Learning to take a break before breaking down

2014-11-21 20.05.37At the start of the year its a good time to make a plan of attack for the year to come. Of course it helps if your plan is realistic. Making films can be an exhausting process, particularly when you are doing it on top of paid employment. One thing I have learnt the hard way a couple of times is that burning the candle at both ends does actually lead to burn out. Recovering from burn out is always tough but I have learnt a few things that help me to balance things a little better.

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Networking – Tips on a Neccessity

2014-12-12 22.05.21If you are anything like me the the idea of going to events for the purpose of talking to strangers can be daunting. The only way to get over this is to do it and to do it often. In these situations I have found that it is better to be shy than arrogant and there are so many amazing people in this industry that you will hardly ever be left alone for long.

In this industry we all tend to work in small groups or alone for a lot of the time, but meeting new people is crucial both in terms of finding crew as well as finding people to help make your projects happen.

If you have a friend to go with who is there for similar reasons it makes things much easier, but even if you don’t these are some of the things I have discovered that have helped me get through the awkwardness over the years.

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My lowdown on low-budget features

20131024-035704.jpgI’ve recently been involved in a number of discussions about low-budget filmmaking and whether or not it has a place in the NZ film scene. There are people who believe that it is an amazing idea and the only way to create a sustainable industry and others who think that low-budget filmmaking needs to stopped and should not be officially supported. Having made two low-budget features and knowing so many other people who have, I personally believe that there is a place for low-budget filmmaking as long as long as you are doing it for the right reasons and are smart about how you go about it.

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Censorship – The ‘M’ Rating and how to get there…

Help Poster Tropfest NZ winner 2014

With the Tropfest deadline coming up in a week it seemed like a good time to go over Censorship in NZ. Tropfest has an ‘M’ rating and if your film doesn’t pass it can be disqualified from the competition. We were lucky enough to have the chance to resubmit our film ‘Help’ after making changes to the film in a day to ensure it came in on the rating, so here are my thoughts on Censorship…

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Contracting Collaboration

Deciding to become a film maker always means you need to prepare for disappointment. There are always the good moments, but the general understanding we all operate under is that our films will not get into every festival, that we will not always get the funding we want and that there will always be feedback on our scripts that we don’t want to hear. That being said for me there is no greater disappointment than when a frequent collaborator lets you down.

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“We’ll fix it in post” Although shooting is the most stressful part of making a movie post comes with its own complications. The best way to make it easy on yourself is to edit as you go. If your pretty much the entire shooting crew as well as the post team this can be difficult but it does make the shooting process easier in many ways as you can see what you have missed much quicker.

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Spending money in production is like standing on a street corner and throwing $100 dollar bills into the wind.

Production, the actual shooting phase of filmmaking, is without a doubt the most expensive and stressful part of the process. You require so many different elements to be in the same place at the same time and you need everything to work the way it was planned to pretty much right away. All of this costs money – even when you’re not paying your cast and crew you still have to feed them and you better feed them well!

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A journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it -Steinbeck, John Ernest

With two days shooting under our belts it was time to prepare for the long haul. Our first big weekend was to be Easter weekend with the idea to shoot three days over the four-day weekend. The first day was to be based out at Kelly Park Film Village and the last two in Devonport.

Of course before we could get to the actual shooting there was a large amount of prep work to finish…

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