'A Girl for Everyday of the Week': making a short film to learn how to make a short film...
In late 2018 I decided it was time to test my writing by turning script to screen. So, I shot a short film with a crew of 3 and this is what happened...
But first, what's the story?
A comedy short film exploring the roles the ‘millennial’ generation of women are required to perform in order to navigate life in 21st Century. And, essentially, about the way we all perform multiple roles of ourselves simply to exist in the world.
Filmed on a shoe-string budget, using the help of creative friends and family, and the generous support of local businesses like Cabinet Rooms and the University of Winchester’s film department, this quirky film demonstrates the innovative possibilities of filmmaking when working within perceived boundaries (i.e. time, money, resources). Creativity has no limits, nor does the power of belief in a story.
Using fragmentation and a variety of genre-bending techniques, A Girl for Everyday of the Week is a series of vignettes, exploring, and challenging, narrative and film conventions, and what ‘story’ means in the 21st century.
Donning a variety of coats as writer, director, producer and actress, was a challenging, eye-opening, exciting and affirmative process, offering an inclusive experience of filmmaking that has been invaluable for developing as a screenwriter.
Playing with character and audience perceptions, the film aims to challenge the generational prejudice towards millennials and the desire to distinguish our roles in society as either/or. Yet, as humans, we are both/and; we are plural, fluid beings, only limited by the notion of boundaries (pretentious much?)
As each female character is performed by the same actress, the audience are required to extend their suspension of disbelief, and ask themselves whether they believe these women are different people, or perhaps, the same person, performing the myriad roles we all perform throughout our daily existence. Thematically, the film’s mission is to engage, and interact with audiences on a personal level, using the specifics to attempt to grasp the bigger picture – why are we all performing these roles? and who are we really performing them to? And what happens when the character realises she is performing not to the world, but to herself...
After shooting the film, I went straight to editing. I'd never edited before or used editing software, so after exploring YouTube, I chose Premiere Pro. You've got to start somewhere right and I'm very much an advocate for diving right into the deep end.
Learning to edit from scratch was a challenging and eye-opening process - some parts were hugely rewarding and obviously fun for a film-nerd. Just placing two clips together that work sequentially truly is magic. Whilst syncing all the audio with each clips wasn't so magic, especially as I did it wrong the first time as I stupidly renamed all of my original audio files...rooky error indeed.
But trying and failing is all part of the process.
The first (and last) cut:
So, I got the film to the first edit/rough cut, minus any music, sound design or effects. After days, weeks of editing (I was, and still am, a novice so things took their time) I'd achieved something to be proud of: a visual story. An imperfect, flawed, rusty and very unpolished story, but a film nonetheless. This was enough to show other filmmakers about what I was about and the ideas I wanted to explore as a writer and filmmaker.
Although I'd intended to have a fully finished, polished, film festival ready short film, I actually ended up with something equally useful. I made something from start to (almost) finish and learn invaluable lessons on the way. It was an education. It was fun and creative. And importantly, it was inspiring - for myself and the team involved. Looking back, I can see now how it has been a success. Just not in the way I'd previously imagined.
Here's to the next film.