Saturday, 8 May 2010

Short film diary - Week 1...

If I was to say that putting a crew together for a short film was a bit like planning a heist I would sound like an idiot, because I have clearly never planned an actual heist. However, there was a game on the Spectrum called They Stole a Million. You had to carry out a robbery by hiring the crew and working out the timings and who needed to do what using the blueprints of the building. That's what putting a crew together for a short film reminds me of.

Except that's where the analogy ends because after you'd hired everyone and planned the thing you had to play through the heist in real time where it would inevitably go wrong and you'd either go to jail or come away with a fraction of the loot you were aiming for. Yes, this was an excuse for some random reminiscence.

Anyway, Andrea and I had our first production meeting on Monday. This started with Andrea reading the script which made me panic. Part of the point of doing this was to make a film on my own terms, which mostly means filling it with all the bizarre, surreal ideas I know would never make it into an actual feature. But what if everyone hated it? More importantly, what if the very first person to read it hated it? She didn't...panic over. We discussed a few points and I did a quick rewrite that night. I've done another polish since then, but that's the nice thing about short film scripts - they're manageable enough to keep working at. I may have one more attempt at cutting it down before locking it, but generally I'm really happy with it.

So we made a list of all the things we need and booked some provisional dates for holding auditions and filming. I posted the crew/cast call on here that night and then started to contact a few people I know who I wanted to be involved. Then I posted on Shooting People and Talent Circle, where I learnt that for posting crew/cast calls I actually really prefer Talent Circle, and not just because it's free.

I've been a member of Shooting People since it started, and have been an on/off subscriber since they started charging. In terms of getting work and connecting people I think it's awesome - pretty much everything of note that I've done has come through their website. But I think they could learn a few things from Talent Circle when it comes to posting cast/crew calls.

Both websites use online forms for you to type in your requirements. The Shooting People form is awkward, looks a bit messy when it's posted and at one point while filling out the crew request I lost everything and had to start again. In comparison, Talent Circle make it a lot easier - the forms are split over several pages and they have word limits on a lot of the fields which makes you get straight to the point.

But the biggest difference has been the time the postings have taken to go through. I posted the crew call on both sites on Wednesday evening. The Talent Circle one had gone live the following morning, but the Shooting People one wasn't published until Friday. I know that's not really a huge delay (and at least they accepted it), plus there have been other things going on in the world like the small matter of a deciding who's going to run the country, but this did not stop Talent Circle moderating then posting the call a lot quicker than Shooting People. I did the casting call on Thursday evening (after I'd voted obviously - I do have some sense of priorities) on both sites again. The Talent Circle one went live last night. I'm still waiting for the Shooting People one to be posted, if it's even accepted and I've found they are sometimes a bit more pedantic over casting calls. This means it probably won't be posted until after the weekend which isn't the end of the world but just means that if it was just down to efficiency Talent Circle is definitely the better of the two sites.

Anyway, responses have started to trickle in. In terms of crew I'm only looking for a DoP and Sound Recordist at the moment as I think they're the most essential. I knew I wouldn't get many responses for either for an unpaid project and in terms of the DoP I was right, but I was surprised at how many responses I got to the Sound Recordist posting. Applications from actors have started to come in from the Talent Circle post too and I've put the call out on a couple of other websites.

If you are reading this having responded to any of the positions then thanks very much - I will be responding to everyone early next week.

This week I have mostly been listening to Italian folk metal. Which is obviously awsome:


Adaddinsane said...

Mmm, I use Shooting People differently: I use the "Find crew" option - say I look for a DoP in my area, I then go through all the results and choose ones that (a) are interested in collaboration, (b) have their own equipment, and (c) aren't Director-Producer-Writer-DoP because what you want is someone who will do their job, not try to do everybody else's.

Then I email them to see if they might be interested.

It's been a successful approach.

(And today's verificaton word is "osticial": a person in charge of drying hops.)

Chris Regan said...

Cool, I've not done it that way before but I'll give that a try.