Making short films is a hair pulling experience.
I am always grateful for the unstinting help and support I am usually given. But I have also had some experiences that can only be called bad. Where ego or laziness have sometimes made things very difficult for everybody (if you don't want to do the work – then don't volunteer!) But none the less, not one of the films I have made or been involved with would have been possible without the help of others (often arduous work and always unpaid.) So a great big “thank you” to the many that have helped me with my projects.
Here, in no particular order, are some pointers for people that wish to make short films. Check every bit of equipment that you hire or get before you take it away. Have a backup plan in case circumstances make a location unavailable on the day. Make lists of EVERYTHING. Rehearse the actors but also the crew. Always have a rough idea how long you will need for the shooting of your film and add some extra hours/days for safety.
The sound has to be 100% perfect. Picture, props or acting can be dodgy (but hopefully not) but if you can't hear it without straining - then you don't have a film. Double check everyone will turn up on the day and don't forget to check the location as well. Write a script that you can actually do. Minimise locations, props, actors and keep it simple. Also maximise your resources (if your uncle owns a pub – use it in your script). No music is much better than cheesy crap - like a friend playing a mournful tune on his guitar. Use good and appropriate music or silence.
Trawl the internet. It's unbelievable how many resources are available for free. I don't just mean software, sound effects, tutorials and "how to" guides. I fellow film maker I know got the camera man for Lord of the Rings to come down to Melbourne from Sydney to film his short - for free! They got to talking on the Open Channel forum. I have always found getting actors very easy but getting crew has been very hard. Making contact via forums, communities, social media and organisations like Open Channel can help out with this.
I have always been given plenty of unstinting help. Often from complete strangers. I have also tried to help out on other peoples projects when I could. "What goes around, comes around". Be grateful for the help you get and be willing to help out others.
Time and Again
The photos are from a short film I wrote called "Time and Again". I only wrote the script. It was directed by some one else. The only other thing I did was to help out with the lighting.
It was science fiction and I don't think it actually made too good a script. It had some complicated concepts to get across on screen and would have done better as a short story.
The plot line went like this.......
- In the not too distant future a man walks into a bar and starts a conversation with "The Barman". A barman that already seems to know a lot about him.
- "The Man" reveals that he was an orphan and was born as a woman. He has no past he wants to think about and no future to look forward too.
- He (or rather "she") enlisted in the Army as soon as she was old enough. Straight out of the orphanage. Fought "in the war". Was in the SAS. Won medals, etc, etc.
- After the war she met a man who seemed to know her as no human being ever had. She got pregnant.
- That man disappeared, the birth was very difficult and resulted in massive injuries.
- On the day of the birth the baby disappeared.
- "The Barman" interrupts and to the amazement of "The Man" commences to tell the rest of the story.......
- Devastated and traumatised she undergoes a brand new medical procedure and changes gender. Not an operation. A clone - an anatomically perfect male clone is grown and her personality is transferred into the completely male body.
- But "The Man" is not and never will be, happy. There is no duty, no sense of purpose like the Army gave him and too many bad memories.
- "The Barman" tells him that he is part of a "Time Police". That he and members of his organisation can travel through time and they need people like "The Man" to safeguard time travel against abuse.
- "The Man" doesn't believe it. So "The Barman" offers to prove it. "Just walk through that door......."
- "The Man" travels back through time and then returns to the time and place of the bar and the barman. To him weeks have past. To "The Barman", only moments.
- "The Man" is in shock. He met a girl in his time travel trip to the past. Even though he knew who the girls was - he still fell in love with her and still got her pregnant.
- He is a child of time travel. Who better to police time? He agrees to join.
- "The Man" leaves.
- The punch line (have you guessed it yet?) is that "The Barman" - who is also "The Man", then leaves to go to the hospital to steal the baby. The baby who is also him, from it's mother - who is also him!
- The orphan. the woman who became a soldier, the man who got her pregnant, the baby she gave birth too, the man who walked into the bar and the barman serving him are all the same person. But at different periods in time.
Pretty confusing but still a really cool idea. I worked out a gimmick where "The Man" pulls out the blanket he was wrapped in when he was deposited at the orphanage's front door. Later "The Barman" then takes that same blanket to wrap the baby in when he steals it and deposits it at the orphanage.
So when was the blanket manufactured? Where did it come from?