top of page

HNR 303: European Films

Here is the short film created for European Films titled Disposable

European Films Reflection

When creating a short film there is quite a lot of tedious work that must be done. One cannot just instantly create a short film, there is a process that one should follow meticulously. The work must be meticulous in order for the story to become clear and the overall goal for creating the film will be achieved. If put together sloppily then there is a chance that the movie is not the best work that one can produce, nor is it achieving the goal that was originally made. Throughout the process of creating the short film Disposable, I learned about the work that is put into creating a film, how I work with this group, and what I would do differently when I make another short film.

The first step in the process of creating a short film is storyboarding your ideas. This is when you create images of moments you would like to occur in the story with a little caption describing more in depth what is occurring in the film. This step is helpful because it allows you to visualize all the important moments and see them all next to each other. By putting the moments next to one another, it becomes easier to see which moments will work in the final product and which ones don’t. This allows one to veto the ideas that don’t work together, or are unimportant to the overall story.

When creating the storyboard for Disposable the most difficult part was finalizing which ideas we wanted to include in the imagery. We had lots and lots of general ideas that had to be refined in order for it to fit into our story. Once we had a clear idea of what the moments we wanted were, and we created the imagery to go along with those ideas, we realized that we did not have an order of moments. As a group we tried to work with each other to figure out an order, but the majority of the group was indecisive and could not decide what the order of the moments were. This caused me to have to decide later on what the exact order of our storyboarded moments would be.

The next part of creating a short film is writing the script that all of the filming will eventually refer back to. If you were able to successfully storyboard your entire project then script writing should be quite easy. It is just putting together all the moments from the storyboard and adding dialogue to everything. This can pose the challenge of having to write dialogue that sounds natural or real. My group struggled with dialogue, but we were all aware of this going into script writing so we avoided adding dialogue unless absolutely necessary. Due to the lack of speaking we had to really focus on what was physically occurring on camera. This way we were able to ensure that our ideas came to life and had the effect that we were going for. The biggest challenge that we faced while writing this script was trying to figure out the exact order of moments. Autumn, Ben, and I had asked our group multiple times to help create and finalize the order and nothing happened. We had to work slowly and mechanically to make sure that not only did the order make sense but also that it told the story we wanted to tell. Challenges aside, the writing of the script ended up being extremely useful when working on the rest of the film, both shooting and editing was made easier with the script. It is the true basis of everything that you have to do when it comes to filming and editing the movie. In the script itself, it has the cuts that are necessary, the emotion that we want to portray in that moment, and what should be seen in the shot and what should not be seen in the shot. The script is essential to creating a coherent short film that can be enjoyed by many people.

The filming process is always a long and tedious process because you have to get the perfect shot and that could mean reshooting the scene multiple times. I had a difficult time during my group's filming process because I was one of the main characters of the films as well as being the head cinematographer. This meant that I would help set up all the different camera angles and make sure that we are getting what we want from each shoot. I had to have a clear vision of every shot, or at least I had to know what the general idea I wanted. I also was forced to be more creative with my camera angles because of the lack of filming time we had. My group consisted of extremely busy individuals, so we had to film a lot of scenes with very little time, meaning I had to be ready with what we were doing and what cameras we needed and where they should be placed.

The other part of filming was being in the film itself.Being in front of the camera was an entirely different challenge. This was my first time really acting in front of the camera, and there were some challenges that I faced while doing so. First, because of how the script was made I really had to focus on the moments before so that the filming felt honest. It was strange working with a script and filming out of order for the script. It forced me to be fully aware of the entire journey of my character in the story. This allowed me to give the most honest performance possible even if it was slightly stylized to fit the film. It was a challenge acting without words for the majority of the scenes, but it allowed me to really focus on how my physicality is reading on the camera, and I believe that through that awareness of my physicality it was able to read better when watching the clips back. Filming should not be stressful but it should be understood that it will take time and that’s okay. The goal of filming is to make your script real and to get the imagery that you wanted.

Editing is the next step of the process in creating a short film. This can be the most individually time consuming task of the entire production of a film. This is because you have to go through every single shot that was taken and edit it all together into one coherent piece of media. This is what is considered post production and is the hardest part of making a short film. Editing is what takes a bad film and makes it good, editing is also the thing that can make a great performance terrible or cringey. It is important to trust yourself when editing and also make sure that you are letting other people look at your work as you continue on to get a fresh air of eyes on something that you have been staring at for hours.

Disposable was cut into three different areas when it came to editing. The first step that we did was going through all the clips and putting them together and cutting them so that they are as clean as possible. This takes a while due the amount of clips we had to go through. This process was mostly done by Ben and myself and took about a total of six hours to put together a thirteen minute short film. The next step was editing those clips. This includes but is not limited to adjusting what of the frame is seen, changing the saturation of the clip, and changing the tone of the film to either more orange or more blue. The other area I adjusted during these moments was how sharp the clip was or how fuzzy it was. I did this to help create a contrast between present and past as well as friendship and no friendship. This editing sequence took equally as long with it taking about six hours to do. All this does as well is enhance the product that is already there. There is no adding new things, just simply adjusting to make the final product even better. The final step can be cut into two. Adding sound is half of the final battle, making sure the audio lines up visually as well as making sure the music makes sense for what is being seen. The second part of this area of editing is adjusting any visuals if necessary to help mesh the audio and visuals. The majority of this was done by Autumn because of the amount of sound editing experience that she already had. We had asked for the group to send in some music choices to use and add to the film but almost no one gave any suggestions. Editing was a struggle but it was enjoyable because you could see everything finally coming together.

Working with the group as a whole was quite a difficult process. There were many times where it felt like the only people working together on the project were the three theatre majors (myself, Ben, and Autumn). It seemed as though because we had experience with storytelling in the past the other members did not feel the need to give their ideas or think critically about this assignment. Some of the members, such as Siera and Tristin, were helpful because they were willing to help with anything as we went through the process. The other element of everything is that with editing it is a very lonesome activity. It is difficult and time consuming to try and work with the entire group to put it all together, and it was unfair that the three people who had already worked on the majority of the project were stuck editing as well. I understand that sacrifices are necessary sometimes and I am happy that I was able to edit because it helped solidify the ideas I had in my head. Going forward however, the focus will be making sure tasks are assigned during pre-production so that the weight of the assignment is more equally spread between everyone in the group. Overall, I had a difficult time working with this group and I ended up learning a lot about the differences and passions of other people, and while I am grateful for that opportunity I hope to not have to work with a group like this in the same conditions as this one. I believe in different conditions or on a different project this group would have excelled better than this film project.

There are quite a few things that I would do differently if I got another opportunity to make a short film. The first thing is that I would get a group of people together who want to make the movie, that way everyone is not only on the same page but also want to create the best work possible. This want to make the best thing possible is one of the things that I believe our group was missing when working on the project. Some of us saw it as just another assignment for class while others saw it as something they could use to show others and be proud of outside of the classroom. Another adjustment I would make is to have a complete schedule of shooting dates, editing deadlines, and so on. I believe that by creating a clear and concise schedule of when things should be done, there will be less stress overall on the people working on the project. I would also want to make sure that our script and storyboard is 100% finalized before filming and editing. This way we will not have to make any big adjustments throughout the post production process. Working in two different areas on a short film was a challenge that I do not want to experience again. The solution to this is either staying entirely in front of the camera as an actor or entirely behind the camera as director, writer, editor, and whatever other jobs that may be needed as well. By doing this I would eliminate the inefficiency created by having to stop after every shot and rewatch my acting to ensure that the camera is correct. With these changes and adjustments, I believe that the next time I create a short film it will be more organized and run more smoothly.

While creating the film Disposable, I learned how I work with groups, what I would do differently when creating another short film, and the overall process of creating a short film. This process overall was quite enjoyable and it was interesting getting to create a film over the course of this semester. Looking forward to the best advice to give for people wanting to produce a short film is only taking one job of the process. This means if you want to be head cinematographer then that’s your only job. This means that no matter what you should have several people working together. By having only one job you can put your effort into that one position instead of trying to spread yourself completely thin. If you find a group of like minded people to work on the short film that works best because each of you will want to put the equal amount of effort in the film, and it is more likely to create the best possible short film that you can.

bottom of page