Hi Everybody! How are you keeping?
I’m fine thanks but have been doing a lot of writing. Of course. I also had my first go at making a short film. Well I say me but it was a team.
We spent last weekend doing the 36 hour challenge. Make a 5minute film in 36 hours with a max crew of four (actors are extra), no budget and using only smartphones and zoom. The result was Leap which premiered last Saturday.
“Tell me more,” you say. Of course I will.
The challenge was part of the Screen and Story Festival. A virtual 2 day festival that showcased some of the best short films around. Wow were they good films. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I felt terror for the characters. They showed what can be done with the short form film both in narrative and creativity. Really impressed and know what I have to aspire to.
Anyway, the festival. Where did it begin. Well sit comfortably and I will tell you a story.
Many years ago the London Screenwriting Festival was created. An annual event where writers from all over the world can gather with kindred spirits and learn, share and just know that we are not alone. It is a rollercoaster event that is utterly exhausting but so worth it. If you have not heard of it then WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!!!! Click on the link above to find out more.
Of course with this thing going on, you know, this Covid 19 thingy, the festival could not physically take place. So what did they do? Did they feel sorry for themselves? No they didn’t. They set up, in record time and with a steep learning curve, London SWF Online. Instead of a weekend of flat out goodness they managed a MONTH of it. There were talks, zoom interviews, challenges (I wrote a script from scratch in 28 days), virtual gatherings. It was magic and I made lots of new friends in a way I could not have managed at the rollercoaster that is the physical festival.
At the end of the month, though the festival is still ticking along, we all wanted to keep that camaraderie and support going. So, some of the attendees set up the Global Film Industry Café. Not just for writers but for all in the film industry. We have guest speakers. We have pitch practices. We have cold reads, see Cold Reading Circle run by my mate Wendy Jones. We just regularly gather and support each other.
Anyway, some of them decided to do an extra festival in record time, and I mean record. The Screen and Story Festival. The theme was Connections and they got flooded with wonderful films and I don’t envy them the task they had of paring them down. Even with that, the one day turned into two.
So, as part of the festival, they set up the 36hr Challenge. Some of us formed our own crews. In other cases they helped people fined each other. At 9am on the Saturday morning (or middle of the night for some as this was global) we sat before our computers ready to find out what our theme and colour were. These had to be incorporated into the script, not just a token addition.
The Theme was Connections and the colour was Orange and we were off.
Note that teams were scattered all over the planet, as were the actors. This involved lots of ingenuity and creativity to pull off and the seven teams did brilliantly.
Anyway, being my first attempt, I made the crew a family affair. I was Producer/Director/Writer. My son Matt was Director of Photography. My daughter in law Eve was Sound/Art/Make-up. My daughter Hannah was Editor. They left me alone to get the script and shooting schedule sorted and by lunchtime we were ready to start filming.
Two of the actors were remote from us, Jane Fallon and Rae Stevens. We gave them directions on what to do with the phone, the script and notes and virtual rehearsal then left them to do their bit. The other actors were local, Evie Frost, John Woodward and me. We used social distancing and filmed outside in a FREEZING wind which meant some improvising with the sound recording. How to hide a phone close enough to catch the sound but out of shot and out of the wind.
John also played the music for us. A wonderful musician. I am so lucky there are many creatives in our village. OK back to the plot.
By Sunday lunchtime we had all the footage and sound together and passed them on for editing. That was when my editor informed me that some had to be completely reshot. AAAAAAHHH!!! Off we went to do that while she carried on working on the rest.
With only an hour to go we uploaded the finished result to Vimeo and submitted the link and paperwork and then crashed. We were utterly exhausted but so pleased we got it done.
There is another challenge coming soon so get on board. It is fun.
Oh, and the film? Watch it here.
Welcome to my thoughts. If my work makes you feel something I'll be happy.