Working with other filmmakers by Tom Rutter
Working with other film-makers. I love film-making. I was film-making right out the womb. My brother and I would make films together as well as rent or buy every horror film we could find on video. Our first actors were our cuddly toys, then our friends whether or not they were as into-it as we were. Naturally this film-watching and film-making obsession just grew and grew. The more it grew the more the projects became ambitious. The more films I'd make the more I'd start to pay attention to the finer aspects of the process whether that be mise-en-scene, story, performances – anything that contributed to a better and more detailed production. Fast forward to the here and now and I'm still at it – doggedly making films off my own back but with more attention to the details in attempts to make a 'good' film. A result of this progression however is that the reckless abandon of pointing a camcorder at my mates and throwing fake blood over them is no longer the driving force behind making films and therefore the pressure is turned up to put my abilities to the test in making something actually worthwhile. I cannot state enough the amount of stress and anxiety indie film-makers have to endure to co-ordinate and execute a film shoot to enact an idea they ititially had safely in their heads. No matter how many more resources you find you have, it doesn't get any less taxing or difficult. Essentially operating as a one man band I am co-ordinating the right people to be on the right shoot and then trying to recreate the vision as desired that I've cultivated for so long. If you walk away unhappy with your footage then what is the point? You don't just make do – you pain over it until it hurts so much you have to film it again. Some folk have no idea of the constant battle with the self and one's own abilities – everything you are doing on the project is for the benefit of making a good film. With the logistics you are essentially putting on an event every time you shoot – and the last thing you want to do is waste anyones time. Film-making really is a twisted minefield of emotions and to be honest I sometimes wonder why I put myself through it! The obvious answer to that is that film-making is my 'thing'. It's the reason I get out of bed in the morning – it's my way of expressing and filtering the experiences of living. Being on a film set of any calibre gives me a rush and a feeling of positive action among creatives like no other – so with everything I've said in mind I must stress how much of a pleasure it is when other like-minded film-makers ask me to come and act or work on their own films. A case in point is working in an acting capacity on the films of Bazz Hancher and White Raven Productions. Bazz is a kindred spirit. In a film-making capacity we are cut from the same cloth even if we make completely different films. When acting for him I get to experience the joy of working on his sets without the stress of taking into account all the other taxing aspects of film-making. Whilst Bazz worries about getting all the right coverage, co-ordinating the people needed and their precious time, logistics, special effects – and everything else you don't see on screen that are the nuts and bolts of every film production – I am left to just enjoy saying my lines and having a laugh in front of the camera. It is an absolute pleasure, a busman's holiday if you will. I think it is alternately a good experience for Bazz too as he knows we share a language of film-makers which I take into account when it comes to shooting. That means I am aware of blocking a shot, language of continuity, coverage, etc and will make it as easy as I can for him. I'm also blessed in being a film fantatic first and foremost – to me this means I appreciate the work of other film-makers and therefore don't try and take over their responsibilities. They have to do their thing their way and I have to enjoy doing mine. If you are a film-maker and not a complete control freak in everything you do then get involved on other sets. It is ultimately great practice for yourself as well as the film-makers – we are always learning from each other. On one of the shoots for my current project The Pocket Film Of Superstitions – I had a shoot where every person involved in the scene were film-directors in their own right. It made me feel at ease – they all understood the struggle, they all spoke the language. Obviously a great deal of stress made it's way into the day but once we were rolling they knew I had to do what I had to do and they all had constructive input in making the scene as good as it could be. I'm not saying actors don't do this at all – but from a film-making viewpoint – they had all organisational bases considered too. I love acting for other film-makers - I intend to do it a lot more, if I feel i'm totally on board with the project and role that is. Film directors, get in touch!