No, not Dying... but it starts with a D

Yeeeeeeees, that's correct, I'm now officially the Director of a little comedic documentary called 'THIS is Alan Chapman' (working title). Boy did I have to play it hard and fast to get this Doco green-lit.

The night before the announcement of green-lit documentaries I found out that I hadn't received an all important email, telling me that 'THIS is Alan Chapman' hadn't even been short-listed for production. What? I had come second in the class vote which is usually a good indication on being short-listed (not of being green-lit though).

I was at Film School to see some Slide Shows to Music* so I after I had cried in the corner for a while (actually, I ate a muesli bar while seething) I decided to go and see the Doco Producers and ask for some feedback on why the film hadn't been short-listed. Apparently compared to my first Doco idea they didn't think I would be that interested in making 'THIS is Alan Chapman'. What? I'm competing against my own idea... That's not right! I explained that I was competing against the film ideas from other students and not against myself, I believed very strongly in the ideas of the new film, and that I was sorry if only have a weeks prep before pitching didn't allow me to convey that during the pitch. Luckily, I hadn't known I was out of the running so I had written a Treatment (how and why the film should be shot) and I used that to explain why I believed the film should be made. They, of course, thanked me for talking to them but made it clear that the green-lit Doco's would be announced the following day. A nice way to say, 'too late buddy, should have talked to us earlier'.

So, despondent, I dragged myself to school the next day muttering to myself about how I would hold a boom pole** on someone else's production. And when they announced the three Doco's to be made this semester I was really struggling to decide which story I wanted to help make. Which meant I missed the moment where they said that they had decided to make a fourth Doco. Then people where shaking my hand and clapping me on the back and I was all, 'What? Leave me alone! I'm trying to decide which boom pole I want to hold.' It didn't take long before I figured out I'd been made Director.


Never underestimate the power of showing you're passionate about your ideas. Of course, I have a reduced crew compared to the other productions and as I'm 'stealing' other Director's crew I'm going to do Camera Operator on another Director's film. Scheduling is going to be a reaaaal issue for me...

... who cares, I like hard work and I get to Direct a Documentary. Although, I think maybe I should change the title to WHO is Alan Chapman? Because no-one seems to know... the whole point of the Doco.

Alan comes from six generations of very successful people in English Stage and Screen. Actors, opera singers, playwrights, directors, producers. At 19, Alan (now 43) could have been like the rest of his family, successful, but in a matter of weeks Alan went from owning the title role in a motion picture and being signed by a well known Agent to not being allowed to Act within England. He was blacklisted by the Stage and Screen Union. Oooooo, why? And how did that affect him? And how the HELL am I going to make that funny... you'll see!

Anyway, that's been my last couple of days. Highs, lows, stress, relief. And I'm loving it. What have you all been up to?


*Great exercise - try telling a story in 10 Slides paced to music, it's fascinating to see what an audience does and doesn't pick up about your story (on one viewing) and why. One of the best learning experiences so far in the course. Every film-maker should watch and evaluate as many as possible. Our slide show, it's produced in groups of two people, was really hit very hard by the people critiquing it. Appropriately we thought, we were trying to tell a hard story (which I wrote - ooops, my fault). We shot for the stars and missed. Happily, the guy I did my slide-show with was given the position of Director on one of the three 16mm film productions. So our slide show can't have been too bad. I've since come to realise that if the people critiquing your piece are hammering it to pieces it means they see something in it. If they ask you no questions then they're bored and disinterested. They'll be expecting big things from me next semester when I do 16mm productions I'm sure.

**Sound technician is actually one of the hardest jobs on a documentary I've discovered. And I'm baaaad at it! Never underestimate the complexity of any role on any film production.

Take: 16

Anonymous Anonymous mused...

I'm sure you'll do great. I am already intrigued. Of course, my 10 slide show would be set to the Stones "PAINT IT BLACK"...

Thu Aug 30, 12:24:00 pm

Anonymous Rich mused...

Well, as I see it, I don't have a choice. They've really placed a lot of belief in me to let me make it even though it wasn't a short-listed film. It'd had better be great :)

I'd pay to see that!

Thu Aug 30, 01:07:00 pm

Blogger Calzone mused...

I have been ruining my life!!!


You cool.

Thu Aug 30, 11:44:00 pm

Anonymous Rich mused...

So I've heard brother... shame, shame on you! Eh? Nah, we all do crazy shit.

Enjoy it, make amends or smoke crack. Everyone will discount your previous decisions if you smoke crack... unfortunately, that also means you're going to have to go to rehab and find Christ... yeah, I'd prefer one of the first two options. At least that way you don't have to bang Lindsay Lohan.

Thu Aug 30, 11:54:00 pm

Blogger Diana Crabtree mused...

Don't worry about your reduced crew size, to help out, I'll hold your boom pole!

(that doesn't sound right!)

Fri Aug 31, 02:31:00 pm

Anonymous Rich mused...

Diana! Shocking! You're hired!

I'm actually not that worried about how many people I have working for me. I've worked on similar sized projects with smaller crews. Although there are key crew on this project that dont speak english... that's going to be... a challenge... but it's not uncommon in the industry. Is there a 2 day course that allows one to speak fluent French? That would be handy.

There's nothing more irritating than having someone blab on about things you don't understand or even care about, after a while it stops being funny and just becomes, well, 'sad' would be one way to put it.

Sat Sep 01, 06:10:00 pm

Blogger JLee mused...

Congratulations Rich!! That is very exciting news. I hate to say it out loud, but I may be involved in an indie film next year as a producer of sorts. A gigantic undertaking, but you never know, right? Stranger things have happened :)

Sun Sep 02, 08:25:00 am

Anonymous Rich mused...

Cheers JLee, I wondered when someone would actually get around to 'well done' at becoming a Director. Maybe people aren't exactly aware of what that involves.

Unlike myself, I know exactly a 'producer of sorts' means when it comes to an Indie film. That's a lot of work... half producing, half production management, half doing whatever needs to be done. That's a lot of halves! And a lot of work. I really hope you enjoy it if the production goes ahead. Just remember, coffee is your friend.

Sun Sep 02, 07:24:00 pm

Blogger JLee mused...

Are you kidding me? The director is God. I see what the news directors go through and I wouldn't want any part of that shit. One just had a massive heart attack a few weeks ago if that tells anyone what kind of stress it is. You're so right about the "producer of sorts". It involves a lot of begging. ha

Mon Sep 03, 08:47:00 am

Blogger SafeTinspector mused...

Congrats on the new responsibility!
My condolences on the new responsibility!

So... Alan Chapman, eh? I used to own a 10% in his mother's sock drawer, but it didn't draw interest and I eventually unloaded it on a Saudi textile magnate.

Mon Sep 03, 08:53:00 am

Anonymous Rich mused...

Actually, I'm a dyslexic director so I want everyone to think I'm 'dog'.

If it's a job that stresses a person out then I'm not sure it's the right job for them. One of the guys I know is a Sports Director for a European football league, he's never more calm than when he's Directing a live match with a 130 staff under his control. Unless we're stress junkies... that is a possibility.

Mon Sep 03, 10:15:00 am

Anonymous Rich mused...

It's all a bit of fun SafeT, all a little fun.

Actually, you should have kept your stake. Alan's mother is 70 (that's a little rude to divulge... sorry Flick) and still receiving high praise for her one woman show.

Mon Sep 03, 10:19:00 am

Blogger Diana Crabtree mused...

Soooorrrry Rich! (yes, there is sarcasm in that)

Congrats on being a director.

As usual, I am proud of you, but not in the least bit surprised.

Mon Sep 03, 01:46:00 pm

Anonymous Rich mused...

Hahaha, sarcasm accepted :) Of course, I was only kidding, but in future I would like you to call me Mr Director... with a capital D.

I am proud of you too. Not for anything in particular, I just think you should be proud to be you. Except you constantly surprise me.

Mon Sep 03, 01:58:00 pm

Blogger jin mused...

I finally made it over & I see congratulations are in order!!!
*jin dances around her keyboard*
I'll even eat a celebratory slice of cheescake in your honour!!!

Now....the question everyone is waiting to hear the answer to:
"Will we get to see any cock shots in your film?"

Tue Sep 04, 05:46:00 pm

Anonymous Rich mused...

Yowza Jinster, cheesecake celebrations, I'm truly honoured indeed!

Well, cock shots, I could be completely unkind and say the whole film is about a giant cock... But that wouldn't be true. Alan's a top notch mate and a good bloke too boot. I wouldn't be making a doco about him if he wasn't. I'm not sure I'm so jaded by the industry yet to do a story about someone I don't think is interesting.

But I AM putting him in a dress. Actually, I should stop dicking around and go back to editing the trial shoot of his scene in a dress that we shot at 12:30am last night. 12:30am! Crikey, I must be like dedicated or something... no wait, it's an or something.

Hope you're really well Jinners. I'm sure I'll drop into your e-cake shop soon :)

Tue Sep 04, 10:01:00 pm


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