10 minute short film challenge: the results

About 3 min reading time

As mentioned in the previous post, February got a little busy with non-app stuff. My acting coach laid down a challenge that seemed to fire my creative neurons, and encouraged me to write, shoot, and produce my first ever short film.

Stop thinking, start doing

Normally, when it comes to things I have a lot of respect for, like filmmaking, I suffer from major analysis paralysis if I even consider what it would take to actually make something for the first time.

For some reason, this challenge short-circuited my usual pattern of behaviour, and I got off my ass and just got on with it.

I’ve been fortunate to have been on a number of short film sets to know that there’s usually a team of people doing things like setting up the camera, working out the sound, and sometimes people bringing you cups of tea. However, for this project, I wanted to see what I could learn on my own.

Herding cats & being simple minded

As it happened, at no point were more than 3 or 4 of our 8 person group available at the same time in the week and a half we had left to shoot and edit the film.

So I winged it. I realised that certain people’s availability meant that I would have a short window of opportunity to shoot them, so wrote scenes that were specifically aimed at the actors that were available.

You’re welcome to read the script: All You Need by Les Cochrane

Once everyone had agreed on their parts in the script (there was only one of 5 scenes that was rewritten to make it fit with the others), it was a case of scheduling in the filming times.

On ‘set’ I kept it as simple as possible, filming with my trusty Sony a6500 camera, and my Sigma 30mm f1.4 prime lens. I recorded audio on the camera with a cheap Neewer Boom mic, and on each actor I used cavalier mics, and either a portable audio recorder, or my iPhone.

I learned a lot about setting up sound recording on this project. Next time, I’ll be sure to get someone involved that knows what they’re doing, as once I got to the edit, I realised that a lot of the sound recorded was hard to use, as it was either too loud, or way too soft.

Keeping the number of takes as low as possible for each setup, and keeping the angles and setups as simple as I could, made things a lot easier in the edit.

I edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, and after not having touched any editing software other than iMovie for the past 15 years, it was a pleasure to get up to speed and start putting the film together.

If only I had another 24 hours

I’m really pleased with the final product, especially considering the amount of time that I was able to put into it.

The breakdown of my time:

Total: 24 hours.

Not too bad for a 10 minute short film :)

If I was to do it again, I'd want to be a lot more collaborative, and get more of the group involved in things like sound, and especially the editing.

And now, for our feature presentation…

Now that's out of the way, I'm back to working on the app challenge this week.