Notes on organisation #1

I mentioned last week that this 72 project won’t be the same as the previous ones. Let me explain what I mean by that.

Both ‘Watching & Waiting’ and ‘The Ballad of Des & Mo’ had bottlenecks in the production in front of the camera and behind. Johanne Murdock appeared in approximately 97% of the film in Galway, and although Mick Cahill and Kate O’Toole created two narrative strands in Melbourne, there are no scenes without them. Although both films have had montages filmed by a second unit, the majority of the filming has been done with one unit and one camera. This was so I could oversee and drive the production, making decisions on the set in order to get the project done on time.

This time we are planning something different. As we are exploring a narrative with an ensemble cast with no dominant protagonist, it provides the scope to have multiple crews all filming simultaneously. These crews would be filming smaller chunks that can then be stitched together in the edit (an inevitable bottleneck).

This model has a obvious advantages, a few concerns and a couple of disadvantages. The first advantage is that it means that more people can be engaged in the process. Secondly, it means the edit will get lots of data early on, as it won’t be dependent on one crew turning out footage (this has previously been a problem). It also means that the filming is less intensive for any one crew, as they are only filming a portion. One concern which must be addressed is house-style, as the film needs to be cohesive and work as a whole. Splitting the units shouldn’t lead to a culture of competition between crews or an invitation to showcase any particular portion; a collaborative mindset must be hard-wired into the ethos of the production, whereby everyone recognised the ‘bigger picture’, if you excuse the pun. The major disadvantage is cost. Multiple units means multiple workflows and multiple crews that need feeding. We are already grappling with the budget to achieve this.

Why change the model if we know that it worked before? Well, it could be better. We are making a different film, which requires a different approach. What we hope to demonstrate with this project is that film production can be open to innovation and an inclusive, empowering process as opposed to an exclusive, traditionally fixed model with a hierarchy that belongs in the feudal system of medieval England. europeanfeudalsystemchart


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