When I applied for Loose Films, one the biggest aspects of film making that I said I enjoyed was the fact that you can modify reality to your liking, thereby legitimately fooling the audience/viewers. “Fooling” is a harsh term, but in this context it simply means that that the tools one applies to filming a particular scene maybe be unconventional to the aesthetic that appears on the screen. Some of these parlor tricks may be planned while others are thought of on the spot. My first experience with such tricks was during my elementary film production course at Denison University. However, my time during The Raquels and Loose Films shoot two weekends ago showed me how much thought, planning and creativeness goes into film making on a larger scale.
We started off in a small neighborhood in Columbus on Friday evening. The scene was supposed to encompass an 80s horror aesthetic. You’d think that such special effects could only be achieved on the computer and with the help of digital programs, but the truth is, the melancholic, almost eerier atmosphere was set in stone by some contrasting lights, a well-placed camera, and a smoke machine - emphasizing how classic cinematic ideas can be the right ideas that can lead to a wonderful shot. But, that in no way implies that the task at hand was easy.
Movie production is meticulous and long, it requires steady hands, an open mind and the constant, level-headed maintenance. When you’re working on a particular shot, the greatest obstacle you need to be prepared for is things not working out the way you planned. As someone who usually maps out everything thoroughly, it was very hard for me to keep constantly adjusting. It’s easy to do so on a low budged college project, but when you have people relying on you, as well as a limited time window to operate in, quick thinking is an absolute requirement. For instance, on the second day we had planned on using the smoke machine in many more scenes, however, due to the difficulty in channeling the smoke in a narrow fashion, as well as the constant activation of the schools fire alarm, the idea had to be scratched. One of my supervisors had to directly tell me to leave the smoke machine alone, because I was dead set on making it work.
Familiarizing myself with equipment was also a lot of fun. Professionals make it look extremely easy, but even operating a simple dolly can require a bit of getting used to. Moreover, utilizing one’s surrounding and merging it (in a manner of speaking) with the equipment you have is not only a requirement, but a necessary skill. I started at Loose Films with the intention of challenging my creative mind and to think outside the box. I think it’s safe to say that the two-day shoot with the Requels and gave me ample proof that my desire to be creatively tested will not only be met, but also superseded.
In the end, I had a pretty great time. As mentioned before, film production is arduous and time-consuming, but it’s the kind of work you love to suffer for. I had only recently switched to Cinema at Denison, and these two days have basically confirmed that my choice is the right one. In fact, by the time we wrapped up, as tired as I was, I could have happily kept going.
Loose thanks Rezo for his words and especially for his help on set - more to come throughout the summer!