This is a little bit tardy, as the videos made during this were finished a long time ago, but better later than never I say!
On the 29th, 30th and 31st of October last year, my dear friend Nino Leitner and I alongside our amazing organiser Caroline Sumners held the first of a whole new series of our Filmmaking Masterclass 3-day practical workshops. It was first time Nino and I had done one of these in 3 years. The last one was in Key West, but most had been held in Majorca alongside Sebastian Wiegartner.
They had all been great but we wanted to relaunch and take them to a whole new level and that is why we set up a new partnership with the three of us. The first one we held in my neck of the words just outside London in the grand Downtown Abbey-eque Wootton House.
The focus on the workshop was corporate filmmaking. We had a lot of freedom around the property both inside and out, which was wonderful and is a key feature of our masterclasses.
Check out the terrific behind the scenes edit made by Adam Plowden Video below…
The first day was some ground work via some short talks from us before we launched into a very intense shooting exercise where we chucked them into random groups to watch them shoot 5 sequences in different places with different objectives, with 5 minutes prep and just ten minutes to shoot each one, everything edited in camera. Every shot had to count. There was an important objective to be gained from this. First it showed them the immense importance of planning, and it made them think very hard before they hit the record button. As they were pulling their hair out making this happen, Nino, I, and the other tutors (Julian Wakefield, Johnny Behiri and Adam Loretz) watched how they worked together and how each individual dealt with the objectives. This gave us a bit of insight into how we would create the teams for the main shoot that would start that evening and go all the way through to the 3rd and last day.
Here are a few photos from that first shooting challenge…(all my photos here are taken with the majestic Pentax 645z camera)
After we watched the results of this and the teams were divided up, we gave them their theme for their film and assigned them one of the actors so they could start planning that evening. We also had an additional actor who was available to everyone, but they needed to book him for specific times, which also made them think in real terms about using resources.
Here are some photos of the teams planning their masterpieces…the smart ones did this in the hotel bar!
Talking of resources, whilst almost everyone brought their own gear to shoot with (including 3 FS7s!), the marvellous CVP who were the main sponsor of the MasterClass provided an ASTOUNDING amount of gear including loads of lights, audio, lenses, the amazing Canon C300 MkII another FS7, the unreleased FS5, a DVX 200, a Ronin M and a MOVI M5. I also brought my Letus Helix Jr for them to play with.
The teams then spent the whole of the second day filming, which is always entertaining to watch and also quite inspiring seeing the ideas they have come up with. The pace was a lot easier than the day before but still challenging, as a lot had to be covered with set hours with their actors. One of the teams ending up using their tutor Johnny as one of the main characters. I was a little concerned as Johnny is a great cameraman, but I wasn’t sure he was comparable to George Clooney. He did a great job, however, which you can see a bit further into this post!
Here are some photos from day two…
On day three they had to get their edits done. I had encouraged them to start on it the night before; clip up stuff, label things etc which would make things a lot easier for them the next day with only about 5 hours or so to finish their edits. Big thanks to Music Bed for the supply of the music the teams used!
To makes things slightly more challenging, I asked each group to split into two as I held a one-hour intensive lighting/ interview mini workshop, which they took in turns.
Once they had their edits we watched them. They each did two variations of their edit at our request as well. I am sharing the main edits only here, as the others were generally just shorter versions.
It’s great seeing how people learn to work together and how they benefit from each other’s experience and ideas. They were put out of their comfort zones, which is the whole point of being there. If you are doing a shooting workshop like this and you aren’t being challenged then it is a failure!
We have terrific Filmmaking Masterclasses coming up this year in mainland Europe. I can’t announce the exact dates and locations just yet, but they will be great places and will start in early summer. We will have two different types of workshops: a narrative fiction and a corporate one. I have taken the best bits from the London workshop and feedback from attendees to create an even better experience for these new ones. They are really going to be special, so stay tuned for more info…
I do have a request to make… (if you are still reading this!) for the corporate workshop, I want to hold the filming sections in a real office/ workspace as the aim of this masterclass is to make a real video with the client in a challenging environment. Just like the real world! We will bring in actors and extras to be the people pretending to work there, and each team will have set periods of time to film/ interview set chunks and then rotate with the other groups. All will have a goal of making a film with the same brief but with their own flair, interpretations which will need to be explained to the “clients” to convince them!
What we need though is this space. Do you live in a big city in Germany like Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt? Maybe Vienna or somewhere similar? Do you have or work in an office that we could use for a weekend for this in early summer? If so please email me here with the subject “Filmmaking masterclass location” for title (ignore the autoresponder!) There will of course be compensation and most likely free attendance to the workshop if you want to come!
Thank you to all the attendees, the tutors, Caroline, our terrific sponsors (with another massive shootout to CVP for their huge amount of gear and support) Adam Plowden and his team, our amazing staff and Wootton House for their terrific co-operation. Myself and Nino are really looking forward to these next ones! Below are the films made the four teams. You can also read tutor Johnny Behiri’s blog post about this workshop on Cinema5D here.