How To Make A Film

My latest short film, How To Make A Film, was released last night. It’s a film noir style detective story, complete with dodgy gangster types and a femme fatale. I really, really enjoyed working on this one; it was so much fun.

Because of the number of characters in this one and the limited time I had to get everything filmed, the script was quite a problem. I decided that the best way to make this film was to remove the problem of finding actors entirely; so I filmed every part except my own using soft toys.

This ended up being the best decision I made during production. It gave the film that extra bit of zing, and also meant Jennifer got to show off her talent for voice artist work. She not only voiced every soft toy character but also managed to do all their dialogue in one take.

Filming took place over two days, with the outdoors filming being the first to get finished. I wanted to make sure that we had plenty of time to re-record dialogue and shots from outdoors if we ended up needing it, since I would need a second person to help film on those shots (don’t film in a busy area without someone to look after the camera or you risk someone stealing it).

I think the music is really good on this film. It’s from ccmixter, a brilliant website where you can get music released under Creative Commons to use in your projects. I picked a piece that sounded fairly moody but also wouldn’t overshadow the dialogue. I ended up going with Sleepy Moments by Doxent Zsigmond by Martijn de Boer. It’s quite a haunting piece and it fits the bill nicely.

The funniest thing about this film, aside from it being a detective noir starring a bunch of cuddly toys, was that it started life as a three-part series on film making. I’ve been asked a few times how to make a short film and I was going to produce some of my standard piece-to-camera episodes of The Nobmouse Show talking about the subject.

Then, when I was having trouble fitting my usual joke sketches into each episode, a thought struck me: why not condense all the information into one episode and shoot the whole thing as a comedy sketch? From there, the joke became the main focus and the script was finished in one morning.

I’m really pleased with how this film turned out. It’s not my longest film to date (that’s still To My Beloved, at almost eight minutes long) but it’s certainly the most complex I’ve worked on. It took a lot of setting-up to get the soft toy scenes filmed properly and the editing was a pain sometimes but I’m really glad I gave this a shot.

I really like this film and I hope you’ll like it too.