The new semester started up that August right around the same time that I found out about the film contest. We got our first assignment in our Advanced Production course and I suggested to Ben that whatever we make for class should also fit the rules of this contest in order to kill two birds with one stone. We now had a way to earn a grade and get some exposure.
After a couple weeks of brainstorming ideas back and forth through simple word association techniques, I had the idea. I came up with a short film with no dialogue as a way to hide the fact that most of our friends are not good actors. And I found a way to include all the rules set by the contest.
At this point, the green on the trees was starting to fade to yellow and orange. September was morphing slowly into October and our time was running out to complete our film. Still, we pressed on and arranged schedules and refined the story more and more. Because there was no dialogue, instead of writing a script, I drew out story boards and explained them with the beats of the story. I even started writing the music for the film.
The story follows a grim reaper by the name of Gary. He works in a college town and is responsible for killing the various people in it. He does this by simply touching their shoulder and after some time, the victim will die a seemingly natural death. Once Gary is assigned to kill a girl in a bookshop, however, he has a change of heart and decides to quit his job, come back to life and fall in love.
I finally found my actors and scheduled the time to film. This would be the first film I directed anything that didn’t have myself or Ben leading. I also really felt the pressure with this one because it was a more involved production than I was used to. Rather than basically goofing around for a few hours with my buddy, I now had to make sure camera settings were correct, that I had the right lens on, my actor was in the right spot and in focus, and because we were filming in public, I had to make sure that the shot was clear from people in the background. On top of that, I also had to make sure that I was remembering to film all the shots I had laid out and because most films are shot out of order, that can be so much of a challenge that major productions will have one person completely dedicated to that job. That wasn’t the case for this small student production. I was basically in charge of everything except being on screen (even though I made a small cameo as a victim).
This is the second post in a series about creating my short film I’d Live For You and how I didn’t quite feel like I knew what I was doing at the time. However, after some research, I discovered that even some major directors don’t always have everything planned out. Stay tuned for more in the series. Or don’t. Whatever.