My first project was exciting, and enjoyable. It was one that I did on my own. I consider this as being one of my major projects as it was a lot of work and I learnt a lot from it.
The client for this project was Ardie Collins, he describes himself as a, “novelist, writer, a folk bawler and a project enthusiast.” I came upon him on ‘YouTube’, he had set up his own ‘YouTube’ channel to promote his ‘Cooper 365 project’ in which he made vlog-type appeals for people to collaborate with him regarding some music videos for his songs. The goal was to create a video for any of his songs, and the deadline was the 31st December 2011.
This appealed to me and I thought it would be something that I could achieve within the deadline, and would make an interesting project. I have had experience in making short films before and I have also put film to music for some local bands.
The planning process then began. Obviously when working on your own you are in control of all aspects of the project, this can be an asset as you only have to communicate with yourself and you can time manage the whole project around existing work. The drawback is that you have no one to bounce ideas around with.
Firstly I made a note of the deadline and put it on the calendar, was this deadline realistic? I thought at the time that it was. Secondly I had to search through a long list of songs, listen to some and decide which one to choose, this was quite time consuming. The choice of song would then affect the kind of film I would make. An important factor was of course the deadline and this led me to decide to do a straight forward film shoot and then edit the footage I had. I trolled the songs again and found one where the lyrics referred to a ‘garden’ and ‘weather’, so being in Cardiff with little resources and with no access to a garden but a city with plenty of parks I decided on that song.
The song I chose was ‘Your obsession with weather’, not only because I thought this would be a straightforward film to make but I also did like the song.
I took this project on and mulled it over in the final weeks of October and the beginning of November. I consulted my diary and decided to film this immediately. This would mean that I had started on one project. I was fortunate in being able to book out a camera; I then headed for a city park. There are many things to consider when filming out side for example the time of day, lighting and weather conditions. As I did not need to consider sound for this film I was able to go ahead on my own and start filming. Even though I have had experience of filming on my own outside, in retrospect what I should have done is a recce of the park before hand and then I would not have wasted time looking for a suitable place to film. As it turned out the location I chose was fine. I filmed various areas of the park bearing in mind from past experience that I needed a lot of footage to be able to edit it to the length of the song.
There was one draw back, I did not realize that the editing would take place when I was involved with another piece of work, the 3 min. doc which was demanding and involved me in a heavy schedule of editing.
During the editing of my film I came across one piece of footage where I had filmed tops of trees and I realized that if I spun the film around this synchronized perfectly with the music, I was really pleased with this result. But on reflection I realized that I could have employed some other techniques to give the film a bit of an edge, although the film depicted a pastoral, tranquil scene in Autumn, I could have had someone to kick the fallen leaves, or I could have filmed again in different weather conditions to match the lyrics of the song, in fact there were various things I could have done to bring more interest into the film. This goes to show that planning is important and also allowing time in the schedule to go back and try something else either getting different footage or experimenting with different editing techniques.
To conclude, although this project could be deemed as straightforward, it taught me a lot about the planning very carefully and allowing time for unforeseen circumstances that encroach on a project. Because of all the other workload I feel I was naïve in thinking that this project was simple. With my filming experience I could have been a lot more imaginative in linking the lyrics to the film. I should have explored more ideas in the start of the planning process. I also believe that I should now have developed a distinctive ‘style’ in my filming technique, so that people will recognise my work as being visually interesting. I do not think that this is negative evaluation of my work but a realistic account of what I could have done and what I would do in the future. This genre of short film for the internet is seen by many and it is therefore important that if I want to make a career in film making then it should be my best effort that I am putting out there. I appreciate that Ardie Collins allowed anyone to produce and present any type of film with no intervention at all, whereas clients who request music videos have some degree of input. I was pleased under the circumstances with the outcome of the project. I met the deadline, and my film was accepted by the Ardie Collins and viewers who watched it on ‘YouTube’. It turned out that my film was the 2nd most watched video that he had at the end of his project.