How to make a Film for the Hundred Dollar Film Festival – Part 5

PatIn this and the next post, I will look at how I made some of my films for the festival. In later posts, I will summarise what I learnt from those experiences and suggest how you can make a film.

I made My Next Film for the tenth festival in 2001. I came up with the idea for this film as a reaction to my experiences with my film Line of Taxis. Line of Taxis was my most ambitious film to date and took much more effort than any of my other films, until My Most Difficult Case.

I wanted to make a smaller, less challenging film. It developed over a period of two years. Initially, I used events from my own projects, but when Patrick Aull agreed to appear in the film, I began to add fictionalized versions of his experiences with his film “All of a Sudden”.

I developed each bit of the script on its own, and bounced the ideas off other people. I dropped the ones that didn’t work and kept the ones that did. Eventually I compiled them into a script.

In many ways, this was one of the easiest of my films to make, but it was not without its challenges. As the film itself describes, I kept the production as simple as I could. I shot in a single location (my garage), used black and white film, and used a voice over for the sound.

My original intent was to have the film as a single static shot of Pat, but this approach didn’t work so well. While it was easy from the point of view of the camera operator, it is more difficult for the actor. Instead, I edited together shots from a variety of takes I did for the film. I incorporated many of Patrick’s suggestions that into the film.

For the shoot, I recorded my own reading of the script, which I then played back to Patrick as we shot the film. After the shoot, I rerecorded the voice over with Patrick. Again, I did several different versions and cut them together.

I shot the film on 16mm film and transferred the film to video where I did a preliminary edit. I used the video edit as a guide to do a cut of the film. I wrote some of the edge numbers on the print itself to help me go back to the cut of the film. If you watch my film Contingency closely, you can see one of the numbers in the shot from My Next Film. I completed the film with a negative cut and an optical track for the sound.

Although I completed the film with a 16mm optical sound print, I believe I could do a similar film today without that final step. As I did with my film Contingency, I could have projected the cutting copy, and played a CD of the voice over, or have the voice over done live.

In my next post, I will look at If I knew . . . , the film I made for the fourth festival in 1995.

Leave a Reply