Looking Back – A Cookie, a Swordsman, And a Whack Job

One year ago, an auspicious undertaking took place: the making of a short film. While not particularly noteworthy or glamorous, it was nonetheless a great experience for all those involved.

Last May one of my friends presented me with a script, titled A Cookie, a Swordsman, And a Whack Job. I looked through it and decided that it was perfect for a short film project.

The next few months were spent deciding on the crew, revising the script, getting software and equipment, and making other preparations. My "co-conspirator" Megan suggested asking our mutual friend Will to be the camera operator, which turned out to be an excellent decision. Meanwhile, I began reading up on filmmaking and gaining experience at a nearby chapel.

Finally, we were ready and the first shoot date was set for Monday, August 14, 2006. That afternoon we began shooting the first three scenes and worked against time as the sun moved away from the east-facing windows. Even though I was directing, Megan showed ample ability to lay out the action in the script. By the end of that day, we only had 11 1/2 minutes of recorded tape to show for about 2 hours.

After the shooting was over, the long editing process began. Everything came along well, but some of the crew members had regular jobs, and it was difficult to arrange a time to finish the project. However, on October 29, the second shoot date was set. I moved the process along quickly because of the difficulty involved in arranging meetings and all the thought that went into the video since August.

Several revisions later, the final cut came into being. I had already gotten into other interests and the date of the premiere was set for January 21, 2007. Unfortunately, that day was also Super Bowl Sunday, and not everyone was willing to watch Muppet Treasure Island while the DVD finished burning. Also, Megan was off with her family out of town that day and thus not present.

My advice to aspiring filmmakers? Always prepare. Know every detail about all the scenes. Know the camera(s) used. Know if you need any other equipment. Know how competent your cast and crew is. Sometimes you just need a planning session or a walkthrough of the technical aspects of the production.

Resources:

Script (requires Adobe Reader)

CSWJ video

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