Sometimes it’s the movement. Just the movement. As the light hits a blade of grass, or a leaf — something that’s completely out of a cinematographer’s control.
Sometimes it’s the perfect placement of a vaguely recognisable object — like a syringe, or a coin, or a calendar page — just below the surface of a liquid such that it shimmers ethereally.
Sometimes it’s the way you’re cued to recognise each of three craniums at varying stages of baldness.
Sometimes it’s the crease of a wrinkle, the way a brow furrows, the tiniest glimmer of a smirk.
It’s a character breaking the fourth wall an hour into a film and it somehow feeling like the most natural thing in the world.
It’s rain falling completely out of nowhere, indoors, for no reason.
It’s a little girl, apropos of nothing, moving a couple of glasses with her mind.
And sometimes, just sometimes, it’s all of these things.
That’s a wrap!
Words that I’ve not had the utter, utter privilege and luck to utter in what is rapidly approaching six years.
We have shot our little short film, and it was such a joy to see it come together. The crew were superb, and professional, and I look forward to working with them again very soon.
My cast were absolute professionals, and lovely, lovely people to boot. This shoot, I was able to just focus on them, and their wellbeing; not to mention the emergence of their characters, that they fleshed out and to which they gave life from my pitiful typed text.
I am incredibly happy, and satisfied, and humbled. Dear film-gods, let’s not leave it this long until next time.
In a few weeks, I’m making a short film again.
My last short was made in 2011, and I feel like I’ve learnt a ton since then, but have struggled to find time to put it into practice.
It’s something of an irony, given that since my last film, I’ve taught around 350-400 students how to conceive, develop, shoot, and edit their own media projects.
The script is short, simple; a single location. I’ve been obsessed with single-location drama for some time. In part, because it’s close to theatre, but also because it’s a challenge for the writer, the director, and the cinematographer.
A lot of ideas are converging on this little film of mine, and I can’t wait to get stuck in.
No one ever consciously thinks of GoPro footage, ‘I will make this beautiful.’ I think the whole understanding around GoPros is that if you point it at nice things (nature/landmarks/out the front of a car), your footage won’t be half bad.
I mourned a little when the new GoPros featured phone connectivity. Part of the joy of the early GoPro experience was not really knowing what you’d got until you were back in front of your computer.
You just sort of arranged the GoPro, or held it, or strapped it to yourself or something, and hoped for the best.
I GoPro’d old school last week. I and my GoPro floated down the Yarra River in order to try and record the sense of being swept along by the tide. The results were mixed. Depths varied from about six inches to eight feet; there were rocks, sand, weeds, scrapes, cuts, and the constant underlying fear of being taken under and devoured by some as-yet-undiscovered Victorian crocodile species.
Mostly it was fun, if slightly stressful; the sense of accomplishment at the end was overwhelming. Only now am I looking over my footage. The set-up stuff I took on the bank is of course nice and composed, and properly exposed. But in the odd frame of the GoPro stuff: that’s where I find real gold. Where else could you see the sky through a thin veneer of water? Specks of dust hover in the frame as they float by the lens. A duck, up close, floats past, more bemused than startled. An unexpectedly violent splash of white water as I lose my footing: the perfectly sunlit day plunged into murky brown depths.
Get your GoPros out. Make some random beauty.
I’ve done some nature this week. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it.
Nature the first was a walk in an inner-city park on Tuesday. Nowhere to be, nothing really in mind to see: just walking, looking, feeling.
Nature the second was some experimental filming done as part of a research day in north-east Melbourne. The hastily-cut-together results of this experimentation are included below. More to follow in the coming weeks. Nice to get something in the can, no matter how out-there.