Now it has been a couple of weeks since I finished my film and I can atleast say I am more positive about it than I was before. I am still not sure whether the humour in it is understandable, or that the narrative structure flows all that well. However, looking back I can say I enjoyed what I did. I enjoyed exploring how I related to anthropology and I think that even if nobody else understands it, with what I had available to me (in terms of time, tools and experience) I did alright. My film has a lot of flaws, and I certainly am not eager to share it with people, but it was a great learning experience which helped me understand my own feelings towards anthropology.
With hindsight, I think that I can see a few of my mistakes, listed here as a warning to anyone else who is starting out in their own journey:
1. Know your limits. It may sound cliché, but it is true. I jumped right into the deep end, attempting to parody and explore a discipline which I still am a novice at. Particularly making film, a low-concept streamlined film is a whole lot easier to make. In my film I had lots of ideas for cool shots and fancy cuts, but in the end while I managed to do certain things really well, my narrative structure was based around key scenes, without much thought for how they link together.
2. If you are going to critique, be familiar with the subject. My aim was the critique ethnographic film, even though I had never made a film before. Now I have, I would be in a better position to be critical, but even now I don’t think I have enough experience to effectively do justice to my original concept.
3. Don’t be scared to do something that pushes the boundaries. Knowing the limits of your abilities is one thing, but you shouldn’t be afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to your concept, you just need to be realistic about what you can do in your timeframe.
4. Don’t be afraid to fail. It may just be wishful thinking on my part, but I doubt that anyone’s first film is going to be great. Being able to see that you have failed or not achieved all your goals is a fantastic thing- it shows that you have taste. My film failed for various reasons, but I have made those mistakes and in future I know which pitfalls to avoid.
5. Do the film you want to do. As much as I feel that my film failed (that is not to be negative, rather than dislike my film as I did before I now objectively feel it wasn’t what I wanted- but that’s okay). What made is successful was that I engaged with anthropology and I enjoyed making my film. Doing a film you care about is the most important part. It hurts more when It doesn’t live up to your expectations, because it was so important to you, but it will mean more to you than a film on a subject you aren’t interested in.
So I hope those tips are useful. They are the main points I’ve taken from making my film. With hindsight I still cannot look at my film itself positively, but I can look at the experience positively.