The universe is both infinitely big and incredibly old. Statistically we should have seen evidence of extraterrestrial life, but we have not. So where is everyone?
This is the premise of my next short film, The Fermi Paradox. As you can see I’m sticking with the sci-fi thing for now. Quite frankly, the stories just come to me for this genre. I find I have a lot of these ‘what if…’ sci-fi type stories in my head, so that’s what I’m making!
At the point of writing this, we have filmed and edited, and we’re moving into ‘distribution’ (essentially sending it to a bunch of festivals to hope for the best). I wrote the script earlier this year and we filmed a few months ago. Much like the last film, we kept it simple: one location, one day of filming. There was actually only one (main) character. It was great for a few reasons. Not only was it less stressful and probably smarter at this point in my early film director career to try and keep projects simple rather than grand and ambitious which could ultimately lead to a worse film because of my lack of experience, the fact that it was so simple allowed me to focus on what’s really important: story. I could talk at length with the actress about character, what she should be thinking and feeling throughout, how the dialogue should sound and feel, the overall tone, and loads of other stuff that I’ve started to realise are so incredibly important in making a film work. I didn’t have to worry too much about more technical things such as a large storyboard full of scenes we needed to get done before the end of the day.
I’m starting to see these shorts also as stepping stones, testers to help for when things start to get really complicated: ‘What can I learn from the film, how can I improve my craft’. And for The Fermi Paradox, I wanted to start getting better at story.
I didn’t want it to do anything too fancy because that wasn’t the point for this one. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted it to look nice. What I mean is that I wanted the story to speak for itself, I wanted the writing and character to be strong enough to keep anyone watching, interested. I was also more interested in learning more about directing and working with actors, something I probably wouldn’t have been able to focus on as much if we were doing loads of action stunts and special effects or whatever.
It was fun, I felt much more relaxed, more at ease, more confident. This was in part due to the fact that the film was a simple one to make, but also because this was my second short as an independent filmmaker/director, and I’m starting to figure out things and getting used to directing. I’m excited to get The Fermi Paradox out to some festivals.