Recently, I was extremely lucky to head down to Melbourne for the continuation of a project I’d worked about a month earlier; the NTeen Fashion Show. The NTeen kids, mothered by the lovely Jo-anna Egart and her team of equally welcoming chaperones, had clearly worked hard to bring what they had to the table. Although it was pretty hectic from day one, the chaos was always controlled and never got out of hand. That came through on camera, and to see this collective of Darwin folk busy doing what they do best through a lens was the definition of filming a workhouse. In saying that, I don’t even think fashion was what they did best, (although they were very good at it), I think it was the ability to pull together and help each other out to produce something even more brilliant.
Photo: Mai Rose
The friendly faces I met along the way were all up for a chat. Even though I’m sure everyone was as tired and sleep deprived as me, a mixture of excitement and nerves managed to keep us awake and talkative well into the evening. I made way more friends than I thought I would, too – which was fantastic. In those, I met a couple of budding musicians and sound designers, as well as a few young photographers who I really hope to be able to work with in the future.
Filming something like this required me to be super flexible, and essentially have a camera on me all the time (even during transit and at dinner times) in case something where I’d think ‘oh that’d go so well in the video!’ comes up. I almost regret not having my camera on me for the day after the event finished, because it would’ve been a good opportunity to snatch cut aways of the kids shopping and hanging out. Luckily though, for the actual event days itself, I made sure I had a stable supply of charged batteries- oftentimes having two batteries on charge at any given time. Even the external microphone I used ran on AA batteries, meaning I had to keep a few of them in my pockets, too! This is why jeans are the ultimate filmmaking wear for me. Ones that are not too bootlegged, or skinny at the ankles, but with pockets big enough to store anything you might need when running and gunning. For me, that’s mainly batteries and a spare filter.
Another thing to consider when filming these events is how you plan to put it all together in the edit. Having some idea of how you want shots to flow or cut together really makes the difference between uncertainty – which leads to overshooting – and being positive you have what you need. Even if you’re sure you have everything you’ll need to make the final cut, don’t be afraid to shoot extra material as I said before. Especially with digital formats and large SD cards, there’s no big harm in shooting with the possibility that it might not be needed later. It’s always better to have something extra than to be missing something crucial.
Finally, push the boundaries of what you know. The best material comes from when you try new and sometimes crazy things. Of course, it’s always good to have your staple of standard cut-aways and interviews, and it’s best to make sure you get what you need in case your experiments don’t work out, but never be afraid to think of new ways to tell the same story. For example, when I conducted interviews with the participants at the NTeens Darwin event, I would pop into frame and try to be a part of the action. Later on I found that method to be hard to roll continuity-wise, and eventually resorted to using their responses as standalone segments, meaning I had to manipulate an answer out of them that would in some way also explain the basis of the question. Because I didn’t stick to just one interviewing technique, there are times when including my question is necessary, but other times their answers are sufficient in explaining their answers. I think it looks really interesting having a combination of different setups. Luckily for me, Jo-anna’s brief for the video allowed me to be very creative, and she wanted me to put as much of my own flare into it as possible. She pretty much told me to run free. I’m partway through editing at this stage, and I can see that it is shaping up to be something equally as ‘free’. It’s really exciting to edit something that doesn’t stick to a certain formula of filmmaking, but the flexibility to tell a story in various ways is exciting to me right now as a developing artist.
I can’t wait to see what the final product looks like. I should get back to work!
Photo: Joanna Egart