Thursday, July 31, 2014

48 Hour Film Challenge – A test of my resolve to be a film maker.

I've joined a 48 hour film challenge team and will be the Director of Photography (DP or cinematographer) on a short film being made this weekend. Initially I was contacted to do sound. Luckily I had just acquired sound recording equipment and a boom pole and microphone. Then the DP had to drop out to take a paying gig (can't blame him for wanting to get paid) and I was bumped up to the DP role. Yeah me. But this also meant that some of the camera gear I had on my list needed to be acquired more quickly so I'd be ready to shoot.

[Canon T2i with Magic Lantern, a cage, follow-focus, matte box, and shoulder mount rig]

I've been taking various parts of my life that I'm not using and converting them to money on eBay to finance the filmmaking venture. As I mentioned I have sound recording stuff now and with these acquisitions, I should be able to shoot some video 'footage' and have it look pretty good.

At least that's what I'm planning on happening. The world of cinematography can be tricky and I make no claims to being be best at shaping light or creating the best shots. I know about coverage, crossing the line, getting things in focus and hopefully enough about lighting and camera movements to get something usable and possibly even good. But I'm still somewhat nervous.

I've come a long way from March of 2011 when I made the choice to pursue filmmaking. I'd spent the last 15 years doing IT work and I was pretty satisfied with all of that. I mean, I'm a big old geek that does like playing with computers and since I was getting paid for it, all the better. But after two layoffs in two years, I felt it was time to re-evaluate what I wanted to do. So I took some re-training time and money and went to Seattle Film Institute to learn how to make, edit, and write movies. And I think I did a pretty good job of absorbing lots of information and taking advantage of the opportunities to get experience. I found that I do like the standard writing and directing that every film maker aspires to do. But I also really like shooting the film (or video) and editing.

For a year after film school I was able to work full-time as an editor and DP and just about anything else they wanted me to do (build sets, move storage, investigate color correction systems, etc.). But that job is over and now I'm revamping my skills to include more graphic design, multimedia, motion graphics and 3-D animation.

A lot has happened since March of 2011. Much of it good and some of it bad. I collaborated on a short film that got into the Seattle International Film Festival. I went to film school. I spent all of my retirement 401-K. I got to work on some amazing projects during 2012 and 2013. I had a small nervous breakdown. My second marriage ended. I went through a four month period that was the most painful time in my life.

I built a lot of bridges over the last three years and I'm sure I've burned a few too. Didn't mean to but I'm sure it happened. But now I have a new life, new school, and am building toward creating things with film and video.

So this is the first film project since my last job ended (OK, it's the second, but still the first as DP). I'm taking steps in the right direction and moving forward.


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