There are a billion things that can go wrong while making a film and you are filming a 12 minute film on real, actual 16mm film. There are a lot of things I learned and some of these are the simplest and most logical things in the world.
It was my first short film and actually, every single thing was new. I had to develop a script, create something of a structure, develop characters, find amazing actors; I also had to be on the set for the first time in my life and be the one who knows everything. Most of all, I had to work with people during preproduction, on set and postproduction.
I made more mistakes that I would have liked to, but you know - always win, sometimes lose.
1. Do not try to put everything into your first film. Take something simple and create something interesting around it. 2. You cannot do everything by yourself, trust your team and tell them when they are succeeding, but don’t forget that there are a hundred ideas and yours can’t get lost in the other ones. 3. Hug, it keeps you warm and when you are hugging a person, you really can’t be mad at him/her. 4. There is no one way of explaining anything and there is never one way of understanding an idea. 5. There will be tense situations, but don’t forget that it doesn’t matter who is right, the only thing that matters is the film itself. 6. When somebody says they are storyboard artists then it doesn’t mean they can actually draw. 7. Don’t blame anybody, not even yourself. 8. Eat and drink water. 9. Even when there is time then don’t let 1AD (directors first assistant) tell that to people - time can make people lazy. 10. People always expect more from you, from the set, from actors, your skills etc. Don’t worry, you are learning. But don’t forget that you still have to give more than 100% of yourself.
As a female director, I think it is important to say that when you are a woman in this industry, you are doubted twice as much as men. I counted the questions that were asked at the directors’ council and they asked more than double the amount of questions from women compared to men.
Be good to people, but at the same time when you are talking about homeless people, don’t forget to strongly mention to the production designer that they shouldn’t look like hipsters.
Sandra Kartau, II course BFM student