Monday, 22 December 2008

Filming this Christmas

While many of us will be spending the holidays on holiday, I will be working like a dog, on two fronts. Firstly, I will be tearing round London's streets at obscene times of the night to put cash in my wallet. Secondly, I will be spending my days creating, what I hope is to be, a visual masterpiece.

My films up until now have been simplistic affairs. Filmed on the cheap with poor sound, no sense of cinematography and shot quickly. Essentially they have been glorified home videos. But they have got me very far, considering the ways which they were made (poorly), and the experience of film making that I possessed (none).

Starting with ideas and scripts a few years ago, it is strange to see the journey so far. The fear of switching on a camera and editing on a computer has been replaced by cocky manhandling of my precious equipment and an internet presence that would make most spammers proud.

As a person who has never been to film school, I have been clueless about films. My education in film came from the PCC, my inertia towards cinema from my own mad writings (hey, how else do you think I can blog almost everyday) and my decision to plunge into film making from my own lack of foresight. Admittedly, now I see the credit crunch unfolding, I 'may' have made the right decision in not chasing after the money. Then again...

The real eye opener to making films came at Cannes this year, when I attended the Short Film Corner. This was where I was able to meet other film makers, see what was being made and see how the 'movers and shakers' in the industry were doing things. On a more fundamental level, I actually saw why producers and distributors did business the way they did. That was really important. I got to see what people were not doing as well. Finally, I also saw what was being produced by other film makers in my position.

Skip forward six months and it is Christmas. I plan to shoot two short film by March '09 and to have everything wrapped up by May. A tall order. Each time I have started on a new project, I have advanced somewhat. Now this next step is crucial, although it is so basic to the concept of film. Firstly, to make my films actually cinematic. Secondly, to make then sound nice.

Let me tackle the sound first of all. I have got a decent mic, finally. And yes, it does work really well, but I am not going to bother with sound until February, when I make a follow-on to the adventures of Jay and Kay.

For the moment, I am tackling the problems with visuals and finding solutions to them. Creating great lighting, pulling the focus point just right, knowing how to frame the subject, camera movements, etc. Initial results are promising, but there is still a lot of work to do. This first short film should be wrapped up by the beginning of the New Year, and I should have a rough cut by the end of January. And this short film, 'The Railway Tracks' is of a very different vein to the Paint. Darker, more twisted and with some funky camera angles to boot.

It is a scary moment for me, as I have to live upto the small steps forward that I have achieved so far. As with many things in the world of film, everything rests on what I can and cannot achieve. And I do not know whether the outcome will be successful or not. Only time will tell...

3 comments:

Asad said...

The ideas are there, the scripts are there, and now the equipment is there, not just for the web, but for cinema, too. Is 2009 the year of El Director? Or is the year of El Director every year from 2007 onwards?

el director! said...

the year of 'el director' will occur when i am lying on a pile of cash surrounded by lots of beautiful women! hehehe...

Asad said...

Wasn't that 2002? Certainly, that was a key year, though I can't remember whether it was for women, the World Cup, or both...