Monday, 12 September 2011

Biting the Bullet

It's strange to think that I'm actually here. That is to say, actually filming. For the longest time I felt destined to be the person who talked about wanting to make a film, rather than actually doing it. Part of the delay was about cost. Video production isn't the cheapest of hobbies and, as a relative newcomer, I was starting from scratch.

First shoot- 13th July 2011- Lee, Debra, Poonam, Carol and Rafi
My only previous experience of video production had been while volunteering in Ethiopia just over 4 years ago, at the age of 26. This is something I'm sure I'll share more about in a future blog as it is one of my fondest memories. It was also undeniably low-tech. I was using the video function on a digital photographic camera. But we worked with the limitations of the camera. There was no external mic and sound was tinny and ugly, so the film was edited as a silent film with subtitles. I'm very proud of that film- 'Dead Things.'
I knew in order to take film making more seriously, it would require investing in some decent equipment. I was quite conflicted about the camera I should get- I didn't want a format that was verging on obsolete, but I had to be realistic about the expense too. It's also difficult to know how much money you invest in a relatively new passion, even when you are earning and saving.

There was something else too. At the end of 2010, I'd saved enough to buy a camera, tripod and sound equipment. I'd found a decent deal on a great camera I'd previously felt was out of reach- the Sony EX1R. But I was paralysed. There was a voice in my head telling me that it was complete foolishness to spent so much money on a hobby. That I should be sensible and put it towards a house deposit. That something bad would happen and I would inevitably regret spending the money.
Lizzy playing the main character in my film.
I think there was also a assumption of failure.

We often hear stories about people who 'always knew' they wanted to make films. Nostalgic tales of being given 8mm cameras or VHS camcorders and the films they would make as 10 year olds. But what of those of us who have discovered our passion later in life? What about those of us who simply want to try, rather than having an innate sense of talent or entitlement?

I went for it and I'm glad. My script's first draft was completed in April and at the time of writing, I have 4 scenes filmed and am preparing for another shoot on Sunday. I'm still hit by occasional moments of blind panic. During my first shooting day, when everyone fell silent as I was prepared to shout 'action' I started sweating and a loud voice in my head told me that I was a fool for doing this, that I should run away.

Me on the first day of filming.
What helped me are the reassurances of friends, who felt I had stories and ideas worth exploring. Watching other low budget horror films also allowed to get away from the idea that visual story telling has to be completely polished and glossy in order for draw an audience in. Camp Kill, Spoils and Hellbride are examples of films that I have a lot of affection for despite, or perhaps because of, the roughness around their edges. I wonder if there's a lesson there about letting go of ideas of perfection, and embracing the possibility to just try. Several scenes in and I have made mistakes, and I'm certain I will make more. But I'm enjoying it. I think I'm even enjoying those panicked moments when I think I'm having anything but fun. Here's to everyone who is scared but tries. Here's to biting the bullet.

No comments:

Post a Comment