Tell us about Dragon Days…
Dragon Days is the 2020 film project that was conjured up to substitute for Shearwater's annual Wearable Arts performance event. COVID-19 required a major rethink - we knew we couldn’t invite our community to a live event, so we embarked on a film project that we could share online.
Instead of documenting a performance along the same lines as previous events, we decided to further develop the story for screen. So with a bit of filmmaking experience and a lot of enthusiasm we set out to shoot a feature film. It was very ambitious but a great experience. We pulled in some past students that helped out tremendously and I think we have a film we can be proud of - a classic high school drama where the students have to overcome some differences and challenges in order to put on a show.
What was your role in this ambitions project?
During the production phase, I was a camera operator and co-director. I had just bought a new Black Magic camera and I put it to the test. With a dedicated lighting crew in the Hall, we managed to capture some beautiful shots. Now it is down to editing and I am in charge of pulling all the edited scenes together and making it work as a whole.
What has been the best thing about the experience?
To create a film about WAVE with lights and hand-built sets and a crew. This year we were given time and resources to put some fine scenes together.
What was really hard?
Getting the dialogue right. Our actors were amazing, but it was a steep learning curve to direct and pull off dialogue. There was also a huge time pressure, as we had a big story with loads of actors and scenes.
What did you learn?
How to handle a bigger cast and work with multiple camera crews. Starting with the wide shots and working in on the closer shots was a great practical experience that I will incorporate into my future films.
Now you are in the editing phase and it is almost finished, how do you feel about sharing it?
Excited! Seeing the reaction of the community is going to be amazing after so many months of working with it. It was a very ambitious project and it is so hard to pull off a feature film project in a high school. So a bit of nerves. But mostly happy to see how people take it.
What can people look forward to in the film?
Crazy dance sections; high school drama; incredible costumes; great lighting and cinematography and some awesome acting.
Are you interested in filmmaking as a profession?
When can we see it?
We are aiming for March 31. The plan is to host an online premiere so stay tuned for details in the Shearwater newsletter.