Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Get Out Of Your Box.

Here's an idea for you filmmakers looking to try something a little different.

Drop into a local community group; youth, disability, elderly, whatever it may be, talk to the person in charge and offer to make a film with the group over the next couple of months. Could be a short, could be a feature if you're ambitious and smart enough. If they're up for it, sit in with them once a week for a couple of hours, over two or three weeks. Get to know them. Talk about their interests, what's going on in their lives, what they like, don't like, what thrills them, angers them. Build a list of themes. Soon, a story will start to emerge. You'll recognise it when you see it, because you're the storyteller.

Your instinct might be to then just go off and write it, but resist it, instead remember that this should be their story, their film, you're just their to guide them. But like any good guide, you're not going to send them down a path that sees them walk off the edge of a cliff. But allow them to talk it out. Find what they want to tell. Make suggestions, pick up on the stronger themes. Guide them.

When there's a story there that everyone likes, that everyone seems excited by, then you can go off an put it into script form. At that point, you're just adding the structure, you're lending you technical ability and experience to their story so you have a structured screenplay to work from.

Set a date to film. Start moving toward it. Find out who wants to be in it. Who wants to be behind the came. Audition for the main parts. Let them get a taste of how every aspect of putting a film together works. Draft in some experienced actors, either people you know, or people from local Drama groups. Draft experienced crew. This will speed things up and give you a film that actually looks like a film. It be a huge learning opportunity for the group o see professionals at work.

Shoot it.

On the shoot, take your time. Set as easy and flexible a schedule as possible. Understand that these people are doing something they have no knowledge of. And again, you're their guide, so don't go wondering off ahead just because you know the path! Take it slow. Explain things. Suggest things. Listen to their suggestions. You'll be the director, but your job as director here is to stand back as much as possible. Set the scene, allow them to play it out. Trust them.

When it's shot. Have a wrap party. Go edit it. Keep it tight. Get it done. Grade it. Get some nice music. Hold a premiere on a big screen in the centre of their town. Get them to bring family and friends. Get it in the paper. See what happens.

Whatever happens, you will have a film at the end of it, a fulfilling experience you never would have had otherwise and you will most certainly have enjoyed yourself.

Just a thought. For a little something outside the box.