first foray into directing and I was working with people I do not know. Having said that, I enjoyed the whole experience immensely. Everything I wanted to do in the film, I did. And I learned a great deal; about directing, coverage, lighting and shot composition.
The set was a happy one, with the shoot speeding by. I was extremely lucky to have a highly experienced and competent cameraman on set. He was kind enough to guide me through my ignorance when it came to certain things; camera ready, clapperboard and lighting.
It also helped with my editing practice – FCP X for those that are interested – using the latest, industry dividing, editing software from Apple! Sound was interesting as well, especially the last scene. Overall, though the film was by no means a masterpiece, I was happy to get it done and realise that I could actually do it. Now if I could just stop procrastinating, I could get my next film made!

The road has an end, even if I am only in the middle!

The actors have been on board for an age. Initially, I had believed I had a crew, ready to go early to mid March. Then the cameraman got some work. No problem, I could wait. He contacted me; apologises, he could do another date. Okay, I could deal with that. Contact the actors, give them a new date, good to go. Cameraman comes back, got his dates mixed up. He can’t do the weekend he initially gave. Can do weekend after. Okay. Let’s do that. Actors agree, very accommodating. The cameraman cancels again. Says he will contact me and nail down a date. Hmm. Okay…..nothing. it was time to take matters into my own hands. The Web is a wonderful tool for the modern day, would be auteur. A quick Google for film crew people and a sign up to a filmmakers wannabe site – Shooting People – and I was advertising for a cameraman and sound recordist. After much toing and froing – everybody wants to know when the shoot is! – I have finally got a crew and a date. Still a couple of weeks away, so hopefully all will go well! It has been a long haul and it is only a five minute film! Got to love it.