Diary of a first time director: Pre production

The Girl Is Making A FilmOne of my friends:
“So it has really started now, you are doing it”
Me: Well not really, I can still run away you know.
She: No you can’t, I have 15 extras who can’t wait to be in the “love is in the air in the park” scene. It is happening, you are doing it.
Me: Right.

I guess that means that we are now officially in pre-production.
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Behind the counter

I mentioned this before, the cashiers in both Sainsbury’s and M&S, actually, probably in all UK supermarkets, are a joy. And they often make me leave their supermarket with a big grin on my face.

Today the nice boy in the Sainsbury’s (in Victoria St, if you want to look him up) asked me how my day had been. Busy, I said and how was his day? Not too busy yet, but at least I was on my way home, and he needed to stay there until 10.30pm.

I could see that I was the lucky one. And how busy had my day really been? Measured in how tired I was – very busy. Measured in the actual things I had done – quiet. I attended a meeting and from about 2 pm we sat down outside in the sun at a pub and had a drink. Having a drink with clients is very exhausting for me. I am not a drinker, which might be part of the problem.

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The film poster – a first concept

If you step inside you can see a first concept version of a possible film poster for my short film. Not that I actually am going to print film posters, but it might be usable for the DVD cover or something. I mostly just thought it was fun to make, and it can be a kind of a teaser for the people reading this blog. It does after all reveal the title and the names of the 2 main characters. I will put more info along the way.

It is torture to put this up, because it puts more pressure on me to actually go and do it. I will, I will. The script is ready, now I need to find a crew and a cast. I think I have 2 very important members of my crew already, but on the casting side there is still a lot to be done. Same thing for the locations.

As I am going to try to get some funding for my film as well, I thought it might be more fun to be able to include this image with my application, as it might give them some kind of idea of the tone of the film. The same thing goes for contacting actors, I intend to send something like this along with the script.

So – what do you think? Too pink?

I am not going to reveal anything more at the moment, but feel free to guess about anything you like.

Click for the poster »

Up is Down

Dinosaurs in LondonI was out on another film shoot today in Purley. The weather was wonderful, blue sky, white clouds, lots of trains, orange vests, white helmets and good company. And no I am not tired of them yet. It was a short shoot, nothing special, but it was a first shoot on my own. Of course there was a camera man, but I had to do my very best to make sure we shot everything we needed, to instruct the friendly people what to do when on camera, to shout “action” now and then, and generally to not mess things up.

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Why does it always rain on me

Manchester is a great place to be. If you love rain. Which of course I’ve always said I did. It does get a bit annoying though when you have to stand out in the rain for a couple of hours.

Just to let you know how exiting it is to be involved in a film shoot: you have to stand up at 6am. You have to be ready at 6.45am. And then it just pours down so much that it is to no use whatsoever to do any filming. So you eat a breakfast in the hotel and wait till it clears up a bit. It did after an hour or so, so we went off. And ended up standing in the wind and the rain for hours anyway …

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Oh, fuck, wank, bugger, shitting arse head and hole

Well I got the hat and the boots, so bring it on.

Writing yesterdays post didn’t take me a lot of time. When there is (Pirate in this case) passion involved, words come easily and posts get long. Most of the time, when I read it back the next day, I feel I have written something completely ridiculous, and I feel the urge to remove it again. Weird enough those posts often get a lot of comments, so I guess I should stop worrying.

And I am afraid this is a long post again »

Act for me

Watching people doing audition for a role was another new film making related experience. One of my fellow wannabe filmmakers is going to shoot a short, and he was kind enough to have me around to watch the process.

The setup was a short piece of a script where 2 people, one a nurse, and the other a mental patient should have a conversation.

Here are a few things I learned:

  • I saw 4 pairs of professional actors performing, and it was amazing how differently they did it.
  • Professional actors are absolutely willing to do shorts on expenses only basis.
  • There are loads of good actors around in London.
  • It doesn’t take long to spot if someone has learned their lines or not.
  • Some actors travelled all the way from Leeds (they get travel expenses paid) for a 10 minute audition in London.
  • Good actors make you forget quickly that you are watching 2 people on 2 plastic chairs in a small room, they pull you straight into the story.
  • Watching an audition is interesting and exiting, and I also felt that I had a good sense of picking the right actor for a particular role, which might become handy should I ever make that short myself.
  • I want to trade some bags of shyness for some bags of courage.

I have a lot of respect for people who dare to jump out and go make their shorts, as I don’t feel I am ready for that just yet. I have to find some more inspiration for a good story, write a decent script and dare to just do it. It will come if it is meant to be I am sure about that. In the mean time I help other people out with theirs, meet a lot of nice people that way, and get some hands on experience.

This weekend I will meetup with an old travel friend of mine, we were in the same group travelling around in Mexico in December 2003. Can’t believe it has been three years since that trip. I have seen him once after that in Holland, now he is visiting London with a friend of his, so a perfect opportunity to meet up and have a tea.

Apart from that I am going to relax this weekend, go visit my Cafe, and see if I can get some ideas out of my weary head onto paper.

Eternal ramblings from a messed up mind

To follow up on the friday post:

I didn’t go to the Pinewood Studios because it was a “ball”. Like in the guys wearing a tuxedo, and the girls wearing something I am never ever going to wear. Well, I can only think of one occasion, but that has an improbabillity factor of 100%. And no it isn’t my wedding. But Pinewood Studios, I will probably go there in November for a set visit. Without having to wear silly clothes.

And then there was the film shoot I had on Saturday. I took the above picture there, and I really like how it looks. (I manipulated it a bit in PS, and not sure it is allowed to post it here, so don’t tell anyone).

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Due to temporary loss of mind

and loss of internet connection at home for a few days, no milk today.

But I will return on Monday, with:

  • a story about how it has been, working as a runner on a film set the whole weekend (and why starting at 8am on my free Saturday morning is supposed to be fun, and if I still think filmmaking is fun after a busy weekend like this. I don’t have to get them coffee by the way, I am going to assist the D(irector)O(f)P(hotography), which is a cool thing.)
  • something about why I didn’t accept an invitation to go to the Pinewood studios tonight
  • and hopefully one thing more

Enjoy the weekend. It rains in London.

Shorts – and the road ahead

Not being on the film course anymore has the risk of falling into a film making gap. But I am trying hard to stay out of it. The runner job in September is one thing, and yesterday I was at a kick off meeting for a short film project I am going to help on together with some of my class mates. It looks very promising all together, the woman writing the script is both a professional screenwriter and producer. So this is going to be fun. Apart from that I scored a day on a professional film set (feature film, and I forgot the title – and I am only going to watch – not work) somewhere in November. I have no idea where all this is going, and how it is going to end (hopefully it won’t), but again, last Thursday when I heard Jamie Payne talking passionately about his career as a director and filmmaker – my heart goes boom. I know what my ultimate goal is.

One day I want to do my own short film too, which is very easy to say but quite hard to do. The whole point is to find an original idea. There is lots of inspiration on the net, and there are some great shorts out there. Here is one of my absolute favourite ones, only 90 seconds, and made on a low to no budget.

Enjoy : The End.

Absolutely Brilliant.

Filmmaking day 6 : Editing – or 99 soulssssssah

Panico / London Film Academy

Don’t worry it’s not about Davy, even though he likes to think it is. And to be honest, it’s only about 1 soul, not 99. Confused ? Well, hopefully, things will clear up tomorrow or Wednesday.

But our last film making day went with editing the pieces of film we shot 2 weeks ago. In the mean time the film had been developed, and transferred to digital tapes, so the editing could be done on the computer. (For those interested we used Avid Express for it). Since we only had about 4 hours to edit, we had a professional editor doing the actual work, we just told him how we wanted it.

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Filmmaking day 5: Producing and Pitching

(For the quizzers : What film is this from?)

What do you want to do after this course – is a question that pops up regularly at the networking evenings in the Actors Centre in Covent Garden.
I still don’t really know the answer to this question to be honest. And the last time someone asked me what my “genre” was. Do I have a genre?

The genre question returned yesterday. It was the Producing & Pitching day.
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