Like A Complete Unknown, Like A Rolling Stone, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Film on my iPhone, pt. 4

Introduction: Before I begin, if you didn’t know, last year I released my very first short film to the world (or to the internet).  I had never been so nervous in my life, but I was proud of my incredibly amateurish piece of work.  In the end it was really a learning experience of how not to make a short film, but all of that will be covered in the following blog entries.  If you haven’t seen it, please watch it before reading any of the material.

Like A Complete Unknown – A Short Film from Coffee Whale Films on Vimeo.

If you’re back from last week, thank you so much for reading.  If you aren’t, please read the first three articles in the series.  Here’s the first, second, and third.

I had actually begun editing the first day we filmed.  I was so excited to actually have accomplished my first day of filming that I tried to piece the footage together on the iMovie app on my phone.  I quickly downloaded the songs needed for the soundtrack and got to work.  Soon enough, my phone ran out of storage.  This was only from the first day of filming, which couldn’t have even amounted to more than twenty minutes of footage.  I knew keeping all of the footage and editing from my phone would no longer work.  I didn’t have editing software on my PC laptop (nor the money to download a good one), so I was left to the option of sending all my footage to the family iPad.  I proceeded to download the iMovie app and continue editing as we acquired more footage.

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Editing on an iPad.
Each new day of filming required the addition of extra space on my phone.  I would be continually transferring pictures to my laptop, deleting useless apps, and whatever else I could to ensure that the phone would have enough space for that days film session.

Once principal filming was done and editing was drawing to a close, I realized there was a shot missing.  There needed to be a quick shot of the Loner putting the rock on his headboard before he went to sleep.  It would prove difficult to bring Seth back to film such a short scene, plus at that point we had already moved into a new house.  My only option was to put the same lamp on the headboard that was in the previous scene and film my own hand setting it down.

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The final poster.
Now I had all the footage and was able to piece it together, using cues from the music to influence my editing process.  After the final editing session, I left the short film for a couple days to clear myself from it.  I had spent those past couple days editing it together.  When I came back to it, I had a fresh mind and a fresh set of eyes and was able to see mistakes I had missed the first time.  The final product was finally done, but it wasn’t ready to be released yet.

Like A Complete Unknown – Trailer from Coffee Whale Films on Vimeo.

We released the trailer on November 3, 2015.  It gave friends and family their first sneak peek at what we had been working on and helped build up some hype.  We later announced that the film would be available online on November 23, 2015.  On that day, however, the website we had planned to release it on, Vimeo, was having technical difficulties.  Things were fixed the next day, leading Like A Complete Unknown to be released on November 24, 2015.

I knew the short film we had made was not perfect.  It was blurry, had several editing mistakes, continuity errors, etc.  These problems were troublesome, of course, but the feeling of joy received once you finally finish and release something you created made it all worth it.  We had succeeded in coming up with what was just a simple idea, and nothing more, and turned it into reality.  Nothing will ever surpass that feeling.  Therefore, I will never forget this little short film.  Whatever happens in my life, whether I have a career in film or simply continue to make them as a hobby, I will always remember this little story about a pet rock that gave me my start.

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