I spent most of yesterday planning the 1 day course that the £100 ‘Gone Fishing’ contributors will receive, some time in January 2008. I have also been cutting a trailer which I plan to put up on the site in the next few days.
I have decided to make the course a kind of chronology of events, as I think the most valuable part of it will be about story development, in prep, on set and in post. How the narrative morphs, becomes more subtle and fine tuned. Also, how on set problems are overcome and fixed in pickup shoots or in script rewrites during post – what can be dropped for pace or subtlety in the edit for instance.
This narrative development will also be mirrored by production development, how things get bigger and better, but also how the production department deals with that.
I am also hoping to have a series of camera tests, including Super 16mm, 35mm, HDV, DVCProHD and HDCam so we can all judge for ourselves just how the formats stand up to one another.
During all of ‘Gone Fishing’ I made a concerted effort to take my own medicine – that is, do what I have said, specifically on my courses and in the Movie Blueprint book. I must admit, many times in the heat of the moment, I felt the grip of fear and my legs nearly buckled, but I trusted my experience and knowledge and didn’t react to situations that I knew would lead to bad choices or compromises. In every instance, in retrospect, it was the right choice to make. I must admit I did feel relieved as I have been preaching these methods for years, and hadn’t personally had them in practice for some time. Glad to report, it’s all still good advice! (phew!)
These would include things like, stay away from the video monitor, or switch it off. At one point, I noticed we had a 70kw generator driving one video monitor! I had them switch off the generator immediately at sat next to the camera to be with the actors. They appreciated that intimacy and it shows on screen.
Another lesson was really all in the prep. Get the script right, plan it in detail in advance (even with story boards) so that when you are on set, if problems occur (they will), you will know what are ‘good solutions’ and ‘bad solutions…’
Another thing is about well planned and executed pickup shoots with a minimal crew. It works wonders with the edit, and is achieved for very little investment in time and money.
Work with the best people you can find. DP Vernon Layton made our film look a million dollars. I promise, when you see it, you will be amazed at just how beautiful it looks. Editor Eddie Hamilton cut the film beautifully and has overseen all technical post production, freeing me to get on with other stuff.
You can read more details about the course here, and if you know anyone who wants to sign up now, they will get an Associate Producer credit too.
Onward and upward!
Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author
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