Saturday, 1 December 2007

The Post-Filming Blues...

Perhaps not as melodramatic as the title suggests, but I just wanted to wax lyrical for a moment regarding what I'd call a very real phenomenon amongst filmmakers. Think of it as the filmmaking specific rendition of 'the artist is never happy with their own work' - and while that sentiment is still true of filmmakers (each case to varying degrees, so it's far from an exact science), I think filmmaking has it's own slightly different addition.

By which I mean the 'come down', if you will, from the act of filmmaking itself. I've discussed this with a few people I've worked with and they themselves testified to the same experience on occasion. Sometimes you can feel elated and really pleased after a day's filming, like you really achieved something and you just know it's going to work - that's usually on a day when everything has gone according to plan.

More often than not though, the opposite feeling occurs when things haven't gone according to plan - but are not exclusive to such a troubled day however.

The reason I'm having this mini-rant about it, is because I got a call (inconveniently when I was still in the shower) and it was a collegue of mine passing on some last minute work in nearby Great Malvern. The task - to film a lantern procession which preceded the Christmas lights being turned on (thankfully note, no sign of "festive lights" in the remit, ha!)

After getting the basics - which was all I ended up acquiring (my whole involvement was last minute, and as seems to be the case with these sort of events the behind-the-scenes appeared to be hectic), I got a post-code (little did I know that it was for the entirety of Great Malvern - and neither did Multi-Map, which pointed me directly to Landsdowne Crescent) and headed off on my way. Now, I haven't been to Great Malvern in over a year at this point, and I didn't drive - in fact it was when I picked up my sexy new DVX100B from H Preston's who are situated there.

Now, my navigational skills are about as keen as that of James "Captain Slow" May from "Top Gear", so I immediately went to Preston's as it was the only place I knew in Great Malvern. This of course, as I later found out, was beyond Church Street - where the parade was happening. After heading into what must have been Little Malvern (seriously, there must be about 100 'Something' Malverns in the same area) at which point I admitted male defeat and asked for directions - at which point not one single bastard would let me exit onto the main road. I felt I was poking out onto the main road and didn't want to get clipped by a truck, and when I tried to reverse I just got a rude horn blare from the idiot behind me who had dicided to drive right up my exhaust and half way into the which point swearing was bellowed by me, but who wouldn't?

Eventually I got much nearer Church Street, but thanks to an absolute legend in a High Visibility Jacket, I was pointed in the specific direction I wanted to go - Lansdowne Crescent. Of course, once I got there I found out (after several failed phone calls ... signal troubles or something) that this wasn't supposed to be where I was heading - although no meeting point had been arranged anyway, I might add. So while cursing Multi-Map (which annoyingly refuses to load empty gray areas - which are always where you want to actually look - when zooming in), I saddled up and headed up Church Street to the location of the parade.

I will mention that it was raining, it was cold and it was dark - so it was pretty much November, put simply. I will also mention that true to my generation's occasional failing for being procrastinators, I didn't have a rain cover. But in true A-Team style, I fashioned one to cover the important guts of the DVX100B - which also thankfully is built like a fucking tank. A drippy lens case and eye piece isn't so bad. Of course, if was lens-wiping-a-go-go throughout but eventually you must admit defeat (which came after the whole parade/lights-on-thing had been done). The rain was too obtrusive and I had to halt filming...fortunately I had enough footage for a 5 minute film - which I'm still to edit at this 'day after' stage, at the time of writing.

As if rain wasn't enough, there was a foam machine firing foam snow into the air, so I got doused with that and was forced to retreat into the nearest building - the local Tourist Information - where a very kind woman gave me some paper towels to dry off my gear and myself - before I headed out again for the final shots before retreating to my car.

At this point I'll say I proudly made it back to the car without injuring myself. On my last filming session I'd re-sprained my left ankle, but I didn't slip, twist or fall - which considering the wet surfaces (some covered in foam snow) deserved saluting I say. Of course, the weather wouldn't let me off lightly, so no sooner had I removed my drenched waterproof jacket, than the rain became torrential. So in the mere seconds from closing the boot, to getting inside the car, I was drenched anyway.

I headed homewards, which was better than the journey down - this time I didn't need to read the signs, which was an impossible task on the initial journey. It was dark, it was raining, blaring headlights were in my eyes constantly, and there was always somebody seemingly bearing down on my rear bumper at all times. Although I will say, I was behind - at two different times - the slowest white vans I've ever come across. Evidently 'white van man' was cautious that night.

But back to the initial point about post-filming blues, after the challenge that was that evening's filming, I was tired, damp and obviously grumpy. More to do with the circumstances surrounding the event rather than the event itself - although getting absolutely stuck in a huge crowd, which made for nigh-on-impossible filming at one stage wasn't great either.

So indeed, the post-filming blues struck last night - you just feel crap in general, you reckon the footage is going to suck and not cut together, you doubt your skills and end up non-plussed with almost anything. This happened to me last night, something which hasn't happened in a long time - nor struck as hard.

However, the saving grace of post-filming blues is that the morning after is always so much better. Once you've slept on it, and then actually looked at the footage - everything isn't a disaster anymore. You feel more confident, and you're confident you can get a film out of it after all, so in other words - it's all good once again.

Perhaps a round-about way of getting to the point, but I guess this post was also just to relay a challenging night's onwards to actually edit the thing, which should hopefully not be clouded by rain, foam snow and road rage, ha!

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