It's Not Easy, and That's What Makes it Fun

Ingmar Bergman, Swedish actor, writer, director, and producer once said, “Film as dream, film as music, No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” Being able to study films I can say that pretty actuates. But what makes a good film?



Well when you're on a strict time limit and you can’t call anyone for help because, well they’re busy, then you gotta take matters into your own hands.



For my Cinematography class, I was instructed to complete a 3 to 4-minute film on any topic I want just as long as it included 16 different lighting techniques.  



According to Digicult, “...cameras do not respond to lights in the same way that the human eye does. The finite detail and lighting contrast a human eye can see are incredibly developed, and cameras cannot process or pick up on this as well” adding also that, “lighting is necessary to make the definition of a video or film’s definition of a comparable quality to what the human eye sees naturally. The correct lighting can determine the mood of the scene and can evoke a more dramatic or subtle palette for the film.”


Just like taking a photo for social media the same is for filming. These different types of lighting can be like a key light, fill light and a  backlight. You’ll see these lights together when there is a filmed interview on a news station for example, like 60 Minutes.



I picked up the equipment on Monday with the help of two friends



There we filmed one scene of the film where it’s two friends having a conversation and laughing and being happy. There was already a bright light facing the wall and because prior to filming I didn’t sleep the two nights before so I thought the lighting would be perfectly okay and adding a bright LED Light would make the scene better. It at first looked okay in the camera so I started filming.



I filmed two four-minute scenes. I did one happy and one when I tried to get them to look upset and anxious but it’s not that easy to make people look anxious but not like a fake imitation of them acting that way that you seen on infomercials.



I looked back at the stock footage later when I go home and I saw how bright it ended up coming out too. This is not how it looked like the first time when I filmed it. I spent the majority of the night - turn day working on editing and trying to fix my situation but still no success.



There was only one real solution: I had to refilm and shoot the video literally all by myself. I had to play the role of screenwriter, director, cinematographer, and now an actor.


(Me practicing my Oscar speech an hour before actually filming)


Growing up I was the shy kid, the wallflower, in my family I wasn’t use to all eyes on me. I never liked it. When we’d have a family get together or see friends of the family I would either stand around and be quiet and let my sister do all the talking for the two of us, or I would sit with  my parents and the adults of the party and just be like a shadow, seen but never heard.



So for me to start acting it took a lot of courage on my part. I was nervous as to how I would look and how I would be perceived by my fellow classmates, family and friends, and anyone else who would be seeing this short film. I took all Tuesday in and between classes to think of ways to either do it or get myself out of it but there was no other way. My friends weren’t able to help me behind the camera so there was no way they would have time to act in front of it either. My parents had their own responsibilities as well as my sister who has her own classes to work on so she wouldn't be able to do it either. It was either I did it or don’t do the project at all.



I ended my shift at 10:00 pm. I got a late dinner and went straight home to start filming. I titled my film, I’m Fine and decided to show what it was like for someone with anxiety during finals week or busy moments in our daily schedule.



My mother came into my room to see how I was doing and when I told her that I would have to wake up at 5:50 in the morning for my sunset scene and that I couldn’t stay up all night since staying up and stressing for my film was very bad for film I was convinced that I should just go to bed now and forget it. Especially since I was almost done with all my scenes I needed to film and that I didn’t have to go to class till 2:30 so I had time to sleep.



Next day I wake up at a reasonable time and then I started filming more of my film and completed everything that I needed. Then came the fun: Editing.



I started working instantly all night and all day to cut, stick, and connect all usable footage and then had to add sound to the film. There is a song from Derek Hough called Hold On it mentions when people are at their breaking point and what it feels like when you feel like there is no way out.



But having a feeling there would be a copyright issue I knew I couldn’t use that song so I had to go to alternative roots and find non-copyright music which took a bit




Once I found a site that I was smooth sailing. But that wasn’t my biggest issue apparently. 


Once I was done editing the film I had to try and export the film so I could submit it into the film festival. But when I tried to save it. The editing software that I used would exit me out and not save my project this happened at least four times




It wasn’t until the next day when one of the full-time workers and one of my bosses was able to help me safely save the project and export it, just in time for my film to be submitted.



I learned a lot making this short film. But like Mr. Ingmar Bergman once said, “Film as dream, film as music, No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” Being a film major I cannot agree more. This film was personal and meant so much to me and no matter the outcome, I was glad to do it.