The “Stories From Our Land” workshop by Nunavut Film and the NFB was great. Meeting Cordell Barker (Oscar nominated animator) was not only super cool, but very informative. I learned from him the expression “Kill your baby.” It’s not as evil as it sounds, and it’s a very useful expression to know and remind yourself of.
When you’re making a film, you have all these grand ideas. Some of them are good, some of them are not. Inevitably, no matter how many good ideas you have, you can’t fit them all into your film. You might have a brilliant little idea that’s really funny, powerful, emotional, etc. But if it doesn’t help move forward the overall story of your film, you can’t use it. Sometimes, these ideas you think are brilliant are really hard to let go of, and can hold you back from making the right choices for your story. On every project, you have to drop a few of these ideas that you were so attached to, and it really can feel like you’re betraying and killing your baby. It’s the really cynical and dark sense of humour of filmmaking.
There was also a really good “producing 101” lecture by Daniel Cross of EyeSteelFilm. The lessons I learned there are:
1) Stay on top of your finances on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. You should know exactly where you stand at the end of each day, week and month. NEVER be lazy or too busy to do this.
2) You have to deliver the film you told your funders you were going to make. You can’t just change your project without coming to an agreement with funders first.
3) You have to religiously keep up with your reporting and do it properly.
Now that I’m writing this, it seems so very simple and obvious. However, those three things are SO much easier said than done. I’m at the end of my first long-form documentary, and I’m struggling to get all my financial reporting together and finished, and it’s so hard to remember what every little receipt and scrap of paper was for exactly, or even which project it’s for. ARGH!
Take it from me. Start small. Do a few short films first. Even if you’ve directed, or been crew on productions, when it comes to producing, start with a project that’s small and manageable.
Click here to see an article about the workshops:
NFB and Nunavut Film take renowned filmmakers to Nunavut