Documentary, New Zealand, 2008. 4’06 mins.
Team: Amanda Halvorsen, Jolyon Riddiford, Sam Jones and Mark Cowie
‟Steven – A Far Fetched Dream” is a short mocumentary of a struggling musician, trying to achieve a music degree in Otago, and leave his mark on the world. Steve has had a hard childhood but since moving to Dunedin has found his passion in music and playing guitar. This is a quick look into Steve’s emotional journey striving to be the best. His enthusiasm and positive attitude is overwhelming and juxtaposed to his apprehensive flat mates who have doubt we will ever find success.
Our group: Amanda Halvorsen, Jolyon Riddiford, Sam Jones and Mark Cowie thoroughly enjoyed producing this short film, we all took turns at different roles, but with Mark and Sam taking a dominating interest in the editing, and Jolyon and Amanda being more involved in the production and filming side of things. As a group we had to overcome many problems and glitches, including minor audio and aspect ratio issues, making our story line fluent, and time management.
We were really lucky to have Sam Dykes acting as Steven. Sam was always willing to go the extra mile for us in front of the camera, especially in the work out scenes where he does chin ups, continues on to skull a bear, and spew it up again. The busking scene, and singing lesson, for someone who cannot sing, or play guitar this took a lot of courage, and we were very happy with how he played the character of Steven. This was something as a team we spent a lot of time choosing, as because it is a script written for one main character and for the film to work the actor had to be right.
Our films dialogue was flexible, with Sam this wasn’t an issue as he performed better when he wasn’t tightly scripted making for a more mocumentary feel to our project.
Production and Editing
When we imported the footage from the music lesson we discovered it had been filmed in HD, which left black strips at the top and bottom of the film, to over come this we had to crop the footage to keep everything uniform, which wasn’t ideal, but because we had set up a lesson with Elizabeth Nisbet, a singing teacher in St Kilda, who was kind enough to take time out of her Sunday to help us out, that and having no time up our sleeve we could not re take it.
Originally we had planed to have his story ending in a gig at a primary school, but when the issues arose with the disclaimers and consent forms it become a lot larger task than initially thought. We would have had to have written consent form every featured child’s parents. This upset left us with a big gap in our narrative and our ending was compromised.
With the above problem, and other contributing factors our story line and narrative arc is something we struggled with, having not enough substance and footage to make a convincing conclusive ending. We have overcome this by shuffling around the sequences a little to make it flow and text at the end, which wraps things up accordingly, so the viewer can feel satisfied with definite conclusion.
Juxtaposed to the above problems with the arc or narration we are really happy with the way beginning sequences play out and portray the character of Steven, it has a great feeling and mood of a mocumentary and sets up the rest of the film nicely. When it come to editing with a combination of audio problems and technical editing issues it took a lot longer than we expected, having not set enough time aside to edit it which in turn has compromised it and made our film fall short of its full potential. Ralf and Scott were a great help teaching us little thinks along the way to keep thinks looking tidy and professional.
This project was a great learning curve, we now have had a lot of insight in to how much time and effort needs to be put in to produce a short film, and have a new respect for movie producers. We worked really well together as a team, and have a few things we would love to have had time to perfect but in the end a great result.