Silence may be golden, but in filmmaking terms it’s also REALLY challenging, as CAT’s Professional Filmmaking students found out.
As a part of their ‘Cinematography and Production’ course, Q4 Professional Filmmaking students were tasked with writing and producing a short silent film. ‘The Last Game’ was filmed on location at Kelowna’s Lombardi Field, and definitely put students through their filmmaking paces. For this blog post, we spoke with producer Ivo Kulas and director Brooke Hoglin about the project.
“The primary reason to do a silent film was to really focus more on the cinematography. There’s no dialogue driving the film, so you really have to be on point with how you’re shooting, what you’re shooting and the angles to tell the story,” explains Kalus. ”It’s really nuanced based acting as well, so you really need to be sure your actors are correct. We found our main actor Riley E. Buckley through Shine agency and Theresa May booking. Unfortunately, our second actor ended up falling through, so we had to use one of our other classmates – who was also called Riley.”
No doubt that was bit confusing on set?
“We called them Riley One and Riley Two,” laughs Ivo.
“The concept for ‘The Last Game’ focuses on two business men who play baseball after work, and it brings back memories of their last game, and it reunites them after not having seen each other for years,” says Hoglin, who also wrote the script.
The primary reason to do a silent film was to really focus more on the cinematography. There’s no dialogue driving the film, so you really have to be on point with how you’re shooting, what you’re shooting and the angles to tell the story”Ivo Kulas
The team for ‘The Last Game’ was made up of seven students. Production roles were decided by working to optimize each individual’s interest and abilities.
‘It was obvious that Brooke was going to direct it, as she wrote a fantastic script and everyone was very excited to film it,” explains Kulas. “We all like to play to our strengths. We know that certain individuals excel at working behind the camera, so we tried to get our best camera ops in those positions.
“Connor Moldenhauer, Cam Morrison and Jack Yule-Smith ran the cameras. We also had two ‘Directors of Photography’. Due to the fact we really were striving for good cinematics, we wanted two hands on deck for that, which was Jessica Lowe and Corman Haimer. They co-DOP’ed it, working with lighting, making sure the cameras are all set up nicely. We had Bransen MacDonald running our location audio. Obviously there was no dialogue, but it can’t just be silent silent – there need to be noises going on, and he did a fantastic job of getting what we needed. It was good to have everyone working towards their strengths on the project, and we think it came out pretty nicely.”
Team work is always challenging, especially so on a film set where time is money, and every second counts. Luckily the students had other projects under their belts, and were used to working together.
“We usually work well together. We have been doing a lot of rigorous teamwork together over the last couple of terms, so we are good at flowing with each other,” explains Ivo.
“That being said, there were times it would get a little bit rambunctious on set,” he adds. “We only had one day to shoot, so we definitely had to refocus when that happened so we didn’t waste any time. For me one of the biggest takeaways was learning about what the best sized crew is for whatever I’m working on.”
“The most challenging thing for me was getting the exact shots I wanted. I wrote the script and made the storyboard, so it was about getting that on camera,” says Hoglin. “And directing other people was challenging too. It was a great learning experience. The main thing I took away was that no matter how you direct, there are always things you can’t control. Also, it was a smaller production so we probably could have gotten by with a smaller crew.”
“Sometimes there were too many cooks in the kitchen,” laughs Ivo. “It was great when we were carrying things but there were times it did become a distraction.”
It was a great learning experience. The main thing I took away was that no matter how you direct, there are always things you can’t control.”Brooke Hoglin
Both Kulas and Hoglin agree the project was a great learning experience, but not without its issues.
“The most challenging thing for me was trying to get the ball park booked. It was like jumping through hoops to get that done,” says Ivo. “Also, managing the actors schedules, making sure we were all on the same page can be a little bit frustrating, but that’s just how it goes. Having our one actor flake out on us one day before shooting was quite frustrating. But you just have to refocus and remember everyone is here to get the thing done. We all want to produce quality content so you just have to move past the issues, find ways around things and just keep working. Riley Gaboury did a great job stepping up at the last minute. It’s always fun when you are on set with actors, and it’s a real thing you are trying to make.”