cinema  full journal 
One of the influences which led to the idea of taking first shot submissions from the public is my participation in the Toronto Film Challenge. The challenge being: to shoot and deliver an entire short film in 48 hours, starting without even so much as a script. At the start of the countdown the organisers assigned each crew some required seed material at random, like props that must appear or mandatory locations — a method not so different from starting with somebody else's first shot. And it reminded me that there is a paradoxical freedom in giving up a measure of control.

I would tell you that our approach to the Challenge was unusual. But that would be an understatement.
The rational way to go about making a film in a single weekend is to get the script settled as quickly as possible (say, in the first 8 hours) so that the lion's share of the remaining time can go toward the labour-intensive process of shooting and cutting together multiple angles.

We did the complete opposite. We did not even unpack the camera for the first 40 hours, instead spending it all in improv sessions, and then shooting the resulting story in a series of long continuous takes on the final hair-raising afternoon until we had the take we wanted. This was a huge risk, but it had the advantage that our editing was kept to a minimum and we had the time to let the actors drive the story in directions they would be comfortable with and put in great performances. And as I've noted elsewhere, performance is everything.

We started with the first line of dialogue, "When?" — which is one of my favourites, because it packs a slew of narrative questions into a single word.

Click here to see the answers...



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