Last weekend I made my first ever movie, and you can now watch it on YouTube: http://tr.im/iAQ3. (It’s very short – 2 mins, 6 secs)
For both days of last weekend I was on an Introduction to Film and Video Production course. I thought we’d muck around, learn how to use video cameras, get taught some theory, get shown the editing software. We turn up at 9 am on Saturday, there’s only three of us in the class, and the tutor (a young up-and-comer) tells us the best way to learn is to do, and that we’re going to make a film each by 4 pm Sunday, so time to start brainstorming.
I decided to make a movie based on one of my poems, ‘Calling you Home’, which was in my first book, Abstract Internal Furniture. (I also helped out with my classmate/colleague’s short documentary, ‘B&B Lady’, which was fun, but another story.)
First I recorded myself reading the poem – just on the video camera – I later kept the sound but abandoned the video track. Then in the evening, after the course finished, I took the camera away and filmed the images.
Thinking about what images to use was a really interesting process. I wanted to use images that went with the poem, but weren’t too literal. I guess in the same way a poem is metaphorical, I wanted the film to be metaphorical. The poem is about a flat I used to live in, but it’s also about my relationship with Sean, which began while I was in this flat.
So my first on-location shoot was at that flat, where, fortunately, my friend Brian still lives (and probably always will). I shot so many different angles of the outside of that house, and I didn’t really know how I was going to use them. I also shot some things inside, and some stuff that I knew exactly which bit of the poem they were for.
Then, later that night, back at home, I shot some other footage – if you watch the movie – it’s the stuff with the teacup and my souvenir teaspoons. I’m especially proud of that sequence – it’s kind of like stop motion (except I actually kept the camera running the whole time, so the raw footage has my hands moving things around).
So, I had my footage, but wasn’t too sure how I was going to use it. Some of it seemed a bit dull by itself, but then I had a brainwave – I’d layer it. Most of the way through there is a main image, with a ghostly image behind. I’m very happy with how this turned out – especially the bit with a duvet being pulled forward over a shot that zooms/pulls towards the window of the house. The two movements seem to me to work together really nicely.
I used a piece of instrumental music by a friend of mine who often goes by the name of Lucan as a soundtrack, which fortuitously fitted. He gave it to us as a wedding present, and the poem was read (by Anne Marie) at our wedding, which all ties together nicely.
It was all a bit of a rush at the end, so I didn’t have the chance to fix a few odd things. But, as a first film goes, I’m really happy with it.