What To Do With A Failed Short Film

I made a short film back in Singapore a few years back that never saw the light of day.  A fantastic DP worked on it. We had a great crew, an amazing location, we went to town on lighting and had some great fun putting it all together. I even went onto use the shots in my showreel which helped get me more work. 

But the film never got finished, which to this day bugs me.

With creative projects there are hundreds of reasons why things don’t get finished.  Budget, time, momentum, creative battles, family, work, life etc. etc.  Whatever the reasons were (there were many and i’ll save it for another blog post) the film did not get delivered and it has hung over me. We didn’t get to have a fun wrap party. There was no screening party. We didn’t get to share the film with friends and family and I didn’t get to send it off onto the festival circuit.

Since the shoot I’ve debated whether we should sell the footage as stock. I’ve resisted as as it feels like I’m selling myself and the crew short. Also  going back to the cast, getting release forms signed is not a fun process and it isn’t the most effective use of my time. I’ve also thought about using the footage to make a music video for various friends of mine. But that opens a whole can of creative worms. 

Needed This To Happen

Now as much as this film was a failure, the two day shoot gave me enough energy and insight to know that filmmaking was still my calling. Years of doing commercials and running a production house and being a managing director and head of HR can seriously damage your filmmaking libido. It is easy to lose sight of making movies as you end up compromising your style and your philosophy for clients and payroll. 

This is normal and this is the struggle. So to some degree I needed this to happen the way it did.

As my energy levels were low and I knew business closure was round the corner, it dawned on me pretty fast that films should be at the centre of all my work.  Client work should be secondary to my greater goals. Of course we all have bills to pay and every filmmaker’s journey and situation is different but I learnt that it really depends on what type of filmmaker you are and where you want to get to. 

What’s Next?

So now I’m hoping to take a couple days off, get some of the key footage onto a drive and down an experienced editor to make something new out of it and exorcise some film-making demons. I am tempted to re-write it according to the shots we have but it’s most likely I’ll sit in an editing suite, combing through the footage together we can write something new and with a bit of luck we’ll have a fresh new short ready for the festival circuit.

I’ll be sharing some more updates on what happens to this film and if there any questions or ideas, leave a comment or email me directly.

And please do subscribe to fortnightly newsletter where I’ll be sharing updates on film-making and book publishing. 

Thanks also to Neal Moore for supplying all the tasty behind the scenes pictures. 

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