In the Spring of my senior year at high school, my friend Isaac came up to me one day asking if I could help with a little project he was working on. It wasn’t little actually. He showed me his two page treatment, 4 page character list, and 86 page script that followed. Isaac was no screenwriter, nor director, nor did he ever take a film class to my knowledge. However, he had a story in mind and he wrote it! If your wondering…No, we did not have any school work to be doing. It was second semester of senior year, that’s all you have to know. Anyway, I took on the task of being a cinematographer and assistant director for his “little” film he wanted to create. He found a way to include faculty and staff at our school, his best friends, and extras for bigger scenes. It was a romantic comedy that followed the story of a high school senior boy and his dual passion for physics and soccer. Contrary to a common motherly belief that he should continue a career in academics, his mother saw his potential as a soccer star instead. However, his happy place is in the physics classroom, despite his clear talent in athletics. Of course, he ends up falling in love with a girl in his physics class and goes to the senior ball by the end. This story sounded like a perfect way to bring everyone together the last couple of months before everyone split ways going to college. So I started creating a shot list, a schedule for film shoots, listing locations and figuring out how to turn writing on a page into a visual film. We shot after school, on weekends, and holidays trying to cram in as many scenes as possible while working with everyones busy schedules with sports, prom, and graduation.
Simply put: we failed. I failed.
I knew it was going to be very hard to get 50+ scenes done within just two or three months before everyone left for the summer and college. I have done 5 minute short films and they even took months to do. I was always optimistic though because I wanted to take on the challenge and keep working on what I love doing. However, it just wasn’t practical to shoot a feature film while everyone was a full time student, athlete, and employee during a celebratory moment in life when everyone was preparing for high school graduation, prom, and their summer events, not to mention, college. Although I internally took this into account and realized there was a good chance we were not going to even get close to finishing the entire project, I continued putting my best foot forward every time.
If I were to do it again, I would install a regimented shooting schedule in place so everyone has to find a way to commit a certain amount of time each week in order to finish every scene before graduation, allotting enough time for the editing to take place.
While I consider this project a failure and want to make sure everyone knows not finishing a film is the worst thing one can do, it was a fun way to spend my free time and I learned a lot about the process.
With a small DSLR, a tripod, rode video mic, and the use of only natural lighting, here is some of what we got…
Picture of the editing I started for the first scene:
Clips of some scenes: