Creating is Learning.

Today was shot a short film I’ve had kicking around in my head for a while now. It’s a silent film, so I didn’t so much have a script as a shot list and a vision. It was also my first experience using a built set, rather than a room as is. At the end of the day, running on almost no sleep, and only getting a single solitary coffee the entire day, I’m walking away from my most recent filmmaking experience worn out, thoroughly learned, and excited for the future.

Raw Image from the shoot.

Very early in the day we ran into the usual problems most indie productions run in to. We were behind. It was nothing new, and starting off slightly behind always sucks, but it didn’t matter. We got to where we needed to go as fast as we could, and focussed on getting the short shot.

It started yesterday, when my set designer, Josh the talented dude who builds sets for lots of stuff, took over my back yard and built walls by painting and stripping them until they had a worn, and overused look. Then he took several PVC pipes and rusted them over, building makeshift pipes that look uncannily like those you’d find in a run down apartment complex. That’s not even taking in to account all of the small set details he put together to bring together the set I wanted. We started putting up the set, turning my living room in to an old, worn down apartment.

After we got everything up and running, it was time to get the camera rolling. But, first you need to test the lights and find the perfect balance. Noel, my amazing cinematographer, was not only that, but also First AC, Gaffer, Grip, etc., so he was heavily overloaded with work. He’s awesome, and I hope to keep working with him, but there was very little I could do to help get everything set up just right. We ended up rolling later than we’d hoped.

No big deal really. We ran against the clock all day, and ended up finishing much later than we’d planned.

A very cool old radio on our set.

Lesson learned.

On the plus side, we kicked so much ass. I don’t know if this short is going to be for everyone, and some might hate what I’m about to say next. The short was originally supposed to be a lesson in After Effects for me to learn. Some people can just will themselves to learn something, but not me. I have to be put with my back against the wall to really get the gears going.

Hence, this short.

There’s going to be a few heavily CGI’d moments in the running time, and I have to learn the ins and outs of the program to get exactly what I want. Any less, and I’ll consider myself a failure.

So, as I finally put away the files so I can get back on track sound designing my feature film, Assassins, I have to ask, what sorts of things do you learn from your endeavors and how do you use them to better yourself in future projects, as well as every day life?

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