From the beginning of this process I was sceptical about making this film as it is a truly emotional and heartbreaking story to both my contributor and I, and I also didn’t want to lay our friendship on the line as well as possibly put my contributor at risk when having to re-feel and re-live painful moments of the past. However, I was assured that I had a solid idea and I would be silly not to at least try, and so after many meetings with my personal tutor and discussions with my contributor the final project was underway.
At the beginning of creating ‘Instability’ there was only myself and technical crew, and so I was urged to start early on with pre production, getting recordings, writing a transcript, making a shot list, going through my experimental process of cutting up the audio and reordering with my chosen shot list, and researching around mental health. I had this all done by the beginning of 2013 and I am I am glad I did so as I felt confident with the project and my progression. Had I not started the pre production process early this would have made things very heavy for myself and later on for Dean who joined the project as my Producer. Dean joining the project was a Godsend as the closer it drew to my filming dates the more it seemed I had to do, and when Dean came on board it was just such a relief to be able to delegate jobs and have myself focus on directing and not worry too much about paperwork. I can now say that I will never take on a project again without either planning at least a year in advance or having a producer or project manager, as it is evident that even though I may want to you cannot always do and be everything. The best thing about having someone else produce is that they think of things that you may have overlooked and have a fresh take on things, as very often I was too clouded by being so emotionally connected to the story at hand that I forgot some essential things such as contracts, risk assessments, location releases etc. This wasn’t because I didn’t know I had to do them but because up until two weeks before filming when Dean graced us with his presence I was beginning to drown in paperwork.
We have been very efficient with our pre production work and worked really well as a team which is the greatest thing of all, as we Dean I gel well and are able to bounce ideas off each other making the project a pleasure to work on rather a chore, this is also down to reliability as when you have either a director or producer you need to know that they are 100% reliable, and focused on the job at hand.
The production process went up and down like a yo-yo as we ran into all sorts of problems in the lead up to filming for example the day before I was told that one of my camera men might not be able to come to the shoot as a close relative had passed away. This was of course a blow to the mind but as a director I was able to sympathise and come to a compromise with the crew member as it was too short notice and far too late in the day to find a replacement for the next two days. The whole lead up was nerve wrecking but I managed to keep it together and be professional, staying in my role and setting the crew straight to work once arriving at our destination. I had already scheduled the shots for each day that Dean had then collated within a production pack for everybody, which was really useful as everybody knew what was going on and there was no time wasted in figuring out what to do next. One of my strengths is having authority and this showed when filming as I delegated and communicated clearly and thoroughly with my crew, making sure that everyone was doing their job and getting the task at hand done. However, this in not to say that I was extremely strict with my crew, but I was professional meaning that on set I was no longer a good friend but a colleague at the least and a director first and foremost. There were times where I could see my contributors emotions getting the better of her and in hindsight, having her act was probably not the best idea, although I felt it gave the film more depth. The fact that my contributor was the subject made everything a lot more complicated as her identity had to be kept to a minimum meaning that shots couldn’t be explored as much as we may have wanted and the angles of shots became more complicated, though I saw this as a challenge and was positive that we as a team could make it all happen. We in fact worked superbly as a team communicating and supporting one another and I know that I picked the best crew possible as each one of them worked hard, respected the nature of the film and offered different views and technicalities. I would have liked more movement with some shots, however, as the booking system changed after I had already pre booked my equipment there were a few things unavailble to me and so we had to make the best of what we had. Though thinking about it now, our locations wer so small and complex that we probably wouldn’t have fit a glide or track in anywhere apart from outside.
Post production I think has been the hardest for myself as when recording my contributor for the film, it was the first time I had heard every little detail, action and emotion, which was really hard to listen to over and over again whilst going through the editing stages, often having to walk out of the room or go home with little to no notice. I realised that this couldn’t go on if the project was to be finished and so to rectify things I took my producer and editor aside to explain the situation I was in and assured them that I was going to try my best to separate my emotions and asked them just to be a little patient with me. We went through at least three or four edits before showing people as we wanted to be 70% happy with it leaving room for improvement from feedback from others, this seemed to work as the feedback we got were based on issues we were already aware about but gave us some nice perspective from other points of view. Although this was the hardest stage for me it was also the one I was worried about the least as we started editing early on and I had complete faith in my editor Sean as I knew from seeing his previous work that he was creative enough to come back with something fresh, which he did. Dean and I had many tutorials with our personal tutor and gaining feedback was the most useful thing as we took it all on board and with making a few amendments we managed to get to a point where we were all happy with at least 98 % of it. The trailer took little to no time at all going through three small edits, as Sean and I had previously discussed ideas and he knew exactly what I wanted, making it a pleasure to have him on board also, as he is a very talented editor and knows just what to do in order to make things look amazing, without being asked twice.
Dean and I have worked closely on distribution working on designs and generating new ideas this has been a great process as we watched our film finally coming to life with distribution and pr material. Most of the putting together of the distribution material was done by Dean as he acquired the necessary skills where as I did not, though I helped out where I could but this was Dean’s forte and he took it on as part of his role. The worst thing about this particular part of the process has been trying to gain the rights of the end track within our film which is proving to be rather difficult, however, we have made sure we are clear to hand in our production and have made the executive decision of creating two more edits; one that uses a cover version of the song and one without the song completely. Hopefully we will be able to continue with the original or at least a cover version for releasing as we really don’t wish to take the song out simply because it ends the film and story on a high note expressing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Overall I can truly say that I am completely happy with our production, the film looks great, the trailer is working and has picked up many views already, and the promotional material looks fantastic. It has been a hard few months but with help and support we have managed to complete this project to very high standard. I would definitely choose the same crew over and over again, they have been a pleasure to work with and have helped create something we can all be proud of.