6 days ago
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012, 9:56 PM
It was a long time coming. I have helped out on other films for the last twenty years, off and on, in both small and large capacities. An aborted attempt at helming my own a few years ago discouraged me a bit, but at long last I finally committed to an idea that really spoke to me as being a decent bit of fun, and last weekend I went ahead and directed my very first film shoot.
Leading up to the shoot day I was not at all nervous, and that surprised me. I was concerned that I'd forget something, and I wasn't entirely confident that people would listen to me and do what I ask of them, but it turned out those worries only led me to take extra care and do things right. By knowing my film sideways and backwards I had a clear picture of what I wanted, which meant I could answer questions with precision, and present myself as confident and focused. That seemed to cause everyone to respond, and led to a fast shoot, a fun day, and a creative atmosphere.
It did help that most of the crew were already friends of mine who trusted me, but there were a couple of other things that really helped me along. The costume design by Alex Chambers of Clockwork Butterfly was exquisite, and the props built by Adam Gill were perfect. That combination, when seen on my actors Sarah Breen and Phil Zachariah, as they recited their lines in the first takes, brought my vision to life, and everybody on set could see now what I was trying to create. It proved to them, and more importantly to myself, that I could do this.
I was on my feet all day. Every time I sat down, not two minutes later I was called away to something new. I had to prepare a few shots ahead at every step, I had to make sure all my crew were doing what they needed to do, knew what they needed to know, and were as busy as they needed to be, to keep them alert, interested, and informed. And it seemed to work.
I had a lot of fun, and it was strangely compelling to be in charge, something I've never felt comfortable with in the past. I think in my heart I am a co-Director, and would also love to be a co-Writer, but stepping up to the plate to take full charge is now something else I think I can do occasionally.
I will be editing a rough cut of the footage over the next couple of weeks, and then preparing the assets for the backgrounds over the coming months. A greenscreen shoot means every single shot has to be composited in, and that's potentially fifty different images and animations. It sounds like a lot, but really it's only three distinct "locations" I have to build - the airship, the exterior of the building, and the interior of the building. There are a few additional special effects like the Time Vortex and the weapons powering up, but they'll be relatively straightforward I think.
It's all in hand. I am confident I can do everything I have set before me, and have people to help when it starts to get complicated or falls into zones I'm less familiar with. This is finally happening.