This is a director’s nightmare: Everyone’s in position, the cameras are rolling, but something’s not quite right. You’ve been shooting the same scene for what feels like an eternity and no matter what you do, the actors’ performances are just not getting any better.
As I'm learning more and more, directing films is really about making decisions. What kind of performance do you want out of your actors? How do you want to frame up the shot? Do you want to use music in the scene? The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, in my opinion, making these decisions can often be a lot more complicated and confusing than it needs to be.
For the past twelve months, Chris and I have been developing the script that has turned into PLAY IT SAFE. As the project now approaches the production phase, we occasionally remark with wonder that, "Hey, we're making a movie!" Though a lot of work remains - really, the bulk of it - to get to the finishing point, reflecting on the project's humble origins to the broad, collaborative task it has now become is quite inspiring.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent a lot of time last year trying to learn as much as possible about the different aspects of my craft as a filmmaker and director. One idea that I came across again and again was that a director cannot work well with actors unless they have some acting experience. It's a simple idea that I think holds a lot of truth. Would you get up to conduct an orchestra if you had never played an instrument?
Camera virtuoso Philip Bloom recently posted a christmas shootout he did comparing a variety of large sensor cameras including the usual DSLRs (including the 7D, 5D, and a hacked Panasonic GH2), as well as camcorders like the Sony FS100 and the Panasonic AF100, and some more expensive ones like the Sony F3 and the new Canon C300.
When I decided to make Play It Safe back in early 2011, I knew that I had a great challenge ahead of me. Even though I finished my first festival short back in 2005, the fact that I had never attended a proper film school weighed heavily on my mind. I've worked on many different projects over the last few years, but for the most part the production processes were nothing like what might occur on a Hollywood film set...
The Film Collaborative have just released an amazing resource: the new book “Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul”. This book is availible in a variety of formats. It’s available for free in PDF format, and it is free for a limited time for iOS and Android. It’s also available on Kindle and in paperback for a small fee.
Last Saturday I headed up to Yellingbo for the annual Caroline Chisholm Catholic College Arts Camp for year twelve students. I ran a day long workshop for six year twelve media students, and covered a range of topics from basic camera skills, scene construction, and a pitch and writing workshop. All the kids were really fantastic to work with and showed a great deal of promise.
All in all I had a great day, and really enjoyed working with the students. The arts camp as a whole seems really fantastic (they also had workshops on a number of other fields including photography, textiles, visual communication, etc). A big thanks to Mark Gustincic and Mark Groves for inviting my down. I can't wait for next year's camp!