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This is the first in a series of blogs tracking the making of Alucinor Productions first short film.
John and Rachel meet by chance in a Laundromat five years after separating.
Haunted by guilt, regret and confusion, this is their last shot at absolution.
We are finally making our first short film since Uni (2007). We’ve made some (corporate/government/youth) dramas since then including the When Separating series and Adolescents and Alcohol dating back to 2008, but not just a pure short film. It’s scary how fast the time has gone and I feel a bit disappointed in myself. Not to say I’m not stoked with a lot of the work we’ve got to do but we got into studying film to tell the stories we wanted to tell, whether they be documentaries or dramas. That’s where our main focus is going to be from here on.
Shane and I made our first short together ‘Shout’ in 1999 when we were 13.
We had such a blast doing it we continued making shorts together throughout high school and Uni, where we met Stephen Burge and got a lot of musical assistance from Chris Reeve of Christopher J Reeve Productions, our acting friends Laura Hewison, Ben Davis, Gerard Ward… Thanks! and our uni crew Morgan and Lewi.
We founded Alucinor Productions in our last year of Uni to work on a corporate documentary and from there set up a pretty basic website and started to get the cogs moving towards what we do today; music videos, dramas (for clients), a bit of live event stuff (not much, not our favourite thing), TV commercials and plenty of freelance shooting.
Even if I was making four times what I make now I know I’d still feel like I wasn’t pursuing my passion. It may be using the same tools, but it’s not the same thing. I love getting excited about an idea, committing it to paper and then turning it into a film (or video).
In 2011 I was fortunate enough to meet actors Dalip Sondhi and Gemma Cavoli. I subsequently cast them in When Separating (2012) and decided I wanted to write a little short just for the two of them. It’s been through a few incarnations starting off as a sweet boy meets girl story with a twist… Then I saw two lovely films that hinged on a very similar premise.
So I left that idea behind and took the characters and story in a new direction. One that to my delight excited the actors and got Alucinor heading towards producing its first pure short film production… not as students! (Though to be honest we are still students… just not enrolled anywhere). At Alucinor we pretty much have the bare bones required to make a film in terms of gear. The only thing holding us back is ourselves. I’m now in the process of reaching out to other people who might like to get involved in the production and hopefully we’ll make something we can all be proud of and that everyone can learn from and contribute to in a meaningful way.
Lots to do on multiple fronts; – sourcing costumes, finding and locking down suitable locations are among the most pressing TO DO’s… Fingers crossed we’ll be shooting in late January. It’s a tight schedule, just over two months, but it’s taken us so long to get here we just want to make it happen now.
Some of my personal goals & thoughts at this point of the process:
1. I’ve been guilty in the past (sometimes consciously sometimes unconsciously) of just getting the coverage and making the actors do all the work. On this film I want every angle and camera movement to be motivated and crafted with purpose.
Basically – do the prep with the actors and crew to make sure those planned hopefully awesome shots work in reality… But still be open enough to come up with some even better ideas on the shoots…
2. Mostly, I want the film to move people… and hopefully surprise
3. I want to stay open and learn everything I possibly can from the process and from the people I’ll be collaborating with
4. I want to improve not just my input but also my approach, I want to uncover what I don’t know I don’t know and what I don’t know I’m doing poorly
5. I want to be able to look back at the film and be proud of it despite its flaws
6. A lot of our drama work has looked more ‘TV’ than cinematic to me, I want that to change with this film
I’m intending to blog about the process of getting Absolution made as a way of self reflection for myself and hopefully to build a little interest around the film. If we make something good and people hear about the film, hopefully the trials and tribulations written about will be educational and useful for other young filmmakers going out and making movies. As it is, we aren’t pretending to have a wide audience!