Friday, 29 August 2014

Almost there...

Time to write another infrequent blog about making feature film number four, which must mean that I should be doing something else instead, but am putting it off.

Now all the Tobago shoot is in the bag, we are gearing up for the London leg of the shoot.
Its a world away from 35 degrees and the lush Caribbean vistas, but I've had a long love affair with London and it has many wonderful virtues of its own.
The London section of the film probably accounts for around 15% of the total running time, but its vitally important stuff and the onus is on the team to meet, if not surpass, the work we have already achieved in Tobago.  Which is no mean feat.

One of the things you get asked a lot is... how is it looking? or... are you happy with it?

Out of all the questions I get asked in the making of the film, this is the one I try and dodge the most.

Firstly, when you're in the middle of making it there's a lot of superstition involved.
Making films is fraught with difficulties that can rear their head at any given time, so you try not to tempt fate by being remotely positive.

Secondly.  Until the film is edited and scored and mixed, I genuinely have no idea how happy I am.
Yes.  I think it looks nice. Yes, the performances are good.  etc etc.  But none of that really adds up to anything until its actually completed and you can watch the scenes unfold in the way you envisaged. THEN you can decide if you're happy.
Ive learnt over time that its better to smile politely and say innocuous sentences like "Yeah... Looks good. Will wait and see when its finished".

Thirdly. And probably most interestingly.  Making a film is a long process.  From conception to completion.  As a filmmaker your relationship with it changes over the course of that time.  One minute excited and in love, the next fearful and insecure, or even falling out of love with it for periods of time.
Its definitely a marathon.
With Learning to Breathe it will be a 12-18 month relationship from first draft through to delivery of the final edit.
Beyond that, there will be festivals, PR and release commitments.  So its a long long time and somehow you have to keep positive and excited about the film, regardless of all the bumps and knocks you get along the way.
Cast, crew, and post-production people come along and are part of the process for periods of time.  Weeks or months. But when you're the director, you're in it for the long haul and you have to keep that bigger picture in mind all the time.
One slip, or one lapse of focus at the wrong time, could undo months or years of work, so you have to keep that kind of perspective and stay as fresh as possible.

Somehow, you have to hold tightly to the thing that first made you excited to make the film in the first place, and to protect the integrity and identity of the film at all costs.

Even though its feature film number four, this is the part that is the hardest of all.

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