After all the recent chaos to get the Etiquette ready for consideration for the Shortfuse 5 BAFTA screenings, I find myself needed a bit of down time. My health has been starting to fade so I’ve been planning to take it a bit easier (for a few days at least). Therefore it’s probably just as well I didn’t go to the latest Guerilla Film making event at Regents College or the legendary Raindance course “Write and sell the hot script” by popular indie-mentor Elliot Grove (thanks for the offer though!). Recently I have had another matter on my mind. My daughter’s 5th birthday party!
For those in “the know” – it is common knowledge that organising a children’s party is not for the faint of heart! It’s a big deal for them and therefore a massive undertaking for you. Then it hit me there are a few similarities between this and film-making:
- In film you tend to pick a genre, with parties you pick an idea/theme. In our case it will be a rainbow themed party.
- You pick a budget and try to stick to it. Ironically the budget to the party was greater than the amount of money we used to film Etiquette. Hmmm…
- You recce to find a suitable location. That is unless you prefer the alternative – hordes of kids trashing your house.
- You shortlist the people you want involved. Can be politics involved here. And it can get dictated in certain circumstances by the size of budget agreed.
- You work to set deadlines and everything is scheduled accordingly. When we will play pass the parcel? When do we sing happy birthday and cut the cake? All this requires some direction much like filming does.
- In fact it’s like having a mini-film crew. As seen below, we even enlisted the help of one of the Etiquette crew for this!
You will most probably need some props (eg. The parcel if you play “pass the parcel”, balloons/decorations etc). You may need some set-design (move those chairs, set up tables, hang banners). There is sound/music design to consider. We have a “make-up” department because we are having face-painting.
There will (be at least one) “behind the scenes” photographer (me in these cases). A bit of lighting is required (if only for the birthday cake). It can be argued that the catering is the greatest undertaking of all (we did rainbow fruit/vegtable platters – followed by cakes – lots of cakes!).
- It is a lot of work condensed into a short space. It will feel “crazy” at the time. By the end of it, you will be absolutely shattered and just want to crash!
- Your ultimate goal is to entertain people and make them go away happy and fulfilled (okay, the last part isn’t always strictly true with film – but you get the general idea).
There are undoubtedly many other similarities which I no-doubt failed to mention (hey the party was only yesterday and I am still recovering). My main priority for “pre-party-production” task was taking on the music department. My daughter helped me pick the playlist for the party. There was a brilliantly electic mix of Henry Mancini, rainbow tunes, 80’s tracks and TV/Film themes (everything from Scooby Doo, Doctor Who to some more obscure gems such as “One of our dinosaurs is missing” and “Condorman” – two films which really deserve a soundtrack release but don’t!). I must confess the juvenile in me resisted the urge to drop South Park’s Chef – Chocolate Salty Balls on the playlist, I fear I may have been lynched for doing that!
In other party news, I’m glad to report that we recently found out that we were indeed shortlisted for the Shortfuse@BAFTA short film evening next month which will be held in Princess Anne’s Theatre with the West End’s BAFTA headquaters. I’m guessing there might be some more partying going on then as well!