There are incredible people I dream of working with - Jocelyn Moorhouse, Agnés Varda, Reed Morano... and then there are incredible people who live near me, and whose work is developing, and who have exciting futures, and who I like. I just didn't know many of them until recently.
I have dreamt of these people, my people.
I have always wondered how people meet producers. And how people meet producers that understand the film and have a similar sensibility, or at least a complementary one.
I met Lauren Beck online, even though we go to the same university. She is a documentary producer and director and also a production designer. She responded to a call out I made on a female filmmakers facebook page, and then we met in person. She was gently but energetic, and driven. And she strongly encouraged me to cast a non-actor which is what I had intended, but some university folks were swaying me against it. Lauren is on board as the producer and I'm really happy.
Bonita Carzino dates a friend of mine. And I had seen her come and go between shoots, sometimes exhausted but with an unwavering commitment and passion for the projects. I loved that. She also reached out to me when I was thinking she might be great to work with, and when we met it felt easy and like she would be a true ally throughout the process, so she is on board as the cinematographer.
Together we are assembling a great team. It feels good to work with people who really love the project and who are kind, passionate, talented and energetic. I feel very very lucky.
Full disclosure - I am doing my Masters in film at the moment and the film I am making falls under my formal assessment. It's worth noting that I don't care how my film is received by the academic institution itself. I care about making a film that shakes hearts, or nudges them, or punctures them so they bleed out onto the cinema seat.
But one of the very worthwhile assessment tasks we were given in the lead up to writing our scripts was to find 10 images that stirred us, in relation to our film idea.
These are not images I have taken, but rather ones I have found through Google searches or Pinterest searches.
The next challenge is to incorporate them into my script.
I narrowed ideas down to 4. I won't list the other ones here, because maybe I'll use them and they're only bare bones.
I mentioned in my last post that I was working in a juvenile prison whilst brainstorming ideas. You would forgive me for the cross over.
Strangely though, years ago I had written the outline of a short film about two brother escaping from juvenile. This time, though I decided it would be two girls. And they would escape for a single day. And we would get to see the world through their eyes.
I have since decided that it will be one girl. And she is escaping for a very clear reason - she is pregnant and she needs to find her boyfriend to work out what to do.
I have an ending, but I don't want to give it away.
I had four ideas that I was tossing up, at the end of January and the only way I could choose was by feeling which moved me the most, and when I was writing about this girl I started crying, so that was enough impetus to commit.
The brainstorming process was difficult but I managed to keep the pressure off. The narrowing down process was also difficult, but I have decided not to stew in indecision around ideas for too long.
And so it is decided, this will be a film about love and escape.
Susan Sontag by Annie Liebovitz
Where do they bloody come from? I don't know.
There is a lot of pressure on making your graduate film project. But there's pressure on making any film because it's expensive and it involves a lot of other people. And it takes a long time so you need to find an idea that gives you energy and will drive you for at least a year, maybe many more. If things go well hopefully you'll be at film festivals with it, but this may happen 3 years after you first came up with the idea.
But where do you start?
I think, as with any creative endeavour, you can start anywhere. I really love stories and characters. But I find it hard to make decisions sometimes. But let me guide you through the plan I made to find an idea.
I committed to full time work as a cooking teacher in a juvenile prison for all of January. I would have to start school in late February and I wanted to have the semblance of an idea by then. The work I was doing was exhausting and when I came home at the end of the day I was brain dead. So mornings were my only option. I decided to get up at 6am, do yoga for 20 minutes, then sit down to write for 10-30 minutes. I committed to coming up with one idea each day. I started a stream of consciousness writing document and added on to it each day. And I did it - for 28 days I came up with 28 ideas, most of which were complete rubbish. But it started my mind turning.
It took the pressure off the ideas being 'good,' and set the focus to just finding ideas.
I highly recommend it.
Next post I'll talk about the idea I fell for. It was after all a bit like dating...
I wanted to document the process of making a short film with you all. Of course every film is different, but I've been looking for inspiration and ideas all over the internet and I thought perhaps, through sharing this process, I can offer some insight into my process with this particular film. And I can pass on the internet inspirations I have found too.
Each film is a monstrous undertaking that unfolds over a long time before it reaches any kind of screen, and I think the steps to get there are fascinating. I am also intent on developing a process that is positive and inclusive, especially because I will be working with inexperienced actors and with sensitive material. I am determined to work from a feminist standpoint and am learning how this looks exactly in all stages of production.
Please, come along for the wild ride!
Hannah and the team (some who are locked in and others we are yet to meet!)