Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A Beautiful Life

A short film by Kristian Barrett.

I've never made a film, Kristian has never made a pot.
It was an email out of the blue that brought us together. Kristian wanted to make a film about making pots, I happen to make them. He did not understand that the whole process of making a pot takes several days; longer than the day he thought we could set aside to film it all. So I drew a story board, like a comic strip, about the journey from clay to finished vessel.

We met and toured the workshop, garden and kiln site, discussing all the things that we thought we could cover. The original concept was for a film about two and a half minutes long and embed it on my website. Kristian wanted it to have an educational theme and tell a story. I didn't want an ego trip with endless shots of finished pots. We both wanted something calm and rural. So we went our separate ways to think about it. Eventually we came up with a directors treatment, a sort of written/visual script with ideas for little shots to link the film together. Filming eventually started one sunny September day.

The thing about filming is the time it takes to produce just a short piece. Setting up tripods and sliders, rigs and sound. Moving angle, doing it again... and again, shooting everything several times. The first session was spent with me looking out of the window, making tea, boiling the kettle, walking endlessly in the garden and we never even got near to looking at clay. Only the part of me looking out of the window made it to the final cut. Over four hours filming in the garden, recording the hum of bees and waiting for a Wood Pigeon to say something, only made for a few seconds in the title sequence.
We like to think we live in perfect, peaceful, rural bliss, but try to record Bee song and every Ryanair flight to East Midlands goes over, every motor bike at full throttle goes by, then the builder next door starts to knock holes in a brick wall, it starts to rain and the light goes.
It took five sessions to get it all, I made lots of bits of pots and everything had to be shot out of sequence. This is where the story board is useful, but even so ideas popped up as we filmed. Kristian thought folk music would be good, I prefer blues... discuss!

Editing took several weeks, sound and graphics are added right at the end, the wait to see it all seemed, like, forever.

I'm really pleased with the final result, yet it still seems very strange, watching yourself at work and hearing your own voice. The two and a half minutes became eight, so that still leaves over fourteen hours of video on the cutting room floor. Much the same time and effort to make the square bottle featured!

This is Kristian's little film, view it on:- http://vimeo.com/116240169

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