Quickclass needed a new ~1 minute explainer of our platform and its many benefits to Teachers and Students to help Accelerate Learning. Through funky and nibble Production House MondoTV, we found George O’Regan, who produced the GEM you can now see on our public homepage. In his own words, George answered a few questions to reflect on his shoot and the lessons he learned. Its beautiful insight onto the trials and opportunities of young filmmakers – which YOUR students will do well to learn from! So, in George’s own words….
- How did you first have contact with Ben, the Producer from MondoTV?
My friend Lucas and I were waiting on a train platform with a pile of film kit; we were heading off to Brighton to shoot a scene for our Year 13 ‘Short Film’ unit. A chatty American guy wearing a denim jacket with an embroidered dragon design on the back came up to us and asked what we were shooting. We talked for a little while and found out about MondoTV, his Shoreditch-based production company. This was of course Ben.
We ended up getting on the same train as him and before he got off at Gatwick, probably to jet off to somewhere exotic, he offered us our first job with the company. Lucas shot two events for him, and I edited both videos…incredibly slowly. Perhaps during my interactions with Ben on these projects he realised that I could have more potential as a Director than as an Editor. And here we are.
- How much freedom did you have to create the treatment?
An unusual amount. In my previous experiences of online advertising I had been quite restricted by brand guidelines, executive decisions and even to already fully formed ideas. Beyond a couple of reference clips and suggestions from Ben (MondoTV Producer) and StJohn (Quickclass Founder) I had free reign over the treatment. Recently I had stopped suggesting risky ideas to brands as they would always say “no” and play it safe, there wasn’t even a point, but St John didn’t have any fear of being bored and reassured me that I could be as creative as I liked. The freedom was refreshing and undoubtedly led to a more stand-out video.
- Were there any difficulties in casting for the film?
Once the call was out on Casting Call Pro we had over 200 applications within 24 hours for the role of Andy. I tried to make the job sound as fun as possible (which it was) and left out any specific physical traits to attract a larger number of applicants in case anyone surprised us and completely changed how we saw Andy. In the end we picked the very expressive Teifi who was the perfect fit for Andy and looked just as we’d imagined. All in all, a very stress free casting process.
- How many shots did you have for the film? Was this typical for a 1 day shoot?
40 shots, 4 hours, 10 shots per hour. Sounds doable right? However, we needed to set up and pack down in that time, which left us with about 3 hours of actual shooting. When you add that to the fact that we were shooting with 8 extras, 4 crew and 1 actor as well as a dolly and crane in a tiny meeting room on one of the hottest days of the year, we weren’t left with many reasons to relax. Long story short, we didn’t finish on time, but thanks to some fantastic schmoozing from the production manager, Cisco, we secured an extra hour in the room, within budget, and wrapped with a happy cast and crew.
- Any unexpected difficulties on the day? Any problems you were unable to overcome?
Because we had so little time on location, everything was meticulously planned. It did take a little longer than expected, hence the extra hour of shooting, but it did go very smoothly.
- How long did the edit take? Anything you found was missing?
The edit only took about a week on and off. Again, because we had planned well, we weren’t missing anything in the edit. However, we did re-shoot a few bits that could have been improved, such as Andy’s computer – we made it a lot more messy.
- How was directing the Voice Over? Where there any unforeseen difficulties there?
StJohn’s is the voice that you hear in the film. However, as I live in London and StJohn in Amsterdam we had a considerable barrier to cross.StJohn sourced a good microphone from a friend and we set up a Skype call. After a couple of tests where I listened back to the audio we decided to jump in and record the voice over. It took a couple of hours to record a take of each section that we, or I, was happy with. Unfortunately, my experimental method of recording with the microphone in a cardboard box sounded awful when mixed in with the properly recorded sound effects and music. This meant that we had to re-record everything, stood in a copying cupboard, when StJohn came to London the following week and the day before it was ‘premiered’ at the BFI Media Conference.
- Any other lessons you’d like to share from making this film?
Never record a voice over from inside a cardboard box. Never.