Past Filming Weekends

It feels like a lifetime ago, and in some ways maybe it is since these two weekends, but they have both always stuck in my head and will never leave. They are a reminder of one thing, I love making movies.

The two weekends are very different. The first a not so great movie that I was the camera man for, the second a lovely little film that I AD on called Alice and the Bear directed by Nick Maltby. Both must have been around 2008/9.

Neither was my film but both had a profound effect on me. The reason for this was simple. I loved being on set, being part of the movie making process. The first film that I shoot in truth wasn’t  a very good film but for a lot of us working on it it was our first real shoot. We had shot a short of mine a few weekends before, which I’ll talk happily about in another blog one day, but this was a bigger shot, more actors, bigger location, my complicated scenes etc.

I was just in awe of the whole process. Wanted to do everything, would have done everything. Felt incredibly alive being on set. Capturing the action unfold behind the camera I had a great sense of self satisfaction. I could have stayed behind that camera and continued shooting forever, or until I was thrown out the building. I’m not sure in my professional life how often I’ve felt that way, and I think the reason for that is simply not making enough stuff. Something that has to, and will, change over the next year.

The second shoot was completely different. Everything was a lot more professional. The short had a budget and a fantastic crew and excellent actors and the whole thing felt a lot closer to what I imagined a feature film set would be, especially the food table.

I was by far the least experienced on set and wanted to learn everything. While also trying to do the best job I could possibly do as an AD. Luckily for me everyone there wanted the film to be great and offered a ton of great advice and support. It felt like a community. Everyones goal was the same and everyone’s work ethic was the same. I’m not sure if this is the norm or not but its certainly how I want all my future sets to be.

Once again I found myself wanting to stay in the moment forever. I could have gone back to that studio and woods everyday for the next few years and just continued working. Would have been the best film school ever. The amount I learnt in two days was insane. If the shoot lasted a few months I’m pretty sure I would have walked away an expert.

I look back on both these experiences with such fond memories. I know I could have stayed on either set for much longer. If the shoot required me to stay awake for a week I would have done it and my smile would never have dropped.

Now I need that attitude back.

I’ve reached a point where I have to make more. Its as simple as that. And I will. So hopefully over the next weeks, months and years this blog will be filled with wonderful filming experiences and insights. I’ll be as transparent as possible about all of it and gain a lot more memories like these and be happy about every single one of them

Stephen

Web Show Release

So I’ve decided to release the web show I shot 2 years ago. I don’t think it represents my best work but I learnt a lot from it and enjoyed making it. 

Will do a full blog about the whole experience once a few episodes are out but for the moment I hope people enjoy it and can see the intent even if the execution was somewhat lacking.  

Link below for episode one. 

Stephen

WGZH Episode One

Managing a new Draft

Have given myself a bit more time with the first draft of my new feature script. For years I have tried to stick to the same format/structure of writing the script but this time have made a few tweaks.

Instead of the normal 10 days I give myself to write the draft after working on notes for a few months,and having several hundred pages worth, this time I’m giving myself about 16 days having spent less time on notes.

I’ve never been someone who can start with a blank page and spend a long time crafting the script because my brian simply doesn’t switch off when I’m writing the actual script, which in turn means even less sleep than I already have. I’ve always combated this by spending longer on notes and outlines and getting plenty of prep done before I turn on my Mac and start up final draft. 

However my last script I just felt that ten days was to short. That I rushed to get to the end knowing that I’ll sort it out when I write up notes for the next draft which kind of seems like double handling what is already a long process. I’ve decided to test my lack of sleep (and probably increase my coffee intake 🙂 ) by making the draft process longer and adding almost a week onto it.  Just feel that it will give me more time as I write to explore new ideas as I go, rather than simply transferring notes to script format.

The idea behind it is to end up with stronger drafts without driving myself crazy through lack of sleep, or my mind on 11 for to long.  I know the old way still works so can always go back to it ,but feel the older I get the better I can balance these things. That’s how it works right?

If not there’s always power naps. 😉

Stephen