Monday, 16 April 2007

Working with Children

So far, I have directed three short documentaries for DADAA's the Lost Generation Project and apart from some minor technical hitches, everything is going really well. The sound and images are great and the personalities of our talent is coming over well. I'm lucky to be working with such fascinating characters - disabilities aside.

This week we start editing the films and, while that is happening, I'm hoping to get the odd pick-up. We've already happily picked up a couple of shots which didn't work out in the original shoot - but we may have to get more in editing. Luckily all our subjects are in the one location, so it's pretty easy to run off and get a shot of someone while shooting someone else.

Being filmed for the entire day - with a camera right up your nose - is irksome to say the least and already patiences have been tried and tested. I have asked the producer if we can shoot two films over two consecutive days - with each subject being shot in two half days.

The closest experience I've had to working with the mentally disabled and disadvantaged was my experience teaching at Filmbites where I was working with children. They lasted about half a day, too. Eight hours is a long time for anyone put under the microscope.

It is curious to know that there is a law which governs filming minors. Kids under the age of twelve are limited to 4 working hours due to wavering attention spans, moods and tolerances. I'd say the same goes with the Lost Generation people...

Friday, 6 April 2007

A Lovely Filmmaking Experience

I directed a 5 minute film for DADAA on Tuesday. We are documenting the lives of mentally challenged and disabled people living in WA for the Lost Generation Project. I must say, it was a very lovely, humbling experience and the finished film should be amazing to watch.

I originally wrote a narrative screenplay - but actually sticking to it for the doco format - was tricky. We really had to go with other things that happened on the day (as one might expect). We managed to capture the essence of the screenplay, however, and some of the scenes are very moving and emotional.

Technical

I shot 1.5 hours of HD with a Sony HDV camera throughout one day. What a lovely, easy-to-use camera. We literally switched it on and started shooting. I had to ride the exposure and focus a little, but the automatic functions allowed me to, literally, interrupt what the camera was doing by touching a dial and going manual - something like cruise control on a car. I was worried about sound (we used a simple RODE directional mic. and camera sound) but it came out nicely and the images are lovely.

I am very humbled to think that the films we make for DADAA are copyright "the subject" (ie. the person we are filming) and I can't wait to see what the various editors and musicians do with the finished film.

All in all - it made me realise that I really do love filmmaking. Sometimes you lose track of why you are doing such a difficult thing. And then it hits you. Like it did for me on Tuesday.

Monday, 2 April 2007

My First Real Documentary

Tomorrow I start filming the first Lost Generation project film for DADAA and I'm really looking forward to it. We're filming in a pool, in a bus, in the streets, in houses. And we're not quite sure how comfortable our subject will be. Hmmm.