The past two months I have been working hard on my short film “I Want To Believe”. Post production is a strange process with ups and downs. You spent a lot of time behind your computer fine tuning the edit, creating visual effects, fine tuning the edit, doing sound design, audio mixing, changing the edit *again*, and so on.
There were moments of despair when I just couldn’t get something right (motion tracking a camera move) and moments of great satisfaction (getting that motion track finally done and getting that 3D model integrated nicely with the live footage). One thing I learned from that is when things do not go forward, take a bit of distance from it. Leave that shot for a couple of days and then start again with a fresh perspective. My experience is that, most of the time, it actually works and you’re able to figure out a solution for the particular problem at hand.
Test screening the beta version of my film
The film is now 90% done. There is still a bit of tinkering to do regarding the visual effect shots and some audio editing and the final colour grade are still to be done. I decided however to show this beta version to a couple of people. A test screening to see how they react to it. Some of those people where on my crew, others had nothing to do with the film and went in completely blank. I wanted to get a fresh perspective from other people as at this moment in time I mostly see the things I should have done better or different…
It was good to see that most of the stuff I regard as “should have been better/different” wasn’t even noticed by the “average” viewer. However, I still got some useful feedback on a couple of things I can improve on. Some were already on my to-do list, some were good points I hadn’t thought about. The general reaction was positive and that eased my mind a bit. I was in a state of mind doubting the quality of the end result. Seeing only the things which were not “good” I mainly worried about that. Most of those things I cannot change anyway without re-shooting stuff (which won’t happen!). So maybe I just needed this ease of mind to carry on and finish the film…
“You’ve Got To Enjoy The Doing”
Thinking about it I realised it’s impossible to make a “perfect” film. There will always be things you can improve upon. Which is just fine, it means you can work to improve those things in your next project.
“I Want To Believe” is my first narrative film and I wore most of the hats. That was my intention from the beginning. The goal was to make the best film I could at the time with the tools I had and, most important, to learn from it. Going through to process of making this film from beginning to end just to get better at it the next time. I wanted to do as much as I could myself, mainly for learning what it takes to do a certain job within a production. That helps me to be able to better plan future projects and to generally make things go smoother during the shoot. It was also a way to find out which things I want to focus on in the future and what tasks I will be delegating to other people. The downside of this was that the complete post production was done by myself and therefore took quite some time.
I want to finish with a quote from David Lynch about film making.
“You've got to enjoy the doing. You can’t control what’s going to happen after you finish it”
This project is the best thing I’ve done in a long time. It was hard work, took a lot of preparation and took even more time in post production but it was all worth it. I learned so much by actually doing it and making this film. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the story I wrote come to life in moving images.