Nicholson Ren | Cinematographer & Colourist
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What's Left Production Diary

Pre-shoot thoughts - 2 days before

I am quite excited to be a part of this project that I will be cinematographer for. Despite being student led I've been quite impressed with the way the Director; Casey Long, has been handling the whole thing (and I'd like to think that I'm not easily impressed). She's been fulfilling the roles as Writer, Producer, Director, 1st AD as far as I can tell and that is a fair bit of work for a single person. It is quite amazing to see one person organise crew, extras, children, location, accommodation and documents for a web-series that potentially spans several seasons. Although we've only briefly gone through visual style of the web series (about an hours worth) I'm pretty stoked to be given full reins in this department, but I'm not sure I would do that myself in her position but I am definitely grateful that she trusts me to not make it horrible.

I've had a thing about student projects for some time now; which I will write something about next time, but I am typically skeptical when I hear it's a student project. Apart from the inexperience expected from students I find that most people I meet in the creative industry tend to perform better and are more passionate about what they're doing when they do not come from an arts background. This doesn't necessarily make them better but it creates the impression that they are here because they have naturally gravitated towards this activity rather than doing it as an obligation to a study. The same thing can be said for people who study a subject of their interest but I don't think this applies to art.

I see great potential in this project for myself to develop as a filmmaker. Since Casey has a long-term plan for the series it pays off to stick to the project as much as I can. The script follows 5 orphans which in itself will make it interesting to film the ways they interact with each other and then naturally to find out about their past. The opportunities to experiment with different techniques in different situations is hard to pass up especially early on in my career. Travelling to film the past of each character is also an aspect which I am extremely looking forward to and is one of the best perks of this job. I have gone to places I would never have gone or known about if I didn't decide to be a filmmaker. The first location will be at the Royal Hotel in Seymour, 2 hours from Melbourne CBD, and cast and crew will stay together for roughly 6 days 5 nights.