Last semester Katiana Mashikian and worked really hard on this film. It wound up being very different from our original intentions, but that wasn’t entirely a bad thing. I wanted to show the couple in a lot more locations than wound up on the screen. This was due to lack of planning and a lot of missed shoots because of scheduling conflicts. Technically we ran into issues with lighting and not enough sound. Mainly I think we just weren’t always careful enough when we were shooting. Overall I was satisfied with how the film came out, mainly because I think the story is strong; fun and light with the right amount of weird.
I totally disregarded out the two biggest cautionary pieces of advice that Danny gave us going into the shooting process. 1. Limit your locations and 2. Don’t rely too heavily on characters because acting is hard and no one is getting paid. Of course I decided to make a totally character driven film with as many locations as possible. Luckily I had great people to work with. Matt Cline is a very talented improviser in Awkward Silence here at USF, and my beloved girlfriend Kelly Cook created the character of Becky. That their somewhat absurdist relationship was believable was the most crucial part of the film, and it also turned out to be the easiest and most fun part to direct.
Katiana and I naturally worked well together so we never really had set roles in mind. I think I did more of the “directing” when it came to performances and blocking, while she did a lot more with cinematography and shot composition. She also did story boards, which, had I the chance to go back, I would have used frame for frame. We foolishly did not refer to when shooting. It was only when I found them later that I saw how many ideas we had had for shots that never wound up on screen. Kati was better than me at visualizing a specific image, I prefer shot lists. But having a real visual reminder is sometimes invaluable and can greatly contribute to the flow of the film. The film we wound up with flowed well, but had we known exactly what we wanted in every shot before we pressed record the film would have been a lot more dynamic.
Neither Kati nor I were very concerned with originality. It was based on the crazy girlfriend character, Becky, that Kelly and I thought up one day. I was originally toying with having the boyfriend be the crazy one, but Kelly’s performance was too funny to deny. I think it wound up being original enough, but it’s a love story after all, so it follows a pretty simple formula. The music definitely gives it a kind of classic feel, which makes it seem less original, but we couldn’t find any non-copyrighted music that we liked so we picked well known songs. The music is actually my favorite part.
So that’s what I think of “Look at Me.” It’s not perfect by far, but learned a lot in the process of making it. Everyone in the production was having a lot of fun, and I think that shows on screen and makes the film enjoyable.