A Post For Uni Reasons
So in class the other day we presented our blogs and websites that are an assessment. I was told that my blog and website was good, but that for the blog I should do a post regarding specifically my experiences in this film that I'm on now. So, that's what I'm doing.
The film I'm on is called "Gaia". It is a fantasy film which is about a girl called Gaia who is a princess. Gaia shares a spiritual romance with the sun, however the day of her betrothal has arrived and her abusive father and maternal nursemaid both wish to see her married off to the wealthiest man possible.
So that's as much of the film as I can give you. If you wanna know more then check out the website at www.gaiashortfilm.wix.com/gaia where you can see promo materials, developmental work etc.
So basically at the beginning of the year I had a producer and a cinematographer for a completely different project. I like to work see, and in second year we were told to be ready to pitch in the first week of third year. So taking the challenge upon myself, I was not only ready to pitch, I was ready to shoot. The script for the film I was working on (entitled Devilsong and about the legend surrounding blues music icon Robert Johnson) had undergone 5 drafts, the budget and equipment list was made, locations were scouted, forms being signed, actors cast. All that remained was crew, which I was hoping to get from uni.
Come uni and pitches I do my initial pitch. I'm met with some criticism. I am told that the script lacks sub-text and that some preparation was still required of me.
Now, what I should have done regarding the comment about sub-text, is said that there was no sub-text because I didn't want there to be any sub-text. But, knowing that the powers-that-be within my course often require some kind of artsy-fartsy explanation for everything, I decided to lie my ass off and tell the lecturer that told me this, that the sub-text was about greed. Devilsong was-in the sub text-a story about a man who sold his soul because of what he wanted, and paid dearly for it. Saying that the script lacked even this sub-text (which I still don't see because that theme is like a happy meal toy - it comes by default with the rest of what you get) and that I needed to re-work it. Following multiple crew-calls, only to be rejected time and time again, as well as having my script shaped into something I didn't want it to be took it's toll and I suddenly found myself in the tenth of thirteen weeks in the first semester with no crew save a producer, a cinematographer and myself. This, was a dangerous position to be in.
Panicking, (I have never been in a situation this close in the three years of studying) I took Devilsong off production, planning to make it sometime after university, and e-mailed a lecturer asking if she knew anyone who needs crew. A few days later, the writer/director I'm currently working with, Linda, gave me a call and asked me to be Producer.
Now, I have a complicated history with Producing. I'm not good at it, but I can do it. At least, that's what I thought. You see, up till this point, all the films I've worked on I've either produced myself and had a crew of 3-5 people, or someone else has produced and I've edited so I'm no necessary till the very end. Knowing this about myself, I told Linda that "I'm not good at Producing. I can do it, but I'll need to know exactly what you want from me and when.". At this point, we had a co-producer, so I was only doing half the work as it was. So, just like that, I became the producer for Gaia.
After this me, Linda and the other co-producer had a meeting as the second round of pitches was in 2 weeks and we had to have something to present. We got together, discussed the project, developed a basic budget and the next week the day of pitches, we put it all into a power point presentation and gave our pitch. We did well considering we had only been together a week while others had had about 10-11 weeks with each other, and the teachers were impressed by how quickly we grouped together. Gaia was cleared for the next stage of development.
A week or so later, the co-producer left, claiming that the work he was doing on Gaia, was affecting his other studies. However, I'm not really sure how or why, as he literally did nothing. He put the power point together and spoke at the pitch. That's about it, Linda and I did the rest. So, Linda and I continued on our own.
We got several more crew. Some animators, a design team, a composer, etc. Already, this was a bigger project than I had anticipated. We were given a two-week extension by our lecturers on the final assessment for the semester, but Linda took severely ill. After she e-mailed me her sections of the production bible, I gathered everything, put it all together and e-mailed it to the lecturers. A process which took roughly a week due to people being slow to submit things, and the intense lag caused on LibreOffice by a large amount of pictures and pages. Nevertheless I did it and at 2:00am I e-mailed it to my teachers and had the best sleep of my life.
Things started to get crazy...er. Several of our animators left because they couldn't understand what it was Linda wanted to achieve with the animation. Our cinematographer (the person that does all the camera and lighting things) left because of paid work. We've had several drop-outs who just left without saying a word. All of this has absorbed further time in seeking replacements, and we now find ourselves several weeks overdue on our schedule.
Frustrations have been mounting, with work piling up I've been feeling a quite helpless, through no fault of the director or the current co-producer who we got on board not too long ago. Any overwhelming feelings I have are my own issue and most likely as a result of something I have overlooked. However it's not just me. All the key staff on this film are frustrated and anxious with each other, and it's caused some conflicts. To make matters worse, Linda is once again quite severely ill and functioning on pain-killers.
To make matters even worse, a couple of nights ago, a truck decided to do a 3-point turn in my street, and as it reversed, it caught my telephone line, taking out my landline and my internet. I'm currently writing this post from university's library. And also, my mobile phone company have informed me that I've reached 50% of my monthly allowance, so I have to restrict my mobile phone use, I can't use my landline, and I can't use my internet. Joy.
Still, things are moving along. Gladly. We're getting there, slowly, but we're getting there. And this week marks the final 9 weeks of my university education, which on it's own brings new challenges and fears.