I wanted to reflect on myself as a professional and evaluate how I worked on this project as well as what I have learned in the process. After all, a good practioner is a reflective practioner.
The Role of Director on ‘The World of Night’ is not a role that was new to me. I have previous experience in directing films and I realise what a massive learning curve it can be. Having struggled on previous projects however, I refused to let my confidence as a director be shattered. I went in to this project with a lot determination because I really wanted to improve my directing skills and learn more about the responsibilities and purpose of the role.
Being a director on location required me to utilize my communication skills to keep order with both cast and crew. On our FMP project the actors were quite friendly with each other which is always a good thing but it sometimes meant having to interrupt their conversations and jokes between scenes and cuts to get them ready for the next shot. I reminded myself not to be too stern. I wanted to earn the respect of my cast and I knew we would work better as a unit that way. I tried to be as encouraging as possible even under stress. There were times when we were losing the day light and some of the actors were struggling with their lines. I knew trying to rush them would only make it worse. Being empathetic and understanding of the actor’s needs while trying to stay within the right time frame was an essential and challenging part of my job.
Communicating and working with my crew members was quite enjoyable. I had a good team who were always on time and ready to work. I believe we were a crew with a variety of skills and capabilities which is something that will show on-screen.
- Time Management
Time management was a key skill for me on this project particularly in Brighton. Some of the cast and crew had other commitments on some of our production days and getting the work done on time meant the difference between the film being made or not being made. I had some preferences for the weather on our exterior day shoots and so making a decision to switch locations to different days was not only a difficult but crucial estimate. Another issue with time constraints was making sure the cast and crew were working hard but also allowing ample breaks.
Being outspoken was important for me to get the attention of everyone on set. Managing a good set was the only way we would get through our filming days with the short time frame we had available to us. Getting the cast in to position was frequently a task I had to approach in an assertive manner.
- Being a Leader
I had a great passion for this film and therefore being a strong leader is something that not only came naturally but was also essential for making sure we could gather all the shots needed at the desired quality.
My interpersonal and communication skills are what allowed me to inspire and motivate the cast and crew while making my own decisions. At times I found myself thinking one step ahead, mentally preparing the next step of each day.
As the production dates for Brighton crept closer it was brought to our attention that there would be an English Defence League (EDL) demonstration happening right in the middle of our filming days. We had to cancel all the hotel bookings and trains and reschedule. Up until this point I had assigned Kurt Lambert as our Director of Photography. After re-booking the travel and accommodation we realised we could book quite cheap by getting a 3 person room in a bed & breakfast for myself, Elouise and Sunil. Did I really need to bring a DOP/camera op to the shoot? I had such a specific style intended for the film that I thought the best person to capture this would be me. I am very meticulous about shots and although it seemed very challenging to work as director and camera op at the same time, it would still ease some of the work load. By shooting the film myself it meant I only had to direct actors and not having to give specific instructions to separate camera op.
My specific vision for the cinematography grew out of my research in to lucid dreaming. I wanted to deliver a slow-paced almost spacey or floaty experience to the audience with lots of beautiful shallow depths of field and high saturation to enhance the look of the dream world. This visual adaptation of the script is something we tried to demonstrate in our test footage earlier in the module.
I learned a whole lot about camera functions from Sunil. I believe that we learn more on the field than in the classroom. Sunil is quite savvy with the Canon 5D and he was always there to help with any problems with adjusting settings and functions.