8mm Silent Short Film – Beginning Field Production

Early last Friday, October 8, 2010 my group and i, from Cinema 125 Beginning Field Production, embarked on our first assignment, a short film shot on a 8mm film camera. We agreed on a script earlier last week, after tweaking the story a bit, and came to the census that we wanted more of a morose, depressing, closed ended film, instead of the light hearted PSA we had originally started out with. Based upon the idea of a man trying to get out a message, and failing.

This was a great experience for all of us, especially for those who had never participated in production before. I was one of the few crew members that has had production experience. In preparation for this film, communication between the members has been difficult. Some not responding promptly, and one never responding and not showing up to meetings, basically putting in the least amount of effort possible. One the night before, the group member who had not shown up, voiced his opinion in any way, and even skipped class the day before, now suggested that we move the location of the shoot, to a location more accessible and closer for his convenience. I quickly responded, saying that i did not think moving the location the night before was a good idea, it could cause confusion and change the logistics we had already planned. But i was interested to hear the other group members input. I then added, a bit heated and caught up in the moment, i suggested that if it was to much that he should not come at all.

The next morning I met with my group to the location previously planned and began shooting. However, the sole member who suggested to move the location, never showed up. Myself and others tried to contact him by many means of communication with no success. The shoot itself began a little rough, as myself and a 3 others that were carpooling together got off to a late start. After meeting up with the fifth group member, we got right to work. We used my Sony camcorder to practice, time, and frame each shot. Each member of our 5 man crew, took turns operating the camera, directing our lone actor, who was one of our group members, and either reflecting light or supervising the script and storyboards.  After about 2 hours we hit our stride and everything began to fall into place. I think the film is going to look great, as it is composed with a variety of shots and angles. Two scenes in particular I cannot wait to see are; the establishing shot of the man isolated, we start with a close-up and then cut to a medium, then a wide, and then shot from the top of  a cliff, looking down upon him. (Poor man’s helicopter shot) The next scene I cannot wait to see is, after the man has sent out his message and is waiting for help, he paces then falls asleep, storyboarded by our actor, i think this scene really is unique and humorous.

As a 8mm project, you cannot see the footage until it is developed, you also only get one shot to get your shot. As my Prof. said, “You will be asking yourself, ‘Did i get that shot?’ and then you will answer, ‘I certainly hope so’.” In a few weeks time our class will premiere all the projects in class. I cannot wait to see the others, but especially my own.

This project was primarily an exercise to get used to the process it takes to make a movie. Although, it was more of a bonding experience for my group, which includes a variety of students. I had a great time on the shoot, although i did pull a muscle repelling down a cliff to get to the bottom, and some where picked up a flu bug.

Now onto the next project, more about that in a post to come.

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