Timescales

Even coming up with a basic script can seemingly take a long time...

Filmmaking is a funny thing. For some, when there’s nothing to do, or you’re already in the industry (working enough to live on the wage), you do filmmaking all the time. Projects may seem to scream by (depending on your role in the production). Other times, a project can last for ages, especially if you’re in multiple areas of production (say for example, both pre-production and production). But as long as the project is moving, you’re fine. It’s when projects seem to either slow to a crawl, or stop altogether that things start being problematic.

So, what about me? Do my projects scream to a halt, or power through right to the end? Mostly the former, I’m afraid to say. My current project is a music video (for a competition, although due to copyright infringement issues, I’m reluctant to associate it with Habitual Films). Even Divide was for a short film competition. It seems that’s the key to getting me motivated and working to a deadline. Without it, other priorities take over. Other projects come along and take up my time, or other commitments, such as work. This is why I’ve not been as creative as I should be at the moment.

Hopefully one day, Habitual Films will be earning enough money so that it can be my career (rather than just my hobby)...

But then there’s the rest of Habitual Films’ guys (and gals), who are each working on their own projects. I’m thinking of creating a section specifically for all of our on-going projects (possibly with some sort of voting system, so that we can tell which projects will be more anticipated, and concentrate on those). After all, if you remember back to 10 Tips for Generating Creativity, I do discuss the idea of telling people about your projects to get feedback and get motivated by others. What better way to do that then a system of sorts. It’ll also mean that you, the reader, will get to pick our next film (indirectly). Pretty cool, huh?! Though competitions will still take priority.

But going back to the idea of timescales for production – these obviously vary from film to film. Say for example, Fear Eats the Soul director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder made a lot of films within a short period of time – he wrote 31 films (almost exclusively features) between the years 1970-1979, as well as writing a TV mini-series. In contrast, James Cameron’s Avatar (I know it’s to do with the standards of special effects and the emergence of 3D techology, but still…) was in production for 15 years (he had the script since 1994, and it’s release was in 2009). There really is no set timescale for productions (well, you’ll most likely have deadlines, but those are different – deadlines can be pushed back or brought forward, they can also be missed altogether). A production takes as long as it takes – and it’s better to have that philosophy, because in the end you can have director’s cuts, but if the production itself was rushed, often it’ll flop. If you take your time and even your budget wisely, then you can create something that people will remember. Oh, and you can read Emily’s top 10 films in development hell here: GEEK!

Avatar may look nice, but it's pretty much Pocahontas in space

So, to all you scriptwriters, directors, producers and editors out there, don’t get disheartened because something seems to stagnate – keep plugging at it. And please remember, if you’ve got somebody doing something for free for you, chances are they could have other commitments – don’t be too dogmatic about what times you can shoot.

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