This last weekend I had the great fortune to be invited onto the set of a short film for my great friend and fellow screenwriter and Bournemouth University alumnus Romana Turina. She is making an important film about how the media narrates history which ties in with her doctoral research on the same subject.
I was there in an unspecified capacity, helping out where I could, being a runner, rehearsing lines with actors, helping feed the cast and crew and generally doing anything I could to be useful. It was a wonderful experience. The actors were excellent and the crew, who were students from York University's excellent Theatre, Film and Television department, were very professional and worked together with a smoothness that I've get to experience on professional film sets. Overall it was an inspiration and I was grateful for the opportunity to be involved.
From everything I saw, I have great confidence that the project will do well and I shall watch with loving interest as it moves through post-production. Filming it was an experience I shall value for a long time.
So what did I learn?
- Caring for one another is caring for the production - I was really impressed how well everyone cared for one another. The crew took care of the actors - everything from helping them keep up with what was being asked of them, keeping them hydrated on what were several unseasonably warm May days, to just about everyone thanking them for their performances. There was a wonderful atmosphere of respect and it was quickly catching, so I found myself doing it too. In fact it's not a bad habit for life and work in general. We should all be thanking one another more - and I shall!
- Dive in and do your best to help. - Before the shoot, I must admit I was a little confused about what my role was, if any. I asked several folks and they didn't seem to know either, so it was just a matter of going along and doing what I could. On set it wasn't long before I was seeing ways to help out and pretty soon I was being asked to do tasks too. I enjoyed being helpful and it was a really pleasant change to everyday life. I am used to giving the orders so being in a different position was both educational and good for the soul.
- Working with a female director - I've heard a lot of people say they've never worked with a female director and didn't even know any. I have received so many warnings from the well-meaning: 'don't be too strident' and 'modulate how you speak' etc etc, all suggesting that somehow just being female and a director will get up everyone's noses. Finding this balance has perhaps been one of my biggest fears about expanding my cast and crew and working with strangers. Luckily working with Romana was inspiration. I watched her get what she wanted in a strong determine way and yet she managed to make everyone feel good. Everyone wanted to please her! I am not sure her model is something that I will be easily able to emulate but watching her in action has given me something to strive for and a yardstick up to. It was very worthwhile experience!!
If you want to know more about Behind the Book it has a Facebook page.
Now I'm home I can't wait for my own crew to have some available time to start putting everything I've learned into practice!!
THANK YOU to Romana Turina and her wonderful cast and crew for a very special experience.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 9:03 pm and is filed under Filmmaking. Both comments and pings are currently closed.