Friday, 30 October 2009

Like bite-sized Weetabix

Episode two has been filmed, but to stay on schedule for episode three I have to furiously edit it over the next few days. Seeing as the last one took about a week I'm not really expecting to be able to do this. If only the episodes were shorter, if I only I hadn't written so many bits where people say things. It's very inconvenient. I would like to make them shorter in general though. The first episode ended up being six minutes and forty-three seconds long. I was aiming for five minutes. If they get long they get boring, and nobody wants that. Bite-sized chunks of mildy interesting nonsense, that's what we need.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Reshoots and a gazelle

The second episode of how to be god has been filmed. Half of it. The first half went according to plan. Organised and efficient. But several catastophic things happened in the second half. A new character was introduced that isn't working. Various sounds that are out of my control ruined shots. And there was butter instead of ice cream. I was ready with all the props (including a framed picture of a gazelle) apart from ice cream. I forgot to buy it. Although butter does look quite a lot like ice cream, it's not nice to eat with a spoon and it hangs a hefty amount of symbolism over the shooting. 'This is not ice-creamy goodness. This is butter.' When something's not working, it is butter.

The second half is going to be reshot. I'm going to to do some rewriting. I'm going to buy some ice cream. All good.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Happy bits of nothing

I've never edited something where mistakes haven't been invaluable. You have the perfect shots and the smooth transitions, but it's what you didn't mean to film that becomes vital. A few seconds of somebody after the take has finished, smiling or laughing at something unrelated, or not paying attention at all. These bits can save a scene. Sometimes a shot becomes boring and you haven't got anything to cut to. That's when I look around the edges of takes, when people are just waiting for things to happen. Cut to that. Looks intended. Done. For how to be god, even the bits where they look at the camera are useful. So I try to keep the camera on for a while longer than I need to. Accidents don't happen by themselves.

It's all going fine. Episode two will be made obscenely soon after the first one. And episode three will be made after that. And then, if I'm very lucky, episode four.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Sit down and say stuff

Shooting's done for episode 1 of how to be god. I haven't really looked at the footage yet, but I can already tell what the problem will be. It's the first episode. Nobody really knows what they're doing. There'll be tiny mistakes that will be fixed by episode two, and others that won't be fixed until episode eight. It's a learning process and there aren't any practice runs, we just have to go with it and see what happens. Also, nothing can really happen in the first episode apart from introduction. There's no funny little distinctive scenes, you just have to sit the characters down and make them explain things. In a mildly interesting way obviously, but the plot has to start somewhere.

The first three episodes are going to filmed before it's put on the internet. That way people can get far enough into it to be interested. And also, episode four is where it all goes mad. I'll edit it together, and if it's disastrous I'll admit it here. If it's not, then I probably won't say.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

A few small ponderings

how to be god is about to be made. No, really. I'm getting people to say the lines I wrote months ago. It's going to be made in whatever shape I can hammer it into. Those nice cameras that I mentioned before, they're available but they 'don't work properly'. So there's a strong possibility I'll be using my own things. Both have advantages. With a professional camera I'd make something conventional and smooth, but it would be a longer and more complicated process. With my camera I'd play up to it's limitations and make a fake 'documentary' feel, and it would certainly be quicker. I can make some episodes, or a lot of episodes. We'll see which way it goes.

Apart from camera pondering, everything is going smoothly. It'll be fine.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

A bigger camera and a stick

The shooting for how to be god starts soon, and it'll be a bit different. For me, at least. My short films were made with a tiny digital camcorder and a little microphone. I love that camera. You press a button, it films. It's uncomplicated, simple, fuss-free filmmaking. The film may look and sound a bit rough but, you know, you just press a button. I learnt everything I know using that camera, which is slightly more than nothing. It gave me a start. Everything's changing now. how to be god is going to be filmed using professional equiptment, using something called 'film' and a 'boom mic'. It all sounds pretty technical to me. I mean, I might actually need a crew. I've never been in charge of something like this before. You write a thing, you cast the thing, then you're given expensive gadgets to film the thing. It's a nice process.

The good news is, it'll look better than usual, it'll sound better than usual, and it won't have a plot that makes you go 'eh?'

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The TV's broken

Black-and-white films always bother me. I mean modern films that choose to be in black-and-white. It's a big bold artistic decision that a film has to work hard to escape from. For the first hour I'm not thinking about character or plot, I'm thinking 'is there a good reason for there to be no colour?' Maybe thinking about the colours that aren't there is the point. Watching Control, it's like seeing the world through Ian Curtis' eyes - someone who was, at the very least, a bit moody. According to the filmmakers it 'reflects the atmosphere of Joy Division and the mood of the era'. That's fine, but I'd just like to know if it still works in colour. It's a visual style that creates instant melancholy, it's leaning on the camera a bit too much. It does have advantages that I can't argue with though. A country scene may look bare and lifeless, but monochrome can bring a city environment to life. Everything is more defined, it turns a shot into a photograph. Control is sort of the film that is so heavily composed that you could release it as a photo album.

The indie film In Search of a Midnight Kiss is in black-and-white. Not for wistful melancholy, but to create a sort of ninety minute dream. Somebody told me recently that most people dream in black-and-white. I don't think that's true, but if it is then they would probably look like this film. It's a romantic comedy that wanders though a monochrome city, turning the place into a surreal memory. I'm not sure that's a good enough reason. It's an excellent film, but it would also have been an excellent film in colour. I'm not going to frown at it though, I'm glad that independent filmmakers can do whatever they want. It should have some quizzical applause, whatever that sounds like.

Maybe the problem is that I'm always expecting these films to be burst into colour Pleasantville-style. And they never do.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

I didn't like this

There's a good film to be made about male friendship. Unfortunately,  I Love You, Man isn't it. Boring, predictable, lazy and not funny. It's a bad romantic comedy only without any romance. Or comedy. There might have been one moment where I involuntarily exhaled, but that was as good as it got. Every joke lasts about five minutes, repeated in several accents, and then dredged up twenty minutes later to be not funny again. The writers seemed to be going for crude but only managing to be annoying, with wealthy twenty-somethings from Los Angeles having embarrassing discussions about 'relationships' and things. I couldn't care less if Generic Blonde Woman 1 might be pregnant, I don't want to know if Bland Male Protagonist isn't feeling good about marriage. It has same structure you've seen sixty-seven times before: man wants to meet someone, has a montage, then meets somebody nice, everything goes well, everything's ruined, rush to the wedding at the end. This has all that but without any endearing characters. It's a film desperately trying to be cool ('Hey dude, have you seen my new iPhone?', 'I'll Facebook you later dude') but is made by disconnected Hollywood types who don't know what real people sound like.

It had good reviews though. This might just be one of those times where everyone else thinks differently to me.