8 Things I Learned From Making A Short Film
1. Choose Your Positions Wisely
You're finally in your groups, and it's time to decide what you're going to contribute to the film. STOP. Before you go volunteering for a position, think. How much work do I actually want to do? Do I want to be responsible for the failure of this film? Do I know anything about lights? Am I organized enough to catch every single continuity issue there is? Thankfully, each member of my team were equally competent in their positions and we learned a lot along the way. But, looking back, I probably shouldn't have volunteered for three positions. Although it was extremely rewarding, I don't think I've ever been this exhausted in my entire life.
2. Always Pick Comedy
Just kidding. But seriously, really think about the type of movie you want to make before you decide. Think you can handle talking about suicide, murder and depression for four months? Are you sure? You can try as hard as you might to crack jokes on set, but trust me, it'll start to weigh you down.
In the end, you might have something that will leave an impact in your audience, but be prepared to accidentally become the most morbid person in your creative writing class.
3. Don't Do Anything Embarrassing
This, unfortunately, is inevitable. But if you can avoid it, try. On a film set, inside jokes at the expense of others is a long, grueling experience. Extremely hilarious when it's someone else, maybe not so much when it's you. If you do something worthy of your ridicule, you can be almost certain that you're going to hear about it every single day, of every single shoot.
It's one of the only things that keeps the group together and no one kills anyone. So maybe think twice before you clap the slate in the actress' ear, or don't lose your pants the night before a shoot. But if you do, thank you for your sacrifice for the cause.
4. Birthdays Don't Matter
Prepare for your best friends, roommates or parents to hate you if their birthday happens to fall during production season. Doesn't matter if they're Jesus, thou shalt not party on a shoot night.
But hey, if it's your or a crew member's birthday, cake on set is ALWAYS appreciated.
|Thanks for being born, Paul.|
5. Take Lots of Naps
All nighters are going to happen. More than once. When post production rolls around, you're going to forget what going to bed before the sun comes up feels like. The only good thing about this is that your other professors may let you slide on a few assignments due to your new zombie-like nature.
So if you have a chance to fit in a nap, take it. Squeeze in an hour in between classes, or put your head down at the library for a few minutes during a study break. Doesn't matter where, but trust me, you'll need it.
6. Keep Your Cool
Tension will thicken and tempers will rise. This is what happens when seven extremely different personalities are forced to work together for four months straight, running low on sleep, food and sanity. If you are a producer or director, it is especially important for you to keep calm during these times. People are going to snap and mental breakdowns will happen, and as tempting as it is to join in the anger and misery, you have to pull through and mediate the situations.
The storm will pass, and when it does, you'll be in a much better place if you didn't punch your crew members in the face.
7. Make Sure You Like Pizza
This will be your diet for the next few months or so. Maybe you'll get some bagels and coffee in the morning on a good day, but most likely it will be frozen pizza from the night before. So suck it up, and accept the cheesy goodness that is shitty delivery pizza.
8. Appreciate Your Crew Members
Your crew is like your family. Probably more so since you spend way more time with them than anyone else. Everything you do affects the group, and you can't do much without them. And just like family, they may get on your nerves, and you'll most likely get on theirs, but at the end of the day you have to love them. This semester, I had one of the greatest groups I could ask for. I made so many friends and memories, and created something I was truly proud of. Without them, this semester could have gone horribly wrong, and I thank each of them for not kicking me out (yet). Shout out to the members of Team Falcon (Patricia, Paul, Amelia, Kelly, Mike and David) for all of the hours and hard work that you put in and sacrificing their lives to create a twenty minute short film about butterflies. I love you all!
Now all we have to do is survive the premiere...