‘Us’ is my Second film for this year, what do I mean by ‘my’ film? Written and directed by me.

We are taught that the art of pitching is important from day dot at school.

I believe I am a way off knowing how to be ‘pitch perfect’, but I have had both of my films chosen this year to be filmed, so I must be on the right track.

Pitching for me starts with BELIEF.

If you don’t care about your vision, not many other people will.

Understanding your vision can be hard, it requires a lot of open ended problem solving.

An IDEA can spark many great works, but an idea is JUST THAT, for a pitch you need to delve deeper into your ideas and gain some substance.

You need to troubleshoot problems before they have emerged.

You need to ask yourself, ‘what will other people ask me, that I haven’t even thought of’?

Most importantly you have o become your own biggest critic, and then learnt o shut yourself up with flawless answers to skeptical questions.

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For this short film, we were filming over four hours, on school grounds.

This to me said a few things:

1- You can’t choose to shoot in a location you wont have access to.

2- You can’t shoot at night

3- You will have access to your talented and helpful teacher

5- You can’t access anyone  (acting/make-up etc.) who works/studies or has a life during the week, it will essentially be you and your peers throughout

5- It will be a very quick shoot (4 hours)

Taking these factors into consideration, it dawned on me… Most of my classmates feel uncomfortable in front of a camera. What is it that they say?

Practise makes perfect.

Instead of giving a couple of my classmates a well thought out script that frankly would have been too challenging for their present acting skills, I thought less script would be best.

I will note here that my class is a flavoursome mixture of diverse cultures, which I love and celebrate.

This to me stood out as an immediate point of interest, I love the fact that we all have very different back grounds, there is so much to be discovered!

So it sort of fell into place, my brain ended up at it’s destination.

I wanted my peers to learn from this experience, to get more comfortable in front of a camera, I wanted the world to get to know them.

I was going to make a documentary.

The documentary is simply titled.

Us.

I had a fairly laid back approach to filming this time vs. my last film ‘Prisoner’.

This was due to the fact that I had a lot less shots to film, and a lot less precision was required.

I had 1 camera filming with a set mid shot, capturing the audio and the interview in absolution. I used another camera and one VERY talented DOP to capture lots of different shots. These shots were comprised of awkward fidgeting, fiddling with hands, long shots, extreme close ups, shots of me conducting the interview, crew members hanging out on set and some of the set ups such as lighting we were using for the shoot.

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 3.31.22 pm

The idea was to capture enough footage that I could concentrate on the reactions and personal attributes of my interviewees, and less on what they were saying.

This was done because a lot of my peers were VERY nervous an I did not want them to be, It was about a collective idea and not an interrogation.

HOWEVER, IT TURNS OUT

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 3.31.13 pm

my peers are liars, they’re fabulous in front of a camera, one person in particular, who nearly begged not be interviewed, threw so much light into the interview that after watching it repeatedly in post I STILL SMILED every time I watched it.

I truly had the best time shooting this, it was basically a ‘getting to know you’ on camera.

I ordered my shoot in a really simple way, everyone wrote their name on a board and sent one person in as they walked out, it was intimate whilst shooting to add to the comfortability. I wanted to capture the mannerisms, quirks and personalities of my collaborators, the little things that make them the beautiful people they are.

It worked!

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 3.33.34 pm

I gobbled up every frame when filming had concluded, I really hope they all find some enjoyment out of the end result.

I know being in front of a camera is not everyones cup of tea, but each persons interview was indeed part of something bigger.

(Sorry to get a little political here)

I believe we have a real issue regarding race in Australia, amongst other prejudices. It is my dream to one day conquer this and feel we live in a country where

RACE DOES NOT IMPACT ON YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE.

Chinese, Lebanese, Philippine, Sri Lankan, Korean, Canadian & Australian

These are the cultures that make up my class.

We are all hard working, kind, smart, funny individuals who are so much more and so much more because of our diverse backgrounds.

I don’t remember being racist, I know I am not these days and can’t imagine ever feeling any differently, what I do know, is like getting comfortable in front of a camera, practise makes perfect. Being around different cultures, exploring different cultures, celebrating different cultures and acknowledging different cultures seems to get more enjoyable and comfortable the more I do it. So if i can show every family member and friend I have a film about my class mates, it will hopefully spread the love.

I am so thankful for my amazing cast and crew for backing me up and putting in such a tremendous effort for this project.

I am so sad that my ESL friends are currently up against new legislation that makes it even harder for them to reside in Australia, I hope that cultural diversity continues to be celebrated in Australia and that, as White Australians we remember this land doesn’t belong to us and we shouldn’t condemn others for wanting to branch out and call it home too.

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So there you have it, a political rant, some tips on pitching and a summary of the what, why and how of

‘US’.

 

To all girls on film,

I applaud you!

-M.x

 

 

 

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