- Reed O’Beirne (Experimental Filmmaker)
- Ryan Michael (Director, Editor)
- Erin Cipolletti (Producer, Actor)
I have recently attended masterclasses from different filmmakers discussing their work, production process and experience in the industry. I feel it an invaluable opportunity to attend these sessions as you get the chance to actually speak with people face-to-face who have started out in similar ways as all of us.
The first masterclass I attended was with Reed O’Beirne, an experimental filmmaker from Seattle, US, founder of Emerald Reels which is an organisation that promotes new and vibrant work from emerging filmmakers and artists. A lot of the work specialises in Super 8 lounge screenings where filmmakers join together to view and appreciate each others art and working projects. Reed was a great character and luckily showed us different pieces he’d worked on over the years as well as where he drew his inspiration from. I asked a few questions regarding his music choices and methods of experimentation. One that stood out was a short entitled ‘Phantom Waves’ (2016) that was built from old MRI images accompanied by a song by the band St. Kilda. It was quite mesmerising to watch and interesting how he reused these images for the film. There are no clips online but here is the film poster below:
‘Phantom Limbs’ Emerald Reels (2016)
It was interesting how he started certain projects as many came from a single shot idea, a piece of music, an individual object that sparked into something far greater. I have a similar work process where often I may decide on the music before I’ve even shot the film or developed the actual idea. I spoke with Reed at the end of the session discussing my own work and current projects, specifically on ‘Mustapha the Weaver’, my final documentary fmp. I emailed him a few days later and he luckily got back to me, providing feedback on an experimental short that I had completed at the end of 2016.
Here is what he said below:
It was a pleasure to meet him and get some really useful feedback on my own work as well as his thoughts and advice for a Media graduate, fingers crossed!
The second masterclass I attended was with two filmmakers, Ryan Michael and Erin Cipolletti. They were both visiting the UK as their feature film ‘Josephine Doe’ (2015) was selected to play at the Manchester International Film Festival. We got to see the trailer and hear about the film’s development from shooting in 2014, through the long process in post to screening and finishing touches today. Here is the trailer for their feature below:
It shows how these films can take years and go through trials and tribulations until the idea is fully realised. Ryan and Erin opened the flaw to questions during the session and I was intrigued how they raised the budget for the film and the methods they used. Originally the figure was $18,000 but naturally this was not the final figure as more had to be spent on the edit and sound design. Ryan pointed out that sound is 50% of your movie if not a little bit more. You could potentially get away with a slightly crappy shot, but poor audio is unacceptable and impacts the overall quality of the film.
An audio recording of part of the masterclass can be accessed by clicking the link below. At 4mins 23sec I ask the question regarding their budget. The quality isn’t the best but their answers can be heard:
It was great to hear how they used crowd-funding as more of a secondary source for their budget. Most of us have used it straight away and relied on it a bit too much at times. There success is clear with this film so it is hugely beneficial to see the methods they used and the crucial decisions that had to be made along the way. Something that also stuck out from the talk was Ryan mentioned how it is imperative that you work hard in your job on set, don’t go about constantly trying to barrage the crew with questions, making yourself a nuisance. Be on time, be punctual, nail the job you have on set, day in day out. This was really good to hear, something I would look to do if I could secure a Runner job with a production company.
I got so much out of both of these masterclasses and will look to try and attend some more where possible as these are the real opportunities to ask questions and get feedback on our own work as soon to be Media Graduates and filmmakers.
- Josephine Doe (2015) D. Ryan Michael. Film. ByrdHouse Films.
- Josephine Doe Poster (2015) ByrdHouse Films. Available from: http://www.josephinedoe.com [Accessed: 09/03/17]
- Phantom Limbs (2016) D. Reed O’Beirne. Short Film. Emerald Reels
- Phantom Limbs Poster (2016) Emerald Reels. Available from: http://www.emeraldreels.com/phantomlimbs.html [Accessed: 09/03/17]