The standards of debut feature films


Hai guys ♥

Last Tuesday evening, I was lucky enough to hear John Maclean talk about his debut feature Slow West (2015). Maclean has set a standard for debut feature films – a standard I wish to meet with Frozen Lake. 

I love Slow West ♥
I love the slow pace, the unusual protagonist and the border-line taboo humour.
It looked so slick, so clean, so colourful.

I ordered my own copy seconds after the film ended, determined to shove it in the face of my non-believers:
“See! See! First features can be great! See! See!”

I was incredibly inspired by John Maclean – especially with how down to earth and practical he was.

“Why did Jay take his boots off in the film? Was it something symbolic?”
“You can’t run in cowboy boots.”
“How did you find that house that Rose and her father live in?”
“We didn’t. We built it.”
“Are you pleased with the awards you’ve won so far?”
“I will just be pleased if people still like my film in thirty years time.”

There was no pretentiousness or superiority.
No vanity or self-indulgence.
Just a man who is in love with filmmaking.
& it shined through his talk and his film Slow West. 

I always thought making a feature film was a big ordeal – that it was such a big challenge that my amateur-self would simply fail in the attempt.
I’m struggling with the most basic tasks – removing scenes from the script, finding the correct locations, approaching actors etc.
If I can’t even manage that, how can I possible make a decent feature?
or even a bad feature?

John Maclean made it sound so easy.

“I never looked at the whole picture. If I did I probably would have freaked out. I took each segment in turn, only focusing on one task at a time. Then everything suddenly picked up and I was swept off as though I was on a train and I didn’t have the time to even think about jumping off.”

Such simple advice that made so much sense.
What really inspired me about John was how he balanced practicality with his vision.
Story, characters & dreams vs. time, budget & reality.
If John never mentioned the fact his script was written with a budget in mind, I would have never known.
If he never said he had to cut corners, I would have never known.
If he never told us that he had only thirty days to shoot, I would have never known.
If my lecturer never announced that this was John’s debut feature film, I would have never known.
Though John had to be practical in order for his feature to be made,  as an audience member watching Slow West you would have never known.

& that’s the standard I want to work to.
The standard I want Frozen Lake to be ★



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