Even in revision week, St Andrews students have found time to produce and unveil their works of art. Filmmaker’s Society founder Terry Lee explained the process by which each of the seven short films that will be showcased tomorrow came to fruition.
As the society is young, constrained by technical issues and some limitations – such as the relatively little equipment they possess – each script was restricted to a three page minimum and a ten page maximum length. Short films, Lee reasoned, are ideal for a group of both new and seasoned filmmakers. For newer filmmakers, a five to ten-minute film is less daunting to tackle. Even for those with extensive past filmmaking experience, creating a short film provides challenges of its own that would be substantial enough to make way for creativity in different and unique ways. The society helped build production teams for each script from the ground up, distributing scripts amongst society members and calling for applications for interested directors and producers. An interesting task for the committee that may have to be explored in future is the assignment of directors and producers to pieces; though there was luckily no overlap in directing and producing requests, the Filmmaker’s Society will have to decide how to fairly assign production teams to scripts in the case of future competition.
The society had seven very different films to help cast, which was a logistical nightmare – how would they book spaces for seven different films to hold auditions? How could they avoid potentially having more actors interested in some scripts than others, and try to help give each crew their ideal actors? Lee credits the society’s unusual casting process (unusual in that the casting did not follow the Mermaids’ auditioning process with which St Andrean actors might be more accustomed) to Anna Lee Jones, who devised a two-round system for the films. All of the films’ crews attended the first round of auditions, in which actors were provided with totally unrelated pieces, just to give all crews an idea of actors’ strengths. The second round of auditions then cast for individual films, with Lee Jones helping to negotiate actor placement with crews, as some films coincided use of actors.
After auditions the crews were on their own, besides borrowing the light, sound, and camera equipment (funded from a mixture of proceeds from Lee’s Darkroom, grants from the Student Activities Fund, and personal donation) made accessible to all Filmmaker’s Society members. Each film had no monetary funding, so all the props, costumes, and settings came from the crew’s possessions and creativity.
Next semester will see the Filmmaker’s Society experimenting more with methods of film production. With members having already undergone the process, the society hopes to loosen up some of the organisational structure they initially implemented and instead continue to develop organisation according to the needs and contexts that arise.
For now, all that is left to do is enjoy the fruits of several months’ labour! The films’ genres range from comedy to horror to fantasy to realist – their summaries are available on the event description, and are sure to have at least one film to pique everyone’s interest. The showcase itself looks to be a joyous celebration of art and a great time to socialise and take a well-earned rest from revision.
Take a look at the event on its Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/138780240111445/