Thursday, 2 December 2010

Production, Or Why I Couldn't Do An Office Job

Oh, the weather outside is frightful... and I'm getting a bit bloody sick of all this snow. Honestly, I don't care if I never see another flake of snow again. In fact, if Bing Crosby himself were to chap my door and start singing White Christmas he'd be getting a severe case of door-in-the-face.

Still, being snowed in has meant I have some time to catch up on blogging in between turning 24 (sob!) and standing about freezing bus stops desperately waiting for a bus that will never show. I've fallen behind on the old reflective blogging which I have absolutely no excuse for- especially now that it doesn't seem like I'm going to be going anywhere for the time being!

This year has been a bit of a frantic catch-up, since half of us spent the first month of term in Delhi. We've been getting full-on weeks of classes, starting with writing with Richard, then editing with Aldo and finally production with Abigail. I'll start with production, since it was the most recent...

It was never my strong point last year; it seemed to me to be like the film equivalent of an office job. Still, working on the grads, plus ours and the 2nd years' end of term films showed me first hand how much work producers actually have to do. It's alot of running around after people and requires an incredible amount of patience- plus having a car helps too, I'd imagine.

I don't want to be too quick to dismiss anything that could potentially be a career path for me in the future- after all, the other week I even managed to log all of my clips from last month's fashion show ALL BY MYSELF. Proud of myself or what! It just shows that if you put your mind to something and look pathetic enough that tutors think you need help at every turn, you can really do it. This year, though, production classes seemed to focus more on production 'management'... which involves a hefty amount of paperwork and seemed more like a crach course in using the various programmes on OfficeWorks than anything else. We mostly went over everything we did last year, and I found the whole thing incredibly dry.

We had to go into groups, pick a script and make a production folder consisting of a synopsis, production requirements, script breakdown, stripboard schedule, budget, paperwork checklist... SERIOUSLY?? A checklist for PAPERWORK?? Obviously working on a feature film, or even a short film, is a huge organisational undertaking, but I simply don't have the patience for it. When it comes to things like script breakdown sheets, I can do them no problem, so it's not a case of competence- it's just that it's SO repetitive, once you've done a few you can do an entire script's worth in record time. It just doesn't seem to leave much room for creativity- when I was about halfway through my stack of script pages I was so bored I wanted to claw my own skin off.

I do feel like if I were out in charge of this side of a production I could do it, and probably do it well. It's one of the few things I picked up quickly, but it reminded me of being in school. Whenever I'd finish something and find it relatively easy I'd get bored and start acting up. As much as I like to think I've grown up from being the class clown of my high school, I felt the same need for a challenge. At the end of the week we had an assessment, which for the first time saw us cloistered around a table in the library frantically reading over notes. Luckily for me it was essay questions- I was always good at these in school since I'd write paragraphs of spiel to make sure I'd covered EVERYTHING. If it were multiple choice I'd have probably been sitting nose-deep in a brown paper bag.

Overall then, I can safely say that this particular migraine-inducing class, while it may be an essential job, is not one for me. I'd just feel frustrated at outting so much work into something that I wouldn't have a huge deal on creative control over. Plus, I found it hard to even put all of my tips from work into a coffee jar to try and save them up- anyone who expected me to be able to produce a budget and manage to get funding secured would be as crazy as I feel after a week of ripping paper into strips.

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