Until “The Golden Age” I had only really worked on small productions and my own films at film school. I’ve had various experiences on TV programmes and in postproduction houses but nothing really to speak of.
Compared to “The Golden Age” my involvement on low budget features and shorts was a completely different kettle of fish. My level of responsibility was usually high and I was juggling several roles. Some days I would wear a Producer cap others a Writer and most days I was multi capping, not always a great look. Working in this homogeneous way with roles bleeding into your co-workers you always have an overview of the project, a lot of support and enormous amount of creative fulfilment. Where my vision was impaired I could rely on a co-worker to lead vice-versa and you work on getting a film made.
On a feature you generally start out on the lowest rung of the ladder and you work exclusively in one department, in a supportive role. So it’s often difficult to get an overview of what is happening on the project and to find creative fulfilment. There are also hundreds to thousands of people involved at any one time. This means you can be completely unaware of forces affecting decisions being made.
This is an odd thing to get used to as you can quickly start treating your role like a regular job and stop absorbing what’s going on around. It is very easy to not feel utilised and get bored. If you commit to these feelings then you’ll find yourself not seizing the opportunity to absorb the actions of the heads of departments when they come up. So one of the greatest lessons for me was learning to make a concerted effort to observe the creatives and not begrudge the times when there is little to do. When you manage to do this it’s very humbling and you are constantly amazed and in awe at the years of experience that so many of the crew have to offer.
I talk about my experiences on low budget work as homogenous but that’s an idealistic description. It is often a chaotic and the interpersonal relationships can become very messy when there are blurred ideas over the films ownership. Working on a feature you get the space to focus in one department, find clarity and learn from crew with immense experience and talent something difficult to find or access on frantic low budget projects.
I guess the trick is to keep making and creating on personal projects and continuing the learning and absorbing on larger industry jobs (whilst hopefully climbing the rungs on the ladder), to get the best of both worlds and keep developing.