Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tales of a Student Producer, Part 3

We've almost got all our footage now. We have many one more weekend's worth of work, which has to be filmed either this weekend or next because the university's about to confiscate our equipment for the audacious reason of giving it to other students in other classes.

We filmed at a coffee shop on Sunday. We tried finding a place to shoot in our town, but all we have are chains and they were really unhelpful. One of the smaller, more local chains, who proposes to be dedicated to community arts, wanted to charge us $40/hour, even during business hours. Being a student film, we don't exactly have that sort of budget. So we branched out and looked at coffee shops in a neighboring town and found two that would let us film during business hours, no problem what so ever. Definitely no charge. Extremely helpful. I think that even having people who give you time and don't rush you allows us to also take our time and have time to move out of their way if they need us to. If we're not rushed to take a shot we don't have to muscle our way around to get the filming done. So if you're looking for a business location, look outside of the corporate chains and find an independent business. Even if it's a little out of the way. The cooperation makes the shoot much more wonderful.

I haven't seen any dailies yet. The director and cinematographer have, and they say that some color correction needs to be done on one of the scenes, but overall it's looking good. We did get some bad news from the lab that our first day's footage, the beautiful outdoor fall scene that we waited and planned and postponed and stressed over to make sure that we could capture the most brilliant fall colors, yes that un-reshootable footage had black lines running through it. It was frustrating to get that news, especially since there's about a foot of snow on the ground now, and the lab said that it looked like a film stock problem, not a camera failure or lab problem. The only consolation was the fact that the footage wasn't really necessary to the plot. But the director viewed the footage the other day and said that the lines aren't as bad as we were dreading and there's actually some usable footage. Whew.

The farther we get alone, the less stress I feel and the more fun I have. Maybe it's because I grew tired of being stressed more over this project than any of my actually school work or maybe it's because we bonded more as a crew and learned how to have fun together while we filmed. My coproducer and I get along really well, and she might produce my 1940s short. We were talking about film sets the other day and how each one is such a completely different experience from the next. I think it's just another reason why working in the film industry is a bit risky. And I think that's why it's an industry of recommendations. The people you work with make a huge difference on your experience of the shoot, and if you find people you work with well, you'll want to work with them again. Otherwise it's a gamble about who your next coworker is going to be. And consequently what your next film experience is going to be like.

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