Room for Improvement?

Every time I find myself lucky enough to be on set I learn something new about myself. Quite often they're my sets, and there's a whole heap of learning to do there. I always find that I come away from a shoot feeling like I could have done better. I could have been a better director for the actors, I could have done more when it comes to the camera, I could have worked a but harder on all the other bits.

The shoot I was on yesterday was no different. It was a short film, written by myself, and by the time we called a wrap, stood out in the freezing cold looking like crazy people, I found myself with a sinking feeling.

Probably should have done more work with the actors, I thought. I could have sat down with them and had a proper conversation about the characters. What are their motivations, why are they saying these things or doing these things? The usual sort of stuff you hear from actors and directors whenever you watch behind the scenes interviews.

Probably should have spent a bit more time focusing on the shots. I had all my storyboards, and I had the script, so why didn't I spend long enough focusing on setting up the lighting, back-lighting, making sure everything was in focus, making sure the shots we did get were how I wanted them to be?

I find that I'm constantly torn between these two ends. Which one is more important? Which one do I want to focus on more? It's partly why we need so many different people when working on a film set. Why do you need a DoP and a lighting specialist? Why do you need someone to focus on the sounds? Well, simply put, because there's just not enough time to work on everything, however much I desperately feel like I should be.

Having spoken to the actors a little they all seem to find the process fine. They enjoy it and they enjoyed the time one set. And I'm pretty sure the footage looks good, some of the guys on the shoot did a good job at handling that side of things, which is cool.

And yet I still have this horrible sinking feeling. Like I just didn't do enough. Somehow I should have done more and I'm not even sure what specifically I should be doing.

It's as though after every shoot I find myself doubting my abilities. I find myself doubting whether or not I'm capable of doing this.

I love shooting, it's one of my favourite things in the world to do. Perhaps it's that constant feeling that I can do better that makes me want to keep doing it. Eventually, I hope, I'll reach a point where I feel satisfied with a days shooting. Although I know that will likely never happen, and that's probably a good thing. So long as there's always room for improvement then there's always more I can improve on.

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© Alex Secker 2018