How we made a full-length film

How we made a full-length film

How we made a full-length film

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A phone rings: “I want you to show my story, is that possible?”. Pavlo received a confident “Yes” in response.

Then it all started. We’ve determined that we shoot a full-length documentary film. Let’s get some theory. A documentary is a film that’s based on shooting of real events and persons. Documentary can have a different formats and tasks, but these features of the documentary are defined: a chronicle, research, a means of training and education, journalism. Perhaps, it’s not worthwhile to highlight these features clearly, because everything is interconnected. It was impossible to focus on one thing in this film, so we combined journalism, chronicle, research and a teaching tool (because the message of the film should have been addressed for future generations).

How did the work on creating a documentary go on? Please, read on.

So, we made an appointment after the phone conversation with our customer. We received all the necessary archives and completely dived into the lives of our heroes as a result. We will not disclose the history here, but we will share the stages of work.

It’s important to understand what the customer wants, to listen and hear him firstly! Because the last approval is still for the customer and no one has canceled the edits. Therefore, in order to avoid further misunderstandings, it is better to solve everything before the work starts. Having discussed all the details, we went further – held meetings and prepared for the filming of our heroes. Each had a 4-6 hour conversation. What do you think, why these meetings were necessary, if you can immediately record everything in the studio without a preliminary meeting?

As long as you think whether we did the right thing or not, I will explain why this is so. The first is psychology. When you meet a person and have a long conversation, the feeling of discomfort disappears, the person becomes open, and this, you should admit, is exactly what we needed. We must understand that the people who decided to act are not actors! And not everyone can speak on frank topics even with a close friend, here’s not even about speaking with a producer or a director. Therefore, we have chosen just such a model of working that everyone agreed on. And at some point, the understanding comes that you are not just a member of the crew, but you are already a member of that family, that story. Indeed, in some moments you begin to know more about everyone than themselves know. And here is important do not cross the line between creativity and some personal values. It was really difficult, but we have kept that line.

When we already had a complete picture of all the puzzles of this story, we transferred everything into paper, painted how we see everything, how to show and enhance the moments emotionally from the director’s point of view, approved with the customer. Further there was preparation for the shooting day, and, accordingly, the shooting day itself. Camera, motor, let’s go! We started to fixate everything on the camera. We were completely in the material and knew exactly what we wanted to hear, and what emotions we needed at the time of filming. I repeat that the heroes are not actors! But we managed to get all those emotions that were so important for us, and so intimate for the heroes.

When the shooting days were over and we had all the finished material, the post-production began. Five hard drives with materials, sleepless nights, disputes in a team, and at the same time, smiles, creativity and pleasure.

It was a period of three months, when we did not feel and did not know what day it was, what time it was, or even what year it was, we knew only our story and our deadline. To take off my pink glasses, I’ll say this – everything was far from simple, and it was a kind of trial period for everyone. But we managed it, and even more. When you see the result, and watch the movie with the customer, when you see his sincere tears, it comes to understanding that everything is not in vain. And the team of “L.A. production” coped!

Another point, if you decide to shoot a full-length film, then my advice to you is to prepare well! Of course, if you have a desire to get a cool really result. If not, then put all your hopes on the director of editing and the phrase of filmmakers “we’ll fix it at the post”. This is a joke of course, and I know that it is not professional. But this also happens.

To summarize.

Most of the time in this undertaking takes the pre-production. This is the period you are fully preparing for the shoot: analyze and study the archives, the chronicle, meet with the heroes, create trust and openness, determine the location of the shoot, how long it takes to record an interview with all the characters, form a team, determine the necessary equipment, and so on. The production stage will be much calmer and better if you take responsibility for the pre-production. Then on the set everything will be held only for pleasure. And of course post-production. It takes a fairly large amount of time. Depending on the amount of material, and, again, how you prepared at pre-production.

The final. Meeting with the customer. His satisfied look. He got what he wanted, and even more. Such client will come back to you again and again, and you will become real friends.

And finally, we are open for cooperation on new projects of any complexity as always. Please, submit your applications and let’s create!