Seven storytellers from across Australia were given 72 hours to produce, research, direct, shoot, edit and premiere a film for a local non-profit with the mentorship of the Stillmotion team. Our filmmaking collective partnered up with Melbourne based One Girl and were challenged to craft a film for their annual ‘Do It In A Dress’ campaign.
The two key ideas that resonated deeply with me during the process:
During pre-production, brainstorm five keywords that encapsulate the film. Every production decision you make from that point on (interview questions, filming locations, camera movement, lighting design, sound design etc) is filtered through these key words to ensure every choice you make has clear intent and justification. These keywords provide a rigorous foundation for the production crew to engage with and ensure discussions have clarity and relevance. I love the idea of a client signing off on five keywords as a form of accountability. Rather that a client dictating the way a story must be told, the only thing you are held accountable for as a filmmaker is creating a compelling story that has every decision filtered through the five agreed upon keywords.
2. The Interview.
Invite your interview subjects into a place where they feel comfortable to express themselves. Ensure the interview is a conversation, not an artificial construct with a start/stop format. From the moment the interviewee arrives in the building, no reference to the filmmaking process should be made in their presence. The lighting should be setup, sound levels checked and cameras rolling before they sit in the interview chair. Do not ask the interviewee to perform for camera. Find a way to get them to speak honestly and on topic by using subtle gestures in addition to verbal and non-verbal communication. Above all be aware of how your presence is reflected in the behaviour of your subject.
Patrick [Stillmotion Director] encouraged us to create a mental map of how we would guide the interview to ensure we covered everything we needed. Bringing printed questions to an interview pre-determines the journey of conversation and can make it feel like an interrogation. Be present and engage in an authentic dialogue - the resulting footage will be all the more powerful as a result.
I feel incredibly privileged to be part of something so purposeful and to use the power of story for good! As a professional learning experience, creating a film that will have a genuine impact on the world is incredibly rewarding. I am so thankful to the EVO team [Mary, Joyce and Patrick] and the participating filmmakers for the journey - I do hope we make an opportunity to work together again soon! The film is now live via the Do It In A Dress website and is embedded below. While you are watching, consider what our final set of keywords might have been! (Reveal at the bottom of the post).
Enrol. Dress. Movement. Education. Excitement.
Photograph above: Planning in the MUSE workbook.
Photograph middle: Setting up for an interview at the One Girl office in Collingwood. Crew sitting in for pre-flight checks!
Photograph below: Premiere screening on the last day of the EVO Workshop.