When do you make a film?
When you absolutely can't. Take fate by surprise. The day you lose the location and the cameraman has to leave early, the day the actress breaks out in a terrible allergic reaction to a face cream and the make-up girl realises she's double booked - that's the day you shoot. Why? Because nothing can go wrong.
Who do you make a film with?
Ability and talents are of no use to you without enthusiasm. Find people with enthusiasm and then pretend to listen to them - this is almsot the same as listening to them but you don't get distracted by what they say.
How do you make a film?
You have a giraffe an alligator a dog a chicken and a snail. The trick is to get them all across the line at the same time. Hint: make sure they're all well fed and this becomes much easier.
Why do you make a film?
You can't guarantee you'll make the masterpiece of your dreams but you can guarantee everyone can have a great time on set. If you can't have fun making a film, when can you have fun? It's why you do it.
What do you film?
Write down your ideas. Identify conflicts. When you find out what those conflicts have to do with love you have a script. Shoot that script. Edit what you shoot to emphasis the story.
Where do you film?
Wherever you can. If you don't have a good location, lighting and composition alone are enough to create awesome images.
Which equipment do you use?
Whatever you know how to use, whatever you can get.
At the Bootleg Festival NYC, I met some great people. One of them wrote a self reflective blog posting today that had nothing to do with films, but instead, what he had learnt about himself from changing a bicycle tyre.
Seeing as I too have had some bicycle adventures recently, I was inspired to write my own.
And ... without further ado... here is my effort at self-reflection:
My wife bought me a bike for my 40th. It is amazing. I arrive at work 3 to 5 minutes earlier than I would by public transport, dripping with sweat but with a sense of accomplishment and wellbeing.
The bike is a proper bike. Not a flimsy racer or trendy mountain bike but a sturdy machine built like a tank. Oh my god is it heavy.
In addition to being filled with lead, the bike has some other features:
a luggage rack. Amazing. I have used it to carry a pair of roller skates and I didn't notice a thing.
a little bell that makes a good sound - not gay at all.
a dynamo powered front headlight. Totally brilliant.
a back wheel lock, bolted onto the frame of the bike. Not quite so brilliant. You cannot use the bike unless the key is in the lock - so the key can't be on your keychain. Can you imagine what would happen if you lost the key? I didn't have to imagine this as I lost the key in less than a week.
Neil wrote about his experiences of repairing a puncture and what that taught him about himself. I thought perhaps I should do some self reflecting, too.
Much like Neil, I was a soon to be discovered cycling talent.
'I don't know,' I would say to the press, as flash bulbs exploded around me, 'I guess it's just something inside of me, a previously unleashed force.'
'One more question Mr. Willis-Jones! Do you think that anyone could be this great, if they too... got a bike?'
Gazing intently at the horizon I would ponder this before turning back to the hoards of reporters, 'No.' I would say.
Now onto the self reflective part.
First of all let's address the lost key to the rear wheel lock. My first reaction to this was extreme sadness. Something akin to discovering your goldfish had died: Not the end of the world, but you'd just given it a name and started to develop a relationship, and now, there it was, floating on the surface surrounded by the mixture of fishfood and cocaine that deep down you knew was a bad idea, even though it was almost the weekend.
My wife drove to my work and delivered the spare key. 'I knew that lock was a bad idea for Matt' she said.
You see, that's why she bought me this hardcore no-nonsense bike. She knew that anything less durable would quickly suffer various failings which I would fail to repair and it would be a remarkably short amount of time before the bike all but evaporated.
Determined to show her that I was able to deal with this first hurdle, I announced that I was not going to use the back wheel lock anymore, indeed I would find a way to break the key in the lock, so the lock would be left permenantly open. I have a much better chain lock anyhow.
She suggested I just go to the shop where she bought it and get another set of keys, or perhaps get them to remove the lock altogether. 'Remember I told you they'd fix anything on the bike for free within the first 12 months?'. I decided to just leave the key in the lock. That way I didn't have to figure out a way break it or go to the shop and be laughed at by all the clever bike people.
I didn't worry too much that some prankster might lock my back wheel for a laugh and run off with the key. Although it did cross my mind.
A few days later, the bulb went in the front light. It's dark when I cycle home and definitely not a good idea to be without lights. But the rear light still worked brilliantly and I could only imagine what the people in the bike shop would think about me now - I'd only had the bike for a couple of weeks and already I'd lost a key and somehow broken the bulb in the front light.
Weeks passed. Then came The Good Day. The Good Day was amazing. It came after three increasingly stressful and problem-ridden days at work.
On The Good Day, I took off my bicycle helmet as I approched the revolving doors of NRK, and I was filled with inner peace and bliss. 'You know what, World? Today... today you cannot break me. Problems? Bring 'em on! Show me what you've got! Today I can deal with anything!'
And you know what? All of the problems I feared had vanished. It was an incredibly smooth day. It was, in fact, a joy. At two minutes past midnight however, I noticed the time on my monitor and I knew The Good Day had come to an end. I was now venturing into the unknown...
At 1 am, I go to the bike to find that the rear light had stopped working. Assuming it was the batteries, I went to the nearby petrol station - where the only staff at night is the guy making the hotdogs - and asked for a small screwdriver. He explained that 'they' never left anything at night but he'd see what he could do. He came back with a screwdriver that was probably too big but I tried it anyway. Very quickly I had almost completely stripped the screw head and my head was filled with a vision of the entire staff at the bike shop, standing around in lycra shorts, pointing and laughing at me: 'Don't you even know how to use a screwdiver?!'
As I set off into the night, dressed in black, with no lights, I realised I had forgotten my helmet at work. Half way home, going down a steep hill, the handlebars came loose.
The next day I trundled the bike through town and into the shop, where I encountered a delightfully pleasant and helpful man. He fixed the handlebars in a jiffy and apologised profusely about the trouble's I had encountered. He didn't mention anything about the nearly stripped screw head on the back light. He wasn't able to replace the bulb right then as I hadn't left enough time before I had to leave to work, but he assurred me I could come in anytime tomorrow an he'd fix it no problem.
I rode to work on my new bike. The sun was shining. Things don't get better than this. I was actually looking forward to going back to the shop the next day not just becuase I'd get the bulb fixed but becasue I'd get to talk to that nice man again.
That night, shortly before midnight and still techincally within the same 24 hours as the back light and handlebar failure, I unlocked the bike to discover the back tyre was flat.
The bike remained chained up for the next 4 days and I refamiliarized myself with the Oslo Metro system.
I then took the bike to another bike shop, much closer to work, and was greated by yet another charming and jovial bicycle repair man. He joked that he wouldn't be able to do anything about the weight of the bike, and suggested that maybe I'd like him to remove the annoying back wheel lock while he took care of the tyre? He couldn't promise he'd be able to get a replacement bulb for the front light though. I guess I shall find out in a couple of hours when I pick it up.
Oh I should also mention that I found a key in my bag the other day. I'm pretty sure it's the key to the back wheel lock.
There hasn't been much self reflection in this account, so I'll read it through quickly and see what I think. Ok. Back in a minute.
Oh dear. Well, The verdict isn't good. I appear to be a lazy, irresponsible paranoid idiot. With a bike.
Sorry I've been neglecting this blog of late ... so what's happened? Well - we had 3 more screenings of the Conformity film in the states ... and Incalcitranous Rex has so far had 3 screenings in Italy and is scheduled for a 4th screening at this event - along with the Conformity and Democracy films.
It's a satirical take on the Cannes festival hosted by the wonderful people at Skepto International Film Festival ;)
Sadly I won't be able to attend as I'm going to be working like a mule at that point, but as usual we're delighted and proud ;) - and maybe YOU can make it?
I've been watching a lot of these 'Dangerman' episodes lately... I have been struck by many aspects of the production, not least the strong female characters. Check out the incredibly stylish Barbara Steele in this episode ... I love her 'slightly raised eyebrow' acting style in the bar scene with Mcgoohan 5 mins in..
Pleased to announce that both 'A Short Film on Conformity' and 'A Short Film on Democracy' will screen at the Skepto International Film Fest this April in Cagliari. Whoo Hoo! I wonder if I'll make it to the screening this time....
shooting update ..
Last Sunday .. Jan 13 ... we started shooting the next Huma Nerror film 'A Short Film on Freedom'. We have a few scheduling constraints - we can only shoot on weekends, one of our actors is in a long run stage performance in another city 6 hours away, another actor leaves the country for 3 months in at the end of January, and we also lose access to our fabulous location at that time. All in all it's a tight schedule - and this film is probably the most ambitious one yet.
The shoot went well - the actors are just amazing and I am incredibly lucky to have an equally good crew. Believe it or not we have graduated to shooting on a RED Scarlet camera, and we even got an Audi TT - straight from the showroom - as a prop.
The previous 3 films we made for a cost less than 3 bottles of Cava (a fact I realised when paying the bill at our premiere party) and, despite the above paragraph - we are still managing to make these films for nothing (ok - that's not strictly true - I buy and prepare food for everyone the day before - but that's... well... less than a bottle of Cava).
I think from now on I'll budget in units of 'One Bottle of Cava' ... you want to do some sound mixing? That'll be 2 bottles of Cava an hour.
yes ... that's a cast member in a cast! He felt like a bit of a member too.... poor Harald.... ;(
Close observers will notice that none other than Chuck Norris is our sound recordist / mixer.
Amazingly, Jørn (right) had come straight from a stage performance at Dansens Hus - so 20 mins before I threw him in the sound booth with hop-a-long - to say a total of 5 words - he had been bowing to a standing ovation in a packed theatre. What a sport.
Harald and Jørn make it happen.
oops! top secret material on screen blurred out ... ;)
so what do these incredibly poor quality photo's mean? They mean we are getting ever closer to having this film in the digital can.
A Short Film on Democracy ... is in the sound mix... and we are having to dub over some lines... so we'll not be finished by the end of this week... in fact it'll probably be another 2 weeks... as we have to co-ordinate the actors and the dubbing process
Hey... the best things come to those who wait, yeah?
In other news, the Conformity film played in Germany last saturday .. sadly I couldn't attend as I was performing 'Jimmy Polaris' with Christopher Nielsen and the band Masselys. It's the third time we've done that now and it's always fun. Only drawback was the van we hired to make the 2 hour journey to the venue. Complaints about the vehicle included:
- steering wheel too cold
- nothing on the radio
- sticker on dash read 'husk lys', not 'Masselys'
Shooting for 'A Short Film on Democracy' was completed yesterday ... here's most of the cast between scenes... looking like they're awaiting test results... :)
I'm gonna try and get an edit out in time for Halloween... bit tight really but I'll try... So what is this new film? Initial reports have it described as 'Rhubarb crumble with plutonium custard' - I think that might be right...