Roddy's Ramblings

Thoughts and tales; some of them may even be true.

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Location: Australia

Hopefully whatever there is to know about me will come through whatever is written below - whatever that may bring...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Learning Process... Dealing with illness

The Best Laid Plans O' Mice and Men Gang Aft Aglay... for the less educated amongst us (or for those who do not search google for an exact quote) - the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.

The week of plans to shoot the film have been dogged by illness and the after affects of recovering from that self-same illness. Trying to look into the script was like looking into an abyss and, as we all know, look into the abyss and it looks also into you. This leaves it back with working things around the schedule at work; but at least being back at work might re-align my brain to functioning in some reasonable manner. This weekend was not a time for any starbust of revelations.

The only beacon left burning at the moment is Anzac Day approaching next Tuesday (for those outside of Australia, check out the film Gallipoli for any explanation - at the very least you'll get to see Mel Gibson when he still had an Australian accent) giving a day to work through the script...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Learning Process... Making a Film (4)

Day 3

The head cold is still unwilling to budge. Thanks to the pain-killers though I did get a good night's sleep which also helped to relax the muscles so they are not painful anymore, just stiff.

Though my eyes are like piss-holes in the snow, I'm hoping to make some progress on the shooting details.

First time off from work in a long time and I get ill - that sucks...

Learning Process... Making a Film (3)

Day 2

After a sleepless night with a nagging pain in my ankles and calf muscles I decided the best approach for 'Day 2' would be to get the house stuff I needed to do out of the way first to allow me to start working out the how, when and who of each shot in the screenplay.

So the washing up, then the hoovering and brushing of the stairs and floorboards led to the final task of clearing up the dead branches on the trees in the back garden. It was my first time of hacking down dead branches from a tree and it was a bit nerve wracking being on a ladder that swayed with the wind. I should have waited for a day when it wasn't as windy, but that could be like waiting for a day with no rain in Scotland. Once I'd sawed down the higher ones, I could use the step ladder for the others and with a lot of climbing, moving and stretching with a pruning saw and branch cutters, I could then collect them, break them up and store them in pile.

This, as you may have rightly guessed, has nothing to do with making a film. It does, however, have everything to do with why I spent the rest of the day being barely able to walk (literally) and with a fogged up head and clogged up nose and very painful muscles.

The learning process here should have been knowing when to quit.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Learning Process... Making a Film (2)

Day 1

Its the first day of my allocated holiday to allow some dedicated time to shoot the film. I unwrapped my tripod, spend quite a while working out how to turn the camera on, checking the settings and spend more time working out which knob, dial and switch did what on the tripod.

I had already spent some time working out a starting point. There seemed to be 3 main shots; one being the continuity shot that would be base for the film, one a POV change and the other being the dudey shot with camera movement.

So with this all marked on the screenplay (with the margins adjusted to allow for notes), I setup the tripod to capture the shot I wanted for the base continuity. I didn't have a dead body on hand, so I just shaped the quilt to give this impression for the draft.

The first plan was to read through the screenplay to get an idea of timings. I also wanted to show the shadows of the other 3 (well 2 actually, the 3rd never comes into the room) characters moving so I could fiddle with it in the video editor, when I got one. Regardless of being in an empty house, I still felt like a bit of an tw*t (use whichever vowel depicts your upbringing) reading and swearing from the script in different voices. I also realised that I would not be able to do the slight shifts with the camera, lie in the bed nor move myself around the room to give the placement of the shadows at the same time. It is starting to become probable, that I will not be able to do this on my own...

I realised I needed to work out the variety of shots required and how to get continuity between them. I was going to state beforehand on the video which scene I would be doing as I needed an indicator to state which shot was being taken. This, I realised, was what a clapper-board is for.

I then decided to clean those hard-to-reach windows in the house, remove that darned defunct smoke detector (using a bizarre triangulation with the ladder over a very high drop) and mow the lawn, which took in itself over two and a half hours. I then fixed the jukebox software to stop it hanging on a certain CD and fixed up the MP3 tags. For some bizarre reason, Dido's Life for Rent just fails to be read in properly... ah, well.

Tomorrow will be spent on working out how many individual shots are required for the shoot; the kitchen also needs cleaning... as well as my bathroom (the shower also needs some re-sealing) and a hoovering of the carpet is well overdue. Really need to brush the floorboards as well.

Film making is damned hard work.

Learning Process... Making a Film

Let me just say first up, that I know nothing about how one goes about making a short film. Given this fact, I thought it might be interesting to see what one finds out when one sits down and actually gives it a go.

The first thing I did, personally, was to come up with an idea that would be (or seem to be) easy to shoot; ie, not include 100 actors and more scenes than a drama queen on a first date. So gathering the 1% inspiration together, I thought about an idea I had and then thought about it some more. This took a few months...

Then after much reminding from a colleague at work who had made his own full-length feature film, I typed up the screenplay. It didn't take too long at all, a couple of lunch times and a train journey to work and it was in a usable state. So I re-read a few times over the following weeks and adjusted the margins...

Everything about this film was to take on the basis of a one-man project costing as next to nothing as possible. I already had a video camera I'd bought back in 1999 and used as much as most people use their video camera. One holiday and my wedding. The set is to be a bedroom, the only other character that can be seen is dead and barely recognisable. There is only one actor and thats me (the others are voices and shadows). What could possibly be hard about this?

So given all this criteria that I actually took some time off work to spend some 'quality time' on making a draft of my short film.