In case you hadn’t noticed, the most wonderful time of the year is proving itself all around us. Although it may be cold and bleak outside, the light and joy that is synonymous with Christmas is overwhelming- as is the lack of originality in the Christmas film you have decided to watch for the fourth year in a row.
There are timeless classics that we love to pull out this time of the year for one reason or another. Those like the heart warming It’s a Wonderful Life, or the good time watch Elf are the names that we rely on to fill our winter afternoons.
In the midst of celebration, there is no reason for there to be a lapse of productivity. In fact, it is the Christmas and New Year break that reminds us to appreciate the time that we have with loved ones, in reflection on the year that has passed, and in preparation for the year that is to come.
In the final run up toward the Nikon European Film Festival- closing 15th January 2016- there is plenty of opportunity and excitement around to motivate filmmakers to spend their time off wisely; how much more wisdom can we give you asides from telling you to do what you love?
This year, why not give the old Christmas repertoire a miss for the chance of creating something yourself. Here’s why you should…
1. Everyone’s All Together
2+ heads are better than one? In the presence of loved ones over Christmas, you will find the support you need in any of the means that you need it, whether this includes actors, editors, even critics, you will find more than enough extra hands willing to help in any way they can. Perhaps a distant relative lives somewhere that would make the perfect setting for your feature, or perhaps the costume you envisage your lead character wearing is lay in a wardrobe at your family home. Whether it makes for a fun experimentation with different ideas, or you shoot scenes that make the final edit, time re-imagining and acting upon what is already available to you is never time wasted for a low-budget filmmaker.
2. One Single Location
In connection to everyone being in the same place, you have time to work out what you consider the right place, and know for sure what is easily available to you. Perfect for short-films, shooting in one location keeps not only the setting but also characters and plot familiar. With this underway, you have more flexibility in studying your story-line or script with more detail, giving your feature a powerful message that leaves an impact as opposed to a convoluted series of varied locations that- after being costly with both time and money- risk being lost in translation when shown as a short feature.
3. It’s a Universal Moment
Perhaps the reason why Christmas films get so tiresome is because they have become a genre in themselves that is unfathomably niche and over represented. They lose sight of meaning in their cliche of characters and predictable plot, and leave untouched what the world understands Christmas to be.
Be original with your story lines, should you chose to make your short film Christmas related, and touch back on the tradition of Christmas as a universal moment of love and re-connection. Perhaps your story-line twist could show these values to have been turned on their head, or abused in some way. Maybe your plot could revolve around your characters reconnecting with this message.
With reference to the points that have already been made, make use of the resources you have readily available, including the people. Christmas is about family and loved ones, so heighten the tone of empathy and realism by making your piece with your own.
4. Use the Kit you got for Christmas
There are no excuses to not make time for your new toys. Whether this is to show them off or prove that your gift was not a wasted investment, put your new gear to the test and make your short film idea a reality.