Thursday, 11 February 2016

Top 5 Things I Learned Directing for TrashArts

Tuesday evening during a live film screening event an episode of "Making Of" being produced by TrashArts was shot before, during, and after. Directed by me.

DSLR and stereo X/Y mic atop for POV experience
Fortunately the actors knew their characters really well so it was more a case of AD'ing myself and being continuity person (fuck continuity) to ensure enough coverage for the edit.

What a luxury to just turn up, direct, and go home!

The current cut of "Episode 2" is a shade under 20 minutes. We shot it all in one location in just over four hours.

Anyhow, what did I actually learn?

1. Microphone technology, and audience tastes, have shifted to the point where the camera can truly become a character (indeed this was part of the brief).
Despite shooting at a noisy event in a pub screening the football and a short film night the Røde Stereo Videomic picked up a fine stereo soundstage and intelligible dialogue (at my direction, natch - move closer!)

2. The film clips of the late Michael J Murphy went down a storm.
Part of the script called for reactions to local low budget films. I opted to show excerpts from Murphy's Avalon (German release) and his commercially unreleased super8 Bloodstream.

Boy did those clips get reactions! Secretly, I think MJM would be proud even from the afterlife.

3. Let go but keep time.
This was shot from a five page treatment (by the time I'd added my notes) and then completely performed improv. In the chaos of the venue it was pointless to have done too much planning - but doing just enough to, well, provide direction (as the director, see?)

4. Texan four bean soup sure does look like puke.
I wasn't sure whether to go for the brown realism or the camera friendly yellow-y GAIN style demonic possession vomit. The brown stuff worked out just swell in context.

5. Great actors can appear from nowhere.
I don't know where Sam Mason Bell finds them, but the casting really works. Like I say it probably helps that the majority have already been through the award winning "Episode 1" experience. Those that hadn't were well prepared and researched - leading to some great ad-hoc exchanges between the protagonists and antagonists.

So despite the football running into extra time (I have no idea what the final score was) and a room full of local film nerds watching what film nerds watch at these events I brought a 20 minute episode in on time and under budget (the Texan four bean soup is a tax deductible line item I assured them).

All in all, 21st Century Fat Fox movie magic.

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