The last film I made was 1 minute. This next one almost doubles that! It’s a 75% increase in movie making produce!
I just finished a class at Ryerson called “Intro to Filmmaking”. We paired up with someone and made a short movie. The only rules were : No guns. No violence. And though it wasn’t explicitly said, I suppose No Porn was also a rule.
I paired up with Susan, a 63-year old woman with a big personality, caramel popcorn recipes and zero experience with film. She volunteered to be the producer. Which was perfect because I wanted to direct.
Susan and I batted around ideas. She came up with the main idea entrée. I added a side of humour. And together we put together this short movie, Still In Love.
(if you’d like to view a high-res version of the video, or the above video player is giving you trouble, here it is: Still In Love)
It’s a two minute film that took over 40 hours to make. And in the process I learned a couple important lessons.
Lesson 1: Filmmaking is a very agile process.
Perhaps it’s because I’m still so new at this. Or maybe it’s just because I like to be collaborative, but the end story is never told the way I thought it would be.
Even with storyboards and a shot list, the story evolved. I incorporated input from my producer Susan. Feedback from my teacher Mark. Ideas from the actors. Notes from my boyfriend. My own experimental editing cuts. It all cumulated into something that was better than I could have done on my own. I like that.
Lesson 2: I will hate it before I like it.
There will be a point in the process where I fall into a very deep, self-critical pit. And the only way out is through.
In this case, two weeks before the final project was due my class shared their rough cuts of their projects. As I watched the other films on screen I felt more and more inadequate. My super self-critical voice kicked in and I became unforgiving about the film we had done. I beat myself up, down and sideways for lacking the chops to do better. As I compared my work to my peers, I decided I was lacking in every regard. It didn’t matter that this was an introductory class. In my mind, everyone else’s film was better, smarter, tighter, more polished, more engaging. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my hyper- critical voice became all encompassing for several days. It was a bad place for me to be and I didn’t even realize that I was caught there.
I wanted to quit but I couldn’t. My partner was counting on me and I don’t like to let people down. So I kept editing and listening to feedback and fine tuning. But when I finally finished I felt good about it. We showed the project to the class and it went over great! My classmates laughed hard in the right places and their applause was enthusiastic and genuine. Our film was at least just as good as my classmates films. I realized that the only way to shut that critical voice up is to keep working. Good to know.
Though I’ll probably forget next time.