Lessons in Filmmaking
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
Two years ago I embarked on a journey of professional and creative growth as a storyteller.
The first time I took an existing script from another writer to adapt to film as its director.
And very shortly, another first for me and producer Daniel Taylor... crowdfunding!
This film is STALLED, a survival thriller and modern noir set in a Croydon pub and its rather cramped men's room.. an unorthodox environment that posed many logistical and creative challenges due to its very small size and mundane look!
So many lessons have been learned while working on this project. In particular, the importance of prep and having a fabulous Assistant Director to really take the weight off your shoulders.
I can't stress enough the need for delegating crew management to a very capable First AD, especially when shooting over seventy shots a day.
Time is always money on shoots. We couldn't have finished our shoot without a fantastic AD keeping us on time and budget.
Build a filmmaking tribe
Surround yourself with creative go getters! Passionate storytellers and technicians who are raring to be involved in a shoot. Although it is vital to be at the helm always, listening to other ideas will keep morale high and also get your creative vision out of trouble if an idea is not working.
Keeping the script focused and knowing your story
A screenplay that changed more times than I count, it originally felt like two stories in one! With random subplots appearing involving a loan-shark, this felt like an inciting incident
before the inciting incident! The goal was to strip the screenplay of this very ill-timed B story and to lay the groundwork for what goes on in the rising action... by building mystery and suspense with the people who's conflict we will be seeing in our prime location.
Working with non-actors
Anyone can act if they are capable. I worked with my first ever non-actor on this shoot, alongside some highly experienced talent too!
A serious and meaty role for a hugely talented individual who had never acted on a set before!
It was my mission to get him to play himself in the situation as much as possible, while still giving him his intention in the scene to keep him focused on what his character was after... and why it was important to him, by finding something relatable in there for the very capable non-actor too.
STALLED will be landing at film festivals in 2022 and having its premier later this year
Visit us as stalledtheshortfilm.com for more information on this gripping and atmospheric thriller!