“The making of a “making of”
For this second term of university we were given a brief with two options, the first was to write a script based on the 1950’s and bring it to life in the most professional way possible, and the second option was to produce a “making of” documentary for any of the 12 short films that were going to be filmed.
I chose to just be a part of the documentary side of this project as a producer because it was closer to what I want to do further down in my future and also it had less limitation “script wise”, as long as it had to be in a making of format, it had a wider range of outcome options.
As a producer, now I have realized that I hadn’t that much to do since it was a pretty straight forward thing to do: filming the “behind the scenes” of what was going on in the shooting sessions.
The first step for this project was to get a team and decide which role was going to do each one of us. We got Serena as our director and camera, Yago as co-director and camera too, Minh and our editor and logger and me, Isabel, as the producer.
As I came a bit later from the Christmas break, when I got to go to the first meeting, the rest of the team had already had chat about how they wanted to approach the documentary and what outcome they wanted more and less.
We all agreed that we wanted something very natural, that showed the real behind the scenes on set. Serena’s suggestion was to interview different girls working on the main films to also get a little bit of the “equality between genres” topic, but not through highlighting the negative facts, but instead, through the questions asked on the interviews, just get the main differences and get a bit of the real experience on set from a woman’s point of view.
All in all was going pretty well and we were all agreeing on mostly everything.
The second part of the project had to come to start: FILMING.
As a producer/production manager, I had to organize all the shooting schedule and everyone’s call times and finishing hours and their duties on that day.
As we chose two films to work on, “Free Sandwiches” and “Bogus” we had a total of four days of filming.
For each on of the films we had to go film the setting up of the set, the actual shooting and finally, the unsetting.
I could say that the differences between the different group members started to show in this phase of the project.
On the first day we were supposed to film, our director and camera person couldn’t assist the set due to other obligations and the co-director was working on that main film as something else and couldn’t do the director’s job either that day. We thought that the easiest solution was for me to go there with the camera, and as Yago (co-director) would be there being a gaffer, he could help me out and give me any directions if needed.
Since the directors didn’t want to write any type of script I founded a bit confusing and hard to record the “behind the scenes” since I didn’t have any idea what kind of “product” they wanted to get at the end.
As a producer I suggested multiple time to at least get a rough guide-line as our script so we could have a slight idea of what kind of shots and images they wanted to have in the final video, but nothing.
Following our schedule, after the first day of filming, Serena (director/camera) took over, and came to film the following days what was left to film from the “Free Sandwiches” short-film and the whole of Bogus.
After we had all the material collected, it was handed to Minh, who was going to take care of the editing part.
Since the editing was going to happen throughout the holidays we needed to be very communicative but, from my point of view, that is one thing we have not done so well, communicate at all times between everyone in the group.
Parallel to the editing of the recorded images, Serena was doing the interview’s over the phone with the women she had contacted previously and agreed to do so.
I can easily say now that one of my mistakes as a producer/production manager was to leave the “contacting the people” part to Serena, when I know now I should have done so myself and then facilitate her the contacts.
On the “Whatsapp” group chat we had made for this project, no one was saying anything during the Easter break, so I kind of assumed that everything to being done and was running smoothly.
Two weeks before the hand in date Minh and Serena were meeting at uni to check how the editing was going and I decided to attend too so I could catch up with them and see how things were going, what we needed to get fixed and what else was still meant to be done. The meeting went really bad, as the director wasn’t too happy with the whole project and blamed the rest of the group for demotivating her. From my personal point of view, what a leader has to do is bring the group together, not apart; try to look for solutions instead of making things harder by just highlighting every negative things, to bring back motivation from where is not.
This last meeting left us all with a very ugly feeling inside of us all and broke any chance of warmth and agreements in the group.
The position I took for this situation was to forget about any ugly words said and just keep working as professionally as we could to get done with the project, finish the editing and hand in a final product that we could all be satisfied with.
At this point we had no idea were Yago was (hadn’t give any signs of life since he left for holidays), Serena had left on a short holiday right on the hand in week, which made the communication with Minh extremely harder, and she was sending audio’s from one main films (A Stronger Taste) that we had no idea she wanted to include in the documentary.
All in all I can say that is has been a very challenging experience but very enriching at the same time. I am pretty sure to say that we have all learned a lot from this experience and that now we know how hard it can be sometimes to work with other people.
I am conscious I could have given a lot more from myself in this project and I publicly apologize to my group for being a bit messy and unstable when working.