Epiphany was made back in 2013 and it was originally one of three films I had planned to do that year. As I write this it’s the early part of 2015 and the other two films never found their way into my editing suite.
The only person at fault with this is me, even though I could bring up examples of people who had let me down, or explain issues I had with weather or locations. Ultimately these “reasons” should have been overcome and the films should have gotten made; but they weren’t and the only person I can blame is me.
I’ve discovered that the process of making a short film has many aspects to it. The obvious ones people speak about a lot, you can find many articles concerning the technical process of film making, but there are other things that people don’t speak about that much; sometimes not at all.
The first is the actual Creative Process, as opposed to the Technical Process of How Things Are Put Together the Creative Process is more about How Things Are Considered.
The second is The Why of it All; literally “why am I doing this?”
These are the two things I struggle with the most and the main reasons those two other films never got made.
The Creative Process and The Why are both interconnected and nebulous in their meaning. Obviously this is both because they are not talked about as much, and our understanding of them is less defined, as well as them being subjective, and our definitions each being a product of who we are.
There are a few examples of this in Epiphany.
As the Programmer of the Worcestershire Film Festival I speak to a lot of short film makers that range from amateurs (just like me) who sometimes make films on their phones, to professionals who make their livings making content for TV or music videos.
When Epiphany was nearly finished a few of these people asked to see it so it was sent to them and almost all of them made exactly the same suggestion. Music they said, it needs a little music here and there “to heighten the emotion”.
Now here I have to state that Epiphany was always intended to be a learning tool for me and never meant to be shown to others.
Obviously this is slightly different now for various reasons, but at the time of these discussions I was still seeing Epiphany purely as an experiment. So my reaction to these suggestions were that I did not want to use music and this was because using music in a 6 minute film mean that I had less of an opportunity to learn the necessities of sound editing and mixing.
This is true for me, but not entirely the whole reason.
I also wanted no music… Just “because”.
Is it wise to ignore seasoned film makers when they make a logical and useful suggestion based purely on my own stubbornness?
Obviously not, and I think it’s easy to argue that my insistence here has spoiled the resulting film, but in my defence this is the very reason we make experimental films; to test out these very waters.
Another example of the dichotomy is the visual style of the film.
Trying to pull away as far as I could from how many first films are made I decided to opt for a simple approach; my intent being to create something that had the simplicity to it that I saw in the movies of the 60’s and 70’s.
To a degree I think the film achieves this, but on viewing the film now I realise that this approach would be fine, if the script had been stronger and the two actors would have had more to work with.
The actors themselves, Dave Pitt playing the Father (on Twitter @DaveThePitt ) and Chas Cheswick playing the Son were excellent and really deserved more from me concerning the script.
In fairness I have to stress again that this was an experimental film, and a learning exercise; but it can only be both if I can honestly acknowledge issues the film had and what I could do to improve the next time.
Lastly I just wanted to comment on those two unmade scripts that were originally scheduled for the same year.
“N’Theory” (or “In Theory”) was going to be the second film, and this is also experimental in nature. The film revolves around a single character who is presenting a monologue to camera. The main problem was casting with this film, as the character is on camera the whole time, and as he must “play” to a pretty high standard I was stuck on who would play him and I have yet to fond someone who “fits”.
“The Stranger” would have been the third film and this fell apart over location, so once a suitable location is found I can restart this project (as the actors are all still available). This one is the nearest to actually being made, and it probably would have been made already if I hadn’t gotten into a rut over the issues surrounding Epiphany.
Anyway, “onward and upward” as they say (whoever “they” are).