The lighting workshop was with Nick Paton, an established cinematographer who’s been working in the field for the last 30 years. Click here to link to his official site and check out some of his professional work.
The most important thing I learnt that day was that lights will easily bounce off reflective surfaces. We need to control this especially if there are white walls which make this difficult to do. During this workshop he designed a high-contrast setup for a drama sequence that we were to direct in the next session (I’ve described it below).
Here is a photo I took of his intricate setup.
During the directing workshop we had the amazing Mairi Cameron, an established Australian director which is a huge honour to have her teach us.
As a director for the major projects this trimester, I was asked to direct the very first take out of all my peers, as we all know – this can be daunting. Daunting was the least of how I felt. I was very upset! Let me to rewind a bit and explain why.
~ So a couple weeks before this workshop we were given the script we wanted to use and as a group we discussed what context the dialogue would be held in. We could do anything we wanted. So my group and I decided it would be fun to make the dialogue between a pimp and her gigolo. The dialogue was then made awkward and it was fun discussing the power play.
I did plenty of preparation and had the scene breakdown extremely detailed with where the emotion beats were, what major actions would they be doing where, the blocking, everything was ready to go! I was looking forward to it.
HOWEVER. On the day as my team were discussing the concept with Mairi Cameron seconds before I was to do my master shot directing, and a team member announced that they were doing teacher-student scene where they’ve just slept together and it is now awkward. (Self-emotional beat of hopelessness). The thing is that the group have to have agreed on ONE context so I had to adapt or die.
Mairi then asked if I was prepared and had a plan.
No, not even a little . “Yes, I’ve got a plan.”
You see there was no easy way of saying “this is the first time I’ve heard about this idea because obviously this was decided after our group meeting and no-one let me know they were even thinking of changing it.” I’m really not into throwing people under the bus, even though there was no fault on me at all. So I decided it would be a challenging shot and I would just think on my feet. Which luckily I can do because I created this whole deep level of motivations and goals and actions that I wanted my actors to exhibit. Mairi critiqued me with comments such as “stop giving them direct actions to do at certain lines otherwise they’ll be thinking of the actions rather than the lines.” At the end, however, she gave me more positive feedback and said:
“You did really really well and could make a fine director”.
Another emotional beat.
There was a lot happening on set so I didn’t have time to express myself and really gush at her comment. So I’m doing it now.
So at the end of the day I learnt that it is ALWAYS BEST TO BE PREPARED.
But in case any level of preparation isn’t possible (I haven’t been told specifically) but I feel like instead of caving and saying “nup I can’t do it. I had a plan but now I can’t do it so I can’t do this exercise sorry.”
Back yourself and give it a go.
Try improvising and thinking on your feet, it’s a fun challenge and getting a positive result is an incredible feat.