Time to get back to my roots and write a little bit about making movies!
“WHAT?!” You exclaim. “The filmmaker Andrew Gingerich is going to write about making movies?! Surely this must be some cruel trick!”
But no, dear friends, it is not a cruel trick. It is, much like everything else I post here, an aimless whim.
Anyway, after a semester off from production classes I am now up to my neck in film classes, most notably 16mm production (yep, we shoot real film, like back in the olden days of… well… 2004). I thought maybe it would be a fun exercise to outline how a short film goes from concept to final product. So for the coming month I’m going to shower you with weekly installments of how our first film was made.
Here was our assignment: work in groups of three. Shoot 200 feet of Tri-X black-and-white reversal using spring-wound Bolex cameras. The theme of the film should be “finding something.” Film is due in two weeks. Edit in-camera.
Ah fuck! No! Don’t make me do it! Noooooooooooo!
In class, we get demoed on the Bolexes; loading, operation, and how to avoid the broken parts. You turn the winding crank counter-clockwise. If you turn it clockwise, it falls off. It’s all fairly simple and they’re beautiful cameras. Unfortunately, according to people who have actually used them before, they’re also very temperamental.
Then we’re handed our film (Free film? Sweet!), and we head off to determine what we’re actually going to shoot. We can’t have any dialogue because they’re silent cameras and it’s way too much work to record it later, since we only have a two-week turnaround. But a story would be a nice thing to have, yeah? Too bad we can’t think of anything. All we can think of are sight gags. Typical student film garbage. We resolve to each come up with a couple concepts and meet in two days to pitch them to each other. Best concept gets shot.
Little did we know that a drastic restructuring loomed before us unseen, like some sort of giant invisible rat. But you’ll have to wait until next week to hear about that!
ALSO: Notes on another director have been added. This week: John Frankenheimer, director of deliciously paranoid and bone-chilling films The Manchurian Candidate and Seconds. Phrase of the week: John Frankenheimer is crazy cool. It’s true.