Directors Blog: A Monstrous Production – The five things I learnt about filming

Evening all! 

So, Saturday morning (early, way too early) we congregated at the Uni to make the trailer for Monstrous. I can probably count on one hand the times I’ve been involved with filming anything. So I’m going to share with you the bits I leant.

Be generous with your time scale.

When Yoni sent me a 3-4 hour time scale for filming I gulped. I mean I’ve never filmed anything before – I have no idea how much time everything is going take. But I guess in my head I was like 90 seconds of filming – how long could it take? Turns out he’s an evil genius. When we had access issues and people having transport issues, I’m worrying and stressing and Yoni is just strangely calm. There’s me thinking 3-4 hours is going to turn into 5 and I’m going to have an angry mob of cast members about to turn on me. Actually Yoni had factored in things going wrong and we managed to wrap filming in 2 and half hours! See. Evil genius. 

Film acting & theatre acting are way different. 

When you’re on stage you have to think about the furthest audience member from the stage – which in the Nuffield is faaaaaaaaar. So tiny movements and quiet voices just arent going to be heard. But with filming it’s the total opposite, everything gets picked up by the camera. Which means you have to totally change what you’re asking people to do. But the nice thing is – if something isn’t quite right you can do it over and over again till you get the perfect shot. Then when people watch it, it’s perfect every time.

There is a lot of waiting around.

Ok… maybe not for me, I was checking shots and getting things ready and stuff. But for everyone else there was lots of waiting around. Thing is you don’t quite know how long everything is going to take and if you want to make use of all the time you can, actors have to be there when you need them. Which when you’re filming 5-10 seconds at a time with different people I can imagine can be very frustrating. But the guys handled it well. 

Relationship with your filmographer is key. 

I was really lucky – Yoni and I get on anyway, but we’ve never done anything professional together. My feeling on it was to defer to him, although I’m directing as mentioned above – film & theatre are totally different and Yoni was my resident film expert. But it worked out much more of a collaboration. No friction, no arguments, no clashes of creativeity. Working with Yoni on the trailer actually made something that was stressing me out a really enjoyable experience – I learnt a lot too which was cool. 

Work doesn’t stop when you finish filming

Unlike theatre, when you finish the performance it doesn’t mean your jobs done. Yes the actors get to go home, and you somehow still end up with a bag full of odds and ends and bits of someone else’s costume (which reminds me – Paul I have your shirt). But now is the part where all of those sections of film get put together with sound and animated text and stuff (I’m not very technical…). So now all I can do is sit back with my cup of coffee and wait. It is not the immediate gratification of theatre performance which is perhaps the hardest lesson to learn. It’ll be worth it though. 

Don’t forget to check out Yesh! Video.

I’ll check back next week and hopefully I’ll get to show you all the trailer!!

Imogen signing off for this week.