For a lot of reasons I won’t get in to in this post (I think I got into them in another post anyway) 2016 was a very frustrating, difficult and unproductive year for me. I decided to not let 2017 be the same and pledged to plan and carry out several creative projects. This year I am going to accomplish more than ever, and learn as much as I can in the process. One of these projects is a set of five short documentaries. I shot the first of these in February and am about to start editing it. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts but just in case you missed them I’ll do a brief recap.
My friend Aaron, who I’ve known since high school, has recently started making sculptures and is learning all about special effects. This documentary observes him creating a piece while discussing why he’s decided to take this journey into the special effects world.
Since I’ve dedicated Thursdays on this blog to discussing creative projects I figured I’d post about my artistic process with the film. This is a very simple project with a simple process so it may not be super exciting but hopefully some of you will find it interesting. This week I’ll discuss how I went about pre-production.
The first thing I did in preparation for this project was to do a pre-interview with Aaron. This is basically a short interview that I recorded with him over coffee. The plan was to never use this interview in the final film but instead use it to prepare more detailed questions to ask when we would shoot the actual formal interview. I like doing these because it feels a lot more casual and comfortable, and gives the subject a chance to get used to what they will be talking about later. People tend to be nervous in front of cameras so this way they can think about what they might say well before actual shooting begins. This also gives me an opportunity to think of and prepare more questions that arise from my initial inquiries. I almost always have more questions that come up after my first conversations with a subject. We chatted for a bout a half hour and I asked him about five or six questions.
From there, I went on to prepare a slightly longer interview. I included some of the same questions and added a few new ones based on what he told me. Once these questions were ready we set a date to shoot an interview in his basement where he works on his sculptures. I don’t plan on using the interview footage much in the final cut so I used this as an opportunity to see what the space looked like, what the light was like, and where I would be able to set up my camera for the shoot.
So that was my, admittedly, very simple pre-production process for this project! I know many filmmakers would do a lot more before they began shooting. I felt this project was simple enough that I could get away with a pretty easy start. Everyone works a bit differently and I kind of enjoy diving straight in to a shoot. Sometimes I regret it, but sometimes it results in some really great stuff.