Saturday, 04 August 2018 01:06

Very, Very Independent Filmmaking - Power in Numbers

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Last Sunday I made a film. 

It’s a short film, shot in one location and with one cast member…plus a spider. 

But even though it’s short and really about a rather warped relationship between a woman and a peeping arachnid, it’s still a film and, once edited, it’s a film everyone involved should be very very proud of.

It’s the first film I’ve shot since last October, which, trust me, is easy to do - to go months and months without shooting something, or writing something, or planning something.  In the end, the making the effort to set a time and a place and step up to the plate, so to speak, is everything…as they say.

This particular film was born from a film group I am a part of, Cinema Tribe Collective or CTC.

The group was created because of a basic and profound need to make films with people who felt inspired to do the same.  We are all equal and even though some may be more experienced in film than others, that is not always important.  Indeed, a little innocence can go a long way in film, or any other art form.  People are always in search of the latest newby with all their naiveté and fresh faced ardor. But I think sometimes knowing nothing can give you the nerve to lead with your heart.

This film was definitely from the heart.  One of the group, Susie, pitched an idea inspired by a terrifying encounter with a spider in her bathroom…it didn’t end well for the spider.  As a first film for our group it was perfect.  One location - Susie’s house, one actor - Susie,  one-day shoot.

Of course, as usual, things took much longer than planned, but then we did have a spider to wrangle and puppet.

Now we have a ton of footage to go through, or rather I do as I was volunteered to edit. But this is hardly the worst thing in the world for a filmmaker!  We all had a blast making our first film together and nothing went wrong and the food was good.  What more can we ask for in a shoot? 

When you want to make a film, make a film.  Don’t delay, don’t make excuses, don’t feel like you aren’t ready or need just that one last element for everything to be perfect.  Nothing is ever perfect, and if you feel like you are ready then you are  probably just totally forgetting something.  The point is to do it anyway and it will all work out somehow.  Don’t get me wrong, you have to be prepared, you have to plan things and write things and buy things, but you don’t have to be a bloody expert in everything and really no one ever is that has done anything of any stature and meaning.

I have made a lot of films and I learn something…a lot usually…every single time I make another one.  It’s part of the fun actually.  This time I learned how to film a spider walking across the floor from the spiders perspective…POV.  Who knew that an iPhone, an enormous ‘joke’ spider, a couple of wood dowels and a very inventive ten year old would be a solution!

Just the other night I watched the Spielberg documentary again. I highly recommend it by the way.  It’s just fascinating listening to him talk about how he works.  Sure it’s an incredible story of his life and how as a kid he made Super 8 movies with his sisters and how he snuck on to the Universal lot and pretended he worked there etc., and how as a 20-year-old he was directing TV and being mentored by Sidney Sheinberg, president of Universal.  But what I found most inspiring about it was how he talked about the work.  How he shows up to the set, to this day, not knowing what he is going to do. How he walks through the scene with his DP and actors and just figures it out.  How he is always terrified that someone will figure out that he is really just faking it and how that place of fear kind of drives his art.

We can all relate to being afraid, but it’s the “doing it anyway” that sets artists apart from everyone else.

Last Sunday I made a film.  A short film with a group of people who are artists and it’s just the very beginning.

Find your own tribe, tell your own stories, make your own films…

Read 424 times Last modified on Monday, 06 August 2018 06:28
Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer, director, filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She co-created the unprecedented project 52 Films/52 Weeks: A Year in Filmmaking, where she and her partners, wrote, directed, produced and edited a film a week for an entire year. She currently has several independent film projects at various stages of development.  

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