FLM215 — Film Studio 1 (Production) — Reflective Blog — (week 13)

Looking back to the beginning of the trimester, it feels like a lifetime ago in terms of how much has happened and been achieved since, but at the same time it went incredibly quickly and I feel as though I’ve just written this tiny idea for a story on a scrap piece of paper and now it’s a film almost immediately, it’s quite overwhelming how much the process takes over your entire existence, but in the greatest way possible. I never intended to write a script that would be produced, screenwriting is a very challenging craft for me and until this scripting process I never knew how much I could enjoy it. Seeing your idea develop over time, through collaboration and feedback, and watching it get better each draft, even with the smallest of changes, has been surprisingly rewarding for me and I hope to be able to continue working on developing this skill as I move forward.

In terms of production, I thought I had a good understanding of the process prior to this trimester and that we just needed to ramp up our workload in order to complete a short film, which couldn’t be more the case. The level of effort required from each individual in order to make it a success is huge and something I am very grateful to have experienced. Not without it’s challenges and hurdles obviously but still great to see a group of people come together with a common purpose, and all having the same amount of love and passion for creating a quality product.

As the writer and producer of the film ‘Looking Up’ I was involved in just about every facet of this production, right through to the final lock and continuing through the sound mixing and colour grading process. My intention was to ensure we treated this production as a professional production, and that we all took it seriously so that we got the full experience of what making a short film should be. I wanted to follow all of the appropriate processes, be extremely organised and efficient and I’m quite comfortable, based on the feedback of the cast and the external groups that I had to liaise with, that we mostly succeeded in this.

Clearly there are many areas to be worked on, improvements to be made for the next project. Communication is still an issue that I feel I could improve on, we were all in constant contact and meeting at school quite frequently but I think that I could still streamline the communication channels more, utilise the technology, particularly Trello a lot more. I also feel that my confidence and self-belief needs work, obviously a much more personal issue to deal with. I am quite confident when it comes to the organisational side of the process and when I’m on set, but in terms of public speaking and pitching I really struggled to do this successfully this trimester, and my nerves continued to get the better of me, even in such a safe space as our class where everyone already knows what I’m going to be talking about and are having to go through the exact same process as me. It’s not an issue that’s recent but I think it’s getting worse, not better and this is something I need to focus on in the future. The fact that you need to sell yourself strongly in order to have any form of success in this industry might be why it’s causing me greater concern now but I’ve got another 12 months at SAE to prioritise this. I am very confident and comfortable doing one on one meetings and spruiking our film to others individually, but throw me in a room with some pressure and I fall so that will be item number 1 for the next little while.

Our group worked cohesively for the most part. We had a great camaraderie that formed right at the start and maintained right through to the end, which I think is very positive considering how intensely closely we were all working together. I believe this is because we all wanted to achieve the same thing, and end up with a decent product to add to our showreels and anything less would be a disappointment. I discussed our issues with the DOP in a previous blog and in terms of my handling of it , reflecting on it now I could and should have handled it much better. Considering the amount of experience I have in this area, the overall process of production got in the way of me appropriately managing his performance. It was difficult and I grew resentful of the fact that I was feeling like I was back at work and having to manage a disorganised and unprepared employee, rather than a peer of equal standing. Having full awareness of the limited experience he had and that we are all here to learn as much as possible before we graduate, we put processes in place early to ensure he would be fully capable of fulfilling his role, and unfortunately he wasn’t willing to follow through on this, which is the most disappointing part of the whole experience. I was promised when I offered the role that he would work so hard and learn and practice intensely for the 4 weeks leading up to the shoot, and we arranged someone willing to spend time with him and train him, a massively generous offer from the person involved, but his commitment to other external projects meant that this wasn’t possible and it was reflected throughout the entire shoot and negatively impacted our results at certain times. Thankfully, learning from this has highlighted that I should seek help from the resources available, very early in the process and flagging potential concerns in order to resolve them before they can have an impact.

Our project is not finished at the end of the trimester. It has been fully edited, picture locked, colour graded, but still requires the sound mix to be completed, which as of Thursday the 4th of May has finally been started after a few false starts and unavoidable personal circumstances. I am comfortable it will be done to a high standard. Our score is also in the process of being recorded, we have heard excerpts of it and are incredibly happy, this weekend it is being mastered and we should receive it next week, and our sound mixer will include it in the final mix.

Overall for this trimester I am incredibly thankful for all of the experiences, and learnings that have come from working on a project of this scale for the first time. It has been hugely valuable, and I am incredibly proud of our film and can’t wait for it to be finished and shared.