izulu

Submitted by Mahrezza F

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I carry most of this stuff in a small messenger bag, or in my 5.11 Rush 12, and carry some on my pocket. Leatherman sure is handy for multiple things. Been carrying the Kershaw as my primary cutting tool. I’ve been in a hairy situation few times, a blackout and waist-deep flood during night when I need to get home, that explain those flashlights and the 550 Cord. It’s useful for many other unexpected things. With all kind of unexpected natural and man-made disaster happening, I’d rather have this with me every single day. Well, Nunquam non Paratus, I guess.

Learning Curve

When doing a huge project such as this (and even though it was just a four day shoot, filming a 12 day film in only four days is a big undertaking), there are bound to be some mistakes. Especially when being part of a team that is very eager, but at the same time inexperienced in their particular roles.

I think I’ve already sung praises for our camera-team headed by Stephanie … ah yes, here! She was the only really knowing what she was doing – the rest of us knew what we wanted to do, and (more importantly) knew what we wanted to end up with, but the path to that end result sometimes less than clear.

And since I believe this blog to have some, tiny, educational aspirations, I shall relate one such incident and what solution we found:

As mentioned, our schedule was quite ambitious, and due to delays that are wont to happen on any film set, and my inability to see that people are not as punctual and reliable as robots (which, mind, is a good thing – robots don’t feel and emote, and not even Hayley Joel Osment and Steven Spielbergs can convince me otherwise) meant that on the second day, we had not been able to film a rather crucial scene in the kitchen – a scene that needed daylight due to our lack of lamps, and daylight is scant in South African Winter and had been needed all day to shoot outdoor scenes. Anyway, there we were with no option but to drop one or the other scene – we simply could not add another whole scene (and set up, and dress) in the limited time we had.

Now I’m speaking as the producer, and the person who is not steeped in South African culture. And I admit, I could have handled the whole issue better. We needed to discuss what scene we were going to drop, or reshape as part of another scene. Of course, as the writer of the piece, B. was reluctant to let go of any content – even though she also saw that we could not film all the scenes in the script. I said that we needed the information contained in the scene – in this instance, that was that thunder in Zulu culture can steal your soul. This would explain the behaviour of the protagonist and her parents in later scenes.

While B. was reluctant to have the scene reduced to such a purely informational value, that was essentially what it was about – and in the end also gave her the inspiration for the solution, which I think is quite neat. Before we arrived at that solution, however, people walked off and the whole endeavour was fraught with mis- or non-communication (note for next time: set up a one-on-one producer-director meeting each night, in a secluded area. That would be the most productive, I think.)

On to the solution: Do you remember the first and foremost basis of screenwriting?

“SHOW, DON’T TELL!”

- but we decided to blatantly ignore this for a few seconds, and in the beginning simply give the audience the information they needed to understand later events. Black screen, white writing, is there anything neater than that? It also helps the audience (who is most likely not familiar with Zulu culture) to get into the right frame of mind – they realize that they are now entering a world where scientific explanations only have limited value, a world that is steeped in mysticism.

This problem was solved by thinking about the rules and how we could break/bend them to our advantage.

Anna

Milky Way, This Universe