Thoughts on my first narrative short

Nabokov once wrote that reality is one of the few words which means nothing without quotation marks. This probably applies well to film.

With my first short I had attempted to parody”reality”, or at least my perception of it, and highlight (all be it in a slightly exaggerated fashion) the fickle nature of some human beings and their choices.

The vegans who still eat fish, the vegetarians who still eat bacon, man’s quest for a woman who ticks all the boxes, and so on.

Through the process I have taken on board criticism of the script, criticism of my ideas and I have listened to other people’s opinion of what my film means to them.

Everything from “what genre were you going for, this isn’t really a comedy” to “this annoyed me because it was saying Vegans can’t get dates”.

It seems pretty much everyone missed the social commentary aspects, the subtle dig at “fashionable” veganism and the like … the statement that women can be as predatory as men when it comes to one night stands and simply using someone for sex/money/etc.

Perhaps I have been simply unfortunate in my dealings with people over the last 20 years, or maybe I’m simply more perceptive (cynical?) and see the negatives in people more easily / am not simply blinded by the first impressions and facades everyone puts on in their daily lives.

As for my short film, the general feedback has been that the tempo undulates and that for a short film it should just build and build until climax. I guess I had looked at this more of a mini feature and built in lulls and troughs as well as peaks, although on rewatching, I agree that there is a central section which is way too long and dull. With this in mind I am working on a new edit which is looking to be roughly 2 minutes shorter. This should make the whole film snappier and punchier.

The edit does away with some of the character design, it’s hard enough to introduce a subtle character type in 5 minutes, let alone 2-3 minutes …

This whole process accentuates the whole “death of the auteur” theory, which basically postulates that the work is what ever the viewer interprets and decides, and rarely ever that which the auteur intended.

Am I pandering to the lowest common denominator? Yes. Am I dumbing down so that more people “enjoy” the film? Yes.

I once said, I want to make films for me, not for anyone else. I’m making films to make statements, social, political, ecological … not to become rich, successful or “famous”. Am I selling out, and if so why so early on?! Well no, this is a further social experiment. Dumbed down, yes, but hopefully it still gets some of the message across, and in a way which reaches more people … maybe.

Besides which, this was always more of a technical exercise to show that “we” know how to make a film, can produce, direct, wrote, etc and to highlight our weaknesses where they exist.

I have enjoyed the process, and am not giva no up yet, however I may have to wait a little longer and probably learn a little more subtlety in my story telling before trying to make such a tongue in cheek attack on society again. 🙂

The first edit was scored as a “merit”. Apparently, I need to show more creativity to obtain a distinction. I’m not sure I can, although I am certainly going to try to do something through the edit process. The edit is after all the final place where you can mould and write the story, and as the “auteur” ensure the closest semblance of your “reality” is seen by the widest audience possible.

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