From script to film: Our love affair with the silver screen

I often find myself in a precarious, awkward position during the end of a film shoot. All those hours of careful planning, scavenging of resources, constructive criticism from both peers and experts leads towards this bittersweet moment and sometimes it ends so anti-climatically. You rely so much on your cast and crew as much as they rely on you.

The deeper you get into the shoot you realise how intricately woven the threads of community and bonds of fellowship are. It then dawns upon you that the most important asset a filmmaker can muster is a cohesive production team. The director is nothing without a script, a script is nothing without good actors. The actors are nothing without a good director of photography and no National Geographic winning picturesque moneyshots can save your film if audio is neglected. Soon you wonder how did a few scribbled notes on a 48 page exercise book amount to this love hate relationship with one’s creation?

Then it’s time to bid your farewells, pack up and move on. The veil separating hello and goodbye doesn’t have to be vindictively dichotomous. Instead, I imagine its relationship is more cyclical, with the alpha and omega forever intertwined in infinte revolutions upon a spinning wheel of creativity.

You never really get to say good bye with film making. After all, you’ve still got untold hours of footage to sort through in the editing room. Hours of footage to devour, and after that there’s sound matching and you cursing profanely into the heavens when Adobe Premier Pro crashes, and another round of vulgar soliloquys on how you carelessly forgot to take extra shots or some other problem with audio that creeps up uninvited.

The better reason why the love affair with film drags on is because our inherent desire to better ourselves and what we make defines our humanity. This is probably why we have so many director’s cuts of the original Blade Runner with each one changing our view of Ridley Scott’s world slightly.

It’s spiritually numbing to be plagued with a mind blank. It’s even more insufferable if a story remains trapped within you, waiting desperately to be shared with the world. Times like those are when you know you’ve just got to blast that “inspirational music playlist” on your headphones, truly lose yourself in the creative zone and write something. A student of mine once described writing to be an arduous, unforgiving task, an unnecessary and irrelevant medium of communication that at best served to be a slower version of watching TV. I think our constant love affair with art just confirms our purpose as spritual beings on this world. We just wish to follow our bliss, seek our passions, and live our lives as inspirations to each other.

I’ve always wanted to make films and have been allured with the escapism the silver screen offered. Translating a script to film is no easy task. You’re bogged down with an avalanche of characters, side stories, ideas for orchestral tracks for your baby project. Despite all that, sometimes you still ironically find yourself still struck with mind blanks. Once you’ve found that inspiration, it is your innate duty to take action for yourself and for the people you love. Even if it means making the hard choice of rewriting the entire script. It’s worth it for the end product and you’ll only crucify yourself later for taking short cuts.

 

Lift scenes were a lot harder to shoot than I expected.

Making films can be a terribly frustrating ordeal at times and no one makes them alone. Sometimes delusion and hardwork go a long way, but most of the time reality can be a cruel teacher. You slowly learn to improvise with your resources and make the best film with equally bright eyed passionate people who would spend their weekends filming an independent project in the name of art.

It took 7 drafts, 8 days of shooting, 3 months of editing to create the first draft of Employable Me, with a 25 minute running time. Funnily enough, there’s still room for improvement. Art takes time, and we’re lucky enough to have that luxury so it’d be a sin to be impatient.

It is April 7 2018, and I’m spending my Saturday evening swarmed over with waves of catharticism whilst Johan Johanssen’s “Theory of Everything” soundtrack is playing our of my bluetooth speakers. I write with solemn pride as I reflect upon what we’ve all learnt as filmmakers here at Rock Rehab. It’s these weird Saturday evening moments where one’s mind replays flashbacks from your life’s film reel. It’s like a sultry dance that toys with other states of consciousness, until all that remains is a clarity of purpose. I now look back at what I thought was the last day of shooting only to come to a clearer understanding that some rewrites are necessary to do our beautifully crafted film justice.

So our unfinished love affair with the silver screen plays on, akin to a patient lover that invites you back alluringly… Looks like it’s time to write and plan those final scenes…

Saying farewell can also be a bold and powerful beginning, but it is nothing when compared to admitting defeat. To choose to be humbly poor but rich in soul is truly the bravest feat of all.

Employable Me — A desperate job seeker (Hannah Holmes) attends an assessment center and must face the disillusioned theatre of the workplace.

Chloe is a desperate and confused millennial whilst Michael is a cynical and underperforming consultant; both are in process of seeking clarity in their life’s purpose. Employable Me tells the story of these two individuals whose lives are threatened by the unforgiving confines of corporate capitalism and the status quo. Revolving around the events of a top consulting firm’s assessment center, in which individuals vie for a position in the firm, this film addresses issues of disillusionment, identity and compromise.

Employable Me is currently in post-production.

 

RELATED BLOGS

 
Kit Lee