Friday, 1 August 2014

Number Four

For the last month I've been in Tobago, filming feature film number four - Learning to Breathe.
With filming in Central London scheduled for later this month, I'm taking a moment to rest and reflect on what's been one of the most challenging shoots of my life thus far.

Every feature film, at every scale, is always physically and mentally demanding.
Especially if it's your own script.

Even those around you don't quite realise the level at which it consumes you, and just how exhausting a process it is.

Every day when you're making a film, you have to be positive. Be the cheerleader, the motivator. Even if you have your own doubts, or insecurities.   Perhaps you simply have a head ache?  Doesn't matter.  You have to be professional.  Be calm and clear and focused. No matter what.

And whilst those thousands of questions and problems fly around your head, you must always have a smile for that 1001th question. No matter how insignificant it may be.

By the time you've done a few films, and maybe had some praise, you feel confident in your ability, but the sheer act of carrying 100 pages of script with you daily and overlooking every single department really is challenging.   
Perversely, when you're doing it, it feels overwhelming at times, but when you're done, you miss it like a drug.
Maybe because it's so all-consuming it leaves a big hole to fill?

Being grounded and pragmatic helps.  Having the support from loved ones also helps.

For Learning to Breathe I decided to operate one of the cameras too.  A decision I took to get closer to the actors and the action.
As if writing and directing wasn't enough!!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not moaning. It was a personal choice.  But it's very much a one-off.   It was right for this film.
It helps having a great crew and knowing the second camera was in safe hands too.

As for the film itself, my natural mix of modesty and self-preservation mean I will leave the promotional stuff to those who do these things better.

So far.  It's been gruelling. Yes.
But there's magic.
And plenty of it...

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