...I feel like I need to let this out so bad. If you don't care, please feel free to skip over this - I'm just having a stress moment.
There's a reason I haven't been on LJ for a while; I'm a filmmaker. Well, a filmmaker with lots of room to improve, anyway. I've been working on the pre-production stages of my current project for a while, and my crew and I started shooting yesterday. And I know that this is something that applies to every film and every filmmaker, but I can't help but want to bang my head against the nearest wall because of everything going so wrong.
- For one thing, I have been behind every aspect of the pre-production of this film; I'm Writer/Director/Producer (I'm doing my Master's degree in filmmaking, and this is my major project - so this isn't an independent thing, otherwise I would have taken a Producer on board long ago). It doesn't sound like a lot, but it is A LOT to deal with. I haven't slept properly for a month because I've been so swamped with all the pre-production work, and I don't even remember the last time I had leisure time to read fanfic or watch anime or take a break. I've got bags under my eyes. I'm so exhausted.
- The lead actor could only make it for half the day on the first two days. I was only aware of this after all the filmmaking equipment had been booked. When you're making a film, time is money - and not having your lead actor for half the day for two days means that you lose a LOT of time.
- My 1st Assistant Director, in perfect parallel to my lead actor, can only make it for half the day on the last two days of shooting. On set, he's my second brain and my second pair of arms. The idea of losing that for two half-days just makes me want to crawl into some hole.
- My make-up artists had been telling me that they would be free during my shoot dates, and that they would be able to come and work on my shoot. About three days ago, they completely bailed on me. They contacted me at the very last minute and told me that some work came up. My resulting urgent search for a replacement make-up artist who could come on set (with such late notice) was unsuccessful.
- Some assholes took the microphone I booked, leaving me with a crappier one. I was supposed to take out Audio Kit 3, which I had put my name down under already. These people had booked out Audio Kit 4, but because they arrived earlier than I did when collecting the equipment, they found out early that Audio Kit 4 was faulty; so they requested to take out Audio Kit 3 instead. They were actually fucking GIVEN the kit, without me being contacted first. By the time I arrived to collect the equipment, the good mic I put my name down for was gone.
- The reason I was late in picking up the mic was because I was borrowing my sister's car, which is a really big car that can fit all the equipment. When we switched keys, she didn't tell me that I had taken her house key with me as well. I was already long on the road by the time she called me to say that she couldn't get in her own house. I had to turn back and give her the house key, and by the time I got back onto the streets, the traffic was so bad and dense that you couldn't even see the road over the sea of cars.
- My dad got into a car accident while delivering one of the props to the set. It happened while he was trying to swerve away from a truck which was swerving away from a second truck - if his reflexes had been frozen for a second, he'd have been crushed. He's shaken, but unhurt; fortunately, he's okay. The car's not.
- My cameraman will be absent on the second-to-last shooting day. I consider this a huge loss, even if it's only one day, because he's very gifted - he's great at what he does. My lighting designer/technician, rayfy, will take over camera on that day (and someone else will take over lighting), and he's very skilled too. But every cameraman has a different vision, and keeping the continuity and consistency in the shots and the shot quality is going to be a living nightmare.
- Lighting has always, without fail, been my weakest point during filmmaking. I can direct, I can work with actors, I can edit, I can do costume design, set design, sound effects, heck, I've even worked on special effects before. But lighting design is one element that I've always known that I needed to improve the most on. It's been so hard, and I didn't need to be told to know that the end result is going to be so flat. I just wish so bad that I could've done better with the lighting. The problem is, I lack the skills.
- Something was wrong with the sound when I was shooting today. My crew suspects that it has something to do with the port where you plug in the mic - that someone who used the equipment before might have messed around with it and screwed it up in the process. The audio levels were being picked up, but we can't even hear the sound properly when we play the footage back. If it turns out that we wasted this whole twelve-and-a-half-hour shoot day because the sound doesn't end up working, I will seriously, seriously cry. And ADR (dubbing afterwards) is a process that is SO much more complex and difficult than it sounds that it really won't be much different from shooting everything all over again.
- This is only one film for my major project; I also have to go through the pleasure of writing/directing/producing a second film for my special effects class. Not only that, but I have to direct this documentary for Vibewire (a youth media company) as well. While I love making films with a burning passion, even this is a little much on my plate.
The last film that I directed was SO rife with problems like these that I swore to myself that I would try my best to avoid undergoing that kind of horror again in future. But something unexpected and unwanted always happens when you're making a film. Always.
I hope everyone will keep me in their thoughts and pray that the rest of my shoot will go much smoother than this. And that the sound thing turns out to be fine.
Right now, I really need luck so, so badly.