Lights, Camera, Action! Well, camera and action…

Today was the shoot for the TUC Playfair Qatar campaign video I’m working on. Producing, writing, shooting, editing – it’s the all singing, all dancing package, for a noble cause. While not by any means my first rodeo, it’s the first thing I’ve done entirely independently for a client. Which is nice, if a wee bit daunting. Knowing you can do something and knowing you will are two very different things.

All things considered, it’s gone quite smoothly thus far. Thought I and my co-producer at the TUC have been insanely busy with other simultaneous projects (because of course), we managed to organise a shoot for a fairly complicated concept quickly and with minimum fuss.

And the shoot? So tidy. The actors – adults and children alike, were just on it – I didn’t need more than a couple of takes of anything, which sped things up considerably. I did send my runner home once we got to set upon discovering that he was still suffering the ill-effects of an unfortunate bout of food poisoning, but luckily I was able to get another on-site within a couple of hours. Even in the cold and wet, everyone handled the discomfort like a pro, and what’s more, had a really great time. It was a fun shoot, from start to finish.

Can I take credit for the smooth sailing so far? With film, one relies so much on the skill and talent of others, it is fundamentally collaborative. That said, I think I can claim at the least good planning, and luck in my choice of colleagues. So far.

So now that the footage from today is backed up, and looks alright from a quick glance through, surely I should be able to take a breather, and catch some well-earned sleep before diving into the edit.

And yet, here I am, tossing and turning, mentally reviewing the footage and cutting in my head.

Several years ago when I was just starting out, I interviewed for a director’s assistant gig. At one point, as they inevitably do, they asked if I had any questions, and of course you must. I can’t remember what I said, but I do remember the director answered, essentially, that there is no time when he isn’t working on the film – it’s always on his mind: in the shower, eating lunch, sleeping, during conversations about totally separate things.

With every project I make the truth of it always comes back to me. Until you know it’s finished, you just keep puzzling over it relentlessly. It’s as if, knowing how many decisions need to be made to get to the final cut, your brain devotes every spare synapse to the problems at hand. It’s a bit like having a neighbour who constantly has the radio on. You can tune it out, if you try, but you can never really turn it off. And in quiet moments, that background murmur might as well be a brass band.

And yet. How fun.


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