I’m just going to state this up front: I’m not a director. I’m not a cinematographer. I’m a writer, and I feel comfortable writing and not doing all that other stuff.
I have done the other stuff. I’ve directed, filmed, and edited, but I didn’t really enjoy it. These next two weeks, however, are going to be all of the directing, filming, and editing that I never wanted to do. We’re going into production for our metamorphosis projects, and writing has been put on hold for awhile.
My metamorphosis project, the romantic comedy scene about cuddling, is fairly simple on paper, but even the simplest of scenes can be stressful when actually being realized on camera. In the next week I have to pin down locations, props, and design the set. I have to storyboard the script so that I know where I want the camera without having to waste too much time during the actual shoot. I have to cast actors, something which I know absolutely nothing about.
The past week has been a HUGE test of my patience. We had two days of intense cinematography, where we filmed multiple scenes and took turns on sound, directing, cinematography, and acting. I find film production to be one of the most stressful things in the world, so needless to say, I didn’t enjoy those two days.
This coming week, we learn to work with actors. I’ve never worked with professional actors before, so this will be something very intimidating. The writer part of me is cringing. Actually, every part of me is cringing. It goes against my sit-in-a-room-with-a-laptop-making-fictional-things-happen nature.
Luckily, this is the only time I should have to be so involved in any production at the film school. Everything else is writing. We’re having a play scene that we write produced later in the year, but we’re not in charge of directing that, which is probably a relief.
I was told that some writers catch the directing bug from this exercise. I don’t think I’m one of them. But, directing with a script is better than directing without one, so I might still enjoy the actual filming of my scene more than the practice we’ve been doing for the past few days. And the upside is, none of us really know what we’re doing, so we’re getting a fair amount of help from each other and from people who know how to do all those complicated film things.
There is something a bit reassuring, though, in how badly I want to be writing rather than doing all of this production stuff. I think that’s pretty much a confirmation that I’ve chosen to pursue the right thing.
Besides, I’m too short to be a good cinematographer.