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Overview

For a long time since Year 6, I have been increasingly interested in photography and cinematography, including making short films. At first I was hesitant to explore this area of the arts, however, once I started I found myself really enjoying myself. I began by making a short film in the film club at Wyvern with a friend of mine which we were lucky enough to have played at the 14th annual CineArts Film Festival here at Newington where I make films today. Since then I have made three more films including this year's film in the CineArts program, with each film improving on the last.

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The Filmmaking Process

The process of making a quality short film is one that requires a lot more time and effort than what is commonly thought. In all the process from start to finish can take up to around 6-8 months or potentially even more. The process can be broken down into four stages, the brainstorming stage, the planning stage, the production or filming stage and the post-production or editing stage. The brainstorming stage is one that we had to surpass quickly in order to move on with the filmmaking process in time, for us this meant a relatively lacklustre idea to start with, but one that would develop over time as we moved through the filmmaking process, this is a common occurrence for most short filmmakers.

The planning stage is one that requires most of one's work time and effort. In our case, it involved storyboarding the film, planning dates to shoot, getting into contact with Sydney Trains as well as negotiating a suitable schedule that worked for both them, us, our actors and the school. This stage generally needs to be planned meticulously for the film to be shot successfully. Overall we went through this stage effectively. The next stage simply involves us shooting the film. We found Sydney Trains to be uncooperative with the time they were willing to give us to film, cutting us short of the amount of time we needed to film. Despite this, we managed to film nearly all of our shots to a standard that was good enough to include in the film. The actual filming part of the filmmaking process is one of the shortest components in producing a short film. The final stage of the process is the post-production stage. This stage is the most time-constrained portion of the process, with many groups in the past including myself just barely making the deadline for film submission. Despite the pressure experienced in the past, my group found ourselves to have more or less completed our film in time with minimal rush.

In all, I found the process of producing our film to be a lot smoother than in the past thanks to the experience and work ethic of my group members

Production Timeline

12 Feb - CineArts begins

15 May - Come up with a basis for a film, scouted most of our actors and consulted Sydney Trains for permission to film at their stations

28 May - Finished the film script, consulted potential actors

30 May - Found our third and final actor

2 June - Filmed at Museum train station with a time constraint of exactly 2 hours. Also, developed a rough cut of using raw footage shot on the day

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19 July - Conducted voice recordings at a recording studio with some of our actors

20 July - Filmed final shots with one of our actors in Strathfield

23 July - Began a draft editing process

6 August - Checkup with film supervisor and began the final editing process

13 August - Editing process nearly complete, applying finishing touches (colour grading etc).

16 August - Editing complete

10 September - Produced the CineArts Film Festival Promotional Video

24 October - Film Festival night 

Time Taken: 8 Months, 13 Days

Inquiry about Filming at a Sydney Trains Station

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The emails above, as well as a phone conversation, are a summary of the communications between our group and Sydney trains in negotiating a date and timeframe for filming. There was a good deal of negotiating that had to be done, with Sydney Trains unwilling to lend us more than a couple of hours over a single day to film. This strict time restriction did, however, force us to better prepare ourselves for when we needed to film, though we could have definitely used with even just an extra hour to polish our shoot.

Film Festival Promotional Video

To celebrate and promote this year's film festival, a promotional video is produced. This is generally created by either a CineArts boy or by the director of CineArts themselves and includes a selection of the best parts of each film put together in a short clip with a backing track. In the past, I've found these videos to be repetitive and unmemorable, with each year's video using the same music and following the same approximate layout. I decided to try and take on the role of making the trailer this year in an attempt to create something more fresh and energetic to further promote the festival. I went with a more cinematic approach, gaining inspiration from another video I had seen made similarly about the best movie shots in cinema history. Overall I'm proud of the result and enjoyed seeing it played in front of the school at assembly. target="_blank" rel="noopener">CineArts Promo Video 2019

The CineArts Filmfestival

The film festival began at around 6:30pm on the 24th of October when the cinearts boys ushered in the parents and guests to their seats. The promo video was then played before a short speech given by Luke Mysterovic to commence the festival. After that, the first half of the movies were played followed by an intermission with the second half after that. Our film was second last in the lineup. I found the night to be very enjoyable, not only watching our film on the screen but enjoying all of the other films being showcased. In all, I found every film to be entertaining within their respective genre, and all of the boys left the night feeling energised and contempt with their achievements. 

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Reflection

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of making movies throughout my time in CineArts this year. The boys both within my group and in other groups have been incredibly supportive of each other's work and in my opinion, this year's selection of movies was one of the strongest since I began CineArts many years ago. I look forward to continuing making movies in my last year at the school with my friends and hope to take my own work as well as the festival night to new heights next year.