11 Apr 2018

5 weeks in and I have already made my first short film

New AFTT Acting Students, Felicity and Kevin, tell us about what they have learnt so far and all about what it was like collaborating with film students on a short film with only 48 hours to work with after just FIVE weeks at AFTT.

Im not sure anyone was expecting that by the end of the first day we would have all sung solo in front of each other, or by the end of the first week be open to share our personal motivations for creative people

How has your time at AFTT been so far?

FelicityMy time at AFTT, although shy of 2 months, has been jam packed with so much content I wouldn't even know where to begin. Being in the hands of industry professionals who are so willing to share all they know while building our foundational learning has been really humbling. Im not sure anyone was expecting that by the end of the first day we would have all sung solo in front of each other, or by the end of the first week be open to share our personal motivations for creative people - but it's the challenge and beauty of studying here  together that has opened us up to embracing anything that comes our way. People feel safe enough to step out of their comfort zones and push themselves as artists... this partnered up with the access to the rich knowledge of our tutors makes me confident that this initial growth is only a sneak peak of what's to come over the next  year.

Kevin: It has been an unexpected rollercoaster! I've learnt a lot, challenged myself and risen to the occasion, when possible. I have laughed a lot, been close to tears and felt a lot of other emotions along the way. I know there is still a lot to be learnt but for now I'm just taking my time and enjoying the calm before the storm. I hear the later semesters are tougher and more challenging, which I am certainly excited about! I've made a lot of new friends and received great support from the teachers. For some of us, English is our second language, so when we see our classmates perform, more often than not we're floored by what comes out, and I can't wait to see our journey and progress for the upcoming years, and most certainly our careers outside AFTT. 

Talk us through what was involved with the 'Irreverent 88' project?

Felicity: We were put into small groups of acting and film students for two days. We all had a one word prompt to use as an inspiration for a short film were to write, film, edit and showcase within the 48 hours. Writing and filming day one, editing and screening day two.

Kevin: The project was an intense collaboration between the acting and film students. Our group had 5 actors and 5 film students (I was one of the actors). Each group was given a sin/virtue as the theme and only given a small amount of time to collaborate an idea and create a short film.

Tell us a bit about the project that you developed with your team and about the final product?

Felicity: Our stimulus was the word 'lust'. We began with this idea that we wanted to create something with a punchline, maybe a girlfriend thinks her partner is checking out other women, and in the end it turns out he was just hungry and checking out their lunch. Sort of turning this 'risque' prompt into a laugh. As we began filming, and collaborating, the ideas of film makers and actors alike melded to create a mockumentary. The finish product was nothing we could have come up with as individuals, and was this jigsaw puzzle put together by little bits of someone's comedic talents, another's idea for shots and angles, someone else's ability to bring in a story to make sense etc. 

Kevin: The theme we were given was ‘forgiveness’ and we chose to shoot our project as a ‘mockumentary’ style film. Basically, my character was an obnoxious playboy actor, seeking apologies from ex-girlfriends he has mistreated in the past in order to avoid negative press after landing a new role next to Hugh Jackman. As the story moves forward we find that his role is not quite what he made it out to be (an extra on set) and none of his ex-girlfriends turn out to be his biggest fan.The final product was as great as a first shoot could be, done in under 12 hours with a minimal script and a large amount of improv. The film students did a great job in making it look as professional as it could be (editing, filming, sound, directing etc.) and the mockumentary style really added to the B grade nature of the project. Our film worked really well because we all collaborated. We had one idea, another person took it and ran with it, passed it to the next person and so on. Thus, our project began to form.

What lessons did you learn throughout this project development?

Felicity: A huge lesson was in sharing the space during collaboration. In a group creating something artistic, there's always going to be disagreements about the best direction to go, or what ideas should be used. But being able to be open to both sharing your thoughts and taking on board others is an important skill to learn. It was a really great reminder that being able to be flexible and supportive of your colleagues in a production is just going to allow your creation to grow and develop so it can be the best it can be. A creative piece is a living, breathing thing inspired by the human experience, and so can only become richer when created by collaboration.

Kevin: I learnt that it is crucial to collaborate with your team. Without this key ingredient the film, chemistry and ideas all fall flat. Sometimes we need to put our egos, ideas, and differences aside for the bigger picture. It's important to have respect for your colleagues, support them where possible and ask for support if you need it. Make sure everyone is heard and that you are too. Have fun on the day. Really foster and nurture your relationships with everyone on set because it will show on camera and be brought to life via the film crew. To relax, and have fun. Be compassionate to yourself as this is your first film project of this nature. So with all that in mind to be proud of the end outcome, and realize that the only way is up! As you learn so much from the experience, what you could've done better, what your points of tension/blocks are as an actor behind the camera, and developed characters etc.

To check out some photos from the 'Irreverent 88' project, click here.

To learn more about studying acting at AFTT, click here.

To learn more about studying Film at AFTT, click here.