Thursday, 7 November 2013

Yr2 Week 4 (Tues 29 Oct - Producing and Directing)

Today was the big one: today we had our lecture with acclaimed British filmmaker and rising star of the industry, Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers, A Field in England). He was a large gentlemen, sort of brawling with a large beard (much like Alan Moore), but very frank and not afraid to tell it like it is, even mixing dashes of dark, ironic humour as he spoke about his life & career: He had a lot of false starts, going to art college, and wanting to do things like comic artistry and sculpture. However, during his studies, he made friends with individuals who practicing film making, and regularly assisted them out in their projects, dabbling in editing and camera work. Afterwards, he would drift around, working in graphic design, then commercials and television before making a break into features with Down Terrace, which we watched and discussed the previous week.

Afterwards, he gave us some tips on low budget film making and how we could do our first features:
  • Keep costs down where possible, with the only real investment being good sound equipment, and use deferred payment methods to save even more.
  • Go over storyboards and know your film inside & out before you shoot, to save more time and know what you want, since there won't be sufficient time for rehearsal.
  • Make something interesting happen every seven pages to keep the audience regularly hooked, and make sure the script is clear and concise.
  • For the first feature, think like and use people more versed in documentary film making, since they know how to shoot fast but still make something presentable and can easily adapt to any situation.

Afterwards, we got to ask him questions and some even took pictures with him: I asked him about independent distribution: He said that Studiocanal and Metrodome were good sources, since they regularly partake in the independent scene, but it might be better and cheaper to self distribute and market (which may work to my advantage, since I have a Youtube channel with several hundred subscribers, so that could be a very useful asset.) And, well, that about wraps it up; it was a really interesting and engaging talk, and I wish Ben all the best in his future works, and the advice he gave us will be of great use I can assure you, especially once we longer have the resources of the university at our disposal, but need to break in to the business and have to very much rely on what we have at hand and be light, quick and cheap. All the style and flash can wait for Hollywood!

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